Tuesday, September 25, 2012

                                           “Growing in Christ”--Part 1
by Pastor Larry Hill
                         Ephesians 4:15; Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-18
The Apostle Paul says at Ephesians 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. He is encouraging Christians to make growth a priority in their lives.

Paul has just warned in the previous verses that we are to be careful not to get caught up in the devious schemes of teachers who only want to use our spiritual weakness to take advantage of us. When we don’t know the meaning of scripture; when we haven’t grown in the faith then we are subject to be led astray by someone who does not mean us any good.

That’s why Paul begins this verse with the conjunction ”But”. That indicates that there is another way to grow in the faith. So he says “speaking the truth in love” is the way we begin to grow.  Why? Because if we don’t have love in our lives it doesn’t matter how much we know we won’t grow. Love is the fertilizer that enables the believer to grow to our fullest potential.

Paul goes on to say, ”we must grow up.” Growth is not an option. To be a Christian we are always growing. We must grow in order to get out of the faith what we need to live life to its fullest.

He further says we must grow up “in every way.”  Listen to us, “I’ll do this but, I’ll never do that.” So we wind up doing the same things over and over again never getting beyond a childhood understanding of the Christian Faith. All parts of our lives must grow so that we will not be lacking in anything.

Now notice that Paul says we must grow up “into Him who is the head, into Christ.”  In other words we are growing into Christ, who is the head of our lives and the head of the Church. That gives us the direction of our growth. We want to live like Jesus lived. So we grow into Christ. We grow into the likeness of Christ. The knowledge we get is directed towards becoming more like Christ in our everyday lives.

For example say we have this large circle and everything we know about Christ from our study is inside that circle. To grow into Christ means that we step into that circle and begin to take on the same characteristics Christ has. We seek to make everything Christ said and did a part of our lives.

What are some of the characteristics of Christ? -- Love, peace, joy, mercy, forgiveness, hope, life, humility etc. To grow into Christ means we take on the very character of Christ. The more we step into the circle of Christ’s character the more his character becomes ours. Then we are growing. When we begin to grow into Christ the strength, peace and power he had becomes ours and we are “more than conquerors” in all we do. Start now to grow into Christ by taking on his character until it becomes yours.

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