Faithlife Sermons


Part 1
“The Wisdom of a Disciplined Life”
Prov. 4: 5-9
Next few weeks we’re going to look at the awesome power of wisdom. We’ll explore:
The Bible places a huge premium on WISDOM.
Whole chapters in Proverbs and passages throughout the Bible warn us against foolish living.
In the passages we just read, the benefits of wisdom are spelled out:
Wisdom will protect you, guard you, make you great, bring you honor, will keep you from stumbling, and will present you with a beautiful crown as your reward at the judgment seat of Christ.
The only option to wise living is LIVING LIKE A FOOL.
One who despises discipline and instruction
Trusts in his own heart over God’s Word
One who ruins his life through unwise choices
Who says, “There is no God.
Who constantly gets into trouble over the words he speaks
And one who derives great pleasure out of doing stupid, destructive things
Fools mock at God’s warnings and take no account at all of consequences.
FACT: You can be saved and still ruin your life—just ask Samson.
You can be saved and still badly stumble—just ask David or Solomon.
You can know the Lord as your Savior and still be the devil’s fool—just ask Simon Peter or Demas.
In almost 30 years as a pastor, I have sadly watched many saved people with great potential squander it away through foolish living.
So today, let’s begin by looking at the Wisdom of a Disciplined Life.
Jesus calls His followers “Disciples.”
The word “disciple” carries the idea of discipline.
A disciple is a disciplined learner and follower of Jesus Christ.
Jesus told His disciples that they must learn discipline:
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him DENY HIMSELF (that’s discipline), and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” [Lk. 9:23]
If you’re going to grow spiritually and achieve the dreams God has put in your heart, you will have to exercise discipline in all areas of lifeyour eyes (what you look at), ears (what you listen to), mind (what you think about), and your appetites (what controls you).
FACT: We all enter the kingdom of God as newborn babes in Christ.
“As newborn babes, earnestly desire the sincere milk of the Word that you may grow...”—1 Pet. 2:2
But there comes a time in the life of every believer when we must begin to cultivate a disciplined lifestyle or we will never grow up.
Paul told the Corinthian church:
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.”—1 Cor. 13:11
Children have no discipline. They scream till they get their way.
They dirty their diapers.
They must be carried everywhere.
They expect everything to be done for them.
But the day inevitably comes when they have to stand up and walk on their own.
They must set aside time to study or fail at school.
They must get chores done by a certain time or experience their parent’s displeasure.
They must “put away childish things” and learn discipline or they will reap a world of trouble.
It is the same with Christians.
Spiritual maturity and disciplined self denial go hand in hand.
The Apostle Paul—the greatest Christian to ever livemaintained a disciplined life and tells us why:
Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! I DISCIPLINE MY BODY like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”—1 Cor. 9:24-27
Here’s what Paul is saying:
Every Christian is in a race.
In this race there is a FINISH LINE.
The finish line is comprised of 3 things Paul mentions in 2 Tim. when summing up his own life just before his martyrdom
His testimony was:
I have fought a good fight—the fight of faith
I have finished the race—the race is completing what God gave you to do.
I have kept the faithstaying true to the truth of Jesus Christ.
That is the finish line! Fighting well, Finishing strong, Staying true.
My message today is that these 3 goals will never be reached without a disciplined lifestyle.
And further, any dream or goal worth having will require disciplined self-denial to achieve it.
So what is discipline?
Discipline is simply doing what you ought to do when you don’t feel like it.
The late Dallas Cowboys coach, Tom Landry, understood discipline.
He said, “My job is getting the players to do what they don’t want to do, that they might be who they really want to be.”
There are three things we need in order to establish discipline in our lives.
First, we must first KNOW something:
KNOW what Jesus did for us.
Jesus’ victory on the cross gave to us the POWER to say NO to the flesh, and YES to God’s will.
The Bible says:
Ro. 6: 6-7This is what we KNOW: the person that we used to be was crucified with him in order to get rid of the corpse that had been controlled by sin. That way we wouldn’t be slaves to sin anymore, 7 because a person who has died has been freed from sin’s power.
The real troublemaker—which is that old nature you inherited from Adam—is back there hanging on the cross with Jesus.
The Bible says we are to “RECKON” that to be so.
So…when you decide to increase your prayer life and that old nature says, “I don’t feel like it,” you say,
The procrastinator I used to be has been crucified with Christ.
When you resolve to be faithful to church and the old Adamic nature says, “You’ve got better things to do.” You say,
The excuse maker I used to be has been crucified.”
When you stand in front of that chocolate cake at Luby’s after church, or the cigarette display at the 7-11, or the new alcohol aisle in the grocery store and the old nature says, “You CAN’T resist that.”
You say, “I CAN DO all things through Christ who strengthens me…”
We’ve got to KNOW what Jesus did for us!
Second, not only must we know something, but we must:
DECIDE something
We must be people of a made up mind.
The Bible warns that, “A man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), is unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].James 1:8
Paul was just the opposite. His motto was “I’M IN IT TO WIN IT!”
ILLUS: When a person enters an athletic contest he goes at once into vigorous training.
He has to get his body trim, his weight under control.
He has to build up his muscles, his lungs, his reflexes, his endurance.
He restricts his diet.
He denies himself.
It’s the same with spiritual things!
Saints, this is not a casual race.
We’re not the spectators in the bleachers.
We’re the runners!
We’re to give it all we have.
We must fully decide we’re “in it to win it, and cultivate a disciplined lifestyle.
Not only must we know something, and decide something, we must also:
PRIORITIZE something
You can always tell where a person’s heart is by examining his priorities.
Jesus made it totally clear that the most important priority for Christians is—the Kingdom of God.
“Seek first (before anything else) the kingdom of God (God’s reign or rule) in your life, and the other stuff will be provided.”—Matt 6:33
The last thing most know is what to put first.
One old recipe for rabbit stew started out with this instruction:
"First catch the rabbit."
The writer knew how to put first things first.
No rabbit, no stew.
And for God’s children—no time with Himno abundant life, no victory, and no spiritual growth.
Wisdom says we must know something, decide something, and prioritize something in order to get where we really want to be.
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