Sermon:  Self-Discipline

Summary: We are to support our faith with self-discipline, a concept which often
seems extreme and unneccesary in today’s times, but is indispensible in order to
have the spiritual muscle to face the challenges to our faith posed by our culture. 
This self-discipline is more than willpower, but involves the classic disciplines of
fasting, prayer, silence, solitude, Bible Study, service and fellowship. 

Know:  Without self-discipline to support faith, our faith can suffer from the subtle
challenges of friends, teachers, media, etc. around us that does not walk
according to God’s will

Feel:  Motivation and excitement about spiritual disciplines that hold the promise
of strengthening our relationship with God.

Do:  Formulate a plan of spiritual training and discipline to include fasting, prayer,
silence, solitude, Bible Study, and service, and impliment it with an accountability

Text:  2 Pet 1:3-11

Scripture Reading:  1 Tim 4:7

1.  Apply to faith, excellence, knowledge, and now self-control (v.5)
	a.  What is Self-Control?  Greek:  Egkrateia
	b.  "krat" - idea of power - control - mastery
	c.  Add - "ego" to it, and you have "self-control" or "mastery"
2.  Some translations say, "support" your faith with these
	a.  Epichoregeo - To furnish, provide, give, our support
	b.  This is an acceptable translation
	c.  Idea is that your faith is supported by self-control
3.  How?  Recognize 3 Things

I.  Result of indulgence - slavery, a ruined life
	A.  Indulgence is the message of the world
		1.  If it doesn't cripple or kill anyone, do it!
			a.  Live together - Do it!
			b.  Sleep with boyfreind or girlfreind - Do it!
			c.  Party, get drunk with friends - Do it!
		2.  Don't be stuffy, uptight, party-pooper!
	B.  (James 1:14-15) - Progression of sin to death
		1.  It begins with temptation
		2.  If you don't cut it off there, it will grab hold
		3.  If continue to indulge, Rom 1;24 says God "gives over"
			a.  Scary thing to think of God "giving" you to depravity
			b.  That's what happens when you continue in it
	C.  Example - Samson - Jud 13
		1.  Samson had a high calling
			a.  Raised up to deliver Israel from the Philistines
			b.  Was a Nazarite from birth
				- Especially devoted to God
				- No wine, strong drink
				- Not touch anything dead, unclean
				- No cut hair
		2.  Samson did not take his calling seriously
			a.  (Jud 14:1-10) - Didn't deliver from Philistines
				- Took Philistine wife, feasted among Philistines
				- Touched a carcass
			b.  (Jud 15:15-16) - Touched a fresh jawbone - corpse
			c.  Jud 16:1ff - Went to Philistine harlot
				- Delilah manipulated him
				- Told her about his hair, she cut it off while he slept
				- That was last straw, the Lord left him
			d.  Samson was captured
				- Gouged out his eyes
				- Put to work at griding mill
		3.  Ironic - His physical condition now matched spiritual one
			a.  Weak - Could not say no to Philistine women
			b.  Blind - Seemed oblivious to his high calling
			c.  In chains - He was enslaved to his whims and desires
			d.  In Gaza - Foreign place, like his heart, away from God
	D.  Augustine:  “The result of a distorted will is passion. Indulged 
	      passion forms habit, and unrestrained habit becomes necessity."
		1.  What was the harm in hanging out in Philistine turf?
			a.  What wrong with looking at/ talking to Philistine woman?
			b.  What wrong with going to her house?  etc.
		2.  The more you indulge, the worse you become - Like Samson
			a.  Weakness - When need strength to resist, wont be there
			b.  Blindness - Will not even recognize danger of sin
			c.  Chains - Slavery to your sin
			d.  Gaza - Far away from God
		3.  Eternity away from God is called --- Hell
		4.  Don't ever say - "Oh nothing will happen if I go"
			a.  I can always leave if I need to
			b.  That's what Samson thought
			c.  So don't indulge, or you will get stuck

II.  Cost of  Self Discipline
	A.  You have to pay the price for self discipline
		1.  Willpower alone is not enough
		2.  Will power did not get Samson out of his predicament
		3.  Samson needed spiritual strength, and he had none
			a.  No strength to resist women
			b.  No strength to resist self-centered pride
			c.  Whatever direction he was pulled, he went
	B.  (1 Cor 9:24-27) Good image of how to get spiritual strength
		1.  Athletic imagery - Run that you may win
		2.  When race comes, will power will not get you the win
			a.  If body is weak, will not make it to finish line
			b.  Need to be strong and in shape
		3.  Have to excercise self-discipline in ALL things
			a.  Training, working out, faithfully and diligently
			b.  Eat healthy food, not junk food
			c.  Not run without aim - Stay focused on your purpose
			d.  Make my body my slave - Self Mastery
		4.  Takes will power AND being in shape
	C.  ILL:  Getting ready to join military
		1.  Dad said he actually kind of enjoyed basic training
		2.  How????   He said he was in shape
		3.  So I got in shape in order to make it through
			a.  I could push myself, and my body would respond
			b.  Would be bad if push self, and body not respond due to 
			     being out of shape
		4.  Running, obstacle course, marching, was now doable
	D.  If your plan is to face challenges to your faith only by will power
		1.  You may lose the race
		2.  Like an athlete, need training

III.  The Way of Discipline - How do we discipline selves "spiritually?"  Images:
	A.  Air Filter - Fasting
		1.  If not resist and filter, will clog everything up and break
		2.  Represents Fasting
			a. Matt 6:2, 5, 16 - "When" you give, pray, fast...
			b. Jesus assumes we will do each of these
			c.  Fasting is a good thing
		3.  Why fast?  Have to do it to learn benefit
			a. Training for self-discipline
			b. Sense of humility, dependence
			c. Many things you "need" you don't
	B.  Volume Knob - Silence and Solitude
		1.  Get bombarded with voices/ messages in our world
		2.  We need silence and solitude
		3.  Jesus often went by self to mountain to pray
			a. One time, spent all night in prayer
			b. Kept him focused on God's voice, not own, or others
		4.  Turn off T.V., stereo, video games, spend time with God
			a. Don't even need to talk
			b. Hab 2:20 - Let all the earth keep silence before him
			c. Silent prayer, be with God, not always have to talk
			d. Learn to be "with" God daily, let him guide you
	C.  Bible, notebook, pen - Read the Bible, respond to it, journal 2 Tim 3:16
	D.  Rope - We are a Team - Serve and Encourage  Heb 3:13
		1.  Like a rope, we are twisted together, strength
		2.  Need to encourage, support, and serve each other
		3.  Help keep each other away from Gaza
		4.  Help stay focused on our purpose - serve & tell about God

1.  If you do this, it will keep you far away from Gaza
	a.  Will have strength to resist the Delilah's in your life
	b.  We be able to see the dangers that threaten your soul
2.  What are the Gaza's and Delilah's in your life?
	a.  Do not get caught up in them
	b.  Discipline yourself, or you will get too weak to resist
3.  If you are not in Christ, you are in Gaza (invitation)
4.  If you have already become a Christian - Do not spend all your time in Gaza
	a.  You are a new person, with new Lord, and new family
	b.  Purpose for being in the world is to bring others to him, not play around 
	     with them as Samson did
	c.  Without self-discipline to support your faith, faith may begin to crumble
	d.  1 Tim 4:7 - Discipline yourself for the purpose of Godliness
		- Not talking about doing these these for sake of doing them
		- Not talking about severe treatment of self
		- Talking about discipline for godliness
5.  2 Pet 2:10 - As long as you practice these things, you will never stumble