The Practice of Discernment

July 17, 2022 – Pastor Dawn Hayman

1 John 4:1-6

Message Big Idea We live in the age of what some call post-truth. Truth doesn’t matter. Feelings matter. We see this in today’s rhetoric—just look at Facebook. Emotions rule. Whatever makes us feel good becomes truth. John’s warning: If you just follow your feelings, you will believe every spirit that sounds good, even if it isn’t biblical. False spirits don’t care about your heart, but they will use your heart against Christ. But Jesus sends us the Spirit of truth. And in this passage, John is showing us what that means. Every age has its own false spirits. But in every age, the Holy Spirit is there, giving discernment to his people and prevailing over the false spirits.

Lean In: 

  • Take some time and share with each other: What are you grateful for today? What are you struggling with today?
  • Describe a time when you took a test of some sort that did not turn out so great (i.e. you flunked, you failed, you were not prepared, etc.). How did that make you feel? What led up to that “not so good result”?

Look Down:

  • Read 1 John 4:1-6 (Read twice – ESV and either NLT or Message)
  • Go around the group and briefly retell the passage in your own words.
  • What word or phrase “jumped off the page” and intrigued you the most? Why?

Look Out: 

  • In the message, Pastor Dawn described three types of skeptics and three ways to process information enroute to making a decision or having discernment:
    • The Closed Skeptic = “I have never heard that before, so it can’t be right”
    • The Blind Follower = “If (trusted leader, so-and-so) said it, I believe it”
    • The Wise Disciple = “That is interesting, I’d like to learn more” and “What does Jesus and scripture say about this?”
  • Which of the above types of “discernment” is most prevalent in our world today? How does it affect the people around you? 
  • What is the response of most of the people you know to filtering decisions through the lens of being a disciple and following Jesus?

Look In:

  • How have you nurtured or developed (transformed) the way you filter decisions through the lens of scripture, the Holy Spirit, wise counsel? What steps can you take to grow in this area?

Live It Out:

  • Who can you tell this week about what you have learned? 
  • Spend time this week in “Listening Prayer”. Write down what the Holy Spirit is saying.