Summary: Even though the focal verse of this sermon is: 2 Peter 3:18 - the outline comes from Ephasians 4:22-24. Throw off the old - put on the new.
Growing In God’s Grace
Our focus verse for today is found in Second Peter chapter three verse eighteen. Please follow along with me as I read:
“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 (NKJV)
In this verse Peter admonishes us to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Folks let me tell you a fact – Christian Growth is not a matter of how many – it is a matter of how much.
Let me explain this statement to you. Christian Growth is not a matter of how many times I have attended church this year – it is a matter of how much closer have I drawn to Christ this year. It’s not a matter of how many minutes I spend in prayer each day – it is a matter of how much my prayers are sincere and honest. It is not a matter of how many Bible verses I have memorized – it is a matter of how much have I allow God’s Word to change my life.
Many times we as Christian make the mistake of thinking – “The more I do for God – the more spiritual I am”. This is a real danger of those of us whose vocation is being a minister of God. The truth is – just because a person that has gone to seminary does not make them more spiritual. You can attend classes but that does not mean that you have obtained Godly character. Many people have thought that if they just attended church more that somehow they would automatically become more Godly. It doesn't work that way.
Let me illustrate it this way: I make a decision that over the next year I am going to get more physically healthy. I decide the way to do it is to go to the gym ever day. Sounds like a good plan doesn’t it? So at 5 am every morning I go down to the gym and spend an hour there. I go down to the gym and take my lawn chair – set it right in the middle of the gym floor, flop myself down in the chair and watch everybody work out. If somebody asks me how I am doing I can brag, “I spend an hour a day in the gym to become more physically healthy. I am doing great.” But I don’t work out when I go to the gym and I don’t tell them that on the way home I have found a little donut shop where stop and get a fresh donut daily. But I am thankful that I am spending time in the gym every day.
You see physical conditioning is not a matter of how many hours I spend in the gym every day – it is a matter of how much I am strengthening my body by exercising it.
Christian growth is about the quality of life. It is about how much closer I am getting to God. Am I closer to God today than I was yesterday? Christian growth is about character change. How much do I show love my wife and the people around me? Am I am allowing God's grace to flow through me? Christian growth is a matter of how much my character is being changed by God's power. Jesus said this way:
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 (NKJV)
God gave us His saving grace to get us started – but God also gives us daily grace to keep us going and growing. God wants our lives to be changed. He wants us to: “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Today we’re going to talk about Christian growth.
I believe that God has a process for Christian Growth. It begins by grace – but it also continues by grace. We are to: “grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” How do we do this? I believe Ephesians chapter four gives us some insight as to how to grow in the grace of God. Paul is writing to us and he says:
“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4:22-24 (NLT)
Go ahead and circle the words “throw off” and “put on”. Here we find a two step program to help us grow in the grace of God. It's simple but it's powerful.