Summary: Four suggestions for Spiritual growth

“Growth – The Evidence of Life”

September 17, 2017

2 Timothy 2:15

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

2 Peter 3:18

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”

I heard about a pastor who went to a new families’ home that had just recently attended his Church for the first time. He wanted to meet with them and get to know them a little better. When he got there he got a chance to meet the son for the first time. His name was Johnny. The fellow came crawling around the room with a blue bib around his neck with the words “Mama’s little boy” written on it. He had a big diaper on and a bottle in his mouth. When the mom saw him crawling around the corner, she smiled and said, “aw look at my little baby boy”. Johnny smiled at me with a toothy grin. He said, ga, ga, goo goo.

You are probably thinking, “How cute is that!” But what if I told you that the little boy, as she called him, had to be at least 16 years old. How many of you very quickly would come to the conclusion, something is wrong with this boy and something is wrong with that mom and dad? We recognize something is wrong with Johnny, because he’s been doing the same thing for the past 16 years. He’s been a baby for sixteen years. Now the first year of his life all of this was normal - but not now. Something is wrong with the parents for accepting Johnny’s lack of growth as something normal. There is something wrong with a parent who is content with having a 16 year old baby boy. Everyone knows that if something is alive, it is supposed to grow. Growth is not an option for something that’s living. If it’s alive it’s going to grow. That’s part of the process. In this illustration, it’s easy to recognize that something is wrong with, not only the child, but also the parents. But do you know it’s very easy to allow Johnny and his parents to become an acceptable part of us in our spiritual lives.

When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, we are born again. If something is born, then we expect it to grow. At first, like Johnny, we have others around us to help us in our growth process, but at some point, we have to make some decisions on our own to begin to grow spiritually.

In New Testament times, the most important commandment in the Bible, Jesus said, was to “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” But Jesus quoted only part of that command. Let’s look at the entire command.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9

If you were to read this in Hebrew you would not find any periods, commas or colons. It was written as one instruction. You were to love the Lord and as an expression of that love you would teach your children to love and obey the Lord.

Today we live in a Christian society where it is acceptable to be babies spiritually. The majority of people who call themselves Christians are spiritual infants. Paul experienced some of that in the Corinth Church. He said,

“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” 1 Corinthians 3:1-2

He also rebuked the Hebrew Christians when he said,

“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:11-14

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Ken Hales

commented on Feb 21, 2022

Good afternoon, Pastor Andy, I really appreciate the way you brought the first day of school for Jesus (based on 1st century Jewish tradition) to life in this sermon. Would you please share with me your references for the details of this awesome description including all the rituals for that day? I would like to obtain this reference material for personal study that brings the life and times of Jesus to an easily understood contemporary light. Your grateful fellow servant, Pastor Ken Hales

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