- Preaching the Living WORD through the Written WORD - 2 Tim 4:2 -
FIVE KEYS TO SPIRITUAL GROWTH
I. THE IMPORTANCE OF WITNESSING TO SPIRITUAL GROWTH
A. It Is The Catalyst For Spiritual Birth (Joh 3:3-7)
1. Spiritual birth must take place before any spiritual growth can take place. In Joh 3:3, Jesus speaks of the necessity of spiritual birth.
2. Jesus states directly that an individual must have a spiritual birth if they are going to be granted entrance into heaven. This is over and above natural birth (Joh 3:4-7).
3. Jesus describes spiritual birth as being, “born again” (gennêthế ánōthen) which literally means, “born from above.” The significance of this term declares that salvation comes from a divine initiative as well as a divine effect. The Lord moves on the soul of an individual and that soul is awakened and enabled to place their faith in Christ. At the moment of faith in Christ, they are regenerated (paliggenesía - Tit 3:5) spiritually.
4. Only after spiritual birth can someone grow in Christ. The Holy Spirit who regenerates is the same divine agent who causes spiritual growth (Phil 1:6).
5. The greatest gift a believer can give someone is the gift of eternal life through sharing the gospel (1Co 2:2; 1Co 15:1-4). This is a present and eternal transformation that is the basis for spiritual growth.
B. It Is Obedience To The Great Commission (Mat 28:18-20)
1. Obedience is one of the main characteristics of a true believer. Whenever the believer is obedient, he experiences joy (1Sa 15:22 cp. Heb 12:2). There is probably no greater joy for a believer than when he has the privilege of sharing the good news of the gospel.
2. The believer’s motivation to witness is in fulfilling the Lord’s Commission and the sinner’s eternal destiny. But, it also is a fact that unless we are obeying the Lord, our spiritual growth will be hampered.
3. We learn from Mat 28:18-20 (the Great Commission) that the exalted Lord Jesus has been given all authority (exousía - legal jurisdiction and dominion) in heaven and on earth.
4. On that basis, He commands His disciples to, “make disciples” (aor imper fr matheteúō) of all nations to be His followers. The lifelong duty of the believer is to labor in fulfilling this Great Commission.
5. The making of disciples is accomplished in two ways.
a) The first step is through conversion to Christ. Jesus states that His disciples are continually to baptize. Baptism is not the means for salvation, but used as a metonym for conversion. Baptism is to be one of the initial steps of obedience for a believer after salvation. Therefore, the believer is to accomplish the Great Commission in being engaged in evangelism.
b) The second step is to bring disciples to maturity through teaching. The faith of believers is deepened in the knowledge of God and His Will through the Scriptures. Teaching also equips the believer to live out his Christianity, which includes evangelism and edification.
6. The believer’s reward for obeying the Great Commission is to hear his Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful slave,” (Mat 25:21, 23). Such obedience is the believer’s joy as well as an important key to spiritual growth.
C. Faith Is Strengthened In Seeing God’s Power In Salvation (Rom 1:16)
1. A believer is strengthened spiritually when He sees God supernaturally transform lives through the gospel. The key verse for Romans (1:16) explains the dynamic power of the gospel as it transforms a sinner into a saint.
2. The Greek word for “power” is dúnamis and means the ability to produce a strong and mighty effect. From it, we get our English word, “dynamite.”
3. The gospel is the power of God for salvation not only because He forgives their sin and gives them eternal life, but also because…
a) It is dynamic power to change a believer in the inner man (Eph 3:16).
b) It is dynamic power to endure life’s difficulties (2Co 12:9).
c) It is dynamic power to live the Christian life (2Pe 1:3).
is dynamic power to enable a believer for service (
e) It is dynamic power to embolden a believer to witness (2Ti 1:7).
4. Paul was overjoyed to see the Gentiles come to faith in Christ
5. Even heaven rejoices over one sinner who repents (Luk 15:10).
6. When believers see the power of God in lives changed by the gospel, it encourages them, strengthens their own faith, and they are spurred onto spiritual growth (Act 15:3; 21:19-20).
II. THE APPLICATION OF WITNESSING TO SPIRITUAL GROWTH
A. Fear Of Rejection
1. There are many causes that keep believers from fulfilling the Great Commission. Perhaps one of the greatest is a fear of rejection.
2. No one innately desires to be rejected. But perhaps the question that should be asked is, “rejected by whom?” In other words, who would we rather disappoint, men or God?
3. If we do witness, without question, some will reject us. But if we do not witness, we will disappoint God and disobey His commandment. As long as someone is always going to be disappointed, let it be men rather than God.
4. To further this point, Paul says he is not ashamed of the gospel. The word “ashamed” (epaischúnomai) literally means something that brings shame or dishonor. Are we embarrassed, shamed, or dishonored by the very gospel that saved us from the wrath to come? It would be much better to hear, “Well done, good and faithful slave,” than "… whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38)
B. Satan’s Strategy
1. Another cause that keeps the believer from witnessing is that he assumes he knows what people are thinking. Believers sometimes believe Satan’s subtle lies, “Oh they don’t want to hear that religious stuff,” “They definitely are not going to come to Christ,” “If they wanted to know about Christ, they would ask.”
2. Believers do not know who are going to come to Christ and who are not. Potentially everyone you talk to could be one of the elect, in which case, they will come to Christ. This is exactly what excited Charles Spurgeon.
3. How do we know whether God is working in a person’s soul that very moment? How do we know whether we are going to be the very vessel that God has chosen to bring the light of salvation?
4. We must share the gospel because we are commanded and we must leave the results up to God.
C. Wrong Priorities
1. Another reason why believers may be not involved in personal evangelism is that they have gotten themselves entangled with the affairs of this world.
2. The Lord Jesus advises us not to delay but to realize now is the time to fulfill the Great Commission. Now the fields are white for harvest (Joh 4:35-36).
3. Truly, we will rejoice in that God has allowed us a part in the harvest. Spiritual growth (others and ours) depends upon our obedience to evangelism.