Participants: Pr. Jac Colon
Series Code: RN
Program Code: RN000024
01:04 Christian Growth!
01:06 I am so thankful for Christian Growth.
01:10 I'm thankful that God doesn't take us just
01:13 where we are and leave us where we are.
01:17 But God takes us where we are and continues
01:20 where our work in progress,
01:23 all the way through eternity,
01:25 learning more and more about Him
01:27 and growing in the grace in the love of God.
01:30 I used to think that, you know,
01:32 when you get to heaven we are gonna be floating
01:34 around on a cloud playing harp music wearing crowns,
01:37 I really wasn't into harp music
01:39 and I thought there wasn't much for me to do there.
01:42 But I've learned there is much,
01:44 much more than that.
01:45 We're gonna be growing,
01:47 growing in our understanding,
01:49 growing in our knowledge of God,
01:51 understanding His love all through out
01:54 the ceaseless ages of eternity.
01:57 And it starts right now.
01:59 I'm just thankful for Christian growth
02:02 and I want to talk about that this morning.
02:04 Notice, Peter said grow in the grace
02:09 and the knowledge of our Lord
02:10 and Savior Jesus Christ.
02:12 He didn't say grow into His grace
02:16 but grow in His grace.
02:20 You don't take a handful of seeds and plant
02:23 them on the sidewalk waiting for him
02:26 to sprout roots and leaves
02:27 and then put them in the garden.
02:29 There would be nothing for them
02:31 to get their nourishment from.
02:34 No, you plant the seeds in the garden
02:38 where they can get the moisture
02:39 and the nourishment that they need to grow
02:42 and become mature plants.
02:44 And so it is with Christian growth, some new believers
02:49 feel that they need to grow
02:54 and be mature and fully mature in Christ
02:57 before they are ready for church membership.
03:02 Oh that is the failure to understand
03:04 what it means to grow.
03:07 When we're baptized, we need to understand baptism.
03:11 We need to know what it means.
03:13 We need to understand that baptism means
03:16 that we're dying to that old life,
03:19 we're buried with Him and we're rising up
03:22 out of the water in order to live a new life for God.
03:26 We ought to understand little about
03:28 what that old life is that we're willing to die to.
03:32 And we should understand what that new life is
03:34 that we're rising up to live
03:36 and we should be willing to do
03:38 our best by the grace of God in His grace to live
03:42 our life that will honor and glorify Him.
03:45 It doesn't mean that we need to be fully mature.
03:48 It doesn't mean that we need to be perfect.
03:51 Baptism is not the graduation service.
03:54 Baptism is the enrolment service.
04:03 And then there are those who are baptized,
04:09 they don't understand again the principle
04:13 of Christian growth and they come out of the water,
04:18 you know, we had three people
04:20 baptized this morning.
04:21 We've had a number throughout
04:23 the whole meetings and every single one
04:26 when they come out of the water,
04:27 you noticed the joy, the peace on their face.
04:32 I remember we were doing a meeting out
04:34 in the outskirts of the Oklahoma City
04:36 in a little town Yukon, Oklahoma
04:39 and we went to National Guard Armory there.
04:42 They didn't even have a church,
04:43 we were starting a new church in that area
04:45 and there was a lady about 85-years old
04:48 that had been coming to our meetings every night.
04:51 And one night she came forward in the altar call
04:54 and she said pastor I want to be baptized,
04:57 I belong to a church
04:58 that doesn't baptize the Bible way.
05:00 In all my life I wanted to be baptized
05:03 but the pastors never would do it,
05:05 would you baptize me?
05:07 And I was little nervous about it
05:10 because like I said we were in a National Guard Armory.
05:14 We went in to a comfortable church
05:15 with a nice bapt history
05:17 where you can go down on the steps into it.
05:19 This was an aluminum frame tank.
05:23 That was about that tall off the ground
05:24 and they had a rickety aluminum ladder
05:26 that went up and then down in on the other side
05:29 and I had a hard time visualizing her
05:32 going up and down that ladder
05:34 and I could picture her slipping
05:36 and falling and just oh,
05:39 but she was determined to be baptized
05:41 and I said okay we'll do it.
05:43 I said look at the ladder now,
05:45 you are sure you want to? I want to do it pastor
05:47 so we had deacon standing on each side
05:50 and they helped to go up that ladder.
05:51 They helped to go down in the water
05:53 and she was baptized.
05:56 And when she came out of that water
05:58 it was just like hallelujah written all over her face.
06:00 And she said you know
06:02 I just feel clean all over and it does.
06:07 It's a good feeling, it's a good clean feeling.
06:12 But sooner or later it's going to happen,
06:18 may be a few hours, may be a few minutes,
06:21 may be a few days but you're gonna slip.
06:24 You're gonna make a mistake, you're gonna be down
06:28 and you know who is always right there
06:31 when you are down?
06:33 The old devil is always there,
06:34 the Bible says he is the accuser or the brethren.
06:37 He doesn't mind kicking people when they are down.
06:40 And he's gonna say you see you can't make it,
06:43 the standard is way too high for you.
06:45 You'll never be able to measure,
06:47 you weren't grounded in.
06:48 You won't ready, you won't mature enough.
06:51 You moved into this too soon,
06:52 you may as well just give up now.
06:54 That's what he does, every time.
06:59 But if we understand the principle
07:01 of Christian growth, then we understand
07:05 that we're not fully grown yet.
07:09 We're not fully mature yet, we're still growing.
07:12 And the fact that we're still growing means
07:14 we're gonna make mistakes.
07:17 And when we make mistakes instead of wallowing
07:19 around in an orgy of self pity
07:22 waiting for someone to come along
07:24 and pat us on the back and say hey
07:26 you are okay, get up this is fine.
07:28 We get up, we kneel down
07:31 and say God forgive me, I sinned.
07:35 I don't want to sin anymore.
07:37 Help me never do it again and then get up
07:40 off of your knees praising God for the forgiveness
07:43 that He is so graciously provided for us.
07:46 There is nothing worse than a bunch of long face
07:49 sourpuss Christians walking around bearing
07:53 the burden of guilt that Jesus
07:54 has already covered for you on the cross.
07:57 We should be happy people, amen.
07:59 We should be rejoicing.
08:01 We should be the happiest people on earth.
08:05 We're growing in the grace and the knowledge
08:09 of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
08:13 And then there are new believers not fully
08:17 understanding the principle of Christian growth
08:21 who look around at the older
08:24 and more established Church members
08:27 expecting them to be perfect and fully mature.
08:33 And sooner or later they are gonna discover
08:36 some of those older established church members
08:39 making mistakes, even deacons, elders,
08:45 Bible class teachers maybe even the pastors.
08:51 And if the evangelist stayed around
08:53 long enough he might even make a mistake.
08:57 And I've already made a bunch.
09:03 And so then they start getting discouraged
09:06 and critical and judgmental about the members,
09:10 they see members.
09:12 In fact one fellow was just baptized couple of days
09:16 later he was driving his car
09:18 and an elder pulled up next to him in a red light
09:22 and the elder had a cigarette in his mouth.
09:27 Saw the guy over there ... cigarette disappeared
09:30 and I don't know where it went
09:33 but it disappeared but the new member saw it.
09:39 He was devastated now, shame on the elder
09:42 he shouldn't have been doing that,
09:43 but hey we're all growing
09:45 and we're not all perfect yet.
09:49 Some of you had to make huge decisions in your life.
09:54 Some of you made smaller ones
09:55 that were not so easy for you,
09:57 changing what you eat, what you drink,
10:01 what you wear and you may come to church
10:05 and find people dress differently
10:07 from what you were told is appropriate.
10:11 Well, you could do several things,
10:12 you could say well that must not be important,
10:15 so I'm gonna just go back and put it all back on,
10:17 but we studied it from the Bible
10:19 and it's nothing not important in the Bible.
10:22 Or you can get critical and judgmental,
10:25 start thinking you're better than others
10:27 who do things different from you do.
10:30 I hope you won't do that,
10:33 or you could recognize we're all growing in Christ.
10:37 And that means we're all at different levels of growth
10:41 and we may see things a little differently
10:43 from others from others who see things differently
10:46 and recognize that it's our responsibility to do
10:49 our part to be mature and encourage others
10:52 that they have their responsibility
10:54 and may be they see things that you haven't seen yet,
10:57 you see things they haven't seen yet.
10:59 You know the measure of maturity
11:01 of a Christian church is two.
11:04 One is the amount of unity, you know,
11:07 I really believe that when your lifestyle matches
11:11 your belief system, there's power there.
11:15 And the more your lifestyle matches what you believe,
11:18 the more power there is.
11:20 And I would love to have a church
11:22 full of perfect church members
11:23 and have an evangelistic meeting there,
11:26 boy that would be powerful,
11:28 but is never gonna happen until we get to heaven.
11:31 Then I don't need to do evangelism,
11:33 we just praise God up there.
11:37 But there is another measure of the maturity
11:39 of a Christian church
11:41 and that is their ability to love one another
11:44 even when they see things differently.
11:48 And I think I've seen a lot of that here
11:51 and I hope that we can continue to grow
11:53 in the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
11:59 Then there are new members
12:00 who mistakenly think that once they are baptized,
12:04 smooth sailing oh, fixes all the problems.
12:09 I was listening to the radio
12:10 when you have some of this late night
12:11 radio religious broadcasters
12:13 and I was listening to one
12:15 and I'm telling you he really
12:17 knew how to preach it,
12:19 if you just have enough faith,
12:21 you will never have a problem.
12:24 And any time you get a problem
12:25 you pray and send him a check for $25
12:28 and you'll get ten times that back in the mail.
12:31 It sounded convincing I was about to send my check,
12:37 that isn't the way it is folks.
12:41 I mean God wants us to have an abundant life
12:43 that's true and He will give us
12:44 everything we need, never fails.
12:51 And when you come out of that water it is true
12:53 you've buried all those old things
12:57 and they are dead and when you
12:59 rise up out of the water,
13:00 you face a whole new set of problems
13:02 that you never saw before.
13:05 The difference is now you got Jesus on your side
13:07 to fight the battles for you.
13:10 There are battles to fight as a Christian.
13:13 There is a devil running around in this world,
13:16 but just need to remember that He who is in you
13:18 is greater than He who is in the world.
13:25 I'm going to tell a story and it's getting more
13:29 and more difficult to tell
13:30 because I could be misunderstood
13:33 and be accused to be a racist
13:35 and I hope you don't.
13:37 Think that about me because I am not.
13:39 But you know at time of slavery in our country
13:43 provided a rich treasure of experiences of people
13:47 who stood faithful to God
13:48 in the most adverse circumstances.
13:52 I don't advocate slavery.
13:54 I believe that Jesus,
13:55 in Jesus we're all one in Christ.
13:58 It doesn't matter what color of skin
14:00 but this story is such a perfect
14:03 illustration of the point we're talking about.
14:06 It's about a man who was born into slavery
14:10 on the plantation and he grew up
14:12 with the owner of the plantation son.
14:16 And the owner died and the son took over
14:19 and these two men were like brothers,
14:21 they did everything together.
14:25 The owner of the plantation love to duck hunting
14:29 and one day when they are out duck hunting
14:32 he asked his friend the slave
14:35 he asked him a question.
14:37 He said you're a Christian, I'm not a Christian,
14:42 you are always singing songs
14:43 about the toils and the strife of life.
14:48 I don't have any of those problems.
14:51 Why don't you just give it all up and be like me
14:52 and you don't have those problems either.
14:55 He had asked him that question
14:57 a number of times and poor Sam
14:59 never did know how to answer it.
15:03 Until this particular day when they are out hunting,
15:06 a bunch of ducks flew over,
15:07 he picked up his gun he shot and he got two in one shot.
15:11 One duck was killed, he went right straight down,
15:14 the other duck he nicked in the wing
15:16 he was wounded and he fluttered down
15:19 as soon as he hit the ground he began to scamper away.
15:23 Now, Sam's job was to go and get the ducks,
15:26 so he ran right passed the dead one
15:29 chasing after that wounded duck
15:32 and after running a little bit
15:33 he finally caught it and he put it in the bag.
15:38 And then he went back and he picked up
15:41 the dead one, he put him in the bag
15:44 and started back towards the man
15:46 and he said big smile broke out on his face
15:50 because now he had the answer.
15:52 He said, you know, you always asking me
15:55 why is it that I'm singing about the toils
15:58 and the strife of life.
15:59 I'm a Christian, you're not a Christian.
16:00 You don't have those problems,
16:01 you always ask me.
16:03 And I never know how to answer,
16:04 but now I know you see it's like the two ducks,
16:07 you shot two, you got one,
16:08 you killed one, the other one was just wounded
16:10 and the dead one fell down,
16:12 the other one tried to get away
16:13 I went running after the wounded one
16:15 because he was trying to get away
16:17 and you see I'm the wounded duck,
16:19 the old devil is after me
16:20 and I'm running as hard as I can
16:22 and I'm trying to get away.
16:23 You're the dead dog he has you in the bag,
16:25 he is not even worried about you.
16:30 This kind of like that, isn't it?
16:32 When you go into that water,
16:34 when you become Seventh-day Adventist Christian
16:36 it's no easy thing to do.
16:39 The old devil doesn't like it
16:40 and he comes after you with both barrels blazing.
16:44 But remember you're not going down
16:46 any path that Jesus hasn't already gone,
16:49 just follow the lamb you're gonna get there.
16:53 And there is another group that don't understand
16:55 the principles of Christian growth.
16:58 I don't think we've any here but just incase we do,
17:01 I'm gonna talk about it.
17:03 They are what I call the fossilized church members.
17:11 Now, why do I call them fossilized?
17:14 Well, a fossil doesn't grow.
17:18 Fossil hasn't been growing for a long time.
17:22 Fossilized church members
17:24 have been around for a long time
17:26 but they haven't been growing.
17:28 They haven't been helping people grow.
17:31 They haven't been reaching out
17:32 and winning people to Jesus.
17:34 They haven't been sharing their faith.
17:36 They kind of view the church as an exclusive club.
17:42 And they are more concerned about their reputation
17:47 and what this new people might bring to the church
17:50 that could embarrass and disgrace their club.
17:54 They are the ones, the fossilized members,
17:57 they will stand on the side line in a meeting
18:00 like this morning when we introduce
18:02 all the new people.
18:03 And they will be standing across the front
18:05 and we introduce them.
18:06 They are the ones whispering to one another, yeah,
18:09 but do you think they are gonna stick.
18:13 I hope I don't hear that here.
18:15 If I do you're gonna get another sermon from me,
18:20 you know, it reminds me,
18:23 reminds me of bringing the baby into the world.
18:29 It's kind of like that.
18:30 Now some of the people you're gonna meet
18:32 a brand new babies in Christ, brand new,
18:37 other are giants in the Lord.
18:39 Been Christians for a long time,
18:41 they just learned new things
18:42 and they have taken the stand,
18:44 some are brand new.
18:46 You remember those of you who that have children,
18:48 you remember when your first born children came around.
18:53 It's an exciting time, isn't it?
18:56 Young couple just had a baby
18:58 and they were in the hospital,
18:59 the day came to go home and dad says hey
19:02 you haven't even seen him in the nursery yet.
19:05 Why don't we get your stuff together?
19:07 We'll go with the nurse, you know,
19:08 they got the big glass window,
19:09 they still got that big glass window
19:11 where you can press your nose against the glass
19:12 and look at all the babies.
19:14 Oh! They don't that anymore, missing something.
19:17 That's what they had for us
19:19 and so this little couple goes in
19:20 and they are gonna go looking there at the babies,
19:22 want to see him in the nursery
19:23 before they take him out.
19:24 So, they go then look in the glass there he is,
19:28 oh, he is all wrinkled up in ugly
19:31 and purple like a little prune.
19:33 New born babies are not very pretty you know,
19:37 I mean ours were exception to that of course.
19:40 There he is all wrinkled up in ugly,
19:42 then he is screaming at the top of his lungs,
19:45 he is flailing his fists,
19:47 kicking his little legs and dad say wow!
19:52 Just a minute here,
19:55 we better think about what we're doing.
19:59 I mean look at this guy,
20:01 man he could grow up to embarrass us
20:05 and disgrace our family, we better think about this.
20:11 Mom says yeah, you know,
20:13 he doesn't look very intelligent either,
20:17 maybe we have to leave him here long enough
20:18 so that he can take a IQ Test or something
20:21 and then we'll decide what to do with the thing.
20:25 That's the way it is?
20:28 Hey, there are risks bringing
20:31 a child into the world,
20:34 but you don't even think about the risks
20:37 because of love in your heart.
20:40 And the truth is if you are anything like we were,
20:43 man you resent the fact that they have isolated him
20:46 from you for so long and you can't wait to get him home
20:49 and put him in his own bed
20:51 and get some good old family germs all over him,
20:54 right and shouldn't it be that way with those
20:59 who are wanting to become part of our church family.
21:02 I mean we should be standing with our arms out
21:04 stretched not able to get him in there fast enough.
21:12 And then one day dad comes home from work
21:16 about a year later and mom can't even talk,
21:22 she is so excited she came and talk she says
21:26 he did it, he did, he did, he can walk,
21:28 he can walk, he took his first step,
21:30 hearing all that drops his briefcase there
21:32 and he bends down mom's holding him steady
21:34 and he holds his arms out
21:35 and that little fellow did it before,
21:37 he puts out his foot
21:38 and he steps right into his dad's arm.
21:40 Oh! Man he can do it, he can walk, he can walk,
21:43 so they skips up bundle him in his coat,
21:45 whisk him out of the door off
21:46 to grandma and grandpa house
21:47 he can walk, he can walk
21:49 and they set him down on the floor
21:50 there and there's grandma and grandpa
21:52 and there's aunt and uncle and cousins
21:54 and everybody is watching him and dad is saying
21:56 he can walk, he can walk, he still got his coat on,
21:59 he got his shoes on now carpet under his feet
22:02 but he did it before there's mom holding him
22:04 steady there's dad reaching out to him
22:06 oh yeah he did it before, he can do it, he can walk,
22:08 he can walk come on.
22:10 He puts out that little foot and whirl
22:12 around on his heel and he falls to the ground.
22:17 And his dad walks over to him
22:20 and he kicks him across the rug.
22:26 You idiot, he says I knew you couldn't do it.
22:36 What a pity, many times
22:41 we get brand new babies in Christ
22:45 and they step out to take that step
22:48 and they stumble and the church kicks,
22:54 baptized him too soon,
22:57 didn't know what they were doing,
23:00 weren't grounded enough and, you know,
23:04 maybe we don't say it to their face
23:06 but you know they can sense.
23:09 People can sense a cold unloving uncaring spirit.
23:19 Truth is little junior,
23:25 his dad caught him before he even hit the floor
23:29 and he stood him back up on his feet
23:32 and he said he can walk, he can walk
23:35 and they do it again and again
23:38 and again until he gets it.
23:42 And if he doesn't get it dad takes off
23:44 the work the next day,
23:46 he stays home and they practice all day
23:49 and as soon they get it,
23:51 it's back to grandma and grandpa's house.
23:55 You see it's hard to fall
23:57 if some one has their arm around
23:59 your shoulder holding you up.
24:03 That's the way it needs to be in God's church.
24:07 And not just for the new members,
24:09 but for the older ones too,
24:12 because in a sense we're all learning to walk.
24:15 Everyday we learn new things about God.
24:18 And we need to be there
24:19 for the encouragement of one another.
24:21 You know one of my favorite pictures of God in the Bible
24:25 is in Hosea 11 Chapter in verse 3 he said,
24:30 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
24:33 taking them by the arms, don't you like that,
24:38 but they didn't even realize it was I who healed them,
24:41 I led them with cords of human kindness,
24:44 with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck
24:48 and I bent down to feed them.
24:50 It's hard to fall when you have a God like that.
24:55 It's hard to fall when you have a church like that.
25:01 There is an incredible power in love,
25:05 we all need love.
25:07 You know there was a phenomenon
25:11 that scientist discovered
25:12 in orphanages after World War II.
25:18 And that was that many of the babies,
25:23 of all the babies that were brought into the orphanages,
25:28 two years older under, very few grew up
25:33 to live a normal healthy adult life.
25:38 They didn't understand why,
25:42 so they began to study this phenomenon
25:44 what is wrong, what's happening.
25:49 And finally they found an orphanage in Germany
25:52 and their babies were growing up normal.
25:55 So, the team of researchers converged on that orphanage.
26:01 And they studied every little thing
26:02 that was happening there the diet,
26:04 their schedule, how much sleep they got,
26:07 how much exercise they got,
26:09 what they did with the kid everything they studied
26:11 they couldn't find any
26:12 difference between that orphanage
26:13 and all the others but their babies
26:15 were growing up normal and healthy.
26:19 One day one of the researchers was there
26:21 and he saw an older lady off standing against the wall
26:26 and she had a baby in her arms
26:28 and he said who's that oh,
26:30 that's no body that's just old Ana,
26:33 old Ana what does she do here?
26:36 She don't do anything, she is just here
26:39 and if one of the babies get sick
26:40 we let her hold it that's all.
26:44 And the doctor thought is it possible,
26:48 is it possible that the thing
26:49 missing in the lives of those little babies
26:51 was the love of a mother.
26:55 So, they did an experiment,
26:57 they hired a bunch of ladies
26:58 that work in various orphanages
27:00 and all they had to do is love the babies,
27:02 wouldn't you like to have a job like that,
27:04 is love the babies all day.
27:07 And you know years later when they went back
27:09 they found in those orphanages
27:10 where they have mothers to love the babies
27:12 all day long their babies brought in under the age
27:14 of two grew up to live normal healthy adult lives.
27:18 The awesome power of love
27:20 and if it's necessary for us
27:23 to have love in order to grow physically,
27:26 how much more necessary is it for us to have love
27:29 in order to grow spiritually in Christ.
27:33 Love is the answer,
27:36 we're gonna get along in the family of God.