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Training Naked
01/04/2015
Scripture: Romans 6:13; 1 Timothy 4:7; Genesis 2:25...
Track 1 of in the series
Running time: 1 hour, 03 minutes
Christlikeness, this is what we are going to study for the next number of weeks. After studying the miracles of Jesus as recorded by John, I thought it would be interesting to study the life of Jesus, (In a way, What Would Jesus Do) study. Many use or where the WWJD items. But how many of us really know how Jesus acted and what He would really do in certain situations I contend that many would be surprised what Jesus really expects from us and wants us to do. Do you know for sure how Jesus wants you to live your everyday life



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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


Training Naked

How many of you made a new yearís resolution? Does anyone want to share? If you could change anything this year, what would you want changed or done differently?

Christlikeness, this is what we are going to study for the next number of weeks. After studying the miracles of Jesus as recorded by John, I thought it would be interesting to study the life of Jesus, (In a way, What Would Jesus Do) study. Many use or wear the WWJD items. But how many of us really know how Jesus acted and what He would really do in certain situations? I contend that many would be surprised what Jesus really expects from us and wants us to do. Do you know for sure how Jesus wants you to live your everyday life?

Raw Spirituality, this is the way Jesus lived and what He expected from those who follow after him. When we talk about being transformed into the likeness of Jesus, what does that really mean? How much of ourselves needs to be transformed? The Apostle Paul stated it this way:

Romans 6:13 (NIV) Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

I know for me, in my daily struggles with sin, my desire is to be like Jesus and to put away sin in my life but there are parts of me that desire to do something different. How do we get to the point described by Paul where we offer all the parts of our body as instruments of righteousness? We will look at what raw spirituality really is and how we can grow into it so we become instruments of righteousness.

What do you think it means to have a disembodied faith? This is a form of Christianity where a person gives their heart to God but lives a life where the body does what it wants. The desires of the heart for Jesus donít match up with the actual actions of the body.

Many KKK members were southern state Christians. They went to church on Sundays, prayed and studied their Bibles but also harbored a hatred for others who were not like them. In South Africa many white Christians went to church on Sunday and then spent the rest of the week participating in oppression and in many cases, allowed genocide to take place within their own neighborhoods. For most of us, our struggles are not that extreme but we do have parts of ourselves that seem hard to control.

We are going to look at 7 patterns of spiritual disciplines that provide structure for spiritual growth:

1. Develop a healthy image of God
2. Plugging in daily
3. Journeying with other people
4. Discovering our piece of the puzzle and gifting others with it
5. Placing ourselves in other peopleís shoes
6. Commit to servanthood
7. Making our work an expression of the life we live with Christ

So what does it mean to train naked? I liked the title but it is not what you think. The scripture that helps us define this meaning comes from the letter written to Timothy by Paul.

1 Timothy 4:7 (NIV) Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.

1 Timothy 4:7 Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God Ė no spiritual flabbiness, please.

When Pam and I started our exercise program at CrossFit, the first thing we were told to do was to take a picture of ourselves without close on. It was not for others to see but it was for me to see exactly what I was starting with. It is not a pretty site. However, unless I see exactly what my problem areas are, I caní begin to fix them. In my perspective, there are two types of people at CrossFit or any gym. There are those who look like Sam Dancer. Then there are all the rest of us. People like Sam exercise without their shirts or in skin tight closes. They look amazing because of their hard work. But people like me wear closes that help cover-up our problem areas.

True or False: It is because of the problem areas we cover up that prevent us from fixing them.

Many are too embarrassed to admit they are out of shape. Many see getting back in shape as hopeless so they donít even try. The same is true with our spiritual health. To be like Jesus seems impossible so many donít try. They want to be like Jesus but getting there is too steep a hill to climb. But I found out that when I work out with a buddy or a group of people, exercise is fun and the results are very meaningful and astounding. That is why I work out at CrossFit, everything we do is with a group and we have coaches that help us along the way so progress toward our goals are realized.

The Church is our spiritual CrossFit Gym. It is there where all of us are in the same situation. Some of us are spiritually fit like Sam while many of us have a lot of room to improve. But together we can work out and exercise our faith and help each other achieve our goals for the Kingdom.

In the letter to Timothy, Paul uses a concept that is very interesting and also very controversial. The Greek word He uses for exercise is gymnazo. It is where we get our word gymnasium. The verb Paul uses literally means to ďexercise nakedĒ. Greek Gymnasiums were an atrocity to the Jews because men and women exercised together there in the nude, and the rabbis warned against the immorality of the baths.

So why then did Paul use this imagery to explain raw spirituality? Wouldn't this concept turn his readers off?

How honest are we when someone asks us how much we weigh? When flying Cape Air and you are asked your weight, do you give them your true weight?

When challenged about our spiritual weight, how many of us give an accurate picture of ourselves? Nakedness suggests openness and intimacy. It implies rawness. Rawness is opposite plastic and polished. I donít think it is a mistake that the Bible starts off with 2 humans totally naked with each other and with God in the Garden of Eden. They lived life out in the open, undisguised.

Genesis 2:25 (NIV) The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

This experience was the first thing lost when man sinned. When confronted with their raw nakedness, man went and hid. This hiding was a sign that something changed and the hiding hindered their growth because it separated them from God and other people. We too have the same problem.

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV) For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

What is the writer talking about? What is God calling us to? God is calling us to nakedness. He wants us to totally expose all our flaws and to openly deal with each one. Until we do that, it will be very difficult to change our ways.

When you are confronted with criticism or someone points out a flaw in your life, by nature, what is your first reaction? Why? By being defensive, what does that communicate? By being naked and open, what does that communicate?

Matthew 18:3 (NIV) And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. How does an adult do this? What is required? Is this even possible? What is the point?

Jesus goes even deeper with this idea. He goes way beyond the concept of becoming a child, Jesus wants us to go all the way back to our beginning and to totally start over. He challenged Nicodemus to consider the idea, to contemplate on what God wanted him to do.

John 3:3 (NIV) In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

How is being born again like becoming a child? How do these verses fit with the idea of training naked?

This year, will you allow yourself to become naked before God in your spiritual life? What sin in your life are you protecting or hiding? What do you not want others to see? In order to become spiritually fit, you have to strip off the pretend you and allow yourself to see exactly whatís underneath. In the beginning you might not like what you see. The good news is, with Godís help, you can change it. You can start over and build a spiritual body that works for the kingdom.