How to Grow, part 3

Faith Church September 1, 2007 Romans 6:15-23

 

Introduction:

-  We’re continuing our new series this week in our Worship Service:  Reaching New Heights in our Ability to Grow!

- we appreciate what Dr. Jim Jeffreys had to say last week - it was very helpful and challenging

- but this week, we're back to our study of Romans in the worship service, and 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're studying:

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

* Review the following KEY POINTS:

1. Remember, a key principle we've always 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!

* Our Key Verse in this type of thinking is based on:

  • 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!

God is a God of ACTION, and He expects us to be DOING something -- not sitting around being 'comfortable' in our faith and doing the 'easy' thing, but doing the 'right' thing!

-  two weeks ago, we began challenging you to think about WHY we need a study on spiritual growth:

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! - but to some degree we all have the responsibility to 'admonish one another'

4) Growing helps avoid problems. - as you mature, you see 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.  Q: What is this whole process called? 

Progressive Sanctification = the doctrine of spiritual growth

4.  The *Focus last week: was more specifically on  The process of spiritual growth

>  HOW we actually grow and change to be more like Jesus Christ

- i.e. to identify sinful habits of thinking and action that God wants to change and replace them with biblical thinking and biblical actions in order to be like Christ

- and remember, that is a PROCESS that never ends till either Jesus comes or He takes us home - we should all always be growing!

- 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?

- we worked through the 'put off' and 'put on' process from Eph. 4:22-24

- and one of the verses we focused on was:

  • 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.

- for today, let's go back to Romans 6 and pick up our study at vs. 15-23 - and continue to consider Reaching New Heights in Our Ability to Grow [READ Rom. 6:15-23]

- the theme in vs. 15-23:  Great News—You Really Can Change Because You’ve Been Set Free.

- in other words:  our union with Christ ought to make an impact on the way you face the challenges of daily living...

Input:  When a person knows Jesus Christ as their Savior, what is provided for them that makes growth possible?

(various answers - list the 'provision' and a verse that goes along with it if you can)

  • Holy Spirit - John 14:15-17, 25-27 [read]
  • Wisdom - James 1:5 [read]
  • Grace - 2 Cor. 12:9-10 [read]
  • Truth - John 8:31-32 [read]
  • Other examples: 

- let’s look for 3 principles to help you celebrate and act on your union with Christ.

  I.  Remember that Everybody is a Slave to Something - Rom. 6:16

- that is clearly the emphasis of v. 16...

>  the picture is “reporting for duty”...or placing yourself at somebody else’s disposal...

- it is the person who solemnly commits his wholeheartedly allegiance...similar to:

  • Romans 12:2 …present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

- and Paul is saying, you “present yourself” to something or someone all the time...

Input:  What are some examples of things to which people enslave themselves? (give the negative examples 1st, then the positive)

Negative

Positive

  • lusts of the flesh
  • bitterness
  • getting revenge
  • controlling other people/manipulating them
  • comfort and ease to the neglect of being responsible
  • selfish pleasure
  • things (coveting temporal things)
  • praise of man
  • bringing glory to God
  • showing love to God and to people
  • serving others
  • sharing the Gospel
  • prayer
  • the Word of God
  • using your spiritual gifts
  • showing love to your spouse and family
  • bring your children up in the discipline and teaching of the Lord

Note:  Please fill in this blank...

*  Human beings are creatures of ______________! [habit]

Input:  What is the advantage of being created in that way?

- we don't have to be re-taught every day (e.g. tying your shoes -- imagine having to learn that every day!)

Input:  Because of Genesis 3, what affect does that have on our habits?

- our ability to think and reason, along with our bodies, are cursed by sin -- now our efforts to maintain the holiness of God and obey His commands has been marred!

- both our thinking and actions have been cursed

* PRINCIPLE #1:  What you present yourself to will eventually become your MASTER!

- and since we are so easily habituated, we better be careful what to what we choose to present ourselves!

- God didn't have to repeat Himself in Gen. 1 or 2 as to what man was suppose to do - i.e. they were created to 'habitually' obey

- But with the ability to chose not to comes the truth that …

* Principle #2:  Choices have CONSEQUENCES! (like habits, they can be positive or negative)

Input: What are the some of the consequences of bad habits?

NEGATIVE (according to our text): Death

- death in the Bible is always separation...that can be the death of a friendship

- or the death of an opportunity...the sin separated you from accomplishing the mission for which he brought the other person who mistreated you along in the first place

POSTIVE:  Righteousness

- God is pleased because as we walk in the spirit and obey the word, he helps you to become more like Jesus CHRIST in the way you think and act

- think about the results and joy of being conformed more to the image of Christ!

II. Our "Enslavement" has changed from something that was BAD to something that is GOOD!

- that is the point of verses 17-18:

Q: What is the best good thing that can every day in our lives?

Answer:  God is glorified!

  • Rev. 4:11 worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they exist, and were created.

- a key verse in all of this is:

  • Galatians 5:13 – For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Input: What are some ways we can demonstrate our freedom in Christ by showing love to one another?

III.  Our lives should be lived in line with our position in Christ!

Input: What are some very practical ways to present ourselves as a “slave to righteousness” in the following area?

1) when you have the opportunity every day to spend personal time with the Lord:

2) when you have an opportunity to share the Gospel with someone:

3) when you are facing a conflict with another person (spouse, family member, co-worker):

4) when you are facing a temptation to sin:

Conclusion:

Q: In what areas of your life do your habits (thinking or action) differ with your position in Christ?

Faith Church