Complete Sermon Notes
What Delays Spiritual Growth?
Is it possible to fully obey?
Intro: What Delays Spiritual Growth? Looking like a baby is adorable at 5 months, but pathetic at 35.
Before we progress in ACTS, we need to see why many are not progressing.
They just chose 7 men – ACTS 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. 7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith [i will come back to this].
God often delays growth until the foundation is established – “then the word spread”.
Prayed and laid hands on them: Ordained, Commissioned, Filled: Hebrews 6 – “laying on of hands” was common-place.
1 Tim. 5:22 – “Don’t lay hands on any man suddenly – neither be partaker of other men’s sins.”
THE WORD “SPREAD AND GREW” – This is what we desire in our lives.
Is it possible to fully obey God? What Delays Spiritual Growth?
“The peril of perfectionism is that it seriously distorts the human mind. Imagine the contortions through which we must put ourselves to delude us into thinking that we have in fact achieved a state of sinlessness” (R.C. Sproul).
Antinomian rejects morality (e.g., we’re under grace).
1 John 2 says things such as: “I write this to you so that you will not sin… We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.” And if it’s possible, what would our lives look like if we obeyed Him more?
What “If” it was a PASSION NOT A PAIN; A JOY NOT A DRUDGERY; A DELIGHT NOT A DISAPPOINTMENT.
Listen – “Ears to hear”, Follow, Observe, Heed, Carry out, Comply – OBEY
Rebel, Ignore, Disregard, Neglect, Decline, Deny – DISOBEY
Pharisee ALERT – “Finally, someone who is ‘pushing’ obedience.”
1 Sam. 15:23 – Rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft, and arrogance like idolatry.
God leads us primarily through obedience –
1887 – When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey. Trust and obey, for there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, but [than] to trust and obey.
MY MOTIVATION is for you to … GROW and … GO.
MEDICAL SITE: “In order for cells to grow, 3 things are necessary. First, they must have food. Second, they must be active or they become too weak to do their work. Third, they must help the body get rid of waste materials.”
1. Food for Growth is Obedience: “We pray for God to change our situation. But often, He puts us in the situation to change us.”
2. They have to be Active: The Holy Spirit is a Helper not a Doerr – “God, set me free from this!!”
3. Rid ourselves of the waste that is preventing growth: Colossians 3:8, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these…”
“You may think you can ‘manage’ your sin, but it is more powerful than you are.” J. Lee Grady.
GOD SAYS – “I want what’s best for you”- salvation and surrender.
SICKNESS: James 5 – “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much…Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth [disobeys], and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”
Sins connection to illness – (cf. Mk. 2:5; Jn. 5:14; 9:2–3; 1 Cor. 11:30).
Confession and repentance brought restoration and healing.
“He will be forgiven” – “Let loose” of the chastisement.
HEADLINES READ: “Is guilt getting the best of you”; “How emotions cause disease & illness”; “The physical effects of guilt?”
MY 2n MOTIVATION – “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”
“To wander is to disobey.”
Transgression of the law in the O.T. (Is. 9:15; Je. 23:17; Ezk. 33:10, etc.).
Luke and Matthew talk about the sheep who “wandered.”
Truth is a path we can “wander” from – Jer. 6:16, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls’.”
SUM IT UP: This sickness is caused by wandering from God [a pattern of sin and disobedience] – from alcohol and drugs to lying and slander, and from sexual sin to the sin of pride – warnings, convictions, and rebukes have all been ignored. The hope is that this sickness will wake the person up leading them to confession and repentance, thus releasing the person from God’s chastisement [cf. Hebrews 12:5-7]. The soul [psuche’] is saved and his ongoing pattern of sin [multitude of sin] is covered, concealed and dealt with. OBEDIENCE MATTERS!
CLOSING: “Then the word of God spread” – power follows obedience.
“I had to be broken. God knew that I was proud and ambitious, and so He could not use me. He had to bring me down by taking everything away from me, and only when I had completely surrendered, only when I had been broken, was He able to trust me again and use me for His glory.” Oswald J. Smith
1. Make A Choice Today: Jer. 6:16, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls’.”
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ 17 Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’
How long will you keep wandering?
The grass isn’t greener, God is not mocked, the way of the transgressor is hard.
To the believer who has been obeying, yet struggling:
2. If you’ve been obeying and following God – let me encourage you to continue – you will see the fruit of your labor.
Satan taunts – “See, nothing is happening. God doesn’t care – give in. STOP OBEYING!”
The Chinese bamboo tree doesn’t break through the ground for the first four years. Then, in the fifth year, the tree begins to grow QUICKLY. In a period of just five weeks, a Chinese bamboo tree can grow to a height of 90 feet.
“THOUGH WEEPING MAY ENDURE AT NIGHT, JOY COMETH IN THE MORNING.”
“HE IS A REWARDER OF THOSE WHO DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM.”