Growing as Christ-followers



Scripture:

2Pet. 1:5 For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge,
2Pet. 1:6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness,
2Pet. 1:7 and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.
2Pet. 1:8 For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pet. 1:9 For anyone who lacks these things is nearsighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins.

Observation:

The Christian life can never be static.  There must be on-going and continual spiritual growth in the life of a Christ-follower.  There is faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, mutual affection and love.  All these are to increase among us as we grow in our faith.  The result is a Christ-follower who is effective and bears fruit for the kingdom, growing in the knowledge of our Lord.  However, for those who call themselves Christ-followers and yet do not continue to grow in their faith they will discover that there are difficulties.  They become nearsighted, or shall we say self-centered.  The vision becomes singularly of the things around them, and the way in which they want to serve God.  They are blind to the needy of the world around them and simply forget what Christ has done for them.  If we do not grow as Christ-followers, we will become sickly and ultimately die.

Application:


There can be no escaping the fact that Christ-followers are called into a life of growth in the Lord.  This growth is both a crisis and a process.  We require both in our lives, and without both we become stagnant in our faith.  The problem is that too often people come to the conclusion that they have “arrived” spiritually and then never continue to grow in him.  Could it be that the busyness of our lives is keeping us from this kind of growth spiritually? 

I am concerned about the condition of many of our churches these days.  Many denominations are suffering from decline with small and aging churches, many of which are closing across the country.  We note shifting demographics as the cause for much of what is happening while at the same time could it be that there has been a shift spiritually?  What can keep us from being “ineffective and unfruitful?”  It sounds like Peter is telling the folks that this is the result of a lack of spiritual growth among the Christ-followers.  It’s easy to blame it all on society, but have we looked in the mirror? 

There have been periods of “Great Awakenings” here in the United States and around the world — times when there have been great revivals.  These have resulted in church growth and the planting of new works.  These have nearly always been the result of spiritual growth among God’s people. 

The language of “nearsighted and blind,” is very sad but is also true.  If we are not growing spiritually, we will not be able to see beyond ourselves and our own needs.  We get into “survival” mode, blind to the needs of those around us. 

What is the answer?  To get in touch with where we are, and where we need to go spiritually.  May the Lord search our hearts today so that as his Christ-followers we may continue to grow in him, reflecting him more and more each day so that the world sees his love in us.  May the world be attracted to his love and desire to know him by stepping into a transformational relationship with him.  And may we unite together as Christ-followers who desire to grow in him.

Prayer:

Lord, lead me today into more of you.  Amen.

Comments

  1. THE APOSTLE PAUL'S CONVERSION BY STEVE FINNELL

    Before discussing Saul's conversion we need to establish a point of fact. You cannot become a Christian and have unforgiven sins. If your sins have been forgiven you are a Christian. If you are a Christian then your sins have been forgiven. It is impossible to separate forgiveness, from being in Christ. How could you say I became a Christian last night but my sins were not forgiven? By the same reasoning you could not assert that I had my sins forgiven last night but I am not a Christian.

    What is true for us, was true for the apostle Paul.

    Acts 9:3-6 As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; 4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" 5 And he said, "Who are You Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, 6 but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what to do."

    Saul obviously believed in Jesus at this point, yet he was still not forgiven of his sins; therefore he was not a Christian. Paul was not saved by "FAITH ONLY."

    Acts 9:9-11 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am Lord." 11 And the Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying,

    Saul believed that Jesus was Lord.
    Saul repented.
    Saul fasted and prayed for three days.
    After three days on the road to Damascus Saul was still not forgiven of his sins. Saul was not saved by faith alone, Saul was not saved by repenting alone. Saul was not saved by praying and fasting. SAUL WAS NOT SAVED ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS.

    Acts 22:12-16 "A certain Ananias....13 came to me....16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.'

    Saul's sins were forgiven after he was baptized in water, not before.

    Galatians 3:27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

    Saul was not a Christian until he was baptized into Christ.

    Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved......

    Saul was not saved until he was immersed in water.

    Acts 2:38...and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of you sins....

    Saul sins were not forgiven until he was baptized in water.

    Paul was saved the way all men are saved. FAITH John 3:16---REPENTANCE Acts 3:19---CONFESSION Romans 10:9-19---WATER BAPTISM Acts 2:38

    YOU CANNOT SEPARATE BECOMING A CHRISTIAN AND FORGIVENESS OF SINS!

    PAUL WAS NOT SAVED ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS----PAUL WAS SAVED IN DAMASCUS.

    You are invited to follow my blog. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

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