Discipleship and Discipline

SERMON TOPIC: Discipleship and Discipline

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 22 July 2012


Sermon synopsis: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

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Discipleship & Discipline.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.


Discipline is freedom.

You may disagree with this statement, and if you do you are certainly not alone. For many people discipline is a dirty word that is equated with the absence of freedom. In fact the opposite is true. As Stephen R. Covey once wrote, “the undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passions”. And in the longer term, the undisciplined lack the freedom that comes with possessing particular skills and abilities – e.g. to play a musical instrument or speak a foreign language.


Self-discipline involves acting according to what you think instead of how you feel in the moment. Often it involves sacrificing the pleasure and thrill of the moment for what matters most in life. Therefore it is self-discipline that drives you to:

Work on an idea or project after the initial rush of enthusiasm has faded away

Go to the gym when all you want to do is lie on the couch and watch TV

Wake early to work on yourself

Say “no” when tempted to break your diet

Only check your email a few of times per day at particular times


In the past self-discipline has been a weakness of mine, and as a result today I find myself lacking the ability to do a number of things which I would like – e.g. to play the guitar. But I have improved, and I can say that it is self-discipline that got me out of bed this morning at 5am to run and then write this article. Believe me, I would love to be curled up in bed right now, but this desire is subordinated by my inner sense of purpose.

If you struggle with self-discipline, the good news is that it can be developed. For example, it is only in the past two years that I have trained myself to wake early. The following are what I have found to be the five traits of self-discipline:


1. Self-Knowledge

Discipline means behaving according to what you have decided is best, regardless of how you feel in the moment. Therefore the first trait of discipline is self-knowledge. You need to decide what behaviour best reflects your goals and values. This process requires introspection and self-analysis, and is most effective when tied to written expression. I highly recommend taking the time to write out your goals, dreams and ambitions. Even better, write out a personal mission statement. I found that writing such a statement gave me a greater understanding of who I am, what I am about and what I value. Dr. Covey has an excellent Mission Statement Builder on his site.


2. Conscious Awareness

Self-discipline depends upon conscious awareness as to both what you are doing and what you are not doing. Think about it. If you aren’t aware your behaviour is undisciplined, how will you know to act otherwise?

As you begin to build self-discipline, you may catch yourself being in the act of being undisciplined – e.g. biting your nails, avoiding the gym, eating a piece of cake or checking your email constantly. Developing self-discipline takes time, and the key here is you are aware of your undisciplined behaviour. With time this awareness will come earlier, meaning rather than catching yourself in the act of being undisciplined you will have awareness before you act in this way. This gives you the opportunity to make a decision that is in better alignment with your goals and values.


3. Commitment to Self-Discipline

It is not enough to simply write out your goals and values. You must make an internal commitment to them. Otherwise when your alarm clock goes off at 5am you will see no harm in hitting the snooze button for “just another 5 minutes….” Or, when initial rush of enthusiasm has faded away from a project you will struggle to see it through to completion.

If you struggle with commitment, start by making a conscious decision to follow through on what you say you’re going to do – both when you said you would do it and how you said you would do it. Then, I highly recommend putting in place a system to track these commitments. As the saying goes, “What gets measured gets improved”.


4. Courage

Did you notice the sweat dripping from the man in the picture at the start of this article? Make no mistake, self-discipline is often extremely difficult. Moods, appetites and passions can be powerful forces to go against. Therefore self-discipline is highly dependent on courage. Don’t pretend something is easy for you to do when it is in fact very difficult and/ or painful. Instead, find the courage to face this pain and difficulty. As you begin to accumulate small private victories, your self-confidence will grow and the courage that underpins self-discipline will come more naturally.


5. Internal Coaching

Self-talk is often harmful, but it can also be extremely beneficial if you have control of it. When you find yourself being tested, I suggest you talk to yourself, encourage yourself and reassure yourself. After all, it is self-talk that has the ability to remind you of your goals, call up courage, reinforce your commitment and keep you conscious of the task at hand. When I find my discipline being tested, I always recall the following quote: “The price of discipline is always less than the pain of regret”. Burn this quote into your memory, and recall in whenever you find yourself being tested. It may change your life.


You may think that this has to do with the flesh and is not spiritual, but there is a part for us to play in our spiritual development, remember Jesus told them to roll the stone away before he raised Lazarus from the dead. (If we do the possible God will do the impossible)

What was more difficult, to move the stone or raise the dead?


We don’t need better methods to win the lost, we need better men.

Disciple and Discipline have the same root word. God is more interested in our character than in our ministry, for this reason the greatest percentage of Jesus ministry was on our character and not our work or ministry.

The suffering and hardship that the Lord allows in our live is not to hinder our ministry, but to shape our character, which in itself is all too often the biggest hindrance to our ministry.

In the past the mistake has often been made of focussing on the redemption of the lost rather than discipleship, but the commission given to us by Christ himself is not to make converts, but disciples..


We don’t need a call when we have a command.

Matthew 28:18-20. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The true test is not how many respond to the altar call, but how many choose to be disciples.

John 15:16.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit, fruit that will last and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.


Some may argue that they are not gifted but we have been given all we need for life and Godliness.

2 Peter 1:3. 3-11.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.


Disciple (the Greek word) is used 269 times in the Gospels and the book of Acts.

A disciple is a learner.

A disciple is a follower.

Unless there is a love for the Lord that surpasses everything we cannot be His disciple. (God didn’t save you to make you happy but holy.)

Luke 14v 25-27.

Large crowds were travelling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters yes, even their own life such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

The disciple in Christianity is a follower of Jesus Christ, desiring to learn his ways and apply them to his life. (many learn but do not apply)

1 John 2:6.

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

Luke 6:40.

The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.











































































































8589934592 disciples starting with just 1 discipler who disciples 1 person a year and makes them a disciple.

In only 33 years and starting with only 1 person we can theoretically disciple the whole population on earth. (and the person who starts at the end of 33 years has only had to disciple 33 people spending a full year with each one)

Unfortunately many Christians remains spiritual babies who can’t look after themselves let alone disciple and look after others.


From “Cry of the Human heart”

Now we have something very sad in the church today. Too many of the called-out people do not behave like called-out people. Often they behave almost the same as when they were in the kingdom of darkness – the kingdom they were supposed to leave behind. In the Church under the surface we find jealousy, quarrelling, competition, resentment, lack of love apathy and selfishness. The lack of love in the Church, the lack of fruit for God, the lack of spiritual power, is not because believers are rebellious. They are not bad, or wrong or naughty. It is simply that they are underdeveloped. They are babes. They cannot do more or love more: they cannot give more or evangelize more, not because they are rebels, but because they are babies. That is the complaint of the apostles about the Christians in the early Church.


Hebrews 5:11-14.

…You have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone one who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.

1 Corinthians 3:1-2.

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able….


What tells us that we are really babes? First of all, our dependency on others rather than on God. We are always asking for prayers, always needing pastoral visits, always needing comfort. We are always looking for someone to take care of us. This is dependence. In seminary Pastors are trained in Pastoral Theology to maintain people as babes. One must visit them and keep them entertained. But the purpose of believers is not to be entertained in the congregations until they die in the grace of God! We must grow up and develop and become ministers ourselves. Pastors are to prepare the saints for the work of ministry, not to entertain them. They are not caretakers of a brick pile, but builders of a building!


If we continue our traditional type of visiting and counselling, we won’t change the situation. Our religious institutions often look more like a hospital than an army. The pastor has to go from bed to bed asking, “How are you, brother? How do you feel? That’s nice!”

When I was a little boy, a preacher came to our Church who had a nice long beard. Beards were not common in those days and I fell in love with the beard. So in the secret of my heart, I started to pray & fast for a beard like his. I was only eight years old. One day while I was fasting, my mother said, “ Aren’t you going to eat, Johnny?”

“No, Mommy, I am fasting,”

“What is the son?”

“It’s a secret prayer to the Lord”

“I didn’t tell the reason for my fast, but the beard did not come. When I was sixteen, the beard came without fasting.

I grew up, that’s all. Often what we lack can only come by growth!

Babies need to be disciplined sometimes not pacified.









If F does not win one person to the Lord 21 years later 1 million people have not been led to the Lord.


2 Timothy 2:2.

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.











We need discipline in all these and other areas.

Proverbs 25:28.

A man without self control is like a city without walls.










Eph 5:15,16. walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Phil 3:18,19. many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach.

Matt 26:41. Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Prov 3:9,10. Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled ….

Phil 3:8. whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.

Jam 3:2. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

Matt 26:41. Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

1 Cor 6:19. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. You are not your own


You will be undisciplined

If you don’t have clear goals for your life.

Proverbs 29:18.

(Where there is no vision the people cast off restraint.)

If you are uncommitted Phil:2v15

If you are governed by your emotions

If you don’t know how to change

Time wasted is playing into Satan's hands

Take inventory of your activities.

24Hr’s a day

Sleep 8

Work 9

Meals 2


How do you use the remaining 5 Hours?


2 Timothy 1:7.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

The Greek word for discipline: sophromisos (from sophron: lit: saving the mind) KJV- Sound mind

3 Categories among which burnout is the greatest


Ministers/ Pastors.

Commission only Salesmen.

Self motivation and discipline is vital as there is often a misconception about the work load (lack of appreciation)

No one to push you when you are lazy.

No one to praise you when you work hard.

The solution-

Colossians 3:23.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.


Maturity is not measured by how old you are, but by how responsible you are.

1 John 2:12-13.

I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.

Children: Unable to look after themselves.

Young men: Able to look after themselves.

Fathers: Able to look after others.

Paul was a father.

1 Corinthians 4:14,15.

I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.


Without discipline hopes remain dreams.

Proverbs: 25v28.

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.

Titus: 1v8. 6.

An elder must not be….. overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.

Character is more important than gifts because character determines how we use our gifts.

Acts:7:22. Moses was well equipped.

Moses killed an Egyptian when he was (40 years old) lack of self control.

After 40 yrs his character was brought into line.

No one can lead others well until he has mastered himself


There are natural desires (not sinful) that must be kept in check or they will cause us to sin.

Sleep: (Peter)

Matthew 26:40-45.

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”


Thirst and hunger:

Philippians 3:17-19. 17.

Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.

1 Corinthians 11:20-22 & 33,34.

for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!

So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment



1 Corinthians 7:4-5.

The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

All these desires are natural and must be subject to self control so that we are not mastered by our bodies and it’s appetites. We can then offer our bodies as a living sacrifice which is our reasonable service. (Romans 12:1.)


There are also sinful desires that we must put to death.

1 Peter 1:13-17.

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.

Paul’s instruction regarding his treatment of his own body.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

I beat my body down and make it my slave……. (God didn’t save you to make you happy but holy.)


There are 3 groups of people

Those who watch things happen.

Those who make things happen. Those who wonder what happened?

The great commission can only be fulfilled if we look at Ephesians 4:11 and realise the Church is a training ground to prepare people for ministry and not a nursery or entertainment centre.


Perhaps you fall into that category that feels hard done by and you wasting precious time feeling sorry for yourself instead of fulfilling God’s purpose for your life. Bev and I have just watched the DVD of Fergus Buchan’s testimony (Play it as it lies) and how the death of his son was a turning point in his life which resulted in his salvation. Later on after spending 8 years as a golf pro at a golf course in Germany the Lord used cancer to mobilise him to come back to South Africa and start a ministry to Africa.

I would show it to the whole Church but when we show films we get 20 to 30 people turning up. Only the Lord can convict us by the Holy Spirit to lift up our eyes and see the harvest fields of men and women who are lost and need to hear us give an answer for the “Hope that is within us” but to get out of our comfort zone will take discipline and God’s grace.


Ephesians 4:11-15.

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 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.

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. 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. 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.


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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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