Growing In Christ #6

Faith Church November 30, 1991

- we're studying Basic Bible truths
- today we're going to be finishing up our study on Growing
    In Christ

- last week we were studying how God's Word must be active
   on our minds

- Kevin gave us a number of verses that deals with that
   important aspect of growth

- we said that its one thing to talk about change (which in
   and of itself is a step for some folks), but its something
   else to do the hard work of examining what about my
   thinking needs to change so that I can change behaviorally

- we challenged each other to look for specific thinking
   habits that would need to be put off and put on in order
   to be in the best position to change behaviorally

- let me ask you - have you done that? (remember - its one
    thing to say we believe change involves our minds - its
    something else to actually apply that truth on a daily
    basis to a specific area of life)

- last week we also gave you a series of examples where folks
   needed to make some behavioral changes
- let's talk about what thinking might need to be changed in
    those situations

 

   (ALREADY COVERED) 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

- if you put together what we've been saying the last few
   weeks, you'll see that the Scripture argues for a balance
    of faith and effort
- that may sound contradictory, but both are a necessary part
    of the process

- Paul affirmed both
   cf. Phil. 2:12-13 (we'll study more fully in a minute)

- now this shouldn't be a concern to us

   1) We can't fully understand the ways of God

        Isa. 55:9, Deut. 29:29

(Teachers - this material is from MacArthur;s book on
   sufficiency)

   2) A similar "tension" exists in other critical areas of
       Bible study.

        a. Salvation

            - on one hand - men/women are told to turn from
              sin, embrace Jesus as Savior and Lord or be
              eternally damned.  - Acts 3:19

            - on the other hand, salvation is a free gift of
              God and the Lord has chosen people for
              salvation before the foundation of the earth
              (Eph.  1:4-5)

        b. Perseverance of the saints

            - on one hand - God holds us in His hand and
              nothing can snatch us away (John 10:27-29)
            - No one can bring an accusation against us,
              nothing can separate us from his love (Rom.
              8:33-35)

            - on the other hand, The Bible says that those
              who inherit eternal life will be faithful to
              endure to the end.  (Matt. 10:22, 24:13, Col.
              1:22-23)

VI. Maintaining The Balance Between Faith and Works

    - read Phil. 2:12-13

    A. Our responsibility - "work out your salvation"

        - work out - present tense imperative - "keep on
              continually making the effort to work out your
              salvation."

        - not work for your salvation, but exercise sustained
          effort and diligence in growing as a result of
          salvation
            - to work out practically in your life on earth
              what has already taken place positionally in
              heaven

        - so not work for your salvation, but work on your
          salvation

        - many verses on this subject:
           - II Cor. 7:1
           - Rom. 6:19

        1. understand your example - "so then"

            - refers back to 5-11

            - these are some of the most beautiful verses in
              all the Bible

            - INPUT - what do these verses have to do with
                what Paul is about to say concerning working
                out your salvation - i.e. - why the "so
                then?" (an understanding of who Jesus is
                should always motivate us to work - we've got
                a long way to go)

            - cf. Gal. 4:19

        2. Understand that you're loved

            - it's important to note that Paul addressed them
               as "beloved" before giving them these commands

            - this was a good church, but it surely wasn't
              perfect

            - INPUT - how do we know that? (cf. 4:2)

            - INPUT - how does this fit into what Paul is
                saying about working out salvation?
                - not alone (develop - great to be part of
                      the body - wouldn't it be terrible to
                      be growing - alone)

        3. Understand the place of obedience - Just as you
             have always obeyed"

            - John 14:15 - obedience is the mark of all who
                know Jesus Christ

            - obeyed literally means - "to answer the door"
                - the idea is - you submitted to something
                    you've heard (develop)

            - the Philippians have been doing some things
              right and Paul reminds them of that
            - to some degree you have obeyed - keep that up

        4. Understand your responsibility
            - it's one thing to work "when the boss is
              around" (develop)

            - Paul says - now its your responsibility to keep
              it up after I'm gone

            - cf the test of a man's character - see what he
              does when no one is looking


        5. Understand the consequences - w/fear and trembling

           - fear - phobos/phobia
           - trembling - tromos/trauma

           - "healthy fear of offending God and a proper
              anxiety to do what is right in His eyes"

           - cf. Isa. 66:2


    B. God's Part - Working In Us

        1. His person: God

            - all the resources of heaven available to the
              person seeking to grow
            - this is spiritual business, and God is
              intimately interested and intimately involved
              in our growth

        2. His power - at work

             - at work - "energo"

             - the infinite power of God in action in us as
               we seek to obey His word

             - cf. Eph. 1:18-19

        3. His presence - In you

            - cf. Eph. 3:20

            - God's presence within believers - a uniquely
               Christian doctrine - II Cor. 6:16-17

        4. His purpose - to will and to work

            - to will - intent/desires
            - conforming our desires to His

                a. through "holy discontent"

                    Rom. 7:24

                b. through holy aspiration

        5. His pleasure

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