Summary: A message on how each of us are called to grow in Christ and live an life as a testimony to Christ.
To Grow In Christ
Many go through life denying different aspects to God’s word because it does not fit into their idea of how God should think, do, or say. They say this is what God really meant or that was for then this is now and the world is different and that cannot possibly be what God actually meant. For instance in a cemetery in Hanover, Germany, is a grave on which were placed huge slabs of granite and marble cemented together and fastened with heavy steel clasps. It belongs to a woman who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. Yet strangely, she directed in her will that her grave be made so secure that if there were a resurrection, it could not reach her. On the marker were inscribed these words: "This burial place must never be opened." In time, a seed, covered over by the stones, began to grow. Slowly it pushed its way through the soil and out from beneath them. As the trunk enlarged, the great slabs were gradually shifted so that the steel clasps were wrenched from their sockets. A tiny seed had become a tree that had pushed aside the stones.
The dynamic life force contained in that little seed is a faint reflection of the tremendous power of God’s creative word that someday will call to life the bodies of all who are in their graves. He will also bring back every person drowned at sea, cremated, or destroyed in some other way. This is no problem to the One who made something out of nothing when He spoke the universe into existence. Unbelief cannot deter the resurrection. But faith in the risen Christ opens the door to blessings that His resurrection guarantees -- a glorious new spiritual body and a home in heaven. In new bodies we will be reunited with saved loved ones to live with Jesus throughout all eternity. You this woman just could this woman just could not accept the truth of what God’s Word taught about the resurrection of the Body. But she could not stop the forces of nature from opening her tomb just like what she believed cannot stop the resurrection or her judgment. We must grow everyday in our understanding of the Word of God and two we must Grow more each day like our Master and Savior. How do we do this? Let us examine what God’s Word teaches us about how we can grow in Christ everyday.
I. In verse 21 21For me, living is Christ and dying is gain. Is Christ the reason you are living for today?
a. What I am asking is Christ all you are living for today, right now in your life?
i. For those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ this world, this moment in life is there is to live for.
1. we can understand why they are so selfish, demanding, desperate to fill every moment with what they see as worldly joy, turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, or any other addiction. To them this life is all there is and when they die that is it. So lets fill up our life with as much as we can. How much sense does that make? Under their theology why bother because why you die you want know what you did anyway. Under that theology why bother?
a. For those who are lost it is natural for them to value
2. How desperate, and despairing that life is and you want to know the truth for everyone of us in here this morning was once living that life style. But because the Holy Spirit dealt with us and accept Jesus’ salvation we now have a different life a hope that is eternal.
ii. For a Christian there is more, a lot more, to life. Verses 22-25 state 22Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work£ for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. 23I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ—which is far better— 24but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your advancement and joy in the faith,
1. Because we live we are to serve God
2. Because we live we are to worship God.
3. Because we live we are to talk about God with each other and others. We are to help others to grow in their faith and to lead others to Jesus. Verse 26 26so that, because of me, your confidence may grow in Christ Jesus£ when I come to you again.