Title:Spiritual Discipline

Focus:Spiritual discipline is valuable for growing in holiness.It is not the act itself, as if it were some meritorious work, but the goal that is valuable.The goal is self-discipline.For the Christian, this involves prayer and fasting.

Function:To encourage Christians to engage in the Spiritual disciplines

Text:Numbers 6



1.Report on the accident from the space shuttle-Cause - apathy

2.It is like ignoring small cracks in a dam

3.Can have same problems in our spirituality

††††††††††† a.Ignoring cracks and lead to bigger problems

††††††††††† b.What kind of maintenance for spirituality?

4.This sermon about Spiritual Discipline

††††††††††† a.Numbers 5-6 about maintaining holiness and purity

††††††††††† b.Chap 6 speaks of what be a spiritual discipline for the Hebrew



I.(Num 6:1-2) - The Nazirite Vow

††††††††††† A.Heb:Nazir = Consecrated one (verb - Nazar - To consecrate separate

††††††††††††††††††††††† 1.All Hebrews already consecrated - required

††††††††††††††††††††††† 2.Levites specially consecrated - required

††††††††††††††††††††††† 3.But this is something optional

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a.Above and beyond normal call for holiness

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† b.Open to any Hebrew who wished to do so

††††††††††† B.What it entailed

††††††††††††††††††††††† 1.(v.3-4) - Unlike sons of Aaron-no wine while ministering...
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a.Nazirite never to drink wine

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† b.Not even to eat any product of the grape

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† c.Why??That part of the vow

††††††††††††††††††††††† 2.(v.5) - Not cut his hair during this time

††††††††††††††††††††††† 3.(v.6-9) Not even go near a dead person

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a.Normally, canít touch dead

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† b.But Nazirite canít even be in presence of one dead

††††††††††††††††††††††† 4.v.9-12 - If one dies suddently next to a Nazirite

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† - Shave head and start all over again

††††††††††††††††††††††† 5.(v.13-21) Instructions for completing vow of Nazirite

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a.Burnt, sin, peace offering

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† b.Also an unleavened cake offering

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† c.Shave head, offer hair on altar with peace offering

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† d.Part of peace offering given to Nazirite

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† e.Nazirite can drink wine again

††††††††††† C.May remember some Nazirites in scripture

††††††††††††††††††††††† 1.Samson is most famousJud 13:5 ; Broke all his vows

††††††††††††††††††††††† 2.Samuel - 1 Sam 1:11

††††††††††††††††††††††† 3.Apostle Paul - Acts 21:26 - Only record of a Christian doing this

††††††††††† D.Is there anything we can learn from this?

††††††††††††††††††††††† 1.Keep in mind this was optional

††††††††††††††††††††††† 2.He increased in holiness during this time

††††††††††††††††††††††† 3.Ended with a peace/fellowship offering

††††††††††††††††††††††† 4.Did it increase fellowship with God?


II.Similar practice in the New Testament

††††††††††† A.(My 6:16-18) - Instructions on fasting.Jesus not condemn it

††††††††††† B.Mt 4:1-11 - Example:Jesus fasted in the wilderness

††††††††††††††††††††††† 1.As Israel spent 40 years in wilderness, Jesus spent 40 days

††††††††††††††††††††††† 2.What is purpose of wilderness experience

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a.(Dt 8:1-3) - Wilderness a period of humbling

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† b.Learn to focus on God more - become stronger

††††††††††† C.I canít speak from personal experience

††††††††††††††††††††††† 1.Always have avoided the subject

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a.We not accustomed to giving anything up

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† b.We are truly a consumer culture

††††††††††††††††††††††† 2.Imperfect Analogy - Practice running for the race

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a.Retreat from the race and train for next race

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† b.Some runners wear ankle weights for training

††††††††††† D.What we are talking about is a spiritual discipline


III.There is a way fasting is not beneficial

††††††††††† A.Lk 18:9-14 - Parable of Pharisee and Tax Collector

††††††††††††††††††††††† 1.Fasted twice a week, yet not justified.Why?

††††††††††††††††††††††† 2.Fasting has no value all by itself

††††††††††††††††††††††† 3.People not believers go on crash diets.No help spiritually

††††††††††† B.Isa 58:3-7

††††††††††††††††††††††† 1.Fasting not a work of merit

††††††††††††††††††††††† 2.Fasting a way to humble self before God

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† - Psalm 35:13 - Humbled self with fasting, prayer returned

††††††††††††††††††††††† 3.Fasting a sign of mourning

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a.Neh 9:1 - Fasted and confessed sins

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† b.Fasting a part of Day of Atonement

††††††††††††††††††††††† 4.Fasting for repentance

††††††††††† C.This helps to prevent and heal cracks in sprituality

††††††††††††††††††††††† 1.If humble, can see cracks and allow God to heal them

††††††††††††††††††††††† 2.If not humble, will be blind to the cracks - like the Pharisee


IV.Prayer and fasting go together as a spiritual discipline

††††††††††† A.Ez 8:21-23 - Ezra prayed and fasted for safe journey

††††††††††† B.Acts 13:1-3 - Paul and Barnabas appointed with prayer and fasting

††††††††††† C.Acts 14:23 - Appoint elders with prayer and fasting

††††††††††† D.Maybe we need to set aside times for prayer and fasting


Concl:If need to humble self and come to God.Come