FOLM weekly bible study - Discernment (Acts)

September 14, 2017




Read Acts 16:11 and Acts 31:4




Paul wrote letters because he was unable to travel due to him being imprisoned and transportation was slow and expensive He used his letters as a means to stay in touch and keep the fellowship relationship alive, to teach and to oversee the churches he planted.


10 years later on trial in Rome, Paul writes to the Philippian church to thank them for their support and to encourage them.


Q. When was the last time you thanked or encouraged someone?


Q. Who do you need to thank and who in your life needs your encouragement?


Read v3-6


Joy is not like happiness. Happiness is dependent on circumstances or things we have - which can change l, flee and cause despair. It's fleeting and temporary. Feeling happy one day and down the next day is dependant on external factors.


However JOY is:

Profound peace, serenity and contentment

It's deep and strong and it's lasting.

It's not based on circumstances.

Joy is settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of your life.

Its the quiet confidence that everything is going to be alright.


Every day, wonderful and great things can happen that can produce joy. At the exact same time, painful things happen to you or those you love can disappoint you, hurt you, and fill you with sorrow. These two tracks — both joy and sorrow — run parallel to each other every single moment of your life.


Joy abounds when we choose to focus more on counting our blessings in the midst of disappointment or pain. 


Q. When others think of you do they remember you with joy? 

Q. Do you acts of kindness encourage others?

Q. What caused Paul joy?


Q. Why is v6 good news?


- We're God's projects 

- God completes His project

- He won't give up on us until we're whole 
- As long as we surrender daily we're making progress and growing even if it does feel like it I'd look like it

- We can therefore rejoice everyday even if things looks bad 


Read 7-9

Q. What does Paul teach about love?


- Love is a feeling of affection and positive regards/ positive thoughts (love is kind 1 Corinthians 13)
- Love grows when we focus on what God has done for us. God is love. 

- Love grows when WE carry out loving actions e.g. when we keep people in our hearts and prayers we grow our love for them 

- Love grows when OTHERS do kind things for us e.g. when others support and pray for us we love them more 

- Love grows when we open our hearts to God to give it and to receive it 


Q. Why do some people find it hard to give and receive love? 


- Fear of being hurt
- Lack of trust in God which leads to an ability to trust and open up to others 

- Resentment and unforgiveness 

- We build up defensive walls which harm us and our self 

- Walls that prevent us from experiencing love and the joy that this gives 


Paul's letter helps us to understand how to experience real live and real joy 


Read 9-11


Paul prays that they grow on knowledge and discernment. 


Q .What is discernment?


- Being able to differentiate between right and wrong

- What's important and what's not 

- We are therefore able to think biblically

- We recognise false teachings

- Therefore stay on the path God has planned God our lives 


Q. Why is it important?


- Guides

- Protects 

- Keeps us safe 


Q. How do we become discerning?


- We can do this when we allow the fruit of the spirit/righteousness (God's character) to develop in us

- When we allow the Holy Spirit to take control 

- When we join our lives with Christ's 

- That means we know Him, love Him and imitate Him

- We then develop the mind of Christ 


This leads to discernment.


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