Growing in the Nourishment of the Lord

“Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13)

We have committed ourselves to follow Jesus on faith that He will lead us to our eternal home with the Father our Creator. We love Him because He first loved us and gave His life that we might have eternal life through Him. Jesus was rich and because of His love for us He became poor that we might become rich. That we might receive the vastness of the Father’s riches in glory. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) There is no downside to serving Jesus. It is always upward and to the right. Out of our professed love for Him we are to keep His commandments. His Word is the power of God through which we shall overcome. As our Lord said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) The greatest commandment is the mark that all will know that we are the children of God. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

The Christian life is not a stagnant ho-hum that we endure but the greatest adventure that man can run and achieve. This world is not our home, we are on our way home. We were not created for this world but all will through the door of death venture into eternity and for the few, the blessed, will be with our God and Creator who desires everlasting fellowship with us. We are as the Israelites escaping from the land of bondage to the Promised Land. This is the product of our faith, are rightful home in Heaven. This is the vision and faith that Abraham had and we as Christians should steadfastly live in preparation for that twinkle of the eye when we are there. “By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise.” (Hebrews 11:9)

Our Lord never said that our life here would be as a cake walk. A life of chance and luck that maybe we would inherit the Kingdom. Life here is filled with wishful hopes and dreams but the hope that we have through Jesus is based upon the truth of God’s Word. Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth, is even now preparing a place just for you and me. “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2-3)

All too often we allow the fire of our conversion to flicker and grow dim. We start out running the race in all diligence and then slow to a trot, then to a walk and finally we stop all together. Some never grow past being babes in Christ and never take more than the milk of His Word. They remain in the drudgery of a physical walk when it is truly a spiritual awakening. We walk in the flesh knowing that it is the flesh we will leave behind. It is a spiritual wake of faith, not sight, in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to grow out of the old man and put on the new inner man. We cannot live as a baby trapped in baby thoughts we need to grow into the image of our Master. “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)

There is joy in victory, everyone loves to win. If we do not have victory in our life, then we do not have joy and then we question the truth that we have victory through Jesus Christ. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57) Jesus defeated Satan and death on the cross of Calvary. He has given us that victory by our faith in Him. But, Satan sill prowls to and fro in the world seeking that which to kill, steel and destroy. (John 10:10) We still have to die, unless the Lord calls us out. We still have the temptation of Satan, we still have to live in a darkened world. There are battles yet to be fought for each of us. The Key to our victory through Jesus is found in His words. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Jesus spent three years training His disciples to become Apostles. On the Day of Pentecost they were empowered by the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will recall and teach us the things He has spoken to us. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26) If we love Him and are keeping His commandments, then we must know them. If we want to have the victory that Jesus has won, then we have to know the things that He has spoken. We have been justified by our faith in Jesus now we must be sanctified by the Spirit of Truth in His Word. “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) To grow in the power of His Word we must first study His Word, meditate upon His Word, and write them upon the tablet of our heart. “Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 7:3)

He overcame the world. I can only imagine that His battle was more intense than any battle that we will face. Satan’s whole purpose from the time of Cain and Able was to defeat the curse of Genesis 3:15. If Satan could have robbed mankind of a Savior, if he could have defeated Jesus in the wilderness, if he could have defeated Jesus on the cross, then man’s state would have been hopeless. Jesus overcame and He is the example that we should follow to overcome. We must allow His Spirit of Truth to sanctify us into His image. It is a process that will at least take our whole lifetime. With each trial and tribulation, if we fight in faith, we will become stronger and more like Jesus. “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

If we have committed ourselves to follow Jesus, then we must equip ourselves to the task. We are not on a cake walk we are involved in a spiritual struggle against evil spiritual forces. If would be foolish of us to go into battle as men against spiritual forces without the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-19) The one weapon we have to use against the evil one is the only one we need, the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. We would not carry a weapon into battle if we did not know its full power. If you want to grow in the Lord, then you must pray and study His Word. Neither does the Christian have to figure it all out. We all have learned the ways of this world through our mentors. Now we are living for the world to come and the best mentor is the Master Jesus Christ. If you want to have the joy of victory, then keep His Words and follow His example in faith. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, September 9, 2015

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