Summary: This message is designed to prepare believers for ministry, to promote spiritual growth, to see that they become like-hearted and to help them find what their gifting is and use it for the glory of God and the building up of His church.

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Growing Up and Building Up

Intro.: "Why does the church exist? What is our purpose?" In Acts 2, the church began with 3,000 members, by Acts 4 it had grown to 5,000 men plus women & children. The Lord added to the church daily "those who were being saved." Their concern was, "How do we take care of these new Christians?" People come to the Lord & we rejoice. But then comes the responsibility of bringing these baby Christians up in the Lord. Who is going to nurture, teach & pray with them? Who is going to counsel & encourage them?

The early church evidently did a fairly good job of that. These early Christians "continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching & fellowship, in the breaking of bread & prayers." Part of our purpose is to nurture and build up believers, to help them be all that they can be in this life.

READ: Ephesians 4:11-16

I. It is vitally important to “build up” and “grow up”

A. A growing Christian is less vulnerable to temptation.

B. Jesus told a parable about wheat & weeds

1. A farmer went out & sowed good seed

2. That night the evil one came & sowed weeds

3. A servant suggested, "Let’s pull up the weeds."

4. The master said, "No, let them grow side by side until harvest. Then we’ll separate the two."

C. Until Jesus comes, good & evil will grow side by side

D. Here’s the point, "If Christians are going to survive, good seed must be healthy and growing in our lives. If not, the weeds will choke it out.

II. It’s vitally important to grow, because growing Christians are full of joy.

A. If you grumble & complain it’s a strong sign you’re not growing in the Lord.

B. Growing Christians are excited about what God is doing

C. Growing Christians are willing Christians

1. The growing Christian says, "Sure, I’ll be…”

2. “Sure, I’ll help with…”

3. “I’ll be glad to do whatever needs to be done.”

D. Finally, growing Christians have a faith that doesn’t collapse in times of crisis

III. Basic ways to grow as Christians

A. By studying God’s Word together

NOTE: If you’ve been a Christian for years & only have a rudimentary knowledge of the Bible, then you’re still a spiritual baby and it’s time to grow up!!!

B. Through close fellowship with other Christians

1. You can go to church, sit in a pew & casually know a few people, but…

2. But fellowship grows deeper & stronger as you build relationships with other believers

C. Thirdly, we grow by using our God-given gifts.

1. One of the dangers in a church is that people sometimes think that they’re not needed

2. But that’s not true. There are many ways to use your gift & you have a meaningful ministry here. There are opportunities to serve, & we encourage you to do that

D. Each one of us has some measure of at least one of the gifts listed in Eph. 4:11

1. These gifts function on three distinct levels:

a. The spiritual “office” of the gift

b. A “resident” gifting – readily and regularly evidenced

c. A spiritual “inclination” that the Lord draws out and matures

2. This is also true of the “motivational gifts” of Romans 12:6-8

III. Some Evidence of Spiritual Growth

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