Spiritual Formation as if the
(Growing in Christ through Community)
By James Wilhoit
Lesson #4 (chapters 6-8) July 22, 2021
Welcome to all. Our first question of today is: Can you explain what Spiritual
Formation is in 2(two) words or less?
To Foster Remembering in Community
*Jack Haberer wrote: “Faith can remember that the Spirit who made His home in your heart
promised to stay – whether you feel him or not.”
How profound is this statement. We just need to believe that the Holy Spirit is in us.
Jesus said in John 14:26
Vs 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name,
He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said
WOW!!! Are you excited to acknowledge that the Spirit of the Lord lives in your heart?
Do you realize if you just allow Him to upset all that you think you know and can do on your own,
it is nothing in comparison to all He can teach you and deliver you from? To know that God
walks with you and talks with you and you can hear and commune with Him 24/7, if you
only believe and want to.
We read in chapter 6 that Paul really cared about the Thessalonians and he always
remembered to pray for them. Is it fare to say God placed that love in him? Was he lead by the
Spirit of God?
Creating a Space for Truth
Can you create a space in your heart for truth
Here the writer says: Teaching is not simply laying out the truth before people as just one
more item to appraise, but it is calling for obedience to the truth of Jesus Christ. As we teach
the truth, we have to come to understand.
In other words are we living what we teach, do we understand what God is telling us, has it
become a part of our very being? What about you. Are you learning from God's Word? Are we
applying it to our daily living, how deep is the knowledge, wisdom and understanding of who
God is and is His purpose for our individual lives piercing the dark areas of our heart and soul?
I like when the author wrote: “Proverbs reminds us that human wisdom come from
deferring to divine wisdom,”
I agree we should honor such wisdom and embrace an understanding that God’s ways are not
our ways and be willing to live by the promise, (Note – Isa. 42:16 vs 16-“ I will led the blind
by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them, I will turn the
darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things
I will do, and I will not forsake them”)
Wisdom is humble and seeks to learn by asking questions. Wisdom takes a long and eternal
outlook on life and, in humility, knows that there is more to learn and more growing to pursue.
( growing for the rest of your life)
Over time, the wise ones have gained a wealth of knowledge and understanding, but they are
quiet listeners whose words, while challenging are always inviting and generous. Wisdom
respects God’s timing and has a humble openness to God’s leading, however mysterious and
challenging, and to the concerns of others in a search for the long and eternal outcomes that
honorGod. (read Prov.9:10 and the read Ps. 111:10.)
Wisdom is to know the Lord and His commands and to live by a knowledge that stretches us
beyond ourselves. Wisdom transcends human intelligence and cleverness and it is
essentially the skill of living within the moral order of Yahweh’s world.
Congruence – agreeing, corresponding, congruous, having identical
shapes so that all parts correspond ( in regards to a person – means to
be true to yourself, it means understanding who you are and what’s
important to you).
One of the perennial problems in spiritual formation is the gap
between our profession of faith and our living out our faith. A
good example given is: “Do not judge so you won't be judged”.
(Matt. 7:1). However we still live a life marked by racial
prejudice and other deformative prejudices.
● Did you really read this segment on pages 119-120)Scripture is very clear
about the problem of spiritual blindness. This blindness is an inability to
recognize spiritual truth. In Scripture, being blind describe idolaters…Isa 44:9-10 V9
They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and they are their own witnesses;
they see not, nor know, that they may be ashamed. Vs 10 Who hath formed a god,
or molten graven image that is profitable for nothing? (the definition of molten -
transformed to liquid form by heat.)
Let’s read on, please notice the Spiral Curriculum figure 14 on pg. 120.
Read the last paragraph on page 119 to understand the Spiral figure on page 120.
Pastoral care - We need to put structures in place that emphasize deep compassion,
care and empathy as well as formative guidance.
Community Disciplines that Forster Remembering- One of the most important steps in
establishing a successful, educationally based spiritual formation strategy in a local
church is to shift the emphasis from teaching to learning.
Story- This section explain that the stories that are used are used to help us understand our
world. Christians tell and listen to stories to help bear our sorrows, to prolong our joys, and to
gain insights into how we should live.
Small Groups- Small groups give us the opportunity to learn and to reflect on our situation.
They can be the place where double knowledge (i.e. , knowledge of God and self) is refined.
Small groups are the perfect environment to provide both the support and challenge that we
need to live the Christian life well.
Anointed Teaching – Presenting a curriculum for Christlikeness requires the integration
of both anointed teaching and careful curriculum development. Anointed teaching means that
the Holy Spirit comes upon the teacher in a special manner. It is God giving insight, power,
and enabling, through the Spirit, to the teacher in order that one may do this work in a manner
that lifts it up beyond simple human efforts and endeavors.
Spirit Within, Spirit Upon, Spirit Among – The author gives us 3 demensions that provides
us a comprehensive way of viewing the Spirit’s work in anointing. They are: 1. the Spirit’s
work of transformation 2. Illumination of Scripture, and 3. Communication of God’s grace.
Note- 1. The Spirit works to transform the teacher as they are regenerated and open to the
Spirit’s transforming grace. Let us read Luke 6:40
vs 40 The disciple is not above his master; but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
Let’s read it a little plainer.
LASB –Luke 6:40 vs 40 – A student is not above his teacher,but everyone who is fully trained
will be like his teacher.
There is a lot more to being a teacher that reading and saying scripture. There has to be prayer,
guidance by the Holy Spirit, you see teaching requires a teacher to learn from, understand,
and listen to the Holy Spirit and God will send others to help lead and guide that instructor
who is willing to learn from others that are lead by the Spirit of God. Remember the story
of Priscilla and Aquila in instructing Apollos found in Acts 18:28. Apollos was a major evangelist
of the first century, and the bible said they privately took him to their home and explained
to him the way of God more accurately. Teaching requires having a teachable spirit.
Cultivating the Anointing – Anointed teaching is first and foremost an indwelling and
empowering of the Holy Spirit.
The Fruit of Anointing – plain and simple; The fruit of anointed teaching is love.
The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart
(I Tim. 1:5) vs 5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heat, and of a good
conscience, and of faith unfeigned.
The Two Great Invitations of Jesus
Jesus Invites Us to Love and Obey God
Remember: You are accepted. The love of God is one of the most frequently declared doctrines
but one of the least lived out.
Jesus Invites us to Love One Another
“Love is the overflow of Joy in God that meets the needs of others.”
By John Piper
What we remember about ourselves and God affects how we serve and love. One of the most
important ways we can affect what we remember and act on is through teaching and learning.
These Invitations Flow out of the Call to Love God and Neighbor
Jesus Invites Us to Tell People about the Good News and make Disciples
A disciple of Christ is one who (1) believes his doctrine (2) rests on his sacrifice, (3) imbibes his spirit,
and (4) imitates his example.
Imbibes – absorb or assimilate (ideas or knowledge)
Foundations of Responding
Love and Service to God and Others
Chapter 7 gives us more guidelines in how we are to love and serve God and our fellow
brothers and sisters.
What are we to respond to?
We are to respond to God’s gospel of love and forgiveness with love and service to God
and to those around us.
How do we do this?
The gospel changes us, and our responding is an outflow of a changed heart. We also learn
that God changes us as we live our lives well and reach out in love and service to God and others.
What attitude and approach does this require?
Marveling at grace. Realizing we are pipes to carry his grace to others and not buckets
content to hoard it. Grace comes to us, to go through us, to others.
Matt. 28:19-20 LASB
Vs 19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the HolySpirit,
Vs 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you
always, to the very end of the age.”
There are many ways in which we can respond to the Word of God. Let us explore them together.
In your own brief words list 1 or 2 ways we can respond to the Gospel.
Formed to Serve, Formed by Serving
Service predisposes a person to learn.
Responding as an Outflow of the Priesthood of All Believers
A balanced concept of the priesthood of all believers will affirm the personal spiritual
responsibility of all Christians.
Spiritual Responsibility and Responding
Read Colossians 1:28-29
Equipping to Respond to the Gospel
True Christian spiritual formation forms Christian with a deep identity and engagement
with the church worldwide.
God’s Transforming Grace
God has called us as believers-priest to administer his transforming power to others.
(Read page 159 shaded area)
Responding to and through Grace
It is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Phil. 2:11
Spiritual formation must include reminding ourselves and others that “swimming against the stream
makes sense.” We need to remember the courageous persons of compassion and integrity
who have stood against society and called people to live effectively. We need to show trust by living
according to the gospel. Grace is God’s sustaining and transforming power.
To foster Responding in Community
There is a deep yearning within us for wholeness, and we find wholeness in the life of holiness.
Responding out of the New Life that Jesus Models and Provides
A simple event during Christ’s last week typifies his genuine and unique holiness. Jesus rode into
Jerusalem on a colt that had never before been ridden. You should understand that beast of
burden require some process of breaking in and do not immediately take to being ridden or harnessed.
(Yet the mere presence of God, the Holy and Pure presence of God…) yet Jesus simply rides, apparently
without any objection from the colt…
Receiving the Holiness to Respond
In considering how to pattern our lives after Christ, we need to realize the power of our core being to
shape our lives.
Teaching and Preaching That Supports Responding
It is not all about me
The Two Great Invitations of Jesus: Love and Obey God and Love One Another
The fact that it is a challenge and struggle to differentiate the two is no excuse for evasion.
These Invitations flow out of the Call to Love God and Neighbor
Jesus invites Us to tell People about the Good News and Made Disciples
Evangelism is an essential part of spiritual formation. Evangelism, as people are called to faith in Christ,
is the initial act of Christian formation. The act of evangelism is a powerful means of formation for the
believer who reaches out in love to share the good news.
Jesus Invites us to Practice Discernment
The gospel calls us to see ourselves as sinners but never calls us to embrace self hatred. The first step of
discernment is to learn to listen to the voice of God, who sings a song of affirmation and love over us.
Jesus invites us to keep Relational Commitments
Jesus invites us to a Life of Compassion for the Poor and Marginalized and to the Elimination of Prejudice
Jesus invites us to Weep
Jesus invites us to a Life of Integrity
Jesus invites Us to Use Our Money Wisely
Jesus invites Us to Handle Conflicts Well and Forgive One Another