How to Grow, part 2

Faith Church August 25, 2007 Romans 6:13

 

Introduction:

-  We’re started a new series last week in our Worship Service:  Reaching New Heights in our Ability to Grow!

- as we study this subject in the worship service, our goal is to further APPLY the subject to our lives as an ABF, as families, as individuals!

- we hope this will give you an opportunity to ask questions in response to the various passages we’ll be studying together

- it also gives us time to think through more specific application to our lives

* Review the following KEY POINTS:

1. One of the key principles FBC has tried to follow: We meet people where they are, but then we help them take the next spiritual step!

- i.e. we expect people to be growing and changing – that’s the NORM, not the exception!

* A Key Verse in this type of thinking goes back to the Psalms:

  • NAB Psalm 40:2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

- footsteps implies progress . . . we’re moving, we’re making progress along the way

* Key Principle: Either you are growing or you’re not growing!

- one of the characteristics of Christianity that we studied last week was that . . .

2.  Christianity is a religion of ACTION!

- there are a number of ways God’s Word reveal that statement is true:

1)  Gen. 1 when God created the heavens and the earth – He DID something!

2) He told Adam and Eve to DO something – keep the garden, be fruitful and multiple,

- He also told them NOT to do something (eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good/evil)

- the rest is history (i.e. God's plan of redemption -- He DID something to show His love and grace to man . . . He "gave His only begotten Son . . ." (John 3:16)

- all the way up to the NT & the birth/life/death/and resurrection of Christ and later the rapture of His church and His millennial kingdom

Point: God is DOING something - He is a God of ACTION, and He expects us to be DOING something -- not sitting around being 'comfortable' in our faith!

-  last week, we tried to challenge you to think about WHY we need a study on spiritual growth and why we should focus on this subject as a church/ABF/individuals/families:   (several key answers)

1) It’s a natural part of the Christian life. -- it's the norm from a biblical perspective

2) It’s commanded by God! - it's not an option

3) It’s part of the function of the local church – especially the pastors! - so don't fuss at us for trying to help you grow, it's our JOB and . . . frankly, you PAY US to help you grow!

4) Growing helps avoid problems. - as you mature, you seeing temptation coming and learn to handle it properly like Jesus did (He was tempted in all ways like we are, but without sin!)

5) Jesus grew . . . so should we!

3.  When we talk about growing and changing, we’re talking about Progressive Sanctification = the doctrine of spiritual growth

- this week, we want to *Focus more specifically on:  The PROCESS of spiritual growth

Q:  HOW do we actually grow and change to be more like Jesus Christ?  What does progressive sanctification look like from the perspective of a believer in Christ?

- in other words, what do we need to DO or HOW do we need to function or what is OUR RESPONSIBILITY in the growth process?

- one of the verses we looked at last week reveals the very process we're talking about:

  • Romans 6:13 - and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

- let's read another passage that goes right along with the same concept: 

* Another Key passage:  Ephesians 4:22-24 [READ IT]

- Progressive sanctification includes the 'Put Off' and 'Put On' process!

I.  IDENTIFY Sinful Habits of Thinking and Actions God Wants to Change

- the first step in solving a problem is to recognize you have one

> to admit that, according to the Word of God (while your sins are forgiven through the redemptive work of Christ on the cross), you are still NOT perfect in your thinking/actions

Note:  That's the whole point of distinguishing the difference between justification (legally declared righteous on the account books of heaven) and sanctification (being 'set apart' for the glory of God) specifically, progressive sanctification!

- Consider the following chart illustrating Romans 6:13 and Eph. 4:22-24:

Put Off

Put On

Sinful Thinking:

* Specific examples

Biblical Thinking:

* Specific commands/principles

Sinful Actions:

* Specific examples

Biblical Actions:

*Specific commands/principles


Example #1:  Using this chart, let's take Peter's denial of Christ (review details:  having been with Christ, seeing His miracles, walking on water, etc. - yet when Jesus was taken away to be crucified, Peter denied that he even knew Jesus - and cursed and swore!

Point: Since we also are often put in situations where we can claim we know Christ and tell someone about His love, grace, mercy and the GOSPEL (death, burial, resurrection), sometimes we don't -- similar to Peter . . . in essence, we DENY Him because we say nothing

- let's think about HOW a person (like Peter/us) can change/grow by recognizing a sinful response:

Put Off

Put On

Sinful Thinking:

Input:  Specific Examples?

[various answers]

  • Fear of man (what they think)
  • What will happen to me?
  • I'll be faithful as long as it doesn't cost me anything

Biblical Thinking:

 

Sinful Actions:

Input:  Specific Examples?

[various answers]

  • Chose to deny Christ
  • Failed to speak the truth (lied)
  • Cursed/swore (mouth revealed his heart!)

Biblical Actions:

 

** Important Q: If we simply STOP something, have we really changed?

Answer: NO - that's only 1/2 the process . . . let's go to the next step. . .

II.  REPLACE Those Sinful Habits With Biblical Thinking and Biblical Actions

- using the chart, we ADD the principle of REPLACEMENT and "PUT ON" the new man:

Put Off

 

Put On

Sinful Thinking:

  • Fear of man (what they think)
  • What will happen to me?
  • I'll be faithful as long as it doesn't cost me anything

 

Biblical Thinking:

Input:  Specific commands/principles?

  • Fear of God (what He thinks)

  • God is in control of everything
  • I will be faithful no matter what happens because He is faithful to me!

Put Off

 

Put On

Sinful Actions:

  • Chose to deny Christ
  • Failed to speak the truth (lied)
  • Cursed/swore (mouth revealed his heart!)

 

Biblical Actions:

Input:  Specific commands/principles

  • Demonstrate loyalty
  • Speak the truth in love

  • Our words/speech should bring glory to God

- as we know, Peter later repented ('turned back') and became a very loyal and faithful servant of Christ . . . in essences, he CHANGED and GREW!

Example #2:A person struggling with SINFUL ANGER: [Small groups breakout??]

Put Off

 

Put On

Sinful Thinking:

Input:  Specific Examples?

  • Focus: What was done to me
  • The other person needs to change
  • I have a right to get even, control them, etc.
  • If I intimidate them, then I get __________!
  • If I manipulate them, then I get __________!

 

Biblical Thinking:

Input:  Specific commands/principles?

  • Focus: What I did to Jesus doesn't compare to what was done to me
  • I need to change (Mt. 7:1-5)
  • God alone has the authority/power to take revenge (Rom. 12:14-18)
  • I'm to love my neighbor as myself, not intimidate/manipulate them
  • God is in control of everything
  • I will be faithful no matter what happens because He is faithful to me!

Sinful Actions:

Input:  Specific Examples?

  • Facial expressions that intimidate & manipulate
  • Words - harsh, attacking the person
  • Yelling at a person
  • Clamming up -- refusing to communicate (leads to bitterness, etc.)

 

Biblical Actions:

Input:  Specific commands/principles

Facial expressions that communicate grace & forgiveness

  • Words - loving, kind, gentle        

  • Speaking with self control and in a tone that pleases God!
  • Good & open communication

Conclusion:

1.  While God has supplied us with all the resources necessary to change and grow (the Holy Spirit, His Word, grace, wisdom, strength, the local church, etc) . . .

> we still have to consciously choose to identify sinful habits of thinking/action that God wants to change and put them off . . . .

> . . . then REPLACE them with biblical thinking and biblical actions!

2.  Closing Question

Q: What sinful habits of thinking/action do you need to identify and PUT OFF and then REPLACE those with God's way of thinking/action?

Faith Church