On Purpose For Purpose (Part 2) Growing In God’s Love Colossians 2:6-7 Pastor Carey January 27, 2018

The Christian walk is much like riding a bicycle; we are either moving forward or falling off. Don Lyon once wrote: “If you have the spirit without the word, you blow up; if you have the word without the spirit, you dry up; if you have both the word and the spirit, you grow up!

Each and every person and church are created by God on purpose and for purpose but do we know our purpose – individually and corporately?  In 1999, Bethia adopted a new mission or purpose statement.  Not because we were mission-less, but because it is vital to our future that we understand what and who we are called to do and called to be at Bethia!  Every now and again it is important to review our mission/purpose statement especially as we are transitioning into a much larger church with a broader ministry than we had in 1999, While we are called to do new ministry as well as continue to do existing ministry, everything we do still must find its roots in our 3-fold purpose statement to experience, grow and share God’s love.  Last week we talked about experiencing God’s love.  Today we discuss growing.

This second arm of our purpose statement is an area of great concern for me.  Because our individual and our corporate growth is vital to the other two parts of our mission statement.  No growth means no new experience and no sharing.  No experience means no growth and no sharing.  In essence, we share through the overflow of our experiences with God and through the growth of our faith.  Old growth is not growth at all.  Old experiences fail to reveal the promise that God is always doing new things.

So here is the confronting question we all must answer: how well are you growing in Christ right now?  What are some of your methods or styles of growth – worship; SS classes; Bible study (personal or corporate); devotional time; retreats; teaching; choir; interaction with other Christians; accountability groups; Christian TV or music?  When our growth stops, there is a problem.  It is obvious to see a lack of growth in a child, but not so easy to detect a lack of growth in an adult.  When a Christian disciple is not growing, something is not right, for Paul reminds in our scripture passage today that we are to rooted, built up and strengthened in Christ.  Growth is a continuing process not and not a one-time event.

1) Growth is not a spectator sport – we must actively and purposefully work at it.  Jeremiah wrote in Lam. 3 that God’s mercy or compassions never fail, they are new every morning.  Our calling as Jesus’ disciple is to learn more and more about Him each and every day.  We do this when we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s leading and teaching.  We grow in our faith as we discover personally how God is at work all around us in others and in us.  What have you intentionally learned about the nature of God lately?  One Bible teacher once said that he felt our time in heaven will be spent learning new things about God – and it will take an eternity to do it!

2) Growth takes time.  A group of tourists were visiting a quaint village in Europe and noticed an elderly man sitting on his front porch.  As they walked by, one of them asked the man, “Were any great men born in this village?”  “Nope” the older man replied, “only babies!”

His response is a wonderful reminder that there are no instant mature disciples.  Growth takes time.  Each new day builds upon the previous day’s growth.

3) Growth is difficult.  We learn some of our best lessons of the faith during the most difficult and painful times.  Those tough lessons we learn also prepare to be a source of strength and teaching to others who will have similar experiences.

A master gardener once talked about how she could give new bedding plants the rough treatment at times – for their own good just before she plants them in her garden.  She said it could be the best thing a gardener could do to help the plant survive.  She said that as she pulls the plants out of the plastic pots, she looks at the soil ball and their roots.  If the plant has been growing in that pot so long that its roots are circling the bottom, she jabs her finger into the bottom and pulls down to untangle the roots.  She said that most plants shrug off this treatment and in doing this, she gives the roots an opportunity to grow deeper, stronger and enable the plant to thrive.

Christians can often resemble root bound plants.  We grow complacent and comfortable where we are.  If not careful, our roots circle around and around in the same small area, no longer reaching out for life, nourishment and growth. The best thing God can do for us at times is to shake up our roots and place us in new soil.

So how well are you growing in Christ right now?  No more excuses.  Let’s get growing in Christ!

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