Posts Tagged ‘Christian growth’

Make Me More Like You

February 27, 2019

Forms of discipline for children have varied over the years and between cultures, but one thing is true everywhere; parents have an important role in the development of their children.

I.  Discipline:  Hebrews 12:3-7

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?

Chastening is not a word that we use much today.  Discipline or correction might be more appropriate.  The idea that good behavior is rewarded and bad behavior is punished is an important lesson to learn in life.  God is continually working in our lives to mold us into the people that we were meant to be.  It is an ongoing process that will last a lifetime. At times we may feel weary or discouraged but we should stay strong and finish the race that is before us.

II.  Process:  Psalms 19:12-14

Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

We should embrace the process of change in ourselves.  Our thoughts, our words and our deeds should all be brought into alignment with God’s will.  It is important to remember that this is not being done to earn our salvation.  Our salvation is a gift, given to us through Jesus Christ and received by our faith in Him.  When we become Christians we are born again, now a child of God.  As a child of God we must now grow from a babe in Christ to maturity in Christ.  We will not reach perfection in this life but we will change from what we were, to what we are meant to be.

III.  Help:  Psalms 25:4-5

Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

God will teach us.  God will help us.  We are not in this journey alone.  We should seek the presence of God.

IV.  Image:  Romans 8:29

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

What did God foreknow?  He knows who is going to respond to the Spirit with faith in Jesus.  Those who are born again are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.  Lord, make us more like you.

A few years ago, WWJD was a popular acronym.  It stands for What Would Jesus Do?  Actually, it is a very good question to ask ourselves.  God is working in our lives to make us more like Jesus.  It is a work that will continue throughout this life.  We are not yet what we are meant to be, but neither are we still, the people that we were.

V.  Goal:  Psalms 17:15

As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.

We seek the face of God.  Now we see dimly, but one day face to face.  We seek to be more like Jesus.  One day we will be with Him.

Then we will truly be satisfied.

 

These are the sermon notes from 2/24/19.  All quotations are from the New King James version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

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Back to Basics

February 13, 2014

There are three primary ingredients for continuing Christian growth.

I.  Prayer:  Psalms 55:17

Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice.

Prayer is spending time communicating with God.  There are a number of different components of prayer.

Praise:  We should spend some time each day expressing our praise to God.

Thanksgiving:  We should thank God for what He has done, is doing, and is going to do.

Confession:  We should regularly confess our sins, as God brings them to our attention.

Supplication:  It is appropriate to bring our concerns and needs before God.  He is able to help.

Intercession:  We should pray for the needs of others.

Listening:  Communication is a two-way street.  We should spend some time in silence, allowing God the opportunity to speak to us in our hearts.

II.  Scripture:  I Peter 2:1-3

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Read:  We should regularly read the Word of God.  Both the Old and New Testaments should be read.

Study:  It is appropriate to spend some time in in-depth study.  There are many study-aids available including various versions, commentaries, Bible dictionaries and so on.

Memorize:  It is a good discipline to commit scripture verses to memory.

Meditate:  Christian meditation focuses on the Word of God, or the presence of God.  It can be incorporated into our times of prayer.

III.  Fellowship: Hebrews 10:24-25

 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Fellowship does benefit us.  We are not meant to live in isolation, but as part of a community of believers.  This community can be called the body of Christ, or the family of God.  It is important to gather together.  Sometimes we are in need of encouragement and support, and other times we give encouragement and support.

At our church we have Sunday morning worship, Sunday School and Wednesday night Bible study.  Each of these opportunities are there for believers to promote Christian growth and fellowship.

It is also good for believers to gather together outside of church.  There are many different ways that Christians can gather for fellowship.  We are not meant to be alone.  We should reach out to each other for encouragement and support.

These three things are basic components necessary for Christian growth.  In the same way that football teams need to properly execute the fundamentals of blocking, tackling and ball control; so Christians must continue to regularly spend time in prayer, scripture and fellowship.

These are the sermon notes from January 26.  Any advertisement that accompanies this blog are placed there by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any financial benefit from them.

 

 

 

Christian Growth

October 11, 2011

Here are the sermon notes from Sunday October 9th.

Introduction:

We were camping recently and behind the counter of the camp store is a picture of a man holding a large northern pike.  By large, I mean 28 lbs.  I was surprised to learn that it had been caught right near the campsite in the shallow waters.   I suspect that it would take a long time for a fish to reach that size.

I.  Read Hosea 6:1-3

A.  First of all we recognize these verses as a reference to the death and resurrection of Christ.

B.  In their first hearing, they were a call to repentance.  If we are aware of sin in our life, we too, should repent.

C.  There is an encouragement to “pursue the knowledge of the Lord”.  This is my primary focus for today.  We should seek to know God through spending time in the Word, in prayer, and in worship.

II.  Read III John 1-8

A.  Please recognize that verse 2 does not say that all Christians will prosper.  It says “I pray that you will prosper…”  That is not the same thing.

B.  One of the perks of pastoring in a community for a long time is that I have been able to see people grow, both literally and spiritually, from infants to adulthood.  I can understand how John was thrilled to know that his children were “walking in the truth”.

C.  They also had a reputation for love.  Truly we are called to walk in truth and in love.  Sometimes that is not easy to do.

D.  They were also commended for their support of those who were traveling, sharing the gospel.  We too, should support those who leave their homes, going wherever God sends them, to preach the gospel.

III.  Read Joel 2: 28-29

The Spirit of God is available to us today.  By the Word of God and the Spirit of God we are transformed.  We should daily seek the presence of the Lord and request that He will “pour out His Spirit” on us all.

Fish in the wild will continue to grow throughout their lives.  Christians too, should grow throughout our lives.  We should pursue the knowledge of the Lord, we should walk in truth and in love, and we should seek the pouring out of the Spirit of God.