God empowers us to move beyond the basics of Christian faith, and grow up in Christ, in a way that we can’t even imagine.
A Call to Spiritual Growth
Hebrews 5:11-6:3 NLT
It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.
1 Corinthians 3:7 NLT
This month we are talking about Empowerment in Christ, and this week, our topic is Empowered to Grow.
A Call to Spiritual Growth
Paul wrote this letter, and he was very funny in the analogy. When you read this during your discussion later, he says two things that are amusing to me. The first is that, he calls the people dull (the equivalent of the bad S-word) and not willing to listen. And the second that is that he compared people to babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. It’s very funny, you should read it over and over again.
To grow means to undergo natural development by increasing in size and changing physically over a period of time.
(What does it mean to grow physically? Height, weight, size, lenght, girth, etc. Show chart, growth over time)
All living things grow (bigger, taller, wider, longer, etc.) as time passes. Look at the person beside you. Does he or she look like a living thing? Then for sure, they have grown through the years.
Apart from physical growth, there’s mental growth as well. As kids we are sometimes told to grow up! Especially when we do something that our parents or guardians think we should be doing better.
(Have you ever heard that from your parents or teachers? Grow up, insert-name-here! You’re not a baby anymore!)
And then, here comes my favorite part: spiritual growth. You can also grow in Christ.
1 Know of Him
“And this is the way to have eternal life—*to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ*, the one you sent to earth.” (John 17:3 NLT)
We start with knowing of Him — that He is the way, the truth, and the life. We recieve Him in our hearts, and promise to love Him.
(Who here has Jesus in their hearts raise your Bible! If you don’t have a Bible, raise your pinky finger, so that you will pinky swear you will have a Bible next week!)
After the knowing, comes the growing. You know of Him, now you can grow in Him.
But of course this type of growth is not measured in height or weight or size. (You have to be this tall to read the Bible — not!)
This growth is measured in increase. (Say it with me, “increase”.)
In other words, you can also use: “better”, “more”, “further”.
You see to grow in Christ means to increase in your knowledge of Him, your love for Him, and in obedience to Him.
And the wonderful thing is that it is Jesus Himself who will bring about this growth.
“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but *it was God who made it grow*.” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7 NLT)
It was God who made it grow.
2 Grow in Him
God is the source of your growth. As you walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, read the Bible, pray, tell people about Christ and spend time with other believers, God will be at work in you producing fruitfulness and maturity.
Which is not to say that you don’t do anything to help along your spiritual growth. This is where discipline comes in, when you put in the time and effort to read your Bible and pray everyday. This is where the self-control and patience comes in, when you remember your Christlikeness even when everyone else around you is just so annoying and loud and testing you and tempting you to sin.
“Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.” (Proverbs 16:32 NLT)
(If you want to grow physically, what can you do to help your body? Eat vegetables, get more naps in the afternoons, sleep long at night, etc. It’s the same thing. If you want grow in Christ, you can also do some things to help you along in your journey.)
And the great thing about it is that when it is God, when it comes from God, when He is the one moving, He moves with a supernatural power. He works at a rate that we can’t imagine. He can make things happen in your life so wonderfully, not even any of those superhero powers in the movies can compare.
That’s why we say, Empowered to Grow! With a power that comes from Jesus Himself!
And when we grow in Christ, we can surpass whatever barriers we can think of. You can have more faith that you’ve ever had before. You can hear from Him more clearly than you’ve ever had before. You can worship more deeply than you’ve ever had before.
Now we have to talk about lobsters. Don’t worry, it’s all connected.
Lobsters are the only animals with a shell whose bodies grow faster than their shells. That means they get too big for their shells, and when happens, they get rid of that shell, sometimes bashing their bodies against the rocks and corals just to get it off so that they can grow a new shell to fit.
I want to have that kind of faith! I want to grow so much in Christ, that it overflows out of me, in my worship, in my serving Him, in my life. And if I have to get rid of my shell, or whatever it is that’s keeping me from growing in Him and loving Him more that I have ever imagined, then I’m going to get rid of my shell and grow and grow and grow!
When I started out writing this teaching, I thought I would play with that word GROW, and think if acronyms that would work, and I came up with several. Obviously, I was inspired:
- God reveals our worth
- God reshapes our weaknesses
- God rules our world
- God removes our worries
- God renews our wisdom
- God requires our work
- God rejoices in our worship
But right now, let’s focus that last one. God Rejoices in Our Worship, and when we are empowered to grow, we have an empowered worship as well, is that an Amen? Then let’s stand up and worship God, and say yes God, I want to know You more, I want to grow in You. Let’s worship.
I Love You Jesus (Children’s Prayer)
New Wine (Hillsong Worship)
Read Hebrews 5:11-6:3 verse by verse. Encourage lively reading.
- What can you say about Hebrews 5:11? Why do you think Paul used these words? (Show them the NLT version, and lead them into a discussion about how even before, people “don’t seem to listen”).
- (Fold a big piece of paper in half, lengthwise, just one for your group. On the first column, get suggestions from the group one by one, and write down things that babies and young kids do that kids their age don’t do anymore.)
- (On the other column, write down things that they do now that they have grown, that they couldn’t do before. Lead them into thinking of their day to day activities at home, in school, and in church.)
- Do you remember when you first received Jesus? (Encourage them to think about the date carefully, and write it down in their notebook or Bible. It is an important date.)
- What do you know about Jesus now that you didn’t know before?
- Are there still things in the Bible that you don’t understand? Think of three questions and submit to the teacher.
- Can you think of other acronyms for the word GROW?
- What is your favorite worship song?
Teaching Slides here.