Spiritual Fitness Training “Exercise”

8 January 2017 PM – 1 Timothy 4:7 – Scott Childs

Introduction: Spiritual fitness begins with preparation or a passion. You will never grow spiritually until you have a longing to do so. Next spiritual fitness requires self-control. Many things in life threaten to hinder our spiritual fitness. We must have self-control to resist all that may keep us from doing God’s will. Third, spiritual fitness demands a disciplined life. We need distinct direction, determination to do right and a dread of God’s disproval. This evening we are going to consider a fourth requirement for spiritual fitness and that is EXERCISE.

Exercise is vigorous movements that improve muscle strength. Spiritually speaking, exercise is regularly practising what God tells us to do.

Transition: This evening I want us to see three things we must do in order to exercise or practice for spiritual fitness.

To exercise or practice what is right, we must…

1.        Work at it Daily (1Ti 4:7)

a.         Exercise is not easy
1)         The word Paul used describes vigorous exercise. It is the kind of exercise that makes you sweat. It takes work.
2)         Paul told Timothy to exercise unto godliness
a)         He was to refuse ungodly conversations. To sit around and listen to talk that does not honour the Lord will harm your spiritual fitness. Entertaining your mind with questionable videos, Internet, texting, Facebook or conversations with ungodly friends is like lazily sitting around eating junk food. It will make you spiritually weak.
b)         Instead he was to exercise unto godliness – that which shows respect and reverence toward God.
3)         Spiritual exercise takes work. There is no question about it.
a)         If you are going to faithfully read your Bible this year, it will take work.
b)         If you are going to memorise verses, it will take work.
c)         If you are going to get victory over a sinful habit, it will take work.
d)         If you are going to live godly in this ungodly world, it will take work.
e)         If you are going to learn to be a witness for Christ this year, it will take work.
b.         Exercise must be frequent
1)         An athlete preparing for the Olympics will exercise daily. His exercise will vary, but he is in constant training mode.
2)         If you have a passion to become spiritually fit this year, you are going to have to exercise spiritually every day. It must become a daily habit.
a)         Daily we must draw near to the Lord. As we do, He promises that He will draw near to us (Jas 4:8).
b)         Remember how God commanded the king to daily read the Bible. We must practice the same.
c)         Daniel’s example of daily prayer (three times daily in fact) even when threatened with death in the lion’s den is a good pattern for us to follow. (Daniel 6:10) “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”
d)         Daily we must submit to the Lord and force ourselves to DO RIGHT!
To exercise or practice what is right, we must…

2.        Put Off All Weights (Heb 12:1)

a.         Weights will slow us down
1)         Athletes sometimes carry weights while they train, but when the event comes, they always put off every weight.
2)         Weights in the Christian life are things that hinder our walk with God. Not every weight is sinful in and of itself.
a)         Friends can be good, but if your friend keeps you from serving the Lord, he or she is a weight.
b)         Hobbies can be good, but if your hobby takes time away from your Bible reading and prayer, it is a weight.
c)         Sports can be good, but if sports keep you from church they are a weight.
d)         A weight can be anything that hiders our spiritual priorities.
3)         Sins are also weights that drag Christians down. Weighty sins include sins of the mouth, of the mind, of anger, of bitterness, of selfishness, of pride, of lust and of disobedience (1Pe 2:11, 2Ti 2:22).
4)         The writer of Hebrews urges us to take a look at the lives of the great cloud of witnesses described in Hebrews 11. Their example ought to motivate us to lay aside our weights (get rid of them) and run the Christian race with patience (steadfast endurance). Press on! Never quit!
b.         Every weight must go
1)         No athlete will leave on just one little weight. Before his event he will get rid of every single weight that could possibly slow him down.
2)         As Christians, if we are going to become spiritually fit and win one of God’s crowns, we must get rid of every single weight in our lives. We ought to daily pray as the Psalmist. (Psalms 139:23-24) “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
3)         Remember, God promises that if we confess a sin and forsake it that we will receive His mercy (Pr 28:13) and be made righteous (1Jn 1:9).
4)         Ridding our lives of all hindering weights must be a daily exercise.
To exercise or practice what is right, we must…

3.        Allow God to Strengthen us (Eph 6:10)

a.         God’s strength will not fail us.
1)         His strength is unlimited. (Jeremiah 32:17) “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:”
2)         He lives within every true believer and he is greater than the devil who is a created angel who fell into sin. (1 John 4:4) “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
b.         We must allow the Lord to help us.
1)         When I preached on this verse some time back, I pointed out that the command is passive. We must allow the Lord to strengthen us. He has the strength we need. He has the desire to strengthen us, but we must cooperate and allow him to do it.
2)         He tells us in the following verses what we must do to allow Him to strengthen us. We must put on the whole armour of God.
a)         The devil attacks by denying the facts. He wants us to believe his lies. He wants us to forget what God has done for us.
b)         Before the devil attacks, we must wear the truth that God has cleansed us (Eph 6:14). We must claim the righteousness that we have in Christ. We must have the peace of God that passes understanding (Eph 6:15). We must have faith that God will protect us (Eph 6:16). We must keep our salvation on our minds, know Bible verses that will defend us (Eph 6:17), and pray (Eph 6:18).
3)         This too must be a daily exercise.

Conclusion: God cares about your spiritual fitness. He wants you to become spiritually strong this coming year. It will not happen by accident. You must have a passion for it. You must develop self-control. You must discipline yourself to do right. And you must exercise unto godliness. 1) Work at it daily. 2) Put off all weights. 3) Allow God to strengthen you. If God has showed you an area of your life that must change before you can become spiritually fit, then you must take action TONIGHT. Do not put it off. Get serious with God. Surrender before you leave this room tonight.

Song: I Surrender All – 394