Summary: Describes the fundamentals of spiritual growth in the life of the Christian.
Title - Fundamentals for Spiritual Growth
Text - 1 Corinthians 3:6
Intro. - In the gospel according to Luke 8:4-15 the Lord told the Parable of the Sower which gives insight and understanding into Paul words in 1 Corinthians 3:6. Read along with me the words of Jesus from Luke 8:4-15.
Paul gives us three simple points concerning the fundamentals of spiritual growth. I want to take those and consider them this morning.
I. The Planting
1 Corinthians 3:6a says, “I have planted ...”
A. The preparation of the seed and the soil is important. For anything to grow there must be good seed and good soil for the seed to grow in.
B. Characteristics of the seed
a. Luke 8:11 says, “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.”
1. The seed is the Word of God, and like seed, the Word has life and power. Always remember: Nothing can take the place of the Word of God.
a. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
b. ILLUS. - The Epistle to the Hebrews is difficult to translate because so much of the content concerns the Jewish culture and religious rituals.
Much of those concepts are totally foreign to the Agta people who live in the northern Philippines. However, some parts of the epistle really make sense to them, like the verse in Hebrews 4:12, “The Word of God is living and potent.”
Depending upon the context, the Agta word madagat can mean stinging, venomous, or potent. A poisonous snake is madagat, but so are some medicines that can heal. One translation assistant explained his understanding of how the Word of God is potent this way: “It depends upon how we approach it. If we disregard it, it’s like the poisonous snake. But if we live by it, its potency is like medicine.” -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 44.
2. The seed produces the fruit. The Word, like the seed, will produce results in us.
a. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
b. ILLUS. - “The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives.” -- D. L. Moody, Leadership, Vol. 9, no. 2.
3. The seed can do nothing until it is planted.
a. John 12:24 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
b. Jesus said to certain in Israel in John 8:37, “I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.”
1. These refused to be planted. We all have the potential to receive but if we refuse to allow the seed to be planted in our heart then nothing will ever happen in our life.
C. Notice the characteristics of the seeds nature:
1. It will produce results even after long periods of time. (Isaiah 55:8-13)
a. ILLUS. - Some years ago a lotus seed was germinated after lying dormant for several thousand years in a peat bog. Human beings don’t live that long--at least not here. But they do have a remarkable power to respond to seeds of spiritual life sown years before.
Isaiah states far better than I the power of the Word to spring to life after long periods: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11). -- Graham R. Hodges in Leadership, Vol. 9, no. 4.
2. It stands forever.
a. Isaiah 40:7-8 says, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”
b. ILLUS. - Life is ever so short. It lasts no longer than the grass that appears so quickly and then withers away or the flower that appears and falls just as quickly. The unsaved have no more hope than this. But this is not true with the believer. The believer endures forever if the Word of God lives in the heart and life of the Christian. If the believer has received the Word into his heart and life he has the assurance of living forever and ever. When all of man’s efforts have ceased and all of man’s efforts at succeeding himself have vanished the Word of God will still be standing accomplishing the work for which it was sent forth to produce within the church.