MOMENTS OF TRUTH

“21 Qualities for Christians in the Bible”

#18 – Self-Discipline

23 August 2020

Good morning and welcome to “Moments of Truth” a weekly broadcast brought to you by the brethren of the Pekin church of Christ located at the corner of First Street and Karnes Court in Pekin, Indiana.

Each week, we endeavor to present a portion of God’s Word to help you to “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). We also cordially invite you to come and study God’s Word with us. We have Bible Classes for all ages at 9:45. We also continue our regular worship times of 10:30 AM and 5 PM on Sunday’s. All are invited to come and worship with us. We will continue to practice social distancing and use of Personal Protective Equipment and single serve communion emblems with our collection tray accessible for giving. We will also continue to utilize our Facebook “Live-Stream” capability for all our services. Don’t forget about our daily “Bible Point to Ponder” which is also “Live Streaming” on our Facebook Page. We hope you will be able to take advantage of all these opportunities to study more of God’s Word as we continue to go through these trying times. We would also like to ask that you do all you can to remain righteous before God so that your prayers will be heard and answered. James tells us in James 5:16, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

And when you pray we ask that you remember to pray for all men as Paul instructed in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

If you have any questions concerning today’s lesson or would like a transcript, please give us a call at 812-967-3437 or 812-896-6613. You can also contact us through our web site at www.pekinchurchofchrist.com. We’d also like to offer you a Home Bible study at your convenience as well as a free Bible correspondence course. Our desire is to help you with your walk with God.

We are utilizing the New King James version of the Bible.

This is our 18th lesson in our series entitled “21 Qualities for Christians in the Bible.” We must remember our goal is to aid in our growth as Christians and help to develop servant leadership traits inspired by men and women of Scripture. The apostle Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:18, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Peter also tells us to “add” to our faith in 2 Peter 1:5-11, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.” These are just a few of the Scriptures that teach Christians to grow and mature as Children of God. These things aren’t done to make the Christian better “than” those around them but better “for” those around them. As Christians are to be as Jesus says in Matthew 5:13-16, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

You see, the Bible is not only the greatest book ever written, it is the greatest leadership book ever written. Everything we could ever want to learn about leadership – vision, purpose, thinking strategy, communication, attitude, encouragement, mentoring, follow-through – it’s all there. We must be open to what God wants to teach us. We learn from the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 55:11 concerning God, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Three things we must recognize in this text, (1) God’s Word always fulfills His purpose. (2) His Word does not return to Him void; (3) It accomplishes what He pleases and prospers in what He sent it for.

So, for Our lesson today we examine: Self-Discipline: The First Person You Lead Is You.

The hardest person to lead is always yourself. But leaders must lead themselves first before they can effectively influence anyone else. One reasons for this is that it’s extremely challenging to follow an undisciplined leader. Followers benefit from clear direction and planning; otherwise, they feel like they’re at the mercy of the leader’s whims. And this makes them less trusting of their leader. In addition, self-discipline itself is not easy to learn or practice. Followers need to see it modeled by their leader over time and to embrace and sustain it themselves.

What is self-discipline in a leader? It is regular, consistent, ongoing practice of activities that produce a long-term benefit for the leader and the team. It is a lifestyle or habit, not a one time promise or event. Leaders with self-discipline know what is important and why. They have determined their highest priorities. They also know and can explain their reasons for them.

They also commit to goals. They have “drawn a line in the sand” by declaring their intentions either aloud or in writing before others. And when discipline becomes difficult, such as when they are distracted or discouraged, they remind themselves of the benefits of staying the course.

One of the ways leaders maintain their self-discipline is by creating routines and systems for themselves. And they hold themselves accountable for sticking to them. That way important tasks are less likely to be forgotten or displaced by other activities.

Self-discipline is the key to sustained success in leadership. Only leaders who lead themselves consistently through a lifestyle of self-discipline can achieve their long-term goals in the long run. This empowers their followers to reach their potential in the long run, too.

Christians, servant leaders, are to be Self-Disciplined! It is an asset to their service to God. So, Christians must, Develop and Follow their Priorities; Make a Disciplined Lifestyle their Goal; Challenge their Excuses; Remove Rewards Until the Job is Done; and Stay Focused on Results.

To improve your self-discipline, do these three things: (1) Sort out Your Priorities; (2) List the Reasons; and (3) Get Rid of Excuses! When discipline becomes difficult, such as when distracted or discouraged, remind self of the benefits of staying the course!

Today we are going to learn Self-Discipline from the Psalmist, Jesus as He prepares to start His ministry, and advice from the Apostle Paul. Each of these Scriptural examples have been preserved to aid us in our efforts to teach us Self-Discipline. We gain hope from examples like these. Quite simply because these examples teach us to trust in God, in Whom True Hope exists!

In Psalm 119:1-16 we to see where the Psalmist prays for Self-Discipline, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the LORD! 2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart! 3 They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways. 4 You have commanded us To keep Your precepts diligently. 5 Oh, that my ways were directed To keep Your statutes! 6 Then I would not be ashamed, When I look into all Your commandments. 7 I will praise You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments. 8 I will keep Your statutes; Oh, do not forsake me utterly! 9 BETH. How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. 10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You! 12 Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes! 13 With my lips I have declared All the judgments of Your mouth. 14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways. 16 I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.”

From this short section of this incredibly long psalm we get to the see the Psalmist recognize that God has “laid down” His precepts to be obeyed. He respects the God of Heaven, the God of the Bible and therefore the Psalmist declares Obedience. If you noticed the palmist did not just speak with empty words or provide what we often term “lip-service”, the psalmist seeks God with “whole heart”. He goes so far and figuratively “hides” the Word of God in his heart – to overcome sin against God! He means he is embedding it into his heart so much so that it will not escape. He will cherish it and we see the Psalmists attitude toward God’s decrees: he “delights” in them! If only we would learn this -self-discipline and seek to “hide” the word of God in our hearts in similar fashion and “delight” in His decrees! We are so “wrapped up” in doing things our way, and having things our way, we miss the understanding that God’s ways are far superior to ours! Just as Isaiah 55: 8-9 states, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Now let us turn over to Luke 4:1-21 where we get to learn self-discipline from Jesus as He prepares to start His Ministry, “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. 3 And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." 4 But Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'" 5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 "Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours." 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'" 9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 "For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,' 11 "and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.'" 12 And Jesus answered and said to him, "It has been said, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.'" 13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. 14 Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. 15 And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. 16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD." 20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."”

Jesus was disciplined in His knowledge of the Word of God and knew how to use it! Three times he answers the devil’s temptations with Scripture and did not sin against God! Often times we tend to doubt in our ability to use the Word of God to help us in temptations or other areas of life. What we need to do from the outset, as Jesus did, is to lean upon the Word of God. Embrace its instructions and apply them with great confidence to our lives. We need to have the self-discipline as the Psalmist said, to hide it in our hearts and utilize it as we go through this life. As Jesus overcame the temptations of Satan with the Word of god, we too can gain confidence in them as Jesus did and wholeheartedly use them to overcome each and every temptation that comes our way! Along with that, when we have the Scriptures in our heart, we will recognize the possibility of temptation and turn to avoid it in the first place! Sadly, we sometimes think like the Israelites and say, “we got this God, take a break, we don’t need you.” When in all actuality, we are fully dependent upon Him! Now, another area we want to take note of with Jesus and his preparation for His ministry is when Jesus taught in the Synagogue, the Scriptures teach that everyone praised Him! Why do you think that is? It is because He taught with great boldness and confidence. He knew full well His words were from the Father. His words would benefit all those who heard from that moment until today and even on into the future! In Luke 2:52 we read this about Jesus, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” We can gain the same confidence if we will have the self-discipline our Lord had with becoming familiar and understanding and applying the Word of God!

From the Psalmist and his prayer for self-discipline and the self-discipline of Jesus as He prepares to start His ministry we turn to the apostle Paul to obtain advice concerning self-discipline in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”

Paul recognized the self-discipline required to run the marathon that is the life of a Christian, it requires strict training! He also points out the need to be focused and not run aimlessly beating the air, self-discipline is required! He reminds us of those of the past who struggled due to lack of self-discipline! Ultimately the Good of Others is to be our Focus!

As we near the end of our lesson let us recognize The Psalmist knew where his self-discipline was to start, in his heart with the Word of God! Jesus, in preparation for His ministry was tempted “in all points like as we” and because of His self-discipline was able to utilize God’s Word to overcome! He used the same source you and I have been given! The apostle Paul teaches us who “truly” benefits from our self-discipline, all those around us. If only we will recognize why we are here!

So, with these examples of self-discipline and so many others, let us examine our hearts and see if we “measure up” to the level of self-discipline truly desired in us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! The level of self-discipline He Himself had when He was willing to go to the cross on our behalf. His self-discipline aided Him in going through all that He did on our behalf. All Christians need to practice self-discipline in their walk! Our world around us struggles so, because too many true Christians do not practice self-discipline in their walk with God! Let us recognize Whom we serve! The One who cannot lie, would have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. The One who sent His Son on our behalf. Let’s be sure to practice self-discipline with our faith! Our brethren, family and friends, communities, country and world are dependent upon us in our efforts to truly the self-discipline the Lord desires in each of to serve the True and Living God!

So, for this series of lessons we have studied: Character and we learned from David, Daniel, and Harod; Charisma and we learned from Josiah, Peter, and Barnabas; Commitment and we learned from Ruth, Caleb, Joshua, and Stephen; Communication and we learned from Darius, Jesus, and Paul; Competence and we learned from Abraham, Hezekiah and the qualifications of elders and deacons; Courage and we learned from Joshua, Elijah, and Esther; Discernment and we learned from Joseph, Hiram, and Solomon; Focus and we learned from Nehemiah, Jesus and Paul; Generosity and we learned from Boaz, The heart of giving and Paul; Initiative which we learned from Noah, Isaiah, and James; Listening which we learned from Eli, Samuel, and Jesus; Passion which we learned from John the Baptist, Paul and our Great Cloud of Witnesses in Hebrews 11; Positive Attitude which we learned from the ten spies, Isaiah, and Jesus; Problem Solving which we learned from The Shunamite woman and Elisha, Esther and Mordecai and Jesus; Relationships which we learned from Jacob and Isaac, the Queen of Sheba and Solomon, and the Apostle Paul; Responsibility which we learned from David, Jonah and Pilate; Security which we learned from Moses and his siblings, Saul and David, and Nathan and now self-discipline which we learned from the Psalmist, Jesus and Paul. We have learned 18 different qualities for Christians to work on from over 54 examples from Scripture! The Lord has provided for us time and time again these qualities modeled in the Bible for our growth for His Will to be done! It is vital that we take heed and diligently work on our growth! Just as we learn from the apostle Peter in 2 Peter 5:1-11, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Please be honest with yourself as you work on all of these qualities. Avoid arrogance and pride. Remain humble as our Lord was. Remember, Jesus says in Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Well, we come to another end of “Moments of Truth” and we want to thank you for listening and studying God’s Word with us today. We hope that you have been encouraged and will continue your studies of the Word of God. We want to encourage you to listen to “Moments of Truth” again next week, where we will study Servanthood: The Right Heart Will Take You A Long Way

Remember also, if you have any questions concerning today’s lesson or would like a transcript, please give us a call at 812-967-3437 or visit our website at www.pekinchurchofchrist.com. Please visit us on Facebook as well! Remember, we are providing our worship services “live streaming” on our Facebook page. The thing is, Scripture teaches in Acts 20:7, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together…” Please recognize the importance of being with your brethren in worship. We all need to remember Hebrews 10:24, “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works…” So, let’s continue to utilize the habits we developed during the pandemic and make calls, send cards and do all we can for our brethren, our friends and neighbors and our communities. Please continue to abide by the instructions given to combat the corona virus! And please, please, please, pray! Finally, we ask that you please remember, we want to help you with your walk with God.