"THE DISCIPLINE OF A DISCIPLE!"
Written and preached by David P.
1 CORINTHIANS 9:24-27
Jesus is looking for disciples. A disciple is a learner, a student, a
follower. A disciple is one under
discipline. Paul uses athletic metaphor to describe his discipline.
Like an athlete he applies discipline. He wants to be a winner, not of
temporal but of eternal reward. If athletes subject themselves to
strict discipline for the former, how the disciple of Jesus ought to
discipline self for the latter.
- THE DISCIPLINE
INCLUDES STRICT SELF-CONTROL:
- Paul uses a figure drawn from athletes, who in preparing
themselves for the games
went through rigorous training. The word for self-control here means
and suggests the exercise of self-government.
- Something will control us. A drug addict is under control of
narcotics; a drunk is
under control of alcohol; often gamblers come under the control of that
are under the control of video games; but a disciple, enabled by the
Holy Spirit and
instructed by God's Word, exercises self-control.
- Self-control in simple terms means:
- Saying "No!" to ourselves when we are inclined to do that
which we know is
wrong. To Titus, Paul wrote, "For the grace of God that brings
appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and
passions, and to live self©controlled, upright and godly lives in
age" Titus 2:11-12
- Saying "Yes!" to ourselves when we are disinclined to do what
we know is
right. James wrote, "Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do
then not do it." James
- Saying "Wait" to ourselves when we are in an impetuous,
impulsive mode in
which we act with rashness and without proper consideration. When
happen to us, we may react brainlessly instead of responding
rationally. Self-control slows us down. A little rashness is
destructive. The Bible says, "Dead
flies will cause even a bottle of perfume to stink! Yes, an ounce of
can outweigh a pound of wisdom and honor." Ecclesiastes 10:1 (NLT).
- A young father was taking his son out in the park in his
stroller. The boy was fussy
and started crying. The father said, soothingly, "Now, Timothy,
everything is okay. Settle down Timothy. No need to get upset Timothy.
Calm down Timothy." A lady
said, "That's so sweet. You are so patient and tender with little
said, "Oh, that's Johnny. I'm Timothy!" He was practicing self-control.
- THE DISCIPLINE
STEADFASTLY PRESSING TOWARD THE GOAL:
- Paul has a goal in mind. Paul would endeavor with strenuous
zeal and strive diligently
toward that goal and to avoid all things that hinder that. The goal is
the prize he
anticipates for his faithfulness. The word for prize in this text is
"crown" literally. The athlete ran to receive a perishable wreath, he
wanted an eternal crown. What
kind of crown waits the faithful?
- There is the crown of righteousness: Paul said, "I have
fought a good fight,
I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the
awaits me©©the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the
will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just
but for all who eagerly look forward to His glorious return." 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT).
No sin in us in heaven.
We are completely conformed to God's
will and likeness there. We are made to be fully righteous then.
- James calls it a crown of life: "God blesses the people who
testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has
to those who love Him." James 1:12 (NLT).
life in eternity.
- Peter calls it a crown of glory: "And when the Chief Shepherd
will receive the unfading crown of glory." 1 Peter 5:4 (NASB).
whatever glory we have soon fades. Fame is fleeting. Fortune is fickle.
we who on earth have humbled self will be exalted to glory there.
- What is your goal? And how hard are you striving to attain it?
Do you allow trifles
to turn you aside? Do you permit stuff to sidetrack you?
- How can we keep going to the goal? Here are some clues:
- "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of
witnesses to the
life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down,
especially the sin
that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the
that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on
Whom our faith depends from start to finish." Hebrews 12:2 (NLT).
- Strip off every needless weight: good things that become
too prior in
- Strip off every sin that hinders us.
- Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep Him in mind, speak to Him
His will humbly.
- Follow Paul's example in his effort to reach the goal. He
said, "I am focusing
all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking
what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the
which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. Philippians
- Focus your energies on getting to the goal.
- Don't get hung up on the past, instead press on toward what
- Speaking of pressing toward the goal, the cheetah is a good
example. The big cat can
sprint seventy miles per hour, but cannot sustain that pace for long
since the cat has
a relatively small heart which causes it to tire quickly. Unless the
cheetah catches its
prey in the first flurry, it must abandon the chase. Sometimes
Christians seem to have
the cheetah's approach to the Christian life and discipleship. We speed
into it with
great energy, but lacking the heart for sustained effort, we fizzle
before we finish. We
vow to start faster and run harder, when what we need may be not more
more staying power--stamina that comes only from a bigger heart. Good
and a good start, no matter how great, yield nothing unless we allow
God to give us
the heart to steadfastly press toward the goal.
- THE DISCIPLINE
INCLUDES STRONG MASTERY OF THE BODY:
- Athletes in training abstained from unwholesome food, wine, and
sexual indulgence. They did not want to be dissipated but disciplined.
"He sets before himself and them
the danger of yielding to fleshly desires, pampering the body, and its
appetites." (Matthew Henry). The words Paul uses here literally mean
- To beat black and blue, to strike so as to cause bruises and
livid spots. Paul
means that like a boxer he buffeted his body to discipline it and bring
control. He would dominate it, it would not dominate him.
- To make a slave of your body. That is, to master it, not for
it to master you.
- Please understand:
- Paul is not advocating, practicing, or condoning self
mutilation or actual
wounding of the body. There is a terrible practice among some people to
themselves physically to vent frustration or anger. Paul is not
- He is speaking of keeping the desire, the passion, the
appetite of the body
under control. The point is, master your physical senses.
- What does that mean to us today?
- Paul wrote, "So put to death the sinful, earthly things
lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust,
and shameful desires. Don't be greedy for the good things of this life,
for that is idolatry." Colossians 3:5 (NLT).
- Peter said, "Dear brothers and sisters, you are foreigners
and aliens here. So
I warn you to keep away from evil desires because they fight against
souls." 1 Peter 2:11
- Scott Peck tells of the time he was riding his brand new
bicycle down a hill when he
was nine. The speed proved to be more fun than he had imagined. He
to lose the thrill by putting on the brakes, so he maintained his
speed, still hoping to
negotiate the corner. The fun ended seconds later when he was thrown a
off the road into the woods. He was scratched, banged and bleeding, and
wheel of his new bike was twisted beyond use. He had been unwilling to
discipline of giving up speed in order to maintain balance around the
learned, however, that the loss of speed is ultimately more painful
than slowing down
to maintain balance. He said, "It is a lesson I have continually had to
must everyone, for as we negotiate the curves and corners of our lives,
continually give up parts of ourselves." That's what it takes to
mastery over our bodies.
"Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the
prize. You also must run in
such a way that you will win." That means exercising discipline. That
discipline is strict self-control,
steadfastness pressing to the goal and strong mastery of the body. In
the ancient games, the athletes
had to swear that they had practiced for a minimum of ten months. They
had to swear that they
would play by the rules and not cheat. They were under discipline. Can
the Lord expect less from
those who follow Him? There's a world of difference between being a
church member and being a
disciple, and the difference is discipline. Jesus is looking for
disciples. He's looking for you. Commit
yourself to being what He calls you to be - be His disciple.
Timothy and Cheetah from emails; Bicycle
from Scott Peck
Return To New Testament Sermons
Return To Discipleship Sermons
Return To Archive
Return To Home Page