Introduction: Last week I spoke to you about ‘getting a little closer.’
This week I want to encourage you to ‘staying a little longer.’
This week I want to address the need for us as Christians to battle! To fight for our faith, our family, our church, our communities, our nation and our world.
1 Timothy 6:12 ‘Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses’. (NLT)
If I gave my pastor friends the text and an assignment to choose or develop the thought of what we should be fighting for, we’d probably have similar but different suggestions…but here are mine.
Transition: The first thing we need to fight a little fiercer for is sound doctrine.
- Sound Doctrine
2 Tim. 4:3-4, ‘For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths’. (NLT)
Titus 1:9, ‘holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict’. (NKJ)
Titus 2:1, ‘But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine’: (NKJ)
Why is it so important?
- Because our faith is based on a specific message.
- Because what we believe affects what we do.
- Because it establishes, guards, and protects against a world of falsehood(s).
- Because sound/healthy doctrine provides a pattern that, when followed, promotes healthy faith and love.
Where can I find it? Whom should I trust?
- Experienced / qualified instructors
- Approved / ‘ordained’ ministers
- Those with proven track record
- Those who have longevity
- Those trusted / admired / recognized in theological community.
‘If it’s new, it’s probably not true, if it’s true, it’s probably not new.’
Application: One paradigm shift in today’s Christian community is that the trust / confidence of ministers among parishioners has declined.
To a certain degree, the title of ‘my pastor’ is diluted because many really don’t take advice/counsel from ‘their pastor’. They often choose their own decisions alone.
Transition: The second thing I’d encourage us to fight a little fiercer for are our ‘spiritual disciplines’.
- Unhealthy habits / destructive sinful activities
Application: Way to often and way to easily do we give in to or accept those things in our lives that are sinful, hurtful, destructive.
- Alcohol and drug usage / abuse.
- ‘Oh everyone does that!’
- I was ‘born that way’
- ‘It runs in my family’
- ‘I’ve tried in the past…just can’t completely get rid of.’
- Unhealthy sexual tendencies / practices
- Everything from pornography to
- Socially acceptable practices
- Carnal / Hurtful attitudes & demonstrations
Transition: Let me continue with my third recommendation: Fighting a little fiercer for the development of spiritual disciplines.
- Development of Spiritual Disciplines
‘Spiritual disciplines are those practices found in Scripture that promote spiritual growth.’
- Our prayer lives
- Bible Reading / Bible Memorization
“But the Bible also informs us that there are certain practices—solitude, prayer, fasting, celebration, and so forth—we can undertake, in cooperation with grace, to raise the level of our lives toward godliness.” – Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines (p. 69).
“The point with the spiritual disciplines is that they cause our minds and bodies and souls to be re-focused on God. If that’s happening, then you’re doing them right.” – Joe Fontenot, Life Hacking Spiritual Disciplines: How to Find God in a Noisy World
Transition: Worth fighting for #4:
- Pursuit of Healthy / Godly Fellowship
Application: It is not uncommon or rare to see one’s spiritual life greatly affected by the company someone keeps.
Application: Much to the surprise and disdain of religious communities in Jesus’ day by whom Jesus ‘associated with’ (publicans & sinners), that wasn’t the company that Jesus spent his time with. He spent his time with.
1 Corinthians 15:33 ‘Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.’ (NKJ)
Greek company is homilia = Companionship, intercourse, communion
‘Evil companionship’ or ‘bad company’
Corrupt good morals or manners.
Manners = ethos = character, morals, customs.
Transition: Two more. We need to fight for a change in any negative / mental and emotional mindsets.
- Change / Challenge of negative mental mindset
Proverbs 23:7 ‘For as he thinks in his heart, so is he’. (NKJ)
Thinks = calculates, reasons, estimates
Transition: The last element and possibly the most important one for me on my list would be seeking healing for hard to deal with past failures (memories).
- Seeking Healing for hard to deal with past
Application: We need the right to be free from condemnation, guilt, shame, etc.
Romans 8:1 ‘So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus’. (NLT)
Conclusion: My theme this month has been, ‘Get a Little Closer,’ ‘Stay a Little Longer,’ and today, ‘Fight a Little Fiercer.’
Galatians 6:9 ‘And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart’. (NKJ)
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