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When I Grow Up, I Want to be just like Jesus

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Christians must emulate the life of our Savior by growing in grace and wisdom.

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Text: Luke 2:40-52
Theme: Christians must emulate the life of our Savior by growing in grace and wisdom.
Date: 12/31/17 File name: When_I_Grow_Up.wpd ID Number: 1016
I want to preach this morning on growing in your faith. The theological word for that is sanctification, but “growing in your faith” will do just as well. As believers, it is vital that we not remain in place, and grow stagnant in our Christian walk. That walk is to be a metamorphosis where our character is continually changed from sinful creatures to the image of Christ. Ultimately, we are to reflect the Lord’s glory in our lives. The Apostle Paul speaks of this when he wrote to the Christians at Corinth:
"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV)
The phrase are being transformed in that verse is one verb in the original language of the Bible, and guess what that word is? It’s a verb from of the word metamorphosis. It’s a verb that is in the present tense, and passive voice, and indicative mood. Isn’t that exciting? Ok, so what does it mean?
It means that spiritual growth is never achieved by accident. You must actively develop your spiritual life through spiritual disciplines. Spiritual growth begins when you actively engage your faith. Howard Hendricks has correctly observed, “There is no such thing as a correspondence course for swimming.” If you want to swim you’ve got to get into the pool. The same is true for growing in the faith. There is no substitute for plunging into the Word, into prayer, into Christian fellowship, into ministry, and into worship. These are the means be which we mature in the faith.
It also means that God is at work in your life. God uses the events and circumstances that come your way to mold you and to shape you — like a potterer shapes his clay — into an honorable vessel. That molding and shaping requires our cooperation with God’s Holy Spirit and obedience to His Word.
It also means that our spiritual growth is a real-time event. It began the moment you became a Christian, and it’s happening right now as a continuous, on-going event in your life.
Now, the question of ths morning is: “What are some of the things you need to do in order to cooperate with this metamorphosis that is taking place in your life?” That’s where this morning’s text comes in. When we look at the boyhood of Jesus, we can glean some actions that, if we will emulate, we can become more like Jesus and so more fully reflect the Lord’s glory in our lives.


1. one of the chief characteristics of children is that they are always growing
a. they are growing physically
1) our text this morning says of Jesus, and the child grew v. 40
2) I have no doubt that Joseph and Mary had as much trouble keeping Jesus in scandals as you do keeping your children in shoes
b. they are growing mentally, and intellectually
1) v. 40 also says that Jesus was filled with wisdom
2) children’s minds soak up everything — good, and sometimes bad — but they are always learning
c. they are growing emotionally
1) v. 40 also says that Jesus waxed strong in spirit
2) as the grow, children are learning how to express their feelings in appropriate ways
3) and, at some point, they also become aware of the ‘divine’
d. children are always growing
2. Christians need to emulate this childlike attribute of growth
a. in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus extolled the virtues of children in our relationship to the Kingdom of God
“He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:2–4, NIV84)
b. I’m sure that one of the characteristics that Jesus was probably thinking of was constant growth
3. there is never a time when the Child of God is to stop growing in the Lord and in the knowledge of His Word
4. if you are not growing in Christ, there are only two other possibilities ...
a. possibility #1, you’ve become spiritually stagnate
1) we all know what happens when water becomes stagnate
2) it becomes stale and bitter to the taste
3) it begins to breed and grow nasty little things
4) it becomes scummy and putrid
b. possibility #2, you’re still spiritually dead
1) the sad truth is that many professing Christians are merely practitioners of religious rites instead of disciples of the Christ
2) they are tares growing up among the wheat — they feign the real thing, but time reveals their true nature
5. if either of these two realities resemble your spiritual life, you need to make a decision to do something about it


1. you can never have too much knowledge of God, His Word, or His Ways
2. the word that is translated wisdom in this verse means a broad and full intelligence of diverse matters
a. we often hear Jesus referred to as a simple carpenter
1) by that, people often mean that He was unschooled or unlearned
b. but there was nothing unschooled about Jesus’ intellect
1) in John 7:46 the crowds said of Jesus, “No one ever spoke the way this man does.”
2) when He taught in the local synagogues in His home town of Nazareth, the people were amazed at His knowledge and wisdom
"He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? 55 “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?" (Matthew 13:54-55, NIV)
3) when Jesus was in Jerusalem, He regularly went to the Temple and taught the people
"But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach. 15 The Jews then were astonished, saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?” (John 7:14-15, NIV)
3. it is obvious from the Gospel accounts that Jesus the man, had a thorough knowledge of God, of the Scriptures, and of man’s nature
4. how do you grow in wisdom like Jesus did?
a. Like Jesus, You Acquire Maturity in You Faith as You Attain More Thorough Knowledge Of the Scriptures
1) the Word of God is the very best place to find wisdom
"Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, 14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold." (Proverbs 3:13-14, NIV)
ILLUS. The Bible Version of the game, Trivial Pursuit, has a statement on the front of the box I really like. It reads, “The trivia that is not trivial.”
2) a knowledge of God’s Word leads to wisdom and spiritual maturity
b. Like Jesus, You Acquire Maturity as You Experience God in the Everyday Affairs of Life
1) you can never be too familiar with God
2) Jesus knew God — I mean He really knew God
3) God was more than a theological concept to Jesus — He was an intimate Father who takes great delight when His children approach Him
4) Jesus experienced God, because Jesus was a man of prayer — every decision He made, every step He took, every disciple He called, every word He said was a result of intimate conversation with God
5) Jesus experienced God, because Jesus always sought to obey God
"Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." (John 5:19, NIV)
6) can you imagine how much better off in life each of us would be if we only did what pleased our Heavenly Father?
c. Like Jesus, You Acquire Maturity as You Understand the Society in Which You Live
1) Jesus was not some spiritual guru who spouted utopian, pie-in -the-sky religious ideals devoid of relevance to His culture or time
2) He was aware of His culture, and the ethics, morality, and standards of His day and confronted them head-on by calling people to follow Him and commanding them to seek the righteousness of God first
3) like Jesus, you acquire maturity as you understand the spiritual poverty of our culture and seek to confront it with the demands of God’s righteousness
5. we develop spiritually when we grow in widsom


"Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." (John 5:19, NIV)
1. the word stature can mean several things ...
a. it can refer to growth in height that is the natural result of growing from a child to an adult
b. it can refer to growth in age
c. it can refer to growth toward a maturity of character
2. because of the context of the passage, it’s this last meaning the Scripture is referring to
a. character matters, and Jesus was a man of integrity, virtue, and principle
1) if Jesus had not been a man of character, He never would have attracted the following He did, nor could He have claimed to be who He was — the Son of God
3. Christian character is developed as we mature in the faith and put childish behaviors behind us
"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me." (1 Corinthians 13:11, NIV)
a. the Bible tells us that we are to have a child-like faith, never a childish faith
b. each of us knows of Christians who have never really grown up in their faith
ILLUS. I have a good friend in the ministry who struggled through a really difficult situation in his church a few years ago because of the childish, spiritual immaturity of a believer. The church had been saving to purchase a van. A man in the congregation had donated several thousands of dollars to the van fund. But when the trustees actually recommended a certain van, the man who had donated the money didn’t like that particular vehicle and threatened to take his money back if they didn’t by the van he wanted.
c. now folks, I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds very similar to the ten-year-old boy who tells his friends, “If you don’t play by MY rules, I’m gonna take my ball and bat and go home, and then see where you’ll be!”
4. spiritual development means putting away childish behaviors and striving to develop a Christ-like character
" ... we [must] all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:13, NIV)
5. The Boyhood of Jesus Teaches Us That We must Grow Spiritually


"So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” 49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:48-49, NIV)
1. this passage tells us of the time when Jesus, and His parents came to Jerusalem on His 12th birthday
a. the trip was to Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish Passover
2. on the return trip, the caravan has traveled all day and has stopped for the evening
a. the women begin to prepare the evening meal, fathers begin the age-old task of rounding up the kids
1) but there’s a problem — Joseph cannot find his son
2) he asks Jesus’ younger brothers and sisters if they’ve seen him, but they haven’t
3) a quick search of the camp reveals Jesus is nowhere to be found
b. with that feeling of panic that overwhelms every parent at that moment, Joseph and Mary rush back to Jerusalem to look for their son
1) they look for Him for three days
2) they go every place they think would be attractive to a boy of twelve
a) they go to the bazaar and begin looking through all the shops and stalls
b) they hurry to the sheep market and then the cattle market, and then the camel market
c) they anxiously check with friends, “Have you seen him?”
3) finally, in desperation, they look in the last place you would expect to find an active, bright, twelve-year-old boy — in church
3. when admonished and questioned about His where-a-bouts, Jesus responds, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”


1. what does that mean?
a. well, I think it means, first of all, that God has a specific plan and a specific will for your life that is unique to your abilities, gifts, and willingness
b. it also means that there are some general areas of conduct you and I must engage in if we are going to be about the Father’s business
1) being about the Father’s business means personal evangelism
2) being about the Father’s business means support of missions
3) being about the Father’s business means ministering to others in need
4) being about the Father’s business means loving even our enemies
5) being about the Father’s business means praying for those who use and abuse us
6) being about the Father’s business means raising your children in the nurture and counsel of God
7) being about the Father’s business means praying in the Spirit for all those in authority over us
8) being about the Father’s business means leading quiet and peaceable lives
9) being about the Father’s business means taking up your cross daily and following Jesus
c. I could go on, but I think you get the point!
2. The Boyhood of Jesus Teaches Us That We must Be about the Father’s Business


"Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart." (Luke 2:51, NIV)
1. this event in the life of Jesus ends what we know about his childhood
a. between the age of 12 and 30 — when He began His public ministry —the Bible is silent about the life of our Savior
b. it simply tells us that He went home to Nazareth and was obedient to Joseph and Mary
2. during His ministry, He was completely obedient to the will of His Heavenly Father
a. the Apostle Paul reminds us of the degree to which Jesus was obedient
"And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:8, NIV)
3. God’s greatest desire this morning is that you willingly place yourself under His Sovereignty, and the Lordship of His Son
a. that means that your desires must be conformed to His will
b. that means that your mind must be conformed to His thoughts
c. that means that your body must be subjected to His discipline
4. you show God your love for Him through your surrender to His authority in your life
"This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome," (1 John 5:3, NIV)
5. The Boyhood of Jesus Teaches Us That We must Be Obedient ... and if you will be obedient to God, His blessing will over-flow in your life
In the world of academics there is a study method known by many as, cramming. It is the practice of procrastinating on studies until the last possible moment. When that day of reckoning arrives, the coffee pot is stoked, and we strap ourselves to the desk for an all night journey with our books.
Cramming is a phenomenon unknown to the agricultural world. Farmers don’t cram. They can’t delay plantin g crops in the Spring then hit the ground really hard in the fall. If a harvest is expected in the fall then planned and scheduled activities must take place throughout the year. Maybe that is why Jesus used so many agricultural illustrations in His teaching and preaching. Spiritual growth and maturity doesn’t come like grades that are salvaged by intensive periods of last minute cramming. Christlikeness comes from a lifetime spent with the Savior, constantly cultivating our faith.
As I close this morning, I have two questions for you: First, “Are you a child of the King – have you been born again?
Second, “If you are a Christian, what are you doing to please your Heavenly Father? Are you growing up into spiritual maturity? Are you about your Heavenly Father’s business? Are you being obedient to the will of God?” The goal of every believer’s life is to emulate the life of our Savior.
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