Christian Growth

Discipleship Lesson 4:Christian Growth

 

When we receive Christ (see John 1:12), we are justified by faith (see Romans 5:1) and begin a relationship with God.God wants this relationship to grow in depth, maturity, and intimacy.The process of growth is called sanctification.

 

This lesson addresses some of the most important things we need to KNOW and DO in order to grow in our relationship with God.

 

What do we need to KNOW in order to grow?

1.Growth takes time.

Just like physical growth takes time, so does spiritual growth.God compares our maturity in Him to that of a child growing into adulthood.

 

“I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father.”1 John 2:12-13

 

2.Growth takes effort.

We must put forth an effort in order to grow in our relationship with God.We must be intentional about our growth, just like we do with growth in any other area of our life.

 

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence — continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”Philippians 2:12-13

 

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”2 Peter 1:5-8

 

3.Growth is ultimately accomplished by God.

Growth involves a mysterious partnership between God and us.We do our part and God does His part, but it is God’s power that ultimately produces the change in our lives.

 

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence — continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”Philippians 2:12-13

 

4.We need the help of others to grow.

God never intended for us to make it alone.He created the body of Christ to give us support and encouragement in our walk with Him.

 

“Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”2 Timothy 2:22

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”Hebrews 10:24-25

 

What do we need to DO in order to grow?

1.We need to spend time in the Word.

The Word provides the truth about God, life, and ourselves.It gives us guidance and encouragement.The Bible is God’s “love letter” to His children.(See lesson on “Time Alone with God”).

 

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”1 Peter 2:2

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”2 Timothy 3:16-17

 

2.We need to pray to God.

Prayer is the way we communicate with God.(See lesson on “Time Alone with God”).

 

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

3.We need to be involved in a church.

The church is the body of Christ.Through church we worship, hear the preaching of God’s Word, fellowship with others, partake of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and serve in some way.

 

“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”Acts 2:41-42

“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.”Acts 20:28

 

4.We need to exercise our gifts in service.

As we serve in our gift areas, we will bless others and find fulfillment in advancing the kingdom of God.

 

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”1 Peter 4:10

 

5.We need to witness to others.

In witnessing to others, it solidifies the Gospel again and again in our own heart.Witnessing also helps us to realize all that we have in Christ.

 

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”Acts 1:8

“I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”Philemon 6

 

6.We need to obey God.

Obedience is a way to demonstrate trust in God.Obedience says, “I believe God’s will is the best thing for my life.”Obedience should flow from a love relationship with God.

 

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”John 14:15

 

7.We need to resist temptations and demonic attacks that come.

Like Jesus Himself, we will be tempted to sin.Satan will attack us, but we can stand strong in God and resist the evil one.(See lesson on “Spiritual Warfare”).

 

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”1 Corinthians 10:13

“Submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”James 4:7

 

8.We need to depend on God when we experience trials.

Though trials are hard to go through, God uses them to mature us.Trials show us how much we need to depend on God.

 

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”James 1:2-4

 

9.We need the power of the Holy Spirit.

We cannot grow as we should without the power of the Holy Spirit. God does not want us to strive in our own strength, but rather live in dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit.The Holy Spirit enables us to live a victorious and fruitful life.(See lesson on “Holy Spirit”).

 

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Christian life.”Romans 8:9-11

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”Ephesians 5:18

 

10.We need to repent when we sin.

We will sin in our walk with God.When we sin, it is important to confess that sin to God and repent of (turn from) the sin.Sin will not make us lose our salvation, but sin does hinder our closeness with God.

 

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:8-9

 

What is GOD’s Part in our Growth?

1.God provides the truth through His Word.

The Bible contains the truth of God about everything we need to know.

 

“All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.”Psalm 119:160

 

2.God provides the power and the motivation to live for Him through His Spirit.

We are to put forth an active effort in growing as Christians.At the same time, we are to realize and depend upon God providing the desire and power to follow Him.

 

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence — continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”Philippians 2:12-13

 

3.God provides the support through His people.

When we go through difficult times, we need to allow others to support us, pray for us, and encourage us.

 

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”2 Corinthians 1:8-11

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

4.God ultimately produces the changes in us by His Spirit.

We can rest in the truth that God is the only One who can ultimately change us or other people.

 

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”2 Corinthians 3:18

 


Discipleship Group Curriculum

Suggested topics and reading for my one year Discipleship Groups, following the pattern of 1 John 2:12-14.  This outline is designed to take someone all the way from the assurance of salvation to a multiplying disciple.

 

1.     Child.

a.       The Gospel

                                                               i.      Go through a simple Gospel tract that could be used to share with others.  Assignment:  share the tract with someone that next week.

                                                             ii.      What is the true Gospel?

                                                           iii.      Have I received Christ based on the true Gospel?

                                                           iv.      Do I know how to share it with others?

                                                             v.      Scripture memory verses to use in sharing the Gospel such as Jn. 3:16; Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23; Rom. 5:8; 1 Pe. 3:18; Eph. 2:8-10; Rev. 3:20.  The 3 from Romans that should certainly be memorized and used in sharing the Bridge illustration are:  Rom. 3:23; 5:8; and 6:23

b.      My book “Meeting You Where You Are” and chapters such as:

                                                               i.      Are you a follower of Jesus?  Assurance of salvation

                                                             ii.      Baptism – the first step of obedience after receiving Christ.

                                                           iii.      The Blessings of salvation.  It is so importance we rejoice in all that we have in Christ.

                                                           iv.      Time alone with God.  Being sure everyone establishes a daily time with God.  Encourage them to journal their times with God.  Ask regularly if they are spending time with God and what they are getting from their times with God.

                                                             v.      Life is tough but God is good.  This helps us have a biblical understanding of trials.

                                                           vi.      Liberating grace and the performance treadmill.  This assures that we get our identity from grace and not from our performance.

                                                         vii.      Embrace your weakness.  This helps us see the value of going through hard times and feeling weak.  God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses.

                                                       viii.      What on earth are you doing for heavens’ sake.  This is a crucial teaching to gain an eternal perspective.  Ask them to write out the many ways an eternal perspective will help them.

2.     Young Man

a.       Book “The God You Can Know”

                                                               i.      Knowing the character of God, especially His fatherhood. Explore daddy wounds that some might have.  See the Series 33 (volume 2) lesson father and mother wounds. Might want to watch this.

                                                             ii.      House diagram and its implications.  This assures living a balanced Christian life where one’s obedience flows out of intimacy with God and not turning the house upside down where one makes his performance the foundation.

b.      Book “victory Over the Darkness” by Dan DaHaan

                                                               i.      Who we are in Christ

                                                             ii.      Getting our identity from who we are in Christ and not from our performance.

                                                           iii.      Resting in grace.

c.       How to Study the Bible.  Learn the Observation, Interpretation, Application approach to studying a passage of scripture. Do this together for a passage.

d.      Spiritual Warfare.  See my 2 pages of notes on this.

e.       Essentials disciplines of walking with Jesus:  Word, prayer, fellowship, witnessing, solitude, tithing, confession, fasting, etc.

f.        Sexual purity.  Book ‘Not a hint”.  Regularly ask about this area.

g.       Lordship:  My Heart Christ’s Home booklet and discussion. What room(s) do you need to allow Jesus to enter?

3.     Father

a.       Book “Spiritual Multiplication”

b.      Sovereignty of God.  Possibly the book “Hand in hand” by Alcorn.

c.       Begin to do more outreach and sharing about this in the group.  Use the board where you list out unsaved people and pray for them in the group.

d.      Book “Master Plan of Evangelism” with discussion about what men you will disciple and whether our group should continue for accountability and support for discipling others.

4.      Verses to memorize

a.       Gospel verses:  Jn. 3:16; Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23; Rom. 5:8; 1 Pe. 3:18; Eph. 2:8-10; Rev. 3:20

b.      1 Cor. 10:13 concerning temptation.

c.       1 Cor. 15:58 about eternal perspective.

d.      Jer. 29:11-13 concerning seeking God.

e.       2 Cor. 12:9 on power in weakness.

f.        Use the Topical Memory System?

g.       Others to be chosen later and as you come to them throughout the time together.

 

 

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