Growing In Christ #5

Faith Church November 23, 1991

- we've been talking about Basic Bible truths and these last
  4 weeks we've looked at how a believer grows and changes

- Quickly review "Romans"

- we've been saying that one of the areas that often leads to
  confusion in this area is the "Place of the Holy Spirit in
  the Growing Process"
- we've said that there are two ditches that must be avoided:
     1) change is simply human effort
          - cf. self-help groups

     2) change is done through a mystical work of the Holy
        Spirit where man isn't active

- instead, we saw that the Bible teaches that man is working
   and God is working
     - both can be/must be involved in the process

- the next question we had to look at was - "Specifically how
   is the Holy Spirit involved in the growth process?
- the Holy Spirit can do whatever He wants to do, but we
  ought to expect Him to do what He said He would do
     - that is - to work primarily through His Word

- now we said that God's Word can help us in four ways:
- INPUT - what are those ways?

    1) teaching/doctrine - What's right

    2) conviction - What's wrong

    3) correction - How to get right

    4) training in righteousness - how to stay right

- now, before we get into some new material today--let's
    think about this question - what would be some
    appropriate responses to this material?

     1) Thank the Lord for his SUFFICIENT Word.

     2) What is my relationship to his word. Is it possible
        that I'm not growing at the rate God desires because
        I'm not availing myself to His primary means of
        impact in my life?

           (recommend folks going through counseling training
            program - esp. if we're going to "step-up" our
            ladies' ministries)

            - also rec. Mac's book ($6) and daily devo. book

 


- Another important question involved in this discussion is:

        2. What about leading?

            - we're talking about the Holy Spirit's ministry
              to us
            - some folks, when they hear that topic,
              immediately want to talk about mystical ideas
              "God lead me to do this" and "God lead me to do
               that."
             - usually those statements are made in the
               context of either growth or decision making

             - "God lead me to call you and give you a piece
                of my mind"
             - "I didn't confront so and so because I didn't
                feel led to do so"
             - "The Holy Spirit prompted me to go over and
                 witness to that stranger...."

- I'm sure you would recognize that as being different than
   the kind of growth we've been talking about
- but I'm sure you know folks who talk this way
   - perhaps you do/did

- might wonder - where do folks come up with that kind of
   view?

     - one verse that is often used (misused) is Rom. 8:14
     - READ

     - INPUT - What are some important questions to ask when
         we're trying to understand a passage of Scripture?
            (what is the context?)

     - INPUT - what is the context of these verses? (growing
                - note human effort - verse 13)

        - point is - leading in this verse - and in other
            places in Scripture has to do with the help and
            enablement God gives us as we seek to grow and
            please Him

        - not some sort of mystical "zap" or special
           revelation

- that’s a very important point we need to keep in mind about
   this
- folks who talk that way often come off very spiritual
   - (supposedly) its very spiritual to have these special
      revelations from God
   - cf. Oral Roberts - this week

- but we need to say very strongly - that is not spirituality
- The Holy Spirit can do whatever He wants...

- The Holy Spirit uses His sword - and any person who seeks
   to bypass God's Word and find an alternate means of growth
   is not super spiritual - in fact that person is being
   unspiritual

- God has given us all we need in His Word - all this spooky
    business is a hindrance to growth and it doesn't please
    God

- cf. Rev. 22:18-19
        3. implications to decision making

            - I just want to point out here that what we're
              talking about here has direct application to
              the way we make decisions

            - some folks are just too lazy to study the
              Scripture and find biblical principles to
              govern decision-making
                 - so they take a mystical super-spiritual
                   shortcut

                 - (illus) - I was listening to a leader talk
                   about how their organization had decided
                   to build a building
                 - process basically was this:
                     - we all prayed about it, felt "peace"
                       about building a new building
                       a certain size and felt "peace" about
                       starting construction when we had half
                       the money in hand

- now I'm not saying they shouldn't have built a building
   that size and I'm necessarily saying there was something
   wrong with them borrowing money to build it
- I'm simply saying that's an unspiritual way of making
   decisions
    - instead of talking about some spooky feeling, they
      should have been talking about clear objective passages
      of Scripture they were using to govern that decision

- peace is a terrible way to make decisions  (develop)

- same is true for open doors

    - rec. handout on God's will


- Now, let's push this issue a little further on how God uses
   His Word to help us grow

    D. God's Word must be active on:

        1. our minds

           Rom. 6:11 - Reckon
           Rom. 12:1-2 - Renewing
           Eph. 4:23 - Be renewed

- point is - God's Word makes it clear that we can't change
    our behavior unless we first change our thinking

    - at best, a person who attempts to do so is going to be
         a Pharisee
    - more likely, that person is going to end up
        discouraged, because trying to change behavior
        without changing thinking won't work - the changes
        will only be shallow, as a result won't last


- let's take some time (on a blank transparency) and talk
   about what kind of thinking would need to be changed in
   specific situations

   1) Person having trouble getting up in the morning.

   2) Husband who's grumpy when he comes home from work.

   3) Mother who's depressed because she's home with kids all
      day.

   4) Mother who's depressed because she works and can't be
      home with kids all day.

   5) Family that’s lonely because they miss their
       friends/church/family "back home."

   6) Man who isn't controlling his speech at work.


- cf. Phil. 4:8 (think cards)


        2. our actions

            Rom. 6:12 - "Present..."

            I Tim. 4:7 - "Exercise..."

            Eph. 4:22, 24 - "Put off...put on"


            - INPUT - (read Prov. 28:13) - what does this
               passage contribute to what we're talking
               about?

            a. must forsake

            - forsake - literally "letting go", putting off,
                        abandoning, quitting

               includes three things:

                1) a willingness to deny or say no to selfish
                    desires

                2) an actual breaking with the past practice,
                    situation, or persons involved in the sin

                3) setting up the structure that will make it
                   difficult to fall into the same sin again
            b. may involve radical amputation

               - Matt. 5:29-30

               - Brian mentioned this last week (but we were
                 rushing)
                   - point is - We ought to be willing to take
                       extreme steps to prevent that sin
                       taking place again

                   - (Jay) picture yourself having to hop on
                       the one remaining foot in order to get
                       to where you can repeat a sin)


- repeat main points
    - one question that sometimes comes up in this discussion
      is:
         - where do feelings fit into all this?

         - we are not "anti-feelings" (develop)

         - point is - feelings can't be used to determine
               what we're going to do

         - feelings are "chasers"
             - good feelings will result from doing right -
                but that’s not the motivation for doing right


    E. It is a gradual process

        Phil. 3:13

        Gal. 5:16

    F. Chart

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