SPIRITUAL GROWTH #4

SPIRITUAL GROWTH – 4
Habits For Spiritual Growth

INTRODUCTION
In our previous lesson we talked about goals for spiritual growth…
1. Behavioral goals – in which we seek to become like Jesus, emulating His character
2. Functional goals – in which we aim to determine and develop our abilities and functions in the body of Christ
3. Congregational goals – in which brethren unite in our aspirations to grow as a congregation as well as individual Christians
B. To meet our goals requires the development of good habits…
1. Habits are stepping stones which ensure that we eventually meet our goals
2. Habits are things done on a frequent basis (daily, weekly, etc.) that slowly produce a certain effect — Unless we establish good habits, bad habits will set in that hinder our spiritual growth!
C. What are some good habits that will help us meet our spiritual goals?
DISCUSSION
A. BEHAVIORAL HABITS
1. Bible Reading
a. The Word of God is crucial to growing spiritually – 1 Peter 2:2
1) Its value… Psalm 19:7-11
2) The blessedness and fortitude of one who meditated daily on the Word of God – Psalm 1:1-3
b. The Christian who wants to grow spiritually must therefore develop the habit of daily Bible reading…
1) Such as reading through the Bible each year
2) By feeding upon God’s Word daily, we receive the spiritual nourishment necessary to grow; have you developed the habit of daily Bible reading?
2. Praying
a. Prayer is also required for spiritual growth
1) Hebrews 4:16
2) Philippians 4:6-7
b. The Christian must therefore continue steadfastly in prayer – Romans 12:12
1) Emulating the example of David -Psalm 55:17
2) And the custom of Daniel – Daniel 6:10
c. Just as we must listen to God daily through His Word, so we must talk to Him daily if we are to grow; have you developed the habit of praying regularly?
3. Sing
a. Praising God in song is also conducive to spiritual growth
1) David developed the practice of praising God daily – Psalm 104:33; 119:164
2) If we teach one another through songs, do we not also teach ourselves when we sing? – cf. Colossians 3:16
b. The Christian should make singing a habit that is second nature to him or her
1) When happy, we should sing – James 5:13
2) In times of trial, we should sing – cf. Acts 16:25
c. As we develop the habits of daily Bible reading and prayer, let us also develop the habit of singing praises to God daily if we seek to grow!
4. Assembling
a. Assembling together with other Christians is very important – Hebrews 10:24-25
1) It is a means of stimulating one another to love and good works
2) We exhort one another in our service to Christ
b. Therefore Christians should make a strong habit of attending church
1) Attending as often as possible, for worship, Bible study, etc.
2) The more we attend, the stronger the habit becomes; the less we attend, the weaker the habit becomes
c. Christians who make it a habit to skip the assemblies struggle in their efforts to grow spiritually; no Christian has become stronger by neglecting the assembly!
5. The formation and exercise of such behavioral habits builds the foundation for solid spiritual growth that leads to maturity in Christ. Bible study, prayer, and singing bring us closer to God which can transform our character (cf. 2 Co 3:18).
a. Assembling together brings us closer to one another, and provides the opportunity to develop our functional goals in the body of Christ.
b. That leads us to our next point, in which we consider what I call…
B. FUNCTIONAL HABITS
1. Assembling Together With The Church
a. Yes, we have already mentioned the habit of assembling with Christians
1) But that was in connection with your personal spiritual growth
2) If we are to reach our functional goals, it will be within the framework of the local church
b. Through frequent assembling with the church…
1) We become familiar with identities and needs of other members
2) We learn what functions are needed in the body of Christ – cf. Romans 12:3-8
3) We are given opportunity to be of service…
c. The habit of going to church is essential if we are going to be of much use to the Lord’s church; otherwise, we cannot be counted on for much service
2. Participation In The Work Of The Church
a. Such as the habit of participating in the assemblies of the church…teaching classes, leading singing, ushering, counting attendance, serving the Lord’s Supper, etc.
b. Such as the habit of providing for other services needed in the church… greeting visitors, ministering to the sick, encouraging the weak, teaching the gospel to the lost, providing maintenance for the building and grounds, etc.
c. If we hope to reach our functional goals in which we are useful to the Master, then we need to make participation in the work of the church a habit!
C. CONGREGATIONAL HABITS
1. Defining Roles That Are Available
a. Participation in functional roles is more likely when members are aware of what needs to be done
b. A congregation can encourage spiritual growth by clearly defining what functional roles are available for service
c. A congregation needs to be in the habit of letting its members know what kind of services are available
2. Providing Opportunities To Learn And Serve
a. 2 Timothy 2:2
1) Providing training classes to develop various abilities
2) E.g., making sure those trained are making good use of their abilities
b. The habit of developing a duty roster can assist in this
1) In which people are assigned to serve in various capacities
2) Making sure that all who wish to serve are given opportunities
c. Each congregation should have some habitual way of training and involving its members in the work and worship of the church
3. Encouraging Participation Activities Of Service
a. A congregation should also be in the habit of encouraging spiritual growth
b. One good habit is to let the inexperienced gain experience; for example…
1) Preaching
2) Teaching
c. A congregation should have the habit of encouraging participation, even if it means utilizing those who are inexperienced, nervous or awkward, even if it means letting them to go to serve elsewhere as the need arises
CONCLUSION
A. Remember, goals are obtained whenever good habits are established…
1. The creation of good habits sets the stage for spiritual growth
2. As spiritual habits are developed, spiritual growth is incremental but steady
B. Wholesome and well-rounded spiritual growth occurs when
1. An individual develops both behavioral and functional habits that will help them along to reaching their behavioral and functional goals
2. A congregation promotes habits that will encourage participation in its work, especially in helping Christians develop their functional goals in the body of Christ
C. Are we developing the kind of habits that will help us grow spiritually?

Tom Moore
P. O. Box 107
Hamilton, Texas 76531
http://www.harrisandmoore.org
http://www.fromthepreacherspc.org
http://www.tullstar.org
http://www.parkheightscoc.com

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Harris and Moore

Listen in tonight to The Harris and Moore Expedition Through the Bible at 7:00 pm CST on http://www.harrisandmoore.org or http://www.thegospelradionetwork.org as we discus important issues facing the church and the world in which we live.

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OBSTACLES

In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one’s condition.

James says it this way, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (Jam. 1:2-4).

Let us use the obstacles in our lives as stepping stones and not stumbling blocks.

Think About It!

Have A Great Day!

Tom Moore
P. O. Box 107
Hamilton, Texas 76531
http://www.harrisandmoore.org
http://www.fromthepreacherspc.org
http://www.tullstar.org
http://www.parkheightscoc.com

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HOW IMPORTANT ARE YOUR KIDS TO YOU?

Several years ago, Ken Griffey Jr. couldn’t make it to “The Player Choice Awards” to receive the “Player of the Decade” award. He beat out three-time MVP winner Barry Bonds and four-time Cy Young Award winner, Greg Maddux for the honor. The award is a big deal. He joins the ranks of baseball greats Wagner, Cobb, Ruth, Foxx, Williams, Mantle, Mays, Rose, and Schmidt.

Why couldn’t he go? Trey, his 5-year-old son had a baseball game that night – his first, and Ken Griffey Jr. didn’t want to miss it.

Parents, it is admirable and important to want to be a part of our children’s lives – to be there for the big moments in their lives. Our children need us to be there. Many parents sorrowfully regret the time lost with their children – time lost that could have been avoided if their priorities were in the right order. As important as it is to be involved in our children’s lives, it is much more important, and vital, to be involved in their spiritual lives. We need to be preparing our children for heaven! This is a parent’s most important duty!

Hell is real, and many will spend an eternity there because their parents did not love their children enough to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). As important as football and various school functions are to children and parents – religious functions are more so. In the words of Solomon, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Pro. 22:6).

How are important are your children to you? How important are your children’s eternal soul to you?

Think About It!

Have A Great Day!

Tom Moore
P. O. Box 107
Hamilton, Texas 76531
http://www.harrisandmoore.org
http://www.fromthepreacherspc.org
http://www.tullstar.org
http://www.parkheightscoc.com

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A REAL DEVIL

The New York Times reported a study about the diminishing belief in the devil among Americans. Two-thirds of Americans do not believe in the devil as a living entity. In a randomly selected survey of over 1,000 Americans, pollsters asked whether they agreed that Satan is “not a living being, but a symbol of evil.” Sixty-two percent agreed with the statement. That means nearly 149 million Americans believe that Satan has no influence but that Satan is just a symbol of evil.

D. W. Whittle tells of a man who came to Charles Finney and said: “I don’t believe in the existence of a devil.” “Don’t you?” said the old man. “Well, you resist him for a while, and you will believe in it.”

Friends, the Bible says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9). We should know and understand that Satan is real and he is our number 1 enemy. Remember, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (Jam. 4:7).

Think About It!

Have A Great Day!

Tom Moore
P. O. Box 107
Hamilton, Texas 76531
http://www.harrisandmoore.org
http://www.fromthepreacherspc.org
http://www.tullstar.org
http://www.parkheightscoc.com

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SPIRITUAL GROWTH #3

SPIRITUAL GROWTH #3
Goals For Spiritual Growth

INTRODUCTION
A. Thus far in our study of spiritual growth I have sought to establish the following…
1. Spiritual growth is a choice that we must make
a. Commanded by God
b. That requires diligent effort on our part
c. Yet we are assisted by God in our effort
d. We are blessed by God both in this life and the next
2. Spiritual growth is too often hindered by low self-esteem
a. Too many Christians sell themselves short, because they do not view themselves capable of attaining higher levels of spiritual growth
b. Not believing in their God-given capability, they are prone to making excuses for not trying, and therefore not growing
3. Yet because God commands us to grow, we need to have faith that we can grow
B. But what should be our goals regarding spiritual growth?
1. For what are we to strive, making diligent effort?
2. By what measurement can we determine that spiritual growth is taking place?
C. As with any venture, having goals and attaining them is essential to success…
1. The athlete excels when he sets goals, and attains them
2. The successful business man understands the importance of goals
D. So it is with the Christian.
1. We must have goals, and ways of attaining them.
2. I want to offer some thoughts in this regards.
DISCUSSION
A. BEHAVIORAL GOALS
1. Our Ultimate Goal Is To Be Like Christ
a. Jesus intimated such in talking about discipleship
1) A disciple is to become like his teacher… Luke 6:40
2) Jesus wants us to become His disciples… Matthew 28:19-20
b. Paul made it clear that this is the goal of our redemption
1) God’s desire is that we be conformed to the image of His Son… Romans 8:29
2) As we are being transformed, it is in the image of Christ… 2 Corinthians 3:18
3) We are to be renewed according to the image of Christ… Colossians 3:10-11
c. So an essential element of spiritual growth is to become more Christ-like, renewing our behavior to conform to the example of Jesus Christ
2. This Involves Growing In The Knowledge Of Christ
a. Which Peter commanded in 2 Peter 3:18
b. Not just academic knowledge, but personal knowledge through character development… 2 Peter 1:5-8
1) We must add spiritual graces to our faith, such as virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, love
2) It is with the development we are truly fruitful in the knowledge of Christ… 2 Peter 1:8
c. These graces were best personified in Jesus Christ; the more we grow in them, the more we truly know and understand our Lord and Savior!
3. The Challenge Of Reaching Our Behavioral Goals
a. It requires diligent effort… 2 Peter 1:5, 10
b. It requires sustained effort… Galatians 6:7-9
c. As stressed before, such growth does not come naturally; if we are not careful, we may revert back to our former conduct and character… 2 Peter 2:20-22
4. True spiritual growth demands a renewal of mind and character (cf. Rom 12:1-2), in which the goal is to become like our Teacher, Jesus Christ! There are also…
B. FUNCTIONAL GOALS
1. The Church Is A Body With Many Members
a. In which every member is important… 1 Corinthians 12:12-22
b. In which not every member has the same function… Romans 12:3-5
c. Every member must do its part… Ephesians 4:16
d. The Lord’s church grows only as each member does his part in the body of Christ
2. As Members Of The Body, We Must Grow
a. We must find and develop our unique function(s) in the body of Christ… Romans 12:6-8
1) For some, it may be laboring in the Word (preaching, teaching)
2) For others, it may involve ministering to others (visiting, serving)
3) For many, it may involve a multitude of talents and abilities
b. We must utilize our gifts (functions) in the service of God… 1 Peter 4:10-11
1) Those who speak, doing so as the oracles of God
2) Those who serve, with the strength God supplies
c. Failing to grow brings reproach (e.g., Heb. 5:12-14), for we are guilty of wasting what God has given us
3. The Challenge Of Reaching Our Functional Goals
a. The challenge of determining our function(s) in the body of Christ
1) Not all members have the same function; what is mine?
2) Am I lacking in certain talents, or are they simply needing to be developed?
3) Am I truly a one-talent individual, or using that possibility as an excuse not to develop what I am truly capable of?
b. The challenge of developing our function(s) in the body of Christ
1) While some skills may come naturally, others may take time and energy
2) Is my lack of development the result of indifference or laziness?
3) Am I selling myself short through negative self-talk?
4) Am I allowing the allurements of the world to preoccupy my time and energy?
c. We need to be honest with ourselves; indeed, the Day of Judgment will reveal whether or not we have been honest (cf. 2 Cor. 5:10; Mat. 25:14-30)
4. Finally, a thought or two about…
C. CONGREGATIONAL GOALS
1. Individual Growth Is Intertwined With Church Growth
a. A primary function of the church is the edification of the saints… Ephesians 4:11-16
b. We are challenged to minister our gifts to one another… 1 Peter 4:11
c. As we grow individually, so we grow as a church, and vice versa
2. Church Goals Should Incorporate Individual Goals
a. A congregation’s goals should allow for the fulfillment of individual goals
1) Providing encouragement through its educational programs
2) Providing opportunity for Christians to serve in their various roles
b. A congregation’s goals will require the fulfillment of individual goals
1) Does a church have a goal for growth? It requires teachers and others who minister to the flock
2) Does a church have a goal for spreading the gospel? It requires preachers and those who will support them… Romans 10:14-15
c. To grow individually, we benefit greatly with the help of congregational goals!
3. The Challenge Of Reaching Our Congregation Goals
a. It depends heavily upon the cooperation of all the members
b. If we are not united in the need for spiritual growth, it is unlikely we will set congregational goals that will nourish such growth
c. If we are not growing individually, any congregational goals will unlikely be met
d. If we desire to grow as a congregation, we need to be growing as individuals, and set our goals for such!
CONCLUSION
A. Spiritual growth requires the setting and obtaining of goals…
1. Individuals must have both behavioral and functional goals
2. Both individuals and congregations must have similar goals
B. As we obtain our goals as individuals and as congregations…
1. Christ will be glorified!
2. As disciples and as members of His body we will become what He desires us to be!
C. If we desire to grow spiritually, then we need to set and strive for behavioral, functional, and congregational goals that will inspire us in the right direction!

Tom Moore
P. O. Box 107
Hamilton, Texas 76531
http://www.harrisandmoore.org
http://www.fromthepreacherspc.org
http://www.tullstar.org
http://www.parkheightscoc.com

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The Harris and Moore Expedition Through the Bible

The Harris and Moore Expedition Through the Bible is now airing on the following channels:

KATX 97.7 FM (Eastland, TX), KNNK 100.5 FM (Herford, Canyon, Amarillo TX); KWBY 98.5 FM (Stephenville, TX), KDAV AM 1590 (Lubbock, TX), KVOP AM 1090 (Plainview, TX), and http://www.TheGospelRadioNetwork.org

Listen in each Monday at 7:00 PM CST.

You have heard what men have said now listen to what the Bible has to say.

Tom Moore
P. O. Box 107
Hamilton, Texas 76531
http://www.harrisandmoore.org
http://www.fromthepreacherspc.org
http://www.tullstar.org
http://www.parkheightscoc.com

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