The 4 P’s to the presence and the power of God-part 2!
Thesis: The 4 P’s to the presence and power of God are to be balanced against the cross. When we keep them in proper balance they produce a Spiritually Balanced Life. This spiritually balanced life then creates wholeness within the life of the individual. Wholeness means they feel complete, content and confident in their relationship to the Lord and their earthly existence.
8Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
1The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for attaining wisdom and discipline;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools£ despise wisdom and discipline.
8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Collins notes, “True spirituality penetrates every part of life-our careers, relationships, lifestyles, sexuality, emotions, thinking, hopes, and plans for the future. The spiritual is not an isolated segment of life that can be pushed to one day or one hour of the week and otherwise ignored or accessed whenever we need a spiritual fix. Spirituality is not something we possess, like a book or techniques or a set of rules that we can apply to ourselves to make us spiritual” (90).
Some have defined spirituality as “the human response to a mysterious, transcendent Other who for unknown reasons cares enough about us to initiate a relationship with us.” Others say spirituality, “is the way in which people seek, make, celebrate, and apply meaning to their lives.” Mulholand stated,” The spiritual journey is an ongoing experience of being shaped by God toward wholeness. He notes, “It is a move against the grain of our do-it-yourself culture and our powerful need to be in control of our existence (91).” I like this definition of spirituality.
I know spirituality is about having a personal intimate relationship with God. Most of you would agree with this. To be spiritually whole in this life we must practice the presence of God in our daily lives. Practice makes perfect. To practice doing something over and over makes you more proficient in it. Musicians practice to become better at playing their musical instruments. Athletes practice to become better athletes and the same principle applies to Biblical spirituality. Practicing spiritual exercises over and over makes one more spiritual (more God conscious!).
T.S.- Lets learn how to become more God conscience so we can each personally experience the presence and the power of God.
I. The 4 P’s to a spiritually whole life are essential for every one of us but guard yourself from the other 4 P’s that lead to death..
a. I have a desire to be healthy but I know that if I don’t discipline myself then I risk being unhealthy. The same principle applies spiritually.
i. In our smorgasbord of spiritual choices we must not gorge ourselves on food that is not healthy for us. Unhealthy food will cause spiritual health problems.
ii. Gary Collins notes the research of Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton who carefully studied today’s church and coined a term for many today called “Toxic Faith”.
1. Collins states, “Some people show this in their compulsive church activity, rushing from one meeting to another, serving on committees, feverishly working around the church, determined to please God by doing his work while their families suffer and their bodies wear out. Others build fantasies about God, creating in their minds a deity who is at our beck and call, eager to bring fixes and easy solutions. Very different are the people burdened with guilt, self-condemning and convinced of their inadequacies because they cannot meet the expectations of their demanding pastors or tyrant God. In too many churches, people are taught to squelch their feelings and believe that anger, sadness, loneliness, and depression show a lack of faith and need to be hidden behind a mask of happiness and never-ending joy. Others are confused and angry, wondering why a loving God would allow sickness, sorrow, or injustice to come into their lives when they expected ongoing spiritual ecstasy and freedom from pain and pressure” (126,127).
2. I add, “Toxic Faith occurs when the Christian becomes self-centered and seeks to create God into their own image.” This deceived spiritual formula for God does not use the whole Bible as it’s guide.
a. I see it when it says, “We will never suffer in this life!” But the Bible repeatedly tells us we will suffer in this life. The disciples all endured suffering. But we in America want to deny this truth and say we don’t have to suffer – Read the New Testament!
i. Suffering is found repeatedly in the New Testament.
1. Philippians 1:29 “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.”
2. It’s part of the Christian walk.
ii. But on the other hand we should not waddle around with a wow is me attitude or a martyred attitude.
1. We cannot allow ourselves to be deceived into believing that nothing is good in this life.
2. Truth is with Christ it’s all good even the suffering for the Gospel.
iii. Toxic faith happens also in churches that have an anything goes mindset.
a. Where leaders never lead.
b. Where no one protects the flock.
iv. Toxic faith happens also when pastors and leaders are control freaks and never let anything happen.
v. Toxic faith happens when we let emotions run wild and call it God.
a. Yet nothing aligns with the Word of God.
b. They let chaos continue and call it God.
vi. But on the other side some churches do not have any emotion.
a. Their dead no life – no emotion.
b. They think God only wants silence.
c. I have news for you God like’s a party just read Revelation.
vii. The key here is balance, balance, balance!”
b. Gary Collins gave me more insight this week when he quoted Arterburn and Felton again and said, “Faith becomes toxic when the individuals use God or religion for profit, power, pleasure, and / or prestige’ (127).
i. See Handout on the 4 P’s to spiritual death and destruction.
1. The first negative P = Power for self-edification and self-direction. This type of self-power always leads to chaos, anarchy and confusion.
a. Imagine what would happen in America if everyone could make up their own rules and guidance for living.
i. Some would have no problem drinking and driving.
ii. Some would have no problem stealing.
iii. Some would have no problem killing.
iv. Some would have no problem running stop signs.
v. Some would drive recklessly.
vi. There would be lawlessness and much devastation.
b. The second P to death and destruction is self- centered Pleasure.
i. This mindset is focused on gaining pleasure for self. Self is the object of pleasure.
ii. Have you ever meet an individual; like this?
c. The third P to death and destruction is Prestige and Pride.
i. This aligned with the first two P’s has the focus, “How great I art!”
1. I have all the answers to the world’s problem. Just give me more money and things and power and I will correct all the problems.
2. I can do a better job than God!
3. I can do all things through me!
4. Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction.”
5. Proverbs 8:13 “I hate pride and arrogance..”
ii. This originated with an entity who once said, ‘God I will exalt my throne above yours, get out of the way because I am the best!”
1. Ezekiel 38
d. The 4th P to death is Profit for self and it’s lusts.
i. When our focus is self-centered-when our spirituality is self-centered we are on the path to spiritual death destruction and devastation.
ii. I Timothy 6:3 –6
3If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.6But godliness with contentment is great gain.
iii. II Timothy 3:1-7
1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
6They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.
T.S . - These 4 P’s lead to the path of spiritual death. They need to be avoided and the 4 P’s to the presence and the power of God need to be practiced and developed in our lives so we can be spiritually whole.
II. The road to keeping the balance of the 4 P’s to God’s presence in our life is discipline.
8Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
a. It is through these disciplines that true healing and wholeness emerge.
i. In the healing and helping fields of today there is a new approach resurrected from the past by Saint Benedict a 16th century monk whose approach to spiritual wholeness consisted of the following:
1. He involved Prayer/meditation.
a. This meditation and prayer he noted is what gives us spiritual direction and insight into God.
b. He noted as many do today that the entrance into God’s presence is through prayer and meditating on the things of God.
i. This is accomplished two ways. One is through reflective prayer and meditation.
1. This is the quiet meditative times in communication with God. Not loud but meditative.
2. Listen to this recent article.
In the Stillness by Dan Kimball – “The church parking lot was so packed that we had to leave our rental car on a patch of trampled grass beside the sanctuary. It was 9:30 pm, and Compline was just about to start. We’d heard that this service was drawing in lots of younger people, and we wanted to see for ourselves what dynamic speaker or hot new worship team was causing such a stir. The church was very old and gothic, and we pulled open heavy wooden doors to find about 250 people of all ages gathered inside. No cushioned theater seating here-just hard metal folding chairs. Several people sat on the cold concrete stone floor. No power point or video clips captured our attention, and no drama sketch presented the evening’s theme. Instead, the stained glass and architecture of the building spoke of God’s transcendence and holiness. No Delirious? Or Matt Redman songs launched us into worship. The entire service consisted of about five or six cantors dressed in robes, singing softly from the front. As I looked around, I could see that the crowd was mainly College students and teenagers. But when the silence fell between the songs, I could hear no restless teenager chatting in the back row. Instead, people closed their eyes and sat still. There was no rush, no hurried announcements, no clever transitions carefully thought through by the programming team. On the contrary, the experience was rather slow, silent, and contemplative. No teaching, no preaching, no how to. Just quiet worship. As we spilled out into the dark night with the rest of the crowd, I felt that maybe something was happening here with the emerging culture, and we should take not. We put so much effort into designing contemporary church services that are peppy, upbeat, and cued down to the minute, but I’d just seen a large group of young people drawn to something quite the opposite. Perhaps we should consider that there’s a rising longing to seek God in the simplicity and stillness of a meditative church experience” (80).
ii. The second way to pray is through vibrant prayer meetings filled with passion for Jesus.
1. Mike Bickle said, “At one time, I thought that being anointed in ministry would keep a person’s heart encouraged in God. Now I’ve learned this is simply not true! A deeply satisfied soul, a personal sense of meaning and significance and a rich treasure store of divine pleasure can only come through the intimate knowledge of God himself” (2).
2. It involves Praise/worship – where we take the spiritual direction from God received in prayer and put it into action by first worshipping Him.
a. Praise comes from a heart that is in love with Jesus.
b. A few weeks ago we talked about what genuine worship was and is.
c. It’s a heart that knows what’s important to God.
d. Susan Nikaido states, “Knowing what matters to God provides a plumb line for our lives. When we identify His purposes and make them our own, we can be sure that our lives will count for eternity” (Discipleship Journal, 35).
e. God wants us to praise Him and enjoy His presence.
f. Mike Bickle adds, “When I enjoy the Lord, I obey more, serve him with greater perseverance and endure hardships with greater patience. In other words, I am renewed in my spirit and in my spiritual identity. Things that were once difficult for me now flow freely” (4).
3. It involves Preaching/teaching times – Lectures which train us in the knowledge of God and to what he desires us to look like and act like as a Christian.
a. It’s not just even lectures but times of Study in God’s Word. These are times when the Holy Spirit preaches to us and teaches us about God’s desires for our lives.
b. Preaching and teaching is God’s method to get his message out clearly and precisely to His people.
c. The Hebrew word for, “teaching” and “learning” have the same root word and are interlinked with each other. When you preach and teach there is learning going on. When learning is going on there is teaching and preaching happening.
4. Participation/serving- is the next area, which leads to spiritual wholeness.
a. He did this with group therapy times.
b. Support groups are designed to serve each other in the group. But it takes participation to take the knowledge that we learn from the head and to put it into action.
b. Which amazingly fits what we have in front of us today in the formula you are looking at for Spiritual wholeness in your life. I did not know about Saint Benedicts approach to spiritual wholeness and spirituality until I was almost down with my sermon.
1. Spiritual wholeness, a balanced life can only come from practicing and experiencing the presence of God.
a. But it happens as a result of doing the 4 P’s and keeping them in proper balance.
b. When we experience God Like Isaiah we then experience the power of God as it touches our lives. God will impact our lives for the purpose to touch other lives.
i. This is always his plan-we have to pass it on to others!
c. True spirituality can only be found in Jesus Christ!
i. The other spiritual deceptions out there will only leave you hopeless and helpless.
ii. My desire and your desire (I believe) is to find true spirituality that will make a difference. That is found in only one person, “Jesus Christ!”
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me …”
Oswald Chambers Nov. 3 Devotional stated this to me:
“These words mean the breaking and collapse of my independence brought about by my own hands, and the surrendering of my life to the supremacy of the Lord Jesus. No one can do this for me, I must do it myself. God may bring me up to this point three hundred and sixty-five times a year, but He cannot push me through it. It means breaking the hard outer layer of my individual independence from God, and the liberating of myself and my nature into oneness with Him; not following my own ideas, but choosing absolute loyalty to Jesus. Once I am at that point, there is no possibility of misunderstanding. Very few of us know anything about loyalty to Christ or understand what He meant when He said, “… for My sake” (Matthew 5:11). That is what makes a strong saint…Will we allow Him to help Himself to us, or are we more concerned with our own ideas of what we are going to be?”
Do you want to be completely whole inside? Do you want a balanced spiritually whole life? Do you want to experience God’s presence? Do you want to receive God’s touch of power? Then chose to allow your self to die to Christ and be resurrected by his presence and power. Watch what happens when you allow Christ to have his way.
Video on transformation of a Nation!
For you to start this spiritual journey to Christ you must first choose to pray. Pray right now and ask Christ to become the Lord of your life and to forgive you of your sins. He will. But you have to take the first step and invite him in. Once you do this you will be on your spiritual journey and will start receiving wisdom from God. My fellow seeker please allow his presence to come to you.
I can also promise you that when you experience His presence then you will receive His power. This power will change you, deliver you, excite you, and transform you.
No Prayer – No presence – No Power of God
No Praise – No presence – No power of God
No Preaching – No power – No presence of God
No Participation – No Power – No presence of God
Challenge – Take time to pray and meditate on the Lord! Take time to praise Him and experience His presence.