Summary: Spiritual growth is not optional. Jesus never criticized too much faith, but too little. Sin is increasing; to compete we must increase. Our area of activity (evangelism) should be increasing! "Your faith is growing more and more!" 2 Th. 1:3. Let's grow!
“SPIRITUAL GROWTH OR BUST”
1. I had a wedding last week & one this week, so a little wedding humor seems in order.
2. It was the day Victoria had been waiting for – her wedding day. Her father was a wealthy businessman.
3. At the culmination of the wedding, her father escorted her down the aisle to the platform. She looks stunning and all eyes are on her. He father carefully gave her into the hand of her groom, a successful doctor.
4. But people sitting very close noticed, that as her father made the transfer, Victoria smiled and placed something in his hand.
5. Recognition dawned on them and they begin to quietly laugh – in return for giving his daughter away in marriage, she gave her father back his credit card!
1. Earlier in my life when people were a little poorer, there were those who wanted to take a road trip but didn’t have abundant cash or a dependable vehicle.
2. It became kind of trendy for such persons to put a sign in their window saying something like “To California or Bust!”
3. This meant they were going to try to get there until they were broke or walking. It was a statement of determination.
4. Tonight I want us to make a similar declaration to go a destination: “Spiritual Growth or Bust!”
5. We’re going to look at God’s command for us to “INCREASE” and then at 5 principles the Bible gives us concerning spiritual growth.
I. GOD COMMANDS US TO INCREASE SPIRITUALLY
A. FIRST COMMAND
1. Gen. 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
2. God’s command here was not only directed to physical things, but also to spiritual. God commands us to grow spiritually.
B. DESIRE FOR SPIRITUAL INCREASE
1. Luke 17:5, “The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
2. This request was pleasing to Jesus. Remember, our Lord never rebuked people for having too much faith, but He often rebuked those who had little faith!
3. Without faith it’s impossible to please God (Heb. 12:6)! So you getting more faith is pleasing to God!
C. GRACE ALWAYS GREATER THAN SIN
1. We should be increasing spiritually because SIN IS INCREASING IN THE WORLD. Will you dare to go backward, or hesitate to get more from God when the world is perfecting its ability to sin?
2. But some good news is, God’s grace is always increasing faster than the sin is increasing! Romans 5:20 says, “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”
D. PROMISE OF INCREASE OF RIGHTEOUS
1. Job 17:9, “Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger.”
2. Here’s another indication that sanctification assists in spiritual growth. If we have “unclean hands,” that condition will hinder our growth. God won’t respect a person who’s intentionally dabbling in sin.
E. NEED FOR OTHERS TO SEE OUR PROGRESS
1. Paul told Timothy, “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress” (I: 4:15).
2. Paul said that it was important that people around us see that we’re making spiritual progress! Why?
3. As an encouragement to them; so that we can stay fresh & alive; because there’s so much to learn and so much ground to cover before God calls us home, etc.
4. The point is we’re supposed to be progressing until we die.
5. HUMOR. I remember the story about the beach front retirement village, where several older men were laying out sunning on lounge chairs. One looked up and saw vultures circling overhead. He elbowed his neighbor, “Bill, you better start moving around a little, the vultures are moving in for a feast!” We Christians need to “move around” a little too!
II. 5 PRINCIPLES OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH
A. NO GROWTH: CAUSE FOR CONCERN
1. One of our children, when she was still a baby, began to lose weight. We took her to Texas Children’s Hospital and after examination, they diagnosed her as having “Failure to Thrive” syndrome. That is a catch-all title that there’s something hindering a child’s growth.
2. After further tests it was determined that she had reflux – swallowing the wrong direction. A pill to relax her throat muscles solved the problem and she began to “increase” again.
3. Just as it’s abnormal for a child NOT to grow, it’s abnormal for a Christian Not to grow spiritually!
4. ARE YOU HEALTHY SPIRITUALLY? IF SO, THEN YOU’LL BE GROWING! The Gospel naturally should create growth & fruit in us.