Discernment

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A shepherd protects his sheep from their enemies. Wolves enter in among the sheep. The wolves which harass the church of God are emissaries of false doctrine and of evil practice. Satan is never out of his diocese and his specialty is to destroy the pure witness and the fellowship of the church of God. Perhaps there is no more ominous feature of members of the church than the lack of discernment; they can listen to what is good and true, and to what is bad and false, without discrimination. If we are to live in a world where the enemy is active and error is rampant, we must be imbued with a good measure of critical faculty, and here the elders in tending the flock must cultivate for themselves, and inculcate in the members of the church, that sensitivity to truth and right, so that they and the people will be able to detect the voice of the enemy.

Jesus said of His sheep, "a stranger will they not follow,
for they know not the voice of strangers" (John 10:5).
But this discernment does not operate in a vacuum, and it does not act mechanically; it acts in the context of intelligent apprehension and understanding of the truth.

John Murray

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