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December 29, 2020 12:24 pm
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This podcast is made available by this increasing media as to the generosity of our support is your donation today means great podcast ideas remain available to help people look to God daily presentation at our nation today send out all day. The events of the past year. You cancel your vocational criminal plans should do a good one. Just get Turning Point of the Jeremiah has a suggestion for different kind of trip you kinda run through a travel agent.
Each drawer you close to go with a special message is to introduce journey friends would go a little benevolent during this time, don't we have some introspection going on all of us can't help me here demands of the calendar requires the discussions we have with each other underline it. What is the last year been like and what we learned 2020 has been tough.
It has been all bad. We've learned many lessons through: the restrictions we suffered many of us financially because of what's happened, but if we have our health, we know how valuable it is. If we ever loved ones were so grateful and we have the future.
Most of all we have God in what I've said so often as I've talked about this in recent days is that we go through something like this, it automatically edit your life. Governments edited some of it but ourselves. And then all of a sudden we realize one day we wake up and we know the really important things are still or lost anything that's eternal and that's the most important way we can live in what is that it will help us as we get ready to chart out a new year today when you talk about taking the journey inward before we take the journey onward and I hope you be blessed and encouraged. As we open our Bibles to the Scriptures and talk about. Let's begin the entrance by words like those words were placed in the window in this church. When we built the auditorium several years ago to be a constant reminder to us that we only have one textbook here and that's the word of God and that when we study God's word and carefully analyze its truth and apply its truth our lives. We end up as we learned with power in our lives. So I want to encourage you in that way as we through today the message in the window. I want to talk with you about your journey inward journey that is not quantified by charts and graphs year that is not validated by how many or how much I would ask you to think with me for these moments about the journey inward. When I speak of the inward journey or I talk about inwardness what I talking about what Paul speaks about a very interesting way. In his letter to the Romans as he talks about the pride that often keeps us from being who God wants us to be speaking here to the Jewish people, and this is what he says in Romans 228 and 29 for he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh, but he is a Jew who is one inwardly and circumcision is that of the heart and the spirit not in the letter whose praise is not from men but from God. The apostle was reminding his readers that are outward in this is not authentic unless it is the reflection of the inwardness of our life.
In other words you say to the Jewish people.
It's not your keeping of the ordinances that make you what you it's the fact that in your heart. There is the desire to do that. It's not the flesh it's the spirit. When we think so much about the awkwardness of our life when we fail to deal with the inwardness of who we are in Christ, we end up with a powerless existence when God fills our inner vacuum with his Holy Spirit life works when God does not fill the vacuum. A host of consuming appetites swarmed through our better intentions, brilliant people who should be masters of their appetites are at last managed by their appetites instead as we think about the beginning of this new year and the opportunities it presents. I want to talk with you about the distractions that keep you from building your inward life and I want to talk with you for a few moments about the disciplines that are involved in making you strong from the inside out. What are the distractions that keep us from having a strong inward walk with God. I like to suggest you that the first one is what we might call frenzy frenzy when we will not provide a place for the direction of the indwelling Christ. All that is left is the frenzied agenda of our hassle. Discipleship.
If we needed any illustrations of that we have just walked through a period of time and we don't have to look far to determine what it's like to live a frenzied life were coming away from what we might call the most outward time of the year. Isn't it strange that our culture has turned Christmas inside out, making it a frenzy of materialism and greed and indebtedness and exhaustion. We revel in the lights and struggle to find time for the light of the world we get caught up in the presence but forget about his presence in our lives we create great celebrations of his coming to us and then we have no time or energy left to spend with the one whose coming. We are celebrating we run faster and faster as the day approaches, and when the day finally comes. We are lost in frenzy and fatigue. I speak to myself for there have been many Christmases in my ministry life that did not do anything but on on a tired and worn-out family of Christ followers see the faster we go, the less time we have to commune with the one we claim to love the more we focus our attention on the awkwardness of our faith, the less vibrancy and reality we have in our walk with God because the Christian life is not built from the outside in, built from the inside out and one of the things that keeps us from building the inward life is our satisfaction with what we see on the outside, which leads us to the second distraction for inwardness which is familiarity. The second distraction is familiarity. We become like the people that Paul wrote to Timothy about in second Timothy 35 we read they had a form of godliness, but they didn't have the power, it's possible to be a Christian and be so familiar with the outward of Christianity that we mouth the words we understand the terminology we say the right things. We sing the right songs. We even have the right expressions and nuances, but if you're not careful, we become like the churches that John wrote to in the book of Revelation, the church of Sardis where we read these things says he who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but your dad and then he wrote to the church of Laodicea something similar. He said because you say I am rich and become wealthy, and have need of nothing, and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. What John was saying by the spirit of God to these churches was that what you appear to be outwardly you are not inwardly and it's so easy for us to fall into that trap. We become so familiar with the outward tokens of our faith that they no longer draw us inward toward God. Many of us are like Sampson, who did not know that his strength was gone until he needed it and it wasn't there in the 19th century there was a Danish philosopher by the name of Soren Kierkegaard who was very disturbed by the church situation of his time. Kierkegaard looked about the city of Copenhagen and everywhere. He saw Christians, but they were Christians in quotation marks. He saw professed Christians who were completely secure and self-satisfied, for they had the Bible. Many of them carried the Bible in their pockets. They had the word of God, it was theirs, and life went on peaceably happily in a well-adjusted fashion, but Kierkegaard asked some important questions. He said, is this really the religion set forth in the Bible, and his answer was that such a religion is an imputed indecency in one of his milder statements of concern. He wrote these words he said a young girl of 16 summers is her confirmation day. Among the many tasteful and beautiful gifts. She also receives the New Testament in a very pretty binding. Now that is what one may call Christianity to tell the truth. No one expects and probably right that she any more than anybody else will read it or at any rate, not as originally intended. The book given her as a potential consolation in life here.
Should you need it you will find consolation. Of course, it is assumed that you will never read any more than any other young girls, but if she does, it will not be read as originally intended.
Yet, said Kierkegaard. That is supposed to be Christianity. I would be tempted to make Christianity another proposition. He wrote let us together in every single copy of the New Testament. Let us cart the whole collection out to an open place or up to the mountaintop and then while all of us kneel down let someone speak to God saying, take it all back. This book we humans the way we are should not be involved with such a book. It only makes us unhappy when he was saying was that if we don't take the book, which is the word of God, past the surface relationship we have with it. It is only good enough to make us unhappy.
In other words, there's no real way to be happy with a halfway commitment to the word of God. Such a commitment will not allow you the joy intended because you will always be finding those passages that make you feel guilty for your disobedience until you get past the word of God is simply a symbol of your Christianity a token of your faith and find that it is the means by which you come to know about God, but to know God, then the word of God becomes to you distraction because of its familiarity the distractions of the inward life for many.
I can only speak to two of them. Let me tell you that those distractions need not bog us down and keep us from knowing God they need not keep us from building our inward life because God has given us some disciplines to help us overcome that discipline by the very nature of the word says were getting ready to do something that is not natural for us to do without some sort of pressure around us to do it. Christians are called to make themselves do something they would not naturally do and I want to get rid of the idea that if you're Christian you will just always want to do the things that the Bible says you should do if you only read the Bible when you want to. How many of you could give witness today that you wouldn't read it very much because sometimes you don't really want to.
And sometimes you don't want to until you do it and in the doing of it you find want to.
How many of you know that if the only times you pray is when you just feel so inspired to pray that you would pray nearly as much is you want to see praying in the reading of the word of God are simply matters of obedience to the Lord, which require discipline of all of our lives.
The Bible tells us that in so many words in the letter that Paul wrote to Timothy in first Timothy chapter 4 verses seven and eight now in that little verse of Scripture. There's one phrase that we've looked at before that I want to underscore in your thinking today and it says this bodily exercise profits a little but godliness is profitable for all things having the promise of the life that now is that which is to come. Notice carefully how that word is structured. It says bodily exercise profits little, but the exercise to godliness is profitable for all things moderate exercise in the Greek text in this verse is the word good nausea, which is the word from which we get gymnasium and what Paul is saying is just as we go to work out in the gymnasium and can I stop just a moment and say do you go to work out because you feel so inspired every day to get up and go get on the treadmill go pick up the weights. Don't you just get up every morning so I just can't wait until it's my turn know you don't do that all you do it because you see the value of doing it and you also see the penalty for not doing it every time you look in the mirror in the morning you get inspired to go to the gym but you do it out of the discipline of your life. Now watch what Paul is saying he saying just as you discipline yourself an exercise in bodily exercise, you need to discipline yourself in spiritual things so that you can grow the inward man just as the outward man profits by bodily exercise pulses here profits little the inward man profits greatly from spiritual exercise not only in the life that is to come, says Paul, but in the life that now is.
He says were to work out spiritually were to get in the spiritual gymnasium and exercise are disciplines in second Peter chapter 1 verses five and six. There's an interesting progression of terms or read that verse and see if you see what I'm talking about, but for this very reason, giving all diligence to your faith virtue, to your virtue knowledge, to your knowledge, self-control, and to your self-control, perseverance, and perseverance, godliness, what are the two words that preceded godliness in this verse, self-control and perseverance want to tell you something for my own personal experience.
Those are very honest admissions as to what it takes to live the inward life.
It takes perseverance and it takes self-control. If we don't discipline ourselves to do the things that will offset the malaise that comes upon us as we walk through this world, we will end up never growing inwardly as God intends us to grow, you can't do it by going to church, church, and encourage you about your own spiritual walk.
But church can never replace your own spiritual walk friends. This church is no substitute for your walk with God is to be an encouragement to walk with God to motivate you and inspire you and encourage you. But the real issue is your own personal walk with God when I stand before God someday I will be given the responsibility to give an account for my shepherding of this church, but thank God I don't have to give an account for whether or not you read the Bible every day whether you pray that your deal you have to do that and it's a matter of discipline. Now one of the disciplines that we practice. There are many disciplines we could go through today.
But I want to just talk about to because I want to talk about the two that offset Lindsay familiarity. What is the discipline that offsets frenzy. It's prayer is in solitude and prayer.
We begin to realize as time begins to go and were going faster than we ever intended. Everything's fine.
Around Christmas time is a great illustration is still fresh in our minds. And you have to get away from that somewhere where you can be alone when you can find solace in God when you can price listen to what the Scripture says in Psalm 3610. Be still and know that I am God over and over again. I don't have to redo the verses that tell us to pray there multiplied both the old and New Testament Psalm 32 six is for this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to you in a time when you may be found. Colossians tells us to continue earnestly in prayer under saying that prayer is a discipline is we pray because were commanded to pray and when we pray we find why it is that God wants us to do it because it helps us overcome the frenzied life. Let me just give you the last thought, which really is what this is all about.
Behind me, what is it that takes you away from familiarity and brings you into the realness and reality of your faith is nothing I can tell you that will do that like the word of God.
It's like the study of the Bible sometime. I hear people say what you need in your life is the Bible the Bible will take care of your problems. That's not true.
This book can help you at all.
It's the reading of the Bible that takes care of your problems. This book will help you unless you open its pages and let it work in your life. The only way you can get past the awkwardness and the nuances of faith that's familiar to you is to get into the word of God for yourself and find the truth of God's word to help you grow. I wish I had time today to tell you everything I want to tell you about that but I just want to read one verse of Scripture to you and it's found over in the book of Thessalonians is in chapter 2 and verse 13, Paul was writing to his friends in Thessalonica and this is what he wrote to them. Listen to these words. For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you receive the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God which also effectively works in you who believe here's what were challenged to do with the Bible. Here's what God wants us to do with the Bible. First of all accepted except the word of God says here you receive the word of God which you heard from us. We need to accept the word of God. We need to hear it.
Secondly, we need to anticipate the word of God says you welcomed it. Hearing the word of God is one thing welcoming. It is another hunger and a desire for two can only do that as you get into it develops its own appetite and appreciate the word of God. Notice what it says you welcomed the word of God, not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, what we hold in our hands. Her men and women is not just a collection of essays by some fishermen and shepherds from the old and New Testament era. This is the word of God say that out loud. This is the word of God. Every day you hold in your hands the infallible word of God is God's word to you and to me it is changeless it is timeless and it is powerful. Paul was so overjoyed that these people in Thessalonica except in the word of God, not as the word of men, please don't take the word of God because of something I say but they accepted it as the word of God.
Men and women.
If you don't accept this book as the infallible word of God. He cannot do you any good. Finally, Paul said that the Thessalonians not only accepted the word and anticipated and appreciated it but they applied it says it also effectively worked in those who believed let me tell you what I discovered about inwardness men, women, if you don't have inwardness when the storms come you don't do very well. It's the strength that you have in your inward life that helps you through the storms. I don't know what you face this year, but as I've said before some philosopher said were either in a storm were coming out of the storm were going in one storms are part of life. Storms are not the unusual thing. Storms are the normal thing in all of us will face some of you may have had one this past week. Are you no one's coming this week if you want to be able to be stable and strong in the midst of the storm is a Christian spend some time building the inwardness of your life. Don't get so caught up in the frenzy of the world in which you live.
Let this year be the year when you grew the most inwardly of all of your life up to this point.
Make that your goal for and you know what happens when you get strong rudely fix everything in your life changes your family. It changes your faith and changes your finances and changes everything forever so don't look at it as though this is quiet. This is passive. This is not important. Yes it is. This is the whole king in the future your journey inward tomorrow to look at a famous passage of Scripture in the book of Philippians talk about facing forward.
How to face forward in your life. I hope you are among those who are inquisitive enough to examine what's inside and then get ready for what's around you, I'm David Jeremiah Seawright here tomorrow for more information on Dr. Jeremiah's special messages for the new year. Please visit our website. We also find two freeways to help you stay connected monthly magazine Turning Points and as any email devotion sign up email@example.com/ready that David Jeremiah.org/right when you ask for a copy of the 365 day devotional for 2021. It's called strength and it's for medical truth for the yearly and it's you forget the video now and keep your spirits bright through the holiday season. Visit the home for Christmas candlelight Turning Point.you presold the Christmas music videos, messages, and the home for Christmas, gentle and Turning Point.TV. I'm very join us tomorrow as we continue out special messages for the new year that's here on Turning Point. Jeremiah for taking time to listen to on tonight from these increased in size and