Summary: In this sermon we examine two more keys to spiritual growth.
Today we continue in our series of sermons on “Keys to Spiritual Growth.” My foundational text for this series is 2 Peter 3:18:
"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen" (2 Peter 3:18).
In his book Folk Psalms of Faith, Ray Stedman tells a story of a woman who had been a schoolteacher for 25 years. When she heard about a job that would mean a promotion, she applied for the position. However, someone who had been teaching for only one year was hired instead. She went to the principal and asked why.
The principal responded, “I’m sorry, but you haven’t had 25 years of experience as you claim; you’ve had only one year’s experience 25 times.” During that whole time the teacher had not improved.
Some Christians find that they have grown very little spiritually after many years. They may have been a Christian for 25 years but discover that a one-year old Christian is overtaking them in terms of spiritual maturity.
My goal is to help you learn the keys to spiritual growth so that you can implement them in your life and grow spiritually.
High in the Alps is a monument raised in honor of a faithful guide who perished while ascending a peak to rescue a stranded tourist. Inscribed on that memorial stone are these words: He Died Climbing. My hope is that you would have that same kind of attitude right up to the end of your life. That is why I want you to learn about the keys to spiritual growth.
Today, let’s look at two more keys to spiritual growth that will help you grow spiritually. These two keys are:
1. Trusting God, and
2. Bearing Fruit.
I. Trusting God
First, a key to spiritual growth is trusting God.
Contrary to the impression given by much of modern religion, with its massive buildings and impressive programs, glorifying God is as simple as trusting him.
A. Examples of Trusting God
Let me share just two examples of glorifying God by trusting him.
The first example of glorifying God by trusting him is that of Abraham. Romans 4:19-20 says this about Abraham: “Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God.” Do you see how the apostle Paul links glorifying God and trusting God? Even though Sarah was old and had never been able to bear children, Abraham believed God’s promise that she would have a son. And by trusting God Abraham glorified God.
Professing to believe what God has said is much easier than really trusting him. For example, the Bible says that when we give money with the proper motives, God will reward us. Jesus said in Matthew 6:3-4, “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” We say we believe the principle that God rewards giving, but we often find it difficult to put into practice.
Or, take another example. Some Christians fear death, even though God has said he will provide us with the grace we need to face death and take us to heaven afterwards (2 Corinthians 4:13-18; 5:1-5).
Frankly, most of us need to admit that we don’t trust God as much as we claim.
When Abraham’s promised son, Isaac, had grown to be a young boy, God told him to kill him as a sacrifice. So Abraham went up a mountain with Isaac, whom he laid on an altar and tied down. He took out a knife and was ready to plunge it into Isaac’s heart, but the angel of the Lord stopped him and God provided a ram as a substitute offering (Genesis 22:1-13).
Abraham obeyed God because he was confident that God would provide. He could have said, “God, how can you possibly fulfill your covenant with me (with descendants numbering as the stars of heaven) if I’m going to kill the only possible fulfillment?” But Abraham didn’t argue. He trusted God to keep his word, even if Isaac was killed. According to Hebrews 11:19, Abraham believed that God could raise Isaac from the dead.
Trusting God means we acknowledge his glory, which is the sum of all his attributes and the fullness of all his majesty. If he is who he says he is, then he is to be believed—and obeyed.