Summary: Every person who receives Jesus as their forgiver and leader needs to keep on growing in their faith.
Growing in Christ
Intro: Saul had repented of his former way of living and had put his trust in Jesus. He had been forgiven for all of his sins, and had invited the Lord to be the leader of his life. Now what did that look like in Saul’s life? Did it make any difference in what he did and the way he lived each day? Absolutely! He did a complete 180 degree turn and began to live every moment of his life for Jesus.
-We can learn a lot from Paul. After all, he was just a man. God’s work in his life made him look like a hero, but he would be the first to say that it was all God, not Paul who accomplished great things. Paul’s life, especially his early Christian life, shows us how we can keep on growing. The main truth of today’s message is simply this:
Prop: Every person who receives Jesus as their forgiver and leader needs to keep on growing in their faith.
Interrogative: What does a growing Christian look like?
TS: We will look at 4 characteristics of someone who is growing spiritually.
I. A Growing Christian Always Seeks to Know Who Jesus Is (20)
-Paul immediately began to proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God. He was only able to do this after a personal encounter with Jesus, followed by time spent in His presence. There’s an old song that Zoe has learned: Everybody ought to know who Jesus is. As Paul got to know Jesus better, he was able to boldly tell others why they should put their trust in Him.
-It is interesting to know that Paul’s knowledge of Christ was not limited to his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. That must have been an awesome experience, but Paul apparently talked to the Lord every day after that. Just read some of his letters, and see what he says about prayer. He tells several individuals and churches that he is praying for them. He talks about praying without ceasing. He tells the Corinthians that he prays in tongues more than all of them. Paul’s goal was to stay as close to Jesus as he possibly could. That was the only way he would really get to know Him better.
-Paul’s goal to know Jesus more can be seen in Philippians 3:10 “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” These words were written by an elderly man, who knew that he was near the end of his life. He had served Jesus for many years, but his chief goal was still to get to know Christ better.
-If we ever get to a place where we do not think we need to pursue knowing Jesus more, that is when our spiritual growth will come to a standstill. I don’t want that to happen in my life, and I’m sure you don’t either. So, Lord, help us to seek to know you more. Help us to pray, sharing our hearts with You! Help us to worship, sharing our praise to You. Help us to do what you say, showing our obedience to You.
-Do you know who Jesus is? The better question is probably this: Are you getting to know who Jesus is? If we say we already know Jesus, it sounds like we know everything about Him. But if we are getting to know Him, then we are fulfilling the purpose we were created for, and we will do so forever and ever. Even after 10,000 years, we will not be able to say that we know everything about Jesus. Why? Because He is infinite! It would be more realistic to try and empty the ocean one bucket at a time than to arrive at a place where you know everything about our eternal God. That shouldn’t discourage us, however. It should make us grateful that Someone so great wants to know us too!
-TS: So, a growing Christian makes it his or her life goal to know Jesus personally. The 2nd characteristic of growing Christians is seen in their desire to grow and become all God wants them to be.
II. A Growing Christian Embraces the Growth Process (22-23a)
-“Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.” All of the training Paul had received under Gamaliel and others was part of God’s plan to shape Paul into the person he became. He had a stellar understanding of God’s word, and as the HS brought that knowledge to life, Paul was able to share passionately and knowledgeably about God’s plan to forgive and restore people’s lives through His Messiah Jesus.