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August 17, 2020 8:00 am
Can you be a stagnant Christian?
Listen to Adrian Rogers, a wise man said to cease to be better is to cease to be good. Some Christians are saved, but they're not broken.
I like a tree like a post. They don't grow.
Now, you ought to be a growing Christian and you will never know the kind of victory that you ought to know of, the kind of joy that you may have unless you learn to be a growing Christian.
Welcome to Love. Worth Finding, featuring the powerful, inspiring teaching of Adrian Rogers. A growing Christian is a maturing Christian because spiritual maturity is becoming more like Jesus.
Some Christians are saved but aren't growing, as we just heard. We'll never know true victory and joy unless we learn how to be growing Christians. In First John Chapter two, the apostle John compares spiritual maturity to three stages in our physical lives. If you have your Bible, turn there now. As Adrian Rogers begins with part one of how to be a growing Christian.
Let me ask you a question and answer it honestly. Are you growing Christian?
Do you love and know the Lord Jesus Christ better than you did last year or last week?
A wise man said to cease to be better is to cease to be good.
Some Christians are saved, but they're not growing.
They're not like a tree. They're like a post. They don't grow.
Now, you ought to be a growing Christian and you will never know the kind of victory that you ought to know and the kind of joy that you may have unless you learn to be a growing Christian.
Now, what I'm talking about growing Christians. I'm talking about maturity, maturity. You grow on toward maturity.
You're me young only once. But you can be immature for a long, long time.
You can be 40, 50 and still be spiritually immature.
Now, the Bible says here in Hebrews, Chapter six, first one, that we are to go on toward maturity.
Williams says continual progressing toward maturity.
So I want to talk to you about how to be a growing Christian. And there's not a person that does not need this message because none of us has yet arrived.
So I want you to get a pencil and paper and I want you to write down these things. Now, let me tell you, first of all, what maturity is spiritual and what it is not. You can be spiritually healthy and not mature. Five year old child can be more healthy than a 50 year old man, but he is not mature. Now, if you're a newborn baby and you're rejoicing in the Lord Jesus Christ, you're healthy. But that does not mean that you do not need to go on. And Matau, hey, you can be gifted and not mature. It's a matter of fire.
If you're gifted and not mature, you may get yourself and others in a mess. The Corinthian church, Paul's most carnal church. He said to them, you come behind it. No gift.
They were gifted.
Are you gifted spiritually or are you gifted with talents? You may be, but that doesn't mean that you are mature now. What is maturity?
Let me just give it to you in just a simple sentence. Don't forget this now. Maturity is Christ likeness. Maturity is being like Jesus.
The Apostle Paul said in the Friesians chapter four, verse 13. Till we all come in. The unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. Unto a perfect man. Now that word perfect means mature does mean sinless.
You say a rose is a perfect rose. You don't mean it's a senseless rose. Now, what he's saying is this. Paul was saying that the goal of my ministry is to present every man a mature Christian. That's a goal of my ministry. I thank God for these buildings. I thank God for the Sunday school attendance. I think cut the budget. I thank God for the organization. But for him, all of that is splendid. Nothing without you growing in the grace of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. What is the goal of my ministry and what is the measurement of my ministry? Very simple. Are you becoming more like the Lord Jesus Christ?
Now, if you're becoming more like the Lord Jesus Christ, that is a blessing to me. And that is the sum total of my motivation for you, that you might become more like the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, I want you to notice that maturity is a life long process.
Actually, we go through three major stages. Look now, if you will, in verse John, chapter two. Let's begin verse twelve. I write under you little children because your sins are forgiven you for his namesake. I write under you fathers because you have known him. That is from the beginning. I write unto you young men because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you little children because you have known the father. I have written unto you fathers because you have known him. That is from the beginning. I have written unto you young men because you are strong and the word of God abideth, and you and ye have overcome the wicked one.
And those verses the apostle John speaks of childhood. Little children. He speaks of young manhood and then he speaks of fatherhood. Now, all of us today are in one of those three categories. And God loves them all and God loves you, but God wants to move you in progression through these stages until you come to the father hood stage. And in our physical life.
We are babies with children. Then we become adolescents.
Then we grow up and become fathers and mothers. Now, think with me a little bit. What is the mark of a child? Christian. Well, little children know the thrilling wonders of childhood.
Look, in verse twelve I write and do little children because your sins are forgiven you for his namesake. Now, when a person becomes a newborn babe in Christ, what is the mark?
Well, he is thrilled at knowing Jesus. He blesses God that his sins are forgiven and buried in the grave of God's forgetfulness. He is all tomorrow's. He has no yesterdays and he is thrilled. And little children have the thrilling wonders of childhood. But the little child who lives in the realm of his feelings, he is just thrilled with everything. He hasn't lost the wonder yet. And that's a wonderful to be a little child. Maybe you're a little child. Maybe you've been saved in the last year. Maybe in the last six months, maybe just last week. And you just can't get over it. Oh, my sin. Not in part, but the whole has been forgiven. And you rejoice in forgiven sin. That's what he says right there. And first, John, chapter two and verse twelve. I write unto you little children. I look at it again because your sins are forgiven. You for his name's sake. Now, little children are wonderful, but we don't want them to stay little children. Let me tell you something. I am a bona fide father and grandfather, and I know a lot about little children. Little children have some problems. No one little children are lazy. They can't and don't help around the house. I do something else about little children. They will burp in your face. They're rude. Very rude as they can be. I'll tell you something else about them. They're selfish. They're self-centered. I'll tell you something else about the Little Rascals. They're uncooperative. They will wake you up in the middle of the night to wait upon. These are the babes in Christ. These are the little children.
Sometimes they are just plain mean. We ever thought of a child being mean? I have two very young grandchildren, Andrew and Steven.
Paul and Steven. Paul is his father, mother, missionaries. And so they were here on furlough. And we thought, how wonderful. Now for Andrew and Steven Paul to get to know one another. So we sent them down on the floor. And Steven went over immediately and bit Andrew. That's a little child for you little children, do you know they do some things that are not so great. And as I say, they are rude, they're uncooperative, they are selfish, and sometimes they're mean.
Now, you might make the mistake of saying if that's what a human being is, I don't want to be one. OK.
If you ever heard anybody say if that's what a Christian is. I don't want to be one. Well, Fran, a little babies have to grow up. That doesn't mean that they haven't been saved if they're spiritually babes in Christ. They just have to grow. I used to think that a perfect church was where everyone was a mature, spirit filled price like Christian.
Hey, folks, that's not a perfect church. That is a failing church.
If everyone were a mature Christlike Christian, why would that be a failing church? It would mean that some people are not being saved day by day.
You know, every morning here when we preach, we ought to hear the cry of newborn babies, a man when we give invitation and souls come forward and give their hearts to Jesus Christ and a twice born at that moment.
They are a child.
Now, that's wonderful. This church ought to be a maternity ward. But the sad thing is that when the church becomes a maternity ward for some, they stay in it until it becomes a nursing home and they never mature. Can you imagine a forty five year old man being rock sucking his thumb?
What about some of you who've been saying for a long time you have never gotten out of the baby stage?
And I'm ashamed of you and you ought to be ashamed of yourself because we said earlier owned ceased to be better is to cease to be good. Now there is the thrilling wonders of childhood out that moves on.
And we see the young man stage and the tri comfort warfare of manhood. Look, if you will, in verse 13 and the last part of verse 14, I write or do you follows because you've known him. That is from the beginning. I write unto you young men. Now listen, because you have overcome the wicked one and then skip down to the last part of verse 14.
I have written on to you young men because you are strong and the word of God abideth in you and you have overcome the wicked one.
Now, what does that mean? Well, these have come now from childhood to manhood. And what does the apostle John say that they are? They are workers and they are warriors. I thank God for the workers in our church, and I thank God for the spiritual warriors in our church. And that's so great to see these vibrant, healthy, wholesome people who no longer children, who no longer have to be served.
But I've learned to serve and our church has so many workers, these ushers or workers go to the nursery and their workers there as you drive out their workers, helping with the traffic up there in the sound booth, their workers helping me.
How does all of this happen? And our music program and the orchestra people, they are workers. And I thank God for them. But not only are they workers, they are warriors in the church. And how did they become warriors?
Well, the word of God has made them strong. Look, again, in verse 14, I have written to you, young man, because you're strong and the word of God abideth.
And you. Would you like to stop being a child? And would you like to start being a worker and a warrior? Then how you going to do it? The word of God is going to make you strong.
And you know what the devil wants to do? The devil wants to keep you in the childlike stage. He doesn't want you to be strong. He doesn't want you to be a worker and a warrior. And because of that, he knows he can overcome. You not want you to imagine the finest junior high team that you know in football.
And then I want you to imagine the Tennessee Titans or the Green Bay Packers on one side. They're lined up against this junior high scooting.
I wouldn't be fair if they played hard nosed football. It would be devastating for that junior high school team because they're not mature. These others are mature.
Now, the devil is like the Green Bay Packers and we are sending some junior high schoolers up against them because they have never matured. They've never been made strong. And how you will be made strong. You're going to be made strong by the word of God.
Now, there's the child stage. There's the young man stage. And then there is the father hood stage. There's the father and the tested wisdom of fatherhood. Now, look, if you're willing versus 13 and 14, I write under you fathers because you've known him. That is from the beginning. And verse 14, I written under you fathers because you have known him.
That is from the beginning.
Now, the father stage is maturity where we have grown on. We think of God. What about as a child, not as a young man. How do we think of God? Our Father, which art in heaven. Now, the goal of my life in your life is to be Christlike and which is really to be like God, the father.
Because Jesus said he that has seen me, has seen my father.
Now, how do you get to the third stage where, you know, if you spend enough time with someone, you begin to think like they do and act like they did.
Sometimes they say when you live together for a long time, you even begin to look alike. I tell you, Joyce is getting worried, but when we spend time with someone, we become like that, some one. And what do fathers do?
Well, number one, fathers reproduce through soul winning and discipleship. Are you reproducing yourself? Can you be called a father if you don't have any spiritual children?
No, I'm not just talking about getting wiser. I'm talking about winning souls and reproducing yourself and soul winning and discipleship. What does a father do? A father not only meets his own needs, he provides for the needs of others. Fathers have wisdom.
The people go to you when they have a heart ache to hear a fear, a problem. And they want to talk with you.
This because you are Matau.
You have come to the fatherhood stage of maturity. Now, here's what I want you to notice, that as you grow up, as you become a father, you do not substitute fatherhood for young manhood.
And you don't substitute young manhood for childhood.
All three are legitimate. And a father is a composite of them all in a father.
There ought to be the vision, the zeal of a young man and then a young man there to be the wonder of childhood.
You don't grow from one stage to another. You just add each stage on.
So when a person becomes a father, he is a composer. And the father, there's a young man and the young man.
There is a child.
Now, you you if you're perfectly whole, all of those will be in you. Do you know what makes the best youth workers? These people who still have youth in them? They can think and identify with young people because I still emba. Who are the people that you would enjoy being around the most? Well, I tell you, people like my daddy. You know, my daddy had a little boy in him. He always wanted to play. Never grew out of that. Never became old and crusty. And there ought to be a little boy and every man. And there ought to be a young man and every man. And they ought to be a father in every man. When you reach that final stage of fatherhood now, these kind of people in the church make the best children's workers and youth workers when you become a composite of all of these things. Now, who wrote this? Well, the apostle John wrote it. You say, oh, dear. Oh, sweet John. He was he was just so wonderful. From the time he got saved, he was just like a father. I can just imagine the old apostle John. Let me tell you, John, when you got to say it was mean and nasty and he stayed that way for a while till he remember, I told you, little children sometimes can be mean and selfish. Let me tell you what John who wrote this was like. First of all, he had a violent disposition.
His nickname was Son of Thunder.
Son of Thunder. I mean, you wouldn't want to be around it. He had a hair trigger temper and he was violent by his disposition. And not only that, he was very selfish. You say the dear old apostle John. Yes, he was selfish. You read in Martin, verse 37. He came with other disciples and said, Granton to us that we may sic one on my right hand and the other only I left in thy glory. They've been having a discussion, almost an argument. Who's going to be the greatest in the kingdom? You wouldn't expect John to be there, but he was there, he said. Now, look, Lord, there are other people around here. But look, here's what I want. I want you to give me a special, exalted position when you come in to your glory. No. John was violent. Old John was selfish. Not to what else he was. He was very prejudice.
One time Jesus and John were going through some area and the Samaritans did treat Jesus very well. And look, if you want to look nine versus fifty four to five and winner's disciples, James and John saw this. They said, Lord, were you command that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them even as Elias did. But he turned and rebuke them and said, you know, not what manner of spirit your own.
Now, here was John. He saw Jesus being mistreated. He's had to say what? God bless Newcome. Tell you what, Jesus.
Let's get a little heavenly napalm and fry him because of the way that they're acting. Jesus, said John, you don't know what spirit you are.
You wouldn't want to be around it. You would not have wanted to drive across the country with this guy named John before he grew up. And yet he was saved, as a matter of fact. Jesus enlisted him as a disciple. Now he grew. As a matter of fact, he's no longer selfish when he wrote the Gospel of John. There was a disciple who leaned on Jesus brass. That was John. But John never even mentioned his name. He just said that disciple whom Jesus loves no longer is he seeking the chief place. John is no longer prejudice. Now, this time, he comes back to Samarian Acts. Chapter eight versus 14 and fifteen. Now, when the apostles, which were at Jerusalem, heard that same Mary had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who, when they were come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost. First time he prayed, he said, Lord, let fire come down. Upon the second time, he all, oh, God bless these people, fill them with the Holy Spirit is no longer prejudice. He is no longer intolerant. Matter of fact, he's the one who wrote in this same book, First John one, verse seven. If we're walking the line as he's in the light, we have fellowship one with another.
John was changed. He was transformed.
And we'll hear the conclusion of this insightful message tomorrow right here. Do you have a prayer request you'd like to share with us at a love worth finding? It's one of our greatest honors to come alongside you and pray with you. If you can go to our Web site, home page at LW F dot org and scroll down to find our prayer wall. There you'll find the option to either submit a prayer request or pray for others. This resource is one of our favorite ways to keep the ministry and the community praying continually for one another's needs. We can't wait to hear from you again. Go to l w f o r g. Now, if you'd like a copy of today's message, call us at one 877 Love God and Order How to be a Growing Christian. This message is also part of a powerful series cultivating a Deeper Faith How to Strengthen Your Spiritual Life. If you'd like the complete collection, all six insightful messages, call us at seven seven. Love God. Go online to LWR Dawg Slash radio or writes at Love Worth Finding. Box 38. Six hundred. Memphis, Tennessee. Three eight one eight three.
Well, thanks for joining us in our study of God's word today. As Adrian Rogers said, when we spend time with someone, we become like that.
Someone spend some time with Jesus today in his word, in prayer, and be sure to join us for the conclusion of how to be a growing Christian tomorrow right here on Love Worth Finding.
A listener from Kansas wrote recently, it's a real word of encouragement. I want to share with you. She said, thank you for all your faithfulness. You have truly helped me. And still are helping me become a stronger Christian. Thank you for teaching me the ways of the Lord. But we are so honored to share these timeless messages to help you in your walk with Christ. And we're only able to do that because of the prayers and the generous gifts of listeners like you. When you give to the ministry this month, we'd love to send you our Walk By Faith booklet collection. This bundle includes popular messages from Adrian Rogers, such as for Keys to Victory and God's Way to Health, Wealth and Wisdom Requests. The Walk By Faith Collection. When you call with a gift at one 877 Loved God one eight seven seven five, six eight three four six three. Or you can give on line at l w f dot dawg slash radio. Once again, thanks for your generous support of love worth finding.