Spiritual Growth: Pondering thoughts

Spiritual growth and the disciple  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:00:42
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Necessary Elements

We have looked at many necessary elements to spur spiritual growth in our series, so here are some reminders and encouragements as we get started tonight.
Necessary Elements
Choosing (2Pt3:18)
Choosing to obey God’s commands for us to grow, personally so that then we can grow as a church.
Believing (Php2:12-13)
Believe with God’s help we are capable of spiritual growth
It is not about our current ability, it is about our availability and knowing God will equip us to grow.
Setting (2Pt1:5-8, Rom12:3-5)
It is properly assessing where you are at and setting some behavioral and functional goals for spiritual growth
From personal growth than can come congregational goals for growth.
Developing (1Pt2:2, Heb10:24-25), Rom12:6-8)
It is knowing and developing the means to obtain the goals we set personally and as a church.
(Below not on screen and keep it off the screen)
Hebrews 10:24–25 NASB95
24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Maintaining (1Cor15:58)
maintaining a positive attitude regardless of circumstances knowing that your toil (your labor) is not in vain in the Lord.
Persevering (Heb10:36-39)
God has given us what we need, and we need to apply it, perseverance so that when all is said and done, when we have done the will of God we will receive the gift, the promise!
So, don’t shrink back, be one who by faith perseveres to the end preserving your soul.
Be inspired (Php3:17, 4:9)
Be inspired, look around for good role models, see who walks in the patter set, the examples given in the scripture.
Be inspired knowing if you do these things (practice these things) than the God of peace will be with you.
So, tonight as we wrap up this series a couple of things to look at
Hindrances to spiritual growth
Steps to enable, encourage spiritual growth (application)
(transition) Spiritual growth is not automatic as is physical growth, there are things that can hinder us from growing and things that can help us to grow. So, first may we look at the hindrances.

Hindrances to spiritual growth

Have you ever felt like you were being held back from doing something? There are things that can hinder us, hold us back from growing spiritually and we stay as spiritual “babes” and not grow to the fullness of Christ.
Lack of effort (Heb5:12-13; 1Cor3:1-2)
Failure to set proper goals and develop daily habits towards spiritual growth
Oh, maybe think of it like this, this is spiritual laziness, people who take the course of least resistance or take little or no effort to obtain the desired results.
Here is an example
Hebrews 5:12 NLT
12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.
Hebrews 5:13 NLT
13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.
Paul calls those like that, not spiritual, but of the flesh, some versions of 1Cor3:1-2 says “carnal.” He is not saying they are not saved but that they are not growing and are still carnal in nature and will remain forever babes, that is if they do not fall away all together.
Lack of effort an illustration (Pro24:30-34)
Proverbs 24:30–31 NASB95
30 I passed by the field of the sluggard And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense, 31 And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; Its surface was covered with nettles, And its stone wall was broken down.
Proverbs 24:32–33 NASB95
32 When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction. 33 “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest,”
Proverbs 24:34 NASB95
34 Then your poverty will come as a robber And your want like an armed man.
A lazy man’s vineyard lies in ruins and a spiritual sloth leads to spiritual ruin.
Being or getting discouraged (2Cor11:24-29; 2Cor4:8-9, 16-5:1; Gal6:9, 1Cor15:58)
Many believers start with a gusto and get discouraged and quit. The reasons vary greatly such as
Church troubles, family troubles, lack of encouragement from any source.
But hey, look at what Paul went through in 2Cor11, and he did not get discouraged
2 Corinthians 11:24–25 NASB95
24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.
2 Corinthians 11:26–27 NASB95
26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
2 Corinthians 11:28–29 NASB95
28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?
He did not get discouraged or lose heart (ref: 2Cor4:8-9)
Why? Because, well join me and let’s turn to 2Cor4:16-5:1 together.
(below is not on the screen, just read it)
2 Corinthians 4:16 NASB95
16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:17 NASB95
17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
2 Corinthians 4:18 NASB95
18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 5:1 NASB95
1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Paul knew that his labor, nor will your’s be, in vain.
Paul encourages to grow and and not grow weary
Galatians 6:9 NKJV
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
And hey you can look back at it being said in similar fashion back in 1Cor15:58 which we read earlier.
(Transition) Discouragement happens, but we need to curtail it as quickly as possible, in ourselves and in each other so it will not detour us from pressing on to spiritual growth.
Hindrance: Lack of application (use) (Heb2:1)
A Christian only stays sharp, growing when they put to use the knowledge, ability and opportunity to grow spiritually. Just like a knife can become rusty if not used often, or silver become dull.
Mark Copeland says: “Unless we are earnest in our endeavor, we will simply ‘drift away’ form the Lord” - consider
Hebrews 2:1 NKJV
1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.
There is no required retirement age for a servant of the Lord! But there is great death benefits.
Hindrance: Interference (Mk4:18-19)
Don’t get crowded out
Like crops, trees and flowers that do not grow well when they are crowded together, we as Christians can crowd our lives with the things of this world and it will hinder our spiritual growth if not even take us out of the kingdom if we are not careful
In our work that we get so busy that we don’t attend to God’s business/command (spiritual growth)
In our home life so busy keeping things up we forget to keep things going spiritually
In our school and activities so busy that we have no time for God, nor make time for God, things like prayer, reading, studying and assembling
OK, and even me, I can get so busy ministered that I crowd out time with God myself if I’m not careful.
Jesus warned about interference
Mark 4:18–19 NASB95
18 “And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19 but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
(Transition) If we desire to have a healthy spiritual growth, a healthy spiritual crop we may need to do some cultivating of some things and weeding out of other things..
A lack of effort, discouragement, lack of application and interference all can hinder our spiritual growth. Consider for yourself are there things that are hindering me?
If so, hey, there are things we can do (apply) to help ensure spiritual growth.

Suggestions, steps to ensure spiritual growth

We all want to grow, I don’t think anyone says “OK now I’m saved back to life as normal.” I believe we want to mature, to grow in Christ to grow spiritually so here are some simple tools (applications) you can put into your plan for spiritual growth.
Get involved in work of the church (body of believers) (Ps84:10; Jn13:12-17; Isa6:8)
Have the attitude that serving is serving one day in the courts look how David put it
Psalm 84:10 NASB95
10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
How about following Jesus own example
John 13:12–13 NASB95
12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.
John 13:14–15 NASB95
14 “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.
John 13:16–17 NASB95
16 “Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
Oh wait, I said example and that it it is, but it is also Jesus promise of a blessing if you do it.
You can offer your services to the church (body of believers) to the servant leaders who will be happy to help you find something to do to serve.
Be like Isaiah
Isaiah 6:8 NASB95
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Send me, use me!
Pray, open your eyes, look around see what needs to be done and do it! -God loves a cheerful giver and the church loves a cheerful servant as does the Lord!
Don’t look and say someone needs to do it, chip in and help get it done! in other words “don’t criticize, energize!”
Get started or restart a regular time of private devotions with God (Ps37:4; Jer29:13; 1Chr16:11)
Again may we turn to David a man after God’s heart always seeking Him
Psalm 37:4 NASB95
4 Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
David found delight in the Lord knowing when he did that the Lord delighted in him
Jeremiah records “seek Me and you Will find Me.”
How about what we find from the writer of Chronicles (which believed to be Ezra)
1 Chronicles 16:11 NASB95
11 Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually.
Do it continually and do it purposefully Seek Him and seek His strength, why? So you can serve him of course, so you can grow spiritually too!
Choose to participate in bible study or small group (Act17:11, 2:46-47)
The Bereans searched the scripture daily.
We know the early church met daily in each others house, not just on First day of the week.
Be prepared, and be evangelizing, leading people to come to know Christ (Jn1:40-46 a great example)
Maybe you don’t have the gift of evangelism but you do have the ability to invite don’t you? Look at a great bible example.
John 1:40–41 NASB95
40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ).
John 1:42–43 NASB95
42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). 43 The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.”
John 1:44–45 NASB95
44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
John 1:46 NASB95
46 Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
If you are inviting you are going to be growing too!
Be examining yourself daily (2Cor13:5)
We are told through scripture to examine ourselves in Christ, you know see where we are.
2 Corinthians 13:5 NASB95
5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?
Here are some self-examination questions to consider.
Do I have, better or more bible knowledge than I did a year ago?
Do I have the same interest, desire, zeal for Jesus Christ today as I did when I was baptized into Christ?
Have I shared Jesus with someone and help lead them to respond to the gospel? Have it done it recently?
Am I a joy filled Christian who is enjoying my walk with Christ, is it transparent to others?
Does my attitude display the Christ who is in me? does my attitude, my disposition show I’m a Christian and I’m growing more like Christ?
Am I a good example of a born again Christian to others, one who worships in spirit and truth?
Am I growing in service, in prayer, in study and in my worship?
(Transition) Self-examination is not easy but it is commanded and it is necessary to know where we are and to look at the goal we have set for spiritual growth.
(Conclusion): The Disciple of Jesus who is growing spiritually is going to display the fruit of the Spirit within and to those outside too
Galatians 5:22–23 NASB95
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Let the fruit be cultivated, may the fruit produce spiritual growth for you and help be a part of spiritual growth as the church.
(Invitation- be the church slide- already on computer) (Song) (Prayer)
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