Acts 2:46

 

 

Do you want to grow? If you don’t care about growing in Jesus what I am about to say is irrelevant.  But you are here so I think you want to grow in your faith. As Christians we are instructed to grow and we should want to grow.

 

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

The early Christians gathered to grow.

 

Acts 2:46  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,

 

If we meet together every day we would be able to grow also. That is why church camp is such a great experience for our kids.  That is why Hillsboro Family Camp is such a good experience.  We are together daily, learning and sharing life together.

 

Why don’t we meet daily anymore? Life is too busy or we just don’t want to?

Life is only busy with what you want it to be busy with.  What is important?  What is most important?

Would growing together in Jesus make your top 10 list?

 

It would be nearly impossible to meet daily together in our society. Work schedules, family life, etc.

Can we at least meet together and grow on Sunday – AM and PM and Wednesday for Bible Study?

If Wednesday doesn’t work, we could start another study group that meets another day of the week.

The issue is growing together.

 

Do you see the need to get together to grow?

We live in a very self-sufficient world.   Self-help books to DIY projects.  “I can do it myself.”

We can save a lot of money if we do it our self.  But if we don’t know what we are doing we can cause more trouble and headache.

I have a few stories.  Why?  Because I try to save money and don’t want to bother my brothers in Christ here that have the know-how.  (I do sometimes.)

This is part of the problem – we think we would be a bother to each other – everyone else is too busy

I hear that all the time – “I don’t want to bother you, Jim, I know you are busy.” I may be busy but I have time to help you.  We will have to schedule the time but I am never too busy, we have 24 hours every day; sleep is overrated anyway.

 

When we lived in Milford, a church friend came to help me put in a three-way switch. We told Vicki, “Don’t worry ma’am we’re professionals!”  Three days later and almost getting electrocuted the three-way switch was in and working.  (I turned off the breakers but not for the baseboard heat.  Guess which wire we cut into?)

“Don’t worry ma’am we’re professionals!”

 

We need help and support. Sometimes we even need a trained professional.

But we always need each other. We need each other so we can grow together.

 

We must grow.

1 Peter 2:2  Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3  now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

 

Growth takes time – not instant – just like losing weight and getting in shape. Start the hard work of growing in knowledge and faith.

 

Grow in God’s Word – His word is our instruction manual for life.

 

2 Timothy 3:16  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17  so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

Just like any manual we need to read it to understand how the product works. Car manual, computer manual, dishwasher manual, etc.

 

Read and study the Bible so you know how to handle life. I have a handout that I made several years ago of verses to read know matter what is going on in your life.  Sad, scared, tempted, sinned, discouraged, lonely, etc.

 

God’s word is useful. God’s word gives us the information that we need to survive and thrive in this world.

(BIBLE: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.)

 

God cares enough about us that he didn’t just plunk us down here on the earth and say, “Do the best you can! Hope you figure it all out! Good luck!”

 

God’s word is a light.

 

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

 

Without a light we stumble around in the dark. Before you became a Christian that is what happened.  You did things your way until finally you decided to do things God’s way.  As a Christian we need to keep His light on our path so we can see the way, His way.

 

Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

 

We need to grow and there are many benefits in growing. We need to help one another grow, we need them and they need us.  “I will grow with others.”

 

Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10  If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 11  Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

 

Some Christians want to be Lone Rangers but that will make you a weak Christian at best. We need others to have your back.  You need others to be strong when you are weak.  We all need support.

 

Galatians 6:2  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

 

If we don’t carry each other’s burdens, we are not fulfilling the law of Christ. If you don’t think you need them, understand that we need you.  We are the body of Christ – one in pain all in pain; one rejoices all rejoice.

 

We need to study God’s word together and be there for each other.

 

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

 

Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.

 

Let’s use the analogy that each Christian is a knife that needs sharpened. Even a dull knife is still a knife but it won’t cut through hot butter. A dull knife is not effective; it is less useful.  Let’s be a sharp knife so that we are useful and effective.

 

2 Peter 1:8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

We have to be together to study and grow so that we can sharp each other so we stay effective for Jesus. When we separate ourselves we get cold.  Just like a hot coal that is removed from the fire.

I read a story of a preacher going to visit a man who had quit coming to church.  The preach said hello and walked to the fireplace and pulled out a hot coal with the poker and sat down.  The two men just looked at the fire and the hot coal that was cooling off by itself.  The preacher got up and said, “I’ll see you Sunday.”

 

What do you think that man did? Did he get the message of the preacher?  Do you?

Will you make sure you come and study – come to Sunday School, come to Bible Study, join other groups within the church so you stay connected and serving?

 

God calls us to grow and to be able to handle His word correctly.

 

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

 

We won’t be able to do this unless we study and grow together.

 

Research says, Christians who are involved in groups are five times more likely to remain as faithful Christians for the next five years. Only 16% of Christians who come to a worship service remain faithful.  If you want to continue in your faith you need to get involved in groups, study groups and service groups.

 

I am saying come and grow because we need each other. I am not saying come and get more knowledge about the Bible; that is part of it but there is more.  Gaining knowledge means applying God’s word to your life.  You could memorize the whole Bible but never live what it says and you would have wasted your time.

 

We can’t live God’s will if we don’t know God’s will.

Somebody tells me it is ok to divorce his wife because she doesn’t love him anymore and that is not fair.

What does God say?

Somebody tells me it is ok to support homosexual marriage.

What does God say?

Somebody tells me it is ok to tell a white lie.

What does God say?

Somebody tells me they will never forgive that person.

What does God say?

Somebody tells me they are too shy to share their faith.

What does God say?

 

We have to know what God says so we know how to life and how to think.

Someone tells me that God can’t forgive them.

What does God really say?

Someone tells me that they are no good.

What does God really say?

Someone tells me that they aren’t loveable.

What does God really say?

 

Knowing God’s word helps us think correctly about ourselves and lets us know how to live.

As we grow in knowledge we grow in faith. We become like Jesus.

We have Jesus’ compassion for others.  We want others to come to salvation.  We forgive like Jesus.  We want to teach others.

We know His word and we know Him.

We need to grow together.

 

Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.

 

We need to pray for each other to stand firm in God’s will. Pray that we are mature and assured.

We need to grow up and know we are secure in Jesus.  So many Christians question their salvation and that keeps them weak.

We have assurance of salvation.  We know we are saved because of God’s grace.  It is about grace not about us.  We did not earn God’s grace it is a free gift we accept.  So unless you reject God’s grace you have the assurance of your salvation.

 

A few weeks ago there was a Wedding Shower for Caleb and Lanie.  People brought gifts not because they had earned.  The gifts were gifts; all Caleb and Lanie had to do was accept the gift and it was theirs.

 

God’s grace is a gift.  When we accept His gift and are assured of His gift we will be able to mature in Him.

 

We can encourage and remind each other if we will grow together.

 

Growing together means we join each other in Bible study and in service projects.

If you are growing you will be able to say with Paul.

 

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

If we grow we will grow in the Spirit and His fruit (Ladies having a special study beginning Wednesday.)

 

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

 

When we grow up we will be mature.

 

Ephesians 4:14  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

 

We will be like Jesus.

 

Grow so you will receive a rich welcome into Heaven

 

2 Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7  and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9  But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 10  Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11  and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

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