Chapter 6. Christian Growth Series, Part A

6.1. Establish a Foundation for Biblical Discipleship

Perspective

( Isa. 55:8-9 ) We are to think God’s thoughts after Him. Unless our thoughts are in agreement with His, they are to be discarded. Our ways, our habits and practices are to change, to be directed and guided by God’s word and commandments regardless of our feelings or our opinions. We cannot mix our thoughts with His, else God’s word becomes polluted. God’s words are pure and cannot be mixed with carnal thoughts.

Hope

( Rom. 8:28-29 ; John 14:21 ) As we think God’s thoughts and do what He commands, God enters and intervenes in our lives and into our situation. Regardless if we cause the problem or caused by others, if we respond God’s way, He will turn the situation to our advantage. When necessary the Holy Spirit will make His presence known by giving a deep sense of His love and care, helping and giving confidence, forgiveness, and assurance – giving whatever the believer needs.

( 1 Cor. 10:13 ; Eph. 6:10-12 ) The devil operates only in the carnal which is common to man but we are spiritual. We don’t fight him with reason, by will-power, by tangibles: For our weapons are not carnal but spiritual and are mighty to tear down the strongholds of the enemy. Thus, our trust and faith is in God and in Him we face our temptations. God will see us through. He is our refuge, our fortress, our God in whom we trust. It is He who delivers us from the demons ( Ps. 91:1-3 ).

( Heb. 4:14-16 ; 2 Cor. 5:21 ; Heb. 9:14 ; Eph. 2:4-10 ) Jesus went to the end of temptation, and far beyond it. He did not collapse for no man was ever tempted as He was. He suffered all of this to secure the ideal and perfect righteousness for us that we may be acceptable to His Father. Based on what Jesus did, we are given the right to enter the Throne room and receive the very help of God Himself: to enable us by His grace to confront any trial, to conquer and triumph over any situation and circumstances of life. God is able to do this because His Son, while on earth, suffered the same trials we do. He knows how to walk through and conquer, and we in Him are to do likewise.

Change

( Eph. 4:22-24 ; Rom. 6:6 ) You must exercise your own will to put-off the old man, the man you were before you accepted Christ. As you choose God’s way, the emphasis now is to make new, readjust, change, turn around and regenerate your mind by God’s word which becomes the very Presence of Christ in the believer. You have Christ’s mind and you are to allow the Spirit of Christ to focus your mind more and more upon God and spiritual things. Becoming a new man, you can now begin life all over again. Your spirit has been recreated into the righteousness and holiness of the truth. This qualifies you to have fellowship with God, enabled to become obedient to God’s will and devoted to His service.

( Col. 1:10 ; 1 John 1:7 ) Becoming a new person means activity. It is not enough to know God’s will, possess wisdom and understanding – all this must be put into practice. We are to set our lives, our behavior and conduct after Christ – being fruitful in every good work. As we increase in the knowledge of God, His presence and power also increases to enable us to exercise every kind of endurance, patience, forbearance with joy.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Matt. 7:1,5

Devotion:

BSAF on Eph. 4:22-32 .

Put-Off/Put-On:

Review this worksheet and develop list of failures to love God’s way. Use 1 Cor. 13:4-8a as a guide; or refer to Section A.3, “Love Is An Action” . List two or more recent incidents in which you were upset, irritated, and assess if these are behavior patterns, or isolated cases.

Reference: Throughout Chapter 6, Christian Growth Series, Part A , you will find relevant information from [5][BCF1] and [14][Leader1].

 

6.2. Explore Problems and Develop Sensitivity to Sin

Perspective

( John 14:26 ; Eph. 5:18 ; Isa. 55:8-9 ) At the point you choose to stop perpetuating self-interest and begin to consider the interest of others before your own, God’s wisdom, strength and ability will enter into your spirit to do those things that are pleasing to God. Only in the power of the Holy Spirit are you able to live the abundant life. You cannot live according to God’s design in your own way or by your own wisdom.

The Holy Spirit will help the believer through the trials of life by teaching him all things: the words and life of Christ, the Truth and the Life, the Word and how to live, the theory and the practice, the principles and the conduct, the morality and the behavior of Christian existence.

Hope

( Heb. 4:16 ; James 1:5-8 ; James 1:22-25 ; Phil. 4:13 ) It is a question of faith. You believe God’s word, you respond to it, (whether you feel like it or not), to what God says. You turn over your intellect and will to God, allowing God to direct your faculties, your passions, and to refurbish your memory. God intervenes through you into the situation or circumstances to resolve the problem in God’s way, and to reconstitute your very being in order to establish His kingdom and His will on earth.

( Matt. 7:1-5 ; Gal. 6:1-5 ; 2 Cor. 1:3-4 ; 1 Cor. 11:28-31 ) Practicing God’s word begins with judging ourselves and removing sinful obstructions from our own lives. Since we have no righteousness of our own, our only worthiness is Jesus Christ. The only time we could be counted worthy would be when we are walking in constant fellowship with Him. This means that we are to be actively thinking upon and talking with him through confession, repentance, praise and request. Thus, our hope is in Him who brings us to fruition and fulfillment.

( 1 John 2:3-6 ; 2 Pet. 1:3-11 ; John 16:33 ; John 15:10-11 ) You must obey God’s word consistently to grow increasingly into godliness and to realize true peace and joy. The Lord’s joy and glory was doing the will of God and looking ahead to the joy and glory of eternity with His Father and His followers. Likewise, the joy of believers is the joy of Christ Himself reigning within their hearts. And this joy is fulfilled as believers study His word, the promises and commandments which He made.

Change

( Luke 17:10 ; John 14:5 ; 2 Cor. 5:15 ; 2 Cor. 10:5 ; Col. 3:1-7 ; Col. 1:10 ) In order to mature (grow up) in Christ, you must persevere in doing what is good in the Lord’s sight: by being obedient to Scripture, disciplining your thought life, speaking in a manner that is helpful to others, and loving others in a biblical manner.

Patience, kindness, goodness embodies the standard by which we are to live. We belong to Him totally. It is our duty as His ambassadors, to serve Him, to increase in the knowledge of Him, and to fulfill our roles as His disciples.

( Gen. 4:7 ; Isa. 26:3 ; Luke 11:28 ; John 15:10-11 ; Matt. 7:21 ) Your contentment in all situations is dependent upon your obedient response to God in your thoughts, words and actions. This brings forth a tranquility of mind, a purity of memory, a composure, a peace that is calm in the face of bad circumstances and situations. By obeying the Lord in your daily walk, a person becomes bound, woven and joined together with himself, with God, and with others. We are naturally inclined to maliciousness and to retaliation. Accordingly, as a constant, check yourself to determine what spirit you are manifesting in all encounters ( Luke 9:53-55 ).

( 1 John 1:9 ; Matt. 3:8 ; 2 Cor. 7:9-11 ; James 4:8-10 ; Eph. 4:31-32 ) Confess your sins to the Lord and, when appropriate, confess sins to others whom you have offended. Honor the Blood that washed away your sins, by ‘acting forgiven’. To fall into despair or self-pity is to honor the enemy. No matter how many times you fall into sin, honor the Cross and Blood of Christ by getting up, confessing, repenting, and starting over again.

As a basic guideline, judge yourself in the areas of failing to be patient, failing to be kind, and failing to exercise goodness in contrary situations. To do this, list your failures, formulate a specific plan to change, and begin to implement the plan.

 

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Luke 9:23-24

Devotion:

BSAF on selected verses from the above listings.

Put-Off/Put-On:

List, at least, two or more recent incidents in which you were offended, and complete column 1 of Section A.4, “Victory Over Sin Worksheet” , the put-offs in column 2 and put-ons in column 3. This will be your working data to complete column 4 at the next session.

6.3. Establish Biblical Structure for Change

Perspective

( Rom. 5:3-5 ; 2 Tim. 3:16-17 ; James 1:21-25 ; 2 Pet. 1:2-4 ) Effective and lasting biblical change is a continuing process. You are to obey the commands and guidelines in God’s word for every area of your life (your thoughts, words and actions). As you stop (put-off) the old continuing pattern of sin and begin (put-on) the new practice of righteousness and holiness, you are renewed in the spirit of your mind.

Being justified, we are no longer defeated by trials and sufferings. To the contrary, by God’s grace, we use problems as opportunities to grow in Christ. Working through pressure, oppression, afflictions, and distress, we develop endurance, fortitude, steadfastness, constancy, perseverance. Thus, patience stirs experience and this develops character, integrity, strength. Also experience stirs up hope. By enduring trials, we experience the presence and strength of God. When a justified man becomes stronger in character, he draws closer to God. The closer he draws to God, the more he hopes for the glory of God.

Hope

( John 15:10-11 ; John 16:33 ; Matt. 6:33 ; 1 John 2:3-4 ; 1 John 3:22 ) You are to walk in a manner worthy of God and to please Him in every area of your life. As you obediently respond to God’s love, you become mature in the Lord and are blessed with peace and joy regardless of your feelings, other people or circumstances of life. The believer’s hope, peace and joy is based upon the presence of God’s Spirit who dwells within the believer. These virtues are activated when one biblically responds to life.

 

( 1 Cor. 6:19-20 ; 1 Pet. 1:17-19 ; Luke 16:10-13 ; John 16:17 ; 1 John 2:20,27 ) You were purchased with the precious blood of Jesus, you wholly belong to Him. You are God’s possession and a steward (managing servant) of all that the Lord has provided for you. The anointing of Christ is with you. God’s wisdom, strength and ability are within you to exercise your particular talent and gifts to become a blessing to those about you. Christ in you, the hope of glory, the anointing of God is upon your flesh to do the things flesh cannot do.

( Ps. 119:165 ; Matt. 5:3-12 ; John 14:27 ; John 15:11 ; John 16:33 ) God’s peace and joy are available to believers regardless of others, possessions or circumstances. We are to be dependent upon God. As we become so we will not be controlled by others but will be free to love others as God loves us. We are primarily accountable to God-not to self, spouse, parents or others.

Change

( Eph. 4:22-24 ; Matt. 7:5 ; 1 Cor. 11:28-31 ; Heb. 4:12 ; Rom. 6:12-13 ; 2 Cor. 10:5 ) To keep God’s anointing flowing through you, you must daily put-off old sinful habits, identify them, judge yourself in the light of God’s word, confess and repent and put them aside immediately. Do not take life for granted. You are God’s ambassador on earth. You are His standard for the world to see.

( 2 Tim. 2:22 ; Titus 2:11-12 ; Gal. 5:16 ; Matt. 22:37 ; Col. 1:10 ; Rom. 8:29 ; Rom. 5:17 ) As we put-on the righteous deeds in the power of the Holy Spirit, we grow daily in the image of God. We become on earth, vessels reflecting and revealing the Spirit of God within to the world without as we destroy the works of the devil and establish God’s righteousness on earth. We are to rule and to exercise predominance over the world’s system and institutions ( Gen. 1:28 ; Matt. 28:18-20 ).

( Prov. 10:12 ; Eph. 4:32 ; 1 Pet. 3:8-9 ) We begin the process by forgiving others biblically as necessary. We seek reconciliation and restoration in accordance with biblical principles. We do not retaliate, we eliminate stumbling blocks, and seek ways to bless others. Our Lord took care of sin at the cross. Our role is to destroy the structure – the scaffolding – the habit patterns – of sin embedded in our minds over the years. We are to rebuild these structures until our faculties, our intellect, our passions, are placed solely under the rule and lordship of Jesus Christ ( 2 Cor. 10:3-5 ; Prov. 21:22 ).

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Eph. 4:29,31-32

Devotion:

BSAF on selected verses from above.

Put-Off/Put-On:

Continue working on columns 1-3 of Section A.4, “Victory Over Sin Worksheet” and begin to work on a biblical plan for any pattern of anger, bitterness and unwholesome speech. Review and as appropriate use Section A.2, “Think And Do List” and establish biblical patterns of thinking, speaking and acting. Place this information in column 4, and be specific in practicing new thought patterns, how you should speak, followed by concrete actions.

6.4. Develop the Practice of Righteousness

Perspective

( Rom. 5:3-5 ; Rom. 12:1-2 ; Matt. 10:16-28 ; 1 Pet. 3:13-17 ) Do not be surprised at trials, even if they seem fiery. Rejoice in them because God uses them to reveal the spirit that is in you, and develop Christlike maturity. Be prepared to be reviled. If you should endure suffering for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed of the Lord. Renewing the mind is a constant process to free us from our own corruption of lusts and appetites; and to defend and protect ourselves from the fashions and customs of the world.

Hope

( Eph. 5:15-16 ; 1 Tim. 4:7-11 ; Heb. 5:14 ; Gal. 5:22-23 ; Heb. 13:20-21 ) You must faithfully practice your daily responsibilities and discipline yourself toward godliness. As you continue to be a doer of the word, your senses will be trained to discern good and evil. Your growth is a sovereign work of God that is divinely linked to your living in a biblical manner.

Prov. 3:5-10 ; Ps. 55:22 ; Ps. 94:17-19 ; Jer. 29:11 ; Rom. 8:28-29 God has promised to provide all the necessities of life as you seek to please Him. He is always available to help you and He is firmly in control of every aspect of your life. Living in a biblical manner, the believer is assured that God is arranging and re-arranging ‘all things’ for his good on a daily basis. Thus, hope is really faith extended into the future, living the divine life in the present.

( Matt. 6:25,34 ; Luke 12:22-34 ; Matt. 6:33 ; Heb. 5:14 ; James 1:22-25 ) Put-off self-centered concern about the future and put-on doing the Word. As you dwell on the things of God, He will protect and provide for you in all areas of your life.

God made man a spiritual being. As such, man is not to be preoccupied with making it on his own, taking care of oneself in this world, and fighting and struggling to make it through life. As a citizen of heaven, he works in partnership with God. He trusts and acknowledges God while doing all he can: plows and works, not looking back; and while working, trust the results to God. God says he will see to it that such a trusting person will always have the necessities of life.

Change

( John 3:30 ; John 12:24-26 ; Matt. 20:26-28 ; Rom. 15:1-3 ; Col. 3:23-24 ) Stop living to please self in daily situations, responsibilities and relationships. Regard others as more important than yourself and be a servant to God and others. The Christian believer who truly lives and witnesses for Christ gives himself up to Christ. In Christ, as a bond-slave, he ministers to the needs of others.

( Prov. 9:6 ; Prov. 14:16 ; Gal. 5:16-21 ; James 1:19 ; John 15:5 ; James 1:22-25 ; James 4:17 ) List the circumstances or relationships in which you are (or have been) tempted to become angry or bitter. Develop a biblical plan for overcoming anger and bitterness in these situations. Formulate a contingency plan for dealing with anger and bitterness that may arise suddenly. What you comprehend, you will be conformed to, and this is what you will communicate.

( Prov. 10:12 ; 1 Cor. 13:4-8 ; 1 Pet. 1:22 ; Eph. 4:32 ; 1 Pet. 3:8-9 ) Practice biblical love by forgiving others just as God has forgiven you. Do kind and tenderhearted deeds to the very individuals with whom you become irritated. Forbearance is giving what a person needs, not what he deserves.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Heb. 5:14

Devotion:

BSAF on selected verses from above.

Put-Off/Put-On:

Continue developing biblical patterns of submitting and continual dying to self through:

1.         Considering others as more important than self, and

2.         Serving others.

Evaluate your deeds daily, determine areas where you are weak. Develop contingency plans to deal with and face possible stumbling blocks when they appear. These offenses (stumbling blocks) keep God’s grace and His anointing from flowing through you. Look for data in areas of depression, fear and worry, anger and bitterness, interpersonal relationships, envy, greed and covetousness. Deal with specific problems via Section A.6, “Problem Solving Worksheet” , Section A.4, “Victory Over Sin Worksheet” , Section A.2, “Think And Do List” , Section A.8, “Freedom From Anxiety” . See verses Isa. 10:27 ; Isa. 61:1 ; Luke 4:18-19 ; James 4:6-8 .

6.5. Establish Pattern of the Mature Disciple

Perspective

( Eccl. 12:13-14 ; 1 Pet. 1:17 ; 1 John 4:11,19 ; Heb. 12:5-10 ; Phil. 2:12-13 ) Successfully facing and dealing with specific problems is only the beginning of living a godly life. Focus must remain on God’s standards for continuing toward Christ-likeness. Accordingly, one must evaluate the whole of one’s life constantly conforming to God’s standards.

Hope

( Isa. 40:8 ; Acts 10:34-35 ; John 14:21 ; John 15:10-11 ; 1 John 3:22 ) God’s standards are always consistent and are never subject to the whim of the moment. They are the same for all individuals, in all cultures, and at all age levels, regardless of personality or background. Keeping God’s commandments, having reverence and awe of God, is the key to fruitfulness.

( Ps. 145:17 ; Jer. 29:11-17 ; Deut. 11:8-9 ; James 1:22-25 ) God’s plan for you are for your benefit and have as their goal your maturity in Christ. If you keep God’s commandments, He will bless you; otherwise, you will be subject to discipline.

( Matt. 11:28-30 ; Josh. 1:8-9 ; Ps. 103:1-5 ; Isa. 40:29-31 ; Eph. 1:13-14 ; Phil. 2:12-13 ) God’s standards are not burdensome for He will strengthen, uphold, and keep you from stumbling as you walk in His ways, cooperating with the changes He is accomplishing in your life.

Change

( Rom. 13:1-3 ; Rom. 13:12-14 ; Eph. 6:10-18 ) Put-off deeds of darkness, put-on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for fleshly lusts. Put on the full armor of God to withstand the schemes of the devil.

( Rom. 5:3-5 ; Matt. 5:10-12 ; 1 Pet. 4:12-19 ; 1 Pet. 3:13-17 ) Do not be surprised at trials, even if they seem fiery. Instead, rejoice because God uses them to develop Christlike maturity in your life. Be prepared to be reviled and to suffer persecution. You will be blessed when you do.

( Gal. 5:22-23 ; Eph. 1:4 ; Eph. 4:1,17 ; Eph. 6:9 ; Col. 3:12-24 ; 1 Tim. 4:7-8 ; 2 Pet. 1:2-10 ) Establish and maintain biblical standards that will encourage you and your children toward godliness. Identify godly traits that need to be developed along with corresponding biblical responsibilities and activities which will demonstrate Christ-likeness.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Gal. 6:14

Devotion:

BSAF on selected verses from above.

Put-Off/Put-On:

Continually work on a biblical schedule ( Section A.11, “Scheduling Worksheet” ) to eliminate unprofitable activities, and in its place, add activities necessary to carry on God-given responsibilities.

Review the following questions to determine what activities need to be eliminated:

1.         Is this profitable ( 1 Cor. 6:12 ; 1 Cor. 10:23 )?

2.         Am I controlled by this in any way ( 1 Cor. 6:12 )?

3.         Is this a stumbling block in my life ( Matt. 5:29-30 ; Matt. 18:8-9 )?

4.         Could this lead another to stumble ( Rom. 14:13 ; 1 Cor. 8:9,13 )?

5.         Does this edify (build up) others ( Rom. 14:19 ; 1 Cor. 10:23-24 )?

6.         Does this glorify God ( Matt. 5:16 ; 1 Cor. 10:31 ) ?

One thought on “Chapter 6. Christian Growth Series, Part A

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