I am excited to be diving into the book of James with you this coming Sunday. The title of our series is going to be called Faith Works. I want to encourage you to begin reading the book of James and continue reading it while we are in this series. I believe you will gain both insight and application. I am praying for all of us that we will all grow in our faith and we will not hesitate to apply the truths in this section of Scripture to our lives.
Here are the notes from the sermon on Sunday:
The text for this sermon is: Psalm 42:1. The title of this sermon is: Discipline and Delight. This is a stand alone sermon.
Do you ever take a look in the mirror and this thought enters your mind? Do you ever think to yourself that you are a fraud?
Do you ever pick up the Bible and let it speak to you? Do you let the words pierce your soul and speak life into you? Do you meditate on it?
Do you call yourself a Christian or tell someone else that you are a Christian and then when you look in the Bible, your life does not look like what is written in Scripture?
Do you even give a thought to your own soul?
I am greatly concerned with the state of people whom I have talked with who do not give a crap about their sanctification process. They don’t care about conforming to the image of Jesus and they don’t give a crap about pouring their life into the life of someone else.
They are convinced that they are fine because they said some prayer when they were a kid. They don’t push their spouses to Jesus, they don’t push their kids to Jesus but they push their kids to get good grades. They don’t push their co-workers or friends to Jesus.
How many people know you but have not heard about Jesus from you?
Maybe they have fallen prey to a TV preacher who makes millions off selling books and DVDs and speaking at conferences. He gets on TV and he tells you that God is going to bless you and bless you, multiply all this stuff in your life and they neglect to tell you that God requires obedience and faith.
There are things found in Scripture that they will not tell you because you might not buy their book.
There is an analogy used in Scripture that a Christian is like a tree. The tree grows up to be strong, its roots run deep and it thrives where it is planted and bears fruit in its season.
Psalm 1:3A tree that does not produce fruit is considered worthless. It is cut down and thrown into the fire. What causes a tree to not bear fruit?
It is possible for a tree to survive cold temperatures and survive being struck by lightning.
You can blame outside circumstances. You can complain about bugs that eat the leaves or worms. You can complain about birds.
However, when a branch stops producing fruit, something from the inside of the tree caused it to stop. If this situation is not dealt with, another branch will not produce fruit, then another branch will not produce fruit. Then before you know it, what was once a strong, thriving tree, is now a dead tree.
My family used to have a peach tree. It made delicious peaches. We used to just pick them off the tree and eat these big, juicy peaches. We noticed over time that the tree was not producing as much fruit as it had normally been producing. Each year, the amount of peaches became less and less. One year, we saw that the tree had no peaches. The tree had died. The tree, looked fine from the outside.
What kills the tree comes from inside the tree.
In a lot of cases, the tree can be saved and it can bear fruit again. The branches that are not producing fruit have to be cut off.
The same is true for a Christian. If you are not intentional about conforming to the image of Jesus, it is highly likely that you are not intentional about making disciples or pouring your life into the life of someone else.
When a Christian stops bearing fruit, they have let something get inside them and kill the part of them that bears fruit.
They begin making excuses or saying things like, “I don’t have time.” Here is the problem with excuses. Nobody cares.
I don’t have time – is not an excuse.
You do have time, you are just trading it for something else.
Do you want to grow in your relationship with Jesus and make disciples or do you want to binge watch Friends on Netflix?
Have you lost your desire to live for Jesus? Have you lost your passion? Your fire is an ember and not a flame? Has your light dimmed to the point where the light is no longer visible?
A light can be relit. A flame can be reignited. There is hope.Psalm 42:1
When is the last time, your soul longed, it ached to be with God?Psalm 37:4
But what if you don’t delight in the Lord?Hebrews 12:11
There is this thought in our culture that if you are not where you want to be – fake it till you make it. In other words, you act like you have made it. Is there any wonder that people look into the mirror and see themselves as a fraud? You do what you take delight in. I believe that if you truly delight yourself in Jesus, you will be obedient. Sure, some of the things that Jesus asks of us is hard or difficult but the more you practice obedience, it will become less of a discipline and more of a delight.1 Timothy 4:7
We are to work, strive, discipline or train ourselves in godliness. We are to discipline ourselves until it becomes a delight.
A runner or a cyclist.
Couch to 5K app
It is a process. You don’t get off the couch and immediately go run a marathon. It is a process. You get off the couch and walk to the mailbox a few times. That turns into a walk around the block which turns into a jog around the block. Then you start to run and you run a mile, two miles and before you realize it you are running a 5K. Then maybe you look at that and realize if you can run a 5K, you can run a half marathon. Your goal gets bigger because you see how far you have come and you see bigger goals that you can accomplish.
It starts off as painful, hard and difficult. Over time it becomes easier and fun to where you look forward to it.
Spiritual disciplines can be the same way.
I am grateful now to be able to pour my life into the lives of others.
I LOVE OUR CHURCH!!!
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