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Summary: God has given us specific tools for our service to Him; are four important ones

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The next step in the “Life Essentials” series is Progress. We have spoken about the first two life essentials as being Peace and Position. Today we will discuss the necessity of spiritual growth for us as Christians and the vital necessity of maturing in our faith.

As we go through life, we achieve many milestones as people; as babies we first learn how to crawl and then walk. Then we become adolescents and begin to learn how to ride a bike or strap on a pair of roller skates. This all translates into our being able to learn how to drive and then ultimately be teachers to the next generation. This is a natural process and one that if it is not taken with great consideration can lead to catastrophic consequences. What has taken place in this sequence is simple; we make progress in life whether it is with walking and driving, school and college, growing from young adulthood into being grandparents. The key to life is growing and learning from its experiences as to avoid the pitfalls of the future and to make better more sound decisions as they come.

Let’s take a moment to overview what the Bible has to say about progress and its vitality to our effectiveness as Christians.

III. PROGRESS (VS 3-5)

1 Peter 2:2: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”

• The natural progression for children is to begin life on a steady diet of milk and then graduate to soft foods and ultimately begin eating the things that we, as adults, are able to eat

• Living life as a Christian is no different; we must first seek the simple things of the Christian life and then move on to the weightier matters.

• What are the keys to effective progression in the life of the Christian?

a. A Strong Foundation

b. Steady Growth/Building

c. Seeding for others

• Let’s evaluate each one of these steps in detail

1. A STRONG FOUNDATION

• When building a structure, the key to that structures longevity is the base upon which it has been built

• The structure, no matter how large or small must have strong ‘legs’ in order to stand in the midst of the storms that might come

• The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy is going to fall. Scientists travel yearly to measure the building’s slow descent. They report that the 179-foot tower moves about one-twentieth of an inch a year, and is now 17 feet out of plumb. They further estimate that by the year 2007 the 810-year old tower will have leaned too far and will collapse onto the nearby ristorante, where scientists now gather to discuss their findings. Quite significantly, the word "pisa" means "marshy land," which gives some clue as to why the tower began to lean even before it was completed. Also--its foundation is only 10 feet deep!”

• The leaning tower has been a spectacle for many years, the unfortunate reality is, however, that as intriguing as it is, the building is going to fail

• What is the reason for its failing? Its simple:

a. Poor planning/research

b. Poor location

c. Poor foundation

• We must avoid these pitfalls if we are going to progress as God wants us to

• The Bible is very clear as to how we should build regarding our Christian lives

Luke 6:47-49: “Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”

• Jesus stated that we must build upon Him, which is building our temple upon the rock that never fails

• When we build a strong foundation, we allow for limitless growth in our spiritual lives

• Growth is absolutely necessary to maintain our obedience to God

Matthew 13:4-9: “And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

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