OceanSide church of Christ




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I AM RESOLVED…

To Grow to Maturity in Christ

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.    When a person obeys the gospel, he is born again.

1.      John 3:3

 

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

 

2.      II Corinthians 5:17

 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new

 

B.      From that point onward, the new Christian faces a challenge.  He is to grow to spiritual maturity.

 

C.     At OceanSide, our theme for this year is:  “I Am Resolved.”  In our lesson this morning, let’s delve into the topic:  “I Am Resolved…to Grow to Maturity in Christ.”

 

I.                   THE COMMAND TO GROW

 

A.    II Peter 3:18

 

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and for ever.  Amen.

 

B.      Ephesians 4:15

 

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.

 

II.                FACTS ABOUT CHRISTIAN GROWTH

 

A.    It is essential, that is, absolutely necessary.

1.      If we do not grow, we will eventually die.

2.      If we do not grow, we will not produce fruit.

3.      If we do not grow, we cannot be used.

4.      If we do not grow, we are not obedient.

 

B.      Growth takes effort.

1.      To grow, a person must invest himself in the growth process.

2.      II Peter 1:5-10

a.      In this section of Scripture Peter exhorts his readers to make application of the Christian graces to their lives.

b.      At the beginning of the section, and, at the end, he exhorts his readers to be diligent to do this (II Pet. 1:5, 10).

 

And beside this, giving all diligence…Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure…

1)      The words “give diligence” mean “to make effort” and “to exert oneself.”

2)      NOTE:  We have control over our spiritual growth.

a)      A little effort means a little growth.

b)      A lot of effort means a lot of growth.

 

C.     Growth takes time.

1.      We do not become full-grown Christians overnight.

2.      Hebrews 5:12

 

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

 

a.      The writer understands that time is essential to growth.

b.      Here, enough time had passed, but these Christians had not grown as they should have grown.

3.      NOTE:  In the course of time, God expects us to be a certain points in the growth process.

 

D.    We are to grow in many areas.

1.      Peter mentioned grace and knowledge (II Pet. 3:18).

2.      Paul exhorted the Philippians to abound in love and the knowledge and judgment that is coupled with that love (Phil. 1:9).

 

And this I pray that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.

 

3.      We are to grow the fruit of the Spirit in our Christian lives (Gal. 5:22-23).

4.      We are to add the Christians graces (II Pet. 1:5-11).

 

E.      Our growth makes us more like Jesus.

1.      The Bible has been given to mold us into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2.      Every command, every chapter, every paragraph, every sentence, and every word in the Bible are endued with the nature of God.

3.      The more we know, the more we put in practice, the more like our Lord we become.

4.      Romans 12:2b

 

…but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.

 

5.      Connect Matthew 5:48 and II Timothy 3:16-17 and we find how the Word of God is involved in making us “perfect” as the Father which is in heaven is perfect.

 

F.      Our growth makes us more useful in the kingdom.

1.      Have you ever read a sign that said:  “Hiring experienced welders only”?

a.      The company does not want a novice they have to train.

b.      It wants someone who is skilled and who will benefit the company immediately.

2.      The same is true in the kingdom.

a.      The more a person grows, the more beneficial he/she becomes to the kingdom.

b.      He can become a teacher, deacon, elders, or preacher.

c.       A person can be a mentor, a comforter, an encourager, a restorer, or a defender of the faith.

3.      II Timothy 2:21

 

If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

 

G.     Growing to maturity preserves the cause of Christ from reproach.

1.      Others are constantly watching those who call themselves Christians.

2.      They watch to see what the new Christians becomes.

3.      If there is little, or, no change, the child of God’s life becomes a reproach to the cause.

4.      In Philippians 2:15, Paul exhorts us to live in such a way that this does not happen.

 

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.

 

H.    Growth keeps us from falling away.

1.      The one who is growing is healthy, active, and vibrant. 

a.      He watches his heart.

b.      He guards his lips.

c.       He disciplines his body.

2.      The one who does not grow becomes weak and sickly.  Satan is able to take advantage of this individual.

3.      II Peter 1:10-11

 

…for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:  for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

III.             EVIDENCES OF CHRISTIAN GROWTH

 

A.    Hunger for the Word of God.

1.      Growing babies are constantly hungry.

2.      So are growing Christians (I Pet. 2:2)

 

As newborn babes, desire the sincere mile of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

 

B.      Obedience to God’s Word.

1.      The growing Christian rarely has to be exhorted to obey his heavenly Father. 

2.      His obedience is no longer forced.  It comes from a loving, willing heart that desires to please the Savior.

3.      Example:  Philemon (Phil. 21)

 

Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.

 

C.     Purging of sinful things

1.      As we grow, we understand the evil of sin, hate sin, and seek to rid it from our lives.

2.      I Corinthians 7:1

 

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

 

D.    Adding the Christian graces (II Pet. 1:5-8)

 

And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue, and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity.  For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

E.      Ability to endure persecutions (Ex., Paul).

1.      Acts 20:24

 

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself.

 

2.      II Timothy 4:6

 

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

 

F.      Moving up in one’s position in the body of Christ.

1.      Him would Paul have to go forth with him… (Acts 16:2).

2.      Timothy was a disciple (Acts 16:1).  He was well reported of by the brethren that were in Lystra and Iconium (Acts 16:2), and was moved up to an evangelist.

3.      Women can move up:

a.      Coat makers like Dorcas (Acts 9:39)

b.      Teachers like Priscilla (Acts 19:26)

c.       Servants like Phoebe (Rom. 16:1)

d.      Workers like Mary (Rom. 16:6)

 

G.     Continuing in fellowship with the saints.

1.      The mature Christian knows that fellowship within the body provides encouragement, positive examples, safety, and discipline.

2.      An ember shines brightly when with other embers.  Separate the ember from the others, and it quickly goes out.

3.      The early church’s example (Acts 2:46)

 

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.

 

H.    Spreading the good news of salvation in Christ.

1.      Adults are confident.  Adults conquer their fears.  Adults do the hard stuff.

2.      I Corinthians 1:23-24

 

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.    There are three things the Christian can do with his Christian life.

1.      He can remain the same.

2.      He can go backward.

3.      He can grow to maturity.

 

B.      Positive point:  There is no limit to one’s growth potential.  Why?  Because God is our standard.

 

C.     Questions:

1.      Are you growing as a Christian?

2.      Have you stopped growing?

3.      Do you want to begin your growth as a new creature in Christ?