Prescription for a Balanced Diet & Exercise

Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

ign:center'>Prescription: Balanced Diet & ExerciseSunday, January 3, 2010

Various Texts

Subject:         Disciplines   

Theme:          Disciplines of the Xn faith

Proposition:   The disciplines will help us Know Christ and help us Make Him Known.


INTRO: Superbowl is coming up.  Since the Colts aren’t in it, many who are watching will be doing so for another reason—the commercials!  Have you noticed how the commercials have changed?  It’s not just during the superbowl.  Sometime when you are watching the evening news, count how many commercials are for some drug, pill, cream, lozenge, diet or surgery. 

So much of what these are designed to do could also be accomplished by lifestyle changes.  We get in the habit of quick fixes to symptoms w/o developing practices to support a healthy life.  What we often need isn’t a pill but a change in our habits. 

When your doctor gives you a physical, if there are any problems, you may get a whole truck-load of questions.  One of the biggest will be about your lifestyle. 

  • What is your diet?
  • Are you getting enough exercise? 

Those are two of the most basic disciplines that will keep you healthy.  You need to eat certain foods others (and of course avoid others).  You need to exercise your heart and muscles regularly.  It doesn’t mean you need to go nuts and start training for the Ironman, but you do need to have some basic habits that help you grow and maintain your health.

TRANS:  What is true for our physical life is also true for our spiritual life.  We need a nutritious diet that feeds our souls.  And we also need to exercise our faith, putting it into action.  Both are necessary to help us grow and must be kept in balance with each other. 

PURPOSE:  This morning we are going to look at habits we can incorporate into our lives to help us be healthy and growing spiritually. 

TRANS:  Let’s start by looking at our diet, then we’ll come back and look at our exercise.  Along the way we’ll look at some prescriptions that will put you on the road to a vibrant and healthy walk with God.  But these are not miracle pills or cosmetic surgeries that promise instant change.  These prescriptions are for a change of lifestyle.  These are not all found in one place in the Bible, so we’re going to look at several passages of Scripture.

First, let’s look at a staple of our diet—the Word.


Look with me to 1Peter 2.  Did you know that the several times in the Bible God’s Word is referred to as food?  Look at 1Peter 2:1-3. 

1Peter 2:2-3

 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,

 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

The Christians Peter is addressing have tasted the goodness of Jesus in their salvation.  That’s where it needs to start for all of us.  It all starts when we are born again.  But as newborns we need nourishment.  The simple truths of God’s word get us off to a good start.  Truths like:

  • God loves me, so I should love others. 
  • We need to tell others about our new life in Christ with our words and by being baptized. 
  • We leave behind our sins and start obeying God. 
  • Jesus is coming back one day to take us home to heaven.

That’s the pure spiritual milk of the Word, those simple truths that everyone, even a little child, can grasp.  But the Bible also contains truths that even after years of following the Lord may still seem profound, even hard to understand.  The author of Hebrews talks about this.  Let’s turn in our Bibles to Hebrews 5:11-14.  In the middle of one of these deep teachings, the author of Hebrews pauses to admonish his readers. 

Hebrews 5:11-14

  11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.

 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!

 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.

 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

He doesn’t say milk is bad, just insufficient for maturity.  I’m concerned that many folks who have been believers for years are still on the bottle.  If you came to Jesus a few years ago and are still only using prepackaged devotionals like Our Daily Bread, it’s time to move on to something more nutritious.  It’s a great little devotional, but you can’t grow to maturity if you only drink milk.  You need to also be studying God’s word more deeply.

Daily: Regardless of our level of maturity, whether we are on milk or solid food, we need that food daily.  It’s not enough to eat once a week, only having a good meal on Sundays.  We each need to be in God’s word daily.

Now, for each one of the disciplines listed in your sermon notes there is a place for you to write your personal application.  Think of it like your prescription, that change you need to make to get on the path to better spiritual health.  I’ll put some suggested prescriptions up on the screens, but I can’t decide what is best for each one of you.  You pick which will help most.  Or write in something unique that the Holy Spirit is telling you to do.


  • Set Time – Short Time

Take just 10 min at the same time each day: Importance is consistency to develop a habit.  The time will lengthen once the habit is developed.

  • Get off the bottle

Move on to solid food of deeper study. 

Chances are, if you’ve never done something like this, you’d benefit from a structured study with other folks.  You might choose the men’s or women’s studies that meet midweek with folks from our church.  Or Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) might be a good fit.  It meets every week.  Even if you travel, the beauty of BSF is that every class around the world runs on the same schedule, so you can jump right in with people who have studied the same material.

If you know this is your prescription, but are unsure of the next step, talk to your Conx leader, or catch me after we’re done this morning.  We’ll be glad to point you in the right direction.

Remember, a prescription does you no good unless you fill it!

(TRANS) The Bible is a great way to feed your soul.  But there are more.  Another part of a balanced spiritual diet is prayer.


Prayer is simply talking with God.  “Talking” may be a bit of a misnomer. 

(ILL) Have you ever been in one of those “conversations” where all you do is listen, where you could put down the phone, get a snack, come back, and the person would still be talking? 

Prayer should be a two-way conversation, a combination of talking and listening.  We listen if we think the other person has something valuable to tell us.  If we don’t listen, it’s b/c we think what we have to say is more important. 

(APP)  How important to you is what God’s saying?  I’m not saying, “How important should it be?”  Honestly, how important is it?  When was the last time you spent more time listening to God than talking to him?

Many of us are curious—how do you hear God’s voice?  Or even, how do you know when God is speaking to you?  Look at Romans 12:2

Romans 12:2

2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-- his

good, pleasing and perfect will.

To know God’s will you need a renewing of your mind.  It needs to be bathed in God’s truth already given to us in the Bible.  Here’s a suggestion: Start by listening to what you know God has already said.  Start obeying what you know he’s told you to do in the Bible, then see what new things he might share with you. 

(ILL) Why would you want to share your heart with someone who hasn’t listened to you the last five times you’ve talked to them?  But once you see that they value what you have to say, wouldn’t you desire to share more of yourself with them?  God is very willing to share his heart with those who are willing to listen.

If you want some help in this area of prayer, here are a few prescriptions:


  • Prayer Parentheses

Start and end activities with prayer.

  • Pen & Prayer

Write your prayers in a journal.  Leave room for later notes of how God has worked in response to your prayer.

  • Partnered Prayer

Have someone who will pray with you.  Can even do it with a group.

(TRANS) Both of these first two parts of our Christian diet, the disciplines of Prayer and the Word, can be done both on our own or with others.  But there is one discipline we simply cannot practice on our own—the discipline of Fellowship.



Have you ever heard someone say, “Oh, I’m a Christian, I just don’t go to church.”  Or, “I have church by myself at home.”?   Those just don’t hold water according to the Bible.  Yes, there are some folks who can’t be with us for medical concerns, military service, or other reasons.  That should be the exception.  Look at Hebrews 10:24-25 on the screens:

Hebrews 10:24-25

 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Church isn’t something you go to.  It is not a building or even an event.  It is something we are.  You cannot be the church by yourself.  We need each other.  This verse tells us the reason: So we can spur one another one toward love and good deeds. 

If we are apart from fellowship there are whole sections of the Bible we might as well tear out.  Much of what God tells us is about how we interact with each other.  Take the “one another” passages, for instance.  We don’t have time to look these up, but here’s a summary of a few:

  • Love one another 
  • Submit to one another 
  • Forgive one another
  • Share with one another
  • Live in harmony with one another
  • Be kind and compassionate to one another
  • Stop passing judgment on one another
  • Greet one another with a holy kiss
  • Serve one another

Christians grow in bunches.  We can’t “one another” each other without each other.  If you find a solitary Christian, chances are that person will be spiritually withered.


  • Small Group

Who will miss you if you are gone?  Who will support you if you’re needing comfort or support? 

Sunday morning is a great time to meet people, maybe even do a little catching up, but you don’t typically go very deep in a context like this.

  • Accountability

(ILL) If you don’t know that you will be asked the tough question about your struggle area in the next few weeks, you don’t have the accountability you need.

(TRANS)  But Sunday mornings are important.  That’s probably the time you think most about the last of our four diet disciplines: Worship.


For those who have been following Jesus for a while, those first three disciplines are probably pretty familiar to you.  But worship may not seem like a discipline.  That’s what you do when the music is playing on Sunday mornings.  You might do it in your small group or even in the car.  But is it really a discipline?  Well, you are serious and disciplined about the things important to you.

We do need to be disciplined to prepare ourselves to worship.  The priests in the OT took this very seriously, going thru washings to purify themselves before they came to worship.  God has some strong words for those who were sloppy in their worship.  Now, we don’t need to go thru external rituals to enter God’s presence.  But worship should still be a serious matter.  We should still take time to be prepared when we come to worship.  Practically speaking, we should prepare our hearts and minds and bodies:

  • Don’t fill your mind w/songs or images that will distract.
  • Get right w/others.
  • Get enough sleep the night before.
  • Get here early enough so you get here for the start of the service.  Less distraction for others, gives you time to relax, and leaves back rows open for visitors who might show up late.
  • Lay the kid’s clothes out the night before so there’s less to do the next morning.
  • Turn off cell phones or leave them in the car.

But let’s bring this to where our sneakers really meet the pavement.  God no longer chooses to dwell in a man-made tabernacle or temple.  His dwelling is now in the hearts of those who follow him.  If you are a believer, we don’t come and go from God’s presence--we are always in his presence.  We need to continually be in a state of worship, constantly aware that he is with us.  We already looked at Romans 12:2, about renewing our minds so we can listen to God.  Look with me at verse 1. 

Romans 12:1-2

 1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-- this is your spiritual act of worship.

In the OT they often offered animals as sacrifices.  We don’t need to do that anymore, but Paul tells us what we should offer – our bodies.  Anything we do with our bodies – that is our worship.    The way we sing, the way we engage our minds in the sermon, even the way we serve with the kids, or greeting, or moving tables and chairs.  All of it is worship.  But it’s far beyond Sunday mornings.  It’s also the way we talk, the quality of our work, the way we drive, how well you love your spouse.

I’ve listed worship as a discipline b/c it requires intentionality.  But really, it’s an umbrella over all the other disciplines, over all the activities of life.  Your investment in learning God’s word is worship.  Your prayers are worship.  How we fellowship with others is worship.


Worship: Giving ALL that I know of MYSELF

to ALL that I know of GOD.

It’s a recognition of a reality, followed by the appropriate response.  Recognize who God really is, and give yourself over completely to Him.


  • Be prepared for corporate worship.
  • Practice the presence of Christ.

TRANS: So far we’ve looked at how these four disciplines (Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and worship) help us to know God.  But that’s only half the picture.  That’s only the nutrition, our diet.  We also need to exercise our faith by Making Him Known.  How do these disciplines prepare us to share Christ with others? 



It’s really pretty simple.  If you are really seeking to know Christ, it will be a natural overflow to make him known. 


  • When people see an authentic lifestyle worshiper, they’ll take notice.  You’ll look and sound different.  It will give you the opportunity to share why.  Your life will be an example of what God can do in them.


  • Have the ready answer.  Satan is the father of lies.  Be ready with the truth. 
    (ILL) How many times I haven’t been able to show someone where a verse is found.


  • Prepares the soil and makes you ready.
  • Eph 6:20: Pray for Paul as he shares the gospel.


  • Your group can support your outreach efforts.  Partner in prayer and practical service.
  • Have to be in contact w/lost to make any difference.

CONCLUSION: If you don’t have one of these disciplines in place, take heart.  God can give you the desire as well as the ability.

(ILL) Praying for a heart for evangelism.

This verse is proof that God can do this for all of us.

Philippians 2:13-14

 12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-- not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-- continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,

 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.


We now have the opportunity to put all these into practice in one particular aspect of our worship – Communion.

God’s Word, in 1Cor 11, instructs us on how we are to partake of communion. 

To be prepared for communion we must examine ourselves.  This involves prayer – both listening to God and confessing any sins he brings to mind.

This passage is given in the middle of a passage on fellowship – how to honor one another when you gather together.  It’s important when we examine ourselves that we first make right any relational rifts in our lives.  If we have not yet done that, or at least done all we can to heal the relationship, then it’s best to not partake.

And as we live out these disciplines of relational harmony, self-examination, and submission to God’s word – all as worship – the watching world will see that we are truly in communion with someone they do not yet know.  It will compel them to jealousy and hopefully give us the opportunity to share with them the grace and truth about Jesus.

1Corinthians 11:23-29

 23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,

 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."

 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."

 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.

 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.




Columbus Alliance

(Jan 03, 2010)

Call to Worship: Closer


Worship in Song:
Every Move I Make
Step by Step


Continued Worship in Song:
As the Deer
The Potters Hand



Closing Song: Every Day

I remember at the university where Amanda & I met we had a motto that summarized what the school was all about:

To Know Christ


To Make Him Known

That theme is like diet and exercise; both are essential but need to be kept in balance.  Knowing Christ is our diet, it’s the nutrition that feeds our souls.  Making Him Known is exercise, putting our faith into action.  Both are necessary to help us grow. 

(APP)  Daily Quiet Time: Start small.  Worship, Bible, Prayer, Repeat.

(APP) As with anything important, you should take time to prepare for it in advance.  Go to bed early enough that you will get enough sleep to be alert.  For me, a couple very practical things I need to do.  I can’t watch a high-action or mysterious movie the night before and expect to focus on God in worship on Sunday morning.  Also, I need to leave with enough time that I don’t have to rush when I get here.  If I rush into worship it takes me a while to calm down enough to listen to God. 

We can even help each other in some very practical ways.  Remember to turn off your cell phones & pagers when you come in.  Please leave the back couple rows open for those who have little children so they can slip out if the young one becomes fussy and distracting.  Maybe you could even spend an extra two minutes in the car as a family, praying and asking God to use you to touch someone’s life during your time this morning.

Isn’t that a summary of what it means to be a follower of Jesus?  Love God; Love people—which of course is seen in our actions.

The NT is full of other reasons why we need to be together.  It also has much to say about getting along with each other.  Some of you may have been hurt very deeply by other Christians.  Please, don’t pull away.  It’s tough to get back into fellowship where you’ve been hurt before, but God commands us to.  We need to work thru these things.  The world is watching.

(ILL) Brand Name vs. Generic: We have DT to help you develop the habits.  BSF is a great way to get into the word with folks from other churches.  We have an inductive study here.  Or you can grow your own at home.  The brand doesn’t matter; as long as it’s the Word.

DEF: Discipline: not a bad word.  Some of us think of it as punishment.  Really it’s training.  Sometimes that will include correction.  But why do we discipline?  It’s to help children understand what’s best for them and learn right from wrong.

Don’t get frustrated if you aren’t growing as fast as you’d like, but don’t get comfortable and complacent where you are right now.  The speed at which you grow in these matters is up to God.  But the determination is up to you. 

We discussed this a few months back when we looked at the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4.  If you recall, Jesus was in the desert and hadn’t eaten anything for 40 days.  Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread.  Jesus responded:

Matthew 4:4

 4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

This was a quote from Deut 8 where Moses is reminding the people that they had to depend on God to provide manna every day.  They were only supposed to gather enough for one day (two on Friday) and trust that God would provide for them as he promised.  They needed to learn that God’s word, his promise, was as good as bread on the table.  He is our provider.  We choose to trust his promise over our ability.

For today, who do we trust more, ourselves or God?  Those who trust in themselves don’t think they need to consult God.  They are good enough, smart enough, strong enough… they can do it on their own.  Those who trust God will constantly turn to Him for direction, for strength, for healing.  We find all of that in God’s word, in the Bible.

1Timothy 4:7-8

 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.

 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

1Corinthians 3:1-3

 1 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly-- mere infants in Christ.

 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.

 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?

Hebrews 5:11 – 6:3

 11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.

 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!

 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.

 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

 6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,

 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

 3 And God permitting, we will do so.

Psalm 119:103-105

 103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

 104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.

 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Hebrews 6:1-2

1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,

 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.


John 13:34-35

 34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Romans 12:10, 13, 16

 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

 13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Romans 13:7-8

 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

 8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

Romans 14:13

 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.

Romans 15:5-7

 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,

 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Romans 16:16a

16 Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Galatians 5:13-14

13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Ephesians 4:2-3

 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:32

 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 5:21

 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more