God commands and expects us to "grow in grace."
June 14th, 2000, Wednesday Evening
"Growing in Grace"
Your spiritual growth as a Christian
OPENING: 2 Peter 3:18, KJV
How can you mark or measure your spiritual growth?
- #1: FIND YOUR FRUITFULNESS LEVEL
- When you go to the store, you'll find many tomatoes. All the packages will
claim they're fresh but most of the time, some of the tomatoes look old, wrinkled, and
not in their brightest shade of red. But tomatoes that get a lot of personal attention
are those home-grown, right in your backyard; the tomato plant that receives
personal attention and the proper "food" will bear good fruits as opposed to those
tomatoes mass-produced with minimal attention and nutrition.
Christian spiritual growth can be placed in this same context. You can either be
given minimal attention and limited spiritual information (grow little) or shown love
by your church and be fed the Word of God by your pastor (grow fervently)
- You must stop and see in your life if you're bearing spiritual fruit.
- #2: USE A "GROWTH" CHART
- Growing spiritually is just like growing physically or mentally (education, math,
science, etc.). Some people are late-bloomers and some early. For example, not all babies
begin walking and teething at the exact same time.
- Take your growth level and compare it to a chart that measures steadily
increasing spiritual growth. How do you measure "steadily increasing spiritual growth?"
Ask yourself: do you attend church? Prayer meetings? Do you tithe? And if so--how often?
These are basic (meaning: at very minimum) requirements that God expects of you to do.
- When comparing, don't compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to you.
Ask yourself: how much have you grown spiritually since a year ago today?
2 Peter 3:17: It is possible to grow backwards: when you
become indifferent or stop giving money or don't attend church. Or even worse, become
involved in the occult or psychics or Ouija <wee-gee> boards. Be careful!
God says to be on your guard, which means be on the offensive, so you may
grow in grace.
Growing means progress. To grow is to increase in size or quality.
Progress means becoming larger or more mature.
- As your spiritual knowledge increases, your knowledge of the mind of God
- Just like you know your best friend's motives, passions, and thought process,
imagine knowing the same of God! Then you can watch what others do and know how God feels
about their actions so you may correct them, if need be.
Your MOTIVATION for growing spiritually:
- Because God commands it
- It is essential to the task at hand. The nature of our work is not for
"baby Christians." You must have some understanding and possess tools of spiritual growth--
you must grow to carry on the knowledge of your church
- This type of work requires our growth
A small child who watches his mother mix ingredients into a pan doesn't know
what the ingredients are. It doesn't have an understanding. But it wants to mimic what
the parent is going, so without knowing any better, the child could follow instructions
to bake a cake but mix arsenic in place of another ingredient because all it saw mommy
do was mix different colors.
In the same manner, a Christian with little to no understanding of the ingredients the
preacher is mixing to present to the congregation, the Christian mimic's the preacher by
speaking--but the Christian doesn't have the understanding to convey the message. The
intentions are good but the results are zero.
1 Peter 2:2: This verse tells us as newborn babies (born again
Christians), we need the "milk of the word" (the Word of God from the Bible) so that
we may grow. We must understand the preacher... not mimic him.
Jeremiah 3:15: God tells us specifically who will feed us--pastors.
And will you digest what the pastor feeds you? Ask yourself: are you digesting the Word or
just holding it in and spitting it out after you leave the church service? If you don't
like the chef's work (pastor), talk to the farmer (God).
Ephesians 4:11-15: God has given us all these persons so that
we may grow spiritually and not be tossed around by man's doctrine. Through God, we will
understand what is right and wrong and not rely on man's craftiness.
2 Corinthians 9:10: With a successfully planted seed that is given
proper nurturing and has the will to grow, it will bear good fruits. However, take heed!
If you slide back in your spiritual and moral attitude, God will not hesitate to prune your
tree to the point you're a stump, if need be, in order to kill the disease in your tree so
that you may once again bear fruit.
John 15:8: Jesus acknowledges that we shall bear much fruit and
be his disciples if we grow His way. So--again--compare your growth to a year ago from today
until today. Tiny growth is better than no growth at all. Even very old trees can
bear large and desirable fruit.
HOW DO YOU SPIRITUALLY GROW?
- Examine yourself--are you maturing in your spiritual measurement?
- 1 Corinthians 13:11: When you were a child, you couldn't help
but play with childish things. But now that you've grown up and live on your own, you
can't blame your parents or the school bully for your lifestyle. Now you're accountable
for your actions. Ask God to change you and put your childish toys away.
- Hebrews 5:14: the "strong meat" in this verse can be eaten only
by those who are maturing in their spiritual growth. It's not for babies to attempt to
- A baby Christian says, "I can't! I can't! I can't!" Its parent (the pastor)
says, "Yes! You can and will!" The mature Children then say, "Bring it on!!"
- 1 Corinthians 14:20: You must cultivate your spiritual
understanding. Even this verse demands we be men and not children in our understanding.
- God requires more from people who are leaders because they surpassed the
follower role. Leaders know all about followership and do it well in order to be a leader.
- Churches pray for strong leaders to find them because of all the leaders who
leave that church and move on to another. But at the same time, that church must also
pray its attendees grow to be leaders just as a military trains future leaders to lead it.
If you have a young one who is weak in the faith, do not discourage or
chastise him. Feed him the Word of God, exercise his
spiritual side and give them the most powerful weapon on earth--prayer. That person must
grow in grace, love, faith, and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Let is grow tonight. How? By eating what the pastor has to offer, exercising your faith,
and digesting the Word of God.