Celebrating 76 Years Of Ministry
To God Be The Glory
This Week's Sermon:
November 23rd: “My Favorite Bible Passage”
Read: Phil 4:4-7. Please join us at 10:45 AM.
Each Sunday we have a program for children
K through 5th grade, from 6:00-7:00 PM.
Senior's Exercise Class on Wednesdays at 10:30 AM. For men and women of all ages. Handicapped accessible.
Each Saturday - Men's Bible Study at 9:00 AM
Third Saturday of each month at 10:00 AM - The Food Pantry is open to all who are in need.
Fourth Saturday of each month at 10:00 AM - Our Clothes Closet is open to the community.
Today I want to talk about spiritual growth. E. Stanley Jones once wrote, “If conversion is the first law of the spiritual life, then cultivation is the second law.” It’s not enough to be converted. We need to grow spiritually. We need to cultivate our spiritual life so that we make progress in the faith. A garden needs to be weeded. A car needs its oil changed. A house needs cleaned and dusted. In the same way, our spiritual life needs regular maintenance and growth. This is what Paul teaches us in 2 Corinthians 3.17-18.
We are expected to grow. Verse 18 says, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed.” Growth is not optional. Either we are going forward, or we are falling backward. We can’t stand still in our walk with God (see 2 Pet 1.5-7; 3.18). I think about my son, Graham. Jenny and I love him so much, and it’s a joy to see him grow. We loved him the minute he was born, but we don’t want him to stay that way. We delight to see him beginning to say words and crawl and stand on his own. Growth brings joy to our heart, and it brings joy to the heart of God when we grow as well (see John 15.8).
We grow gradually. When talking about spiritual growth, Paul speaks of “ever-increasing glory.” Some translations say “from glory to glory.” Spiritual growth is a lifelong process. It is the process of being sanctified and glorified, and that process begins here on earth and will not be completed until Christ returns (see Phil 1.6; 1 John 3.2). It is not a straight, upward line. There are unexpected turns as well as ups and downs. Ideally, we would get saved the first time we heard the gospel and then progress upwardly from that day forward. But it just doesn’t happen that way. We have valley experiences, and at times we even backslide some. But all in all, we should grow in our faith throughout our lives. You never arrive in your walk with God. There is always room for growth and development (see Phil 3.12-14).
The Holy Spirit is the key agent of growth in our life. The end of verse 18 says, “…which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” Spiritual growth is ultimately the result of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives (see Gal 5.16, 22-23; Rom 8.13). None of us would grow without God’s Spirit. The Spirit leads us, reassures us, convicts us, transforms us, and draws us closer to Jesus Christ. At times we don’t feel like we have the power to overcome temptation or do what God calls us to do. But we can with the help of the Holy Spirit. He empowers us to be faithful.
The goal of spiritual growth is to become more like Jesus. Paul mentions the goal in this verse: “are being transformed into his image.” Christlikeness is the goal of the Christian life (see Rom 8.29; 1 John 2.6). That’s how we measure our spiritual growth. Are we more like Jesus today than we were a week ago or a month ago or a year ago? Do people see Jesus in us? I’m not spiritually mature unless I’m like Jesus. Now as I mentioned earlier, this is a lifelong process. None of us is exactly like Jesus, but we are progressing in that direction. Our prayer should be like that of the hymn writer, Fanny Crosby. She wrote, “More like Jesus would I be, let my Savior dwell in me; fill my soul with peace and love—make me gentle as a dove; more like Jesus, while I go, pilgrim in this world below; poor in spirit would I be; let my Savior dwell in me…More like Jesus when I pray, more like Jesus day by day, may I rest me by His side, where the tranquil waters glide. Born of Him through grace renewed, by His love my will subdued, rich in faith I still would be—let my Savior dwell in me.” That’s my prayer: let my Savior dwell in me. I hope it’s your prayer as well.
For more devotions by Pastor Mark, visit his blog at drmarkjackson.wordpress.com.