Spiritual Life of the Leader - Lesson 26

Through Movement for Clergy and Laity (Part 2/2)

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.

Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of the Leader
Lesson 26
Watching Now
Through Movement for Clergy and Laity (Part 2/2)

Through Movement for Clergy and Laity (Part 2)

I. Biblical and Theological Grounding

II. Formation of Life-Giving Dispositions

A. Grace is opposed to earning, not effort

B. Mature disciples who are living in the pattern of our Lord

C. A mature disciple will find where they are called to serve

III. Sin Nature Into the Light

A. Within a relationship of covenantal accountability

B. Definition of maturity

IV. The Goal is Spiritual Maturity and Full Participation in God's Mission

A. I am a kingdom person and on mission in his kingdom

B. The purpose of a discipleship process is to allow the Spirit to grow full-blown disciples of Jesus

V. Desired Outcomes of the Class

VI. Questions and Answers

A. How do we prevent situations where we think we are mature but our sin nature is in control?

B. Importance of relying on the Spirit to know how to apply what the Bible teaches

C. Encourage people to seek the Spirit, not try to solve their problems based on your experience

  • This lesson covers the involvement of Christians in societal issues, using historical examples and emphasizing the balance of Christ's work for and in believers, while critiquing modern church practices and advocating for active ministry participation by all members.
  • This lesson teaches the importance of balancing Christian service with receptivity to God's word, using the story of Martha and Mary to illustrate the need for prioritizing spiritual union with Christ over mere activity, emphasizing the consequences of a divided heart and the necessity of both justification and sanctification.
  • Learn to identify red flags in your ministry, distinguish between serving God and personal ambition, and address anxiety, self-pity, and control issues by trusting God and adopting humility.
  • Understand the theological concept that your essence is divinely created and precedes your existence, contrasting this with Sartre's existentialism, and learn the importance of receiving God's guidance over defining your life by accomplishments.
  • Learn to critically evaluate your motives, distinguish between self-serving and God-serving actions, understand the role of community in avoiding self-deception, recognize the significance of Christ's atonement, handle red flags, and balance people's expectations with God's calling.
  • The lesson teaches you to balance spiritual renewal and active ministry by self-reflecting on weekly activities, ensuring you receive God's grace and effectively respond to His directives, thus preventing burnout and sustaining a healthy ministry.
  • Learn to live like a reservoir, receiving spiritual replenishment before giving, through prioritizing key practices like prayer and scripture, and avoiding depletion by maintaining a constant spiritual reservoir and making essential practices an integral part of daily life.
  • This lesson teaches you to live by integrating core Christian principles daily, maintaining foundational practices like loving God, building relationships, serving vocally, and caring for your body, while emphasizing the importance of following Jesus closely and avoiding the pitfalls of church leadership.
  • Learn about the eight deadly sins, their historical and spiritual context, and the importance of overcoming them through spiritual disciplines, while illustrating the consequences of these sins through biblical examples, especially emphasizing the dangers of anger and depreciation of God's goodness.
  • Learn about dealing with inordinate sadness and grief in ministry, understanding the importance of acknowledging suffering, supporting others compassionately, handling difficult relationships with integrity, and addressing unresolved anger constructively.
  • You learn the importance of gratitude, the dangers of sadness and acedia, the need for internal well-being through a relationship with God, and the power of infused hope in overcoming ministry challenges.
  • Gain insights into the dangers of vainglory and pride, the importance of humility, prayer, and community support, and the significance of recognizing God's sovereignty in overcoming self-centeredness and narcissism.
  • Integrating sermon teachings into your heart is crucial, all sins are deadly, and you should submit worries to God, rejoice, and take every thought captive for Christ, using early church wisdom to overcome temptations like gluttony for spiritual growth.
  • This lesson teaches you how to identify and combat the eight deadly sins using virtues like temperance, chaste love, poverty of spirit, meekness, appreciation, infused faith, hope, love, and humility, relying on divine grace to transform these vices into a deeper spiritual life.
  • Understand that crises, whether personal or ministry-related, are opportunities for spiritual growth by seeking God's refuge, understanding forced detachment crises, maintaining healthy life rhythms, and recognizing divine purification amidst challenges.
  • This lesson teaches how crises reveal the light of Christ, illustrating the transformative power of faith through biblical examples and personal experiences, emphasizing reliance on God's resources and presence, and portraying ministry as a pressure cooker demanding quick maturity and resilience.
  • Explore Christian anthropology, understanding God's image in us, and the dimensions of human life, roles, and spiritual longings, emphasizing the balance between physical, functional, and spiritual aspects guided by the Holy Spirit.
  • This lesson continues the study of Christian anthropology through Adrian Von Comm's field theory, emphasizing Christ at the center of interconnected aspects of human existence—interior, relational, here and now, and global life—encouraging balance, cooperation with the Holy Spirit, and harmonious Christian living.
  • Learn that as a leader, worship is central to your role, involving a holistic response to God's love and guidance, emphasizing discipleship, biblical understanding, and aligning with God's purpose through praise and adoration, preventing apathy and enriching your leadership journey.
  • Understand that true worship according to the New Testament is about honoring and serving God alone, avoiding idolatry, and leading a life of genuine service and love toward Him, while recognizing and addressing the major obstacles to authentic worship within contemporary church practices.
  • Understand the importance of genuine worship leadership, personal worship alignment, the significance of historical church traditions, the dangers of overloaded worship services, and the mission to uphold true worship against global falsehoods.
  • Learn about the core aspects of worship in Revelation 4, emphasizing humility, submission, and the connection between future and present worship, encouraging heartfelt adoration and genuine worship practices in church leadership.
  • Learn how a leader's spiritual life impacts their ministry, the necessity of comprehensive discipleship, the integration of gospel content into daily life, and the importance of articulating and practicing core theological doctrines.
  • Explore the dynamic nature of spiritual life and leadership, emphasizing shifts from traditional to transformative ministry, clergy-centered to congregation-empowered roles, and solo to team leadership, advocating mature discipleship and active laity engagement.
  • Learn the importance of integrating sermons into discipleship, focusing on high commitment, contextualization, personal mentoring, and a family-like atmosphere, while emphasizing biblical and theological grounding for a solid foundation.
  • Biblical and theological grounding, genuine discipleship, and the formation of life-giving dispositions are crucial for spiritual growth and active participation in God's mission, leading to personal joy, communal fulfillment, and a global impact.

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
Through Movement for Clergy and Laity (Part 2/2)
Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] Okay, so we're coming back and we're thinking about all of these through processes. And I just wanna do a little follow up here on the biblical theological, the biblical and and theological grounding here. And, and, and I want to look at A.W. Tozer and and what A.W. Tozer had to say about this. He, he, he also has prophetic voice this is a notable heresy has come into being throughout evangelical Christian circles the widely accepted concept that we humans can choose to accept Christ only because we need him as Savior and that we have the right to postpone our obedience to Him as Lord as long as we want out. These prophets definitely scuff our shoes. Do they not know we don't have the right to postpone our obedience? This is where Dallas Willard comes back to mind. I've already mentioned this once, but it definitely bears worth hearing again. Willard then makes this famous quote regarding such reasoning about postponing obedience. Willard says it is quite reasonable to be a vampire. Christian one, in effect, says to Jesus, I'd like a little of your blood, please, but I don't care to be your student or have your character, in fact, or you just excuse me while I get on with my life and I'll see you in heaven. In quote. Ouch. Listen, we completely agree with Dallas Willard that in no measure can this be an approach that Jesus finds acceptable. Spiritual life of the leader press is, does it not? It's not a shallow thing. It's not a you and Jesus thing. It's a deepening of your understanding of God's work in God's church. It's a deepening of your application of the Gospel to those you are called to serve. The call to the church in this day and in this age is to recover the full array of the revealed truth of Christ.


[00:02:41] That's why we've got to have biblical and theological training. This is a why is it you could even go to seminary and come out not being biblically and theologically trained to the extent that it leads you. It just cannot be. It cannot be. And to integrate that truth into our lives, his disciples, and to integrate that truth into the lives of others, the other disciples that we're both preaching to and that were gathering and are having gathered in small groups. You know, as we do this, the life of Christ then begins to emerge in individual lives in these family groups, the life of Christ and the mind of Christ begins to emerge and people begin to be obedient to the gospel. And what happens? Joy happens. And the mission of God unfolds in the world is transformed. Let's go to the fourth atmosphere, then the fourth climate, the fourth even estuary. If you want to even think in terms of of an estuary, what what's an environment here that needs to to unfold? Here it is. The formation. The formation. Of life. Giving what dispositions? Now notice I said dispositions rather than disciplines. I'd be fine with either word as long as disciplines are understood as dispositional. Something's dispositional when it's a part of my daily life. And that's what we're after. That's what we're after. All right. Now, let's be clear. We're justified by faith in Christ as a sheer gift of grace. Nobody earns this. There's absolutely no action on our part that enable us to earn the free gift of Christ. There's some we are called we are called to repent, and we are called to have faith in Christ. Those are the conditions. But neither one of those earn anything. Not at all.


[00:05:34] That's our part of the responsibility here. We're also born anew in our natures are transformed by this same gift of God's grace coming into our lives and transforming grace. We cannot work our way into God's favor. Full salvation is unearned and unmerited, plain and simple. Yet we are called to cooperate with this grace. Here's how Dallas Willard put this. I love how he put it is we're moving from one degree of glory to another. The second Corinthians 318, Dallas Willard sums it up perfectly. He said, Grace is opposed to earning, not effort. So we're called cooperate with what God is trying to be about in our lives. I mean, we are not passive. We're not quiet is the word I should say here. We're not quiet. In fact, the church has condemned quiet ism as not being the way of Christ. Quiet is and just says you step back and do nothing. Nothing. You just wait. So, no, we're not going to go there. We're not. Quiet. This. So there are Christian disciplines there that are called to take that. We're called to take up if we're going to live in obedience to our Lord. We've already mentioned multiple times, but we got to imprint the fact that this is going to be an environment where if I'm going to be in a small group and if I'm going to be a disciple of Christ, then I'm going to get over on this side of this thing in terms of being mature. Disciples. Who are living in the pattern of our Lord. Pattern of our Lord. Think about it. Did he go up into the mountains to pray? Did he poolside regularly to pray to his father? Did he pray in the synagogue? Did he pray the Psalms? Luke.


[00:07:59] Pattern of our Lord. Pattern of our Lord. Did he know the word? Did he explicate the word? Yeah. We're following the pattern of our Lord. Did he go worship? Well, yeah. See, in all of these things. What are we doing? We're taking on the mind of Christ. We're taking on the lifestyle of Christ. Did he live in fellowship in close community with others? Even so much time, even so much close fellowship and had so much fun together sometimes. What did they call him? The dirty name. They called him. Remember you drunkard. You. You just the party guy. Look, we're taking on the nature of Christ in living with fellowship. Enjoy seeing people walking together with people that we love and take delight in. My heavens. What, what? What a gift to us. What a gift. We're talking about life, giving dispositions, all of those things. So we're committed to what we're committed to community. We're committed to devotional living where everyone understands their lives as being completely committed to God in every aspect of their lives. We're on the same page of Scripture every day. We're praying for one another. Every day we're encouraging one another. Every day we're part. We're going to worship together. We're serving together well. We're strengthening all of the relationships that we've been talking about. We, the Christian life, will not neglect home and family. It's got to start there. Christian life does not neglect those. We work with, those we serve with relational strengthening. How are we loving others with the love of Christ? Listen, the whole context of the spiritual life is so important to us where we're meeting together regularly. We're giving an account of how we're doing with the Lord. We're praying for opportunities to share the love of God with others.


[00:10:26] This is when the kingdom becomes alive for us. And then, even throughout all of these formative, the formation of dispositions, a mature disciple is going to find where they're called to serve. And you ought to let that service be determined by God, not by filling needs in your local church. There's no local church that I know of that doesn't have a need for volunteers to do things. And surely you pray that some of the people you decipher will come out and will really be a vital part of the ministry of that local church. But here's the deal. This is it. You get a box, Gotti. And if you do that, you're literally going to box God in. What I have found and what I've seen in what I've seen in history is this If you disciple a human being. Then eventually the impact of that human being will be global, not just local. It'll be global. So you disciple a home builder, a construction person. In Alabama. And several years down the road. How do you know that construction person is over in the Pacific Rim constructing buildings for God? I mean, it goes global. It goes global. Don't hold it back. Yes, we want people serving locally, but God might have a different calling on their lives. So we're asking the question here in this whole disposition thing of vacation, and we're asking, how is each person in this group being called to serve the king and work in partnership with his kingdom and his spiritual leaders? We're always really, really careful to not make our kingdom the kingdom okay. In fact, we will be really careful to say we're not building a kingdom. There's no room for competition with God's kingdom here, none whatsoever.


[00:12:56] Every member, every member stepping into their place of service. First Corinthians 1227. Every member stepping into their place of service. We're also remembering we're asking people to take care of themselves in these things, just like we talked about. What keeps the level of the reservoir of our lives level or temple nurturing is going to be a part of that. We want to model Sabbath keeping and nutritional sanity ourselves, and we want to ask our people to start doing Sabbath keeping and nutritional sanity in the discipleship groups that I did, I led. Over a number of years, and every one of them I put in a exercise requirement. You know, if we're going to follow Christ, we're going to we're going to we're going to be a steward of the temple. And I think of all the transformational aspects, without doubt, this whole temple nurturing thing came back is is life giving, life giving. We're called to nutritional sanity where we exercise self-control. Just look at First Corinthians 925 in that any natural appetite that the Lord has created us with can get out of hand. I mean, it can get out of hand. My daughter sent us a picture over our phone this morning of my little fat weenie dog who made his way into their cupboard and destroyed everything in the bottom of their cupboard. And now we know why my little fat weenie dog is almost as broad as she is. She is as long natural appetite and. But it can't be that way for us. Do not get drunk with wine for that is debauchery, Paul, but be filled with the spirit of Ephesians 518 and warning against living in excessive dissipation. First Peter. Four four where our God is the belly.


[00:15:14] Philippians 319. I may read the word, Let the words speak to you. So we enter into appropriate fasting, we enter into appropriate exercise. What do I mean to stand back from this? What is saying is this is it. The whole person gets redeemed here. The whole person gets redeemed. And we're discipling the whole of our lives, not a part of our lives. All right. So we've got mature Christians who are living as discipline. Followers. Now let's go on to the fifth. Type of culture that we want to to see growing. And that we ought to see thriving. It's an environment. Listen, with all environments, use the leader, set the environments. This is why, once again, to be repetitive. That's right. Jesus repeated a lot of things. There's nothing wrong in hearing something multiple times. To be repetitive, you got to eat what you're selling. You've got to incarnate embody what you're preaching. Here. What we're going to see is we're going to create an environment, an environment that will allow the sin nature to be brought to the light. So the sin. Nature is going to come in to. The light. That is Christ. Now what? What do I mean by that? The sin nature coming into the light. That is Christ. Well, here's what I mean. If. If someone will actually make the commitment and make a covenant with you to be in the Word of God every single day and to be in prayer and then to account, given accounting in back to you as to are they actually doing this and what is the Holy Spirit saying to them, then I guarantee you some things are going to happen. And one of the first things that's going to happen is you're going to find that people will not enter into some of these disciplines, that they just cannot find time to pray and then or find time to be in the word.


[00:18:07] And then you're going to lovingly speak to them and say, well, let's talk about it. Can we can we? You're asking permission from them. You're not shoving it down their throat. And they've made a covenant already for you to ask their permission. So you're loving them and you're saying, you know, how do we need to pray for you to be able to find time, to pray and to be in the word? And we're asking them how we need to be praying for them. And everybody's got a notebook and we're writing it down. And and you let the Holy Spirit tighten the screws. You don't need to do it. And here's inevitably something like this will come back. I just need I need your help. I need prayer. I need prayer to put in maybe ten, 15 minutes today. And and this is going to slip through the cracks. This is going to slip through the cracks. Lo and behold, they got plenty of time to watch television or to be immersed into social media or to do whatever distracting thing. You don't condemn them. You don't do anything. But what's happening? That stuff of bubble up where they're dissipated, it'll come out or and then it will follow who you pray for. And then let's say they come back and they've only been able to pray for 3 minutes, three days a week. You don't say, well you slob, you know, surely you undisciplined dog, you can do better. No, you throw a party. I mean, if somebody had prayed ever in their lives and they're putting in 3 minutes, you're affirming the good work of God at work in their life, even though it may not be at your own pace, at the pace you like, you affirm it.


[00:20:02] This is why it takes two years. You celebrate that and say, right now, how many days next week do you think you can pray You're affirming this, and then lo and behold, what you have, you'll see people start texting each other. They'll start calling each other. How's your prayer going this way? And there's just a certain dynamic that'll take place that when somebody knows that, you are going to ask them how they are doing next week. So a little bit of a motivation to go ahead and do that. Listen, this is basic discipleship and it's not just located in one stream of the body of Christ at all. You saw stuff like this in the Keswick movement. You see, you want to go to one of the great disciple making churches in America today? I mean, you can go to Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and see in their in their groups that most of them meet on Friday night. You know, they're there. They're working in these kinds of things. They're encouraging one another. So in all of this process stuff. You know, people are in all of this discipleship stuff in their process, in all of this stuff. People, if they truly love the Lord and want to continue on, then the road blocks to faithfully following Christ, the roadblocks to loving God with all that we are and loving others, those things are going to come out. We want them to come out. And so they'll be, you think, not in terms of condemning anybody, but an invitation here is an invitation to give the Lord full control of my life. And we hear this word, you know, we love John 316 but I'm telling you, I kind of like John 317 for sure.


[00:22:06] Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world. Instead, he came into the world to make possible a restored relationship with the father. Now that happens through justification. The atonement accomplishes that. He came here to allow us to have intimacy with himself, with the father, and get this stuff taken out of our lives. The sin nature has to die. It has to go to the cross with Christ to transfer. He came to transform our very character. He took on our sinful nature. And then it was nailed to the cross. It was redeemed, it was healed. And in the resurrection, with that kind of power, then that means that I too can have those sins that he took care of taking care of in my life. It's nothing other than full restoration to the image of God. Wesley, put it this way. Here's what it looks like. Pure love filling the heart. Now by pure love, he's meaning I'm loving God for who God is. And I'm loving others, too, not to get anything out of others. Pure love filling the heart and governing all the words and actions. That's your definition of maturity, pure love, filling the heart and governing all the words and actions. Now let's look at a six. And for purposes of this class, a final condition that we set up an atmosphere, you know, this whole it's an estuary where life comes forth from it. It's it's it's the climate that we that we said is the environment that is deep in our hearts. Maturity in Christ and participation in the mission of God guides the whole process here. So what we're going to allow we're going to be we're going to we've got a goal here. It's maturity.


[00:24:40] In Christ. That's going to guide it and then a full participation. Then participation. Which is saying yes. Participation in God's mission. You know, it's. So I'm going to I'm going to grow up in Christ, allow him to grow me up so that I can fully participate in my part of salvation history. In other words, I'm going to be found in Christ so that I can be sent for his kingdom. This is going to guide all of this so that even as the backing up is there is our sin nature. The sin nature is crucified. For some of us, you know, Lord, help us. Takes a while. But this full maturity then is saying I'm going to reflect the beauty of who Christ is in my own life. And normally, you know, we want to get straight in terms of who are the beautiful people of God. Our culture kind of has it all wrong. The beautiful or not necessarily the young, the beautiful, or those who have walked a long, long time with the Lord and have allowed his beauty to entrap them and have allowed his goodness to infuse them. So here now. I mean, I'm an ambassador of Christ. I understand my life. I totally understand my life as one of being a full time missioner. I am still. I am. I am in. I am a kingdom. Person. And I am on a mission in his kingdom. And I am praying that kingdom on a daily basis to come. Lord Jesus, come. Look, the goal of maturity in the Christian life and participation in the mission of God directs everything we do. We don't do this just to have a discipleship process. We do this to see kingdom people come at the end.


[00:27:33] We don't do this in order to try and fulfill what we think ought to be done. We do this in order to take on our Lord leading to see these 12 that He disciple, to see the apostles grow up and go out. So the purpose of a discipleship process, therefore, is to allow the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grow full blown disciples of Jesus. This simply cannot be a program to enrich a person or a service opportunity disconnected from the purposes of the gospel. Discipleship formation is successful when it's fruitful and when it's faithful to both the means and the ends of following Jesus. The goal before us is to grow children, youth, women, men into persons who are actually living in submission to God. The Father while actively following God. The Son through the power of the Holy Spirit. Maturity in Christ is where we are headed. Maturity in Christ. Now, Wesley said, Hey, when this kind of maturity starts coming on, do you know what's going to follow when this kind of holiness begins to grip your life? He would always pair holiness with happiness. Deep fulfillment in ministry. Deep joy. Deep, deep rejoice. Wesley insisted that genuine Christians are happy in God. Rejoice in evermore. They have the witness of the Spirit of God in their hearts, saying that they are a child of God. It's called the assurance of faith. They give think thanks and everything in it and are always lifting up the heart to God, which is true. Prayer and such love for God results in their hearts being full of love to all mankind, he said. We don't have to get into ghetto mentality or too sectarian mentality or two party spirit where one party is totally and completely evil or one nation is completely evil.


[00:30:07] Lord have mercy. We're called to love all people with the love of Christ. Furthermore, the love of God purifies us from evil passions, from what Wesley called tempers as bad tempers and affections, resulting in battles of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering, so that there's one desire not to do our own will, but the will of him who sent us. Well, we've had a long class here. I pray a good class and we pray that the seeds that are sown will bring to fruition fruitfulness that you really haven't even dreamed of. Not to be grandiose, but simply to allow the Lord to work in your life as a spiritual leader. Spiritual leader. You think this is this is where we want to get we want to get in our own lives to where we're highly committed to the Lord and we're living in family is a covenant and we've got our own lives as spiritual leaders. Theologically, biblically and theologically grounded. We're doing these dispositions in our lives. You know, we've got the life giving disciplines unfolding not in legalism, but in joy and in life flowing into us so that the water levels of our own soul are not being drained all of the time. Hey, here you go. Right here, leader of God. We're allowing Jesus to nail this where we got to be nailed. Blessed is the man of God who's got someone who loves them enough to speak into their life where they need to be spoken into. Blessed is the woman of God who loves who is loved enough, where someone she will allow someone to speak to her, where she needs life, where she needs correction. This is these are good things, not not bad things. We want this in our life, not just so that somebody can speak to it, but so that the light of Christ can be put to death, literally crucified the sin nature.


[00:32:39] So that as a leader, as a leader, you are are are, are walking in this this, these these marvelous, marvelous places that that our that our Lord wants us to to walk in so that you as a leader are exhibiting some of the fruit of the Sermon on the Mount. I mean where you are are leading yourself from a place of maturity. And you just go through all of these ways of living in the Sermon on the Mount, and then you come to Matthew 543. But you have heard that it was said you should love your neighbor and hate your enemy. We're not going to do that. We're going to allow the Lord to work it out of us. But I said, You love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you might be children of your father in heaven, for he makes his son rise on the evil and on the good in sins. Reign to the righteous and the unrighteous. But if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don't even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greed only your brothers sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? And then he sums up this word of of where we want to be. Look. Translated first, have the same type of perfect love at work in your life that the Heavenly Father has continually working throughout the world. Be perfect. In other words, come to the end of what you're created to be. Theologians love this great word. Tell us it's the it's the end product. You can get a hold it. Tell us. Just go out and look at a beautiful oak tree or go look at a beautiful birch tree.


[00:34:51] Or if you happen to live in a place where there are aspens. Go look at the beautiful aspen tree. A mature tree of mature oak tree. What do you see? You see stability. You see long term of fruitfulness, you see shade. You see a home for many creatures. You know, there may it may be gnarly at play in places. It may have some scars and Williams cut off, but it's reached what God wanted it to be. We'll have much more with you. This is. God wants you to be at this place of maturity. And what better place to bring you to that place of maturity than where he's placed you in the local church. Lord, have mercy. Are you telling me this is the estuary? This is the atmosphere, this is the environment? God's going to grow me up. Absolutely right where he's placed here. Blessed be the name of the Lord who loves you enough as a leader and a spiritual leader to take you through all sorts of crises. Why? To get you here so that you to rise up and bless and praise our Lord. And then together in the kingdom, we will rejoice forevermore. A man and a man. Questions. What's the input? The reflection here when you're talking about the sin nature. I was thinking about all the stories we hear about powerful biblical expository preachers that the whole time they're preaching, that they're sleeping with their councils and all this kind of stuff. And you know, they are the harsh, deceitfully, wicked. We can rationalize anything. And so you can think that you mature while your sin nature is still in full control. What I was thinking about as you're laying these things out is that it's really the balance of all of these things that we can use as red flags.


[00:37:00] We can think that our sin natures are controlled, but if we're not living in a covenantal structure in our family, to use your words from the other day, if we're getting from someone else what we're supposed to be getting from our spouse, then that becomes a check and balance almost, doesn't it? And I mean, we can convince ourselves that almost any of these is true, but other ones aren't going to be true and they should become the indicators that in terms of the spiritual life of the leader, there's a problem. It's a fair 1,000% fair. I am with you heart and soul. And really theologically, it raises a huge issue. And that is what do you do with the sin nature? Because it's not. Do you repent over the sin nature? No, You don't repent. You repent over sinful actions and sinful movements. The only thing I know to do with the sin nature is for it to be crucified with Christ. And I can't do it. I can't do that. So I pray for the sheer gift of grace, for the sin nature to be crucified with Christ. Now, I think even if God answers that and does crucified the sin nature, it doesn't mean that I still cannot be tempted, even that I. You know, I will stay very humble and most certainly if the sin nature were crucified, I would still need to keep growing in Christ. You know, you don't get to the point where you have arrived, and I would never go around proclaiming it. But I think it's a valid prayer theologically to ask for God to crucify the sin nature and even to to bring it out more. I, I just have to stand with John Wesley at this point of saying that in the new birth, I'm giving everything needful to be an overcomer in Christ.


[00:39:11] I do not have to commit sin. I do not have to be ruled in dominated, and I don't have to live under the guilt and the tyranny of sin. Yet that's in nature many times is not crucified necessarily, right at that point. It can be. It can be. And I know there is theological. Boy, we just opened a whole can of theological worms. Did we ever. So how do we do it this way? We go to Jesus in the Luke, where we deny ourselves and then daily take up our cross and follow him. So the whole point of living as one is crucified is a daily disposition. It's a it's a daily way of living. Yeah. And it's it's I mean, we don't believe in eradication, the sin nature. We don't need to shut the box on that theological question. Yeah. And to fall off of a wagon then to where you go around saying, I don't sin anymore. Yeah. Yeah. Hey, man, I really appreciate what you had to say when you first began the section on depending on the Holy Spirit to contextualize these things in the process. Yeah. Because we can logically make up a lot of systems to require certain behaviors or certain actions. And there's a lot of groups or clubs or societies or different things. Yes, that. Yeah. To do that, we tend to do that. Yeah. Because we want to feel comfortable and we want to know that, you know, to have that feeling of acceptance or, you know, for whatever reasons. But I think that not only is this important for this process, but it's important personally that we understand that that's the nature of how God relates to us. It's a relationship with us where the Holy Spirit is informing us.


[00:41:14] Yes. On a on a daily basis of what He wants us to know, how he wants us to apply, though. I mean, we have the word and there are plain meanings to Scripture, and yet we have things that were written by people 2000 years ago or more. Yeah. That we expect to be able to apply to our lives today. How do we do that? Right. Well, the only way we can do that is to rely on the spirit to apply the plain meaning of Scripture as we live that out every day. Yeah. So as we practice that in our lives, then we need to practice it with the process to as we do that, to contextualize these things, it's sometimes we'd like to know the three steps, but that's not the deal. No, that's not how God works. Yeah. And so if we could do that, we could just depend on ourselves and our own logic to sort this all out. Yeah. And so as we do the process, we need to depend on the Holy Spirit to contextualize us. And that's going to be a moving target all the time. So as we have it ready to go one month, it might change. Three months later to where we're emphasizing something different or we're doing it a different way. Yeah. And so as we do that, that's what we need to depend on, is to act in a way that's consistent with what we know and depend on the spirit to inform that as we go. Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, just to say once again, that's why it can't be a program in a box. It's not a one size fits all thing. The Holy Spirit loves all of us because we're all unique, unrepeatable.


[00:42:59] Yeah, you're right. And we and we see that as a disadvantage sometimes because we want to control it. Oh, but. But the point is that that's so freeing and so awesome that God is going to work with this as a living thing, and he's going to be doing it with living people. Yes. That we are relating with that are also changing. I mean, that's a moving target, too, because we all are. And to think that we can understand everything about ourselves is pretty optimistic. But then to think that we can understand about what's going on with one or two or three or 500 or whatever other people as they're going through their own stuff, we have to is we have to depend on something other than just our own logic and understanding. Good word. Good word, brother. Thank you. Yeah. So from the standpoint of being a lay person who has been a participant in some of these small discipleship groups. Right. What what a lot of times you'll see. I think it's just part of our human nature. But as you're sitting around discussing and you're lifting up one another's needs and everything is someone will bring up a need. And natural tendency is for other people to give you a pat answer and say, Well, I saw this, you know, on YouTube or on the Internet and I think you need to do. This and this and this and try to fix each other's problems or This is what I did. Yeah, this is what I did in that kind of thing. So I think that's a danger. And so what we were instructed to do from the very beginning is don't try and fix one another's problems, but just to try to support and encourage each other and say, you know, the Holy Spirit is the one that needs to direct our lives and to speak truth into our lives versus we're not here to fix each other's.


[00:44:56] Yeah. Well, this is tying into this. Yeah, it's a deep respect for the human person. We don't try to shut them up through fixing them with quick, easy answers, basically. So how do you need us to pray for you about this rather than fixing them? We ask, How do you need us to pray for you? So good word. Other questions. All right. Blessed be the name of the Lord. A man and a man.