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Discerning Good And Evil

TEXT:  Heb. 5:12-14

INTRODUCTION:

A.      AS WE COME TO UNDERSTAND THE DEVELOPMENT OF SIN, WE MUST:

          1.       Change our desires.                                     3.       Exercise self-control.

          2.       Limit our opportunities to sin.                       4.       Seek forgiveness.

B.      WE MUST BE ABLE TO DISCERN BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL.

          1.       Knowing the difference does not come automatically upon conversion.

          2.       It is an ability that comes with time and "exercise" ( Heb. 5:14 ).

C.      DECIDING WHAT IS RIGHT OR WRONG INVOLVES ASKING A FEW

          QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MATTER AT HAND.

I.      IS IT CLEARLY CONDEMNED IN THE BIBLE?

A.      MANY THINGS ARE SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED AS BEING WRONG.

          1.       One list of such things is found in Galatians 5:19-21.

          2.       A similar list is found in Eph. 5:3-5.

B.      BUT NOT ALL THINGS ARE MENTIONED IN THE BIBLE.

II.     IS IT SIMILAR TO SOMETHING CONDEMNED?

A.      Galatians 5:19-21, NOTICE THE PHRASE "AND SUCH LIKE."

          1.       Why are all these things alike, what do they have in common?

          2.       They all show domination by the flesh.  They violate the same principle.

          3.       When uncertain, we should ask "Is it LIKE any sins specifically mentioned."

B.      YOU MIGHT EVEN COMPARE IT WITH THE GOOD THINGS MENTIONED.

          1.       Notice those things in Gal. 5:22-23.

          2.       Is it more like the "fruit of the Spirit" or the "works of the flesh?"

III.    DOES IT HURT YOUR CONSCIENCE?

A.      THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE( 1 Tim. 1:5, 18-19;  3:9 ).

B.      VIOLATING THE CONSCIENCE IS SIN, WHETHER THE ACT IS

          INHERENTLY SINFUL OR NOT( Romans 14:23 ).  STAY OUT OF GRAY.

IV.   WHAT DO MATURE CHRISTIANS SAY ABOUT IT?

A.      THIS, OF COURSE, IS NOT THE ULTIMATE DETERMINING FACTOR.

B.      Hebrews 5:14 SAYS THOSE WHO BY "REASON OF USE" ARE IN A

          POSITION TO DISCERN

          1.       This is why the advice of mature Christians can be helpful ( Phil. 3:17 ).

          2.       Rehoboam's failure to listen to the advice of elders( 1 Kings 12:6-20 ).

          3.       Paul taught Titus that the younger should look to those older( Titus 2:3-5 ).

V.    DOES IT HINDER YOUR INFLUENCE?

A.      PAUL STRESSED THE IMPORTANCE OF INFLUENCE.

          1.       His concern for how his influence affected others( 1 Cor. 9:19-23 ).

          2.       He commands us to do likewise, imitating Christ!( 1 Cor. 10:31-11:1 ).

B.      PETER TAUGHT THE VALUE OF A GOOD EXAMPLE.

          1.       In helping a wife win her husband to the Lord( 1 Pet. 3:1-2 ).

          2.       Matt. 5:16;  1 Pet. 2:11-12.

VI.   IS IT POOR STEWARDSHIP?

A.      WE ARE "STEWARDS" OF OUR TIME, MONEY, AND BODIES.

          1.       The point of the Parable of the Talents( Matt. 25:14-30 ).

          2.       Paul's instruction concerning our bodies( 1 Cor. 6:19-20 ).

          3.       His directions for those rich in this world( 1 Tim. 6:17-19 ).

B.      SOME HARMLESS ACTIVITIES REQUIRE SO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY.

          1.       There is none left for the Lord!

          2.       Time is limited;  priorities must be set and kept( Eph. 5:16;  Matt. 6:33 ).

VII.  WOULD JESUS DO IT?

A.      THE GOAL OF DISCIPLESHIP( Luke 6:40 ).

B.      "WOULD JESUS DO IT?" IS AN APPROPRIATE QUESTION( Acts 17:30 ).

CONCLUSION:

A.      AN HONEST APPRAISAL USING THESE QUESTIONS WILL HELP US DEFEAT

          SATAN BY DISCERNING GOOD AND EVIL..

B.      THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IS "DO WE WANT TO OVERCOME SIN,

          OR DO WE WANT TO GO TO HEAVEN WITH NO INCONVENIENCE?"