1 Thes 3:12,13
INTRO: This is, according to most, the first Sunday of a new century and a new millennium. The doomsday prophets have been once again proven wrong, and time marches on. It is no time for us to rejoice in the status quo. Rather, it is time for us to go forward in faith. Doing so will require reminders of commitments and needs so essential to forward progress. So, this morning I would like to think with you of things which must grow.
I. GROW IN LOVE
A. 1 Thes 3:12,13 ... increase ... in love ...
1. love is a fruit of the Spirit - belongs in us
2. there is no law against it ... can be in us without limit!
3. it is something which can grow limitlessly
B. ... one toward another, and toward all men ...
1. certainly, in our love for God, for Jesus
2. but here it is specifically toward others
3. how manifested? Gal 5:13 - serving
II. GROW IN FAITH
A. 1 Thes 1:3 ... your faith growth exceedingly ...
1. with Lk 17:5
2. faith takes us through day to day events
3. faith steadies us in events which are trial
B. Faith and love certainly have a relationship
1. Gal 5:6 faith which worketh by love
2. not only does love manifest itself by serving; so, too, faith manifests itself by working
3. so, Jas 2:17 & 26 ... good works? works of kindness? consideration?
III. GROW IN GRACE
A. 2 Pet 3:18 But grow in grace ...
1. grow in appreciation of blessings
2. grow in anticipation of blessings
3. grow in conviction about the source of blessings
B. Could this be the entire spiritual life?
1. Rom 5:2 in grace is where we are
2. so, I suggest that the entire realm of spiritual life and living is a subject for growth
3. so, Rom 8:5-7 a life pleasing to God
IV. GROW IN CHRISTIAN BEHAVIOR
A. 1 Pet 2:1-3 ... that ye may grow ...
1. v.1 is critical to the point
2. such things as are listed there are so common, so worldly, so immature ... yet, they persist
3. such things harm both individual in himself and relationships ... and the body
B. Growing, maturing is a must
1. experience? so many folks do not grow
2. it is seen in their speech, their choices, their fragile relationships
3. 1 Cor 3:3 for ye are yet carnal ...
V. GROW IN KNOWLEDGE
A. 2 Pet 3:18 But grow ... in knowledge ...
1. Col 1:9 ... the knowledge of his will ...
2. Col 1:10 ... in the knowledge of God ...
3. knowing Jesus, knowing God, knowing their will ... filled ... increasing!
B. There is no mystery about knowledge
1. mind applied to the material ... application is experience ... knowledge
2. many today are belittling idea of knowable truth ... but scoff though they might, without this knowledge there is no growing
3. emotion based faith is not faith - ignorance based faith is not faith ... Rom 10:17
CLOSE: To the Corinthians Paul wrote his desire that their fruits of righteousness increase (2 Cor 9:10). Fruits (results, produce) of righteousness can only grow in the presence of the grace, the knowledge, the love of God.
Cecil A. Hutson
02 January 2000
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)