Summary: a six part series on building a better church body
BETTER BODY BUILDING Part 4
All my illustrations come from Sermon Central unless otherwise noted and the scripture is NIV unless otherwise noted.
WORKING THE PRAYER-MASTER
The Body of Christ is compared at times by the Apostle Paul to physical body we have here on earth. There is one body, one spirit . . Eph 4:12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
Eph 4:16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
For we are all members of one body . . . And knowing that if we all do our part, the body grows and builds itself up in love, we are looking this month at Building a Better Body. We have seen the importance of ‘listening to Our Trainer” who is Jesus Christ, the Author and Perfecter of our Faith, we have looked at the importance of “Eating Right” that is dining on the “Solid Food” of God’s Holy and Perfect Word. Not on milk. Today we go to the spiritual exercises that can develop our body into the strong and solid body that God would like to see and the best place to start is on the Prayer Master.
When I go to the gym, I will use the treadmill and I will use the elliptical machine, I will lift weights, BUT one machine I just don’t want to use is the Stair Master. Anyone that has ever been to the gym knows this one hurts. Most of the times that a machine like this is advertized on television, the people that are using it, well, honestly they really don’t need the gym like we do. BUT, everyone needs to become a Prayer Master.
A lady who had a small house on the seashore of Ireland at the turn of the century was quite wealthy but also quite frugal. The people were surprised, then, when she decided to be among the first to have electricity in her home. Several weeks after the installation, a meter reader appeared at her door. He asked if her electricity was working well, and she assured him it was. “I’m wondering if you can explain something to me,” he said. “Your meter shows scarcely any usage. Are you using your power?” “Certainly,” she answered. “Each evening when the sun sets, I turn on my lights just long enough to light my candles; then I turn them off.” She’s tapped into the power but doesn’t use it. Her house is connected but not altered. Don’t we make the same mistake? We, too-with our souls saved but our hearts unchanged – are connected but not altered. Trusting Christ for salvation but resisting transformation. We occasionally flip the switch, but most of the time we settle for shadows.
We are, I hate to say, a lot like I am at the gym, we use the things that are comfortable for us and stay away from the things that really hurt. Prayer is not room service. But for many we treat it this way. We need something, we just pick up the “God phone” and order it in, ‘Lord, I am really struggling with the bills this month, could you send down a solution” or perhaps it is our health, “Lord, I am not feeling to well this week, could you send down a little feel good?” Folks, being a Prayer Master, as a part of the Body is essential if we are to grow and be built up. AND there must be FAITH to accompany prayer, it is not any good to pray without FAITH. I wish all I had to do was look at the exercise equipment in the gym and I could get myself in shape, but I have to actually use the equipment, and even more so, I have to use it properly.
Jesus told us the same thing about prayer; Matt 21:21-22 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ’Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
Our thoughts about prayer, our thoughts about working out, neither do anything for us. Thinking about doing something never does much for you, it is ACTS that accomplishes and this morning I want to use the letters A C T S to talk about one model for prayer. You know, even if you do get on the Stair Master, if you don’t use it properly it will not accomplish what you truly desire for it to accomplish. If you go to the Lord in prayer, and you don’t have you heart open to Him, you don’t have faith that He will hear you, if your motives for asking are wrong, it will NOT happen.