Karl Shumate

Spiritual Discipline

Spiritual Discipline

Good morning. Welcome to church. I am excited to be able to do what I love this morning and proclaim the truth of God’s word. Nothing on earth has the ability to give me more joy than to read scripture and be challenged to live for Christ. Today, we will be looking at a passage that should change our lives if we take it seriously. It’s my desire that the Holy Spirit would do a tremendous work in us and sanctify us even more.

 The word sanctify comes from the Greek word hagiazo. This word has a meaning of being “set apart” or “separated.” Nobody was more set apart from the world than Christ himself. In other words, if we are to be sanctified the end goal is to become the image of Jesus. Sanctification does not come at salvation, but comes through a process of conforming ourselves to the image of Christ after we have been redeemed.

 If we are to conform ourselves to the image of Christ, then we must know Christ. We have a level of responsibility to be disciplined in our spiritual lives. Discipline is something that we have to learn. The most disciplined people in our lives had to learn how to be disciplined. A baby is not born with discipline.

Joshua: Faithful Followers

Faithful Followers sermon manuscript

We are back in the book of Joshua this morning, looking at the Battle of Jericho. This is one the most famous battles of the Israelites as they capture the Promised Land. The focus of the book of Joshua can really be summed up in Joshua 1:7–8[1] Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. God called the Israelites to faithfully follow Him. That is what God wants from us.

Most of us are easily distracted. C.S. Lewis said: "We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased” (The Weight of Glory).

As we move into Joshua 5:13-6:27, we see that spiritual preparedness mattered more to the Lord than military prowess. The Lord would do battle for the Israelites if they maintained the proper priorities and faithfully followed their Lord.

Even when it didn't make sense, when God gave the Israelites a confusing battle strategy, they faithfully followed. What a lesson we can learn! Even when we doubt, when we are confused, when we are uncertain, when it doesn't make sense, we must faithfully follow the Lord.

God wants us to be faithful followers not because He’s narcissistic and arrogant, but because He is Holy and He knows us. He was there when sin and deception entered the world. He knows the promise it makes and the devastation it brings. He knows that if we are going to live righteous, holy lives pursuing Jesus, we have to be all in, or else we will live a shell of the life He has offered.

Life is better when we faithfully follow God and His Word.

What’s the one thing to walk away with from today’s message? The one point today is this: Determine today to faithfully follow the Lord no matter what.