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Are You Growing In Christ?

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Today, we are going to what is "A Spiritually Healthy Christian" and answer the question "Are you growing in Christ?"

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300 Sermon Illustrations from Charles Spurgeon The Fresh Water of Christ (Psalm 42:1–2; 110:3)

You have heard, perhaps, the story of a party of travelers who were crossing the desert. They had exhausted all their supply of water, and they did not know where they could find any. But, at last, after some days’ march, they came near a turbid stream of the filthiest water. In dashed the camels, and defiled it still worse. Yet the poor travelers, who had come across the arid desert, were so thirsty that they drank what was more earth than water, and thought it sweeter than any wine they had ever tasted. But after they had satisfied their thirst, did they still think so? Did they then say the water was sweet? No; they understood then what it was they had been drinking. After their thirst was once quenched, you could not have compelled them to drink there again until the thirst returned in all its force.

But so long as the Christian is here, he will always have the pangs of hunger. He will always have all the sufferings of spiritual thirst if Christ is removed from him, and, therefore, that longing will always make Christ sweet to him. Our Lord must always have the dew of his youth on him, because we shall always have an appetite for him as long as we are here. Or if we lose it for a little while—for fools will abhor all manner of meat sometimes—still that appetite must and shall return, and we will again fly to those living waters as with the wings of a dove, and hasten again to those cooling streams with all the speed of the panting deer that longs after the water brook, for it must drink or die.

Therefore, you see that because we will always need Christ, therefore he will always be fresh to us.

Are you? (We)

Are you? (We)
You have heard, perhaps, the story of a party of travelers who were crossing the desert. They had exhausted all their supply of water, and they did not know where they could find any. But, at last, after some days’ march, they came near a turbid stream of the filthiest water. In dashed the camels, and defiled it still worse. Yet the poor travelers, who had come across the arid desert, were so thirsty that they drank what was more earth than water, and thought it sweeter than any wine they had ever tasted. But after they had satisfied their thirst, did they still think so? Did they then say the water was sweet? No; they understood then what it was they had been drinking. After their thirst was once quenched, you could not have compelled them to drink there again until the thirst returned in all its force.
But so long as the Christian is here, he will always have the pangs of hunger. He will always have all the sufferings of spiritual thirst if Christ is removed from him, and, therefore, that longing will always make Christ sweet to him. Our Lord must always have the dew of his youth on him, because we shall always have an appetite for him as long as we are here. Or if we lose it for a little while—for fools will abhor all manner of meat sometimes—still that appetite must and shall return, and we will again fly to those living waters as with the wings of a dove, and hasten again to those cooling streams with all the speed of the panting deer that longs after the water brook, for it must drink or die.
Therefore, you see that because we will always need Christ, therefore he will always be fresh to us.

Are you? (We)

How often do you find yourself reading your bible?
How often do you look up sermons to listen to? Sundays only?
How often do you go to your bookshelf and pull down a good Christian book?
How often do you tell your family members about Jesus and what He has done for you?
When do you pray? Once a day?
When you look at all the things you do each day do they please God?
Are you hungry for God’s Word or are you hungry to know what’s at the bottom of the Money Pit on Oak Island?
Are you drinking the pure Milk of God’s Word or are you drinking worlds poisons?
Are you growing stronger with your walk with God or are you malnourished?
Transition – Today, we are going to what is “A Spiritually Healthy Christian” and answer the question “Are you growing in Christ?”

A Spiritually Healthy Christian has a daily hunger for the Word of God

says “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, desire the pure milk of the word”[1]
Just like a new born baby we as Christians have not just a desire for pure milk but a need for pure milk being the Word of God so that we may continue to grow!
When Reven was still a new born, one of the most interesting things about him was his ability to require feeding every 2 hours on the dot. I recall caring for Reven very early on for a few months because Amanda had been very sick during the first few months of Reven’s life that I was hardly getting sleep because of his hunger.
Being a new Christian I could relate to his situation as well. I recall days after I started to follow Jesus, I had this intense hunger to hear the Word of God. Not only that I had this hunger to pray, hear the word, speak the word, live the word, study the word. It got to the point that I started to email, call, look up have meetings with anyone I knew that was a pastor even my buddy Valentin, the poor guy had recognized this hunger and did what he could to give me as much as I could eat by sending me as many links to sermons, scripture readings and articles on Christianity.
Just like Reven, I was almost hourly looking for some means of God. If I could not get my hands on a sermon, I would be reading, or studying or talking to others about Jesus and how wonderful He is.
We as Christians also need to pay attention to our bodies, when we are infants we don’t know why but we cry out to be fed. But watered-down milk will not cut it. We need pure milk to satisfy our hunger. When we first come to life we right away look to fill that hole in our face with some food. Infants require feeding right away, they require feeding all the time. As new Christians and older Christians we need to recognize that we have a hunger for God and need to be fed.
In Jesus brought a little girl back from the dead. His first command to the little girls family was to give her something to eat. When we bring Jesus to the souls who are dead and they come to life and become followers of Jesus we don’t just leave them behind… they would starve. No we are commanded to feed and care for them.
Transition – Just like an infant looking for pure milk daily we too need to feed and be fed pure milk of the Gospel daily.

A Spiritually Healthy Christian needs a daily feeding of the Word

says: “so that you may grow up into your salvation, 3 if you have tasted that the Lord is good.[2]”
How many of you realize that our “Daily Bread” is not just five minutes in the Bible, only to go on with our day without ever thinking about God, praying, or seeking His Word and how it shapes our day. Then to come back at the end of the day and read 5 more minutes of the Bible and go to sleep without taking the time to read the Word, let it soak in, fill us up, see what God has done for us throughout the day and to get a sense of what God is going to plan for tomorrow?
The Truth is simple, last week to touched on a short passage in . “Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.[3]”
Being fed by the Word of God includes reading and studying the Word of God every day. In fact, that is one of the more important ways we are to be fed, being in God’s word every day allows us to see what God has planned for us, encouragement for the day, guidance, a reminder that He loves us, tools needed to perform the work He called us to do that day.
There are other ways to be fed by the pure milk of the word as well. Lets take a look at the book of Acts. In the Discipleship class we explore this passage each week.
“So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added to them. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.”
I won’t go into the whole passage but just this section alone gives us a clue to what they early church did to be fed daily. It was through teaching, praying, worshiping God, fellowship, and breaking of bread.
And they did this EVERYDAY!
A question for you: How often do you skip breakfast, lunch and supper? No much right?
So if we don’t skip meals, that’s good but why would we take a handful of peanuts for breakfast then eat nothing all day but junk food?
- Chips, pop, corn dogs, chocolate, candies, more pop to wash it down, fast foods…
All day nothing but junk food but at the end of the day cook up a hard-boiled egg and drink a small glass of water before bed?
That sounds like a terrible diet!
IF you don’t die of clogged arteries the heart attack will get you… if that won’t get you the diabetes will kill you. Mind you if you’re lucky you will choke on a twinkly before you have to face a heart attack because of a terrible diet.
Can we all agree that eating healthy is the best way to live? You got energy, you got a long life, you feel good. Its good right?
So why then do we only read the bible for 5 minutes each day?
Then spend the rest of our morning watching TV or listen to music that is disturbing to God?
- Why do we go to work each day to make money that we are going to spend on junk food, useless car payments, or credit card debt?
- Why do we talk with sailors mouth away from home like no one is going to catch us swearing?
- Why do we come home to play video games, watch TV, or movies that are unproductive?
- Why do we go to sleep at the end of the day with a quick “As I lay me down to sleep, Lord I pray my soul you keep” and fall asleep seconds later?
Man, nothing like a sinfast meal replacement to kill that hunger for Gods Word…
Yes, you heard me right, sin is the fastest way for us to lose that hunger for God’s Word. When we fill up on the husks of the worldly desires we have no more room for God’s Word, no more room for fellowship, prayer, worship, or bible study.
Just like an infant, we can’t expect to feed them watered down milk, we can’t expect to feed them just water, we can’t expect to feed them Pepsi either. Feeding an infant anything but pure milk will only result in malnourishment and even death.
Just a quick show of hands, how many of you who attend the weekly discipleship group find it refreshing to gather together for prayer, fellowship, teaching, worship and prayer? Does it break up your week? Does it give you that booster shot for the rest of the week to keep you going?
Transition - Just imagine, if every day was like a discipleship class night… with that kind of focus on God we are bound to start growing in the Knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

A Spiritually Healthy Christian is growing each day to look like Christ

Lastly, as we hunger for the Word of God, and are fed daily the pure milk that is the Word of God we start to grow:
says “As you come to him, a living stone—rejected by people but chosen and honored by God—5 you yourselves, as living stones, a spiritual house, are being built to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” [4]
The thing about growing in Christ is the fact that we start to become very much Christ-like.
Did you know that the term Christian originally was not a term used in a good way? It was a way to make fun of us who followed Jesus Christ. People coined the term because followers of “The Way” started to look more and more like Christ. So, they called them Little Christ’s or Christians.
I find it so interesting that early Christians didn’t need to tell other people that they were Christian, because they were so different from the World they stood out like a lighthouse in the darkness. You simply knew just by looking at a Christian for a few minutes that they were very different in every way. The way they talk the way they walk. It all pointed to the fact that they were just like that Jewish fella from Nazareth.
Today, we should be no different than back then. We are the stones that build the house of God. We are founded on the Cornerstone Jesus Christ and as we are molded by His Word we become fit for building the Kingdom of God. We become a part of a holy priesthood that offers up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
That means that we offer praise with our lips that confess Jesus’s name.
We do not neglect good works towards others in everything we do, be it at work, home, school, or in the grocery store.
We do not neglect to share with others out of our blessings who are in need.
We must obey our leaders and submit to their leadership, God has raised up leaders to keep the laws of our land, they keep us safe and watch over us.
From these things we offer spiritual living sacrifices to God through our bodies, our actions and words.

So, what do we do?

- Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, desire the pure milk of the word, so that you may grow up into your salvation, 3 if you have tasted that the Lord is good.[5]
- First thing you need to do is get rid of the junk food in your life, so you can have a healthy hunger for the Word of God.
- The next thing you do is get some food! That’s right, get a daily dose of:
Spend time alone with God
Prayer
Reading/Study the Word
Worship
Fellowship with others (phone, text, email, in person)
Prayer/Praise
Reading/Sharing the Word
Help each other (encouragement, funds, prayer)
Share your faith with others
Do good works whenever you can
Share with others who are in need
Finally, and this one is something we don’t really control. We have done our part, we have gotten rid of the junk in our lives, we have filled it with the Word of God. God will cause you to Grow.
My challenge to you is this: Make a list of things that are in your life right now, be it sports, drinking, smoking, habits, hobbies, work, home life things, music, TV, movies, etc.…
With your list of items start to pray, asking if what you are doing on this list is pleasing to God.
Start to read your bible, see if what you are doing lines up with how a Christian should live.
Then start cutting things out of your life that do not honor God and cross them off your list.
If you need help with your list and you want us to pray with you about the things on your list come and talk with me.
[2] Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
[3] Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
[4] Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
[5] Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
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