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January 4, 2021 1:00 am
Tonight, let me turn your attention to first Timothy chapter 4 and let me begin to read in verse one 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 your self 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 loving spirit, in faith, and 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 doctor and continuing them for in doing this you will save both your self 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 godliness. Paul's writing to Timothy. He's giving Timothy instructions to sort 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 those who believe in the in 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, the inspired apostle and I feel the weight of that tonight.
As we stand here on this first Sunday night of 2021 what I want to do tonight I want to help you conduct the spiritual audit conducted spiritual audit. What I mean by that. Well I think it's good as the calendar affords us the opportunity to stop and make an assessment that 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 in what God is done thanks to him, persevere in those things identify areas that we need to make progress in some areas of of of's specificity that we 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. I begin by introducing this message in this way, there is a universal principle that governs this universe 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 is just the way life is. And when God God is the author of life anyone and anything that it's living owes its existence to God. God is the one who who imparts like God is the one who sustains life. God is the one who grows life as we think about that spiritually.
None of us are spiritually alive to any credit of our own. If we're alive spiritually is because God has birthed us into his family is made us alive and because he has made us alive.
He has determined that we are 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 in this perhaps is an oversimplification, but think with me about three areas to the three areas we have very little control over know we have control over how 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 into the degree that we neglect. We will not think with me about these three areas. The first area is people I don't what you think just about the sandpaper people of God brings into your life and the difficult people to God brings in your life that were skewed to have to grow and forgiveness and grow in grace and growing patients. That's part of it, but is more than that, but people there are people that are part of your life on purpose God has decreed that God is 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 a a 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 this it encourages us it's walking the same direction they were walking talking to Beatty Alcan to be one.
Unless they walked together, so rejoice in that rejoice in brothers and sisters in Christ that you have relationships with that are that are a good influence on you that stir you to to a godliness we need sandpaper people in our lives. We need people that sharpen us and challenge us in and exhort us and pastors are are one of those kinds of people to God allows an is ordained for your life and I'm on talk. I'm thinking beyond that so in our families.
There's people that God brings someone stretches. Some will. If we had our choice of the 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 I could be work that could be neighbors that could be within the four walls your home.
They those people are there because God ordained him there, and God's gonna 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 ordained that and will be good things that we wonderful things that will be part of that and things that will encourage your faith and cause you to rejoice in the faithfulness of God in the goodness of God. The Bible tells us of the goodness of God leads to repentance, so don't miss the this the good favorable providence. It comes into your life and the that the kindness of God that man is manifested in your life. Those are wonderful things.
Those are things to promote thankfulness and in gratitude to God and faithfulness to God within our dark providences. 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.
You just as soon do without, but a wise and gracious God will ordained them for you and don't miss this.
He will ordained 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. 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 Christlike.
So those are the two areas that we have very little control over. Now we do have control over how we respond 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 your self what what for what reason for the purpose of godliness. Discipline yourself not let me talk to you about this area of discipline and for things that make up that are are part of of what were 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 come back.
Our fleshly nature. Our self-centeredness it's a commitment to we have to make that now were not making this on our own we have we have the wonderful promise of God that God is at work in us both to will and to do according to his good pleasure, but we have to pull the trigger on that. We 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 verse one says be not what conformed 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 on biblically to think the way the world thinks the Christian life is a life of being living upside her right side up and 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 and live upside thinking right, but we need the word of God. We need to discipline ourselves for this very purpose to 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 1981, Ronald Reagan was shot in the chest outside of Washington DC at a hotel by John Hinckley Junior he was surrounded by Secret Service agents as he walked. Shots rang out six of them in fact any Secret Service agent by the name of Tim McCarthy did something that was completely against his nature. He had to discipline himself in such a manner that he went against his nature rather than 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 discipline himself in such a manner that despite the terrifying circumstances, despite the natural instinct to avoid gunfire. He put himself in harm's way for the sake of the president. How did that happen. He didn't even have time to think about. He had trained himself and he had trained himself in such a way that that training went against his natural desire in us were 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 at supernatural, and if were not intentional about it.
It's not going to happen number of years ago. I don't know how many years ago card and I decided you know what I think it 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 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. It doesn't do any good to take him two days and skipped three days. But in order to discipline ourselves we had to do a number things went by the vitamins way to do the research to determine whether 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 in if you didn't see them.
There were days that you wouldn't take him to keep them in a certain place and you know those little containers that appears Monday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday you got all the pills in their somebody has to do that. Somebody has to put the pills in their and you have to be reminded I here's your vitamins and did you take your vitamins today. It's it's disciplining yourself. That's what were talking about.
So as were thinking about disciplining ourselves for the purpose of godliness, discipline, number one means denying her 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 know what the Bible tells us as a man think it in his heart so is he.
So is he. First Peter chapter 1 verse 12 says Gerd up the loins of your mind. Prepare your mind, what is he mean. Let your mind be prompt. Let it be ready. Let it be prepared, restrained from all thoughts cares affections loss which would one entangle, detain, hinder or make you unfit. That's what were talking about disciplining ourselves what else disciplining ourselves for godliness is creating new habits creating new habits you see is not enough to put awful behavior disciplining ourselves for godliness requires us to actively replace old habits and establish new ones takes work. It takes time.
It takes effort it takes repetition in order to do this and I personally, I am. I think what ongoing getting ready to say is a testimony to the grace of God being extended beyond normal means, because I talked to quite a few people through the years who are struggling and not really making progress in their unhappy or dissatisfied and is manifesting itself in various areas of their life, and I began to probe and begin to ask will. How is your devotional life. Do you do you have a devotional life.
The are you regularly reading the word of God. Are you regularly praying.
Are you regularly seeking the Lord cultivating a relationship of the Lord and almost without exception, well no really I just 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 make the visit major means of grace. It's a wonder that you are as healthy as you are. So what are you not in a ditch somewhere God and his grace is sustaining people despite their lack of discipline in counseling times that people will come from outside the church for counseling and if our schedule allows it to sit down with people and trying to assess where the problem is and how to help them bring the word of God to bear. Try to encourage people in, but if people are in church somewhere. Also, you know, if you're not in church somewhere you want to continue in this counseling.
I want to see you here in this church and they look kinda strange at me like what what is this is a some kind of portion is this how you grow the ranks.
Is this how you grow the church know that's what this is about what this is about is I want you to understand what you're getting enough concentrated measure here in the counseling office is not 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 therein a church where the word of God is not being preached or taught just creates week week people we 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 to begin to attend church in their there 48, 50 weeks out of the year and year goes by second year goes by 1/3 years goes by begin the sense you know there's there's some stability, and in their life, their spiritual health.
Beginning to manifest itself. How did that happen. It didn't happen in some magic way the preacher didn't throw wiffle dust on him. He didn't open up his drawer and say you take these two pills in everything will be fine in a month know it's the same principle as in the same effective taking those vitamins you don't take vitamins and you know you drink your water.
Take your vitamins and golf did you feel that no 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'm I'm I feel better on unhealthier. 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 of already quoted God is at work in us both to will and to do according to his good pleasure. 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 in verse 29 in the context of presenting all man perfect in Christ is a laborer 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 Ball note according to his working, which works in me mightily. That's the balance that's the balance in the that balances 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 to come straight at us the spirit of God is and to do this for us.
We've got to do this. What is it work out your salvation with fear and trembling. There's work to do here were to do it in fear and trembling were not to be trivial at being trivial about it were not to be just playing with it with fear and trembling work out your salvation. Verse 13 for it is God is working in you both to will do according to his good pleasure us. Think about were talking about our spiritual lives.
But let me apply this year to child-rearing raising children hard work.
Parents who are laboring to bring their children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. They're serious about that. I want to see their children grow up on 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 else if they're going to say God's gotta do the saving know 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 from and arrive in heaven.
God is going to be the one who safely escorts me there, but I got responsibility. I must work.
I must exercise myself on the godly so that's the first thing is were 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 asserting this is going to be a two-part message so that's that's fine with me. I trust will be fine with you, that you see benefit here, but is 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 so you know, that was good that I need challenged in that area I need I need I need to hear that will 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 is I speak about these eight things in the first one is this question number one in the spiritual audit are you living a disciplined life.
Are you living a disciplined life. Are you living a purposeful life and 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. Here's how I want you to conduct a spiritual audit.
Give yourself in a a B or C. 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 asked my wife asked my children ask anybody who knows me I'm a person is living a disciplined life. And if that's you rejoice in that give thanks to God for that.
Be. Give yourself a big 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 is not that there is 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 beat. Be encouraged by that God is working.
God is growing us. God is changing us from 1° of glory to the next.
Give yourself a C. If in in the face of this challenge in 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 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 in a a B or C, and even with the see there's room here. You being challenged to say know what bike 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 is the first area area number two again work with Tom helping you do spiritual audit. Are you content. Are you content first Timothy chapter 6 verses six through eight 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 mean contentment is not something that comes as 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 the 313 for I have learned, if Paul had to learn it will have to learn. I have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be content. I know how to be abased, 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 something that we've got to work at. This is from Jeremiah Burroughs's book the secret the thing, the jewel of Christian contentment that I think I'm missing a word.
But anyway, Jeremiah Burroughs wrote this classic. In this he says a lot of things in that book but here's what I want to bring your attention, and it just tied to the first area that we were talking about spiritual discipline. He says we earthbound on glorified Christians are deeply divided preachers. 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 as we think about this issue of contentment. If we focus on what we have 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, your Christ follower. You know who you are becoming God guarantees that you will become more and more like his son, that's cause for rejoicing because in the end and great source of contentment.
So that's secondary and again a unconsidered I consistently demonstrate solid growth in this area. On a contented person. People know me don't sense that I'm discontented I don't sense. I'm discontented that we can be deceived by that will 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 C have neglected this area is not on my radar making little or no significant progress right now in this area. Keep an eye on the clock here, let me say a word about she probably should've said something about this at the very beginning remember the name of Fred Smith. He was a business executive. He lived in Dallas.
He was born in 1944 he died in 2007. 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 in 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 is 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 idea of this sermon and how God has directed me to preach tonight, so if asked two questions.
We considered the spiritual audit number one are you living a disciplined life, a purposeful life.
Number two. Are you content thick with me about 1/3 area are you becoming less religious and more spiritual, less religious and more spiritual. 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 us 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, and the most religious people in the times of Christ were absolutely void of a relationship with God through his son Jesus Christ and her people like that today. This is quite insightful. This is from Fred Smith, man. I made reference to hear. 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 like that being a Christian is not hooking Jesus up to your wagon and making your way through life. That's going to guarantee you when you die, you go to heaven because if you're the one pulling a wagon you're still in control of Christianity is giving up control. Christianity is letting God be the one who's in charge of your life you must be Lord. That's the difference back to our evaluation a B or C. My 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 making progress, but I need to focus more in this area or C on guilty of neglect making little or no progress. This next one is related to the third one think with may know this gets varies 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 with Dave vouch for you when they say you know what is not a different person, a church than he is at home he 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 talking to go right on to live what you talk so the question is what to those closest to you.
See for her husband. What does your wife see four wife. What does your husband see what do your friends see what do your children see they see more than you probably realize they see your habits they see your comings and goings a beer. See you know I used to hear people comment about man or woman. 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's a God-fearing man or she is a God-fearing woman or he's a godly manner.
She's a godly woman went to last time you heard anybody described that way… That ought to be consistent about us and allow 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 for question in this spiritual audit is your prayer life improving is your prayer life improving now asked the question specifically that way were not. I'm not asking I'm not were not looking for perfection were looking for progress is your prayer life improving when you're weighing decisions. Is that something that is bathed in prayer that something you bring before God. You ask his help and direction and insight and wisdom, or is prayer and afterthought.
You've made the decision, then you go to God and you ask God to bless a decision that's prayer but it's prayer after the fact know I'm I'm talking about prayer that directs your life prayer that is a priority in your life. I read I think on January 1 devotion from Spurgeon's morning and evening and a lot of good things that he said there but he said this is what is stuck with me.
He said prayer is something that is predominant throughout the Scriptures and excited all kinds of people to parade and examples of people to pray 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 him that much such that many examples before us, exhorts us continually about it were growing Christian our life ought to be more and more conspicuous. The were men and women of prayer. Let's be that be that for the glory of God. 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 let you off the hook with this okay I know what it feels like you start to squirm a little bit. I wish he just move on. I mean, I get it I got I bear with me a B or C is your prayer life improving a consistently demonstrating solid growth in this area are talking about perfection. The growth sense you know what I grew in that area last year, or be you know II I'm not where I want to be. I'm not were.
I desire to be. I'm not were God's going to take me unconfident but I may progress but I need to focus more to make this a solid reality in my life or be honest, I am so hit and miss with my prayer life.
I don't pray that often I only pray when I'm pickle I'm not happy about my prayer life. I know God is not happy about my prayer life again. My point is in the beat anybody up.
My point is for us is 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 the spirit of God would come to us and would help us make progress was done 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 his illustration. The area of evangelism said this doesn't come natural to me.
It's awkward for me. I I too often on I am silent when out 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 a sandwich and then he says to the woman you think that sandwich could feed 5000 people.
The man says so woman went well and we have we have five that the these party trays. It will serve. She told him misunderstood what he was asking so he took her back to the question, no, no I don't. I know what I mean do you think that sandwich could feed 5000 people will know and then he begin to talk to or put Jesus advances. I was embarrassed.
I thought oh no, he's not doing that he's not going there. He's not asking her this were not were in a public restaurant what what what are people going to think what are people going to say but his point was it was good for him to be pushed out of his comfort zone 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 he area prayer is going to be in prayer meeting and hear a man pray you go you know what that man knows how to pray that man's been taught how to pray. God has grown human prayer. So you see my point. We need to stir one another up on the love and good deeds to challenge one another in these areas will think on these things as we are 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 is a Bible reading kit 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 Tripp, a daily gospel devotional. These are available in our book room that 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 it for 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 that were not going to grow, to the degree that we could, I don't 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 are progress in Christ likeness. You're going to use people all kinds of people you're going to use circumstances and all kinds of circumstances and larger 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. 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.