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January 31, 2022 12:00 am
Welcome to the InTouch podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, January 31.
Are you maturing in your Christian life. Today's podcast helps you identify the stages of your Christian life the Christian life is not an event. It is a process, it is adjourned and has a beginning and the truth is, it never has an ending.
Because once you not leave this life is the children of God forever and ever and ever will be walking in the way of the Lord Jesus Christ and so when God saved us he saved those with a purpose in mind.
The Bible says in Romans 829 that he predestined you'd be to be conformed to the likeness of his son so and all of that to happen.
The beginning of the moment that you and I were saved. It is his purpose and his plan to grow us up. That is, the girl is in the likeness of his son. So all the days of your life. You and I should be growing, becoming more and more Christlike in every aspect of our life and that's what I want to talk about in this message today because I do believe there are stages in our Christian growth stages in our spiritual walk and so want you to turn if you will to second Peter look over toward the back of your Bible.
Second Peter chapter 3, and in this particular passage were admonished to do what the Scripture tells us throughout there we are to be growing in our relationship to our Lord and so he says beginning in the 14th verse of the third chapter having talked about the coming of the Lord and all the things will be happening in those days. He says therefore, beloved, since you look for these things. Be diligent to be found by him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation just as also our beloved brother Paul according the wisdom given him wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things in which are some things hard to understand which the untaught and unstable distort as they do. Also the rest of the Scriptures to their own destruction. You therefore, brethren, all beloved knowing this beforehand be on your guard last being carried away by the era of unprincipled men you fall from your own steadfast but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. Go back if you will to Ephesians chapter 4 and you recall that he makes it very clear here.
Why, for example, that he even gives in the church pastors and teachers in those days, apostles and evangelists and so forth and so he says in verse 11 of chapter 4 of Ephesians. Look what he says. He says that he gave Psalm that is some to the church as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and summers, pastors and teachers, that is a pastor in essence really should be a pastor teacher that is to instruct the people the ways of God.
He says that this is the reason God gives pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the son of God, to a mature man or woman to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, when we are growing in him.
He says here's what you can expect as a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming. That's exactly what happens when people who distort the Scripture try to teach others. But, he says, speaking the truth in love with her. Grow up in all aspects into him who is the head, even Christ. He says what he saying here is this that you not to grow in a balanced way. Now, for example, is the amount of drawing so that all of your life is given to service service service and no understanding the truth of God would to grow up in a balanced fashion that is God's will and purpose and plan for us is that we from the moment you not trusted him as our Savior would begin to grow and Christlike and grow in every speck aspect of our Christian life. So someone should say to you will are you a growing Christian.
The let me ask you this question what's going on in your life today that by which you could say I know that I'm growing what are you learning that you did not know what you practice and you could not practice. How are you serving that you have not served before. How is your life counting to impact and influence others for good and it did not do that before. How would you measure your Christian experience what's happened to you.
Over these years. Some of even a Christian a very long time. You know the Lord Jesus Christ. Since you were a teenager. Even before that, but how much of these years have you grown how much do you know the word of God you didn't know them.
How rich are you in the things of God. You may be very wealth and material things, but how rich are you in the thing that no one can take away and death cannot take away. That is the Scriptures that is the truth is the riches of the word of God. How much have you grown over these years and when I think about all the translations that we have an men of God who can explain and expound the words of God. There are so many ways in which you and I have the privilege of growing today. It did not exist 40 or 50 years ago there so many seminars and books and and schools and all kinds of things to help us grow in our Christian life and yet the church today is probably no strong that it was then, because God's people are to satisfy don't have a deep enough hunger for the things of God growing the Christian life. Learning the ways of God, tell me something in the more valuable than to be able to know the ways of God. How does he operate what motivates and what is he do this.
What is he working this person's life this way and why that way. Well, I hope today. This will help you understand sort of where you are because what I will talk about now those stages through which our Christian life moves us because somewhere today.
You can find yourself when you say two things a perimeter number one.
This does not mean that everyone goes through this all these stages at the same rate it does not mean that that takes everybody the same length of time it does not mean that you look around and say what I know there are more spiritual than he is because I'm in stage V. You just drop down if you advance your case. You just think you're in states Rahab because you're not there we not told but being more spiritual than someone else when talking about our own life. Our own personal relationship to our Lord. So what is the first stage in a person's spiritual life. Number one is first stage is unbelief. We all began that turned Ephesians chapter 2, and what you find as you will find in Ephesians chapter 2 the first three stages in our spiritual walk because this is where we used to be in some form or fashion and with USA when you're a child of say when you're 50 makes no difference because the heart was there and had not been saved. And so listen what he says in verses one through three. Here he says and you and I were dead in trespasses and sins in which we formerly walked according the course of this world are called the prince of the power of the air of the spirit that is now working the sons of disobedience. Among them we to also form and live in the lust of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest is not a single person who can boast of anything the simple reason we were all lost so that the first stage of our spiritual life is that we lost were separated from God because the rest of your unbelievers. We just doing what comes naturally, nobody is taught is the truth.
We never heard many didn't hear the gospel about his explain to his uneven salvation.
So here's what happened there came a time in your life when not someone try to witness to you and you said not interested once you go to the church. Don't give me that step. The Bible don't know try to put a guilt trip on me and so you absolutely on interested and so once in a while that you turn the television and some fellows will not talk about similes you cut it off change station. He turned the radio listen to some kind of music and all of a sudden the program comes on that's religiously capital not interested. So what happens in so somewhere along the way. Somebody got your attention in mind and we began to listen and we listen for a while and then we got real interested in. Then we wanted to know and one thought about our sin and thought about passing thinking God could you possibly save me there came a moment in time.
Listen. These were the progressive moments, that there came a moment in time when you in one single moment said yes. The Jesus Christ trusted him as your personal savior looked at the cross and recognize he pages send that info. And at that moment you receive Jesus Christ as your personal savior from that home alone. You took the first step in your second stage of the spiritual what is the first stage unbelief. We all started there. The second stage is salvation because at that moment you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior. Maybe somebody tried to explain it.
First he made it into a very good job in and so you as somebody said lot tried to get save not talk some people still been trying to get say board. I like to meet them because I want to say your days of trying over. Let me tell you how to do it as simple as it can be.
God wants to save you.
He wills the same year he chooses the Savior. He died to save you now's the time. Let's talk about God wants us to grow so that salvation. Listen salvation which is her second stage is not the stopping point. That is the beginning of your spiritual journey with God.
That is the beginning salvation.
He turned the security of rev as a child of God, and now we began to grow well once you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal savior and you begin to understand a few things that you are excited. The Bible says that you became a new creation in Christ Jesus.
Old things are passed away.
All things are become new. And you begin to think a little different. You want to go to church when the region Bob on the price. That's why you got so that you felt when you are not dissatisfied doing this when I think about all that God is done for me over in the past you look back over your life and some of you had to save a lot of wasted so much of my life. I don't want to waste the rest of it. So much of my life has just been doing what I want to do and doing my thing. God save me. I will do something him. So what happens brings us to stage number three and that stage is the stage of service because it is natural and normal for a person who's been save of the grace of God to want to do something for God. I backed Ephesians chapter 2 and listen what he says if you are listed first.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for what good works, which God prepared before hand, you and I should walk in them. That is, he not only chose to save us but he chose that you and I would serve him in some fashion. You and I would serve him according to the spiritual gifts and the talents that he's given us.
Now, if God has gifted you and talented you and you are deliberately, willfully, not serving God in a way that he is equipped you to do so, you are sinning against Almighty God, because you are wasting a gift wasting a talent listen.
Suppose God said all right believers.
Anybody who's absent not going to survey the gifts and talents I'm given them. If you not going to serve on this can take you home. I want how many folks we left the church. We have mass funerals, mass funerals, if God has gifted you and talent you and he has. He has called you to survey monkey to tell your friend I would be afraid not to serve God I'm obtained two reasons. Number one because what the word says and secondly because of what I've seen happen to people is that I'm not going to do. There is absolutely no way to succeed in your life in deliberate willful disobedience to God when it comes to serving him, he has invested so much in your life, the sunshine, the rain, the good weather. The good health that close the car the house, your family, liquid God has done for you and for us to tell them we don't have time to process it will finally figure out the same.
All of us have time all of us have talents and gifts.
The issue is God. What do you want me to do with what you've given me, and listen carefully you see somebody says well but you know I can't do is good and sometimes that's not even the issue.
I don't ever remember Jesus comparing anybody with someone else's ammunition as well as they do know the only thing I have to do know that you have to do is what God calls us to do. We all make mistakes. We all blotted times we all fail.
We all have our weaknesses.
We all make our mistakes in life and your business. You made mistakes you failed at this and failed at that fillets of the but that does make you a failure. That's how we grow the say model children not my big adults, model children, these things are right and you because you not babes in Christ, and we are growing and it's the word of God that causes us to grow and learn the things of God but it's in-service.
Putting it into practice putting it in the practice is what makes it real. Now, for example, you can learn a lot of fruit, but you know when it becomes yours. You know, I guess the routing and grounding deep down inside of you when you get very secure and very convinced and very persuaded when you start telling someone else.
That's when the wonderful wonderful things about preaching the gospel and that is that all week long on pouring God's word in the my heart so I can point out into your life so that you can point out into someone else's life in the someone else's life into someone else's life, and as you share what God is saying to you, you become stronger you get rooted and grounded in the truth of the gospel and what happens your service takes on a whole new perspective. God has called every single one was the servant. That's one of the stages in the Christian life is one that you never get over that we get over being lost. We never get over being safe and never get over serving him was first stage unbelief. Second stage all right third stage. Now, this fourth stage is frustrated in adequacy is the Walmart brand that stage come from just listen you been there with you know will not frustrated adequacy of what it would mean though, that simply there's two things to areas of our life in which we become frustrated which is a part of God's plan. I believe number one let's say for example, now that you serving the Lord for you so excited you get in the car and meant I mean they call you to have a solo, whatever it might be you get at you do fantastic. Next thing you know you think you're pretty good and someone happens, God has to give you those of frustrated adequacy because you know what happens anytime you and I think we handle this.
We got this from down then you just about ready to have a good dose of frustrated adequacy because God knows listen while he may be using in a wonderful way. He knows one of the greatest threats to God using anybody is getting self-confident and cocky about it now. Go back to secondment is chapter 12. From over. The apostle Paul had the same problem. Anybody else does is wise is he was as knowledgeable as he was listen to what he says. God knew this man like he knows every man and woman is what he said he talked about how weak he was and he says in the seventh verse of chapter 12 of second Corinthians, and because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations he said God has given me such a awesome truth that I'm sharing. He says to keep me from exalting myself that was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me to keep me from exalting myself bases.
I try to get whatever they want is upright three times and God would take away and listen. Here's the apostle Paul been through all the heartache and the trials and difficulties and persecution and here's what he said. He said God knew that it was prone to be prideful and egotistical.
He gave me such revelations. He said it would've been easy for me to be strutting around and saying all these churches limit they were God taught me imitate is a great truth. God show me so he said God gave me something that kept me feeling weak. Me being in adequate kept me thinking all got if you don't do this is not going to happen got if you don't speak them is not gonna work. Got if you don't strengthen you not going to be able to get their gun if you don't help. It will be able to do it. He says here's what I found. He says that last verse I found that when I am the weakest. That's when the power of God surges through me with the greatest amount of strength. The apostle Paul knew what it meant to feel frustrated and inadequate frustrated in adequacy is God stage to bring us through the rigors of one of realizing hey you know what you can't do this, you can't live the Christian life.
You see is not a matter of doing better better better because is not a matter get better better better. The truth is if God took the Lord Jesus Christ Alabama body today out of our spirit, you not be just as wicked.
Just as evil just as violent as anybody else is, Christ is not our life. And so what does he do, he has to bring us to the stage of frustrated inadequacy. If he did not. We become proud and egotistical now so modest as well.
But after all, I mean after while a person should have enough experience behind them, and enough knowledge that they shouldn't feel inadequate, let me tell you friend. God help us if we ever get to the place that we think we can handle it not pray Lord, don't ever let me walk on any platform anywhere thinking I got that one down. If you don't say it got. If you don't make it clear if you don't make it crystal clear. If you don't make it plain if you don't make it simple if you don't do it Lord is not going to work because I've had enough failures in my life to know if God doesn't do it, it won't work you can take the same words without the spirit of God. You can take the same plan the same outline whatever it may be unless the spirit of God is in it. It's not going to stick unless the spirit of God is. It's not gonna reach somebody's heart because you preach to man's conscience. He preached a woman's conscience, not to their feelings but to their conscience what is right what is wrong is this the truth is this not the truth. And so what does God do. He gives us enough frustrated inadequacy to bring us to the realization that life we cannot serve God in our own strength. That is not a demotion is not a failure. It is not a setback. It is a step forward in your Christian walk. He never intends for us to do it. Apart from him. Thank you for listening to the stages in our Christian life. If you'd like to know more about child family more intense ministries that my Internet started writing this podcast is a presentation of InTouch ministry advantage of