Faithlife Sermons

Growing Up and Branching Out

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Introduction: Christianity is about so much more than going to Heaven when you die! It is so much more than feeling good about yourself! Christianity is so much more than coming to church on Sunday singing a few songs, sitting in the pews for an hour and leaving. Christianity is about more than going to camp once a year! There is so much more to being a Christian than Christians are doing.
We ask our children, what do you want to be when you grow up? They say a policeman, a fireman, a nurse, a doctor, a teacher, an astronaut and we tell them that they can be anything they want to be, just work hard and reach for your dreams. Never give up!
But what about their walk with Christ? What about their discipleship? What about their salvation? Better yet what about your walk with Christ? What about your discipleship? What about your salvation? It’s hard work trying to reach the goal that God has set for you! It’s not easy being the man or woman that he wants you to be. It seems every time we study the Bible we are reminded of how bad we are and how we will never measure up.
There is hope! When we study the Bible we also see a loving God who never leaves his people and is always there to push us to be something better. He is always motivating us to reach for the stars. It’s up to us to keep pushing to get better.
Philippians 2:5–11 KJV 1900
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:12–15 KJV 1900
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

Growing requires independence

Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter to the Philippians and he is encouraging a church who is already doing good to step up to the next level and work harder.
He says much more now in my absence: This doesn’t mean to obey Paul, but to obey God. It’s easy to do it when someone like the preacher or mom and dad are watching, but its difficult to do when you are alone. But are you alone?
He implores them work out your own salvation: What does he mean? How can we work out our own salvation. Salvation comes from God alone right? There is much more to this piece of scripture. this means to carry out to the goal.
Illustration: Jayden with the Rubik's Cube
God sanctified us with the blood of Jesus and when we accepted Him as our Savior he saved. But it doesn’t stop there.
We look at working out as a way of continuing to improve. God’s work isn’t completed in you at the point of salvation; God still has work for you to do. It’s kind of like this Rubik’s cube. God created us in His image, perfect and beautiful, and then we enter into life and sin starts to mess us up and disfigure the once beautiful creation. Then salvation comes along and the inside is changed. The outside still looks the same. Over time with diligent bible study and prayer God reveals to us ways he wants us to grow. We have to work this out. If we go through life with just the fire insurance we will stay disfigured and never get to where God wants us.
How do we do this then? we do it with fear and trembling? fear means to be cautious about the choices you make in your life. God wants to grow you to use you for His good pleasure.
If you are cautious and remember who is in charge you will understand his will for you life and he will work through you.
Transition: As we start to grow and work without supervision we realize that it’s not always about us and sometimes we have to do what we may not exactly want to do. But we have to remember it isn’t about us… the next principle is...

Growing requires putting God first

Do all things without complaining and disputings: How many here today think Paul was looking in your window this past week when he wrote this?
Your not alone, this is nothing new. Growth requires putting others first and that means doing things that need to be done even though we don’t want to
I don’t want to go to church, I don’t want to sing in the choir, I don’t want to teach that class, I just want to sit at home today, I, I, I, I, I.
There are people who will complain just so they can have something to do! Dont’ be one of those people. Be a blessing to someone everyday.
Now when it comes to disputing, this word here today in the original language means to reason or discuss either with another or in your own mind. It means to give rise to doubt.
Have you ever had someone ask you: I wonder why the preacher wants to do that, that makes no sense, I just don’t understand.
Murmuring is the moral rebellion to God while disputing is the intellectual rebellion against God.
Why is it so important? God’s word tells us in the remainder of verse 15.
So we can prove ourselves to be innocent. These two words today means that if we do what God has said we are innocent of the outcome
However if we do what we want then the repercussions fall on us.
What God calls us to do, let us do it gladly, with joy in our hearts, happy that he has found us worthy to do work for His kingdom!
We have enough complainers, we have enough people who will try to talk you out of doing what is right because it is hard, or it is embarrassing, or it goes against what the world says is normal! We need more Isaiah’s in the world, more men and women that when there is a need in the church they stand up and say Here I Am Lord Send Me!
That’s growth right there! That’s branching out, that’s putting God first and you second!
Transition: But it doesn’t stop there. Growth requires working without supervision, it requires putting God first, and finally the third principle...

Growing requires discipling others

You are now as much in the middle of a crooked and perverse nation just as the Philippians were then.
Philippi was a Roman city: Remember when they came there the first time they cast a demon out of the slave girl and got thrown into prison. This is where the earthquake broke their chains and the jailor was saved!
Ten years later this small church was still gathering and working but they were still in the middle of a Roman city that did not worship God!
Therefore Paul told them to be lights in the community!
What a concept! You mean you live a life for God, and others around you will notice?
When your choices show Christ lives in you and is at work in your life such as our speech, our actions, our reactions, it will rub off on them
That doesn’t mean go out into the town and start pointing out everyone else’s sin, it means leading by example. It means start at home working with your children, your husband, your wife, your parents, and leading those around you to Christ.
The light shouldn’t just aimlessly shine in the darkness, it should shine and point to the cross!
If you want to grow you must start discipling others around you and branch out!
We have an awesome opportunity right here in our area to be lights in our community. It’s not just an opportunity but it is a command. We should have a burden in our hearts to help a community come to know the love of Christ and to disciple them. They will not come in here unless we go out there!
When this young church at Philippi was started and Paul, Timothy and Silas left, one man stayed behind; Dr. Luke. He helped stabilize them, he taught them and discipled them and enhanced their outreach ministry.
Paul writes to the Church at Philippi over and over again to rejoice, over a dozen times to be exact. We can rejoice today because we know we have a Savior who lives and is coming back again one day to bring his children home. Until that day comes, let’s continue to grow and reach out to others to tell them the good news about Jesus!
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