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Posts Tagged ‘Discipline’

Running the Race – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

April 20th, 2010

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Paul here is warning against apathy, against the danger of assuming that once you become a Christian, it doesn’t matter how you live your life. He wants to show us what could be lost out on and uses the image of a race to do so. It is not an apathetic image but rather a one of a passionate exhortation to work, labour, etc.

1. Training

  • It is all-consuming preparation – full time, constant, habitual
  • The athletes who want to win think differently to other people
  • It requires discipline – to train when you don’t feel like it or aren’t in the mood
  • We have to train as Christians – same application for getting the most out of our relationship with God, to do great things for God with our life: we have to press through and persevere
  • We also encourage one another to press on
  • We are always fighting against the temptation to give up and throw in the towel, because following God’s will is never easy. But there is more we are capable of than we realise, we are able to handle more than we realise – because of the grace and power of God
  • Training requires focus – you have to turn your focus away from other things
  • The PRIZE:
  • Many people think this is heaven, to obtain eternal life, but Paul already knew he was going to heaven because of his faith in Christ and the fact that God had saved him. Eternal life is a gift to be received not a prize to be won.
  • The prize is the reward of a life lived with God. Not every Christian will receive the full reward of their life – some people will be saved ‘as one through fire’ – with nothing to show for their life, nothing achieved for God.
  • God saved us for good works – we have a unique plan for our life.

2. Seeing

  • We all pursue different prizes in life – but all apart from the reward of doing God’s will are perishable, they do not last
  • We need to SEE the imperishable prize before us – we need to see the end goal
  • Paul saw that goal and was obedient to the vision
  • We have to see the end, have to have it in sight to keep going
  • Don’t be so short-sighted – see something better than this passing age
  • JESUS is the only reason we get to take part in the race in the first place. He has gone ahead and run the race for us, and now we get to run our own race with His help and power.

1 Corinthians 5 – Judge or Don’t Judge?

January 18th, 2010

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Healthy Discipline

The purity of the church needs to be maintained. It must, therefore, be characterised by an atmosphere of ongoing submission to the will of God. Sin, once clearly identified in the community and in individuals, must be acknowledged and brought to repentance. When it is simply tolerated and perpetrators are allowed to carry on as if nothing mattered the purity of God’s people is compromised and threatened.
 
The more it is unquestioned the more dangerous this is – both for the church (which is affected by the bad yeast – v.6) and for the individuals themselves (who need the redemptive effect of discipline. It is meant to act as a safeguard – provoking people to a reality check and a sense of the serious condition. The goal is not to punish people but bring them to their senses and, thereby, draw them back into fellowship based upon true repentance).
 
We can be tempted to simply let things carry on unchecked and even congratulate ourselves on our ‘tolerance’ but in reality we are bringing danger on the people of God. The reality is that all of us practice some kind of ‘intolerance’ in certain contexts.
 
Discipline means that those who are not living a repentant life are not treated as if they are. This is NOT the way to treat non-believers. It is not our business to discipline non-Christians who know no better. We are not to be taken out of the world – not at all! So we must maintain our friendships with the lost and retain a totally non-judgemental attitude to them. But those who make out that they are believers but live an unrepentant lifestyle should know our position very clearly and not feel comfortable around us.
 
This is in line with the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 18. The goal is redemptive and it’s supposed to work.