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Summary: This is a study of God’s command for us to “INCREASE” and then an examination of the 5 principles the Bible gives us concerning spiritual growth.

“GOD’S COMMAND TO ‘INCREASE!’”

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR: BACKSEAT DRIVERS

1. It was a beautiful summer's day and Benny decided to take his wife Sheila and his mother Freda for a ride around Huntsville. Freda and Sheila got into the back seat of his car and buckled up.

2. Then, almost as soon as he put the car into gear, Sheila shouted to him, "Benny, you're going too slow. Can't you go a little faster?" Moments later Freda shouted, "Benny, please slow down."

3. Later, Sheila exclaimed, "Benny, you’re almost in the middle of the street!" Moments later Freda shouted, "Benny, you’re about to hit the curb!"

4. Then Sheila shouted, "Benny, could you please put on the radio." Then Freda shouted, "No Benny. Turn off that radio; I want peace and quiet in the car."

5. Benny couldn't take it any longer and said, "Sheila, who is driving this car, you or my mother?

B. THESIS

1. We all like things to be growing, right? Our hair, our retirement accounts, our children, our businesses, the economy – everything but our waistlines and debts!

2. But one area we really need to grow is in our spiritual lives. What do you think about these statements?

a. “We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.” Henry Ward Beecher

b. “We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world” Helen Keller. “A bad day for your ego is a great day for your soul.” Jillian Michaels.

c. “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein. “In life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.” Anthony Robbin

3. These are quotes about growing, increasing, trying something new in God. So tonight we’re looking at God’s command for us to “INCREASE” and the 5 principles the Bible gives us concerning spiritual growth.

4. The title of tonight’s message is “God’s Command to ‘Increase!’”

I. GOD COMMANDS US TO INCREASE SPIRITUALLY

A. FIRST COMMAND

1. Gen. 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

2. God’s command here was not only directed to physical things, but also to spiritual. God commands us to grow

spiritually.

B. DESIRE FOR SPIRITUAL INCREASE

1. Luke 17:5, “The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

2. This request was pleasing to Jesus. Remember, our Lord never rebuked people for having too much faith, but He often rebuked those who had little faith!

3. Without faith it’s impossible to please God (Heb. 12:6)! So you getting more faith is pleasing to God!

C. GRACE ALWAYS GREATER THAN SIN

1. We should be increasing spiritually because SIN IS INCREASING IN THE WORLD. Will you dare to go backward, or hesitate to get more from God when the world is constantly attempting to pump you more full of sin?

2. The good news is, God’s grace is always increasing faster than sin is increasing! Romans 5:20 says, “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”

D. PROMISE OF INCREASE OF RIGHTEOUS

1. Job 17:9, “Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger.”

2. Here’s another indication that sanctification assists in spiritual growth. If we have “unclean hands,” that condition will hinder our growth. God won’t respect a person who’s intentionally dabbling in sin.

E. NEED FOR OTHERS TO SEE OUR PROGRESS

1. Paul told Timothy, “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your

progress” (I: 4:15).

2. Paul said that it was important that people around us see that we’re making spiritual progress! Why?

3. As an encouragement to them; so that we can stay fresh & alive; because there’s so much to learn and so much ground to cover before God calls us home, etc.

4. The point is we’re supposed to be progressing until we die.

5. HUMOR. I remember the story about the beach front retirement village, where several older men were laying out sunning on lounge chairs. One looked up and saw vultures circling overhead. He elbowed his neighbor, “Bill, you better

start moving around a little, the vultures are moving in for a feast!” We Christians need to “move around” a little too!

II. 5 PRINCIPLES OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH

A. NO GROWTH: CAUSE FOR CONCERN

1. One of our children, when she was still a baby, began to lose weight. We took her to Texas Children’s Hospital and after examination, they diagnosed her as having “Failure to Thrive” syndrome. That is a catch-all title that there’s something hindering a child’s growth.

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