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R924 Three Spiritual Exercises

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton
The Truth Network Radio
November 11, 2020 8:00 am

R924 Three Spiritual Exercises

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton

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November 11, 2020 8:00 am

The Daily Encouraging Word with Dr. Don Wilton

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We all admit we need more exercise. Well, today, three spiritual exercises is what Dr. Wilton is going to talk about in our Bible study. This is The Encouraging Word featuring the Bible-based preaching of Dr. Don Wilton and his message on three spiritual exercises from the book of Matthew will help us tone our spiritual bodies as well as our physical bodies.

We know God calls us to be good caretakers of the physical body, but we also know that if we don't work it out, if we don't exercise our spiritual strength, it just atrophies. Today, as we study, know that we're here for you. We'd love to pray with you, encourage you. Perhaps there's a concern you need someone to pray about. We're here at 866-899-WORD.

That's 866-899-9673 or online at TEWOnline.org. Now today's message with Dr. Don Wilton. I want to speak to you this morning about spiritual exercise. Do you know that it is possible to come even to church and to feel fogged up? Do you know that you can sit and listen to an entire sermon and yet not hear anything of the sermon? Do you know that you can come into a worship service as distracted and mixed up, go through an entire time of praise and worship and leave in exactly the same condition?

It's like you might as well have not have even been there. Spiritual food doesn't even taste so good anymore. And you become spiritually run down. You get spiritually lethargic. And it begins to manifest itself in different things. You become critical.

I'm telling you, every time I meet someone who's critical, they criticize the church, they criticize other people, they criticize this, they down in the dumps, they discontent it, I will guarantee you they're not getting the proper spiritual exercise. Your head's fogged up. It's time that you get a life. It's time that you wake up. Because when these things happen to you and you grow weary in your spiritual well-doing, you implode upon yourself.

Everything turns inward instead of outward. Now, did you know that in Matthew chapter six, where I want you to turn today, that the Lord Jesus amongst many others gave us three spiritual exercises. I want to just list them for you and then I'm going to talk about them. Three spiritual exercises.

Here they are. Number one, giving. Number two, praying. Number three, fasting. Now, I've heard some people call fasting, fasting.

It's the same thing. There are three spiritual exercises that Jesus spoke specifically about. Now, folks, watch this. We're going to look at this together. I'm convinced in my heart that what Jesus was saying here at this point is if you do not discipline yourself in regard to these spiritual exercises, you are going to implode upon yourself spiritually. You're going to become a grumpy Christian. You are going to be more inclined to fall into sin. You are going to be increasingly prone to justify your sin. You will become extremely upset when somebody else comes and tells you that you are sinning. And God here speaks to our hearts about three spiritual exercises.

Let me read them to you. Matthew chapter six, verse three. When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. Then your father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. Go with me to verse five. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.

I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father who is unseen. Then your father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your father knows what you need before you ask him. Verse 16. When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your father who is unseen. And your father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Here they are. I'm going to go somewhere where perhaps angels fear to tread. What does God have to say about spiritual exercise? Now folks, our church fathers called these disciplines.

I've steered clear of that word because of our young people with apologies to our young people. The moment they hear the word discipline, they think negatively. It's the most positive word in the Bible.

Discipline means that you do something out of a compulsion and a conviction because you know that it's good for you. You know that you cannot do without it. These spiritual exercises, what kind of giving does God bless? First of all, He blesses giving that's genuine.

That's genuine. He says in Luke chapter six and verse 38, given it will be given to you, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over will be poured into your lap. He says in second Corinthians nine and verse six, that whoever sows generously will reap generously.

You see, folks, watch this. God blesses giving that is authentic. And what He tells us to do as a spiritual exercise is to give genuinely.

By the way, what is the opposite? Reluctantly or ingenuously, or in a manner in which you are giving because you have to give. What God is saying to us here, you need to adopt the spiritual exercise. It is a discipline, Lord. I'm giving because I know it to be true.

I'm doing it because I'm genuinely wanting to do it. I want God to know that I'm giving genuinely. Number two, He blesses giving that is sacrificial. You'll remember in second Samuel chapter 24 and verse 24, how the King said, I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God-burnt offerings that cost me nothing. Watch here, folks. We're talking about spiritual exercises, giving.

Watch for it. I want God to know that I'm giving and watch me. Does your giving cost you? If it doesn't cost you, it's not a spiritual exercise. It's not a spiritual discipline. God will not bless you because God will not accept a tip.

Let me run that by again. If your giving is not sacrificial, God will not bless you because God will not accept a tip. God doesn't need to be tipped. And folks in America today, we've got to be so careful because we've adopted an attitude that we're going to give, but we're not going to give to the point at which it costs us. That's what makes me love and appreciate our men and women in uniform so much.

Families all across America grieve when their sons and daughters are killed in the battlefield. Folks, that is giving sacrificially. Jesus said, you want to give, you got to give like I gave. I gave my very life and you want me to bless your giving. I'm going to bless it, not only because it's genuine, but because it's sacrificial. So does your giving cost you? Does it hurt? Say to me, pastor, how do you define that?

Well, you got to ask it in your own heart and life. When you give, does it cost you something? I'm not talking about a dollar amount.

Does it hurt? Are you in your heart saying before God, crying to him, Lord, I don't know how I can do this because I'm going to have to deprive myself of something, but I know you want me to give and so I'm going to give it. What kind of giving does God bless? He blesses responsible giving. Luke chapter 16 verse 10, whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with very much. Here's the question in my spiritual exercise. Lord, am I disciplined enough?

Am I willing to go through an exercise that demonstrates my trustworthiness? Let me ask you something. You think God gave you what you have just because of you?

Excuse me? God never operated like this, not from before the foundation of the world. Everything he did was for others because if my head is not clear, I'm not going to be able to lead properly. I'm not going to be able to think properly. I'm not going to be able to minister properly. I'm not going to be able to do what God has told me to do.

Am I responsible? That's what God is putting on my plate. Well, he also blesses that which is trustworthy. Goes on in verse 10 of Luke chapter 16, he says, whoever can be trusted with very little can be trusted with very much. Now folks, I don't believe in all of this, you know, you give a thousand dollars and God's going to give you 2000. I don't believe in all that stuff.

That's a lot of junk. I tell you what I do believe, you sow sparingly, you're going to reap sparingly. I tell you what I do believe, you sow generously, you're going to reap generously. I do believe it's more blessed to give than it is to receive. And I also believe that God is looking for a few good people, folks, that he can trust. And God says, if he can trust you with what you have, he is going to trust you with a whole lot more that you never thought you would ever have. Maybe one of the reasons why you're tunneling underground is because God cannot trust you.

Hello, wake up somebody. You ever met a man who's such a miser, you squeak when you walk. Folks, I've met people you wouldn't give anything to anybody else if somebody came and shook you to pieces. You're holding on and hoarding and building up treasures upon earth where moss and seed doth corrupt. And God says, open it up. And when you open it up, I'm just going to pour it in there.

You're going to have so much, you won't even know how to handle it anymore. It's a spiritual discipline. Some of you need to stop playing a game with God. Some of you people are so busy buying your own homes and extra cars and traveling all over the place and you're saying, who cares about the Lord? God demands it of us. Well, what kind of giving does he bless? Cheerful giving.

I love that one second Corinthians 9 7, cheerful giver. That's a tough one, man. I think we should just go on to the next one. You know, yesterday, my wife, when we went walking, folks, now I've got to just say this to you. I need some counseling. We were walking for a whole hour.

I mean a whole hour. And I'm ready to turn home, man. And my wife says, no, we're going to go up that road over there.

I said, no, we're not. We're going to turn around. We're going home.

I've done my duty. We're going home. She said, we're going up that road. I said, we've already walked for a whole hour.

I'm ready to go home. She said, we're going up that road. I said, I got in behind her there and I started walking.

I'm turning you up like that. And I'm right behind her and we're walking up the road and I'm saying, I've done this for a whole hour. And all of a sudden, I looked around. I thought, you know, it's such a beautiful day and I love my wife. And you know, some things are not worth dying for.

And you know, this is the best. It's my interest she's got in at heart. Folks, I'm going to tell you, I got in behind her, mumbled a few times. She never heard another squeak out of me.

I walked that extra 5,332 miles, finally got home. Do you know, I was so glad I did. You see, folks, having a cheerful heart is a discipline, isn't it? What kind of giving? It is responsive. Responsive giving is different to responsible giving. Responsive giving is a type of giving that responds to needs. There's a lost world out there. Why do we give to a church? Because there's a lost world.

Why do we give to a needy person? We'll be back with this great teaching from Dr. Wilton in just a moment. But our prayer is that you would know we're available for you. Dr. Don insists I remind you this phone number, 866-899-WORD will connect with someone, as Dr. Don would say, happy to be your 2 a.m. friend. At any time, day or night, 866-899-9673 is the number to call for us here at The Encouraging Word, or you can meet us online as well at TEWonline.org. Now back to today's great teaching with Dr. Don Wilton. He blesses loving giving, a giving, my friends, that is not measured by the amount that I give. It's measured by the love which is in my heart. There's the first discipline, the kind of giving that God blesses.

You've got to do it. If you're not doing it, it'll explain why your head is so fogged up. Number two, praying that God blesses.

Now folks, I'm going to spend one minute on this. In chapter 6, beginning at verse 5, Jesus talks to us about this spiritual exercise called praying. What kind of praying? Honest prayer.

It is honest. What kind of prayer does God bless? Confessional prayer. What kind of praying does God bless? Heartfelt prayer. Spontaneous prayer that's not repetitious.

Warns us about it. Don't say the same old prayers over and over again. That's what God blesses.

Don't be like the pagans with their vain babblings. Meaningful prayer. Purposeful prayer. He says here, if you want to be blessed, there are some disciplines you've got to have. Giving, praying, here's the third one, fasting.

Now some of you say, what is that? That means doing without food for a period of time with the purpose of being drawn into the heart of God. This has nothing to do with dieting. Nothing.

Absolutely nothing. It has nothing to do with losing weight. Although obviously when you don't eat, you will lose weight. But folks, the Bible tells us that one of the greatest spiritual exercises is this thing called fasting. Going without food for one meal or for a day or for seven days or like Jesus for 40 days. That's what fasting is. Spiritual fasting. And here in this particular passage in Matthew chapter six and verse 16, Jesus said, when you fast. He wasn't saying if you fast. Evidently Jesus understood that this spiritual discipline is part of the Christian life.

It's not an addendum. And so the question that I ask myself is when is when? What kind of fasting does God bless? Let me show you what the Bible teaches. Number one, during times of sorrow.

You can read about it. For example, in 2 Samuel chapter 12 and verse 16, when David's child was ill and he was sorrowful and grieving, he prayed. When Abner died in 2 Samuel 3 and verse 35, the Bible says that the king fasted and prayed.

Now, folks, watch this. Is there anybody today that you are sorrowful and you're grieving? You've lost a loved one. You know what God says do? Have a fast. That may be just for one meal, maybe just one day. But when you fast, God is going to do something for you in your sorrow that you cannot do for yourself.

I often have people say to me, pastor, what can I do? My heart is broken. Here it is. Fast. Number two, during times of opposition. That's right. During times of opposition.

If you go, for example, I'm just giving you one of many. Psalm 35 verse 13. David said, listen, when my enemy began to oppose me, I put on sackcloth and I humbled myself fasting. So, folks, watch this. Is there anybody who's facing opposition of any kind today?

I don't know where it's coming from. Maybe a person, maybe at work, maybe your husband is being difficult to your wife, your best friend, but you're facing opposition. You're a Christian person.

You know it. Bible says you want God to bless you. When you're facing opposition, fast. Watch what God does.

How about during times of danger? In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat, the Bible says he was facing an incredible danger. There was an army coming at him. His generals reported to him and he knew that everybody was going to get massacred. You know what he did?

He called a fast. And God won the victory for them. How about during times of penitence? I love what you read about in 1 Kings 21 and verse 27. Here's King Ahab. The Bible says when God's man Elijah came to him and told him about what he had done wrong in the sight of God, that King Ahab tore his clothes and he fasted.

Watch David. When David committed adultery, when he lied to God's preacher and when he deceived everybody and when he did what he did and God revealed that to him and he was repentant and he went into a time of great sorrow and sadness, he fasted. Anybody here who's committed adultery?

Huh? Anyone here been unfaithful to your wife, your husband? You've asked her to forgive you and you've asked God to forgive you. Have you fasted?

You've got to do it. Anyone here sinned against God? Times of penitence. The Bible says fast. Jesus said, when you fast.

Now what he was telling us in chapter 6 is all the little stuff about what to do and all the other passages. But when do you fast? During times of sorrow and opposition and danger and penitence. But number five, you fast during times of conviction.

Daniel chapter 9. Oh, the Bible tells us very clearly there, Daniel understood from the Scriptures what God was going to do and he came under conviction and he fasted. Now folks, evidently what the Bible says is when God gets a hold of me and convinces me in my heart that he is about to do what God is going to do, I need to fast. Conviction brings about fasting and fasting brings about that which God has put in our hearts.

It's the final hurdle, but there's one more. Fasting is blessed by the Lord Himself during times of great spiritual anticipation. You know, if you go, for example, to the church at Antioch in the book of Acts chapter 13 and verse 2, the Bible says while they were worshipping the Lord and fasting that the Holy Spirit said, set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. Someone said to me the other day, pastor, how would you typify your church today?

Do you know what I said to them? Hungry. Interesting. I see a great hunger in this congregation, folks. It's a good thing. It's a spiritual thing.

There's an anticipation. Now you've got to consult your doctor, folks. You don't just fall out of bed one day and suddenly without food.

Don't do that. Start slowly. Say on Tuesday, I'm going to fast. I'm just going to fast over lunchtime. And when you do go into a room and just have a conversation with the Lord for that hour. You see folks, you can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast without praying.

Let me run that by again. You can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast without praying. Anticipate what God is going to do. What about the Lord Jesus? Did you know that Jesus went into the wilderness and He fasted for 40 days and nights before He went out preaching.

That's anticipation. Now, my friends, these are spiritual disciplines. They are spiritual exercises. For the most part, we don't want to hear about them, but God is instructing us to do these things. God gives us these instructions and He helps us to grow. He actually gives us the power to fill out these instructions. I pray that you'd open your heart now as our pastor has been teaching the pulpit.

Now he's coming to the studio with perhaps the most important question of the day. Are you ready? Would you pray this prayer with me right now? Dear God, I know that Jesus loves me and that He died on a cross for me. Today, I repent of my sin and I confess my sin to the Lord Jesus and I give Him my heart and my life. In Jesus' name, I pray.

Amen. If you've prayed that prayer from your heart and you've given your life to Christ, I welcome you to the family of God. You are my brother, my sister in Christ. Let's get engaged together because we are connected together forever as believers in Christ. If you've given your life to Christ, let us walk with you. Let us encourage you at 866-899-WORD.

That's the phone number 866-899-9673 or online at TEWOnline.org. We're here to encourage you and thankful for many of you who are prayer and financial supporters to encourage us. We need your support.

Will you join us in our endeavor to reach just one more? We would love for you to become a monthly supporter of the encouraging word. Call us at 866-899-WORD to request information on how you can help support the work of the encouraging word. Call today 866-899-9673. The encouraging word is a viewer and listener supported ministry. Thank you for listening today. Our time is gone for today, but let's stay connected online at TEWOnline.org. That's TEWOnline.org or our phone number 866-899-9673.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-28 14:21:56 / 2024-01-28 14:31:35 / 10

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