Home   e-Library   Order      中文 
e-Library Home |  Browse By Category |  Study the Bible |  Read the Bible    
 (A New Life in Christ)
Week 7: Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Our Lord
TOC | Previous | Next

Week 7: Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Our Lord

Your walk of faith will be a life-long journey. If you persist in your faith, the Lord Jesus will continue to walk with you and guide you on this journey. You will also witness how your spiritual life matures over time. But whenever your faith weakens, your spiritual growth will slow down or even come to a stop, and you may feel more and more distant from the Lord. Therefore, a constantly growing faith is key to a growing relationship with the Lord.

But how can we maintain our faith? Peter, before he left the world, reminded the believers to be diligent in the faith. He concluded his epistle with these words, “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen” (2Pet 3:17-18). Therefore, in order to stand firm our faith, we must grow in the Lord’s grace and knowledge.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ refers to his saving grace in our lives. Christ does not leave us alone after he cleanses our sins during baptism. He continues to work on us until we enter the heavenly kingdom (Eph 2:10; Php 2:12,13). We need to depend on his mercy and forgiveness when we have done wrong. We need to be transformed by the renewing power of the Holy Spirit. By keeping ourselves in his love, we can grow and become mature (Jude 20).

To grow in the knowledge of our Lord means to know him more and more. Not only should we become familiar with the Scriptures, we must learn to know the Lord more intimately. We need to know what pleases him and what grieves him. This knowledge comes from experience. It comes from the continual practicing of his words and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (Col 1:10; Eph 1:10-21).

In sum, we can grow spiritually only if we remain in Christ and center our lives on Christ. The Lord tells us, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (Jn 15:4).

In this lesson, we will look at the characteristics of a growing relationship with the Lord as well as some guidelines to keep in mind as we work on building this life-long relationship.

Some Basic Principles

Increase in the Likeness of Christ.

The final and ultimate goal of our discipleship in Christ is to become mature and complete (perfect) just as God is perfectly complete (Mt ; Eph , 24). When God’s specially called people, his church, reach perfection, the church will be ready to be taken by Jesus—like a bride is ready to be taken by her bridegroom (Rev 19:7,8). Our growth and relationship with Christ will never be complete until we are finally and completely joined with Christ in the new creation. At that time, we will be like God, our Father, because we shall see God as he is (1 Jn 3:2). Therefore, daily, we must pursue holiness and godliness before Jesus comes again (2 Pet , 14). A believer must never quit pursuing after spiritual growth or be satisfied with what he or she has already achieved; instead, a disciple must constantly pursue growth into God’s divine image.

Increase in Knowledge.

For little children to grow, they must eat the right kinds of food that’s appropriate for their age. (1 Cor ; Eph ; Heb -14; 2 Pet ). This is true of our spiritual growth. When we first believed, we may compare that stage of our faith to that of an infant and live on milk for a while. But gradually, you’ll find yourself looking for pureed foods. Before long, you will want solids. Such is the nature of a deepening relationship with the Lord. And bearing in mind that every child is different, your relationship with Jesus will grow at a speed that only you and the Lord knows. Regardless, you have to know what you need in order to grow effectively. If you are unfamiliar with God’s word, then you need to read the Bible more. If you are unsure about the basis of your faith in the True Jesus Church, please take the time to study the doctrines. Grow in your knowledge of God and God’s truth and you’ll reap the rewards of a closer relationship with God.

Increase in Steadfastness.

A mature faith is like true love in a personal relationship. Although the man and woman may encounter growing pains, the relationship endures. It is not like puppy love that gets off to a promising start but soon fizzles out. Paul’s letters to the believers of the early church reveal his true love for our Lord. As we can tell from our study of the Bible, Jesus loved Paul first. Paul reciprocated (Acts 22:6-12). Paul’s letters also reveal that in spite of trials and tribulations, his love for Christ never fizzled out. Paul was steadfast in his love. Because he understood that Christ’s love was real and permanent, he never allowed any of these trials and tribulations to come between him and Christ (Rom -35). He reiterated, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom ,39).

Suggested Guidelines

Make Every Effort.

In order for a relationship to work, both parties must be committed to put in time and effort. The Lord wants our relationship with him to work. In fact, he has proved, beyond a shadow of doubt, that he is committed to the relationship. He came down to earth and offered Himself on the cross so that we may be reconciled to him. Now that we have believed in him, it is up to us to make every effort to get to know him better and draw closer to him. The apostle Peter showed the believers of the early church how they could deepen their relationship with Christ. He gave them a list of virtues to add to their faith: goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Pet 1:5-7).

Train Yourself Constantly.

Even if you have heard many sermons or read through the Bible many times, you may still be a spiritual infant if you never practice what you hear. Spiritual maturity and a solid relationship with the Lord come about by constant training (Heb ). In order to grow in our knowledge of God, we need to actually put his words into practice. When you carry out God’s will, you will experience how true God’s promises are. You will understand the meaning of God’s word not just conceptually but through experience. You will realize the loving purpose behind God’s commands and learn to appreciate them. Through all this, you will discover how awesome God is. The more you practice the Lord’s commands, the more you’ll know him, and the more you know how good the Lord is, the more you will love him.

Don’t Lose Sight of Christ.

We can only complete our journey to heaven if we hold firmly to our faith in Christ (Heb ). In trying times, fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:1-3). Christ is faithful. As long as we continue in our faith, he will not abandon us. He will keep us until his coming. Keep ourselves in the love of God as we wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring us to eternal life (Jude 20-21).

Learn to Appreciate Christ’s Love.

Out of 10 lepers who were healed, only one came back to thank Jesus (Lk -19). The other 9 went on their own way and forgot about their Savior. To remain and grow in Christ, we must be grateful to all that Christ has done for us. Count your blessings. Remember how Christ lifted you from the slimy pit. Think about how much he cares for you. Paul never forgot how great Christ’s sacrifice of love was (Gal ; 1Tim -16). Christ’s love compels us (2Co ). If we are grateful, we will not forget our Lord.

Learn to Please God.

In a loving relationship, we care about how our loved one feels. We don’t want to hurt them. We want to do everything to please them. Our relationship with God is not built on fear, but on love. So we should care about how God feels and please him in every way (Col). Do not grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph ). If we love God, we will actively seek his will. If we love God, we will obey him out of a cheerful heart, not compulsion. With such active faith, we won’t need to be reminded to pray or study God’s word. We don’t need to be forced to do sacred work.

Write down other guidelines that have worked for you.

Write down new ideas that could work for you.

Questions

1.      Your spiritual growth is a life-long process. T/F

2.      In order to grow spiritually, we must remain in Christ. T/F

3.      List at least 3 principles or guidelines that will help you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.

4.      What does it mean to “increase in the likeness of Christ”?

5.      What does it mean to “increase in knowledge”?

6.      What does it mean to “increase in steadfastness”?

7.      Just as a child needs a particular type of food for a particular stage of growth, so do we in our hope to grow to maturity in the faith. T/F

8.      Read 1Pet 2:1-3. What do these verse mean to you?

9.      Read Heb 5:14. When was there a time when you had to take “solid food”?

10.  Our spiritual growth includes learning how to grow in unison with other church members. T/F

Case Studies

1.      Jane has recently believed in Jesus. As a new believer, she has a deep respect for God and God’s word. However, Jane never likes to read much about the Bible. One day, she hears a fiery sermon that speaks about God’s righteous judgment on the sinful and wicked people of an evil generation. As a result, Jane now conceives of God as some kind of high-handed judge. One day, Jane has a serious argument with her best friend. She feels horrible because she lost her temper and said some nasty things. Later on in the day, Jane begins to take out her frustrations on her husband and children. So instead of getting better, the day goes from bad to worse. Jane knows God doesn’t approve of her conduct, and she can’t seem to let go of her sin. In a way, Jane feels torn between facing God and admitting her guilt and avoiding God because she believes God could never love a sinner such as herself. Finally, Jane sinks into a deep spiritual depression because she continually thinks about how God could never forgive her for all the wrongs she has done. Feeling so much self-pity, Jane thinks about not going to church anymore.

If were Jane’s church friend, how would you help Jane in her relationship with God?

What things do you think keep Jane from deepening her relationship with God?

2.      Jason has been a believer for a few years now. When Jason first believed in Jesus Christ, he always had a burning desire to read the Bible, attend services, and pray regularly. Unfortunately, as time passed, the fire inside him seemed to slowly be extinguished by his busy work schedule and other worldly influences. More and more, Jason began to feel distant from God. Jason remembered the days when he first believed—how he felt so close to God. Now, Jason knows God is very far from him. When Jason interacts with others at work, he is very harsh, unforgiving, and quick tempered. Jason knows that the farther away he feels from God, the farther away his character reflects God’s character; yet, Jason doesn’t seem to know how to re-establish a close and intimate relationship with God anymore.

What do you see or imagine is the source of Jason’s problems?

How would you advise Jason on resolving his feelings of alienation with God?

If you were in Jason’s shoes, how would you go about re-establishing an intimate relationship with God?

Activity

Area for Improvement

List out areas in your walk of faith where you feel you still need to grow. For example: Sometimes I complain to God when things don’t go well.

How to Be More Mature

Beside each item you listed in the “Area for Improvement” column, put down how you think you can be more spiritually mature in this area. For example: I should be thankful to God at all times; God allows these difficulties so I may learn to trust him more.

 

PDF Download

Publisher: True Jesus Church
Print
Email
Feedback