Growing In Christ #4

Faith Church November 16, 1991

- intro basic truths, growing in Christ

- quickly review "romans" from previous weeks


    B. The Holy Spirit doesn't work "mystically"

        cf. Charles Solomon - spirituotherapy


        1. man commanded to be involved in the process

            Rom. 8:13 - (subject of the verb is ______)

            II Cor. 7:1

            I Tim. 4:7

            Eph. 4:1, 4:17

        2. metaphors describing great human effort often used

           II Tim. 4:7 - fought a good fight

           I Tim. 6:11 - flee these things

           I Tim. 6:12 - Fight the good fight of faith

           Phil. 3:14 - (race) I press toward the mark of the
              prize...


- a good summary of this point was made by John Murray who
    said:

      "...the pilgrimage to perfection [in the eternal state]
       is not one of quiescence and inactivity. It is not
       'let go and let God.' The journey proceeds the apace
       with the most intense exercise on our parts...our
       working is not suspended because God works, and God's
       working is not suspended because we work. The one is
       not superceded by the other. They are complementary
       ...our working is grounded in God's working. Our
       working receives its urge, strength, incentive, and
       cause from God working in us.

- good question to ask from this point - To what degree am I
    actively involved in the change process?

    C. The Holy Spirit works through His word

        - we've been saying strongly that the process of
          change is spiritual business.
        - lasting change and growth in the Christian life
          cannot take place apart from the Holy Spirit of God.

        - no believer would disagree with that
        - the disagreement comes in when we start talking
          about how the Holy Spirit works
        - the Scripture makes it clear that the Spirit works
          through His Word

        - now we need to say this - the Holy Spirit can work
          any way He wants to work - but we ought to expect
          Him to work the way He said He would - and thats
          through His Word.

        - let's talk about how the Spirit uses His Word - II
          Tim. 3:16 - read

            1. how?

                - this passage tells us that the Word can do
                  four things for us

                a. doctrine - teaching

- most of us have grown up in a age when there's been a de-
  emphasis on reason, thinking
- our society has been overtaken by existentialism, Freudian
    irresponsibility, drugs, love of violence, overthrowing
    of sexual restraints, eastern religions

- we are in great need of teaching - the Word of God provides
  that for us
    - I'm sure it's not any surprise to you that we put a
      heavy emphasis on that around here

      - heavy emphasis on discipling (teaching...to observe)
      - heavy emphasis on equipping - (Eph. 4:11-17)

- here's some of the things we need to be taught:

                    1) God's standards

- one of the problems we have today is that standards keep
  changing
- homosexuals pressured the American Psychiatric Society - so
     they declared that homosexuality is perfectly normal
- the Pope declares that now its OK to eat meet on Fridays
- the Mormons (who for years considered blacks to be a cursed
    race - changed and admitted them to office)

- problem in each of those illustrations is - no set standard
    for what is right and wrong

- the Word of God gives us those standards
    - now, its wrong to come up with your own standards and
        hold them up with the same authority of the Scripture
    - but its also wrong not to study the Scripture to learn
       God's standards

    - cf. Wed. night - No divorce (hit faithfulness)

2) God's principles

- knowing how to handle life in a way that pleases God is not
  part of our "standard equipment"

- therefore, we all need principles from God's Word on how to
    please Him
- INPUT - in what areas do we all especially need principles
     that can only come from the study of God's Word?

- so to summarize this point - the Bible tells us
     WHAT'S RIGHT


- one question we need to ask this morning is:
    - how much emphasis have you placed in your life on
       receiving the teaching of God's Word?
          (MEN OF FAITH)


(transition) - while what we've been talking about is very
   important - we need to say that teaching alone is not
   enough

   - part of our society believes that education is the
     answer to everything
        - get people thinking correctly and then they'll
          change

        - (Tom Summers) - Magic Johnson - education is the
             key

        - education (teaching)is important - but it's not
          the whole package
        - all of us know more than we do

- that’s why Pail said "knowledge alone puffs up"

- so while the Word of God provides teaching, it also
    can/must do other things for us

                b. conviction

- we use the word conviction in at least three ways in our
   language

   1) I have a "conviction" about something.  (a strong,
         assured personal belief)

   2) He was "under conviction" (uncomfortable sense of guilt
      before God and others"

   3) He was convicted of a crime. (objective, legal force)

- usually when we talk about conviction in a Christian
    setting, which are we referring to (#2)

- I want to present to you that what Paul has in mind here is
    more in line with the 3rd definition.
- the third leads to the 2nd - but in II Tim. 3:16 Paul is
    talking about the Scriptures ability to identify how
    we're wrong - to convict us

 

- cf. Rev. 3:14-19 - church at Laodicea
     - thought they had it all (v. 17)
     - makes the Lord sick (v. 16)

- look at what the Lord does in verse 19 - as many as I love,
   I reprove (same word) and discipline

- full definition of conviction - "The Holy Spirit's ministry
   of lovingly proving us guilty through His Word"


- I hope everyone here would say - "I need that" - our hearts
     are deceitful and desperately wicked
- in addition to that - our tendency is to pull people around
   us who like us and affirm us
     - cf. "Harry"

     - we need the convicting work of the Spirit's sword

     - cf. Heb. 4:12

- so the Word of God tells us what's right, and what's wrong

                c.  correction

- word means "standing something up - making something stand
    up straight
- one of the words for sin - "bent" - cf key
- the word of God helps "straighten us out" and return us to
    a position where we're useful to God

- Bible's not just concerned with exposing wrongs - but with
    "righting" them

              - the 4 general steps in the correcting process
                 are:
                 1) confession of sin to God and others
                 2) seeking forgiveness
                 3) forsaking the sinful way
                 4) beginning an alternative way of life

- may include "radical amputation"

- cf. Prov. 28:13 (emphasize second half)

- INPUT - what should our response be to this aspect of the
    Holy Spirit's work through His word? (great thanksgiving)

                d. disciplined training in righteousness

- goes along with I Tim. 4:7 - exercise thyself...

- we're talking about refusing to give up
- we're talking about being committed to change for the long
   haul
- we're talking about being serious about the goal of
    righteousness

- fits right in with the Christmas message - cf. Luke 1:74-75

- so, the Word tells us: what's right, what's wrong, how to
      get right, and how to stay right
- hit the importance of the sufficiency of the Word of God

- some of are not changing at the rate God desires because
   we are not hungering and thirsting after righteousness
      - not giving the Word of God its rightful place

- (recommend MacArthur's book on sufficiency)

            2. what about "leading"

    - Rom. 8:14

    - unfortunately, some would throw out everything we've
      said this morning because of some false, mystical
      spirituality that claims they grow by God:
          - speaking to them
          - giving them divine promptings, urges
          - making them feel a certain way

    - they wouldn't necessarily disagree with what we've
      said, they'd just minimize it because they're so
      sensuous and feeling oriented

    - bottom line - God didn't spend 1500 years and use some
      39-40 authors so we could turn around and life by
      whims, feelings, and warm winds on the backs of our
      necks

    - remember what we said earlier - Holy Spirit can do
      whatever He wants to do - but we ought to expect...

    - Rom. 8:14 - context is growth,
         cf. vs. 13 YOU, through the Spirit

    - it’s wrong to add or subtract from the Word - God has
      reserved great punishment for those who do that - Rev.
      22:18-19


            3. implications to decision making

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