Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual Growth

19
Apr
18

Growing In Grace And Faith

As Peter concludes his second letter, he does so on an encouraging note. Instead of listening to false teachers and falling away from their faith, Peter wants them to grow in grace. He wrote:

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. – 2 Peter 3:18 (NIV)

In order to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, one has to pursue Christ. You cannot sit idly by and expect to grow in your faith. If you want to know Jesus better, you’ve got to spend time in God’s Word. You need to spend time with other Christians in worship, service and study. You must learn to feed yourself a steady diet of Scripture, fellowship and service. God expects His children to grow in grace and faith. If you isolate yourself from other believers and if you don’t learn to feed yourself, you’ll starve your soul and you won’t grow. Take time to cultivate your garden of faith and your faith will grow healthy and strong.
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05
Mar
18

Keep Working

We cannot add anything to the work of Christ on the cross. Jesus truly paid it all. Peter said that we are to continually grow in our faith. He wrote:

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – 2 Peter 1:5-7 (NIV)

These virtues are not a staircase that one climbs until they reach the top. Rather, they are characteristics of Christians that must be developed throughout a Christ-follower’s journey. It begins and ends with faith and love. Because of God’s power and His promises, we are filled with the Spirit and are to work at these virtues. This does not mean that we are saved by our efforts. Rather, it is because we are saved that we keep working at these virtues. As we grow in faith, we grow in virtue and we look more and more like Jesus.
26
Feb
18

Jesus Frees Us To Grow

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana. This message is based on Galatians 4:8-31.

08
Jan
18

What’s Next: Looking Forward

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana. This message is based on Philippians 3:12-21 and is about the future of our church family in 2018.

21
Nov
16

4 Keys To Pleasing God

The ancient city of Colossae was located on the south bank of the Lycus river.  It was an important city first mentioned in writings in 480 BC.  There is evidence, according to scholar F.F. Bruce, that the Colossae was still a major city in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.  There was a large Jewish population in Colossae.  Perhaps this is why Paul wrote so much about who Jesus was and what He did in this letter.  Paul did not start the church in Colossae, but had heard about what was going on there from Epaphras who had visited Paul while he was imprisoned.
Here in chapter 1, Paul and his young scribe, Timothy, tell the Colossians that they are praying for them.  They are asking God to fill them with knowledge and understanding that comes by the Holy Spirit (verse 9).  What was the goal of this prayer?  Look at verse 10:

“…so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.” – Colossians 1:10 (NIV)

Paul then goes on to tell how they could live a life worthy of the Lord Jesus and how to please Him.  There are four keys to living this kind of life:

  1. Bearing fruit in every good work (verse 10)
  2. Growing in the knowledge of God (verse 10)
  3. Being strengthened in all power by God’s might so that they will have patience and endurance (verse 11)
  4. Giving thanks to the Father (verse 12)

This is what being a Christian is all about.  This is how we please God – bear fruit, grow in faith, patiently endure trials and suffering, and be thankful.  Which of these four areas do you need to work on today?  Are you bearing spiritual fruit by doing good works or are you living to please  and serve yourself?  Are you growing in your faith or are you stagnating?  Are you patiently enduring the trials and tests of life or are you bitterly complaining about them?  Are you a thankful person or do you take God’s blessings for granted?

It is so vital that we strive to please God.  After all, as verses 13-14 say:

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV)”

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for Your Word. I want to be a thankful person today, giving You thanks for all You have done. Thank You for all that You are doing in my life and for all of Your promises still yet to be fulfilled. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Colossians 1:1-14 (NIV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

20
Oct
15

Are You Who You Were A Year Ago?

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.

29
Oct
13

The Hard Work Of Spiritual Growth

The Apostle Paul wrote about the need for self-discipline toward the end of 1 Corinthians 9:

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. 25 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.

 ​ – 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV)​
We are a nation that is obsessed with sports.  Sports Illustrated magazine called this country “NFL Nation” a few years back.  Billions of dollars are spent on our sports teams.  From tickets to merchandise to television programming to advertising.  That doesn’t even include the outrageous salaries for some of our athletes!  I am a HUGE Green Bay Packers’ fan and I am a big fan of Aaron Rodgers.  He signed a contract in the off season for over $100 million!  Why?  Because he throws an oblong shaped ball better than pretty much anyone in the NFL (although some might argue that Peyton Manning is the best.  I disagree.  Peyton is nearing 40 and Rodgers is not yet 30 – more upside.  But here I am arguing with you about something so trivial!  Thus proving my point about our nation’s obsession with sports!).
How does a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers keep his job?  He has to train hard!  He has to work out all year long.  He has to study the film of opposing teams.  He has to practice for hours on end.  If he were to sit around lazily and not train, he would not win the prize!
Of course, the glory of a Super Bowl ring only lasts so long.  Fans get impatient and start wondering when the next championship will come (of course, Cubs fans are wondering if the next championship will come!).
For Christians, we are called to go into strict spiritual training.  Not for temporary glory, but for an eternal crown!  1 Peter 5:4 (NIV) says:

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

So what can you do to train yourself to win an eternal crown?  We have to practice self-control and self-discipline.  We need to spend time in God’s Word and in fellowship with other Christians.  We need to fast and pray and meditate on Scripture.  We cannot sit around lazily waiting to grow and mature in our faith.  Spiritual maturity requires hard work and dedication.  In the end, it will all be worth it.

1 Corinthians 9

New International Version (NIV)

Paul’s Rights as an Apostle

9 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2 Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

3 This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4 Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? 6 Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?

7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? 8 Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest.11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?

But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.

13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

15 But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast. 16 For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.

Paul’s Use of His Freedom

19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

The Need for Self-Discipline

24 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. 25 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. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 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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