BIBLICAL INSIGHTS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH – PART 2
We saw in our first lesson that the Word of God is the key to spiritual growth. We are supposed to desire it like a baby craves milk so we can grow spiritually. We also discussed how important this is for the believer and that if the Scriptures are neglected, we will be stunted in our growth.
In this lesson we are going to see why we should desire the milk of the Word and we will discuss the important role that the Bible has in spiritual growth
2. THE TOOL FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH
*Obedience to the revealed will of God is the necessary tool for spiritual growth to take place.
The Lord Jesus set the pattern for us concerning what our response should be to the Word of God.
A. THE PATTERN
John 17:19 – And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
John 17:17 – Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.
Obedience to the truth is the key to spiritual growth. Without it, there can be no growth. We go to the Scriptures to find the truth. What are we looking for?
Bottom line, the revealed will of God. As we discover the will of God, we strive to obey it. The reason why we desire the pure milk of the Word is so we can discover the revealed will of God and obey it. Obedience to the revealed will of God produces the growth.
The Lord Jesus set the pattern for us concerning obedience to the revealed will of God.
John 4:34 – Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.
John 5:19 – Jesus therefore answered and was saying to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
John 5:30 – I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
Just as the Lord Jesus sought to obey the revealed will of His Father, we should also do the same. We should not only desire the pure milk of the Word, but we should desire it in order to obey it.
Rom. 1:5 – through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for His name’s sake.
Rom. 6:16 – Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
Rom. 16:19 – For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil.
2 Cor. 7:15 – And his (Titus) affection abounds all the more toward you, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling.
2 Cor. 9:13 – Because of the proof given by this ministry they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all.
1 Pet. 1:22 – Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart.
B. THE SOURCE FOR TRUTH
The Scriptures are the source for sanctifying truth.
2 Tim. 3:15-17 – and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Messiah Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Notice the strong emphasis that the Apostle John places upon the importance of truth.
2 John 1-4 – The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus the Messiah, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father.
1 John 2:4-6 – The one who says, I have come to know Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
3 John 1, 3-4 – The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. For I was very glad when brethren came and bore witness to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
I, II, & III John all emphasize that the foundation of all spiritual growth is related to divine truth and the obedience of it.
What is the foundation on which we are to build? Jude answers that for us.
Jude 20 – But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit.
The foundation is their faith. Not their subjective faith, but rather this is referring to the body of truth laid out in the Word by the Lord Jesus and the Apostles that they now believe. It’s that faith that Jude tells us that we need to earnestly defend. Paul teaches the very same thing.
Col. 2:6-7 – As you therefore have received Messiah Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Messiah.
As we venture out into spiritual growth, we will discover that there are stages and levels of maturity. But, we must keep in mind, there will be no growth apart from desiring the pure milk of the Word so that we can discover His revealed will, in order to obey it. This should be our life long endeavor as a believer. We never retire from growing spiritually. That’s indicated by the tense (present imperative) of the word “grow” in 2 Pet. 3:18.
2 Pet. 3:17-18 – You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Messiah. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
Continued spiritual growth was the heartbeat and goal of the Apostle Paul.
Phil. 3:12 – Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Messiah Jesus.
We must continue on desiring the Word of God in order to discover the will of God so we can obey it. As we do this, spiritual growth will take place.