Summary: Spiritual body building to be able to say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" included building relationships in Christ with that end in mind.
Take a piece of “notes” paper from the pew in front of you.
Write your answer to this question: What would you say are the three most important qualities of a good friend?
Go ahead, write what you think are the three most important qualities of a good friend. We will be looking at this toward the end of the lesson today.
Last week we began a series from Philippians on spiritual body building, and we talked about getting alone with God. Your assignment was to take at least two hours sometime this past week and spend it alone with the Lord. Did you do it? You were assigned to spend time in prayer and Bible reading seeking God’s presence and asking God questions and listening, instead of giving God a list of help so-and-sos and bless such-and-such and be with this-one and that-one. Your task was mainly to seek God’s nearness and presence and let Him direct you. Did you do it? Raise your hands, those who did. Good! I hope it was a great time of encouragement and strengthening for you. Now for those of you who did not, you get an “F” for last week unless you make it up by doing it this week.
Seriously, this church pays me a lot of money to live and work here among you and preach God’s word. Part of my job is to help you grow in Christ through the preaching of His will, is it not? I can’t grow for you! No one else can do your discipleship for you. You have to work at this. We have to work together! Our Lord deserves all we can give and he expects us to follow him, not just to church services, but in all of our lives. If you walk out of here and nothing changes, one of two things is wrong. Either the Lord was not present here to change you, or you did not accept or recognize his presence and receive his changing power which comes through the word of God and prayer. If what I do here is preach the Word of God, then it follows that each one of you has a responsibility to follow that word. If I’m just here preaching human ideas, then you need to get rid of me and get another preacher who will preach the word of God to you. Why am I talking like this?
This week in my 90 day Bible reading I just went through Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel and Daniel. I stand before you today, a convicted servant of the Lord. We are living in lazy times spiritually. We are letting every worldly thing interfere with doing what God plainly teaches in His word for us to do. We are a spoiled nation who have had it so good, we don’t even know the meaning of affliction, oppression and persecution. But, listen to me now... If things keep moving in the moral decay that we have seen in recent years, we will face a trial of fire against Christianity that this country has never seen before. It is already here, knocking at our doors, flooding through our media, pouring into our communities, our shopping centers, our centers of education, our courts, our laws, and yes, even our churches.
I tell you today, if we do not take God’s word seriously and become strong in the Lord and the strength of his might, we will be destroyed by our own spiritual blindness and fall by our own spiritual sloth. While we busy ourselves with all the tyrannical business of the world and fill up on unspiritual junk food, we fail to see our decaying condition. God wants to turn on the lights and reveal our desperate need for growing stronger in Christ. God wants you and me to work out! Yes, work out our salvation! Work out our salvation so that we are strong in the Lord and the strength of His might! This begins by coming to God through Jesus Christ. By hearing the word of God and receiving the faith that leads to salvation: Romans 10:17. It continues as we recognize our spiritual poverty Matthew 5:3, and mourn over our sinfulness, and experienced godly sorrow that leads to repentance, 2 Cor. 7:10. Penitent faith in the crucified and risen Christ moved us to confess our sinfulness and that Jesus Christ is Lord, is Savior and only begotten Son of God. Romans 10:9-10. Then we became disciples of Jesus Christ through baptism in His name for the remission of sins and to receive the Holy Spirit as a gift. Acts 2:38. There in baptism we enter into His death, we are buried with Him by baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life. Romans 6:3-4.