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Summary: As we grow as Christian’s we not only come to experience the joy that comes with it, but we also bring joy to the Lord, when He sees his children grow.

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The Growing Christian Series

The Joys of Spiritual Growth

2 Peter 3:18

Introduction

There are many joys for the Christian. We can praise God for the joy of having our sins forgiven. We can rejoice in the blessed assurance of being his heirs. We can face the future with optimism because of our assurance that death has been conquered. Our hearts can overflow with joy as we contemplate the fact that the Christ is preparing for us a home at the end of our earthly journey. Along with these joys we can be grateful for the joy that we experience as we recognize the signs of our daily growth toward spiritual maturity.

I. Our spiritual growth brings joy to the heavenly Father.

• Earthly parents know an indescribable joy when they bring their firstborn home from the hospital.

o With feelings of delight, they look into the face of the baby whom they recognize as belonging to them.

o As the weeks go by, they observe the increase in the baby’s weight and the improvement in coordination.

o It is indeed a happy day when the child recognizes a parent and responds with a smile.

• Indescribable would be the agony in the hearts of those parents if something were to happen to prevent the continuance of this growth.

o It is natural for parents to take delight in every stage of the progress of their children from childhood to adulthood.

• The heavenly Father also is delighted to see his children grow.

• As children rejoice in the approval of their parents, even so the child of God can rejoice in the joy of the heavenly Father.

II. Our spiritual growth makes possible the joy of effective service.

• No one likes to be a loser.

o No one rejoices in being a failure.

o One of the greatest joys the human heart can know is that of significant achievement in any chosen field of endeavor.

• This is also true in the realm of the spirit.

o Paul challenged Timothy: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to god as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

o Not only did Paul want Timothy to be an effective servant of the Lord, but he wanted him to experience the joy of being an effective interpreter of the Word of God to the hearts and lives of others.

III. Our spiritual growth makes personal happiness possible.

• Can you remember how, when you were a child, you measured yourself by your parents and were pleased to discover how you had grown?

• Can you remember a time as a student making a good grade on an exam and feeling pleased with your progress?

• Spiritual growth could produce harmful pride and an attitude of self-righteousness if it were not for the fact that spiritual growth is made possible only by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

• The Holy Spirit knows not only how to challenge us in the upward struggle but also how to keep us humble in the midst of God’s goodness toward us.

o It is altogether right that as we experience the joy of progress in other areas of life we also know the joy of experiencing progress in our spiritual growth.

IV. Christian growth makes the joy of an abundant harvest possible.

• Paul encouraged the Galatians toward spiritual growth and significant achievement with the promise of a sure reward if they did not faint and fall away before the harvest season: “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Gal. 6:9).

• Success along the way from day to day is in many respects its own reward.

o As students rejoice over success in their studies, children of God can rejoice day by day in the assurance that they are making spiritual progress.

• For students, graduation day will come, and they will receive the commendation of their professors and the trustees of the institution where they have studied.

o For children of God, the day of rewarding will come when it is possible for them to hear words of commendation from the heavenly Father.

• We should so grow and serve and live and labor that on that last great day each of us can hear the Father say, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21).

Closing

We must not be content with mere membership in the family of God. We must not be satisfied with remaining in the nursery. By God’s grace each of us can grow toward spiritual maturity for the glory of God, for the good of others, and for the personal satisfaction the heavenly Father.

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