Spiritual Life of the Leader - Lesson 8

Living Dispositionally

The Lord desires that we live dispositionally. Important elements include loving God, living devotionally, relational strengthening, vocational serving (listening with the intent of following what I hear). Dallas Willard wrote, “If I am a disciple of Jesus, I am with him to learn from him, how to be like him." The primary calling of a pastor is to follow Jesus, within the calling of leading a church. 

Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of the Leader
Lesson 8
Watching Now
Living Dispositionally

Living Dispositionally

I. Review

A. Love God and live devotionally

B. Relational strengthening

C. Vocational serving

D. Temple nurturing

II. How to respond to negative experiences

A. Dallas Willard

B. Calling within the calling

C. When I stop loving God

D. When I stop loving others

E. When self-care for God's sake collapses

F. God made us so that we require rest

G. Satan gets a foothold in our lives

H. Augustine describes God rescuing him as a "severe mercy"

I. The eight deadly sins

J. If Satan would take me out of ministry now, how would he do it?

All Lessons
Class Resources
  • Dr. Martyn has surveyed church leaders around the world to understand their responsibilities and pressures. He aims to use his experience to help them develop a model of ministry that encourages spiritual formation, discipleship, and worship in a healthy way. His class is comprehensive on topics such as spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles, and worship. Listening to this class could benefit anyone regardless of whether they have an official leadership position or not.
  • Christian activism is Christians seeking to be involved in the issues and needs of the day and time. Wesleyans in the 1700's in England sought to minister to people that others didn’t care about. To be called by Christ is to be called into the body of Christ. A biblical model is that every member is a full-fledged minister of the gospel without distinction between clergy and laity. 

  • Mysticism can be described as the direct communication of your spirit with the Divine Spirit as taught and illustrated in the New Testament as a fundamental part of Christian belief. Receptivity means that I am open to what the Lord is saying to me through the revelation of his word, the magnificence of his son and the voice of his Spirit which is consistent with the written word. The church was emphasizing what they were doing for God rather than on first listening to what God wants us to be and then acting. Union with our Lord must come before any type of donation or work (kenosis) for our Lord. (Download the complete text of the sermon by clicking on the link on this page or under the Downloads heading on the class page.)

  • Which do you love more, the Lord or the projects you are doing for him? Is your goal to exalt the Lord or build a personal kingdom? Essence of anxiety is whether or not you can trust God. The question to ask when you begin having feelings of self-pity is, “Is you life going to be defined by how you think it ought to go?”  The blame-shame mindset is that you are unhappy because there is something wrong with the people around you. When you experience these red flags in your ministry, you should recognize it as time that it’s possible that the Lord may be prompting you to make a change in your life.The Mary in you must rest at the feet of Jesus if the Martha in you is to do her work.

  • Essence is who the Lord has created you to be. Biblically, essence precedes existence as oppose to Sartre's teaching that man is no more than what he makes of himself. God has given us the capacity of reception, to be able to hear God’s voice and follow it. The spiritual life that God calls you to live is based on what you receive from God, not on what you do for God.

  • How do you determine if your motives are right in your efforts to serve God? The more gifts and talents we have, the more susceptible we are to self-deception regarding our motives. Resist the urge to make pleasing people your primary motivation. You will never please everyone and in the process you lose sight of focusing on pleasing God. When people have expectations of you that don’t match what God has called you to do, there are times when you must, “let Lazarus die.”

  • God wants us to be faithful to the kingdom and his son and fruitful according to his metrics. What’s the goal and what condition do our hearts need to be in to understand the goal? The Mary in us needs to rest at the feet of Jesus in order for the Martha in us to do her work. Think about when you experienced renewal and think about when you were blessed. When you have received God’s blessing, how has that resulted in demonstrating his hand of mercy to someone else? How are your activities balanced?

  • A canal simultaneously pours out what it receives. A reservoir waits till it’s filled then discharges water without loss to itself. Today, there are many in God’s church that act like canals. The reservoirs are far too rare. So urgent is the charity of those through whom heavenly doctrine flows that they want to pour it forth to us before they have been filled. They are more ready to speak than to listen, impatient to teach what they have not grasped, and full of presumption to govern others while they know not how to govern themselves. High mountain lakes have one stream out and water level relatively constant throughout the year. How is the water level staying constant in your life? Depletion results in erosion of presence, and results in just going through the motions. 

  • The Lord desires that we live dispositionally. Important elements include loving God, living devotionally, relational strengthening, vocational serving (listening with the intent of following what I hear). Dallas Willard wrote, “If I am a disciple of Jesus, I am with him to learn from him, how to be like him." The primary calling of a pastor is to follow Jesus, within the calling of leading a church. 

  • The eight deadly sins are in the order that Satan uses to try to get us and in the order in which we need redemption. Gormandize means you are overdoing it and being a slave to flesh. Fornication refers to a wandering heart and seeking to devour others. Avarice is the love of money and sometimes is a fear of not having enough. Anger is a rancorous spirit. The spiritual cancer of depreciation is looking at the vast horizon of God’s goodness in his creation and my life and depreciating it, only seeing what’s wrong. Psalm 51:10-12, create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.

  • When you experience a difficult situation, how do you begin to turn your focus away from the negative and on to what God is doing? How do you respond when you are working closely with people that don't like you? What do you do as a leader when there is a person that is angry with you and disagrees with how you are leading?

  • The sin of acedia is, “I don’t care anymore.” The sin of tristitia is sadness, wrongly processing suffering and loss, allowing the soul to close in on itself and refuse instruction from God. Tristitia is neither a result of other people or of our outward circumstances. Satan wants to get us off the track in stupid presumption or in sinful carelessnenss. God redeems the hurt that evil has done.

  • In the early church passion was seen as something that controlled you and out of control and leading you astray, not a positive motivation. John Cassion described vainglory as passion to take pleasure in our own qualities. The danger is that we take credit for what God is doing. In pursuit of being popular, we often sacrifice who we are at the core. Pride is the original vice from which all others spring. Pride can develop into functioning atheism. The cure for pride is to have the humility of Jesus in our heart. 

  • Is there a sin that's not deadly? To what extent can you worry about something before it becomes a sin? What does it take to overcome gluttony? The minute you make an exception for yourself, you either presume on the grace of God or break a known law of God. Admit what you are feeling and submit it to God to have faith in him in the situation, then do your part.

  • Instead of gluttony, we see temperance. Temperance means living a balanced life. Chaste love is extending love to others, not preying on them. Poverty of spirit rather than greed. Cultivate meekness to deal with anger. You have been forgiven much so you should be willing to forgive others much. Cultivate faith, hope and love to deal with hopelessness. Cultivate humility to deal with vainglory. Evangelism in the first 300 years a result of the quality of the lives of disciples as they lived in a hostile environment. 

  • A transcendent crisis is yearning for the “more than.” “Is life meaningful?” “Is God good?” Can I trust my life to God or have I been abandoned by God? An idolatry crisis happens when you run after a passion rather than pursue God. Each person in your sphere of influence is going through crises in their own lives. God can use a crisis to help something in us die so we can experience and share the light of Christ.

  • To feed the 5,000, the disciples had to rely on Jesus because they didn’t have the resources. Jesus walked out on the water to comfort the disciples with his presence. The disciples thought they were going to die a terrible death. If you choose to think your situation, the church and others are hopeless, it results in ego desperation, or hopelessness. You see what’s wrong, you think you have exhausted your resources and you see no way that it’s going to get fixed. If you allow the crisis to take you into the life of Christ and dependence on him, it will not destroy you. 

  • It's important for us to understand how our relationship with God is affected by being born at a certain period of time and in a certain society. The vital is the physical dimension of the human life. Vitalism is where your physical pleasures become the priority in your life.  Functional is the roles, tasks and responsibilities we take on. It’s a problem when we allow our roles and responsibilities to define us, which is functionalism. Transcendent is the longing for the “more than.” Pneumatic/Ecclesial level is the capacity the Lord has given each of us to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit, God’s voice. When ambition gets separated from the leading of the Spirit, it can become self-promotion. Functional Transcendence is you using the things of God for self-gain.

  • It's important to keep Christ at the center of who you are. Interiority includes memory, intellect, will. Augustine says will is most important.In addition to our personal thoughts, we exist in community with others who are submitting their lives to the will of Christ. The Lord has placed us in a certain place and time and wants you to live a life of obedience in that context every day, not just one day a week. The Father is seeking to form your life into the image of Christ as you were meant to be. Through our experiences, God forms you into a unique person. On the relational side, this results in compassion for others because we love others with the same love we experienced. God gives us confidence that he has given us the gifts and resources we need to live out the calling he has given us. Competence that our ministry will be effective. Our courage comes from trusting in the strength of the Lord. Community, the work of God’s Church is a work done with others. Confirmation comes internally from God and externally from the community of faith. 

  • If you are following Jesus, you have a role as a leader. If a spiritual leader does not understand what their task is according to scripture, then their spiritual life is not going to have the focus the Lord wants them to have.  Worship is a response of the love that has been shown to us. Worship involves our all aspects of us and is enabled by God’s Spirit. We worship God because of who he is. By looking at Jesus, you see who God is.

  • The Church needs you to present what Scripture says, not your own ideas. Worship means to kneel before someone out of respect or honor. We owe it to God as an act of service to sit at his feet and worship him. Spiritual worship is to place our physical bodies at God’s disposal. Are we leading people to worship God, or just providing religious goods and services to them? Solid biblical teaching is important. Structure follows purpose. We are failing to dig down into the revelation of God and let the revelation of God set the compass. If you are not careful, your program sets your agenda.

  • Movements in worship: 1. kneeling in acts of loving worship. Kneeling in submission before God to acknowledge that you are dependent on him. 2. Exalting God by declaring his worthiness 3. Receiving God’s life symbolized by the sacrament of communion. 4. Empowers us and encourages us to go out and serve. We participate in the fellowship and life of the Trinity. We need to immerse ourselves in relationship to God and let that inform and empower what we do so that our worship service is more than creating an experience or transmitting information. Be explicit about your purpose in worship and include prayer.

  • The elders fall before the throne, they worship the Lord and they cast their crowns before him. Falling before the throne represents an acknowledging of God as absolute deity. What is going to happen in the future tells us what we should be doing now. When we fall down before the throne, our heart condition is inward humility and submission to the Lord. Then they raise up and exalt the Lord by proclaiming his worth. Inward love results in proclaiming what is right, good, just and holy. Taking of crowns is an outward expression of placing everything we have under the Lordship of Christ and an inward movement of total abandonment of everything we are to God.

  • The call of Jesus to, “follow me” is the call to redirect everything in our lives. A disciple is one who seeks to fulfill the will of the father by actively following Jesus the Son while continually depending on the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength. Faith is my trust in Jesus as well as the content of the Gospel. Practice is putting it into play. Catechism is the content of the faith, and catechesis is how you express it. Cheap grace is not biblical because it allows for justification without ensuing discipleship. Primary purposes of the church are to proclaim the Gospel, worship and make disciples. In addition to knowing the content, you must live it out. Clergy need to learn how to make and train disciples. Laity must be fully committed full-time ministers of the body of Christ.

  • Movements that are necessary for the church today to fulfill what God is calling them to do. For the clergy, 1. moving from pastor as the primary minister to each believer fulfilling their calling as full-time ministers in their spheres of influence; 2. Moving from preaching only to not only appropriate sermon preparation time but also discipling a core group; 3. Moving from a priority on numbers to staying with a process that results in mature disciples; 4. From solo leadership to team leadership. Discipleship should not be optional. Old Christendom model is breaking down but confusion on who and what we are called to be. “Is my first aim to make disciples, or do I just run an operation?” For the laity, 1. From going to church to being Church; 2. From expecting benefits from Christianity requiring no sustained effort to being intent on being disciples; 3. From being passive observers to full-time ministers. Primary purpose of leader is to equip the people of God to do the work of God.

  • The sermon is a critical part of the discipleship process. The “through” movement is the process of the “from-to” movement. Each of these steps must be contextualized to your situation. We are aiming for maturity in Christ. As a leader, you love the whole but you only disciple the few. Don’t neglect public proclamation but don’t see that as the end of your ministry. Daily pray, read scripture, weekly services, small groups acts of service, fasting, giving. Discipleship is helping people integrate the word of God into their lives.

  • Tozer says we don’t have the right of choosing Jesus as Savior and postponing our obedience. Dispositions are something that’s part of your daily life. Christian disciplines help us to love God and love our neighbor. Encourage people to seek God’s direction for where he wants them to serve. The biblical model is that mature Christians will live as disciplined followers. Make it a goal for pure love to fill your heart and govern your words and actions.

What do you think the priorities should be for a leader in the Church? How do you cultivate your personal spiritual life in a way that keeps you emotionally healthy and helps you avoid choosing sin? What is your measure of success for your church? How does that compare with a biblical measure of success? What is a disciple? What should the process of discipleship look like? What principles can you learn from the way Jesus interacted with his followers that will help you to encourage spiritual formation of the people in your sphere of influence? What are sins that people in leadership have commonly struggled with over the past 2,000 years? How do you recognize them in your own life and what are some practical ways to avoid them or repent and recover from them? What is the essence of worship? How do you live your life so you are worshipping God authentically in everything you do? How do you lead worship in a group setting in a way that encourages others to worship authentically? 

These are a few of the questions that Dr. Martyn poses to begin a conversation regarding the subject of the spiritual life of the leader. As a pastor for more than 20 years, Dr. Martyn asked and answered these questions in the context of loving and serving people personally. As part of his current position of teaching future pastors at Asbury seminary, he and some of his colleagues have conducted extensive surveys of church leaders throughout the North America and the world to get a better understanding of the responsibilities and pressures that church leaders face every day. His goal is to be able to understand biblical principles and use his experience to help leaders develop a model of ministry that helps them develop their personal spiritual life and give them a model to disciple and encourage the people they work with in a way that is healthy and encourages their faith and practice. 

Whether you have an official leadership position or not, you will benefit from listening to this class. It is one of the most comprehensive classes on spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles and worship that you will ever hear. If you listen and reflect on each of the lectures from beginning to end, you will be glad you did. 

Dr. Stephen Martyn

Spiritual Life of a Leader


Living Dispositionally

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] Want to welcome everyone back. And I particularly want to say thank you to those who are in our studio audience who are praying through this presentation. Literally, we want to submit this to the Lord ahead of time. This is for Him, for His glory, for his kingdom. Asking Him to send the Holy Spirit to guide and direct and even to prevent a falling off of any cliff this morning. No one speakers the way the truth in the life, only Jesus. And so we want to depend upon him today. Heavenly Father, we bow humbly in our hearts, asking for your help. For those who are listening, I ask in your mighty name that you will speak words of life in freedom this day. Lord, I pray that you will literally direct my steps, direct my thoughts. Hand me in on the right and on the left with your protective care. Give me your strength this day to proclaim your praise. And for all of us, we ask for your help. To be women and men of Thanksgiving and praise. And we ask this in Jesus name a man. What I'd like to do is review the last several sessions and just to make sure we're okay, We're that you're picking up on the major outline of what I'm doing and on the content and seeing it. So we really talked yesterday and gave the illustration about the big rocks and big rocks, or are the those elements of life that need to be in place in our lives on a daily basis. It's what we love, it's what we cherish, and gave the illustration of of my son brushing his teeth as a seven year old. He'd brush his teeth seven times on Saturday and count it good for the week, you know, but that's not a disposition.


[00:02:15] And so what we're what we're asking for and I thought, well, what the Lord is asking for is, is disposition. All living and disposition says, this is who I am, this is what I'm about on a daily basis. And understanding those big rocks, I, I suggested the big rocks are not going to always be the same for everybody, but that there are some fairly historic, basic Christian big rocks. And so let's just summarize them real quickly right here. One of the first has got to be loving to love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and all your strength. And I'm kind of shortening that to devotional living. Now, keep in mind, I didn't say devotional time, but devotional living where ideally will allow the Holy Spirit to get us to a point of content to be people of continual prayer with prayer is literally our living. So this devotional living is fulfilling the great commandment of loving God. And then clearly another big rock has got to be this issue of relational strengthening. I grew up in a day and in a time and in a culture and in a locale where it was quite common for me to leave my house 6 to 630. Sometimes earlier, I would be out on the range, quite literally all day long, either riding a horse or a four wheel drive, pick up running fence lines or plowing. And it was normative for me to never see another human being during the day. And to be honest, I rather loved that kind of life. However, when the Lord Jesus got a hold of my life, I realized that you cannot live in isolation from others. And so yesterday we talked about the kingdom being a we plural to be we, not a me.


[00:04:58] So this whole business. Of living in in Christian community with one another. Talked about how Jesus spoke to the crowds. Huge masses. But he lived in community with just a few. Maybe there might have even been up to 150 close disciples following, but certainly we know the 12. And then within the 12 there was the words the three. Yeah, I mean. So if our Lord modeled that type of community for us, then there's got to be something there not just to talk about, but to emulate. To live. To live in this type of ongoing community with others. Or I don't know if you're familiar with the name Howard Hendricks or not. Howard is in the kingdom now in heaven, but he was a famous professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. And Howard Hendricks would would say, okay, all of us need a what? A pall over us. Someone who's disciple in us. All of us need who beside us, Barnabas beside us. And then all of us need who that were Timothy that were raised in Up in the faith is loved love. Howard Hendricks So we're walking together as families, literally. We are. We are the family of God. And so this whole business here of relational strengthening is fulfilling the second half of the commandment, first half loving God, second half loving others. So we're we're living this out, loving others. Clearly a big rock has got to be this issue of vocational serving valkyrae to call to call to call. The Lord calls and he asks for obedience. Obedience, obedience comes from the in the Latin. It comes from two words put together audio, audio or diary to listen. You put the robe in front of it and that, that and it comes out.


[00:07:29] It's obedience. So I'm listening with the intent of following what I hear. And so vocation really has a fairly broad meaning to it, a lot broader then than what we commonly tend to think of today. Really vocation. Ultimately this was approximately and immediately is is following Jesus and it is serving God's kingdom. So we're going to we're going to I want to talk a little bit more about this here in in a bit. So then we talked a little bit, not a lot, but some about temple nurturing. If you are the body of Christ and if your life is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, then clearly it's to be honored. For God's sake, we love, we love God. We love others in that order. And it's okay to say that we were called to love ourselves for the sake of God. Now that can get really messed up really quick. If you love yourself for the sake of yourself not talking about that. But we're talking about. So really, we're talking about a responsible sense of self care. Why? So that I can be healthy, wealthy, whatever. Know a responsible sense of self care, for God's sake. It's so important to qualify what we're talking about now. Loving God, loving others. The great commandment serving this whole deal, vocational serving. That's founded on what the great commission that we are to go. We are literally to go into the world of temple nurturing rests on the fourth commandment. And so you could turn into Exodus and find the fourth commandment and be blessed with with understanding that, you know, there's there's a time to work. There's a time to be engaged. And then there's a time for what? Yeah. I mean, rest for Sabbath.


[00:10:25] So the best of of of the Christian tradition, a tradition is kind of a loaded word. It can, if you look at the tradition of man is talked about that that can be really negative but but traditions of beautiful word in that we've got 2000 years of people really trying to faithfully follow Jesus and we don't we don't toss that 2000 years out the window. Our the best of our tradition, the Christian tradition tells us that when these big rock are in place and then others that we talked about yesterday, then the reservoir of our lives that's filled by the Holy Spirit really maintains a fairly steady level. And we're giving then and serving out of the overflow without draining our basic relationship with Christ. We're in other words, we're that relationship of love with the Lord of love with others relationship are really seeking to be vocationally obedient. That that big rock of taking care of ourselves for the sake of the Lord, you know, that that that just creates a reservoir of God's love in our lives and that allows us to be present to others. It allows us to truly minister out of a sense of God's presence in literally God's word, within speaking to others. And it allows us to speak into the situations where we are placed, circumstances that we find ourselves in, and it's overflow. Remember, there's one stream coming out of it, a whole bunch of streams coming into it, but one primary stream coming out of it and it's year round. There's a ebb and flow to all things, but it's it's year round, so. We're doing these things. We're doing these things out of faithfulness to Christ. Out of gratitude for Him. Now, what happens then? What happens if some negatives get get a hold of us? What happens? Well, we need to look at that.


[00:13:26] We need to be aware that things can go awry very, very quickly. That's why I want to do everything I can before we before we look at how that reservoir can can drop so quickly. Let me just sum it up before we talk about how it can drop. Probably most of you are familiar with the name Dallas Willard. He just went on to Glory and he was a philosophy professor at Southern Cal, but an amazing man of God, an amazing biblical scholar, really. I think he's one of the great prophets of this day and age. He wrote a text entitled The Divine Conspiracy. I think it was. He wrote it in the late nineties. It took me a year to work my way through that text. It was just so packed with the goodness of God. Clearly, it's one of the all star text that I've ever read. So Willard said this on page 276 of the Divine Conspiracy to follow here meant in the first place. In other words, to follow Jesus meant in the first place to be with him. Will wrote, If I am Jesus disciple, that means I am with him to learn from him how to be like him. Don't you love him? If I'm going to follow after Christ, if I'm going to be Jesus disciple, if I am Jesus disciple, he wrote, that means I am with him to learn from him how to be like him. And so all of these are facilitating conditions that help us to be with him, to learn from him how to be like him. Now, let me just say another thing, particularly, especially for those of you who are in pastoral ministry, in other words. Now, I know that not all of you are going to be leaders or are leaders of congregations.


[00:15:55] And thank God we don't want everybody to be a leader of a congregation. Let me just tell you from personal experience of having done that for nearly three decades, that it's not an easy calling in this day and age at all. But part of the big rocks for anyone working in the church, whether you're a pastor, a youth minister, worship leader, huge part of the big rocks for leadership in the local church is realizing there's really a calling within the calling. Now, what in the world are you talking about calling within the calling? Well, I don't want to trip anybody up with any kind of tricky language, but what we pastor types tend to think of as our primary calling is to be pastors. And indeed, we held up a book and recommended a book yesterday on that type of calling by Eugene Peterson. And there really is a vocational calling there. But I need you to hear about the calling within the calling. There's a deeper calling. There's a deeper truth. More than likely, most of us will not be pastors all of our lives. More than likely we will retire. But here's the calling within the calling my primary calling, My primary calling. And I refer to us Guinness here. My primary calling is to follow Jesus. And I'm doing that within another calling of leading the church. But if I. I get my primary calling the following Jesus confused and I put my my functional calling of being a youth minister or worship leader, children's leader or lead pastor thinking. That's the primary calling of my life. I'm setting myself up for not only disappointment but huge collapse. Now my primary calling is to follow Christ, to submit my life to Him, to be his either man or his woman, his child, and to be like him.


[00:18:41] And he may move me into one particular outlet for that or another particular outlet for that. But wherever he moves me, if I miss this primary calling, then I'm going to mess up secondary callings to position to place to particular time in a particular time making sense here, kind of looking at my studio audience to make sure here primary secondary, don't get them mixed up. Being a pastor's secondary calling. It's just like people of my students will always start out mostly out of respect, I think, by calling me Dr. Martin. And in the very first session of class, I just look at them and say, Now look, I need to share with you. I really don't think we will call very many people Doctor in heaven. Maybe some. I'm not real sure we'll find out. But even if we do call somebody doctor in heaven, pretty sure I won't be in that. Right? So let's just. Let's get rid of pretenses titles. And so I invite my students to call me Steve. Let's just be who the Lord created us to be. And to do that without pretense and to know that also projects to them that, you know what, I'm a sinner and just as much need of grace as anybody else. I need help and I need strength all along the way to make it home. All right. So let's let's let's just say now that our tradition issues numerous precautions, warning against stepping away from these kinds of things, huge precautions because it says our tradition tells us what will happen is the reservoir will dry up. And and when that reservoir dries up, some really, really negative things start to happen. Let's just let's just look at what what begins to happen.


[00:21:26] So one of the things that begins to happen in in the let's let's do this in a in another color just to to to show the negative that's going to take place. When I stop loving God, then what happens is a Pauline term starts to kick in. It's a it's a really it's a terrible Pauline term. It's it's the term Azerbaijan and it's false worshiper. No worship actually put a in front of it and I think it means no worship so so what what starts happening here is no worship. And then of course when when, when I stop worshiping the Lord and and let me just say once again, especially to those of you in the church, you know, people do what they assume. They assume because we are in leadership in the church, they assume that we're walking close with the Lord. They assume that we are staying in the word. They assume that we're being accountable to our elders or to our governing boards or to our. Even at groups, bands, whatever you name those small discipleship groups, the people will assume these kind of things and. And what does that make it for? You? Makes it incredibly dangerous because you can go four years without doing any of those kinds of things. And the people will still think you're doing that. Then the slope becomes a rather tragic, rather slippery and rather quick. When when I stop loving God as the leader of his church, when I stop loving others, then what happens? It it devolves into what? Using others. We will talk about this a little bit more today. But. But my heavens are the sheep. They're to be preyed upon. P pr e Why are they there to be preyed upon? Are they there to promote my career or are they there to make me look good or are they there to to float my projects financially, emotionally, whatever, you know? Or are they there to be prayed, pray wide, prayed for, to be loved, to be truly shepherded as Jesus would have them be shepherded, which means at times there's firm words, loving and gracious words always.


[00:24:36] But but it can be firm as well. And we're speaking life into them, not cultural of nonsense, of of of having all things dumped in your lap because you're following Christ. No, we're speaking life mainly. We're speaking the gospel into him. And let me just share. Look, I don't care what tradition you're out of, in, in, in your leadership, what do we proclaim? I mean, when we're leading the sheep, what do we proclaim? Three points, a few illustrations. God save us from that. We proclaim the Gospel. The Christ delivered that He was. He is and he ever shall be. So we hold up the Word of God without compromise. Now, listen, we live in a cultural time when lots of things are being revised. In that sense, let us hold firm to the fact that for us in the Gospel, there is nothing new. It's the ancient word, it's unchanging, it's solid, it's stable. So I am loving others by helping, by being a co laborer with the Holy Spirit in leading them into the fullness of the kingdom. Now, what happens then in a vocational serving when I get my vocations mixed up, Oh my goodness. Then it devolves into a vocation, then becomes of course. What do you think? It's a rat race. I love it. Yeah. Yeah. Another more refined word for rat. Rat race. Courier? Yeah. A courier. That in which basically they're to promote. Who? Myself. In other words, is this thing's ultimately all about me. And of course, in others, including systems and all of that are used, abused. And then when temple, you know, when this whole self care, for God's sake. Collapses. Then either I'm just completely neglecting. Sanity. Now. Now, let me speak. What I consider to be a hard and difficult word.


[00:27:56] And let me lead into this. Let me lovingly lead into this. When the Lord God created me in his own image, He gave me a West. He gave me a genetic structure. From the south, western part of the nation of England. So that structure was a tall, skinny is a tall, skinny structure with long, thin face that is genetically predisposition to be thin. Now, within that, does that mean that I cannot break what we're going to cover later? Can I not break this whole business of overeating and we'll get into the early church called it Gorme dies in that terrible word. Gorme dies, and we'll explain that later. But does that not mean that that I can be a glutton? Cause I can be a glutton. I just happen to be, you know, genetically predisposed with a skinny body. So, you know, the one thing I can say that my wife and I can certainly say it did produce some beautiful children and beautiful tall girls that we love very, very much. I do a lot of conferencing, a lot of conferencing, not just in the United States where I'm working with pastors here globally. Now, pastors just just hear it. All right? This whole business of blowing yourself up through overeating is got to be reckoned with. You know, we're going to we're going to get to it later. I mean, you're you're denying the temple the God created. You're you're destroying it, literally destroying it. So let's just hear a loving word here for us all culturally, whether we're pre whether we're naturally skinny or whether we are naturally predisposed to be larger people. And whatever we do, let's don't put out some kind of nonsense about an idealized body type. Does that not destroy children? How does that not destroy people in the kingdom? We do not do that.


[00:30:41] Yesterday we talked about Thomas Aquinas. And why was he called the Dumb Ox? Because he was predisposition. He was a huge man and he was overweight, but he was used greatly in God's kingdom. So this is here, the word here about nutritional sanity, nutritional sanity. And let's hear the word about temple care that will involve dress and will involved will involve exercise. And you'll you'll add in all of these things that need to be a part of your life. And when we understand that exercise can be just can be a phenomenally godly thing, and sometimes even taking a nap can be exactly what the Lord would want you to do at this point, even if it's just a little nap, you know, because the Lord doesn't want us to to to operate on our own drained, you know, on a gas tank. When the gas goes down and you're getting down to the bottom, you don't know unless it's an emergency situation. And really there's not all that many true emergencies in life. Now a lot of your parishioners are think we'll think there's true emergencies. But, you know, we talked yesterday about sometimes we have like Jesus did we have to let Lazarus die, leave for God's greater glory later. But we're saying, all right, if if my body say we're not do all this, if my body, which is an incarnated soul, is a gift from God, then throughout my life I'm called to take care of it. Now, don't make an idol out of it, okay? It's. It's not like, you know, I'm I've, I've got to to worship it that. That would be deep sin. But I am called to take care and to exercise proper temple care. Now, when these things devolve, when these things devolve, then we can fairly well say.


[00:33:05] We can actually fly to Saint Augustine and we can use Augustine's language he wrote. He wrote to the first Christian. The first really great Christian autobiography was written by Augustine, and he wrote in his autobiography, These words You have Loved Me. Oh, Lord, with a severe. Mercy. You have loved me, O Lord, with a severe mercy. It's in his text called Confessions. Now, a severe mercy simply means when when these things devolve, I'm going to end up in a crisis. Let me give you an example. I will often tell my students, you know, God gave us the commandment about taking the Sabbath rest. And part of the reason I hold out the Eugene Peterson work is because Peterson such a wonderful job of talking about Sabbath and sometimes even sabbatical, taking a sabbatical every few years. What I tell the students, I say it first you get you get some say about whether or not you're going to take your Sabbath day off. You get some freedom in that, but only at first. But then I say, inevitably, what will happen is if you break the Sabbath, you're going to take it one way or the other. But if you break it, then down the road it's going to be determined for you how you take it. You get what I'm saying? You don't take Sabbath then down the road. You're going to be on your back and out of commission one way or the other. That's just how God made us. He didn't. He didn't make us to run on empty. He made us to run, being filled with his Holy Spirit. And he also made us to rest in him and to let whatever work I do for his kingdom flow out of my relationship with him and not be grounded in my own natural abilities.


[00:35:44] See, the more natural abilities I have. In other words, I may be naturally charismatic. I may have long flowing, wavy hair. I'm talking about the man, you know. You know, so cool how you can just sweep it back. I can only dream about such things. But. But anyway, you know, and I may be naturally charismatic, you know, drawing people to me. I might be really smart and. And people just want to follow. Let me tell you, the more gifted you are, the more danger there is of all of this kind of stuff collapsing in your life. It's why I try and try and warn people with people with the greatest gifts. Stand in need. I'm in in danger of the greatest fall. So we don't ever want to promote our our our you know, we just don't want to promote those gifts. We we for you know, we've got one child who's so deeply blessed in worship leadership with a voice vocal capacity. But when I work with worship leaders, you know, I said, listen, listen, you're not there to be the spotlight on the stage. That's not why you're there. You've got to be invisible. You are successful when you point people beyond you in worship. But when you fold people in upon yourself, that's idolatry. Well, all of us, Sir Tim did for that. I mean, every person will face that temptation. Well, it's called vainglory will explicated a little, little bit later. So this severe mercy is is is is a real deal for us. And then what will happen when this stuff collapses? Then we give Satan a foothold in our lives. Just a little corner. My mentor in the faith used to talk about a mini am I in I obsession where Satan gets a hold of just a corner of my life because I allowed it.


[00:38:10] He can't overpower the blood of Christ and he cannot overpower any woman or any man who stands in the Lord. That's not that's not going to happen. But when I allow it, then then some fairly negative things happen. Now, for Saint Augustine, the severe mercy was a very positive thing. It was the crisis that came because, I mean, he was a total heathen. I mean, he was the playboy of the three hundreds. Smart, good looking, incredibly intelligent. He was the equivalent of a professor and he taught upper class Roman children. Now, he was African. He was from North Africa. He was a Berber. But he. He was a handsome, good looking, profoundly gifted man. Total heathen. Does it not say a word to all of us? To all of you listening, Let me tell you. I get. I get more and more every year over the years. I'll have students come in who have been totally rolled by, either by the by the the the flesh, the devil or the world, you know. And yet God's gotten a hold of their lives and they they're redeemed in Christ and they're flourishing. So in the new birth, there is newness and there is goodness in ways that we don't honor. No one's diminished from following Christ to being in the bowels of their hearts and dedicates their life to following him. Yet all of us are in danger of collapse here. Now, the early church felt that it was really, really important to study the game plan of the evil one. We even have somewhat contemporary people who did the same thing. Have you ever read any from C.S. Lewis and particularly The Screwtape Letters or The Great Divorce? That's exactly what he was doing. I think he said those are some of the hardest texts he ever wrote because he had to get behind the thought of evil in order to predict how the evil one would try and get us all down.


[00:40:49] The early church said, basically Satan is going to try and get us in eight different avenues. They were called a deadly sins. And the first person that we know of in the Christian world who wrote about them was a man by the name of vag. And you can look at various. Various of depending on how the Latins translated either Pontus or Pontic as p o in t. I see you as he's the first one who wrote about him. He died in the I think in 399. But the one who really, really explicated them is an early father called John Carson. Now, I need to just share some of my thoughts here, at least with Carson. John Carson is my mentor in the faith. I love the old man, John Carson, and I'm greatly thankful for him. He he wrote the texts we're going to refer to in the early four hundreds. I think he died around 425, something like that. So we're going to take a look at these things. But let me before we jump into let me just say this. The axiom that emerged out of Luke ten yesterday, remember the axiom the Mary in US has to rest at the feet of Jesus If what if the master in us is to do her work? In other words, the Marian US has to rest at the feet of Jesus receiving all that He has for us. If the Martha the vocation, in other words, if vocational fidelity, if vocational fidelity is going to unfold, I've got to be defeated. Jesus not in no worship, but in great worship. It has got to be dispositional. It's got to be who I am, not just one time during the day, but throughout the day.


[00:43:24] But in order to get it throughout the day, normally it's going to have to be in one time as well in specific set times of of being with our Lord. But remember, we build our lives on the theological truths, on the theological truth. Union precedes Kenosis Union with Jesus Union, which Jesus precedes or goes before self donating love for him, Union precedes Kenosis oneness with Christ comes before serving Christ. You get him flipped and you end up in a ditch. And then we rest on the foundational word from yesterday that essence precedes existence. In other words, who I am as a gifted child of God, made in the image of God, the essence of who I am. I'm a incarnated soul. I'm be sold, I'm given, I'm given a I'm and it's it's it's one here. You know, we don't want to buy for anything. The gift of who I am is the major definition of who I am, not what I produce, not what I do, not what I accomplish. We do all of those things for God's glory. And Jesus said, Hey, you'll even be doing greater things. I mean, how inconceivable is that? So we we serve, we work, we follow. We want to see not only fidelity but fruitfulness. But the fruitfulness is meant to give praise to God not to define who I am. Do you see how it gives us freedom then, for true vocational fidelity? Now, how we're going to take a break here. But before we take a break, when you go into these things called the deadly sins, it is not an easy path. But I'm telling you, if if if we're going to triumph over evil, which the church will triumph over evil, then we've got to know the game plan and understand just exactly how will the evil one try and take me out.


[00:46:12] One thing I do kind of to get people prepared for looking at these things is is in either in a small group or or. Or one on one or even personally. Some of this might be so intimate to you can only do it with with yourself. You ask a basic question and say, All right, if I were to get taken out of ministry right now, how would the evil one do it? And you got to be brutally honest here. You can't back away from it. You know, what is it in my life that he's going to hook? What is it? That I'm tempted. What tempts me now? Now the temptations not. Hey, that's all people are to, you know, temptation is common to all people or it's is. And we can resist. But we're given the power to resist, to overcome that. But nevertheless. So we're thinking ahead of time. If I were to get taken out. How would that be accomplished? And then we're going to look at two primary ways that especially hit those in the church, in leadership, in the church. And it may surprise you as to what you think might be the primary one. So before we go into that section, be thinking, well, if I were to think, yeah, what how to Satan get most people out of the church. Where would what would you say? What would you think? But most of all, we're going to ask for covering going through this, that even though we're going to go through a valley here, the Lord Jesus is going to walk with us and help us. So, Lord, we commit this session unto you and we ask for your help, even as we go into the next session on the deadly sins, that it will be your Holy Spirit that will be leading us your name, that will be honored most of all, or Lord your Holy Spirit to break the chains.


[00:48:21] Ask it in your Holy name, and for the sake of your holy freedom. A man.