Sermon #3 Planting
Planting Words of Faith for Your Spiritual Growth
Pastor David H. Nielsen
Christ Ministry Church
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (KJV)
No one seems to listen any more. Everyone seems to be too busy with their own affairs. Not important affairs, just busy affairs that really don’t seem to make any difference or hold any importance in our lives.
We’ve all been frustrated by this in some way. Usually when we find ourselves repeating over and over what we have to say to someone who is preoccupied by those unimportant affairs of life. Then, when you finally get their attention and they listen to you they seem to hear you but really understand a thing you said. This is where we get ready to blow our top! We’ve all felt this way. For example: Husbands who are watching sports on TV with their wives trying to talk to them. Or, Kids who are playing video games or are on Myspace.com and you are trying to tell them something. Then there’s our precious little ones trying to tell us something that’s important to them and we are too busy it seems to even acknowledge them. How about you women, when with a group of friends, find yourselves talking over one another about absolutely nothing? And then you understand all the gossip but maybe you forgot something important that was said. Also there are the Politicians; well, let’s not even go there.
By the way, you do know what the definition of Politics is, right? The word Politics is taken from the Greek language, the first part of the word “poly” meaning many or a lot of, and the second part of the word “tics” meaning blood sucking leaches. So their you go; but I regress from the subject at hand.
It’s a miracle in itself that we can get anything accomplished, yet alone learn anything in this world through using our sense of hearing. In Steven Covey’s now very famous book entitled the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” he lists habit number five as “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This is what hearing means. Stop thinking about how you are going to reply to someone while they are still talking to you! Instead, try to understand what the person is saying first. Repeat it back to them to demonstrate that you do understand them, and even ask them questions about what they said if you didn’t understand something. Then, and only then, should you offer a reply based on your knowledge of what they said. By doing this you will see a dramatic improvement in your communication skills because you will understand more.
If you don’t learn to put this into practice then every time you hear someone speak, you will just hear words. Worse yet, you will never understand fully what is being said. Jesus said, “He who has ears, let him hear” (Mt 11:15).
This brings us to the heart of our message today. Being save, becoming a Christian, this is the beginning of your salvation. You must now become mature and grow up in your faith. Sadly, most Christians never grow and become mature. Instead thy stay whee they are and get lost in the Scriptures because they do not understand them. Listen to what the Word of God tells us: “and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ” (2 Tim 3:15). Notice the words “from infancy” and “have known” and “make you wise (mature)”; all from knowing the Holy Scriptures and getting a full salvation through faith in Christ. Immediately following this verse we read: “All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2Tim 3:16). Your faith and growth to Christian maturity never ends. It is the words of God that you must hear preached to you. The apostles preached them, lived by them, witnessed them, corrected others by them, and died with them. Some apostles and disciples even wrote the Word down so that we would know them as the New Testament. These are the words that you must read and hear preached to you. You must continue to become mature in Christ. You must understand what the words say. Listen to some other verses about the Word, our Bible.
- “Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth: meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything within it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Deut. 1:8).
- Speaking to the Jews in his letter to the Romans in chapter 3 and verse 21 Paul says: “Much in every way! First of all they have been entrusted with the very words of God”.
- Paul says again, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph.6:17).
- James tells us: “Therefore get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves, do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror” (Jam 1:21 -23).
- The great apostle Peter says, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2).
- Again, notice in Hebrews, chapter 4 and verse 12, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates to even dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”.
Yes, from the Old Testament throughout the New Testament we are told time and time again four important ways to grow to be mature Christians. These are:
- Listen to the Scriptures preached.
- Read the Scriptures.
- Understand or Hear the Word of God in the Scriptures.
- Do what the Scriptures tell us to do.
In this way your faith will increase and you will become a more mature Christian. The great historian/disciple Luke tells us in his Gospel in chapter 24 and verse 27 “And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He (Jesus) explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself”. And again in verse 45 of the same chapter, “Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures”.
Finally, let us look to the Gospel of John in chapter 12 and verse 48 where Jesus Himself says “There is a judge for the one who rejects Me and does not accept My Words, that very Word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day”. Wow! This is something to consider very seriously!
You must listen to the Scriptures that are preached to you from this book. You must listen to the inner voice of the Spirit when you read the Scriptures. Most of all you must hear and understand them.
In my preparation this week I found 75 verses about the Word of God. All of them pointed to the apostles teaching what they witnessed, and the reading of their writings. Additionally, they referred to the Old Testament that foreshadowed Jesus Christ the Word of God in the New Testament. To become mature in Christ one must listen and read the Scriptures, have faith in them, hear and understand them, and finally, do what the Scriptures say. This simply brings us back to Romans chapter 10 and verse 17 where Paul states “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”.
Maybe you’re a Christian that is not growing steadily and is stuck at the beginning and you need to grow some more. Perhaps you’re not a Christian and are wondering how to become one. You may just have some burden or sin that you wish to share and get off of your back and confess to the Lord. Whatever it is know this, you can bring it to our Lord right now this moment and get the support of this whole room of people and most of all our Lord Jesus Christ. If you feel the need and you have heard His Words today, then come forward during our final song.
This is the first part in a series of sermons on how to become a Mature Christian. Please join me next week for the next sermon in this series entitled: Prayer, Prayer Set Me Free!