Community Bible Chapel
Monday, September 16, 2019
A place to grow.... where everybody is somebody and Jesus Christ is Lord.
 The Disciplines Applied – Living By Faith
Living For Jesus  9/11/16
 

Life was great for Jack and Sue.

-Jack had a great job that provided everything they desired.

-It wasn’t extravagant, but they were more than comfortable.

          -Sue was able to stay home and keep things in order with the kids,

which was a blessing and made it easier to get away on the weekends.

          -They were members at their church and participated as much as they felt they

 could, but with all the traveling they did, that wasn’t very much.

          -They felt they were doing okay since they made it to church for more than half

the Sundays, and to be honest, they didn’t know anyone from church,

they never saw anyone outside of church. 

          -And when they were away, their weekends were filled with lots of great-exciting

activities, so finding a church in those places wasn’t even a thought.

                   -God would understand since they were away from their home church.

          -And all that might be okay, but there wasn’t much thought of God and how they

                   might glorify Him on those weekends.

                   -Not that they had to be missionaries or anything, they just don’t think

of God much except on Sunday.

                   -Truth be told, that was the case when they are home as well.

          -Both Jack and Sue trusted in Jesus when they were young, and they go to church

when they can, but it’s just not deeply rooted, which makes us

question whether it’s rooted at all?
 

We all know couples like Jack and Sue.

          -And if we are all honest with ourselves, we all have a little bit of

Jack and Sue in us.

          -We make decisions based on what might be best for us.

          -We use our time for selfish pursuits.

          -We go on vacation from church and service to others, to serve ourselves.

Now, we have been striving to integrate the disciplines of our faith into living

the life of faith.

          -The disciplines of the faith are those nuts and bolts that we do to help us live

the life of faith.  Bible study, prayer, church, fasting, etc.

          -Today we will draw the study of Jack and Sue to a close and look at how the

 disciplines of our faith help us to live for Jesus.

Someone asked if these stories of Jack and Sue are true or not?

          -And yes they are – the details are different, but the heart is the same.

I invite you to join me in Phil 3:17-4:1

          -Paul has been speaking in this letter of encouragement to the church in Philippi.

          -He has encouraged them to not trust in worldly accomplishments, but rather

 in Christ Jesus our Lord.

          -Then he wrote for them to “press on toward the goal to win the prize”

that is in Christ.
READ Phil 3:17-4:1
      
X  Follow our Example v. 17

-Paul isn’t bragging here, he just finished running himself down.

-He is not a worthy example for us to follow because of his perfection,

but because he is growing in his knowledge of God – he is seeking after Him.

          -And that is the example he wants us to follow today.

-And we need good examples of following Christ in our day because we struggle

with this new life in Christ.

       -It’s like going to a fancy dinner,

and there are 4 forks on the left side of the plate?

          -Not knowing which fork to use for each of the courses of the dinner,

you look around the table and hope that someone else knows what to do,

and you follow them.

          -Well, living the Christian life is much the same.

          -We don’t know what to do and how the gospel changes our response.   

-we don’t know how to respond when our spouse disappoints us,

-we don’t know how to discipline our kids,

-we don’t know how to live for God at work or out in the public square.

-The gospel is a challenge to many of the ways we live our lives.

          -We can go it alone in our pride, or we can look around for those

that seem to be doing it well and follow them.

          -I remember doing that when I first trusted in Jesus.

                   -I didn’t have a clue how to practice the gospel.

                   -So I hung around Pastor Steve – I went to his house for lunch

whenever I was working in the area.

                   -There was so much to learn and he seemed to have a good handle on it.

                   -I invited Ron Wouldenberg to go fishing because he was seemed to value

 the things of God more than the things of the world

and was actively investing his life in the Kingdom. 

                   -That’s what I needed to learn from these folks.

          -I knew I needed what they had, and I spent time with them to get it from them.

 

          -We should all have someone we are learning from and someone we are teaching

at the same time.

          -That is one of the most important functions of the Body of Christ.

          -We all need more involvement in the Body.

 
X  Where we Live v.

       Earthly citizenship v. 18-19

       -Paul lists 3 earthly motivations
X 1.  God is their stomach

       -These are people who didn’t just fall into false teaching, but they believed it,

 lived it, and taught it.

          -ASB uses the word “walk” for the person who lives as an enemy of the cross.

          -That word refers to a person who orders their lives in a certain way.

          -Paul might have been referring to the Jewish converts who tended to bring

the legalistic rules and integrate them into their faith and teaching.

                   -Or he might have been speaking of Gentile believers who continued in their

                             socially immoral and/or sexually immoral ways.

          “There god was their stomach”

          -Did you ever hear the phrase: 

“the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”?

          -That is a principle that Satan knows very well.

                   -God provides all the good stuff and in abundance for us to enjoy.

                   -Food, drink, sexuality are all things that God provides out of

the riches of His grace.

-Then Satan takes it and gives it to us outside of the context

that God provided it for.

-He temps us to eat like there no tomorrow, drink until we can’t see straight,

 and indulge in sexual activity outside of marriage. 

                   -On top of that, Satan pushes us to selfishness and pride that puts us

in the driver’s seat, much to the demise of our relationships.

                   -These cause worry, anger, and untold other sinful actions and attitudes

                             that are so prevalent in our lives and culture.

                    -Earthly citizenship relies on self to provide what it wants.   

          X 2.  Glory in their shame

          -Those that fill themselves with food, drink, and sex then brag about it.

                   -They talk about how “great” it was to not remember the night before.

                   -Or they brag about how they treat others as sex objects to be used

rather than valuable people created in the image of God.

          -Taking glory for things that should bring them shame.

          X 3.  Think on earthly things.

          -They treasure the stuff of earth and plan to get all the more of it.

                   -Their greatest joy and pleasure is found in it.

                   -And not only joy, but their security is found in their possessions,

their work, and their health.
          -These describe those that are “destined for destruction” because God
was never in the picture.

          -Even though they were in the church and even teaching in the church,

they live to please themselves and we would do well to not follow them.

 

That is contrasted with those that are followers of Jesus.

X  Heavenly Citizenship v. 20

          -These folks have tasted and know that all the world offers pales in comparison

 with being in relationship with the Holy God of grace.

          -And he lists some characteristics that motivate the follower of Jesus.

          X 1.  Their citizenship isn’t here on earth.

                   -So their thinking and speaking is about the things of heaven.

                   -Now, that doesn’t mean they don’t talk about the game or the weather,

but when they do talk about those things, they are referred to in

light of their heavenly home.

                   -So the game takes on a lesser importance.

                   -They speak of the weather as God’s grace and reliance upon Him.

                   -They walk through the tragedies of this world with the hope of

heaven lifting them up.   

                   -The follower of Christ is concerned with the things of heaven.

                   -They are concerned with the salvation of those who don’t know Jesus.

                   -And their greatest affections are in the Lord of heaven,

and so their greatest desires serve to bring God glory.  

          X 2.  Can’t wait for Christ’s return.

                   -They are looking for Jesus to return – could be today!

                   -They are excited about everything to be brought under

the control of Jesus.

-Where the curse of sin will be done away with!

                   -They are excited that these earth-suits of our bodies, will be wasted

and replaced with new glorious bodies.

                    -No longer will my face be crooked or have to deal with the pain from

 yesterday’s work day.

-The Scripture doesn’t give us all the details of what that glorious body

        will be like, except that it will be way better than the one we have now.

 

                   -And that doesn’t even get to the idea that our sinful desires and thoughts

will be no more!

-Fully replaced with perfect love and God and others.

          X 3.  Our greatest joy is in heaven.  Can’t wait!

                   -It’s the place of no pain or tears – it’s the place of exceeding joy that

 makes the stuff of earth seem mundane at best.

                   -The stuff of earth is evidence of the Creator, but in heaven, we will be

with the creator Himself – what else can compare with that?

-So I join with Paul to say to each of you “who I love and long for, my joy and crown”.

          -It’s with great anticipation of the promised return of Jesus that I encourage you

to stand in contrast to the things of this world that offer a temporal

 happiness at best and to give your all as citizens of heaven.

          -Yes, we live in this world, but there is so much for us to look forward too.

-And that helps us to stand strong in faith as we press on toward the God

who saved us by His own death and sacrifice.

 

So, let’s return to Jack and see how the disciplines of his faith help to transform

          how he lives in this world as a citizen of heaven.

 Discipline of Bible Study

       This one seems strange because Jack and Sue don’t go to church regularly,

although in their eyes, they do.

          -But on one of those Sundays, during the meet and greet time,

someone asked Jack if they were new to the church!

          “New to the church?”  Jack said he has been coming to the church for 10 years.

          -At first, Jack was taken aback, but as the service continued, Jack began

to think on why that happened.

          -And he concluded that he was mistaken for a new person because he hasn’t been

very faithful to getting his family to church regularly.

          -That thought must have been prompted by the Holy Spirit because Jack

thought he was pretty faithful.

          -But Jack was “spiritual” enough to recognize that something was amiss. 

          -So after church, he asked Pastor if he had some time to meet this week.

          -At that meeting, Jack asked his Pastor why he didn’t seem to be growing in Christ.

                   -In the past, Jack had blamed it on everything but himself, usually the

 Pastor’s boring monotone voice and un-inspiring preaching.

-But he is beginning to re-think that and asked the Pastor if he would help

 him to get moving.
 

          -And when the Pastor mentioned the spiritual disciplines – and Jack didn’t

know what they were.

          -After discussing them with Jack, the Pastor brought him to this passage in Phil.

 and spoke about two ways to live that Paul spoke of. 

                   -And asked Jack if he understood how the passions for these would

affect how he lived life.

                   -Well, Jack wasn’t an adulterer or a thief or anything like that,

so he didn’t understand where the Pastor was going.

                   -Pastor said that many people don’t grow because of sin in their lives

     and others don’t grow because they are just living for the wrong stuff.

          -Jack knew that he was looking forward to heaven, but always just kept it

in the back of his thinking as something that would happen someday

 because he trusted Jesus when he was young.

          -Jack never thought about having a different citizenship much less what

the effects on the practice of his life might be.

          -Then the Pastor asked Jack if he thought his greatest passion in life

was to bring glory to God?

          -Jack knew of God’s glory and that it was talked about on Sunday,

but it wasn’t anything he thought about during the week.

          -So Pastor had Jack begin to read through the 4 gospel accounts of Jesus

and answer the question: 

What was Jesus passionate about and how did that affect what He did?

       -So over the next month, Jack sat down with his Bible and a pad of paper.

          -It was the first time he read through one of the Gospels, let alone all of them.

          -He knew Jesus was cool and did all kinds of awesome things, but never considered

                   what Jesus was passionate about and how that affected his actions.

          -But after reading them, that became clear.

          -Jesus was passionate about God’s glory and that resulted in Him performing

 miracles, teaching the lost, opposing the religious leaders,

and dying for the sin of all.

          -That had impact on the direction of Jack’s life – he had been living life all in the

 direction of little kingdom of Jack rather than the kingdom of God.

          -He was standing firm, but it wasn’t in the Lord with a longing for Christ.

-That needed to change if he was going to live the abundant life Christ talked about.

 
Discipline of Prayer
       -The first thing Jack began to do was to commit himself to prayer.

          -Not that he didn’t pray before, but rather than praying for a “safe trip” or

a “good time with the family”, Jack began to pray for God’s working

in his life in a much deeper way.

          -He began to pray for God’s grace to change the overall direction of his life.

          -He recognized he was not going in the right direction and over the years,

                   the pursuit of the little kingdom of Jack crowded out the infinite

 kingdom of God.
 
Discipline of Church

          -Pastor taught Jack that he needed to address the amount of time he invested in

 meeting with the Body on a regular basis.

          -Church was going to become a priority rather than an after-thought.

          -They still traveled, but made sure they got to a church where ever they were.

          -And it wasn’t just on Sunday – Jack decided that DH was important as well

as having the kids involved in some ministry during the week.

          -A hunger for the Body was beginning to develop.

         
Discipline of Serving

       -Wow, serving was not something he even considered before or knew what

he could do.

          -But he loved music – not that he could play anything, but he could help with

the sound, and so he volunteered some time to serve there.

          -Since they had an extra room in their house, they offered it for a

visiting missionary.

                   -Yes it made the weekend a bit hectic, but the benefits of sitting and

 talking to this man and woman of God who were living for God in

the kind of places that Jack and Sue went to on vacation  was life changing because Jack never saw those people on his vacation.

                    -That created a very different reaction that Jack didn’t expect.

          -God used that to call he and his family to go to Costa Rica for

a short term mission trip.

          -While he was there building a church, God seemed to impress on his heart

the need for the gospel all around the world.

          -These folks seemed lack everything that he took for granted, but they had a love

and hunger for God like he had never seen.

          -When he and Sue got home they began to talk about how God might use them

                   in their community to share the gospel.

-And as they began to serve the Lord, Jack decided to go back to school

          to prepare for God’s call on his life to be in ministry. 

         
                

That is the life of following Jesus – it’s not primarily about doing Bible study and fasting

to show how “spiritual” we are.

It’s about the transforming nature of the Gospel to change us for the glory of God.

          -As we live by faith, we live for . . . .

something more, something amazing, something Godlike.

 
 

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