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Summary: Spiritual and physical growth go hand in hand in the church.

Church of Excellence: Growth

Ephesians 4:1-16; Acts 2:37-47

The last few weeks we’ve been looking at what brings Excellence to the life of the church…We’ve seen a church at prayer, a church in mission, a church that is pursuing the purposes of God are all what brings us to moving in the direction God is wanting us to…WE HAVE TWO MORE AREAS…GROWTH AND VISION…This week we look at growth

GROWTH IN THE CHURCH IS ALWAYS TWO FOLD

1. SPIRITUAL GROWTH

2. NUMERICAL GROWTH

The one always follows the other to a degree

‘Both of our passages today speaks of this….first let’s look at Spiritual Growth

I. What does it mean to grow Spiritually?

TO GROW SPRIITUALLY AS A CHRISTIAN MEANS THAT WE ARE BECOMING MORE AND MORE LIKE JESUS EVERYDAY

This doesn’t happen by accident…it is something we are mindfully doing on a daily basis

I really wish it did happen by accident…spiritual maturity and growth just happening…BUT IT NEVER HAS BEEN THAT WAY!

GROWTH COMES THROUGH A PLAN, AS WE ALLOW GOD TO COME AND MOVE AND DIRECT OUR LIVES

It comes as a mindful, willful act ourselves

The only thing that naturally comes to human beings is the bent to sinning

And like anything else in life worth doing it takes effort, time, training, and desire

ILLUST: Larry Bird, one of the greatest basketball players of all time had a gift…but he grew in that gift as he practiced countless hours toward improving himself…even when he was at the top of his game he still got every morning and shot 500 baskets. Don’t you know he didn’t pour over the game plans and memorized and went out on the court for hours each day to practice. He was good…but he knew unless he put the effort in, no matter what natural talent he had wasn’t enough, he had to be prepared for the other guy with a gift who had practiced.

OBVIOUSLY I CAN’T HIT ON EVERYTHING WE CAN DO TO GROW SPIRITUALLY BUT IN THESE TWO PASSAGE WE FIND THE KEYS

1. First Key "I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received."

This is a prayer of his for the people in Ephesus to grow into the people God intended

Bound together by love and the unity of the Spirit

Growing…no longer being infants in the faith

One of the key dangers of remaining infants in the Lord is that can so easily be lead astray from the truth.

Paul is saying God has given leadership gifts to the church… Eph 4:11-14 "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

Rebellion in the church…that is not following the leadership God has placed over us is the key to the destruction of much of modern Christianity. Not that we are to be blindly leading anyone…but following with discernment based on the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Rebellion takes on lots of faces…non attendance…lack of participation in the life of the church…non communication

The key here is to listen and move and grow with your church

That’s exactly what was happening in the early church from the beginning…

2. Second Key - Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Folks we can’t worship, we can’t become like someone we don’t know, or don’t know very well

You ever have someone you liked and admired so much you began to act and be like that person? The only way to do that is to be around them and know them and copy them.

That’s how we become more like Christ….as we are around Him, knowing Him and copying Him

We do this through our prayer life, our Bible study and day to day living asking the question… "What would Jesus Do?"

PLUS WE HAVE SOMEONE WHO WILL LEAD US AND DIRECT US AND ALLOW US TO EXPERIENCE THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST…THE HOLY SPIRIT!

But again we have to be open to His move in our lives…which we learn through living and growing in Christ as we desire to do so!!!

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