Parkland First Baptist Church
January 22, 2023
      • 2 Corinthians 5:17CSB

      • Genesis 17ESV

      • Matthew 16ESV

      • Nehemiah 6ESV

      • Acts 16ESV

      • Genesis 18ESV

      • Matthew 17ESV

      • Nehemiah 7ESV

      • Acts 17ESV

      • Genesis 19ESV

      • Matthew 18ESV

      • Nehemiah 8ESV

      • Acts 18ESV

      • Genesis 20ESV

      • Matthew 19ESV

      • Nehemiah 9ESV

      • Acts 19ESV

      • Genesis 21ESV

      • Matthew 20ESV

      • Nehemiah 10ESV

      • Acts 20ESV

  • Introduction

    Beginning a new series on simplifying your spiritual life.
    Jesus said, ““Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
    There were many burdens put upon the people of Israel.
    The oppressive Roman government.
    Making a living to survive for many was a burden.
    But, the religious leaders put a great burden on the people in following the law.
    They had 613 rules to follow to live a good religious life.
    That was a great burden.
    How would you like to try to obey that many commands just to be right with God?
    Can you imagine the burden?
    Would you even want to be a Christian with that many rules?
    Yet, sometimes I think churches put a lot of rules on people to be a good Christian.
    You must come every time the doors are open.
    You must tithe, read the bible, pray, or evangelize.
    Those are good things that you should do, but not a requirement to be a good Christian.
    We live in a complex world that is becoming more complex every day.
    As a result, everyone feels the need to simplify things.
    It has become a popular way of living - a minimalist lifestyle.
    Some sell everything and live in a van or RV.
    Others get “Off the Grid” and survive on their on skills.
    Most of us can’t do that.
    So what do we do?
    In this series I want to share with you ways to simplify you spiritual life.
    Ways to not feel burden as seek to follow Christ daily.
    2 Corinthians 11:3 CSB
    3 But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
    New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update Chapter 11

    your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

    A Burden of a Blessing

    Does your spirituality seem to exhaust you as often as it refreshes you?
    Have your spiritual practices become “just another thing to do” in an already overcrowded, stress-filled schedule?
    If so, then you need to simplify your spiritual life.
    We should expect part of true spirituality to exhaust us, for it exists not merely for our own edification, but to serve the glory and purposes of God.
    Serving people’s needs, doing good works, taking the gospel to the lost and working in the church are all things that will exhaust us.
    The problem here is when the outflow of spiritual ministry is not replenished with spiritual inflow we go tire and weary.
    Our spiritual life should be the source of inner recreation and restoration because it is the way we most directly experience the Lord Himself in daily life.
    Through our spiritual disciplines (rightly motivated and practiced) come many of the most refreshing blessings of knowing Christ.
    Those disciplines of reading the bible, praying, etc. all help restore our spiritual lives in a day of increasing complexity.
    So, to simplify your spiritual life is not so much about doing fewer things as it is about doing the right things.
    That’s what this series is all about.
    To help ease the burden you may feel in living the life in Christ.
    Jesus we on to say, “Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    Verify Before You Simplify

    The place to start in simplifying your spiritual life is to make sure you have one.
    Did you know there are some people in churches who think they are Christians, but really aren’t?
    They may have grown up in church, or the parents were Christians and think that is enough.
    They may be good outstanding moral people, but they have never gave their life to Christ.
    Paul warned people about assuming that everything was okay between themselves and God.
    It was to a group of people who had shown great zeal as followers of Jesus that he wrote, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
    In Ephesians he wrote them about their spiritual lives.
    While physically alive, they had been spiritually dead.
    But, thanks be to God, “He made alive” by grace through faith in Jesus those who had been spiritually dead.
    When these people were spiritually dead, they probably thought they were spiritually alive.
    They would have imagined that they could have gotten as much out of the practices of Christian spirituality as anyone—provided they had any interest in them.
    And isn’t that what most people think today?
    One sign of being a Christian is the Holy Spirit in your life.
    No one has spiritual life who does not have the Spirit of God.
    And only those you know Jesus Christ through repentance and faith have the Spirit of God.
    How do you know you have the Holy Spirit in your life.
    You feel convicted about sin and unrighteousness in your life.
    You have the fruit of the Spirit exhibited in your life.
    Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

    Rest Your Soul In Devotion To Christ

    IN THE EARLY MORNING DIM OF MARCH 29, 1849, A SYMPATHETIC storekeeper in Richmond, Virginia, nailed the lid on a crate containing a slave. A two-hundred-pound man had folded himself into a wooden box just three-foot-one-inch long, two feet wide, and two-and-a-half feet deep. Cramped in suffocating darkness, the slave endured—often upside down—a grueling three-hundred-and-fifty-mile shipment via railroad freight car, steamboat, and wagon. Twenty-seven hours later in a Philadelphia abolitionist’s office, Henry “Box” Brown emerged from his coffin-like confinement to begin life as a free man. The news of his stunning appearance encouraged the hopes of freedom in countless slaves.
    Everyone is born a slave of sin.
    Through what Jesus did on the cross we are now free from the bondage of sin.
    When we trust Christ and in His work (and not their own) as the way to freedom will find emancipation from sin.
    “Therefore,” declared Jesus, “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
    Do think Henry Brown ever wanted to be nailed in that crate and sent back to slavery?
    Yet, some Christians—though freed from the penalty of all sin and declared righteous in God’s sight—sometimes feel a spiritual claustrophobia.
    It’s almost as though they’ve returned to the bondage that enslaved them before they knew Jesus.
    Sinful choices and activities can cause God’s forgiven people to feel this way.
    If you feel boxed-in spiritually, perhaps it’s because you’ve experienced what the apostle Paul referred to in our verse.
    Look at it again, “But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3, NASB).
    Paul’s readers had been distracted by the message of “another Jesus” (verse 4).
    In other words, men had come preaching about Jesus, but spoke of Him differently than the apostle Paul had.
    Many think that false teachers had told them about Christ in a way that caused them to look less to Jesus and more to their own good deeds and spirituality.
    As they did so, they were “led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
    When that happens to a Christian, his spiritual life soon becomes burdensome.
    He feels “back in the box” of slavery to duties that bring no joy.
    Instead of refreshing and ravishing his soul with the love of Christ, his spirituality seems complicated, unfulfilling—like just “one more thing to do” in an over-busy life.
    And so, if you recognize yourself in this bondage, rest your soul afresh in “the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
    Rediscover or discover for the first time your spiritual practices as the means of experiencing and enjoying Christ and not as a mere checklist of requirements to keep.
    But other readers who feel boxed-in spiritually, as far as they know their own hearts, have kept their eyes on Christ alone, not only to make them right with God, but also to keep them right with God.
    And yet the responsibilities of life have become so overwhelming that even the habits of their spirituality only seem to add to the burden and complexity of their weary existence.
    Spiritually, they’re as dry and rootless as tumbleweed.
    If this is you, your devotion to Christ needs to become more simple and pure.
    And as it does, may you feel the refreshing return of the gentleness and love of Christ in your soul.

    Why Simplify Your Life?

    I guess I should define spirituality in order to simplify you spiritual life.
    Spirituality is the pursuit of God and the things of God, through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in accordance with God’s self-revelation (that is, the Bible).
    Genuine spirituality seeks the things of God, or more specifically, “things which are above, where Christ is.”
    Any spirituality that does not seek things like the will and glory of God in everything, intimacy with and conformity to Christ, and love—and does not seek them above all other pursuits—is a false spirituality.
    Why simplify your life?
    The primary reason to pursue simplicity in our spirituality is to maintain “the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3, NASB).
    Every other motivation for simplifying should serve this one.
    We simplify, not just to be less busy, even though we may be right to pursue that.
    Rather, we simplify to remove distractions from our pursuit of Christ.
    We get rid of activities in our lives, not just get organized, but also that our devotion to Christ and service for His kingdom will be more fruitful.
    We simplify, not merely to save time, but to eliminate hindrances to the time we devote to knowing Christ.
    All the reasons we simplify should eventually lead us to Jesus Christ.
    Are you ready to examine your life over the next few weeks to discover how to simplify your spiritual life?
    I don’t want you to feel as if there are too many rules to be a Christian.
    I want to you enjoy your spiritual life.
    To be filled with the Holy Spirit as your grow in Christ.
    To be renewed in your walk with Christ.
    Commit to simplifying your life?

    Let’s Pray!

      • 2 Corinthians 11:3CSB