Grow: Disciplines needed for healthy spiritual growth (Week 4)

Disciplines needed for healthy spiritual growth.

1 Timothy 4:14-16 & Psalms 116:17-19

“Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.  Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.”     

                                                                1 Timothy 4:14-16

INTRODUCTION:

Over the last month, you have been reminded of the words given by a very wise man of God (Paul) to his young disciple (Timothy), reminding him of the importance of staying in God’s Word. It is through the Word that he will be able to grow in the ministry to which he was called.

Sermon #1:        Need for daily nourishment, daily spiritual exercise and living a life of integrity.

Sermon #2:        We are to command and teach the Word, set an example on both the outside and inside of our lives, and devote ourselves to the Scripture, to exhortation (encouraging others), and teaching how to live it out.

Sermon #3:        Proper food for growth, Knowing that our food source is God’s Word as milk, bread, meat & honey (dessert), and the Evidence will be good fruit.

                       

This week, Paul continues to encourage spiritual growth in these five areas:

1) Focus

2) Mediate

3) Dedicate

4) Integrity

5) Stay true

I want to invite you to follow these same practical steps. It is something that I am still working on every day of my life. I am not asking you to follow me, but rather join me as I follow Christ. It is my desire to show you through God’s Word how we can each be successful in doing this. Not merely present you with a sermon full of platitudes that is someone else’s trite or stale remarks, for while God’s Word has been around for a long time, it is never stale or trite. Just as He provided fresh manna every morning for Israel in the desert, His Word provides fresh food for our lives every moment of every day! And here is a fresh serving for you today!

 

I. FOCUS

               

“Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received…” (v.14a)

 

QUOTE:               “The office of ministry is a gift, it is the gift of Christ.

                                …Do not neglect the ministry gift given to you.

Matthew Henry Commentary

 

 
A. Timothy’s gift was recognized and affirmed by the ministry leaders. It was a gift given by the Holy Spirit for the building up of the entire body.
 

 

  • Ministry gifts will wither if neglected.
  • Spiritual ATROPHY (Not apathy, even though it can cause it)

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
B. Paul did not want Timothy to ever feel like he had “arrived” and could sit back and cruise until Jesus returned.

 

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” 

Ephesians 4:11-13

 

II. MEDITATE

“Give your complete attention to these matters” (v.15a)

 
A. Need time for preparation of the message.
 
  • average pastor spends 13-18 hours for one message
  • In the book of Acts, the apostles called the 7 deacons to serve the needs of the church so they could spend time in prayer and the study of God’s Word. (Acts 6)

 

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”                  

Philippians 4:8

B. When we think on these things, we don’t have space for any other thing!

 

  • Kevin said last week “G.I.G.O” when talking about food
  • Same is true in our thought life.
  • This is why we need to fast and pray (clear our head)

 

QUOTE:  Brooke Obie, Guidepost Magazine, says the benefits of fasting are:
1) Soul Cleansing,

2) New Desire for God,

3) A Deeper Praise,

4) A Sensitivity to God’s Voice, and

5) A New Satisfaction. A small price to pay for what you have gained.

 
 
  • Like love, meditation must be both an inward & outward journey

 

III. DEDICATE

“…Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.”  (v.15b)

 

[Blind Side Video Clip]

 

A. You have to be all in!

 

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13

 

  • Just like in a physical workout, you have to put the effort into your spiritual workout.

 

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Philippians 2:12-13

B. Give yourself wholly so you can be holy!

 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to     present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to         this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:1-2

  • The only problem with a living sacrifice is it keeps getting up off the altar!
  • You have to be the one to place yourself there, which requires dedication and commitment!

 

IV. INTEGRITY

 

Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching.” (v.16a)

 
A. Living a life worthy of the calling!

 

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a   life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

Ephesians 4:1-3

  • We are all called to live this way, not just those in leadership.
  • You are a living example of Jesus that those around you will see!

 

 

B. Continue to grow (keep it fresh)

 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.””                                      

  Lamentation 3:22-24

                               

  • Just like every day is a fresh new day with God, we have to be open to learning more from His Word as the Holy Spirit will reveal something new from the same scriptures we may have read before!
  • We have to keep growing so we can offer fresh food to those God brings into our lives…and show them how they, too, can find this source of Life!

 

V. STAY TRUE

 

Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.” (v.16b)

 

A. Your own salvation.
 
  • Self care in our spiritual life is important, for if we are not healthy, how can we correctly lead others.

 

                “ and on his law he meditates day and night.”     Psalms 1:2

 

                “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a   thankful heart.” Colossians 4:2

 

[ILLUS: Sabbatical season]

 
B. Other’s salvation.

 

Live wisely among those who are not believers and make the    most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”               
Colossians 4:5-6

 

  • While we can’t make the decision for them, it is natural for people to look for an example to follow.
  • Kids imitate parents; young athletes imitate pros.
  • Like it or not, people are watching our lives. We need to reflect Jesus in everything we do.

 

QUOTE:  John Maxwell:  “The more you walk, the less you have to talk.  Live the Life in front of those you seek to influence.    Our leadership is more caught than taught. People would rather see a sermon than hear one.”

 

CONCLUSION:

 

I have said it before and I will say it again and again. All of these simple truths are from God’s Word. They are here for us as believers to follow, not pick and choose what we want or don’t want to do. As a disciple of Christ, we are to follow His commands. I have challenged you every week with this proclamation:

 

I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people…”                                                                                                          

Ps. 116:17-19

 

You have to be the one to make the choice.

You are the one that chooses to listen and obey or ignore and turn away.

What will you do today?

 
Listen to Ken’s message here:

 


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