Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning April 7th, 2019.
Spiritual Fitness requires Discipleship.
A true disciple is one who says, “Jesus, I want to know what you know so that I can respond to others like you.”
But it is more than behaving like Jesus, it is having a heart for God that is passionate for what God is passionate about: Redeeming the lost, bringing shalom to chaos.
Our whole goal then is to become spiritually fit, to mature/grow in such a way that we build people up, serve them, encourage them to fall in love with God. We're not just trying to make them better people or better Christians, but to help them to better know the awesome power and intimacy of God’s love, - and that will radically change their hearts and lives.
Following the example laid before us by Jesus, a disciple is a builder of people.
Philippians 2:1-8 NIV
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God,did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man,he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Paul is instructing the believers in Philippi to have the same mindset as Jesus: again in verse 5- "In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus"
Paul gives us the pattern to follow here:
1. Have love for one another (love what God loves)
2. Don’t be selfish or conceited
3. Be humble
4. Value others above yourselves
5. Be a peacemaker
6. Be a servant
7. Obey at all cost
Let me give you an example of a different builder. In this example, we see something other than people being built, but in it, we see a great truth in understanding the heart of a disciple. We see these seven attributes at work.
Nehemiah 1:1-3 NIV
1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. 3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
Nehemiah was one of the greatest leaders of all time.
>He took a task that seemed impossible, mobilized a team of people, and accomplished the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
>Today you and I have a task and that is to rebuild the lives of people.
>Since we are God’s handiwork crafted in Christ Jesus, vessels He has poured in to and now running over - our task is specifically, to rebuild the lives people.
Well let’s take a look at how Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and then maybe you and I can get some pointers on how we can rebuild the lives of people.
1. Nehemiah Had a Burden
The way you and I are going to see God use us to build lives is to have a burden to see people reached with the good news of Jesus.
>Nehemiah had a burden… if gripped his heart for days, overwhelmed him. It filled his thoughts and motivated him.
>Do we feel the pain of others, the lonely, the depressed, the young person who feels they have no hope, the drug addict, the hurting?
We need to feel the burden of our friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbors, co-worker/classmates, our community, our city…
Nehemiah 1:4 NIV
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
2. Nehemiah Prayed about the Need
>Not only did Nehemiah hear about the need. He then began to pray to the God of heaven to do something about the need.
>He didn't just pray for God to raise someone up, but he was willing to be used by God to make a difference in the need.
>When is the last time that you and I prayed that God would use our lives to help meet the needs of hurting people.
Jesus told His disciples - to pray. Matthew 9:37-38 (NIV) Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
STRONG STATEMENT: If we aren’t praying about being used by God, then we aren’t Spiritually Fit? Could it be we are weak and in trouble
3. Nehemiah Understood that He Couldn’t Do it Alone:
After examining the the destruction of the wall around Jerusalem, Nehemiah saw that this was a massive task and the only way to do it was to motivate helpers.
In chapter 3 we see all the people that helped Nehemiah get the job done.
>If you and I are going to impact others we need to know that it is going to take everybody working together to accomplish the task.
This is not a one man show. Nehemiah knew he couldn't do it alone. So he had a team and everybody contributed what they were good at.
Let me ask, how are you willing to help us impact this world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
What do you have to offer to the team and are you willing to help?
- I am not talking about stuff or even your abilities- all of which are good.
- To reach people we need to be willing to spend TIME with them, walk with them through life. Grow in relationship with them, peel back the layers to get to the heart…
It’s not going to be easy but it is important and necessary.
There are going to be challenges and hurdles…
Nehemiah 2:17-18 NIV
17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.
4. Nehemiah Endured Opposition
>If you and I are going to be consistent in touching lives and get the job done, then we need to know that we are going to face opposition.
>We need to learn how to keep pushing and serving even in the midst of opposition.
The key is going back before the Throne of God and refocusing, seeking wisdom and asking for strength.
Nehemiah 4:9 (NIV) 9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
We must be motivated to finish strong, pray, pray, pray (together)... - I don't want to be a quitter but I want to be a finisher? Finishing strong is not finishing alone…
Nehemiah 4:7-9 NIV
7 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. 8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. 9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
5. Nehemiah Rebuilt the Walls
>The wall was rebuilt... a great accomplish that revealed the One True God.
Nehemiah tapped into God’s purpose and God blessed them to get the job done. The finished wall revealed that God is at work in the land… not some statue, some rock that is impersonal and unapproachable, but alive, personal and approachable. God took the ruined and rebuilt security.
Nehemiah 6:15-16 NIV
15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
The Greeks had a race in their Olympic games that was unique.
Lampadephoria was an ancient Greek type of relay race using a torch which was passed between the runners. The winner was not the runner who finished first. It was the runner who finished with his torch still lit. If a torch went out the team would lose the race.
I want to run all the way with the flame of my torch still lit for Him.
We are all running a race… but what is the prize you are after?
A disciples prize is “bringing glory to God” through touching peoples lives with His love. It is the same purpose as Jesus'.
May we grow spiritually fit and reveal His love everywhere we go...
1 Corinthians 9:24-26 NIV
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.