Summary: God wills that we be growing.
God’s Will: Christian Growth
A. Review God’s will thoughts from 2 previous sermons
B. Today I want to deal with another area of God’s revealed will: Christian growth. We know God’s will is that we be growing, and we even know some Scriptures related to growth.
C. But are we growing?
D. Discuss Luke 13:6-9. Today I want to make a couple of observations. There is nothing complicated about Christian growth. In fact, we have overcomplicated it.
I. We have accepted too many lies about what Christian growth is.
A. Let’s play Myth Busters. Maybe you’ve seen it.
Myth 1 – Christian growth is knowing more about God
Myth 2 – Christian growth is having better theology
Myth 3 – Christian growth is knowing your Bible
Myth 4 – Christian growth means you’re a good church member
B. Too many believers have been lulled into a false sense of growth. They hear a good sermon or have a good time of fellowship and think things are great and they’re growing, but that’s not necessarily true.
C. Illustration: My own Christian growth became stunted at seminary
II. Real growth is easily identifiable – 5 marks of real Christian growth
1. Let me give you a very simple truth: if we’re not surrendering more and more of our lives to Christ then we’re not growing
2. We must surrender our wills, ambitions, identities, life
3. Jesus said that He came to do His Father’s will, i.e. surrender
1. The history of the world has been built on the gospel of competition, but not the Kingdom of God. It is about sharing.
2. You have a story to share, a savior to share, a life to share
3. In this age of individualism we must learn to relate
1. What should we celebrate?
2. Jesus wasn’t down on everything – He celebrated life
3. We must learn to celebrate the God we claim to love – tell about the girl drawing God – they’ll know what He looks like…
4. What image of God do people get from your celebrating Him?
1. I talked about this last week – real growth expands our sight
2. Kids think only of themselves – world revolves around them
3. As we grow we learn to see what is really there.
4. Do we see the harvest? The God of the harvest?
1. Service is the natural outcome of all the rest: surrender, sharing, celebrating and seeing. When we do all those things our desire ought to be to serve others so they might know the Savior
2. Jesus served – that was His life. It ought to be ours as well.
A. Today I’ve tried to give you very briefly what Christian growth is not and what it will look like when you are growing.
B. Boil it all down and Christian growth necessitates a total life transformation. God is not content until Christlikeness is the mark of your life.
C. There is a man in the Scriptures who exemplifies what Christian growth should look like.
1. Matthew 9:9ff Watch the progression
2. Matthew surrendered in verse 9
3. Luke’s gospel says he threw Jesus a feast – he celebrated. But notice with whom he celebrated. This wasn’t a church potluck. There was no welcome party to usher him into the church. As Matthew celebrated the goodness of God he shared his home and table with the worst of people – sharing what Christ had done for him.
4. At the end of this same chapter Matthew, having just shared Christ now cannot see the harvest. He may have expressed concern for a fellow Jew – but his eyes would be opened and he would soon be seeing the harvest that lie all around.
5. Serving – immediately Jesus sends Matthew into the harvest like a pack of wolves having fun with a rabbit.
D. So we know what it is and what it looks like – but how do we grow?
E. I told you at the beginning there is nothing complicated about it, so you’re going to think this is an oversimplification.
F. Simply put, if you want to experience the growth God desires for you, then do two things: walk with Jesus. In other words, be a disciple of Christ. And secondly, enter relationships with other disciples.
G. But how do we even do that? There must be a death. The verses we began with are a lesson in horticulture – if we really want to learn how to grow, then let’s get back to the garden.
1. To grow and have life there must be a death
2. The gardener plunges the seed under the ground where it sits in darkness and isolation until it begins to rot