We have spent a lot of time building the doctrinal foundation of the Church, which includes:

Now we are going to start to build on those foundational blocks, and see the how to implement many of these areas. This will put us right down where the rubber meets the road. So if you were planning a trip to Russia, or around the world in a hot air balloon, this might be a good time to take such a trip. On the other hand, we would send you a copy of the message anyway. Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at some very good things, but some very difficult things. This study is a lot like planning a project. The planning stage can be exciting and fun, because you aren’t actually doing the work or meeting the challenges, yet. Then comes the hard part of the project, that is the doing of it. In our study, we have just entered the phase of doing. We must keep in mind the beginning and the finished product, or the doing process might become a little discouraging.

Ephesians 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

Two of the major doctrines of the church presented within the illustration of the Body Concept are those of the walk of the Believer, and the warefare of the Believer. Both are presented as an individual responsibility, yet their greatest value and benefit comes as we walk and war in harmony with the body, the church.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Our life or walk has to be walked as a human in this world. Even though we are in the flesh, must take care of the flesh, and live among those who are flesh, our major battles are not the physical things. Though they can be very troublesome. Our major battles are in the realm of our thinking, our attitudes, and our desires. Some areas within those things can be biggies such as pornography, lust, anger, malice, vindictiveness, etc. Some of those, for some of us can be real big battles. However, the items that make the top of the list of bad things may not be our biggest or most devastating battles. A careless word or a thoughtless deed can turn a person away from Christ. It only takes a little talking here, a little stretching of the truth over there, a little twisting of the facts and the program of the church can be in disarray. Very few churches are destroyed because of conflicts over solid doctrinal matters. Church destruction comes about because of the little things like the color of the carpet, or who sings the solo, who teaches the class, etc. It is over things such as these that churches are split. The work of many churches are constantly hindered by just such foolishness.

I heard one some time ago, and I had to either laugh or cry, so I laughed, but I cried on the inside. “How do I know what’s going on? I don’t attend the exclusive group of the Ladies Bible Class.” That seems like such a benign statement, unless it was given in malice and vindictiveness. Let’s assume for the moment that this was not said with malice, but was said thoughtlessly and in ignorance. In that case, are those who hear such a statement to assume that this Ladies Bible Class is some highbrow group that is attempting to undermine the church? Or are those who hear such things to assume that this group is something they should avoid, etc.?

It is things of this nature that hinder the Word of God from going out freely, in harmony and in unity. Yes, if you don’t attend the Ladies Bible Class there will be things take place that you don’t know about. I would hate to think that the ladies met, and didn’t do anything. If you don’t attend adult Sunday School there will be things you don’t know about. Or if you don’t go to the women’s or men’s retreats or if you don’t attend the workers meetings, or the morning service, etc., there will be things of which you will not be informed.

Often things of that nature are said, and hopefully they were not said with the intent of bringing harm. Even so, the one hearing such a statement would be left with questions about the validity of such an activity. Thereby, planting the first seeds of discontent, discord and division.

Luke 11:17 But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls.

A great deal of time, energy and effort is given by the staff in repairing damage left by just such little things.

Song of Solomon 2:15 Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.

Yes, these things, as small as they might seem, are battles as large and even larger than the outside attacks by Satan. We need to be careful as to what - when - where and to whom we say whatever we say.

Matthew 12:36-37 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
Psalms 19:13-14 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Our job is to get the gospel out to the unsaved, and teach Believers to observe all that Christ commanded. Any thing, any word, any action or any attitude that hinders that Great Commission of Christ is an active part of the battle that sometimes almost overwhelms us.

Ephesians 5:14-17 Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

We have a great deal of liberty in our Christian walk, but that freedom is not so we can do as we please. Our Christian liberty has set us free from the bondage of sin and lusts so we can do that which is right and proper. We need to be circumspect in our walk of liberty. As Believers, we certainly do not want to create more of a battlefield within the church than has been created by the enemy in the world. The battlefield should be outside the church, not within the church. Our walk should be different than that of the world. Certainly we must walk in the flesh, but we don’t have to act like the natural man.

Romans 12:16-21 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. 20 "Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Our walk and warfare often go hand in hand, and both seem strange to the natural man. Just performing the proper actions and attitudes of Christian freedom set forth by Paul in this passage are enough to make the world raise an eye brow, and wonder about our sanity. But then, we are to be a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Titus 2:11-15 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. 15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

If we would allow the grace of God to teach us the things of v.12, and we would learn to live the things of v.12, and we were constantly looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, we would be a special (peculiar) people! Notice v.14, here is one of the main reasons for the redemptive program of God. We are to be redeemed from lawless deed and to purity. We weren’t redeemed so we could act according to the desires (lust) of our own hearts, or as it is so often phrased, “You’ll just have to accept me like I am”. The implication of such a statement is, “And the way I am is set in stone!” God redeemed you “just the way you are”, but has no intention of redeeming you so you can stay the way you are! Through this redemption and this purification, we will become God’s own special (peculiar or unique) people. The reason for the peculiarity or uniqueness is that we are zealous for good works. When you take a status check of your life, do these qualifications fit, or are there some changes needed? If you come up short in this status check, then you are not fulfilling the purpose of God’s redemption, and that is serious business. You need to take care of it real soon like right now!

Folks, the church is not a place for you and your children to be entertained and kept off the street. The church is not a place where adults come to take care of their social needs. The church is not a place to showcase the ability of those who have been blessed by God with those abilities. All of those things may take place in the church to some extent, but the church should be a workshop where your life and my life are being whittled, shaved, pounded, melted, and molded into a life like that of Christ’s.

I hope you have some fun and enjoyment at church, but church is not a place of fun! It is a place of change! Change from what you were and are to what God wants you to be.

Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
chastening = (Greek) tutorage; education or training by disciplinary correction and/or punishment.

It is derived from several Greek words. One which means: to hit (by a single blow), or to sting (as a scorpion).

disciple = (Greek) a learner i.e. a pupil; one who is disciplined.

If the church is a place to develop disciples, as we sometimes glibly say, then we should know what it means to become a disciple, and prepare ourselves for the process. It is amazing how many think that the church is a place to express themselves, have some enjoyment and go home feeling good. If we are to be a group that is in the business of training disciples, then we need to change our attitude and expectations.

God tells us (that doesn’t seem to mean much any more) that the process of becoming a disciple or learning is not joyous at the time, but if we can look to the results of such training, we will see the peaceable fruits of righteousness in those who have been so trained. Let me present you with a scary thought! If those who are properly trained have as the end result of that training “the peaceable fruit of righteousness", what will be the end result of those who fail to be trained in this manner?

This is serious business! We must not be conformed to the world in this matter. The world is enamored with the now, what happens in the present. “Eat your desert first, because life is uncertain” is the battle cry. Whatever the end results of this action might be, the world says, “Worry about it when it comes around, if it does.” God says, that proper actions in this training process will give proper results in those who are trained by it, and only to those who are trained by it. This type of training is more than 500 verses memorized in AWANA, it is more than 12 years of homeschooling, as good as those things may be. We need these and many more programs, but just moving through a program is not discipleship.

Parents are far more shortsighted than their children, in some things. The child comes in and says that the neighbors don’t like them. Or the church doesn’t like them. Or the world doesn’t like them, etc. So, the parent immediately sets out the make the neighbors change their minds. The parent can take care of the church very simply, just change to another church. Then it will be all right for a while. The toy is always pretty good when it’s new. Of course, the world is a little too big to tackle, so we will just have to work around that. The far-sighted child got what they wanted freedom from having to face and live with difficulties by means of proper attitudes and actions. The near-sighted parent never gave a thought to the fact that this situation could possibly be a perfect tool for some real good discipleship and training. Even though the present may not be all that pleasant, through using that unpleasant present properly, the future will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are willing to be trained.

The peaceable fruit of righteousness is what most parents say they want for their children, but through the lack of proper chastening, they provide just the opposite. Of course, the teacher really should have the skill before they try to pass it along to the student.

You want your student to be truthful. What is your attitude and action to real truth-- not the edited version of the truth?

You want your student to be responsible. What is your attitude and action to responsibility -- and how responsible do you require your student to be?

You want your student to have self-control. What is your attitude and action to self-control -- Does the student see your self-control at home, at work and at play?

You want your student to have respect for others and for property. What is your attitude and action in regards to respect of your spouse, your friends, the stop sign?

Spiritual actions and attitudes do not just happen because a person accepts Christ as Savior, is baptized and gets busy in the church. Spiritual actions and attitudes happen through proper, honest, consistent Biblical chastening or training. We say, “Yes, I want to live the Christian, life, and I want to have a family that is walking with the Lord.” The words come easily, but the reality comes through proper Biblical chastening. Most of this Biblical chastening should happen within the home. However, very little consistent and broad scoped chastening is practiced in our Christian homes today. As a result, the church’s ability to make disciples for Christ is severely hampered. Often the very ones who say they want their children and themselves to be like Christ are the first to cry foul when any Biblical chastening is used in the church program.

The church should be the lab and the testing track for the skills learned through Biblical chastening. Very seldom can either be true within the church, because often - real often - the parents who talk the walk, don’t want to walk the talk. The Scriptures teach that we are to defer to one another, that the first shall be last, that we are to be a servant of all, etc. I believe that is fairly well established Biblical principle, don’t you? Remember, the church is to make disciples, and the church should be a lab and testing track for the skills learned in the discipleship process. Right? Now, let’s see, what would happen if we used Pot Luck as a testing track and laboratory for a well defined Biblical principle? What if we ask those at the first of the line, at Pot Luck, to go to the back? Or what if we ask those who are almost always first in line to defer to those who have small children or the elderly? I can tell you what would happen, probably the same thing that will happen by just mentioning it.

Wait one dirty little minute! Is deference to others a well defined Biblical principle? Are we to only teach verbally the Biblical principles, or are we to practice them, also? Maybe we are only to practice Biblical principles when food is not involved. Can you see a little of the problem we face in trying to carry out the purpose of MBF, which is to make disciples? We want the end results, but we do not want the process. We can’t have the end results unless we go through the process. So if we, as a church, are not willing to have the process, there is no need to keep on beating a dead horse trying to make disciples.

Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

We can’t have the end results of the peaceable fruit of righteousness, unless we have the chastening that for the moment is not joyful.

No training is joyful at the time of training, according to the Bible. We will try to make the training as fun as possible, but if we want the end results, we must be trained through the process. That’s not mean! That’s eternal instead of temporal, and it is the purpose of MBF. Admittedly, there are times I feel like changing that purpose to entertainment, because you see, I, too, am in the process of being chastened and that is not joyous to me either. I’m, also, supposed to be disciplining others, who do not find chastening joyful either, and sometimes express that fact in actions and words. It would be a lot more enjoyable if we just changed the program to entertainment. That way we could all go to heaven happy, with no rewards, and stand before the Judgment Seat as baby Christians all decked out in our spiritual diapers singing Do Lord.

How in the world did we get here? We were talking about worship. Such a nice gentle subject, and then all of a sudden, wham, bam, and we got hit with this shape up bit, and do it now. What happened to the church, worship and all that other nice stuff? We haven’t forgotten about the church or worship. The church is a place of worship, growth, service, etc. We have been talking about worship, growth and service, and that is still what we are talking about. True worship is in spirit and truth. True worship is not just adoration of an object, even if that Object is God. True worship is all of that, plus becoming one with the adored Object, which in this case is God (I hope that brings several hours of teaching back to mind).

The process of worship, adoration and becoming one is also our main ministry.

2 Corinthians 3:17-4:1 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, (worship) are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 4:1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.
mirror = (Greek) to mirror oneself. i.e. to see reflected.

This is the only time this Greek word is used in the New Testament. This liberty spoken of here has as its major object that of freedom to come into the very presence of God. The people of Israel did not have that liberty, they were bound by the Law to stand outside of the Holy of Holies and watch another go into the presence of God. We have that liberty through the Holy Spirit. We know, from other passages, that we see Christ, and partake of His divine nature through the Word as taught by the Holy Spirit. This mirror is not referring to the Bible, it is referring to oneself being mirrored, as per definition. From other passages, we have already laid the foundation for this glory of Christ being seen in us (I hope you remember. If not go back and read the messages. It’s important).

The glory of Christ is seen in us. How-be-it very dimly in many of us. None the less, as I am in the presence of Christ, and I see what this ‘ol sinner has and is becoming by the grace of God, I will continue that process of becoming more and more like Christ, and that is real glory. What I want us to see by this short review is that this process is our ministry. We have other ministries, also, as outlined in the Bible, but this is the one on which we want to concentrate our attention. This ministry and this transformation comes through many means. One of those means of transformation is found in:

Romans 12:-21 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Another means, or probably better put, another phase of the same means is that of chastening or discipleship. Both have to do with the renewing of the mind, and both take discipline. Both are a process that yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.

Ephesians 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

No, I haven’t forgotten about Ephesians 4 or our walk. However, we are to walk worthy of our calling. One aspect of our calling is the ministry of 2 Corinthians 3 & 4 that of being transformed into the image of Christ. If that is true, and it is, then we must see what it takes to walk properly so we can “walk worthy of our calling”. Unless we know when and how to walk properly, we cannot understand what follows in Ephesians 4 concerning the Body, the church. For our next few lessons, I would ask of you, please read and reread Hebrews 11 & 12, and Romans 12, especially verses 16-21. I look forward to our walk together, and the peaceable fruit of righteousness that may follow, if we will be trained by it.

© Clyde White, Austin TX, 1998