Summary: As Christians we must continue to grow in the Lord after we are saved. We cannot simply "exist" after we are saved and expect to become mature Christians. Growth is just as important after the new birth as the new birth is itself.
Recipe for Spiritual Growth
I. Why do we need to grow?
Colossians 2:6-8 explain the need for spiritual growth.
A. Walk in Christ—If we are truly walking with Christ, we will grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him.
B. Be rooted—as a tree seeks water deep in the earth, we need ot be rooted deeply in God’s Word. Those who do not have knowledge of the Word are in danger of being deceived by false doctrine.
C. Be built up and established—Study the Word of God and become strongly built up in faith and the knowledge of God. Feed your faith. Heb. 12:2 tells us that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. His desire is to build up and establish our faith. He does this through various means, the most important of which is through the reading of the Word and Prayer.
II. How can I experience spiritual growth?
2 Peter 1:5-7 give us the recipe for spiritual growth.
A. Faith is the first ingredient.
Faith is the root of the Christian life. Faith is necessary for salvation. Unsaved people cannot grow in the Lord because they do not have this first ingredient of saving faith.
B. Add Virtue—moral goodness, right living, excellence. Saving faith will bring about right living. There are some who believe that God doesn’t pay attention or care if you continue living like you did before you were saved. The Bible teaches otherwise. God’s grace not only saves the sinner, but it transforms him into a life of right living.
C. Add Knowledge—knowledge of God, and the things of God in general. As we mentioned already this knowledge is gained by Bible study and prayer.
D. Add Temperance—self-control. Paul models this trait in I Cor. 9:27 when he said, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” He is demonstrating self-control by not allowing what 1 John 2:16 describes as the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” to have any control over his life.
E. Add Patience—steadfastness if faith during trials and suffering. James 1:4 tells us “let patience have her perfect [complete] work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting [lacking] nothing.” Patience works hand in hand with faith. It displays a restfulness and a peace during time of trials. As we learn to respond to trials with a heart of trust toward God, our patience will grow.
F. Add Godliness—reverence, seeking to conform to the mind of God in all things by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 12:2 says, “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Godliness involves a transformation in which we begin thinking as God thinks. We see sin as God sees sin. We see lost souls as God sees lost souls. We see all of life through a Godly world view.
G. Add Brotherly Kindness—charity shown toward Christian brethren. A Christian should never be unkind to a fellow believer, or to a sinner. Courtesy, genuine love and kindness are marks of a true Christian. Kindness prevent church splits, hurt church members, and running off the visitors. Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
H. Charity—this word comes from the Greek word that means unconditional love. This kind of love is to be expressed toward God and man. It is the kind of love that trust God even during fiery trials. It is the kind of love that is shown toward others even when they hurt me or disagree with me. Charity could be defined as pure and perfect love of God and of all mankind.”
III. What does God promise about spiritual growth.
2 Peter 1:8-11 give some of God’s promises about spiritual growth.
A. Increased fruitfulness
Vs. 8 If these virtues he listed earlier are abundant in our lives we will be fruitful in our walk with God.
B. Sustained perspective
Vs. 9 “seeing afar off” The warning is that a lack of these virtues causes spiritual blindness. Thus the promise is that abundance of these virtues give proper spiritual vision.
C. Assurance of salvation
Vs. 10 “If ye do these things, ye shall never fall”
This is God’s condition for security. It contains within it the solemn implication that we can fall if we do not continue in these things.
D. Promised promotion
Vs.11 an abundant entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.