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August 18, 2020 8:00 am
Should we wait to grow before we start serving God? Here's Adrian Rogers. Most Christians are flabby, flabby have no.
They have no biceps. They have no vitality because they have no exercise. They come on Sunday morning and sit and soak and think that by being here this morning, they're serving God. And when you begin to serve God, you're going to grow.
Welcome to Love. We're fine. Featuring profound truth simply stated by pastor, teacher and author Adrian Rogers. The title of today's message is How to be a Growing Christian. Is that what you want to be? Keep listening. Because Pastor Rogers is pointing out the stages of Christian maturity, new Christians experience the thrilling wonders of spiritual childhood.
If we grow, we'll experience the triumphant warfare of manhood. And then we can experience the tested wisdom of fatherhood reproducing through soul winning and discipleship. But how do we get there? What are the means of maturity? If you have your Bible handy, turn now to first, John, Chapter two. Once again, here's 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 growing. They're I 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. So I want to talk to you about how to be a growing Christian and is 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 in a 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 fine.
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 in 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 Mathiesen. Chapter four, verse 13. Don't we all come?
And the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. Unto a perfect man. Now that word perfect means mature. Doesn't mean sinless. You say a rose is appropriate, 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 the goal of my ministry. I thank God for these buildings. I thank God for the Sunday school attendance. I think cut for the budget. I thank God for the organization. But, friend, 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? 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. The apostle John speaks of childhood.
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 like 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, buried in the grave of God's forgetfulness.
He is all tomorrow's. He is 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 shy. 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 tell you something else about little children. They will burp in your face. They're rude.
There's rude as they can be. I 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. 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.
Have you ever heard anybody say if that's what a Christian is? I don't want to be one. Well, 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.
Now, there is the thrilling wonders of childhood now that moves on. And we see the young man stage and the try comfort warfare of manhood.
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 have learned to serve. And our church has so many 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 might offend 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. Now, there's the child stage.
There's the young man stage.
And then there is the father hood stage. Now, the father stage is maturity where we have Ronan. 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 Christ like and which is really to be like God the father.
Because Jesus said he that has seen me, has seen my father.
Now, let's just shift gears and think a little bit, if we can, about the means of maturity. I talked about the marks of maturity. You move from childhood, the young manhood to fatherhood.
Fathers are full of wisdom. Provided they reproduce. Now, what are the means of maturity, I said, you need to grow up.
You need to have strong in the Lord because you don't want to be that junior high school team against the Green Bay Packers.
You need to have strong now. Number one, there must be the miracle of life. You can begin to grow until you have life. There's the miracle of life. Then you begin to grow. Before we moved out here, we had an idea where we got our children together. Actually, I learned this from Peter Lord. He did his church and we gave all of the children in the children's department, our each department, rather, a potted plant. Now, one department was told to give that plant water, fertilizer and sunlight. That's what we want you to give your plan. Another department, we said give it water and fertilizer, but no sunlight. Just kept leaving one ingredient out except for the one that was given water, sunlight and fertilizer. And each week, the kids would bring the plants in and display them. It was amazing to see how some of them, their lives were down, the ones been getting water at all. Some of them, the leaves were kind of good, but they were yard and some of them were just growing and flourishing, the ones that got water, sunlight and fertilizer. And we're trying to teach the kids a spiritual lesson about what it means to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. But we gave one department a stick, a stick, a dead stick and said, you give it water, you give it fertilize, and you give it sunlight and see what happens to it. Well, you know what happened in Roe.
In order for you to grow, you have to cease, be dead, stick. You have to get saved.
Get to be born again when you receive Jesus.
There's the miracle of life now. That's step number one to save step. Number two, it takes time. There is the passing of time. There is no instant maturity.
If you're a squash, you might be mature in 40 days. If you're an oak, you be mature in 40 years.
Now, God wants you to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now, the secret of maturity is spending time and you're not going to be mature over night.
Number three, growth requires nourishment, nourishment.
You're going to have to feed on the word of God. I talk to you young men, because the word of God abides in you first.
Peter Tudeh as newborn babies.
Does either sincere milk of the word that you may grow there by church. Listen to me. There is no way possible under God son on God's green earth that you can grow without taking nourishment. And your nourishment is the word of God.
Household Barrett wrote about why the moody Dwight L. Moody was the Billy Graham of his day, and Ethel Barrett said this about this man who was so mighty that when Dwight L. Moody became a Christian, he developed such a hunger for God's word, spent so much time reading it, and was so quick to obey it that he became a menace to other believers. His rapid spiritual growth was an embarrassment to certain people, though they had been, say, for years, never grew up in Christ.
Week after week, the church Moody attended when he was there week after week, he would share a the experience that he'd had with the Lord.
Finally, some of the older sayings just couldn't stand be humiliated anymore by his life. And they went to his uncle and asked him if he could, slowing down and toning down because he was just feeding on the word of God, devouring the word of God.
And then he was obeying the word of God. Then Ethel Barrett went on to say this about Moody, his robust spiritual health and abounding energy disturbed their napping. He was just too much. So while they were sucking their thumbs, he was growing until he left them far behind. He grew more in a few years than they did in 20 and then using the word of God.
Moody got hold of the word of God, and he devoured it.
I read one time where Moody said, you know, I used to pray to God for faith. Lord, I want more faith. And he said, one day I read in the Bible where faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
He said, that's the secret. If I will, Faith, I've got to let the word of God come into me. And he stopped praying for faith and ask God to give him an understanding of the Bible. He said he grew in faith. Another man of yesteryear was a man named George MEU of Bristol. If you read The Life of Mueller, it's a life, a miracle after miracle after miracle after miracle. And people think, well, what a great prayer warrior he must have been. And it was. But let me tell you what he said about his secret of faith and maturity. He said, When I come to my quiet time, he says, I just greet the Lord for a few moments and then I get into the word of God.
I study the word of God. I devour the word of God. I let the word of God feel me.
Let me read it in his words. The first thing I did after asking a few words in a few words, the Lord's blessings upon his precious word was to begin to meditate on the word of God. Searching into every verse to get a blessing out of it. Not for the sake of public ministry of a word, not for the sake of preaching or what I had meditated upon, but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul.
Now what is food for the inner man? Not prayer. But the word of God.
And here again, not simple reading of the word of God.
So that it only passes through your mind just as water runs through a pipe. But considering what we read, pondering over it and applying it to our hearts, I sounds like what Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 15 verse sixteen.
My words were found and I did eat them and I word was under me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.
Jeremiah says, Lord, I devoured your word. I fed all in your word.
Now you know how so many of us read the Bible like it's a recipe book who we never eat me.
Man said his wife said. Why do you call it shopping? You never buy anything. She said, What do you call a fishing? You never catch anything.
And some people just kind of when the shock to the Bible is, oh, what a nice first that is, oh, what a great verse that is. Oh, here's one for the refrigerator. Fran, feed on the word of God. That's one munity.
He became mighty and faith.
That's what Moody did. He became mighty in faith. There must be nourishment now.
Number four, growth demands discipline of exercise.
Hebrews five. Verse 14. Strong meet belongs to them that are of full age, even to those who by reason of use, have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Now showing that people who become full grown and he's talking about your spiritual census that get exercise just like in the physical realm, your physical body, when he gets exercise, it toughens. It hardens. Now, folks, I hurt your feelings, but I've been in the church long enough, been passed long enough to know that most Christians are flabby, flabby. That no strength. They have no biceps. They have no vitality because they have no exercise. They come on Sunday morning and sit and soak and think that by being here this morning, they are serving God. We call this the service, but it's not the service.
The service begins when you walk out those doors and when you begin to serve God, you're going to grow.
And that you're going to grow in the grace and knowledge of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ.
I know that if you were a baby Christian right now, you can't do everything. What? You can do something. I know if you're a young man today and the word of God abides in you, you still have embraced the fatherhood stage where maybe you can reproduce.
Look, let's read the word of God.
Don't worry about what you don't understand. Obey what you do understand. And before long, you'll be understanding what you didn't understand. And the same thing is true, that service. Don't worry about what you can't do.
Find out what you can do and began to do it and you will grow.
It takes life to grow.
It takes nourishment to grow.
It takes exercise to grow.
But if you're a stick, you're not going to grow at all.
Are you a little child saying, Oh, thank God, my sins of forgiven? Well, I thank God, too. I thank God, too, that your sin is forgiven. But there's more to that. Are you a young man, a worker and a warrior?
This church couldn't exist without workers and warriors. But that's not your final goal.
Your final goal is to be like the Lord Jesus Christ are actually like the father Jesus that I and my father won.
You need to be the kind of a Christian who can reproduce, the kind of a Christian that has fatherly wisdom, the kind of a Christian that not only can meet your needs, but as a father, meet the needs of others.
Now, friend, would you pray say God help me to be a growing Christian if you helped old John to grow. You took this man who was selfish. This man who was intolerant.
This man who was violent. And you made him into such a wonderful apostle.
Lord, you can do that for me. Lord helped me to grow.
Lord, write the message this morning upon my heart.
Help me not just to hear, but God, I want to be a growing Christian. Would you pray that you need to be saved?
And I've got wonderful news for you. Glorious news. God loves you and he wants to save you. You don't have to beg him to save you. He has promised to do it if you would trust him. Believe a Christ, the son of God.
Hey, your sin debt with his shed. Blood on the cross. Believe it. Believe it. God raised him from the dead. Believe it. And now receive him into your heart as your Lord and Savior. Do it.
The Bible says believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Pray. Pray like this. Lord Jesus. Thank you for dying for me. Thank you. That you hung on that cross in agony. In blood. And now, Lord Jesus, this moment I receive you into my life as my Lord and master. Take control of my life. Begin now to make me the person you want me to be.
Lord, I will live for you. Lord, I'll not be ashamed of you. Lord, I'll make this public because of what you've done for me. A man.
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Well, thanks for studying in God's word with us today. Remember, it takes life, time, nourishment and exercise to grow. Adrian Rogers offered this advice. Don't worry about what you can't do. Find out what you can do.
Begin to do it and you will grow.
Be sure to join us next time for another timeless message from Adrian Rogers right here on LA. Worth finding.
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