Summary: Here are some reasons why it is vitally important that we are "building each other up" & growing as Christians. (Powerpoints available - #132)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this sermon are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #132.)
A. Last week we started looking at the purpose of the church, & I asked these questions, "Why does the church exist? What is our purpose?" We concluded that the first & most important part of our purpose as a church is to seek to win the lost.
And I’m convinced that as long as we recognize that our ultimate purpose, the reason we exist, is to reach the lost, then as a congregation we will grow. And I tell you unashamedly, "We plan to grow."
In the 2nd chapter of Acts, the church in Jerusalem began on the Day of Pentecost with 3,000 members, & by the 4th chapter it had grown to 5,000 men, not counting women & children.
Acts 2:47 tells us that “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." It was a growing church, & they had a concern. "How do we take care of all these new Christians?"
ILL. One of the most exciting times in life is when a baby is born. The parents rejoice, & we all "ooh" & "ah" over it. Then they take the baby home, & reality sets in. They’re changing diapers, losing sleep & trying to figure out what’s wrong with the crying child. The joy of new birth is followed by the responsibility of caring for that child.
It’s the same way in the church. 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 them? Who is going to teach them & pray with them? Who is going to counsel them? Who is going to encourage them?
The early church evidently did a fairly good job of that, because we read in Acts 2:42, that these early Christians "devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching & to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread & to prayer."
You see, there is a second part to our purpose, & that is to nurture, to build up the Christians, to help them be all that they can be in this life.
B. With that in mind, listen to the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:11-16. "It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back & forth by the waves, & blown here & there by every wind of teaching & by the cunning & craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined & held together by every supporting ligament, grows & builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
That is an important passage, & I hope you noticed some key words & phrases like "service," "unity," "mature," "no longer infants," & "building each other up."
PROP. Let’s talk about that, about "building each other up" & growing as Christians. Here are some reasons why it is vitally important that we grow.
I. IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE GROW AS CHRISTIANS
A. First of all, it is vitally important that we grow as Christians because growing Christians are less vulnerable to temptation. Just as Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness following His baptism, when you give your heart & soul to Jesus, Satan will attack you, too.
In Matthew 13:24-30 Jesus told a parable about wheat & weeds. He said that a farmer went out & sowed good seed. But that night an enemy came & sowed weed seeds, & they started growing, too. At first you couldn’t tell the difference. But soon it became obvious that weeds were growing among the wheat.
So a servant suggested, "Let’s pull up the weeds." But the master said, "No. If we do that we may root up the wheat also. Let them grow side by side until the harvest. Then we’ll separate the wheat from the weeds."
Now that parable gives an important truth, "Until the harvest, until Jesus comes, good & evil will be growing side by side in the world." And it’s true. We live in a world where evil is growing. No one questions that.
Now here is the point, "If Christians are going to survive, good seed must be healthy & growing in our lives. If not, the weeds will choke it out.