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Conducting a Spiritual Audit

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
January 4, 2021 1:00 am

Conducting a Spiritual Audit

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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January 4, 2021 1:00 am

Pastor Mike Karns speaks in the first evening service of 2021 from the counsel of the Apostle Paul to Timothy.

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Well tonight let me turn your attention to 1 Timothy chapter 4 and let me begin to read at verse 1 and read to the end of the chapter. Paul's writing to Timothy he says, Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

For every creature of God is good and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving for it is sanctified by the Word of God in prayer. If you instruct the brethren in these things you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wives fables and exercise yourself toward godliness for bodily exercise profits a little but godliness is profitable for all things having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach because we trust in the living God who is the Savior of all men especially of those who believe.

These things command and teach. Let no one despise your youth but be an example to the believers in word and conduct in love and spirit in faith in purity. Till I come give attention to reading to exhortation to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things and give yourself entirely to them that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine.

Continue in them for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. I'm drawn to this passage tonight for one particular reason and that is the emphasis on our responsibility as believers in Jesus Christ to exercise ourselves onto godliness. Paul's writing to Timothy. He's giving Timothy instructions to exhort people in this vein and he says these are the things we ought to be giving attention to as ministers as a good minister of Jesus Christ. This is what we ought to emphasize and bring before people. He says right after he says for bodily exercise profits a little but godliness is profitable for all things having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance and then he goes on to say for to this end we both labor and suffer reproach because we trust in the living God who is the savior of all men especially of those who believe and then this verse these things command and teach and no doubt Timothy felt the weight of that when it came to him through the inspired the inspired apostle and I feel the weight of that tonight as we stand here on this first Sunday night of 2021 and what I want to do tonight I want to help you conduct the spiritual audit conduct a spiritual audit what do I mean by that well I think it's good as the calendar affords us the opportunity to stop and make an assessment they take inventory to do an audit to think about some areas of Christian development and to think about reflect how well am I doing identify those areas of strength rejoice and what God has done give thanks to him persevere in those things identify areas that we need to make progress in some areas of of specificity that we want to be able to say you know what in 2021 I'm going to be more intentional more deliberate more focused in this particular area and then to identify those areas perhaps we have neglected those areas that we are that really aren't on our radar that are part and parcel of what it means to be a mature follower of Christ so that's what I want to do tonight and let me begin by introducing this message in this way there is a universal principle that governs this universe and that universal principle is that living things grow whatever it is that you can identify in your mind is a living thing if it's living it's intended by God to grow and it will grow some things grow quicker than others some things grow slower than others but living things grow plants grow flowers grow shrubs grow people grow babies grow it's just the way life is and when God God is the author of life anyone and anything that's living owes its existence to God God is the one who who imparts life God is the one who sustains life God is the one who grows life and as we think about that spiritually none of us are spiritually alive to any credit of our own if we're alive spiritually it's because God has birthed us into his family he has made us alive and because he has made us alive he has determined that we're going to grow and he has many tools in his toolbox to facilitate that growth there are the means of grace that we talk about there is the Word of God there is prayer there is the indwelling Spirit of God there is the assembly of the Saints there are these things that God has given to promote and accelerate our growth now as I thought about the various things that God uses in our lives to promote our growth to develop our faith to stretch us to see us mature and become more Christlike I think of and this perhaps is an oversimplification but think with me about three areas two of the three areas we have very little control over now we have control over how we respond to these two things but we do not have the ability to control these two areas but then there is one area where we have a significant measure of control where we make a contribution and to the degree that we do we will grow and to the degree that we neglect we will not so think with me about these three areas the first area is people now I don't want you to think just about the sandpaper people that God brings into your life and the difficult people that God brings into your life that force you to have to grow and forgiveness and grow in grace and grow in patience that's part of it but is more than that but people there are people that are a part of your life on purpose God has decreed that God has determined that and there are there are good people in your life godly people in your life serious-minded believers in your life that you need to thank God for perhaps the most obvious person if you're a married person is your spouse sometimes we don't have the appreciation we ought to have for one of the greatest gifts God has given to us a Christian spouse the praise with us that encourages us it's walking the same direction that we're walking how can to be how can to be one unless they walk together so rejoice in that rejoice and brothers and sisters in Christ that you have relationships with that are that are a good influence on you that stir you to to godliness we need sandpaper people in our lives we need people that sharpen us and challenge us and and exhort us and pastors are are one of those kinds of people that God allows and is ordained for your life but I'm talked I'm thinking beyond that so in our families there's people that God brings and some will stretch us some will if we had our choice there'd be people that we would say you know what I just assumed they not be a part of my life but you don't get to say that you don't get to control that that could be work that could be neighbors that could be within the four walls of your home they those people are there because God ordained them there and God's going to use them to promote growth in your life so the first area is people the second is circumstances similarly to people you don't control the circumstances of your life you don't get to choose what events will come into your life in 2021 God has determined that God will ordain that and there'll be good things there'll be wonderful things that'll be a part of that and things that will encourage your faith and cause you to rejoice in the faithfulness of God and the goodness of God the Bible tells us that the goodness of God leads to repentance so don't miss the the good favorable Providence that comes into your life and the the kindness of God that is manifested in your life those are wonderful things and those are things to promote thankfulness and and gratitude to God and faithfulness to God but then there are dark providences that God brings and again we we don't control that we can't say I'll pass on that and I don't know what 2021 will bring in that area of category of dark providences but there will be things that come that will be unpleasant will be difficult that you just assume do without but a wise and gracious God will ordain them for you and don't miss this he will ordain them for your good all things work together for good to those who love God to those who are the called according to his purpose and people and circumstances fall under that broad category regardless of how good or pleasant or unpleasant they are God's going to use them for our growth for our promotion for our development in Christ's likeness so those are the two areas that we have very little control over now we do have control over how we respond and how we process people and circumstances so don't miss what I'm saying but the third area that I believe we have more contribution to make that will promote our growth and that is in personal discipline discipline yourself what for what reason for the purpose of godliness discipline yourself now let me talk to you about this area of discipline and for things that make up there are part of of what we're talking about here discipline yourself number one by denying your sinful nature discipline yourself by denying your sinful nature we are hardwired because of our Adamic fallenness to selfishness none of us are hardwired toward godliness we have to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness we have to combat our fleshly nature our self-centeredness it's a commitment that we have to make that now we're not making this on our own we have we have the wonderful promise of God that God is at work in us both the will and to do according to his good pleasure but we have to pull the trigger on that we've got to step up to the plate as it were we've got to be the one who disciplines ourselves for this purpose Romans chapter 12 and verse 1 says be not what conform to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind the JB Phillips translation says don't let the world squeeze you into its mold there's pressure on us every single day to think unbiblically to think the way the world thinks the Christian life is a life of being living upside or right side up in an upside-down world this world is upside down because of sin and because of the curse of sin and we have a responsibility aided by the Spirit of God to live in an live upside thinking right but we need the Word of God we need to discipline ourselves for this very purpose let me give you an example of an illustration of what I'm talking about here of denying our sinful nature that which comes natural to us in March of 1981 Ronald Reagan was shot in the chest outside of Washington DC at a hotel by John Hinckley jr. and he was surrounded by Secret Service agents as he walked shots rang out six of them in fact and a Secret Service agent by the name of Tim McCarthy did something that was completely against his nature he had disciplined himself in such a manner that he went against his nature rather instinctively avoiding a gunshot he purposefully put himself in front of a bullet to protect the president McCarthy had been trained to deny his nature and he disciplined himself in such a manner that despite the terrifying circumstance is despite the natural instinct to avoid gunfire he put himself in harm's way for the sake of the president now how did that happen he didn't he didn't have time to think about it he had trained himself and he had trained himself in such a way that that training went against his natural desire and that's what we're talking about here in terms of disciplining ourselves for the purpose of godliness it doesn't come natural for us to roll out of bed in the morning to have our devotions that's not natural to us it's supernatural and if we're not intentional about it it's not going to happen number of years ago I don't know how many years ago Carly and I decided you know what I think at our stage of life it would be a very good thing for us to get on a regular intake of vitamins she'd been doing it for years and been talking to me about it and I've been resisting it but I thought you know what she's probably right so that's something new to me wasn't natural to me I had to discipline myself to take these vitamins and it doesn't do any good to take them two days and skip three days but in order to discipline ourselves we had to do a number of things we had to buy the vitamins we had to do the research to determine what are the right vitamins to have we had to put them in such a way that they were conspicuous there were times that where we would keep them things would get cluttered and you didn't see them and if you didn't see them there were days that you wouldn't take them but to keep them in a certain place and you know those little containers that here's Monday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday and you got all the pills in there well somebody has to do that somebody has to put the pills in there and you have to be reminded hey here's your vitamins and did you take your vitamins today it's it's disciplining yourself that's what we're talking about so as we're thinking about disciplining ourselves for the purpose of godliness discipline number one means denying our nature disciplining ourselves number two begins in the mind it begins in the mind disciplining yourself for godliness begins in the mind you must set your mind to do this you have to be convinced that this is the right thing to do you have to be convinced that this is a profitable thing to do that this is worth your effort this is worth your time because if you're not convinced in your mind you won't do it and the Bible tells us as a man thinketh in his heart so is he so is he first Peter chapter 1 and verse 12 says gird up the loins of your mind prepare your mind what does he mean well let your mind be prompt let it be ready let it be prepared restrained from all thoughts cares affections lusts which would what entangle detain hinder or make you unfit that's what we're talking about disciplining ourselves what else disciplining ourselves for godliness is creating new habits creating new habits you see it's not enough to put off old behavior disciplining ourselves for godliness requires us to actively replace old habits and establish new ones it takes work it takes time it takes effort it takes repetition in order to do this and I personally I am I think what I'm getting ready to say is a testimony to the the grace of God being extended beyond normal means because I've talked to quite a few people through the years who are struggling and not really making progress and they're unhappy they're dissatisfied and it's manifesting itself in various areas of their life and I begin to probe and begin to ask well how is your devotional life do you do you have a devotional life do you are you regularly reading the Word of God are you regularly praying are you regularly seeking the Lord cultivating your relationship with the Lord and almost without exception well no really I I just I I don't have much I don't I don't read my Bible you know and they're embarrassed and and I'm thinking to myself if you've neglected the mate the the major means of grace it's a wonder that you are as healthy as you are it's a wonder you're not in a ditch somewhere God and his grace is sustaining people despite their lack of discipline in counseling there are times that people will come from outside the church for counseling and if our schedule allows it we sit down with people and trying to assess where the problem is and how to help and bring the Word of God to bear and try and encourage people and but if people aren't in church somewhere I'll say you know if you're not in church somewhere and if you want to continue in this counseling I want to see you here in this church and they look kind of strange at me like well what is this is this some kind of coercion is this how you grow the ranks is this how you grow the church no that's not what this is about what this is about is I want you to understand that what you're getting in a concentrated measure here in the counseling office is not going to be any different than what you're going to get setting in the pew Sunday after Sunday in fact what you need more than anything is a daily regular diet of spiritual intake if they've not been in church somewhere or they're in a church where the Word of God is not being preached or taught it just creates weak weak people weak Christians and it's amazing to me how spiritual health develops over time people who are in trouble people who are struggling in an area or two begin to attend church and they're there 48 50 weeks out of the year and a year goes by a second year goes by third years goes by and you begin to sense you know there's there's some stability coming in their life there's spiritual health beginning to manifest itself well how did that happen it didn't happen in some magic way the preacher didn't throw whiffle dust on him he didn't open up his drawer and say here take these two pills and everything will be fine in a month no it's the same principle is in the same effect of taking those vitamins you don't take vitamins and you know you drink your water and take your vitamins into golf did you feel that no it doesn't work that way it's over a period of months six months a year you begin to get a sense you know what I feel better on my I'm healthier that's what I'm talking about new habits and then fourth discipline yourself by resting in the grace of God by resting in the grace of God it all does not depend on you as I've already quoted God is at work in us both the willing to do according to his good pleasure now I don't want you to miss the fact that there is a part of your spiritual growth and development that is dependent upon you but it's fueled by the Spirit of God this is what Paul said in Colossians chapter 1 and verse 29 in the context of presenting all men perfect in Christ is he labored in his ministry he says to this end I also labor striving according to his working which works in me mightily you catch that I labor I'm striving according to your own power Paul no according to his working which works in me mightily that's the balance that's the balance and that balance is all through the scriptures Philippians chapter 1 verse 12 and 13 speaks of that balance verse 12 says here's here's our part here's an exhortation that comes straight at us the Spirit of God isn't going to do this for us we've got to do this and what is it work out your salvation with fear and trembling there's work to do here and we're to do it in fear and trembling we're not to be trivial being trivial about it we're not to be just playing with it with fear and trembling work out your salvation verse 13 for it is God who's working in you both to will and to do according to his good pleasure let's think about you know we're talking about our spiritual lives but let me apply this here to child rearing raising children's hard work parents who are laboring to bring their children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord they're serious about that they want to see their children grow up and love the Lord they want to see their children grow up and be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ but despite us exhorting effort exerting effort to do that to bring up our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord ultimately their salvation is dependent upon the Lord and not us if they're going to be saved God's got to do the saving now God does the saving in homes where parents are doing their part but the salvation of our children is not dependent solely upon us and that's why I'm talking about disciplining ourselves by resting in the grace of God yes we discipline ourselves and we rest in the grace of God I can't save myself I didn't save myself if I'm gonna arrive in heaven God's gonna be the one who safely escorts me there but I've got responsibility I must work I must exercise myself unto godliness so that's the first thing is we're thinking about this spiritual audit find my my audit sheet here here it is I've got eight areas I don't I'm not certainly this is gonna be a two-part message so that's that's fine with me I trust it'll be fine with you that you'll see benefit here but as I set these eight areas before you this is what I want you to do I don't want you to sit there and agree with me say you know that was good I need challenged in that area I need I need I need to hear that well that's all good but here's how we take what we how we typically respond to the Word of God and bring it home put it right where we live so here's what I want you to do as I speak about these eight things and the first one is this question number one in this spiritual audit are you living a disciplined life are you living a disciplined life are you living a purposeful life an intentional life is your trajectory set you know who you are you know where you're going you know why you're in this world are you living a disciplined life and here's how I want you to conduct this spiritual audit give yourself an a a B or C and let me explain the grading a give yourself an a if you can say I consistently demonstrate solid growth in this area my life is marked by this this is consistent ask my wife ask my children ask anybody who knows me I'm a person who's living a disciplined life and if that's you rejoice in that give thanks to God for that B give yourself a B if you can say you know what progress is being made here but I need to focus on this area more to make it a solid and regular reality in my life it's not that there's no discipline in my life I have discipline but it's not as consistent as it ought to be and if it were more consistent there would be greater benefit that would come to me give yourself a B be encouraged by that God is working God is growing us God is changing us from one degree of glory to the next give yourself a C if in in the face of this challenge and this question are you living a disciplined life and you say you know what really to be honest I'm guilty I'm guilty of neglecting this area I'm making little or no significant progress right now in this area just be honest God knows right now this is between you and him give yourself an a a B or a C and even with a C there's room here you're being challenged to say you know what by by God's help and grace in 2021 my life is going to is going to be more disciplined because I'm going to be more intentional more deliberate about it that's the first area area number two again we're helping you do a spiritual audit are you content are you content first Timothy chapter 6 verses 6 through 8 says but godliness with contentment is great gain for we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out and having food and clothing with these we shall be content now this doesn't being contentment is not something that comes as the the hardware of the Christian life you become a Christian you're not automatically a contented person Paul says in Philippians chapter 4 verses 11 and through 13 for I have learned if Paul had to learn it will have to learn it I have learned in whatever state I am there with to be content I know how to be a base I know how to be I know how to abound everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry both to abound and to suffer need I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me contentment that's not that's something that we've got to work at this is from Jeremiah Burroughs is book the secret the thing the jewel of Christian contentment I think I'm missing a word but anyway Jeremiah Burrows wrote this classic and this is what he says a lot of things in that book but here's what I want to bring to your attention and it's just tied to the first area that we were talking about spiritual discipline he says we earthbound unglorified Christians are deeply divided creatures we are new creatures in Christ yet we are still infected with the disease of inner corruptions our indwelling sin will wage war against contentment continually that indwelling sin is far deeper within us than we can possibly imagine God the Holy Spirit is committed to a lifelong process of purging us and weaning us from this world and its allurements discontentment will continue to exert its strong pull on us now as we think about this issue of contentment if we focus on what we have or what we don't have that will fuel discontentment what really matters here and what really is going to matter at the end of your life is are you content with who you are and with what you are becoming not with what you have or what you don't have or even with what you do I'm talking about are you content with who you are and are you content with who you are becoming and if we can keep our focus on that I think that will help us in this war with discontentment if you're saved tonight that is cause for contentment look around you think of the people that are around you who are clueless to what is so precious to you you're a believer in Jesus Christ you know who you are you're a Christ follower you know who you are becoming and God guarantees that you will become more and more like his son that's cause for rejoicing cause and great source of contentment so that's secondary and again a I'm consider I consistently demonstrate solid growth in this area I'm a contented person people know me don't sense that I'm discontented I don't sense I'm discontented now we can be deceived by that and we all have we all can grow in this area progress is being made but I need to focus on this area more to make it a solid and regular reality in my life or see I've neglected this area it's not on my radar I'm making little or no significant progress right now in this area keeping an eye on the clock here let me say a word about I should probably should have said something about this at the very beginning a man by the name of Fred Smith he was a business executive he lived in Dallas he was born in 1944 he died in 2007 and this is what he says when I was teaching an adult Sunday school class one member the CEO of a major firm asked me to lunch he started the conversation by saying quote I have a CPA to keep me liquid a lawyer to keep me legal and a doctor to keep me healthy but I have no one to help assess my spiritual condition can you give me a spiritual audit and this business executive way back develop these 12 questions that are part of a spiritual audit and I'm drawing upon that to make it more theologically accurate more grounded in the scriptures so you may be familiar with that his name was Fred Smith and he had 12 questions and as I've worked through it I boiled it down to eight so that's kind of the the the idea of this sermon and how God has directed me to preach tonight so we've asked two questions as we've considered this spiritual audit number one are you living a disciplined life a purposeful life number two are you content think with me about a third area are you becoming less religious and more spiritual less religious and more spiritual and let me try and help you distinguish between these two the Pharisees they were religious the ones who were critical of Jesus the ones who were plotting to kill Jesus they were the most religious people in Palestine the Pharisees were religious Christ calls us to be spiritual he calls us to be in a living relationship with him that's what Christianity is that's what eternal life is Jesus said this is eternal life that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent Christianity cannot be divorced from a relationship with God through his son Jesus Christ in the most religious people in the times of Christ were absolutely void of a relationship with God through his son Jesus Christ and there are people like that today now this is quite insightful this is from Fred Smith the man I made reference to here he says this quote the difference between religion and spirituality is basically a matter of control I define religion as an experience I can control while spirituality is an experience that controls me I like that being a Christian is not hooking Jesus up to your wagon and making your way through life that's gonna guarantee you when you die you go to heaven because if you're the one pulling the wagon you're still in control now Christianity is giving up control Christianity is letting God be the one who's in charge of your life he must be Lord that's the difference back to our evaluation a B or C am I consistently demonstrating solid growth in this area I'm growing in my relationship with God and his son Jesus Christ there is a sense of spirituality about my life true spirituality I'm making progress but I need to focus more in this area or see I'm guilty of neglect of making little or no progress this next one is related to the third one think with me now this gets very searching and very sobering but a good spiritual audit should do that does your family see and smell the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Christ about you does your family see and smell the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Christ about you does the do the people that know you the best would they vouch for you would they say you know what he's not a different person in church than he is at home he's serious minded about his walk with God or would people roll their eyes when they hear you speak about the things of God the people who know you they hear you talk and they go yeah right mm-hmm why don't you live what you talk so the question is what do those closest to you see for her husband what does your wife see for a wife what does your husband see what do your friends see what do your children see and they see more than you probably realize they see your habits they see your comings and goings maybe your see you know I used to hear people comment about people man or woman and one of the most I think at least in my opinion the most god-honoring comment that could be made about someone is he is a godly person or he is a god-fearing man or she is a god-fearing woman or he's a godly man or she's a godly woman when's the last time you heard anybody describe that way that that not that ought to be consistent about us and it ought to be increasingly so there ought to be greater degrees and manifestations of godliness about our life folks this is subtle it's very subtle the influence of this world will poison your spiritual life it will retard your spiritual growth one last thing before I close again fifth question in this spiritual audit is your prayer life improving is your prayer life improving now I asked the question specifically that way we're not I'm not asking I'm not we're not looking for perfection we're looking for progress is your prayer life improving when you're weighing decisions is that something that is bathed in prayer is that something you bring before God you ask his help and direction and insight and wisdom or is prayer an afterthought you've made the decision then you go to God and you ask God to bless the decision you've made it's prayer but it's prayer after the fact no I'm talking about prayer that directs your life prayer that is a priority in your life I read I think on January 1 a devotion from Spurgeon's morning and evening and a lot of good things that he said there but he said this this is what has stuck with me he said prayer is something that is predominant throughout the scriptures and he cited all kinds of people that prayed and examples of people that prayed and a predominant emphasis in Scripture and then he said this it seems that those that things that are predominant in Scripture ought to be more conspicuous in our life if God emphasizes them that much sets that many examples before us exhorts us continually about it if we're growing Christian our life ought to be more and more conspicuous that were men and women of prayer let's be that let's be that for the glory of God and again thinking about your prayer life I'm not I don't God didn't let me off the hook with this I'm not letting you off the hook with this okay I know what it feels like you start to squirm a little bit I wish he'd just move on I mean I get it I got it I bear with me a minute a B or C is your prayer life improving a consistently demonstrating solid growth in this area not talking about perfection but growth a sense you know what I grew in that area last year or be you know I I'm I'm not where I want to be I'm not where I desire to be I'm not where God's going to take me I'm confident but I've made progress but I need to focus more to make this a solid reality in my life or be honest I I'm so hit and miss with my prayer life I don't pray that often I only pray when I'm in a pickle I'm not happy about my prayer life I know God's not happy about my prayer life again my point isn't to beat anybody up my point is for us just to do us an honest audit about our spiritual life so we can identify those areas that are needing attention that the Spirit of God would identify and the Spirit of God would come to us and would help us make progress I was telling somebody recently I was reading a book and the man was saying that it's good for us to surround ourselves with people who are strong in areas where we are weak and he was using as an illustration the area of evangelism and he said it doesn't come natural to me it's awkward for me I I'm I too often I'm I'm silent when I ought to be more bold so he was with this person and this person they went into a subway and the man was given directions to the girl who was making a sandwich and so she made the sandwich and then he says to the woman do you think that sandwich could feed 5,000 people and the man says the woman went well you know we have we have these party trays it'll serve she totally misunderstood what he was asking so he took her back to the question no no I don't I saw what I mean do you think that sandwich could feed 5,000 people well no and then he began to talk to her about Jesus and the man says I was embarrassed I thought oh no he's not doing that he's not going there he's not asking her this we're in a we're in a public restaurant what what what are people gonna think what are people gonna say but his point was it was good for him to be pushed out of his comfort zone it was good for him to see somebody demonstrating the gift of evangelism now to what degree that was right or wrong in your mind that that's not my point but in the area of prayer it's good to be in prayer meeting and hear a man pray and you go you know what that man knows how to pray that man's been taught how to pray God has grown him in prayer so you see my point we need to stir one another up on the love and the good deeds to challenge one another in these areas well think on these things as we're conducting a spiritual audit I think it's helpful I think it's profitable I think we need it I think this is a good time to do it as we think about the new year let me mention a couple of things for to you teaching the word ministries it's a Bible reading kit there's a Bible reading schedule here again I'm surprised at how many Christians would have to say they've never read through the Bible cover to cover in a calendar year discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness here's a tool to help you do that and if you have other tools fine but here's one that's available at our Usher station here is a devotional book there are many good devotional books out there but many of you are using this I know people in our church who have read this several years in a row new morning mercies by Paul David trip a daily gospel devotional these are available in our book room but I imagine 60 or 70 families in our church have a copy of this we sent this to all of our missionaries a number of years ago these are the kinds of resources that we ought to make use of if we're going to develop and grow again this is an area that God has entrusted a measure of responsibility to us if we don't discipline ourselves unto godliness then we're not going to grow to the degree that we could I don't want to have any regrets I don't want you to have any regrets I want us to make progress in this new year God helping us so let's pray father thank you thank you for this evening thank you for the opportunity to take a bit of a different approach we haven't expounded a passage of scripture per se but we have considered a very important area we thank you for the revelation in your word that shows us your commitment to our growth and development and our progress in Christ's likeness you're going to use people all kinds of people and you're going to use circumstances and all kinds of circumstances and Lord you're going to use our discipline and our commitment to the means of grace to grow us and help us Lord to be intentional be deliberate to have a mind and a desire for these things to respond well to this challenge this evening again thank you thank you for instruction that we need thank you for the opportunity to consider and reflect over last year and to make decisions that are going to be for our spiritual good and benefit for the new year and I say as we dismiss in prayer but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to him be the glory both now and forever amen
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-07 21:35:54 / 2024-01-07 21:51:32 / 16

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