Friday, November 25, 2016

November 26, 2016

"Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." II Peter 3:17-18

The aging Apostle Peter gives a stern warning as you might expect from a spiritual father and a concerned pastor: "If you fail to continue growing you will fall prey to false teaching and drift from the truth."

As a Christian spiritual growth is not optional. Just like any other aspect of life what doesn't grow begins to die.

Spiritual growth has three aspects that I am exploring in my message this week:

1) You must know what you need to know
2) You must grow in what you know
3) You must know how to keep growing

In a previous post I made the point that what you must know is Jesus. All spiritual growth begins with a personal saving spiritual through faith in Jesus Christ.
There is little value in knowing anything until you know Jesus.

Once you know Jesus you are to grow in that saving grace and in the knowledge of Jesus. The simple truth is until you live it you haven't learned it.
  • Spiritual growth is a pattern
"Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust. So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus." I Peter 1:3-8
  • Spiritual growth is progressive
Growth happens as you build on what you know by showing it in your behavior and in your speech and in your attitude and actions. In our Scripture text there are eight aspects of spiritual growth that lead to godliness. Each of those build on each other.

Progressive means that growth starts at some point and takes you to a better place. Progress can be measured as can the lack of progress.
  • Spiritual growth is practical
Spiritual growth is evidenced in every day life. You know you have grown spiritually when you find the strength to overcome a trial or a temptation for the first time. 

When you overcome a habit that has bound you for years you know you have grown in your spirit.

Or, when you find the courage to take a stand for Christ at your workplace you know you have grown.

Growth happens when you find the faith to live the spiritual truths and principles you have learned.

Spiritual growth is not a theory or a philosophy it is belief expressed in daily behavior. It is being a doer of the Word not just a hearer of the Word.

What is the evidence of spiritual growth in your life? Can you point to practical examples?