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Growing In Christ

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Introduction

Good Morning FBCO......Thanks for prayers....
It is an honor as always to be able to come up here and preach the Word of God. Particularly on this Sunday.
Thank you to Rich for filling in last Sunday. We will be diving back into the book of Colossians. Still in chapter 1 beginning in verse 9.
Today the title of this sermon is growing in Christ....
I think it’s very fitting for a Sunday such as this…with an installation service happening…I can say ...what I’m about to preach on really is what I have and want my pastoral ministry to be based on.... It has to have backbone.... It can’t pull any punches. It can’t pander...It can’t shy away from the truth. Because ultimately, it’s not even about the audience.
I hate to break this to you but I’m not up here primarily for you. And if you are growing in Christ…you understand that. I’m here for an audience of One.
Galatians 1:10 ESV
10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
So, as we move through the message today, I want you to keep Galatians 1:10 in your mind and heart. Repeat it as a call upon your own life. Because at the end of every day, our “jobs” as believers....my job as your pastor is not to tell you the things you like, or just focus on the good parts of the story, but it’s to call ourselves to live Christ centered lives. To be growing day by day into the image of the Son…the one who gave his life for all mankind.
It’s our goal to abandon the things of this world and literally chase after the qualities of heaven that God Himself ordained and established through His Son.
And that very idea, will offend people and hurt people’s feelings....I’m sorry for that....not really…because it’s the truth.
Do we tell our kids don’t put your hands on a hot stove? Then our kids whine and go but putting my hands on the hot stove is really important to me. And then we respond....”OH, it’s important to you....ok, then you can do it.”
NO!!!!!
Our objective is to steer people away from danger......well church, away from Godliness....away from being Christ-like is danger.
Stand with me....
Colossians 1:9–14 CSB
9 For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, 10 so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, so that you may have great endurance and patience, joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. 14 In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Pray
Paul is continuing this exhortation in these opening verses to the church at Colossae. Keep in mind this is a church that isn’t under extreme duress....they aren’t experiencing major hardships....things actually seem to be going fairly well for them, probably despite the “normal” daily struggles.
But yet, Paul knows of what is awaiting them.....He knows of what the world has in store and he is doing what he can to not only encourage them like we saw a few weeks ago, but He is preparing them for danger.
Paul is constantly reminding the believer of this....and we need to listen up today!
1 Peter 5:8 CSB
8 Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.
Ephesians 6:12 CSB
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.
....
These six verses break down for us what needs to be happening in our lives because Satan wants to destroy us....he wants to destroy the church.
And understand this, when we are not growing in our relationship with Jesus, Satan is succeeding. When we give in to the pressures of this world…Satan is succeeding. Our culture is all over the place and most of it is as far away from the Lord as it gets.
The first point we can see Paul directing us is this...

We must be a people that is committed to prayer.

Paul is emulating that and making it a point here in verse 9. Not only should we be praying for others, our lives should be total attitude of prayer. Not that we are just sitting there praying everyday non-stop but that as we go about our day, we are in a constant state of prayer. Lifting up things to the Lord.
And beyond that, and this is a throw back to the first 8 verses, but we should be praying for others. Whether things are going well for them or not. Most of the time we focus on praying for those that are struggling or going through hardship. But Paul is showing us here that prayer is also for those that are experiencing joys and successes.
A praying Christian is a growing Christian.
Because through prayer and communing with the Lord we allow ourselves to be filled with His wisdom and that wisdom allows us to understand and walk in His ways.

We must be a people that walk in the ways of the Lord.

This the only way we succeed at this.....we must be praying and seeking the ways of God in our lives. WHY?
Galatians 2:20 NASB95
20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
When we accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior, it’s not us anymore....we aren’t living under the bondage of sin anymore and so we must walk in a manner worthy of Him.
That means we are growing in our relationship with Him by not allowing ourselves to indulge in worldly rituals, peer pressure and mindsets but focusing on the things of God.
Ephesians 4:22–24 CSB
22 to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.
That’s why we need to seek the things of Christ so we understand the difference when it’s in front of us. If we aren’t praying, we won’t see it, if we aren’t pouring into the Word and learning and understanding it, we won’t see it.
Church, sin is deceitful. Sins purpose is to present itself as ok. To make us want to sympathize with it.
We are battling this war all the time.
Do we see in our world how it’s making the very biblical and Christian foundations we have seem like they are uncaring, bigoted and phobic....in a manner like we hate instead of love?
When we are growing in Christ....we see the the sin and lies for what they are and then can oppose them.
John MacArthur-Canadian Bill C-4
I’m not going to get deep in the weeds on this but church, we need to love everybody, let me be clear on that, but we also can’t tiptoe or shy away from the truth of God’s Word in the process to make others feel better.
I will love whoever, I will have anyone into my home for a meal but at the end of the day we are all accountable to almighty God, and when it comes sexuality, marriage and our identity. They belong to Him and we must maintain the course of what He has laid out for us in Holy Scripture regardless of offensiveness and hurt feelings.
Galatians 1:10 ESV
10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
One of the most loving things we can do for someone else, is call them to either commit to Jesus or return their lives to His holy way. And this is’t the only battle we our fighting against. There are many. Abortion, Adultery, Divorce, Unforgiveness....the list goes on and on.
These are the things we are facing as believers. We must know the Word of God and be willing to be bold enough to stand up and say, “HEY, that’s not what God says....that’s not what He wants.” when we see it and encounter it..... Even when it’s with the people who are the closest to us....like family and friends.
Parent/Kids
That’s evidence of a growing Christian.
I get it....we live in a cancel culture now that will shut you down fast, but trust me, I will allow myself to be cancelled daily, if it means I’m following closely to the One who made life possible and has granted me eternal life.
We see that here from Paul. He reminds us again in verse 12-14 why this is important....Why we get to do what we do....

We must be a people people that understand and proclaim that we have been bought with a price that has given us complete forgiveness.

Paul lays that out here for us. This very idea qualifies us....as we accept Jesus and we grow in Him, we are qualified to understand many of the things of God, primarily the Gospel and what it stands for.

Closing

Before we end our time, I also want to draw our attention to another topic- the need to gather. As we are growing in Christ, we have to recognize where our society is right now. Covid has affected us in so many ways but church, we can’t stop being the church. That means we can’t stop gathering together because of convenience or even fear. We can’t! God commanded us to gather and gather we must. Now some have medical reasons, I get that. You are not whom I’m talking about. And if you get up on a Sunday and are ill....stay home.
OPEN YOUR CHURCH
I’m going to take one out of his playbook.... Get back to church. Sunday morning, this should be your commitment. We cannot forsake the gathering of believers no matter what. That is part of growing in Christ. Iron sharpens Iron.
Hebrews 10:24–25 ESV
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Some can take this verse to mean, you just encourage each other. NO, it literally means to in person get together, worship together, grow in the Word together.
To do that properly, we need to be physically together. Online doesn’t cut it....
...
That is Paul’s commission here to us. We must be growing in our wisdom and understanding of the Gospel every day so that when the lies of sin and Satan encroach upon our lives, we will see it and be able to battle it....together with the Spirit of God guiding us.
Church, I hope and pray, you hear the message this morning, in the tone and spirit that it is intended. God has provided us with what we need, Paul was the instrument God used to give us this message. We must hear it and put into action the charge we have received from God…because of His great care and love for us.
That is what growing in Christ is all about.
Pray
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