Summary: WE do not question our humanity or our birth when we fall physically, why do we question our spiritual birth when we sin?
Faith: A spiritual progress report
Let me start by raising a hypothetical question. In a hundred years when people look back to this period of church history in America, how will it be classified? Will it be classed as a dismal time? Or will people say ours was a time of real impact? Consider our situation. Here we sit in a church in America. And we have to admit that the golden age of the church maybe truly gone. In the past bright students were encouraged to be ministers. Now the ministry is far from being a priority for such people. There was a time when the church had a role in directing the shape of society – now it is lumped together with a whole range of “special interest” groups. Even those who grew up in the church are losing interest - the number of people leaving the church increases at an alarming rate.
I would say that was my attitude a year ago, however, experiencing camp this summer and the impact we had with VBS this past week, I see a light.
This summer at Church camp we heard of several coming to Christ, we even had two who were baptized into Christ right here. There were several from both Senior and Junior High Camp that made commitments to go into some form of full time ministry. Some may say that the golden age of the church is gone, yet I see a light and it is getting brighter.
Faith is a spiritual process and we measure it by a spiritual progress report. Three questions we need to answer individually and corporately are:
1.) Where were we?
2.) Where are we now?
3.) Where do we want to be next year?
Before we learn to run, we have to learn to walk. In a book titled “The Savior Next Door” the author says;
Why do we fall so often after our first birth? Did we exit the womb wearing cross-trainers? Die we do the two-step on the day of our delivery. Of course not! And when we started to walk, we fell more than we stood. Should we expect anything different from our spiritual walk?
But I fall so often, I question my salvation. Again we turn to our first birth, when we fell did we question our birth, did we question our humanity? Of course not. The stumbles of a toddler do not invalidate the act of birth, and the stumbles of a Christian do not annul our spiritual birth. It is a growth process. Inside each of us as Christians lives a budding power, it will grow as we do.
Why do we fall?
1. We learn from what tripped us up
2. we learn to get up
3. we learn we are still human
A toddler falls, looks up, reaches for a hand to help them up, we should do the same. If a toddler sees no one, they cry out, good advice. When we fall we should look for His hand to help us up. If we don’t see, we should cry out. Instead of looking defeated we should learn from these falls.
Albert Einstein said, “The one who has never made a mistake, never tried anything new.”
In order to progress in our faith, we have to be willing to try something new; we have to be willing to take a chance. This week at VBS some got stretched, some tried something new for them. I saw a lot of creativity from crafts to Praise band. I saw some trying something new, doing something public for the first time, it was awesome.
Paul was praising the Ephesian Christians for their spiritual growth; they were progressing in their faith.
What about us?
In the past seven years we had some growth and some set backs, we tried new things, PowerPoint, VBS in the park, new stage area, handicap accessibility and so on. We have new Bible studies, small group as well as large group, and we will continue to move forward, even if it looks like at a snails pace, but as long as we are willing to try, we will move forward.
What has God done for us?
1. He marked us with the Holy Spirit
2. He made us children of a glorious inheritance
3. He empowered us to Victory
a. To live with Him
b. To rule over His body
c. To grow
In Rocky 2, Mickey tells Rocky “There is no can’t” In Christ it is the same. There is no can’t. WE can do anything through Christ who strengthens and enables us. It takes time, some of our habits took years to develop, it may take years for them to die, but each day we strive we move forward and little by little we gain victories over them. The greatest compliment we can get from some of our old friends is “you’ve changed.”