Spiritual Growth

“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:12b-14

 

In this passage Paul summarizes the process of progressive sanctification or spiritual growth.

–          Review the reality that Jesus and the gospel has a hold in your life.

–          Remain humble in your pursuit of holiness (we never “arrive” until Jesus returns).

–          Reflect on the gospel consistently through repentance of sin, understanding condemnation from your past is paid for through the blood of Jesus. Walk in the gospel by keeping fellowship with Jesus.

–         Resources:
            The Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney
            The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges

  1.  Philippians 2:12b-13 “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”
  2. 1  John 1:7- 2:2 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice {propitiation} for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 
  3. Colossians 3:1-17 1 So if you have been raised with the  Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. 4 When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. 5 Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient, 7 and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. 8 But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices 10 and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all. 12 Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must [forgive] . 14 Above all, [put on] love—the perfect bond of unity. 15 And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. 16 Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

 

2 Spiritual Growth Distracters

1. Legalism: basing our relationship with God on personal performance (religious box checking)

  • Justification is our position in Christ – being declared righteous apart from works (Rom 3:21-26; 2 Cor 5:17, 21; Eph 2:8)
  • Sanctification is our practice with Christ – obeying not to be accepted but because we already are.

2. Subjectivity: basing relationship with God on changing feelings, emotions or guilt than God’s truth, grace and promises.

  • “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning… The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself…And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do.”[1]
  • Romans 8:31-39 “31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He did not even spare His own Son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything? 33 Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies. 34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. 35 Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. 37 No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

 


[1] D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures, pp. 20-21.

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