Sunday, January 31, 2010

#3) Growing Up

Ask congregation if they feel they are like children or mature adults. Ask if they feel the same way about their spiritual life.

Growing is natural. Everything that lives also grows. Just as we grow physically, we are also to grow spiritually. A sign of being a true Christian is growth.
(Stress that a lack of growth does not necessarily mean false conversion)

A few weeks ago we learned that God desires us to be righteous. Last week we learned that the righteous man pleases God and that God has promised peace to those with whom He is pleased. God also promises growth.

Psalm 92:12 & 14
The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon….They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green.

It does not say the righteous man will remain stagnant. It does not say “maybe” there will be growth. It promises growth!

With growth comes change. Ask how many were able to physically grow without changing their size. One cannot remain in the same state yet grow.

2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, ust as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Romans 8:29
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

We are constantly being transformed. God predestined this action.

Continue by reading Romans 8:30.

Romans 8:29-30
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Last week I spoke on the peace of God and how He has promised it to all whom He has called & justified. Here we can see that this same group is also promised change in the fact that we will be conformed to the image of Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:49
Just as we have borne the image of the earthly, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

Ask what it means by image.

Genesis 5:3
When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.

Philippians 3:21
Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

God promises change. He promises growth. He promises this growth to those with whom He is pleased.

Q: What kind of man pleases God?
A: The righteous man.

Scripture relates Spiritual growth to physical growth. It gives the analogy of children and mature adults.

1 Corinthians 14:20
Brethren, do not be children in your thinking, yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.

1 Corinthians 3:2
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,

Discuss milk & meat analogy.

Ephesians 4:14-15
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by the craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

James 1:6
But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

Satan plots deceitful schemes all the time. Ask who has ever had doubts These doubts come from Satan attacking our weak areas of faith. Just as a child is weak to defend himself, an immature Christian is more vulnerable. Just as a grown man has stronger defenses, a mature Christian is able to stand firm.

Ephesians 6:11
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

Ask for parts of the armor of God.

Ephesians 6:14-17
Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

During ancient Biblical times, men grew up to be warriors. We may not be fighting a physical battle but there is most certainly a Spiritual battle going on. As mature Christians, we are to put on the full armor of God daily so that we might be able to not only defend ourselves, but also attack evil.

1 Corinthians 2:6-10 (refers to Isaiah 64:4 & 65:17)
Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, whoa are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

Last week we read of wisdom personified in Proverbs chapter 8. We see it again here.

Proverbs 8:23
From everlasting I was established, from the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth.

Last we can see, Scripture promises us we will grow so long as we remain righteous & obedient. We will all start out on milk but as we grow in our faith, we will also mature. We will move on from milk to meat. We will have a longing to understand the depths of God. We will no longer be satisfied with being children in our thinking. I urge you to mark today as the first day of your Spiritual journey to becoming a mature follower of Christ.

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