New Hope Notes
Pastor Jon and Cyndi Burgess
PASTOR JON: Chris’ and Christina’s lives are perfect examples of the fruit that we're talking about tonight which is self?control, and what Cyndi and I wanted to do is just unpack a little bit of how we can actually live out what Chris and Christina were living out in their own lives, both in their dating life, being engaged, now married, in the ministry, and all of that. It doesn't matter which stage you're at in your relationship, all of us need this fruit working in our lives.
We want you to know that self?control is the duct tape of your life, right? It holds everything together. Isn't duct tape like the ultimate life hack?
But duct tape may be able to hold things together on the outside, but it's not going to hold things together on the inside. If you are needing duct tape over your eyes because you've been looking at things that you know you shouldn't, and if you're needing duct tape over your mouth like sometimes Cyndi suggests I need, if you're saying things that you know you shouldn't be saying, or duct tape over your hands because you're doing things you know you shouldn't be doing, that's not an outside deal. That's an inside deal.
That's an inside work, and that's why it's a fruit of the spirit and not of the flesh. And self?control really is that daily surrender of our body, our soul, and our spirit to the Holy Spirit. And it's an inside work, and it's something that you and I would probably rather not talk about, but when we talk about self?control being the duct tape, what we're saying is we're going to attach ourselves to the one immoveable thing in a constantly moving world.
Our soul, our body, our spirit, goes all over the place, but there's one who never moves: the unchanging God. And if you have self?control in your life, you're going to be walking out that maturity every single day of your life.
It is not easy talking about our weaknesses and lack of self-control. Governor Felix had difficulty listening to Paul talk about Felix’s lack of self-control. Acts 24: 24-25 says, "Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul talked about righteousness, self?control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, 'That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.'"
There's nothing convenient about self?control. It's never going to be easy. It's never going to be automatic. It's never going to be something that we just wake up and we're instantly walking in self?control. It's got to be a work of the spirit and something that we pursue.
For Paul, there was no compartmentalizing Christianity. It was all connected, the soul, the body, the spirit. The righteousness of God, self?control, and the judgment of God, it was all connected.
The reason why Felix was squirming in his seat was because Felix had stolen his wife Drusilla from the man that she was actually married to. He was living in adultery, and Paul was calling him on his lack of self?control when it came to his sexual impulses. He wasn't comfortable with that.
I'm hoping that even if it's a little uncomfortable for you tonight, that you will come with an open heart because God's about to hand you a roll of duct tape, and He's about to show you how you can fasten yourself to the one immovable thing in a constantly moving world and that is Jesus Christ. We need …
So self?control has to be used with soul, body, and spirit. We need to stick ourselves to God. It starts with our soul. It is an inward work, and Paul actually breaks it down for us how you and I can stick our soul to the Savior. It talks about it in 2 Corinthians. If you have your Life Connect Bible, it's on page 1411. 2 Corinthians 10: 4 says, "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."
Paul was using a Roman analogy where the Romans would siege a city or stronghold on a long term basis and break down the walls brick by brick.
Here is why self?control is so important. Because if our thoughts aren't obedient to Christ, our life won't be obedient to Christ. If our will isn't obedient to Christ, our life won't be obedient to Christ. If our emotions aren't obedient to Christ, held captive to Christ, then we will be held captive by our emotions. We'll be held captive by our thoughts.
God has given us the authority to tear down any thoughts, lies and emotions that prevent us from following Christ. The problem though is that only 5% of an idea has to be a lie for it to work. We sometimes don’t even know the lie has blended into our everyday life. We're letting our emotions take us wherever they want us to go.
However, we don’t have to allow that. But we have to be strategic about it. Otherwise, we will be up and down in our faith. Even at the Bible College we attended, couples we know were not practicing self-control and were giving in to their feelings for each other. They believed the 5% lie that waiting was unnecessary.
The only way to avoid that is to make sure that we are using self?control with our soul. The same disciplines that we used before we met were the same disciplines that we used when we met are the same disciplines that we're using even to this day. Pastor Wayne calls them transferable spiritual disciplines.
Remember, the siege of the Romans was a long?term determination to tear down everything that separated them from their conquest. What if you and I saw the long term? What if you and I decided you know what, we're going to take authority over every area in our soul. We're going to get strategic about it.
No matter what your situation or status, stick your soul to God. Do your Daily Devotions. Don’t only study the Bible, LIVE THE BIBLE!
It worked for us. The Bible is tearing down the lies and showing you the truth.
You have to deal with you mind, will and emotions in order to get a grip on your soul. God wants us to take the low road. In my case, that meant CHOOSING to SERVE Cyndi, rather than serving my pleasures and feelings. This showed her that she could trust me before and during marriage.
That's our responsibility, guys, to lead the relationship in serving them rather than having them serve us. That's going to keep us in a good place.
In regards to your emotions? Don't go. Just don't go. I'm a passionate guy. But I don’t let my emotions rule over me.
Your emotions of anger and lust and all of these emotions that are trying to take you on a trip, guess what, we're always going to have emotions because we're human, but it doesn't mean you have to go with them.
You're not letting the spirit of God reign in your heart if you're letting your emotions reign over your life. You take those emotions, you admit that you have them, and then you submit them to the Lord. We need …
PASTOR CYNDI: When we accept Christ as our Savior, we are saved. We don’t get any more saved as time goes on. However, our soul, body and spirit are continually transformed. If we remain faithful, we will continually become more like Christ. We will always be a work in progress though.
I wish that we also get a heavenly body when we are saved but that doesn’t happen!
Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says, "Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
He's saying to live your life like you're running a race. He's saying an athlete will discipline their bodies. That's what we need to do as well. He's telling them that you're supposed to live life on purpose. You're here for a purpose.
As Christians, we are not supposed to be passive observers. We are supposed to participate in the war that is going on. The war is the flesh versus the spirit.
Paul says in Galatians 5:17, "These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict."
We all struggle and that is actually good because it shows that we are human and that we are still hearing God’s voice. It is bad if we stop struggling because we no longer hear His voice. Struggling is not a sin, acting on your sinful feeling is sin.
There's always a war with what our flesh wants and what the spirit of God is saying to us.
Paul says in Romans 7: 18-19, "I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway."
When I was growing up there were a lot of restrictions put on me in my Christian household that were not put on my non-Christian friends. It seemed that there were a lot of tough no’s in my life. But I understood that saying yes to Christ made my no’s a lot easier – but not easy.
I can't count the number of times I've regretted saying yes to my flesh, but I have never once ever regretted saying yes to the Holy Spirit and what he's directing me in.
And what is your yes? What is the lane that God is calling you to run in? Where is it that God's calling you to be? It will require discipline and it's not going to be comfortable, but it's going to be worth it.
And the good news is that we don't do this on our own. Self?control is a fruit of the spirit. It's a result of our life connected and stuck to Christ. We need …
Philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle and Plato spoke of this great self?control that wise people could potentially have, and the good news is that Christians can have it through the Holy Spirit!
PASTOR JON: So what's that look like when you bring your soul and your body under the control of the Holy Spirit? You are now under the cross of Jesus Christ.
We get to step out of that yo?yo Christianity of we’re up one minute, we’re down the next, and we get to step into this place of solid faith. Romans 8:7-11 says, "The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you then He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you."
I got good news for you tonight. If your duct tape has lost its stickiness, God is about to give you a fresh gift tonight of the fruit of self?control. How does it come? Through fresh surrender and your strongest yes.
What does that look like? I'm going to say yes to God with my soul, thoughts, choices, emotions, body and spirit!