Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Spiritual Disciplines

2 Pet. 1:3-4, 5-7 - "make every effort"
1 Tim. 4:7-10 - (Vs.7 - work at, develop)

The last weeks we've talked about "Christian transformation". - (growth, becoming)
We noted that on one hand, transformation is the work of God.
However, it doesn't happen without our cooperation and effort.

So, today: "Spiritual Discipline".
Definition: personal and corporate disciplines that promote spiritual growth/habits of devotion that aid us in our Christian life and advance Christian maturity...

The lists of spiritual discipline vary, but here are some things that are included:
Bible reading/study
Silence & Solitude
Sleep deprivation

1. Spiritual disciplines are time honored, universal, practical, proven
They've been practiced by Christians of all times, cultures, denominations, etc.

2. They are also WORK!!! - which is why they are called disciplines! The are difficult.

3. Spiritual disciplines are not to be confused with legalism!
They are not to obtain salvation, keep salvation, gain 'acceptance' with God, etc.
They are designed to put you in the path (presence of) God - that you may encounter Him and "absorb His grace".

4. Godly people are disciplined people. - Make your own list - check it out!!
Question?? Disciplined because they are spiritual giants?? OR they are spiritual giants because they are disciplined??

5. Godly people are self disciplined people!!
Spiritual growth and transformation requires:
A. Choice and
B. Self-denial
Matt. 16:24
Mark 8:34
Luke 9:23

Today we will focus on a few of most widely recognized Spiritual disciplines.

#1. Bible Study and Meditation
ie. exposure to and thinking on God's Word.
1 Tim. 4:13
2 Tim. 2:15
2 Tim. 3:16
This results in.......
A. a knowledge of His Will
B. an encounter with God Heb. 4:12
C. A change of mind/heart/hands 1 Pet. 2:2-3

#2. Prayer (most recognized and accepted spiritual discipline ..... BUT practiced?????
This is effective because...
A. brings you into His Presence (sensed or not) which
B. changes the pray-er.
(#1 and #2 are the basis for most quiet time)

#3. (least mentioned) church (yet most practiced!!)
was predicted and assumed yet NOT commanded!!
Why???? Because it's natural

3 disciplines within the church.....

A. Worship (coming to declare His worth) - like prayer which brings you into His Presence
un-like prayer it means giving back (not asking)

B. Fellowship - sharing (what we have) in common!! (in worship/greeting/aisles/hallway/foyer/porch/at meals
It equals discipline because
#1. don't always wanna do it!!
#2. (properly done) it requires you give as well as receive

Seldom mentioned:
C. Preaching (not do it, but endure it)
It was established by the prophets, practiced by Christ and the Apostles, and continued today.
More people experience life changing encounters with Christ under preaching than any other medium. 1 Cor. 1:21

#4. Ministry - ie: service/serving/good works/good deeds
Though not means of salvation, they are essential to Christian faith.
Acts 10:38
Heb. 13:16
Matt. 20:25-28

John Wesley's Rule for Christian Living
"Do all the good you can,
by all the means you can,
in all the ways you can,
in all the places you can,
at all the times you can,
to all the people you can,
as long as ever------ you can!"

#5. Stewardship - the discipline of handling and managing your possessions according to God's Word and the dictates of the Holy Spirit.
A. Includes your money and your giving
B. is a practical, visible expression of your submission to His Lordship
Note: Matt. 25:23 - not only commended but promoted!!
(He has grown, matured, developed, become...!!!)

1. Spiritual discipline is time honored, universal, practiced, and proven. (they work!)

2. are also WORK!! (that's why they are called disciplines!)

3. not to be confused with legalism. Point being: put in the path and promote growth.

4. Godly people are disciplined people.

5. Godly people are self disciplined people!!
Your choice, you decide, you apply...

1 Tim. 4:7 (b) & 1 Tim 4:8

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