Summary: All Christians are to be growing Christians.
GROWING UP IS HARD TO DO
S: Spiritual growth
Th: Live the Difference
Pr: ALL CHRISTIANS ARE TO BE GROWING CHRISTIANS.
?: How? How do we do that?
TS: We will find in our study of I Corinthians 3:1-17 three contrasts that show us how to be growing Christians.
The _____ contrast is…
I. ENCOURAGEMENT, NOT DISCOURAGEMENT (1-4)
II. LORDSHIP, NOT PARTISANSHIP (5-9)
III. IN CONCERT, NOT IN CONFLICT (10-15)
RMBC 08 February 04 AM
ILL Notebook: Children
Allison was hiking with her parents when her dad found a snakeskin and gave it to her. She thought it was the greatest, and took it home. The skin sat in her closet for several years before it began to get a little ragged. She finally decided it was time to let the snakeskin go. So her Mom suggested that she put it out in back of the house.
"Some little neighborhood boy will find it and be happy," she predicted.
Later that afternoon, Allison and her mom were in the front yard when her dad ran around the side of the house, calling excitedly, "You’ll never guess what I found in the back yard!"
Have you ever found that growing up is hard to do?
Some of us have found that we like to at least be a kid at heart.
After all, wasn’t it great being a kid!?
I remember as a small boy when I first began to be interested in baseball.
It was the years 1967-1968 and the National League power was the St. Louis Cardinals.
In our backyard, I had one of those things made of netting and springs that when you throw the ball at it, the ball returns to you (if you hit it, of course).
Just like a lot of boys, I dreamed of playing baseball professionally.
I remember pretending I was the pitcher Bob Gibson throwing strikes and getting hitters and runners out – just like any normal boy with dreams of grandeur.
I wanted to be like Bob Gibson – and adult.
It struck me once again, that when you are a child, you want to be an adult.
This is part of growing up.
If you are new today, since the beginning of the year, we have been studying the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth.
The church in Corinth was near and dear to the heart of Paul.
It is the only place in his entire career that he purposely stayed for a longer period of time to help get it established.
But now that he has been away, the church has begun to run into some serious trouble.
They are not living up to the calling to live the difference.
In the same way…
1. In our studies of I Corinthians, we have been challenged to “live the difference” the Spirit makes in us.
We have been learning this simple truth…
People of the Spirit live differently.
When we become believers in the Lord Jesus, we possess the Spirit.
And it is the Spirit that helps us to grow and live differently.
But there was a problem in the Corinthian church in this regard.
2. The Corinthians had gone in reverse when it came to the growing process.
They were finding that growing up was hard to do.
But they did not realize this.
For ironically, they thought they were growing.
They thought that they were outgrowing Paul’s teaching about the cross.
They thought they were becoming wiser, delving further into the mysteries of spirituality and the higher realms of knowledge.
What they failed to realize and what Paul exposes is that they had become victims to the world and the flesh.
They had succumbed to the supreme instruments of Satan that keep us from experiencing the joy of the Spirit.
They had given into the temptations of their world and they had surrendered to their own pride.
And instead of growing, their faith was beginning to shrivel.
So Paul calls a halt to this direction they are taking, because…
3. Spiritual growth is essential for the believer (II Peter 3:18).
Note how the apostle Peter instructs us…
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We are to be a people that are growing.
We are to be growing in terms of our behavior, that is, we are to be a people that consistently demonstrate grace.
And we are to be growing in terms of our knowledge.
We are to be a people that know Jesus and know Him better day after day.
4. ALL CHRISTIANS ARE TO BE GROWING CHRISTIANS.
So how do we do that?
How do we get to the place that we are growing Christians and not the reverse?