Tuesday, April 09, 2019

The Discerning (Not "Deciding") Church

Detroit Public Library

Tonight I meet with Redeemer's Elders. This is a team of men and women. I will begin by asking these questions.

"What is God saying to you, about you?"

"What is God saying to us, about us?"

"What is God doing in us?"

"What do you discern about these things?"

We are a discerning community, not a group of decision-makers. This is exiting, empowering, and non-striving to make things happen. Here are some things about discernment that are important to us.

Defining “discernment”
-      Discernment is the capacity to recognize and respond to the presence and the activity of God—both in the ordinary moments and in the larger decisions of our lives.
Discernment is different than “decision making.”

NOW WATCH THIS: The word in the Presence-Driven Church is” discern,” not “decide.”
This is not about “decision-making.”
God is making decisions and leading; you and I must discern what God has decided.
Biblical examples of discernment.
1 Kings 3:9-14 – Solomon asks God to give him a “discerning heart” to govern God’s people, and to tell the difference between right and wrong.
Psalm 119:125 – The psalmist prays: I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.
Proverbs 18:15 - The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.
Daniel 2:21 - God gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
Hosea 14:9 - Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand.
The ways of the Lord are right;
    the righteous walk in them,
    but the rebellious stumble in them.
1 Cor. 2:14 - The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

How do I become a spiritually discerning person?
Cultivate intimacy with God. 

Discernment is a function of intimacy.

The rule is: The greater the intimacy with God, the more you have discernment.

“Discernment” Is a Fruit, an inevitable byproduct, of a presence-driven Life.

To discern the mind and heart of God: 
1. Meet regularly with God.
2. Engage with scripture.
3. Root yourself in a community that does the same.


If you don’t have time for God or for praying or for worship or for saturating in the Word.. you will not have spiritual discernment. Prayerless people dwell in the land of unfamiliarity.
There are three Greek words we translate as "discern." The first is in Rom. 12:1-2:

Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to discern and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
This includes not only the mind of each individual but also the corporate mind.

What is fundamentally needed is mind-renewing transformation.
We must live in the rivers of constant spiritual formation and transformation, in order to discern what the will of God is. This is what the whole "church" thing is about.
The Greek word we translate as "discern" in Romans 12 is ἀνακρίνω,v  \{an-ak-ree'-no} - anakrino
1) examine or judge  1a) to investigate, examine, enquire into, scrutinise, sift, question  1a1) specifically in a forensic sense of a judge to hold an  investigation  1a2) to interrogate, examine the accused or witnesses  1b) to judge of, estimate, determine (the excellence or defects of  any person or thing 

A second Greek word is in 1 Cor. 12:10 - 

to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

Here the word is διάκρισις,n  \{dee-ak'-ree-sis} - diakrisis
1) a distinguishing, discerning, judging
A third word is in Phil. 1:9-11:
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Here the Greek word is δοκιμάζω,v  \{dok-im-ad'-zo} - dokimazo
1) to test, examine, prove, scrutinise (to see whether a thing  is genuine or not), as metals  2) to recognise as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy 

How to become a community of discernment.
Teach your people how to abide in Christ.
If you are a pastor you must give up control. It’s not about you. It’s all about what God is saying and doing in your people.
          
A Discerning Community is a Movement, not an Institution.

We discern what the Spirit is saying to us and move with the Spirit.