Summary: This message addresses hinderances to spiritual growth.
GROWING UP IS MORE THAN GROWING OLD
> 2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
This past week, Gladys, Drew & I had the opportunity to return and visit Locke Station, Mississippi, the place I last pastored before we came here. It was just over 4 years ago that we felt the Lord lead us to move here and start this church. A lot has happened a lot has changed in those 4 years. For one thing, Gladys has grown older. She has also grown more patient, more forgiving and more beautiful. If you repeat the first part of my statement to her, please remember the last as well.
During that time, Drew has grown up. He was an 18-month-old toddler then. He has now started kindergarten.
I have grown. My waist has grown thicker and my hair has grown thinner. I didn’t realize how long my barber had allowed my thinning hair to grow until a few weeks ago when Ellen said, “Brother Gene, you need to comb your hair. It looks like you have a dead spider on your forehead.”
Over time, if things are healthy, they grow. Royce & 6-foot cotton. If they are healthy, you almost can’t keep them from growing. What is true of plants & people is also true of our walk as Christians, and yet, in verse 18, Peter instructs us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. Evidently
it is possible to be a Christian and not grow.
To grow in the grace and knowledge of God, means to grow in your relationship with God, to grow in your understanding of Who God is, and to grow in your understanding of who you are in relation to God. Listen to Paul’s statements about himself as he grew over the years of his ministry.
Grace – benefit, favor, pleasure
Paul: 1. 1 Corinthians 15:9 – Least of the apostles
2. Ephesians 3:8 – least of all saints
3. 1 Timothy 1:15 – chief of sinners
Reasons People Don’t Grow
1. Pride_ -
> Galatians 6:2-3 Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
Some people believe they have a handle on what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Man, God really got a deal when He got me. They act like they think their feet don’t stink. Let me tell you my friend, people like that will never grow.
2. Possessions_ -
Here was a man who had it all. He was a moral man. He was a good man. He had a good reputation, and yet one thing was lacking. He said, “Jesus, What must I do to have eternal life? What must I do to take the next step? What must I do to grow?” …
Possessions can stop growth.
a. For people – You can pursue and protect your possessions so much that you never grow.
b. For churches – Before our first public worship service, the church didn’t have enough money to send out a mailing to the community, so we stepped out in faith and paid for the mailing with a credit card. … Today, God has blessed us, property, building fund, … It is easy to trust God when you have nothing, but it is more difficult when you have possessions.
Church near here, “82 in ’82.” Today, 22 years later, in one of the fastest growing parts of the country, the church is no larger than it was then. Several opportunities to step out in faith but chose to be safe.
3. Perception_ - 2 Peter 3:9
God isn’t punishing, God isn’t rewarding, it doesn’t matter. “His thoughts are not our thoughts nor His ways our ways.” Believe you have a pretty good grip on this thing. Have a pretty good grasp of Christianity and what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
> 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
4. Predictability_ -
It’s the same old thing, day after day. Nothing changes, nothing is new.
a. You quit looking for God to do great things_
b. You quit expecting God to _do great things_
c. You quit looking to _meet with God or to hear from Him_
Aids to Spiritual Growth
Remember your Purpose_
1. Bring _glory_ to God – Matthew 5:16
2. Bring _people_ to God – Matthew 28:19
Rearrange your Priorities_
> Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
Man with rocks in jar. If you want to get the big rocks in, you have to put them in first.