Summary: God wants us to be both discerning and selectivist as a matter of habit.

The Relentless Quizzer

(I Thessalonians 5:21-22)


1. The hardest courses I took during my time at Moody Bible Institute was New Testament Greek, 16 hours, 4 courses.

2. One of my teachers was Mr. Wise and Greek quizzes: I think it was 14 days in a row.

3. In some ways, God calls us to be like Mr. Wise, to test things frequently; to develop discernment.

4. Our text today is like an hourglass.

5. Do not quench the spirit is broad, and narrows down in our text to despise not prophetic utterances, test everything, approve the good…

6. But then it broadens out to "abstain from all forms of evil."

7. A broad concept is narrowed and a narrow concept is broadened.

Main Idea: God wants us to be both discerning and selectivist as a matter of habit.


A. What is the RUBRIC for our test?

1. According to Wikipedia, a rubric is, "a set of criteria for grading assignments."

2. Acts 17:11, "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." The Bible is our rubric.

3. Speaking of appointing elders, Paul describes one major responsibility of an elders, "He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it." (Titus 1:9)

4. We become stronger and more stable as we mature in the Word: "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." (Ephesians 4:14-15)

5. The story about the little boy who told his mother that he was 8 feet tall. She questioned his accuracy and he replied, "I AM 8 FEET TALL BECAUSE I JUST MEASURED MYSELF WITH THIS LITTLE RULER I MADE." [sermon central Steve Shepherd]

B. What is a PASSING grade

Four grades:

1. The Scripture teaches it is good

2. The Scriptures are silent

3. The Scriptures are unclear

4. The Scriptures teach against it

C. What is MEANT by everything?

The founder of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc, was asked by a reporter about his order of priorities. "I believe in God, my family and McDonald’s," he said. Then he added, "When I get to the office, I reverse the order." [sermon central Steve Shepherd]

1. The major decisions of life

2. Anything with spiritual or moral implications

God wants us to be both discerning and selectivist as a matter of habit.

II. Hold on to the GOOD

A. HOW do we hold on?

1. By identifying it

2. By not throwing out the baby with the bath water

B. WHERE can we find good?

1. Sometimes in surprising places

2. I grew up in a lost family and had no evangelical friends, but I am more convinced than ever that we can learn a lot even from people who are lost

3. Our friends and family are all mixed bags

4. When we see people as wholly evil or wholly good, we are out of touch with reality

God wants us to be both discerning and selectivist as a matter of habit.

III. Avoid Every Kind of EVIL

A. Avoid -- To what EXTENT?

1. FLEEING: Get Out of Tempting Environments

I Corinthians 6:18, "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body

• Some situations you just have to get out of, pronto. Maybe you take a loss, but you get out of it because it is harming your soul.

• Just as we have a reflex that tells us to take our finger off the flame, so we need to develop spiritual reflexes…

2. TURN from -- guard your direction

Psalm 34:14, " Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

On May 21, 2005, Andrew Golota fought Lamon Brewster for the WBO heavyweight boxing title. Golota, a strong fighter with a powerful punch, had 38 wins, 5 loses, and 31 knockouts. In preparation for the fight, Brewster studied a tape of Golota’s boxing, looking for an opening. He noticed that the way Golota held his hands left him open for a left hook.

Within seconds after the first round began, Brewster found the opening and threw a left hook. Golota went down to the mat and got up. Brewster threw another left hook and Golota went down again. He stood up and the fight resumed. Brewster threw another left hook to the same opening, and Golota went down for the 3rd time, which counted as a knockout. Lamon Brewster won the fight in the first round because he was the smarter fighter. All he had to do was pound on his opponent’s weakness.

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