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English Fellowship GKI Samanhudi Saturday, Juli 23rd, 2011, 9.00am, Room 6th

The Necessity of Spiritual Growth

1 Peter 1:13 2:3 (NASB) 13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY. 17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each ones work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF, 25 BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER. And this is the word which was preached to you. 1 Peter 2 (NASB) 1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. Grow up! It's important to grow. It's important to grow up. Most of us, at different times, are concerned with growing up. Let me share with you a story I pick up in the internet about mother and son. There is a mother who was driving her four year old daughter to preschool one morning. She also happened to be a medical doctor and had left her stethoscope on the front seat. Driving along the street, she noticed her four year old was quite interested in the stethoscope and was playing with it. This mother and doctor began to think to herself, "Could it be that my daughter will grow up to follow in my footsteps? It would be wonderful if she would be like me." Just then her thoughts were interrupted as her daughter spoke into the stethoscope and said, "Welcome to Mc Donalds, may I take your order please." Some parent may have expectation that their children will grow up to be just like them, like the mom in the story.

Some of us may ask this question to our parents when we're a child: Mom / dad, what are you going to be when you grow up? In our childish mind, our parents still growing up, just like us. Well, to tell you the truth, sometimes children are right. Some grown-up act just like a child, and the other way around. Why? Have you thought about growth? I'm not talking about physical growth here, I'm talking about spiritual or inner growth. The most important thing than church growth is individual growth, personal, spiritual growth. The apostle Peter raised this issue. Peter is writing to Christians and having told them in chapter one that they had been born again by the power of God's Word. Children often look like their parents and behave like them. Parents should set a standard of rules and manners for their children so they can learn about discipline and obedience, know about the right or wrong, etc. Parents taught them what to do in deeds and words. Nowadays, some parents fail to do so. On a somewhat more serious note, author Paul Meir talks about How To Turn Your Child Into A Criminal: Don't ever enforce household rules, then your child will never learn about consequences. Always give in to the temper tantrum so your child can learn that manipulation is the key to their controlling you. Give your child a huge allowance and don't make them do anything for it. That way they will think that the world owes them a living. Don't give them any chores so they can learn to be irresponsible early in life. He says many other things but this simply illustrates a thought provoking way to learn. This is what happen if as a child, we're left alone without any rules or boundaries. The same thing also happen in our relationship with God. God set us a standard to follow so we could be like Him, the Father. Christians are now children of God, because God is their Father in heaven. God is holy. God wants his children to be like him. They must have his character in their lives. To be holy means to be completely separate from all sin and evil. It also means to belong to God alone. God commands Christians to be holy. The Holy Spirit makes them holy. This does not mean that Christians can live their lives completely without sin. This will only happen in heaven. But with Gods help they must now try hard to avoid all sin and evil in every part of their lives. So, what is the difference between a stunt spiritual growth and a real growth? What are the parameters that shows we're growing or not? 1. A real growth will show in our effort to work on our salvation to purify our soul Verse 22: Now that you have purified yourselves - Greek, "Having purified your souls." The apostles were never afraid of referring to human agency as having an important part in saving the soul. No one is made pure without personal intention or effort - any more than one becomes accomplished or learned without personal exertion. One of the leading effects of the agency of the Holy Spirit is to excite us to make efforts for our own salvation; and there is no true piety which is not the fair result of culture, as really as the learning of a person, or the harvest of the farmer. The amount of effort which we make "in purifying our souls" is usually also the measure of our attainments in religion. No one can expect to have any true piety beyond the amount of effort which he makes to be conformed to God, any more than one can expect wealth, or fame, or learning, without exertion. There are two sides of a coins; one is our effort, the other is through the work of the Holy Spirit His work to apply truth to the mind; and however precious the truth may be, and however adapted to secure certain results on the soul, it will never produce those effects without the influences of the Holy Spirit. 2. A real growth will show in Christians love toward one-another Every day, Christians must obey the truth. This will make their life pure. Psalm 119:9 says, How can a young man live a pure life? When he lives the way that Gods word tells us. The Bible is Gods word.

The Bible is truth. As Christians become purer in their lives, they will have a deeper love for each other. They will not have evil thoughts and feelings about other Christians. To have sincere love means they really care about other people. They mean what they say. People are not sincere when they just pretend to love other people. Have a sincere love for each other: The Greek word for love (philia) in this sentence describes the love that brothers and sisters have for each other in a family. All Christians are members of one very big family. God is their Father. We have Christian brothers and sisters who live in every country of the world. Love one another deeply, from the heart. This word love (agape) comes from another Greek word that describes the pure love of God. This love always gives more than it takes. Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 13. Christians should love each other in the same way that God loves them. To love deeply means that love is strong. 3. A real growth will show in Christians' behavior In 2:1, Peter lists 5 evil things that Christians should get rid from their lives: malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. Rid means remove it from your life. In other word, we can put it this way: Therefore, stop all evil behavior. Do not cheat people. Do not pretend to be better than you are. Do not be envious. Stop saying bad things about other people. A person who loves other people will want to help them and say true things to them in a wise way. He will speak out good things instead of bad stuff. The words that people use show what their spirit is like. Jesus said this in Matthew 12:33-37. In verse 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 4. A real growth will create longing for God's words In 2:2, Peter now describes the word of God as pure spiritual milk. Spiritual means linked to a persons spirit and not to his or her physical body. A Christian should want Gods word as much as a baby wants milk. Milk makes a baby grow big and strong. A Christian should be eager to read, listen and study Gods word. This will help them to become mature. Verse 3 comes from Psalm 34:8. Tasted means discovered by experience. Christians realize how kind God is. This makes them hungry in their spirit and they want to know God more and more. Vance Havner, the old preacher, used to tell the story of some boys that a man came upon in Africa during a time when diamonds were plentiful there. He discovered that they were playing marbles, but they were not playing with marbles, they were playing their game using diamonds. Could it be that we trifle with the treasures of God? We play marbles using diamonds. We trifle with the Word of God. We trifle with the holy things of God. We trifle with His treasures. Peter says, "No, no more trifling." If you've been born again, if you've really tasted of the Lord and found Him to be delicious, then you will spurn (put aside), you will yearn (long for), and you will learn. If these commands do not characterize your life, the question then has to be asked, "Are you really saved? Have you been born anew? Have you really come to Christ and made sure that your sins have been forgiven?" If not, you can do so today right where you're at. To come to Jesus Christ in repentance. Turning from your sins, inviting Him into your life and beginning to live with Him as the Lord of your life. To those of you who are believers, whose trust is Christ, this is the time to grow. Let's make the most of the time that God gives us.