Posts Tagged 'self-control'

Learning from Luke: The Cost of the Kingdom

Learning from Luke: The Cost of the Kingdom Sermon Audio Here

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Luke 9:23-27

The cost of becoming a US citizen: on paper, $680. In practice, multiple thousands of dollars, plus unknown time spent waiting in personal and paperwork limbo. The cost of becoming a citizen of Heaven: EVERYTHING you have, everything you are.

For Kingdom Citizenship,

What Will You Give?

  • Luke 9:23 “would come after” = intend to follow;
  • 1) deny yourself (who benefits?) AND
  • 2) die daily (submit to SELF-death) AND
  • 3) accompany (find Jesus, and go with Him)

What Do You Value?

  • Luke 9:24 if you spend all your time and energy guarding your soul, the only thing you’ll have at the end is a wasted effort
  • if you completely let go of SELF for Christ, you gain YOU
  • Luke 9:25 so, what do you **really** value? Stuff? SELF? Power? Personal validation?

What Will You Show?

  • Luke 9:26 world’s def. of shame: bad feeling when you’re caught doing something wrong.
    BIBLE def. of shame: realizing that you are wrong
  • if we think that lifting up Jesus’ word in our lives is a wrong thing, something of which we should be ashamed, then Jesus will AGREE with us, and leave us to our own SELF-ish devices
  • Luke 9:27 some people will never let go of SELF-righteousness; they will insist on being the ultimate standard for their own behavior and attitudes; others will, in this life of flesh, let go of its controlling nature, and instead become citizens in the Kingdom of God.

The election that matters most is God’s election of US as HIS.

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Practical Christianity: The Most Dangerous Church Member

Practical Christianity: The Most Dangerous Church Member Sermon Audio Here


James 3:1-12

Rabies, the viral disease, is treatable if caught BEFORE symptoms show; once symptomatic, the disease is almost always fatal. Once that virus takes hold in the flesh, drastic measures are needed.

Those Fixed On The Flesh

Ignore A Shortage of Self-Control
James 3:1-5

  • v1 judged BY GOD (remember last week- we don’t judge)
  • v2 we’re all in this together – there are many ways of stumbling
  • v3/4 control is the issue; who’s really in control?
  • v5 small things can get out of control quickly

Believe Personal Superiority Is Sufficient
James 3:6-12

  • v6 “course of life”=wheel of nature; left unchecked, can throw your whole world off course
  • v7/8 man tames animals because of superiority; who is superior to man?
  • v9/10 what do WE do with speech?
  • v11/12 “flow” – GUSH, under pressure. What comes out of you when you’re under pressure?
  •      SALT – Dead Sea spring – is your water dead, or Living Water?

When we fill our lives with the Living Water, what comes out of us is life-filled. Our speech becomes the means that others are refreshed, and drawn to God at work in us.

Devotionals Online: 04

Control Yourself
Verses to Read: 1 Thes. 4:1-8

1 Finally, brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing), you should do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; 4 that each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness and honor, 5 not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one wrong or exploit a brother or sister in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, just as we have already told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Have you ever been so anxious to be involved in something you just can’t wait? As a child, I used to love going swimming at American Lake… I just couldn’t wait to get into that cool water, and I’d just jump in at the first opportunity.
What is the bible author saying to you in this verse? – 1 paragraph: I’m drawn to the word “abstain” in verse 3. Paul is telling the Thessalonians that they are to abstain from intimacy outside of marriage. I looked the word up, and the word can be translated “hold back”. The idea is that while the draw – the lure – of extramarital closeness is understandable, we need to hold back.

There are lots of things in my life that function as lures to me; things that do their best to draw my attention away from Christ, away from my relationships with my family. I’ve found a great freedom in recognizing those lures (“oh, yeah, I sense that temptation”) but then reminding myself that I’m dead to that draw.

Lord, help me to “abstain”, to back away from those things which do their best to draw me in to places or situations that I shouldn’t be in.

Be a zombie – the living dead!

More thinking about thinking…

φρονέω,v {fron-eh’-o}
1) to have understanding, be wise   2) to feel, to think   2a) to have an opinion of one’s self, think of one’s self, to be   modest, not let one’s opinion (though just) of himself exceed   the bounds of modesty   2b) to think or judge what one’s opinion is   2c) to be of the same mind i.e. agreed together, cherish the same   views, be harmonious   3) to direct one’s mind to a thing, to seek, to strive for   3a) to seek one’s interest or advantage   3b) to be of one’s party, side with him (in public affairs)

(By the way, I’m still in mourning for the loss of zhubert.com; it was a great online Greek resource… but http://www.greekbible.com/index.php is no slouch.)

I found this verb in Romans 8:5 this morning. I’m still mulling over what it means to “consider yourself dead to sin”. I thought this verse could be related to the conversation.

It’s quite a wake-up call to realize that when I allow my mind to become focused on the flesh, I become hostile towards God!

I love God. I don’t want to be hostile towards the One I love the most (and who loves me more than I can ever understand). But there it is in black and white… when I allow my mind to stay in the flesh, instead of staying grounded in the Spirit, my attitudes and actions become hostile towards God. I begin to get upset at “having” to follow, rather than rejoicing in the Way that God has laid out for me in the Word (Ps. 119:105, right?).

Another thing that caught my attention: in English, when I read verse 6, I see a verb: “to set the mind”… as if I’m making a conscious choice, a decision to jettison the Spirit and to choose the flesh. So, I went looking for that verb in the Greek… IT’S NOT THERE.

What IS there is a NOUN. Phronema, “as a result of thinking; mind-set, way of thinking, outlook, aim”. Do you see? I’m not making a CHOICE to reject the Spirit… the mind-set of staying in the flesh is a RESULT of when I consider my life to be “fleshly”. In other words, whenever I choose to live according to the flesh (phroneo, at the top of the post), I’m going to develop a mind-set of being in the flesh. One follows the other. And once I’m in the mind-set of the flesh, it’s very difficult to break out of that mind-set.

In fact, the only way I know how to get out of it, is to go back to verse 5b: “but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” When I PONDER the things of the Spirit, I develop a mind-set of the Spirit… which, in turn, reinforces the actions of the Spirit in my life.

Which leads to the question: what are YOU thinking about these days?


Pastor Ed Backell

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