Sunday Sermon: ‘Getting Fit’ (Fully in Touch With God Through Salvation)

Standard

audio

One of the things I thank Pastor Zack for is that he inspired me to get in shape once again. To be honest with you, I didn’t think I could do it. I thought that I was over the hill. But between him and my wife, the Lord has helped me to lose some weight and I feel better than I have felt in a long time. As a matter of fact, I feel so good that I encourage everyone in our church to take your physical health seriously and to do all you can to get into shape.

Some of you are already in great shape because of the kind of work that you do for a living. But for a lot of us, our average workday involves a lot of sitting and it’s hard to stay in shape when you live such a sedentary lifestyle. Periodically someone asks me how I lost weight. I discovered a simple formula that works: diet and exercise. Or in other words – eat fewer calories in your diet and burn more calories with exercise. That’s simple to say and hard to do, but it works.

Taking care of our physical health is important, but even more important is taking care of our spiritual health. Consider these words from the Apostle Paul:

1 Timothy 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

‘For bodily exercise profiteth little.’ Was Paul saying that we shouldn’t take care of our physical health? Was he saying that all physical exercise is useless? We must keep in mind that Paul also tells us to present our bodies to God as a ‘living sacrifice.’ (Rom 12:1) We read also from Paul: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess 5:23) When Paul says that ‘bodily exercise profiteth little’, he is not say that we should ignore our physical health. Rather he is telling us to keep in mind that there is an exercise program that is even more important and valuable than working out in the gym. Exercising for spiritual health is better than exercising for physical health. Being spiritually fit is profitable for life today and for eternity. Here’s an interesting tidbit. It is from the Greek word for exercise that we get the English word – ‘gymnasium.’ Paul is saying – “get in the spiritual gym and develop your spiritual muscles.’ The Bible teaches us that spiritual exercise will benefit us not only in eternity, but in the here and now. The Bible says:

Psalm 1: 1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Do you want a blessed life? Than learn how to exercise yourself unto godliness. Go to your spiritual gym daily and workout. What does that mean and how do we do it? I’ve chosen to take the word ‘FIT’ and form a little acronym from it. I’m going to use the word FIT to mean – ‘Fully In Touch.’ Over the next few weeks we’re going to consider how to get ‘Fully In Touch’ with God, the body of Christ, and the world around us. We are going to engage in a workout program that will help us become more spiritually FIT. So put on your workout clothes and get ready.

Where do we begin our spiritual workout program? First we need to get spiritually fit through salvation.

I.  Trying to be Spiritually Fit Without Salvation                

I’m amazed whenever I hear someone on TV say – “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” I understand their deep concern and compassion, but I often wonder – ‘So to whom are you praying?’ If there is no God as the world wants us to believe and if we don’t need Him in our lives, schools, or government, and if God is an unwanted intrusion in our lives, than why do we feel it important to pray for those in need and to whom are we praying?

Here’s the bottom line – how can we expect to stiff-arm God all through life and then expect Him to help us in our time of need? I’ll never forget a conversation I heard on TV shortly after 911 between Katie Couric who was then a co-host on the Today Show and Anne Graham Lotz who is the daughter of Billy Graham. Couric asked Anne Graham Lotz how a loving God could allow something like 911 to happen? Lotz replied: “God is a gentleman and He will not force Himself upon us. For decades we have been telling Him that we do not want Him to be a part of our government, our schools or our lives. Perhaps He is doing what we have asked.” That’s not verbatim, but it’s pretty close.

How can we honestly have the hope of spending eternity heaven if we don’t want God to be a part of our lives here on earth?

II.  Being Spiritually FIT Only Through Salvation

We cannot be in touch with God, either fully or even partially without salvation. Consider these passages from the book of Proverbs:

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Many believe that we have the luxury of telling God what kind of relationship we will have with Him. We believe that God should meet us on our terms. Yet the Bible says that except a man is born-again by God’s Spirit, he cannot enter into heaven. (Jn 3:3)

The Bible tells us that we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. (Rom 3:23) There is none that doeth good, no not one. (Rom 3:10) We see certain people and we think – ‘that’s a good person.’ That may be true if we are comparing them to everyone else here on earth, but who are they in the sight of God? Goodness in the sight of God means that we are in a state that is acceptable to Him. No one is in and of themselves good enough to be acceptable in the sight of God. Just one sin contaminates us before God and will keep us out of heaven.

Not only that, the Bible says that the non-Christian is alienated from God in their mind and therefore one of His enemies. The unsaved man wants the least to do with God that is possible. Therefore there must be a radical change that occurs in us before we can be ‘Fully In Touch’ with God.

Ezekiel 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

A.  The Cleansing of All Our Sins

Ezekiel 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

Sin makes us filthy and dirty in the sight of God. Sin is a contamination that defiles us from being in God’s holy presence. The prophet Habakkuk said:

Habakkuk 1:13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and You cannot tolerate wrongdoing. (CSB)

The Apostle John put it this way:

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

Because God is perfectly pure, He will not have fellowship with that which is sinful. The word ‘fellowship’ means – joint participation or intimacy. God will not share Himself with that which is sinful. Therefore, in order for us to be ‘Fully In Touch’ with God, there must be a cleansing.

Jeremiah the prophet asked – ‘Can a man change the color of his skin or can a leopard remove his spots?’ Of course not. Neither can a sinful man make himself clean. What’s broke can’t fix itself. God must do it for us.

Ezekiel 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

How does God cleanse us from our sin? Does He wash away our sins in a baptismal pool? The old song used to ask the question – “What can wash away my sins?” The answer was – “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Revelation 1:5b … Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.

The radical change that God produces is a complete cleansing of all our sins. Our faith in Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross enables God to release us from the penalty of all our sins and to be brought into full fellowship with Him. Salvation brings us ‘Fully In Touch’ with the God who made us.

B.  A New Heart Given Placed Within Us

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

The Bible says:

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Salvation makes all things new for us. The Bible tells us that God gives us:

New Birth (John 3:1-19)

New Heart (attitude) (Ezekiel 36:26)

New Walk (Romans 6:4)

New Song (joy / desire) (Psalm 40:3)

New Name (Revelation 2:17)

New Destiny (Revelation 21:1)

New Strength and Power

C.  A New Strength and Power

Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Salvation brings a newness to our lives. ‘All things become new’ for us. Of the many new things that God give us, perhaps the most important is His new power. Being born again of the Holy Spirit means that the Holy Spirit produces a new life in us through His abiding presence. Actually the Spirit brings the life of Christ to us and therefore we can call ourselves a Christian, not because of what we’re doing for Him, but because of what He is doing in and through us. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…” (Gal 2:20)

CONCLUSION

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Cor 2:9)

Many think that verse is speaking about heaven. Actually it’s not only talking about heaven, but all that God wants to do in our lives – from the moment we receive Christ as our Savior until the day when we see Him face to face. It’s talking about our salvation and our spiritual growth. As one writer puts it – it’s the blessings of salvation prepared by the Father, carried out by the Son, and applied by the Spirit. (Bible Knowledge Commentary.)

God wants us to be spiritually FIT. He wants us to be fully in touch with Him, His power, His glory and His perfect will for our lives.

Comments are closed.