Summary: A Lesson about the four steps a believer must take to mature in Christ.
The Four Dimensions of Christianity
Text: James 1:22-24
22 But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24 for he behold himself, and goeth his way, and straightway fretted what manner of man he was.
While it’s important to know what God’s word says, it’s just as important, maybe even more, to obey it. That’s one of the ways that we can measure the effectiveness of our Bible study time. Looking at what, if any, effect it has on our behavior and attitudes. It’s not enough to just know what God says; we have to DO it. Now, the doing, doesn’t eliminate the need for study, if anything, it increases that need. We have to know what God has to say before we can obey Him.
Now, let‘s look at the four dimensions of a successful Christian walk. We’ll begin by describing exactly what a “dimension” is. The dictionary describes a dimension as the measurable degree or limit to which anything is extended.
I. The first dimension
I’m going to liken the first dimension of “height” to a spiritual “dimension” of “desire”, (To long for intensely; to ask for)
John 6:32-35 tells us to seek the bread of life. People eat bread (food) to satisfy physical hunger and to sustain and maintain physical life. The only way that we can satisfy a spiritual hunger and to maintain and sustain our spiritual life is by a right relationship with Jesus the Christ. It’s no wonder that He called Himself the Bread of Life.
But bread has to be eaten, taken into our body, to give life, and Christ has to be a part of us in order to give us spiritual life.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us to “Diligently seek God”.
Before we can “diligently” seek Him, we have to understand what the word “diligently means.
Again, according to the dictionary, it means:
(To search out; to investigate; to crave; to demand; to worship).
Believing that God exists is just the beginning, even the demons know He exists and it terrifies them. (James 2:19)
God won’t settle for us just “acknowledging” that He exists. He wants to have a personal relationship with each and every one of us. When we do what God’s Word tells us to do, and diligently seek Him, we’ll be rewarded with a personal, intimate relationship with Him. God tells us that when we act in faith, on the knowledge that we possess of Him, we will be rewarded.
When we tell others about the gospel we should also encourage them to be honest and diligent in their search for the truth. Once a person has heard the gospel, they’re responsible for what they’ve heard, and what they do with it.
1 We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
2 (for He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee, behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the time of salvation)
Paul was talking to Corinthian believers who had tossed aside God’s message, or perhaps had received it and “accepted” it under false pretenses. (Received the grace of God in vain). They may have had some lingering doubts about Paul’s words, or they may have been confused by false teachers who were teaching a different message. Regardless of the reason, they had heard God’s message without allowing it to have an impact on their lives. They were responsible for their actions. (So are we).
Matthew 5:6 This verse tells us to “hunger and thirst” for righteousness. If you’ve ever been really hungry or thirsty, that’s the attitude this is talking about. If you’re really hungry or thirsty, nothing will stop you from food and drink. It’s an all-consuming desire and there’s no way for you to be satisfied without it.
In 1 Peter 2:2 we learn that we’re to “Desire the pure milk of the word”.
You know, one characteristic of most children is that they share a desire to grow up to be just like the “big kids” or their parents. When we’re born again we become spiritual babies. Our natural desire at that time will be to be like our
Big Brother, Jesus, or our Father (God). IF we’re healthy, we’ll want to grow up. Unfortunately, way too many of our newborn Christians never grow up. They just keep on drinking milk, and messing their diapers. Now, the need for milk is a natural instinct for a baby, and a sign of healthy growth. No one gives a second thought to a baby drinking milk. But if you see a 25 year old adult hanging onto a baby bottle and throwing temper tantrums, that’s not a healthy sign. It’s a sign of, at best, stunted growth.