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Growth  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The process of development and maturing, used to refer to the progress of the kingdom of God and the spiritual development of believers. Scripture uses images of growth (such as seeds, plants and infants) to stress the dynamic nature of personal faith and the kingdom of God.

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Images of growth

Infancy to maturity

Ephesians 4:13–15 HCSB
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head —Christ.
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Seeds and plants

Luke 8:14–15 HCSB
As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit. But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.
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The apostles worked and prayed for growth in believers

2 Corinthians 13:9 HCSB
In fact, we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. We also pray that you become fully mature.
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Dimensions of spiritual growth

In faith

2 Corinthians 10:15–16 HCSB
We are not bragging beyond measure about other people’s labors. But we have the hope that as your faith increases, our area of ministry will be greatly enlarged, so that we may proclaim the good news to the regions beyond you, not boasting about what has already been done in someone else’s area of ministry.
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In knowledge

2 Peter 3:18 HCSB
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
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In love

1 Thessalonians 4:10 HCSB
In fact, you are doing this toward all the brothers in the entire region of Macedonia. But we encourage you, brothers, to do so even more,
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Growth comes from God

Colossians 2:19 HCSB
He doesn’t hold on to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and tendons, develops with growth from God.
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Growth comes through discipleship

Putting away the sinful self

1 Peter 2:1 HCSB
So rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander.
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Moving on from basic teaching

Hebrews 6:1–2 HCSB
Therefore, leaving the elementary message about the Messiah, let us go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God, teaching about ritual washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
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Maturing in thinking

1 Corinthians 14:20 HCSB
Brothers, don’t be childish in your thinking, but be infants in regard to evil and adult in your thinking.
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Persevering in faith

James 1:4 HCSB
But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
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Contributing to growth in the church by exercising gifts

Ephesians 4:11–12 HCSB
And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ,
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Examples of spiritual growth in some of God’s servants

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The growth of the kingdom of God

God promises that his kingdom will grow

Colossians 1:6 HCSB
that has come to you. It is bearing fruit and growing all over the world, just as it has among you since the day you heard it and recognized God’s grace in the truth.
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The early church experienced rapid numerical growth

Acts 4:4 HCSB
But many of those who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about 5,000.
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