The Disciplines of the Christian Life

THE DISCIPLINES OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
(Pastor Lee Jackson – FFWC)

1) INTRODUCTION – I READ AN ARTICLE IN THE PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL MAGAZINE BY GLENN COLE, A GREAT LEADER IN THE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD, WHO IS NOW WITH THE LORD. GLENN SPOKE OF AN INTERVIEW WITH RAYMOND BERRY, THE NFL HALL OF FAMER WHO PLAYED FOR THE BALTIMORE COLTS FROM 1955 – 1967, SPOKE OF HIS GREATEST CHALLENGES IN LIVING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE AS AN NFL PLAYER. “I FOUND THE CHALLENGE IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE WAS LETTING JESUS BE LORD. AS I BEGAN TO STUDY THE NEW TESTQAMENT, I BEGAN TO SEE THAT MAN WITHOUT GODE’S HELP IS UNABLE TO LIVE A LIFE THAT PLEASES GOD. GOD SENT CHRIST TO THE CROSS TO PAY FOR OUR SINS AND SATISFY HIS JUSTICE, BUT HIS PLAN INCLUDED GIVING US POWER TO LIVE A CHRISTIAN LIFE THROUGH THE INDWELLING CHRIST. CHRIST REALLY COMES TO LIVE WITHIN US. HE GIVES THE POWER TO LOVE PEOPLE, TO FORGIVE PEOPLE, TO CARRY OUT GOD’S WILL AND PLAN FOR US. IT IS POWER THAT WE DO NOT HAVE. WE ARE NOT DESIGNED TO HAVE THE POWER IN OURSELVES; WE ARE DESIGNED TO HAVE CHRIST’S POWER IN USAND TO SUBMIT AND YIELD TO HIM. THAT’S A DAILY STIP-BY-STEP PROCESS.”

2) PAUL WROTE IN 1TIMOTHY 4:7-8: EXERSIZE YOURSELF TOWARD GODLINESS. FOR BODILY EXERCIZE PROFITS A LITTLE, BUT GODLINESS IS PROFITABLE FOR ALL THINGS (NKJV). THIS PASSAGE HIGHLIGHTS THREE THINGS:
a) IT IS A PERSONAL MATTER – “EXERCIZE YOURSELF …TAKE HEED TO YOURSELF.”
b) IT IS A PROFITABLE MATTER – “TOWARD GODLINESS (V7) …AND PROFITABLE FOR ALL THINGS …FOR THE LIFE THAT NOW IS …AND THE LIFE THAT IS TO COME” (V8)
c) IT IS A PROGRESSIVE MATTER – “EXERCIZE YOURSELF TOWARD GODLINESS” (V7). SPIRITUAL MATURITY IS NOT ACHIEVED ALL AT ONCE. 2PETER 3:18 “GROW IN …GRACE AND POWER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST”. HOW IS THIS DONE?

3) THERE ARE THREE DISCIPLINES THAT PROMOTE SPIRITUAL GROWTH & CHRISTIAN MATURITY.
a) BIBLE READING – GOD’S WORD IS OUR DAILY BREAD – FOOD FOR OUR SOUL.
i) 2 TIM 3:16 – “ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD…”
ii) 2 PET 1:21 – PROPHECY CAME NOT BY THE WILL OF MAN BUT HOLY MEN OF GOD SPOKE AS THEY WERE MOVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT…
b) WHAT DOES BIBLE READING DO FOR US? WHY IS IT SO NECESSARY?
i) IT CLEANSES US – PSALM 119:9 WHEREWITHAL SHALL A YOUNG MAN CLEANSE HIS WAY? BY TAKING HEED THERETO ACCORDING TO THY WORD.
ii) IT KEEPS US FROM SIN – PSALM 119:11 THY WORD HAVE I HID IN MINE HEART, THAT I MIGHT NOT SIN AGAINST THEE.
iii) IT CREATES & SUSTAINS OUR FAITH – JOHN 20:31: BUT THESE ARE WRITTEN, THAT YE MIGHT BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD; AND THAT BELIEVING YE MIGHT HAVE LIFE THROUGH HIS NAME.
iv) GOD’S WORD IS OUR OFFENSIVE WEAPON, THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT –
(1) EPHESIANS 6:17 AND TAKE THE HELMET OF SALVATION, AND THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD:
(2) HEBREWS 4:12 FOR THE WORD OF GOD IS QUICK, AND POWERFUL, AND SHARPER THAN ANY TWOEDGED SWORD, PIERCING EVEN TO THE DIVIDING ASUNDER OF SOUL AND SPIRIT, AND OF THE JOINTS AND MARROW, AND IS A DISCERNER OF THE THOUGHTS AND INTENTS OF THE HEART.
c) PRAYER – IN ITS SIMPLEST TERMS, IS TALKING TO GOD & LETTING GOD SPEAK TO YOU.
i) MATT 7:7-8 ASK, AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN YOU; SEEK, AND YE SHALL FIND; KNOCK, AND IT SHALL BE OPENED UNTO YOU: 8 FOR EVERY ONE THAT ASKETH RECEIVETH; AND HE THAT SEEKETH FINDETH; AND TO HIM THAT KNOCKETH IT SHALL BE OPENED.
ii) 1JOHN 5:14 AND THIS IS THE CONFIDENCE THAT WE HAVE IN HIM, THAT, IF WE ASK ANY THING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, HE HEARETH US: 15 AND IF WE KNOW THAT HE HEAR US, WHATSOEVER WE ASK, WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE THE PETITIONS THAT WE DESIRED OF HIM.
iii) PHILIPPINES 4:6-7 BE CAREFUL FOR NOTHING; BUT IN EVERY THING BY PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION WITH THANKSGIVING LET YOUR REQUESTS BE MADE KNOWN UNTO GOD. 7 AND THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH PASSETH ALL UNDERSTANDING, SHALL KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS THROUGH CHRIST JESUS.
iv) PRAYER IS TALKING TO GOD.
(1) IT SHOULD INCLUDE WORSHIPING HIM FOR WHO HE IS;
(2) THANKING HIM FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR YOU;
(3) PRAYER CAN INCLUDE SUPPLICATION OR A PLEA FOR HELP.
(4) PSALM 91:15: “HE SHALL CALL UPON ME, AND I WILL ANSWER HIM; I WILL BE WITH HIM IN TROUBLE; I WILL DELIVER HIM AND HONOR HIM”.
(5) PRAYER SHOULD INCLUDE INTERCESSION – PRAYING FOR OTHERS.
v) PRAY IN JESUS NAME – JOHN 16:23 AND IN THAT DAY YE SHALL ASK ME NOTHING. VERILY, VERILY, I SAY UNTO YOU, WHATSOEVER YE SHALL ASK THE FATHER IN MY NAME, HE WILL GIVE IT YOU.
(1) PRAY “THY KINGDOM COME THY WILL BE DONE…”
(2) PRAYER IS NOT A SUBSITITUTE FOR WORKING, THINKING, WATCHING, SUFFERING OR GIVING – BUT A SUPPORT FOR ALL OF THESE AND MORE.

d) TAMING THE TONGUE – IT IS ONE OF THE MAJOR TESTS OF SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE
i) IN PROVERBS 6:16-19 GOD LISTS SEVEN THINGS THAT HE “HATES”. THREE OF THEM ARE ABOUT THE USE OF THE TONGUE: HE HATES “A LYING TONGUE” (VS 17), “A FALSE WITNESS” (VS 19), AND “ONE WHO SOWS DISCORD AMONG THE BROTHERN” (VS 19).
ii) PROVERBS 13:3 PAINTS THE PICTURE OF THE DOUBLE USE OF THE TONGUE: “HE WHO GUARDS HIS MOUTH PRESERVES HIS LIFE, BUT HE WHO OPENS WIDE HIS LIPS SHALL HAVE DESTRUCTION.”
iii) PROVERBS 18:21 “DEATH AND LIFE ARE IN THE POWER OF THE TONGUE AND THOSE WHO LOVE IT WILL EAT ITS FRUIT.”
iv) JAMES 1:26 IF ANY MAN AMONG YOU SEEM TO BE RELIGIOUS, AND BRIDLETH NOT HIS TONGUE, BUT DECEIVETH HIS OWN HEART, THIS MAN’S RELIGION IS VAIN.
v) 2TIMOTHY 3:1 – 5 GIVES A LIST OF THE EVIL THAT WILL CHARACTERIZE THE LAST DAYS. THIS LIST INCLUDES THEE SINS THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE TONGUE: BOASTERS, BLASPHEMERS, FALSE ACCUSERS. THIS PASSAGES ENDS “ HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS, BUT DENYING THE POWER THEREOF: FROM SUCH TURN AWAY. “

CONCLUSION – WE ARE SAVE BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH, BUT THESE DISCIPLINES ARE AND ESSENTIAL PART OF LIVING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE AND GROWING IN THE GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
PHP 2:12-13 WHEREFORE, MY BELOVED, AS YE HAVE ALWAYS OBEYED, NOT AS IN MY PRESENCE ONLY, BUT NOW MUCH MORE IN MY ABSENCE, WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING. 13 FOR IT IS GOD WHICH WORKETH IN YOU BOTH TO WILL AND TO DO OF HIS GOOD PLEASURE.

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