Dr. E. Dale Locke
Sermon Series: Body Building – Building the Body that Matters Most
Week 1: Spiritual Aerobics
- Share with the group what you are currently doing to try to keep your body in shape and stay healthy.
- What are some qualities/characteristics of an individual who has a healthy spiritual body?
- What are some qualities/characteristics of a healthy church – the Body of Christ?
Ephesians is one of the many letters that the Apostle Paul wrote from prison. He had been imprisoned because of his missionary work – that he was telling people that Jesus is God Himself and helping them give their life to Jesus Christ.
Read Ephesians 4:11-16:
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
- Describe how Paul went from Saul to Paul. To help you, look at Acts 9.
Underline the words, “So that the body of Christ may be built up…” in Ephesians 4 above. We are looking today at Three Exercises of an Aerobically Fit Follower of Christ:
- We Walk By Faith
Read 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NASB):
“…for we walk by faith, not by sight…”
Read the Hebrews 11:1 definition of faith:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
- What does it mean to “walk by faith, not by sight”? How do we actually do that in everyday life?
Just as a parent feels joy when their child takes its first steps, God has joy when we begin to walk by faith in Him. This means we begin to challenge our old assumptions about how to do life, and trust Him that His ways are best, and walk with Him in faith. When discouraging things are happening in our world, we need to trust God and rest in Him.
- We Run with Perseverance
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways…”
- Some of us Christians have “walked” long enough, and now it’s time for us to “run.” What did Pastor Dale mean by that? How is “running with perseverance” different from “walking by faith”?
- Take a few moments to consider some of the “folly-prone” areas of your life that you have not yet been making an effort to apply God’s Word to. What changes do you sense God wants you to make?
- Perseverance = a patient endurance and a refusal to give in. How can we live that out in today’s world with our current problems and challenges? Give some practical examples of what we can do to live with perseverance.
- We Stand Against the Enemy
- How is spiritual “standing” against different from spiritual “walking” and “running”? Read Ephesians 6:10-13 (below) to help you answer that question.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”
- Underline each occurrence of the word “stand” in the Ephesians 6 passage above. What does Paul’s repeated use of that word “stand” communicate?
- Who is the enemy Paul is referring to here, and what are some of the ways he tries to work against God’s work in the world?
- Sometimes we’re tempted to think that our enemy is a person, but these verses help us recognize that behind each human conflict are spiritual forces seeking to stir us up against one another and destroy our relationships. How can an awareness of this help us? What difference does this make in how we “stand” against evil in our world?
- Talk about how we can live with hope and trust, despite the evil in our world.