INTRODUCTION: New Year’s Day resolutions - a waste of time and energy because they focus on the body and leave out the mind and spirit.
1. We gain knowledge but have no perspective
2. We are convicted but often lack the skills implement growth
3. We attempt change without developing our character
NEED: If you want to experience a better year in ‘04 you must put your spiritual life in order. I want you to commit to spiritual growth this year. This is the one thing each of us needs regardless of our present level of spiritual maturity. If you don’t commit to spiritual growth even the most religious sounding goals will be meaningless.
1. Pastor, I’m reading through the Bible again this year. But I sure don’t plan on using any of it.
2. I’m going to have perfect SS attendance this year. So don’t expect me to invite anyone else.
This isn’t spiritual growth, though I certainly hope both of these will be part of your strategy this year. Spiritual growth not only changes our habits, its changes our personalities. It transforms us into the people God takes pleasure in.
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 4:1-13
TEXTUAL IDEA: Only through spiritual growth can we walk together in unity.
SERMON: 4 Elements of Spiritual Growth (adapted from Warren’s Purpose Driven Church, Chapter 18)
The result, Character, is often viewed as the 5th Element of Spiritual Growth. Personally, I prefer to teach that Christian Character is the goal of Spiritual Growth.
DIVISION 1: THE FIRST ELELMENT OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH IS KNOWLEDGE
Knowledge of the Word - in any conversation concerning gaining learning or knowledge God’s revealed knowledge must be included. It is senseless to talk of building the roof until the floor and walls are constructed. In the same way we recognize in order for us to grow in knowledge or wisdom we must gain better understanding of what we are already given. In reference to the Bible and the things of God you must ask two basic questions:
1. What do I already know?
2. What do I need to know?
Of course the more you learn, the more you realize how much you don’t know. Learning is more of an upward spiral than a linear movement.
Knowledge of the WORD - Rick Warren’s model for Application Bible Study
Wonder about it - awareness
Observe it - empirical science (comment on false science that isn’t based on what we can observe}
Reflect on it - meditation
Do it - application
I like this model because it so accurately reflects the way we gain true knowledge. Simply becoming aware of something doesn’t imply wisdom. It isn’t until you have applied that knowledge that you begin to gain understanding.
Illustration: I teach my karate instructors how to learn from their students. As teachers, we gain understanding through the process of our students applying our lessons to their life experiences. The more they grow, the more I grow.
I want to develop the idea of Reflection for a moment. Understand this term in the context of what the Bible calls meditation. Christian meditation is a far different endeavor than transcendental meditation attempted by eastern mysticism.