This week God has preoccupied my thoughts. For two nights I was unable to sleep. I tried writing it down, but every time I put my head on the pillow my thoughts were filled with text and images He wanted to bring to my attention.
What I want to share with you relates to tonight’s Lesson, but I am sure I am going to be spending a lot more of my time on it.
Step four in the Twelve Steps says, “We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
A moral inventory! The difference between morality and spirituality is: Morality is about making decisions on what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong, what is better and what is worse, what is high quality, what is low quality.
A Spiritual inventory! Spirituality involves things like peace, love, righteousness, forgiveness. Integrity, our relationships and our values and worship. And aligning these things in our lives with God’s Word.
Here is where God has preoccupied my mind over the last couple of weeks and kept me up for a couple of days and nights. In the Bible in the Old Testament there is a list of moral laws called ‘The Ten Commandments’ That the church today doesn’t spend a lot of time on. When it comes to the ten commandments the ‘New Testament Church’ will tell you because of Jesus we are not under law but under grace.
In Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
When asked by the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19:16-17 “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” He [Jesus] said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Now I don’t know about you but like the rich young ruler my question to Jesus would be ‘WHICH ONES?’ When you are new to Christian living it can be very confusing and it can seem overwhelming that Jesus, whom God sent to save us from our sins said to His disciples before He went to heaven in the upper room John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
Understanding the commandments in the Bible can be very confusing. Most of us know that God gave moses ten commandments.
You can read all the commandments for yourself in the Bible in Exodus 20:1-17 Not to shoot down the churches ideas of being under grace not under law I want to show you what I have been talking to God about.
There are 613 Old Testament laws in the Bible the purpose of which is to point us to Jesus Galatians 3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. In that chapter of scripture, it goes on to say, ‘we are not under law but under grace’ But it doesn’t say ‘so forget the Old Testament law” Remember Jesus said “don’t think I have come to destroy the law, I have come to fulfill it.”
The ten commandments were given to God as summary of the 613 laws. 613 laws I might point out that are in the Bible. I can give you a list of where to find them if you want to after the meeting. So, God summarised the 613 moral laws into 10 moral laws that we call the TEN COMMANDMENTS and Jesus when it came to His disciples summarised those moral laws into two LOVE GOD AND LOVE OTHERS. You can also find these ten commandments in the ‘New Testament’ again I can give you a list of where to find them but don’t expect them straight after the meeting because I need time to put them on paper for you if you want them. I have actually been on the 10 commandment journey for the last two years so it’s not something I arrived at overnight.
The other thing God and I have spoken about in the last couple of weeks is how the Twelve Steps fits with the ten commandments and what God said to me is. “The 12 Steps were given to Bill Wilson as a tool to share my love with others and invite them into personal relationship with me.” In celebrate recovery Rick Warren through study of God’s word summarised the Twelve Steps into the Beatitudes as a tool to use to introduce people to God’s love and invite people into personal relationship with Him. Tonight, I want to say both the Twelve Steps and the Beatitudes point back to the ten commandments. This doesn’t make either wrong or obsolete, but I will change, in me how I share the Word of God and the road to right living with others.
Tonight, we are looking at week one of doing a Spiritual Inventory’ And, I want to touch on some of those things I said at the start are important to doing a spiritual inventory.
When completing a spiritual inventory, it is imperative you begin with prayer, listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit as you progress in the inventory and thank God when you are done for all He has reeled to you in and through the inventory and ask Him to lead you onto the next step in your spiritual walk.
The first thing I want to talk about is LIFE PURPOSE. Now in most other recovery programs, life purpose is something you look at near the end of completing the process to lead you and guide you in your search for SERVICE TO GOD AND OTHERS. The reason I have chosen to look at it first is because I believe when you know and understand Gods will for your life everything else falls into place.
Your purpose in life is to honor, obey and praise God
Romans 11:36 Everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by his power, and everything is for his glory. To him be glory evermore.
John 17:1-4 Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Reveal the glory of your Son so that he can give the glory back to you. For you have given him authority over every man and woman in all the earth. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life—by knowing you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth! I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to.
Psalm 57:2 I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me.
God has two purposes for your life.
The first is something He is calling you to do that will influence and affect the lives of others in your sphere of influence.
The second are the unique spiritual gifts God has placed in you to make a unique and special contribution to His work here on earth.
God has called you to live a Holy life.
2 Timothy 1:9 God has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
QUESTION: Have you discovered God’s purpose for your life? Do you know what your Spiritual gifts are? Do you want to?
Our relationship with God is made possible through Jesus.
John 14:19-20 In a very short time the people in the world will not see me anymore. But you will see me. You will live because I live. On that day you will know that I am in the Father. You will know that you are in me and I am in you.
Our relationships with others should not compromise our faith in God.
2 Corinthians 6:14-15 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?
Our relationship with Jesus defines us as children of God.
1 John 3:1-2 See how much the Father has loved us! His love is so great that we are called God’s children—and so, in fact, we are. This is why the world does not know us: it has not known God. My dear friends, we are now God’s children, but it is not yet clear what we shall become. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is
QUESTION: Are there relationships in your life that compromise your faith in God? Are they stunting your spiritual growth? Do you need help to sort them out?
All recovery takes part in th context of relationships. We are all part of the recovery community and as such we need to love ach other and encourage each other in the process.
You will receive forgiveness when you are willing to forgive others.
Matthew 6:14-15 Your heavenly Father will forgive you if you forgive those who sin against you; but if you refuse to forgive them, he will not forgive you.
You have to forgive if you want to grow spiritually, even if you have to do it a few times.
Matthew 18:21-22 Peter came to Jesus and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
You need to realise that ultimately God is the one who has been wronged by your sin.
Psalm 51:3-4 I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.
QUESTION: Are there people you are still holding resentments against and unwilling to forgive?
We can be sure that God will forgive us if we do our part in forgiving others for the things they have done to hurt us that have separated us from living lives God would be happy with.
LOVING GOD AND LOVING OTHERS
Spiritual recovery comes with the expectation you will love others.
1 John 4:12-13 Though we have never seen God, when we love each other God lives in us, and his love within us grows ever stronger…… He has put his own Holy Spirit into our hearts as a proof to us that we are living with him and he with us.
Spiritual recovery comes with the things God values.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
Spiritual recovery comes through obedience to God’s commandments.
John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
QUESTION: Do you love others and value the things God values? How do you demonstrate that in your daily lives?
CULTIVATING GODLY VALUES
How do you view the things God says are sinful?
Romans 1:21-23 Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man.
How can you cultivate Godly values in your life?
Matthew 15:19 Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
To live a Godly life, you need God living in you.
Galatians 5:16 Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
QUESTION: Have you given your life to Jesus? What were the circumstances? How have your life’s values changed since then?
WORSHIP IS RECOGNIZING WHO GOD IS AND WHO YOU ARE IN RELATION TO HIM
Psalms 145:3 God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough. There are no boundaries to his greatness.
Something special and unique happens when we worship God.
James 4:8 When you draw close to God, God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and let your hearts be filled with God alone to make them pure and true to him.
Worship is a fitting response to God’s holiness, power and grace.
Psalms 5:7 Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe.
Respect and awe of what is Holy should be our attitude to worship.
Hebrews 12:28 Since we have a Kingdom nothing can destroy, let us please God by serving him with thankful hearts and …… awe.
A life that ignores or neglects the spiritual is a life that is barren of purpose and weak in resolve. All recovery must include the spiritual aspect, or it will be anaemic and unsuccessful. (The Life Recovery Bible)
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
DO NOT WORSHIP ANY OTHER GODS (1 Corinthians 8:6) (1Timothy 2:5)
DO NOT MAKE IDOLS (1 John 5:21)
DO NOT MISUSE THE NAME OF THE LORD (1 Timothy 6:1)
REMEMBER THE SABBATH AND KEEP IT HOLY (Hebrews 4:1)
HONOUR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (Ephesians 6:1-2)
DO NOT MURDER (Romans 13:9) (1 Peter 4:15)
DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
DO NOT STEAL (Ephesians 4:28)
DO NOT GIVE FALSE TESTIMONY (Revelation 21:8)
DO NOT COVET Colossians 3:5)
The ten commandments help us to recognise our imperfections. The Decalogue can be used to show us our sin. The commandments reflect the unchanging character of God. Some believers today believe the ten commandments have no authority over us. May I remind you Jesus says Matthew 5:17 “Don’t think that I have come to destroy the Law of Moses or the teaching of the prophets. I have come not to destroy their teachings but to give full meaning to them.” I believe the ‘Ten Commandments’ are not only relevant but essential to Living Life Recovery.