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Progress Of Life

 
Continuing To Grow
 
INTRODUCTION
 
1. Growth is necessary in all areas of life:  business, science,
   industry, etc.
 
2. This is especially true in our lives as Christians - Ep 4:14-15;
   1 Pe 2:2; 2 Pe 3:18; 2 Th 1:3
 
3. But spiritual growth must be well-rounded, balanced growth
   a. The Christian must grow in knowledge, in zeal, in faith, in
      Christ-like character, in good works
   b. The Christian must not be full of knowledge while his disposition
      remains un-Christlike
 
4. This final lesson is intended to help us continue growing ever
   closer to God and more productive in our service to Jesus Christ
 
[It is beneficial to be aware of those things which act as...]
 
I. HINDRANCES TO GROWTH
 
   A. LACK OF EFFORT...
      1. Growing in Christ is not automatic
      2. One may still be a "babe" after many years - cf. He 5:13;
         1 Co 3:1,2
      3. Growth requires effort, but those who are spiritually lazy
         will simply follow the course of least resistance; such will
         forever remain "babes" , if they do not fall away altogether
 
   B. DISCOURAGEMENT...
      1. Some people make a good beginning, but get discouraged and
         quit
      2. Reasons may vary:  church troubles, personal problems, lack of
         encouragement from others, etc.
      3. But consider the example of the apostle Paul:
         a. Few of us would ever have the problems he had 
            - 2 Co 11:24-29
         b. Yet he did not "lose heart" (become discouraged) 
            - 2 Co 4:8-9
         c. Why?  Because he knew his labor was not in vain 
            - 2 Co 4:16-5:1
      4. And so he encourages us not to grow weary in doing good 
         - Ga 6:9; 1 Co 15:58
 
   C. THE LAW OF DISUSE...
      1. A knife stays bright when used, but unused it becomes rusty
      2. So it is with Christians, we lose what knowledge, ability, and
         opportunity we have when we do not use them!
      3. To use another metaphor, unless we are earnest in our
         endeavor, we will simply "drift away" from the Lord - He 2:1
 
   D. THE LAW OF INTERFERENCE...
      1. Crops, trees and flowers do not grow well when crowded
      2. So our spiritual growth will be hindered if we allow others to
         crowd out our spiritual life
         a. Businessmen may become too busy to attend to God's business
         b. A woman may get so occupied with housekeeping that she has
            little time for God
         c. Young people may be so busy with school activities that
            prayer, worship, good works and Bible study are crowded out
         d. Preachers might get so tied down with meetings,
            administrative duties, etc., that they too do not have time
            to spend alone with God
      3. Jesus warned about the danger of interference - Mk 4:18-19
 
[In an effort to prevent succumbing to these hindrances, here are 
some...]
 
II. SUGGESTIONS FOR CONTINUING YOUR SPIRITUAL GROWTH
 
   A. BECOME ACTIVE IN THE WORK OF THE CONGREGATION...
      1. Begin immediately!
         a. It is important not to delay (remember the "hindrances")
         b. There is work for everyone, and it is best to start with
            something you are able to handle
         c. Even the most humble service can be a source of joy for
            those who are doing it to please God - cf. Ps 84:10;
            Jn 13:12-17
      2. Offer your services to the elders!
         a. These men will be glad to find work for you to do in
            keeping with your ability
         b. Sometimes they hesitate to call on people for work if they
            are not sure the people are willing
         c. But let them know that you have the attitude of Isaiah:
            "Here am I!  Send me." - Isa 6:8
      3. Look for work needing to be done!
         a. The best servant is one who can see things to be done and
            does them without having to be told every step to take
         b. Most of us are good critics; here is how we can put that
            ability to good use:
            1) Whenever we see something we want to criticize, take
               that as an opportunity to SHOW (not tell) how it should
               be done
            2) Someone else's failure is often our opportunity to be of
               service
            3) In other words, "Don't criticize, energize!"
 
   B. START A PROGRAM OF REGULAR PRIVATE DEVOTIONS...
      1. Spend time each day alone with God, engaged in prayer, Bible
         study, singing praises
      2. Such time consistently spent will supply the spiritual
         nourishment necessary for spiritual growth
      3. Many Christians do not grow because they try to exist on a
         "spiritual starvation diet"!
 
   C. PARTICIPATE IN AN INFORMAL BIBLE STUDY GROUP...
      1. Meet weekly with other Christians in an informal setting to
         study the Bible together
      2. This provides opportunity for mutual sharing and encouragement
         which leads to even more knowledge and spiritual growth
 
   D. BECOME INVOLVED IN LEADING PEOPLE TO CHRIST...
      1. Begin implementing the suggestions in the lesson on increasing
         opportunities to share the gospel
      2. Even if you don't do the actual teaching, you can do what
         Andrew and Philip did:  lead a friend to Christ! - Jn 1:40-46
      3. Those involved in leading others to Christ rarely ever stop
         growing in Christ themselves!
 
   E. PRACTICE CONSTANT SELF-EXAMINATION...
      1. The Scriptures call us to examine ourselves in our relation to
         Christ - 2 Co 13:5
      2. Here are some questions we should often ask ourselves:
         a. Do I have a better Bible knowledge than one year ago?
         b. Am I as interested in Jesus Christ today as when I was
            baptized?
         c. Have I helped someone else to become a Christian?
         d. Am I enjoying life as a child of God?
         e. Am I improving my life, my disposition, and becoming more
            like Christ?
         f. Do I set a good example for other Christians?
         g. Am I growing in such activities as Bible study, prayer,
            worship?
      3. Self-examination is not an easy process, but true spiritual
         growth is impossible without it!
 
CONCLUSION
 
1. Though we have come to the end of this series of studies, if we
   implement the suggestions in this lesson and those preceding, we
   will successfully embark on a spiritual journey with Christ that
   will last through eternity!
 
2. It is sad, but true, that many Christians are often just religious
   enough to be miserable; but the life of the Christian is intended to
   be one filled with love, joy, peace, and so much more! - Ga 5:22-23
 
3. It is my prayer that these lessons may be useful in helping you to
   truly experience the ABUNDANT LIFE that Jesus provides! - Jn 10:10
 
  "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may
   your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the
   coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who calls you is faithful,
   who also will do it."  (1 Th 5:23-24)

 

--《Executable Outlines