How to Be a Growing Christian
- Genres:Adrian Rogers, Preaching & Teaching
Scripture Passage: 1 John 2:12-14
A growing Christian is a maturing Christian because spiritual maturity is becoming more like Jesus. Some Christians are saved but aren’t growing. We will never know true victory and joy unless we learn how to be growing Christians.
In 1 John 2, the Apostle John compares spiritual maturity to three stages in our physical lives.
“I write unto you, little children, because you have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the Word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one” (1 John 2:14).
New Christians experience the thrilling wonders of spiritual childhood. They are “all tomorrows; no yesterdays.” However, children live in the realm of their feelings. They can be selfish and self-centered; uncooperative.
We are only young once; but if we aren’t careful, we can be spiritually immature for a long time.
If we grow, we’ll experience the triumphant warfare of manhood.
Abiding in the Word of God strengthens us for warfare. Obeying God and serving others transforms us into workers and warriors, equipped to combat the enemy.
Next comes the tested wisdom of fatherhood.
Adrian Rogers says, “When we spend time with someone, we become like that someone.”
Because we view God as our Father, the goal of spiritual maturity is to become spiritual fathers (and mothers). Mature Christians reproduce through soul-winning and discipleship.
What are the means of maturity?
There must be the miracle of life; we must be saved.
It takes time. There is no instant maturity; we experience growth through time spent with Jesus Christ.
Growth requires nourishment; we have to feed on the Word of God.
Growth demands discipline and exercise; we serve God and others.
Remember: we don’t substitute fatherhood for young manhood, nor young manhood for childhood.
In a father, there ought to be the vision and zeal of a young man. In a young man, there ought to be the wonder of childhood. All three stages are legitimate; a mature Christian is a composite of them all.
Apply it to your life
It takes life, time, nourishment, and exercise to grow.
Adrian Rogers offers this advice: “Don’t worry about what you can’t do. Find out what you can do and begin to do it, and you will grow.”
I’ve been in the church long enough in the past long enough to know that most christians are flabby. They’re flabby have 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’re 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. For over 50 years pastor teacher and author Adrian Rogers preached to audiences and touched lives all over the world with his unique brand of solid biblical teaching. His teaching has been described as profound truth stated so simply a five year old can understand it. And yet it still touches the heart of a 50 year old. And you’ll hear that in these messages on the basics of the christian faith. Have your bibles ready and join us for today’s message. Before we begin, remember you can follow along with pastor Rogers outline and notes on today’s message at L WF dot org or the my L WF app. Now let’s join Adrian Rogers, did you take God’s precious and Holy word and turn with me this morning to first john And if you’re new in the bible, that’s back toward the end of the bible. First john chapter two. And in a moment we’re going to read there. But uh look up here and let me ask you a question and answer it silently but answered honestly, Are you a growing christian? Do you love and know the Lord, jesus christ better than you did last year? Last week, A wise man said to cease to be better, is to cease to be good. Some christians are saved, but they’re not growing like a tree there like a stump, 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. Now when I’m talking about growing christians, I’m talking about maturity, maturity, you grow on toward maturity. You can be young only once, but you can be immature for a long, long time, you can be 40, 50 and still be spiritually immature. You can be gifted and not mature. As a matter of fact, 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? Are you gifted with talents? But that doesn’t mean that you are mature now. What is maturity? Let me just give it to you in a in a just a simple sentence. Don’t forget this now maturity is christ likeness, Maturity is being like Jesus the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians chapter four verse 13 until we all come in 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 a perfect rose. You don’t mean it’s a sinless 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 thank God for the budget. I thank God for the organization, but friends, all of that is splendid. Nothing without you growing in the grace and 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? Now 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 as we turn now to uh first john chapter two, that maturity is a life long process and uh actually we go through three major stages. Look now if you will in this first john chapter two and let’s begin in verse 12, I write unto you little Children because your sins are forgiven you for his namesake. I write unto you fathers because you have known him. That is from the beginning. I write unto you young men because ye have overcome the wicked one eye right under you little Children. Because you’ve known the father. I have written under your father’s because you’ve known him. That is from the beginning, I have written unto you young men because you’re strong and the word of God abideth in you and ye have overcome the wicked one. Now in those verses uh the Apostle john speaks of childhood little 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 fatherhood stage. And in our physical life we have, 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 what is the mark of a child like, Christian? Well, uh little Children know the thrilling wonders of childhood. Look in verse 12, I write unto you little Children because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. Now, when a person becomes a newborn babe in Christ what what is, what is the mark? Well, he he is thrilled at knowing jesus. He blesses God that his sins are forgiven buried in the grave of God’s forgetfulness. He’s all. Tomorrow’s he is no yesterdays and he is thrilled and little Children have the thrilling wonders of childhood. But the little child lives in the realm of his feelings. He is just thrilled with everything. He hasn’t lost the wonder yet. And that’s so wonderful to be a little child. Maybe you’re a little child, 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 all my sin, not in part, but the whole has been forgiven and you rejoice in forgiven sin. That’s what he says right there. In first, john Chapter two, in verse 12, I write unto you little Children, 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 bonafide father and grandfather. And I know a lot about little Children that will tell you and me that little Children have some problems. Number one, little Children are lazy. Uh they can’t and don’t help around the house. I’ll tell you something else about little Children. They will burp in your face. They’re rude, They’re as rude as they can be. I’ll tell you something else about them. They’re selfish, They’re self centered and 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 now there is the thrilling wonders of childhood now that moves on and we see the young man stage and the triumphant warfare of manhood. Look if you will in verse 13 and the last part of verse 14, I write unto you follows because you’ve known him. That is from the beginning. I write unto you young men. Now listen because you have overcome the wicked one. And then skip down to the last part of verse 14. I have written unto you young men because you are strong and the word of God abideth in you and you have overcome the wicked one now, what does that mean? Well these have come now from childhood the manhood and what does the apostle john say that they are, they are workers and their 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, I tell you all over this campus this morning, there are workers everywhere you look, these ushers are workers go to the nursery and their workers there as you drive out, their workers helping with the traffic up there in the sound booth, their workers helping me. Uh how does all of this happen? And our music program and the leaders, the orchestra people, They are 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 men because you’re strong and the word of God abideth in you. Now, do you, would you like to stop being a child and would you like to start being a worker and a warrior then how are you going to do it? The word of God is going to make you strong now. 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 I want you to imagine the finest junior high team that you know in football and then I want you to notice the Tennessee titans or the Green Bay Packers on one side. They lined up against this junior high school team. That wouldn’t be fair if they played hard knows what we call smack mouth football. It would be devastating for that junior high school team because they’re not mature. These others are mature. Now, the devil is like the Green Bay Packers and we are sending some junior high schoolers up against them because they have never matured? They’ve never been made strong and how you’re gonna be made strong, you’re going to be made strong by the word of God. Now there’s the child stage, there is the young man stage and then there is the fatherhood stage, there’s the father and the tested wisdom Of fatherhood. Now look if you will in verses 13 and 14, I right under you fathers because you’ve known him, that is from the beginning And then I have written in verse 14, I’ve written unto your fathers because you have known him, that is from the beginning. Now the father stages maturity where we have grown on, we think of God what not 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 and 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, how do you get to the third stage? Well you know if you spend enough time with someone, you begin to think like they do and act like they do, sometimes they say when you’ve lived together for a long time, you even begin to look alike, I tell you Joyce is getting worried, but when we spend time with someone, we become like that someone and what do fathers do? Well number one fathers reproduce through soul winning and discipleship are you reproducing yourself? Can you be called a father if you don’t have any spiritual Children? No, I’m not just talking about getting wiser, I’m talking about winning souls and reproducing yourself in soul winning and discipleship. Now what are the means of maturity? I said you need to grow up, you need to get strong in the Lord because you don’t want to be that junior high school team against the green bay packers, you need to get strong. Now number one there must be the miracle of life, you can’t begin to grow until you have life, there’s the miracle of life then you began to grow in order for you to grow, you have to get saved, you have to be born again when you receive jesus, there’s the miracle of life. Now that’s step number one to get saved. Step number two it takes time, there is the passing of time, there is no instant maturity, it’s just, it’s just not. So now if if your squash, you might be mature in 40 days, if you’re an oak, you’d 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 uh growth requires nourishment nourishment, you’re gonna have to feed on the Word of God. I I talking to you young men because the word of God abides in you. First. Peter 22 as newborn babes desire. The sincere, sincere milk of the word that you may grow, thereby church. Listen to me, there’s no way possible under God’s sun on God’s green earth that you can grow without taking nourishment. And your nourishment is the word of God. Ethel Barrett wrote about about Dwight l moody, you know, Dwight l moody was the billy graham of his day. And ethel Barrett said this about this man who was so mighty. She said 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 saved 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 new experience that he’d had with the Lord. Finally, some of the older saints just couldn’t stand to be humiliated anymore by his life and they went to his uncle and asked him if he could slow him down and tone him 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 there, 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. Isn’t that amazing? The word of God? Moody got hold of the Word of God and he devoured. I read one time when 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 want faith, I’ve got to let the Word of God coming to me. And he stopped praying for faith and asked God to give him an understanding of the bible. And he said, he grew in faith. Another man of yesterday. There was a man named George Mueller 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 he 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 said, 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 uh fill me. Well, let me read it in his words. Uh The first thing I did after asking a few words, uh the Lord, 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 the word, not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon, but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. Now what is food for the inter 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, that sounds like what Jeremiah said in Jeremiah, 15 verse 16, thy 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 said on your word. Now, you know how so many of us read the bible, like it’s a recipe book and we never eat the meat. one man said, his wife said, why do you call it shopping? You never buy anything? She said, why do you call it fishing? You never catch anything. And some people just kind of win the shop to the bible. Oh, what a nice verse that is. Oh, what a great verse that is. Oh, here’s one for the refrigerator friend feed on the word of God. That’s what Mueller did. He became mighty in faith. That’s what moody did. He became mighty. And faith there must be nourishment. Now. Number four, growth demands discipline of exercise. Hebrews 5: verse 14, but strong meat belongs to them that are a full age, even to those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Now he’s talking about people who become full grown and he’s talking about your spiritual senses that get exercise just like in the physical realm, your physical body. When it gets exercise, it toughens, it hardens. Now folks, I don’t hurt your feelings, but I’ve been in the church long enough in the past long enough to know that most christians are flabby. They’re flabby, have 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’re 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 you’re gonna grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior, jesus christ Now, I know that if you’re a baby christian right now, you can’t do everything, but you can do something. I know if you’re a young man today and the word of God abides in you, you still haven’t reached the fatherhood stage where maybe you can reproduce, but 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 about 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 by your heads in prayer. Now you take you take inventory this morning, Are you a little child saying, oh thank God, my sins are forgiven. Well, I thank God too, I thank God to that. Your sin is forgiven, but that 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 or actually like the father and jesus said, I’m my father one, 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 help told john to grow, if you took this man who was selfish and 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 help me to grow Lord right the message this morning upon my heart. Help me not just to hear it, but God I want to be a growing christian. Would you pray that now while these are praying maybe your stick this morning that is you’ve never received spiritual life. You need to be safe 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 that christ the son of God paid your sin debt with his shed blood on the cross. Believe that, believe that God raised him from the dead, believe that 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 a prayer like this. Lord jesus, thank you for dying for me, thank you that you hung on that cross in agony and 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 and 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. One more word, Dear friend. If you have prayed with us to receive jesus christ as your personal Lord and savior, would you let us know? We will rejoice and we’ll send you some literature to help you get started in your christian life. We’ll send it to you absolutely free because you received christ as your savior. We hope that today’s message has been an encouragement to you as we explore these fundamentals of the christian faith with Adrian Rogers. You can stream this message again and download Pastor Rogers outlines and notes on this message, all at L WF dot org or the my L WF app while you’re there, be sure to check out our new bible studies on these same topics as well as Pastor Rogers audio series. Back to the basics also available at L WF dot org at L WF dot org. You can also sign up to receive our daily heartbeat email which includes a written devotional and a 92nd inspirational audio clip, both from Adrian Rogers as well as a link to our daily radio program delivered directly to your computer or mobile device each morning. And if you’re looking for some inspiration or encouragement to get you through the week, check us out on social media at L W. F ministries. And don’t forget you can catch up with our program each week on our facebook page or Youtube channel or on the my L WF app. Thanks for joining us for our program today, we’ll see you next time, the bible says in john speaking of jesus and the word was made flesh and dwelt among us, but that word literally is the word was made flesh and it Tabernacle among us. So jesus was a Tabernacle in which the chicana, Glory of God. Well, all scripture is a picture of jesus christ, even the old testament Tabernacle and all of its vivid glory. Adrian Rogers shares the meaning of the intricate details of the Tabernacle and how they reflect Jesus, our Lord and Savior in this new book, From Love Worth finding. Seeing jesus in unexpected places. Based on a series of 13 messages from Adrian Rogers. Seeing jesus in unexpected places allows you to read along as the bible reveals the beauty and symbolism of the Tabernacle and its significance to our faith in jesus christ included in the book are links to the original audio messages from Adrian Rogers for your gift this month. We’d love to send you seeing jesus in unexpected places, call with your gift at 1 806 47 94 100. Or you can give online at l Wf dot org.
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