Sunday: The Grace to Grow
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The lives of the disciples show constant spiritual growth as they walked with Jesus.

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

When Christ called His disciples, their attitudes and actions certainly did not reflect the loveliness of His character.

Read Luke 9:51-56 and Matthew 20:20-28. How do these passages reveal James’ and John’s thinking?

James and John had some serious character flaws. They were not prepared to represent Christ’s love to the world. They were not qualified to proclaim a message of grace to others who had not changed their own lives.

In spite of their serious defects of character, James and John longed to reveal Jesus’ character more fully. They longed for transformation and reformation in their own attitudes. Growth and change are part of our Christian experience.

Read 1 John 2:1-9. What do these verses reveal about the great changes that came over John during the years after Jesus’ death? What do they teach us about what it means to be a follower of Jesus?

It’s so easy to get discouraged over our own spiritual growth, especially as we truly want to have revival and reformation in our lives. When discouraged, when feeling as if you are a spiritual failure and that you are going to be lost, what promises can you claim that will show you why you must never give up, and why, despite your faults, you can have assurance of salvation?

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Sunday: The Grace to Grow — 10 Comments

  1. Sunday's lesson is titled "The Grace to Grow." I wonder what the lesson author was thinking of when he came up with that title? I know what comes to my mind when I think of it, "For the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23 NKJV) and "death spread to all men, because all sinned" (Rom. 5:12 NKJ) so why am I not dead? Why are we all still alive even though we sin? To me the answer is grace! Grace is the act of loving us too much to do nothing while we perish. Grace is the most elegant definition of Love, the real agape love which is: "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails" (1 Cor. 13:4-8 NKJV).

    Like(41)
    • Tyler, thank u for the reference in 1 Cor. 13:1-13. I needed that today for I am being purified. My sister is here and there are three of us and things sure are not what I thought they were between us.
      Pray for us to correct our righteousness in and through Christ. We need healing so we can be witnesses for Christ. Now there is much heaviness and unkindness to be purified.
      Thank u for your love in Christ
      May wee all be ready when HE comes. Bless u all

      Like(5)
  2. The sermon I heard yesterday said despite having bad beginnings in life, like Joseph who had dreams that he one day will rule of over his brothers and parents, however that journey started badly, with his brothers hating him for his dreams, plotting to kill him, ten out of eleven of his brothers wanted him dead, and eventually selling him to merchants to be a slave. It did not end there, for someone who was dreaming to be a ruler, finds himself in the Egyptian prison, but in the end his dreams came true and what made him to make it to the end is that he held on to the Lord and never gave up. If we feel discouraged as though we are spiritual failures and that maybe we are going to be lost this example of Joseph is inspirational, never to give up on God, keep on keeping on, Keep on holding one day the dreams of spiritual growth will be realised. At the right time the Holy Spirit will prompt that growth if we remain humble before the Lord and constantly walking with Jesus just as the change and growth was wrought to James and John.Abiding in Jesus will bring the desired change and growth. Have a blessed week and study saints of God.

    Like(27)
    • Thank you, Victor, for reminding us of the story of Joseph as an excellent example of spiritual growth.

      However, I see the story a bit differently.

      1) I don't think it wasn't Joseph's personal dream to be a ruler over his brothers. It was a prophetic dream.

      2) It seems to me that the dream was of political power, not of spiritual power.

      3) It also seems to me that Joseph made some active choices that furthered his spiritual growth. He didn't just sit back and figure that "some day" the growth would happen:

      On the way to Egypt, he chose to be true to his father's God, no matter what. In Potiphar's house, he consciously chose to be true to God at the possible expense of his favored status. In the prison, he chose to be true to God under the most desperate circumstances.

      Each of these apparently "bad" situations furthered Joseph's growth and made him strong in the Lord. And this is what prepared him to be a ruler of Egypt while still being a man of faith.

      I don't think we will ever grow spiritually by holding on to "dreams of spiritual growth." Such dreams can keep us in a Laodicean "do-nothing" condition. We grow when we choose to be true to God - no matter what - just where we are in the here and now. That's how Joseph grew. Faithfulness in little things prepares us for larger responsibilities.

      I do agree with you when you suggest that we "we remain humble before the Lord and constantly walking with Jesus." That makes me think that you don't really mean that we are to sit back and do nothing while we wait for spiritual growth. ;)

      Again, thank you for bringing up Joseph as a great example of spiritual growth from which we have much to learn.

      Like(5)
  3. All have sinned and fallen short of being what God would have us to be in these last days. It is because of the life, death and resurrection of Christ that I can't focus on being a spiritual failure. He died for imperfect people and I definitely fit into that category. Having said that, I give God praise for His love, grace and mercy. His Word assures me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. I'm admonished to strive for the prize each day and that prize is to see Jesus face to face.

    Like(8)
  4. I enjoyed reading Sunday's lesson "The Grace to Grow" because it is so easy to forget that we indeed have an advocate working daily on our behalf. We are all sinners and Jesus shed his blood that we all may be saved. Its easy to fall into the same old cycle of sin but being reminded that as sinners God still loves us and wants us to be saved. Accepting that truth in our lives makes it easier to come to Him and ask for forgiveness for our sins and live lives that are pleasing to God. The wages of sin is spiritual death and we cannot abide in God for eternity with hate in our hearts for our fellow man. God loves us all and we still have the opportunity to grow and become what God wants us to be for Him. I praise Him for these promises.
    Have a blessed day!

    Like(9)
    • JoAn McCray@ just wanted to help out on the biblical statement in your comment; "The wages of sin is spiritual death." The statement is refering to the Eternal death, also known as the second death. Spiritual death is when we are without the Holy Spirit abiding in us. Lets invite the Holy Spirit daily in our hearts for the victory over sin we desperately needed.

      Like(1)
  5. John has helped me to see my total dependence on God for his grace to move me from wretchedness to righteousness; to exercise patience with my brother or sister who is struggling with glaring spiritual impediments; to desire to be like God; and to show concern when my reasoning dictates condemnation.

    Like(3)
  6. Growing Christians is more complicated than growing vegetables. I try to grow vegetables and am sometimes successful. Radishes are easy to grow. You put the seed in the ground and stand back quickly, otherwise they will hit you in the chin because they grow so fast. Onions are much harder. You sow the seed and wait, and wait, and wait, and when you have just about given up hope and decide to dig them up and replace them with radishes, these little green threads just pop out of the ground. Then they just stay like that for about a month until you suddenly realize that they are just a little bit bigger and a little bit fatter than when you first saw them.

    Christians grow in Christ but we are all different. Some of us grow fast like radishes and some grow slow like onions. There is no problem with helping one another to grow ( I actually sow a few radishes among my carrots as it helps me to see where the carrots are and they break the soil surface making it easier for the carrots to pop through. The problems arise when we start looking at one another and saying why aren't you growing faster, or you should be growing slower because if you grow to fast you will be come weak!

    The Bible often tells us to encourage one another. Speed of growth is not all that important but growth is. Some of us are radishes, while others are onions. Both should be flavorsome.

    Like(18)
    • Very well said @ Maurice as mentioned in Sabbath sermon and I quote, " ways Christians should be :- 1. they should have their eyes open, 2. be like Christ (His character)which is the Law(love) and 3. forbearing, which in this case instead of trying to bring down or belittle people , may it be believers or non-believers we should, try to give them a helping hand by either standing by their side, propping them up when their falling or lifting them up. all in all we should be there for each other and try to show our Christlike characters through the working of Jesus himself and the Holy Spirit as work and changes are being brought about in us. I hope that in the end we would all be able to shine for Christ and not misrepresent.....Let the Holy Spirit speak through us and not we ourselves :)

      Like(3)

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