Proper Christian Exercises
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
DATE: 30 Dec, 2007 AM
PLACE: Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Hebrews 12:1)
A. The statistics are that almost ½ of all Irish are overweight – almost 50%!
B. They are simply carrying more weight than they were designed to carry! It is not only unhealthy, but it hinders their quality of life
C. Many don’t care!
D. Many people join weight lose programmes to try and get rid of those excess pounds and kilograms (especially after Christmas J)
E. There are many ways that people attempt to conquer their weight problem
1. Rigorous Exercises
2. Drastic Diets
3. Surgical Operations – you don’t want to know about those!
4. Meditations and Medications
F. Well, the Bible has the best programme of all, and it fixes more than just physical weights and scales (1Tim 4:8) - there are spiritual weight problems as well!
G. It offers the original and best “wholistic” approach to the problems most everyone will face in 2008
A. What Normally Weighs Us Down?
1. God’s Judgment and Chastening Hand – the wrath of God against you (Psalm 32:3-5; John 3:36) – most people are fighting against God!
2. Unbiblical Religious Traditions and ceremonies (Matthew 23:4)
3. Demonic Emotions – feelings fuelled from demonic influences
a. Rebellion – there is no freedom in rebellion!
b. Too much sorrow, grief, depression – weights too heavy to carry for long
c. Unresolved Guilt – accepting responsibility for wrong-doing and feeling guilty is good to experience, but not to live under!
d. Low self esteem – change it to NO self esteem! Our value comes from the knowledge that Jesus thinks we are priceless, not from our successes or our failures!
e. Out of control anger and bitterness (Prov 27:3) and hatred
f. All of these and more are wrong, enslaving emotions!
4. Love of this world / Materialism (1Kings 10:14) Always turn into the CARES of this world – stress (Mt 4:18,19)
5. Bad Habits like Lust, pornography, laziness (2Tim 3:6) – they are like anchors that will always hold you back, and slow you down!
B. All of the above are simply “FLAB” (Gal 5:24)
1. F – Fleshly
2. L – Lusts and
3. A – Affections that
4. B – Burden me down!
C. The Effect of Excess Baggage on our lives, homes, and hearts…
1. Stops your growth – wears you out very quickly – shown by how little you do anything for God or for others!
2. Blocks your fruitfulness – no one ever saved through your witness
3. Robs you of joy and strength – leaves you only complaining
4. Causes God to have to chasten you – Israel had to wander forty years as chastening – missed out on God’s will and design for their life!
5. Stops people from being blessings to one another, and starts making us think only of ourselves, and our problems!
D. So, our spiritual health is of vital importance to us all, amen? Most “Christians” are lethargic, just barely crawling along, when God saved us to fly!
E. So, here is how to get into shape in 2008!
A. Begin Some Kneeling Exercises (Mark 1:40; Psalm 95:6) – lots of them!
1. Starts right here with this – falling before the almighty God
2. Oh we as a people need to be constant in kneeling to:
d. Please God
3. We are far too self-reliant, and that is why we are so far away from God
4. Humble yourself this year in prayer
a. Pray about everything – absolutely everything in your life
b. Praise God for absolutely everything in your life
c. Persist in prayer about the things that weigh you down – pray until the burden is lifted!
d. Please God in your prayer time – seek to know Him more and more, and to bless Him with your company (HOW MANY OF YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE WITH SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT WANT TO BE WITH YOU? THAT’S WHAT OUR PRAYER TIME IS ALL TOO OFTEN!)
5. Hey, Philippians 2:10,11 is going to be so real one day! The Christian lives this reality everyday – it keeps them light hearted, and light footed!
B. Start Casting Off and Casting Away Wrong Weights and Burdens (Matthew 11:28-30)
1. Serious house cleaning in your life, and your life-style!
2. Swap out your life, no matter how successful or how empty
3. Dump it all at the foot of the cross, and take on the new, right kind of burdens that Jesus has tailor made for each of us
4. Cast off the following things
a. Wicked imaginations- throw them off like you would a snake that dropped out of a tree on you (YOU WOULDN’T ALLOW IT TO COIL AROUND YOU FOR VERY LONG WOULD YOU?)
b. Things of darkness that you may own – things you are ashamed of and things you surly ought to be ashamed of (like pornography on your computer, or the wrong channels on your Sky box)
c. Bad habits like: laziness, complaining, attacking and bringing down one another
d. To cast them off is to take a good grip on them, and rip them from off of you, and throw them down like you would filthy rags
5. Bury them, put them in your past, and leave things THERE (Philp 3:13,14)
C. Lift Some Proper Weights (Galatians 6:5) – these are part of the yoke that Christ gives us to carry!
1. Once you have dumped the wrong weights, it is time to take up the right kind of weights
a. Lift yourself out of bed earlier to pray about your needs every day
b. Lift your Bible up and read it for an extended time instead of as rarely as possible
c. Lift your fingers and start helping in your home – BE A BLESSING INSTEAD OF ALWAYS ONLY A BURDEN!
d. Lift your ears to hear more than talk – you will find this very hard! It is a whole lot easier to just talk and talk and talk about yourself and your problems, but pout out the effort to just listen to someone else for a change!
e. Lift your parents, and spouse, and pastor and children before the Lord in prayer
f. Lift up the Lord on the job – honour Him, and keep Him holy!
g. Lift your feet one foot in front of the other (Rom 10, how beautiful are the feet of them…) and go soul-winning! Did you know that testifying of your faith in the Lord Jesus will do WONDERS in stripping off all the excess pride!!!
2. Proper lifting will develop strengths you probably don’t know you have in Christ
3. Make sure you don’t mess with any of the weights you put down though – they will mess you up even worse the second time (John 5:14)
D. Run the Extra Mile (Matthew 5:41; Luke 6:32-36)
1. Start serving God and others!
2. Quit having to be forced to do right things – quit waiting for lightning to strike, or an earthquake to hit before you get busy for God!
3. If you ARE forced to do one thing, do it, and then do something more! That is a great mark of a Christian!!!
4. Quit only doing the least amount you can, and starting giving it all you’ve got for God! You wouldn’t keep a car that only went 8 ½ miles an hour would you?
5. Hard work brings sweet sleep (Eccl 5:12)
6. Be hard working Christians who do more than they are asked!
a. More church attendance than just Sunday morning
b. More witnessing than only for special events
c. More giving than just the tithe
d. More observant of each other’s needs
E. Be a Finisher (2Timothy 4:7,8)
1. “Racers” don’t lose weight – they die of heart attacks! Especially when they are out of shape!
2. It’s the steady, paced runners that lose weight, and build up endurance, and grow stronger
3. Are you in this thing called Christianity only while it is easy? Or only because it is fun? Or only because you have friends along the way?
4. See 2 Timothy 4:10,11
5. You have a whole lot more going for you than Paul did!
F. Work-Out Together (Exodus 18:13-23)
1. Stop being so “aloof” and “separate” from each other
2. You are brethren! I don’t care if you are Irish, Corkonian, South African, Texan, French, Indonesian… we are family!
3. We need to work together
4. Your pastor needs you to work WITH him soul-winning, discipling, teaching, giving, praying, singing, cleaning… etc!
5. Take on each other’s needs, and fellowship with each other – I don’t care how hard it may seem
6. Make it a point to have as many people over for dinner this year and get to know their names, their children, their burdens, and their blessings!
7. Let’s be a team, a spiritual army, a close-knit family!
G. Believe God Above All Else (2Cor 4:8-9, 16-18) – be full of faith, and filled with the Spirit instead of the cares and burdens of this world!
1. People believe all kinds of things:
a. Their heart – whatever it says, goes usually!
b. They believe the newscaster
c. They believe their friends
d. They believe their religion
e. They believe their imaginations
f. They believe their eyes and senses
2. It’s time we all started just believing God above everything else!
3. Believing Him when the storm rages, when the fiery furnace roars, when the prison door slams shut, when an army surrounds you, and when your strength gives out – God is still on His throne!
4. You had better get to memorizing and meditating on the promises of God’s word this year. You should have the goal of memorizing at least twelve verses this year on your own! Getting back to all day long meditating on ONE GREAT PROMISE from God’s word, like:
a. Rom 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
b. Rom 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
c. Heb 13:5,6 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
d. Isa 40:31 “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
e. Jer 33:3 “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
f. Philp 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”
g. Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
5. Everyone needs a life verse – but you will only find one when you spend time meditating on the great promises of God
A. We all have too much “F.L.A.B.” – Fleshly Lusts and Affections that Burden us all down!
B. How to get rid of it?
1. Begin Some Kneeling Exercises (Mark 1:40; Psalm 95:6)
2. Start Casting Off and Casting Away Wrong Weights and Burdens (Matthew 11:28-30)
3. Lift Some Proper Weights (Galatians 6:5)
4. Run the Extra Mile (Matthew 5:41)
5. Be a Finisher (2Timothy 4:7,8)
6. Work-Out Together (Exodus 18:13-23)
7. Believe God Above All Else (2Cor 4:8-9, 16-18)
C. Are you a faker in the arena of life? Wearing a fabulous track suit, with expensive runners, but you are not a registered athlete? Everyone wants attention, and fame that comes with Olympics and athletics, but very few just want to run the race, and get to the finish line, healthy, and full of joy like the apostle Paul did!
D. If you want to cross the finish line with joy, then get busy on this list of things to be doing throughout 2008! You will feel the difference almost right away!