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Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

by Donald Whitney

 

Service…for the purpose of godliness: Chapter 7 

The Discipline of Service

 

Ø  “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

Ø  “It’s costly service. God asks for your life. He doesn’t want servants who offer Him the leftovers after their other commitments.” - Whitney

 

Ø  “We’re drawn to the appeal of service when it holds out the promise of bold adventure…but it seems that far more commonly Christ’s call is to a death by degrees, washing feet in obscurity.” – Whitney

 

Ø  “Like our worship and evangelism, so also our service should flow from within–without any need of discipline–as a result of the life-transforming presence and work of the Holy Spirit.” – Whitney

 

Ø  “But…because of the persistent gravitational tendencies toward selfishness in our hearts, we must also discipline ourselves to serve.” – Whitney 

 

Service Is Expected

Ø  Motivated by Obedience

Ø  Motivated by Gratitude

Ø  Motivated by Gladness

Ø  Motivated by Forgiveness, not Guilt

Ø  Motivated by Humility

Ø  Motivated by Love

 

And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Cor. 5:15, NIV)

 

Questions:

Ø  What keeps us from serving God and others?

Ø  In what ways do we tend to serve for the wrong motives?

Ø  What are some practical ways that we can serve inside and outside the church?

 

Gifted to Serve

Ø  Spiritual Gifts

ü  At Salvation by the Holy Spirit

ü  To every Christian

ü  Sovereignly bestowed

ü  Various and diverse gifts

ü  For the benefit of the body of Christ

ü  For the glory of God

 

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms. (1 Pet. 4:10, NIV)

 

“The most significant gifts in the church’s life in every era are ordinary natural abilities sanctified.” – J. I. Packer 

 

Ø  Serving is often hard work.

ü  Spiritual giftedness does not mean it will not be work.

ü  Service that costs nothing accomplishes nothing.

ü  Service is rewarding work.

ü  Service for God is enduring and valuable work.

 

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Co. 15:58, NIV)

 

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. (Heb. 6:10, NIV)

 

Questions:

Ø  Why do we tend to overlook some spiritual gifts in favor of others?

Ø  Why do we sometimes think that our service is not accomplishing anything?

 

Final Applications:

Ø  Worship empowers serving; serving expresses worship. Godliness requires a disciplined balance between the two.

Ø  You are expected and gifted to serve, but will you serve?

Ø  The gospel of Christ creates Christlike servants.

Listen Now:


“The Self-Deceived, Complacent Church” (Revelation 3:14–22)

Cameron Jungels/Eastside Baptist/Sun PM/October 12, 2014 

Revelation 3:14–22 (NIV)

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

1.       Jesus Christ is the faithful witness and the Almighty Creator (v. 14). 

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Col. 1:15-17, NIV)

 

2.      Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Church finds lazy, complacent, self-reliant religion to be abominable (vv. 15­–17). 

9 I know your afflictions and your poverty-- yet you are rich!  (Rev. 2:9, NIV)

 

3.      Jesus Christ, the Savior of the Church provides his righteousness as clothing for his redeemed people who believe and repent (vv. 18–20).

 

4.      Jesus Christ, the King of Creation, grants eternal life and royal privilege to all who endure victoriously in faith to the end (v. 21–22).

 

Big Idea: A faithful and successful church is dependent on the Triune God for all things and is not lulled into a false sense of complacent self-sufficiency.

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“The Entrance of the King” (John 12:12–19)

Cameron Jungels/Eastside Baptist/Sun AM/October 12, 2014

 

John 12:12–19 (NIV)

12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:

15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;

see, your king is coming,

seated on a donkey’s colt.” 

16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.

17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”

1.       Jubilant Praise  

25 LORD, save us! LORD, grant us success!  26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. (Psalm 118:25-26, NIV) 

2.      A Misunderstood Messiah 

3.      A Procession of Peace 

9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zech. 9:9, NIV)

 

4.      Fulfillment of the Father’s Purpose  

Main Idea: Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah King who came in peace to reconcile sinners to God through his death on Passover in fulfillment of the Father’s Divine Purpose.

Listen Now:


Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

by Donald Whitney

 

Evangelism…for the purpose of godliness: Chapter 6

 

The Discipline of Evangelism

Ø  “Disciplined faith is a faith that is likely to survive and lead to faith in others.” – Alister E. McGrath

Ø  “Talking to a person about Jesus can be an intensely rewarding experience for any believer.”

Ø  “And yet nothing causes anxiety more quickly among a group of Christians than talking about our responsibility to evangelize.”

 

What Is Evangelism?

Ø  “Presenting Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit to sinful people, in order that they may come to put their trust in God through Him, to receive Him as their savior, and to serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His church.”

 

Evangelism is Expected

Ø  Commanded by Christ

Ø  Not Just for the original 12 apostles

Ø  Not just for those with a “gift” of evangelism

Ø  Expected of all believers

Ø  Disciples make other disciples.

 

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt. 28:18–20, NIV)

 

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Pet. 2:9, NIV)

 

Questions:

Ø  Will every Christian be equally gifted at evangelizing others?

Ø  What are some different methods or strategies for personally sharing the gospel with others?

 

Evangelism is Empowered

Ø  The power of Evangelism is the Holy Spirit (not our eloquence).

ü  Power for witnessing (Acts 1:8)

ü  Gospel itself is embedded with power (Rom. 1:16)

ü  Illuminating/Regenerating power (Eph 2:8-9/Titus 3:5)

ü  A holy life adorns the gospel.

Questions:

Ø  Why are we often afraid to evangelize?

Ø  Will the Holy Spirit’s empowerment always manifest itself the same way?

 

Evangelism is a Discipline

Ø  Should be a natural outflow of a regenerated life, but also requires discipline.

ü  Discipline of Godly Living

ü  Discipline of Study

ü  Discipline of Time

ü  Discipline of Relationships

ü  Discipline of Telling

 

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.  (Col. 4:5–6, NIV)

 

Final Applications:

Ø  Because evangelism is expected, will you obey the Lord and witness?

Ø  Because evangelism is empowered, will you believe God can use your words in the salvation of others?

Ø  Will you plan for evangelism?

 

Evangelism and Godliness

“The more we pursue Christ, the more we want to proclaim Christ.”

Listen Now:


“Faithfulness Is Success” (Revelation 3:7–13)

Cameron Jungels/Eastside Baptist/Sun PM/October 5, 2014 

7 "To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. (Rev. 3:7, NIV) 

22 I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. (Isa. 22:22, NIV) 

8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. (Rev. 3:8, NIV) 

9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars-- I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. (Rev. 3:9, NIV) 

 

14 The children of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel. (Isa. 60:14, NIV) 

 

10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. (Rev. 3:10, NIV)

 

9 I know your afflictions and your poverty-- yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.  10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor's crown.  (Rev. 2:9-10, NIV) 

 

14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.  15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. (John 17:14-18, NIV) 

 

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. (Rev. 3:11, NIV)

 

10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor's crown. (Rev. 2:10, NIV)

 

12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. (Rev. 3:12, NIV)

 

13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Rev. 3:13, NIV)

 

Main Idea: Faithfulness to the infallible, authoritative word of Christ is success.

Listen Now:


Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

by Donald Whitney

 

Worship…for the purpose of godliness: Chapter 5

 

The Expectation of Worship

 

“It is the duty (and privilege) of all people to worship their Creator.” – Whitney, 102

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;” (Psalm 95:6)

 

WLC # 1

What is the chief and highest end of man?

Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God and fully to enjoy him forever.

 

Worship Is…

Ø  Focusing on & Responding to God

ü  “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28)

ü  “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty” (Rev 4:8)

ü  “Worthy are you, our Lord and God…” (while falling before him) (Rev 4:11) 

Worship Is…

“To worship God means to ascribe the proper worth to God, to magnify his worthiness, or better, to approach and address God as He is worthy.” – Whitney, 103-4

ü  Fully acknowledging the glory and majesty of God and responding with our total being. 

Questions:

Ø  In what ways is God revealed to us, so that we might respond appropriately in worship to him?

Ø  How do the other spiritual disciplines lead us to worship?

Ø  How is worship itself a discipline? 

Worship Is…

Ø  Done in Spirit and Truth

ü  Before we can worship in spirit & truth we must have within us the One who is the “Spirit of Truth” (John 14:17).

ü  Spirit’s regenerating and illuminating work leads us to worship the Triune God.

ü  To worship in spirit is to worship from the inside out with sincerity in our acts of worship.

ü  Worship in truth is worship in accordance and agreement with the truth of Scripture and in the means Scripture prescribes. 

Questions:

Ø  How do we engage our spirits in worship and not just go through the motions?

Ø  How do we keep worship anchored to the truth?

Ø  How do worshiping in spirit and truth balance each other? 

Worship Is…

Ø  Expected both Publicly and Privately

ü  Public worship is to corporately and physically gather with God’s people as his church.

ü  Private worship is individual or family worship apart from the gathered church. 

Worship Is…

Ø  A Discipline to Be Cultivated

ü  Worship is both an end and a means.

ü  We emulate what we think about. To think often about God is to become more and more like God. 

Final Applications:

Ø  Will you commit yourself to the discipline of daily private worship and regular corporate worship?

Ø  Will you put actual worship into your acts of worship?

Listen Now:


“A Prophetic Act of Supreme Devotion” (John 12:1–11)

Cameron Jungels/Eastside Baptist/Sun AM/October 5, 2014

 

John 12:1–11 (NIV)

12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him. 

 

Ø  The majesty of Jesus Christ and his kingdom are worthy of our supreme devotion and sacrifice. 

Ø  Our devotion to Christ should overpower any thought of shame or hesitation to publicly identify with him. 

Ø  External displays of religion can often mask inner deceit and depravity. 

Ø  External displays of religion can never substitute for true internal piety and worship.

 

Main Idea: Often, what we truly treasure is measured not by what we keep but by what we give away and to whom we give it.

Listen Now:


“Are You Dead or Alive?” (Revelation 3:1–6)

Cameron Jungels/Eastside Baptist/Sun PM/September 28, 2014 

"To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. (Rev. 3:1a, NIV) 

4 John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne,  5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,  (Rev. 1:4-5, NIV) 

5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. (Rev. 4:5, NIV) 

6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. (Rev. 5:6, NIV) 

6 So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty. (Zech. 4:6, NIV) 

 

2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD-- (Isa. 11:2, NIV) 

 

I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. (Rev. 3:1b, NIV) 

 

2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. (Rev. 3:2, NIV) 

 

21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?'  23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Matt. 7:21-23, NIV)

 

3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. (Rev. 3:3, NIV)

 

4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. (Rev. 3:4, NIV)

 

12 In a loud voice they were saying: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"  13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" (Rev. 5:12-13, NIV)

 

5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. (Rev. 3:5, NIV)

 

6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Rev. 3:6, NIV)

 

Main Ideas: 

We need to be sure that our church is as alive as we say it is. Spiritual life cannot be assumed; it must be evident in the worship, witness, and works that accompany true spiritual life.

Listen Now:


“Human Plots and the Divine Purpose” (John 11:45–57)

Cameron Jungels/Eastside Baptist/Sun AM/September 28, 2014

 

John 11:45–57 (NIV)

The Plot to Kill Jesus

45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.

55 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” 57 But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.  

1.       The stone-cold hardness of unbelief. 

2.      The wicked plots of unfaithful men. 

3.      The immovable gracious purpose of God.

 

Main Idea:

God’s sovereign purpose used the most wicked scheme in the history of mankind to accomplish the greatest good – the redemption of sinners (through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ).

Listen Now:


Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

by Donald Whitney 

Prayer…for the purpose of godliness: Chapter 4 - Albert Edward Day

“We Protestants are an undisciplined people. Therein lies the reason for much of the dearth of spiritual insights and serious lack of moral power.” 

Prayer Is Expected

Ø  Jesus Expects Us to Pray

ü  Matt 6:5 – “And when you pray…”

ü  Matt 6:6 – “But when you pray…”

ü  Matt 6:7 – “And when you pray…”

ü  Matt 6:9 – “Pray then like this…”

ü  Luke 11:9 – “Ask…Seek…Knock…”

ü  Luke 18:1 – “they should always pray and not give up.”

 

Ø  God’s Word Makes it Clear

ü  Col 4:2 – “Devote yourselves to prayer…”

ü  1 Thess 5:17 – “Pray continually...”

ü  Heb 4:16 – “Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

 

Prayer Is Learned

Ø  By Praying

Ø  By Meditating on Scripture

Ø  By Praying with Others

Ø  By Reading about Prayer

 

Prayer Is Answered 

 7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  (Matt. 7:7-8, NIV)

 

Questions:

Ø  What makes prayer challenging?

Ø  What makes consistent, regular prayer challenging?

Ø  What are some ways to stay focused and disciplined in prayer?

Ø  What are some biblical components of prayer?

Ø  How should we prioritize the content of our prayers?

Ø  How does prayer relate to the sovereignty of God?

 

Final Applications:

Ø  Because prayer is expected, will you pray?

Ø  Since prayer is learned, will you learn to pray?

Ø  Since prayer is answered, will you persistently pray?

 

Luke 11:5–13

5 Then Jesus said to them, "Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;  6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.'  7 And suppose the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.'  8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.  9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  11 "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Listen Now:


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