Volume. XXVII, No. 24
Sunday, 09 December 2012


Are You Growing Strong?


When I was young, I used to sing a song that goes something like this:

“Are you going, going, going, going, gone?

Or are you growing, growing, growing, growing strong? Come flex your muscles and see;

What have you got to show me?

Don’t you be satisfied with your skinny bones!

Come along and build your muscles,

And be ready to grow!”

Are you “going, going, going” away from God? Are you straying from the narrow way? Are you forsaking assembling together with your family of God? This song  was a reminder to me to watch where I was going  - growing in Christ, or going in the opposite direction.

2 Peter 3 talks about the second coming of Christ. It ends by reminding us that while we wait for the Lord, we are not to stray but to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Pet 3:17, 18)

The 1913 Webster’s dictionary defines “grow” as “To increase in any way; to become larger and stronger; to be augmented; to advance; to extend; to wax; to accrue.”

Grow in grace

Grace: χάρις (Greek), khar\'-ece

In 2 Peter 3:18, Peter exhorts the believers to grow in grace. That is, we believers are to increase in the favour of God, to seek to live out our faith and love for God, to increase in the fruit of the Spirit that God first gave to us as new Christians. The grace of God lived out in Christians is manifested in our interactions with others, and in our love for our “neighbour.” The parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:27-37 shows us who our “neighbours” are and how we should treat them. Note what we can learn from the Samaritan who did right by the hurt man:

1) He did not ignore someone in need

2) He had compassion

3) He took care of the hurt man’s needs

4) It cost him

5) He went the extra mile

How pleased God must be when we do this for our fellow man!

How do we treat those around us? Do we ignore their needs, as did the priest and the Levite in the parable of the good Samaritan? Do we even see their needs? Very often we are so self-absorbed or busy in our own lives, that we forget to look out for others, to be concerned for the interests of others (Phil 2:3). Let us learn to show our care and compassion for others for their own good, and for the edification of the whole body of Christ (Rom 15:2). Let us look outside of ourselves to see how we can care for one another.

As we grow in this area, the Lord will be pleased. And He who is the Giver of grace, will also allow us to grow in other graces, that we may continue to also grow in our faith and reflect His love.

Grow in God’s Word

Babies require milk to grow. In 1 Peter 2:2, the Apostle Peter was writing to the new Christian converts (newborn babes) to desire “the sincere milk of the word” (God’s Word), that they might grow. That is, they should have a strong, constant desire for God’s Word, as babies have a fervent and frequent hunger for milk. Notice that the desire seems to be a duty, a command, an “ought to;” and it is the best evidence of a new creature in Christ.

 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim 3:16) The Word of God helps us to grow to what God wants us to be, to the end that we might reflect the glory of God (Matt 5:16), which is the chief end of men.

Just as babies grow and would require solid food, so we should mature and partake of spiritual meat. In our neighbourhood Bible studies on Corinthians, we learnt that Paul wrote to the Corinthians as “babes in Christ,” because they were still carnal (1 Cor 3:1-3). They were not growing in Christ and could only be fed with milk. The obstacle to growing is “carnality,” such as contention, envying, strife, fleshly lusts and affections and so on. “Babes” are those “unskilful in the word of righteousness” (Heb 5:13) and must be taught in the plainest manner in the plainest words. When you mature, you become able to take “meat,” that is, you will be enabled to have a deeper knowledge and understanding of our Christian faith.

In Hebrews 5:12-14, the author admonished the Hebrews that at the time when they should be teaching God’s Word to others, they needed to be taught the basics again. It has been said that if you’re not growing, you’re regressing. These Christian Hebrews had gone back to the state of babies! How awful for them to not grow in faith and understanding of God’s Word, and therefore forgoing the experience of a growing Christian, that is, the increasing enjoyment of God and His Word. How sad for our Lord to watch His children go backwards instead of experiencing a closer fellowship with Him.

Would you want to stay as “babes in Christ” or would you want to mature as men and women in Christ? Or have you “gone away” from God? Are you satisfied with your “skinny bones?” Every Christian should strive for growth; and in growing, teach others the truth of God. As Christians, we do know that we need to be growing in God’s Word. But have you lost your desire for God’s Word? Then forsake feeding carnal lusts and go back to reading His Word! It is said that when we least feel like praying, it’s time to get on our knees; when we don’t feel like reading God’s Word, it\'s time to go and read it. Let us look forward to our next spiritual meal as we do our physical meals.

Arthur Pink, an English Bible Scholar who was a Calvinist and a Puritan, says that the reason why the Holy Scriptures were given is so that “we may grow in love and reverence for them, increase in the knowledge of them, be more and more regulated by them. It is only by feeding on this Heavenly Manna that strength is obtained for our pilgrim walk, for our warfare with sin and Satan, and for our service unto God and our fellows. To deprive ourselves of food, issues in unfitness, weakness, sickness—true alike in the natural and the spiritual. How diligent most of us are in seeing to it that our bodies do not go without their needed food; are we as careful about the nourishment of our souls? Is it not at this very point we discover the explanation as to why so many believers fail to "grow in grace" and why so many are feeble and useless?”

What can I do?

“Two hands have I, to aid and serve

To show God’s care and share His love;

Two arms to hug or share a load

To bear up others along Life’s road

Two ears have I, to listen and hear

God’s Word and so, to Him draw near;

Two legs to go where He will send

To serve Him here or some distant land.

Two eyes have I, to watch and see

If anyone have need for me;

To read His Word and grow each day

His will to learn, His Word to obey.

One mouth with which to do my part

To say good words and cheer a heart

All these to my God I give

One mind, one soul, one life to live.”

Deaconess Joyce Gong

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster: Today’s Team Leader: Dn Tony Law. Next Lord’s Day: Volunteers (Gp 1)

*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm. Christmas & other greeting cards, new books available.

*Session would like to thank the organisers, participants, contributors (food, drinks) & helpers for making the Mini-Christmas Concert a meaningful & blessed event.

*Please note: Sunday School Christmas Party next Sat - please encourage your children to come.

*Reminder: Christmas Worship Service starts at 10:00 am.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Ps & Sis Ki (Korea); Bro Boong & Sis Mariam Atijatuporn & Jayden (Bangkok); Bros Raymond Ang, Houston Li (Adl) & Raphael Ng (Goolwa/Adl); Dns Purdee Yeo; Sisters Cathy & Sarah Carpenter, Peng Ha Yeo (Pt Lincoln/Adl); Heng Yee Cheah, Felicia Tan (S’pore), Jillian Chia, Alice & Michelle Lee (Adl); & others who have arrived safely.

2. Church Activities, in the past week.

3. Mini-Christmas Concert: Organisers, participants, helpers & visitors; Gospel preached.

4. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

5. Visitors & new worshippers.

 

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson (Nursing Home); Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bros Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (S’pore); Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth (Nursing Home), Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), Susan Varadi (Nursing Home); Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Mang Soo Ong (Sis Gillian Ong’s father); Mr Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Dn Edwin’s mother in Mumbai) & Mrs Chuilin Yap (Malacca); Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.

2. Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & Ministry; Life University (Sihanoukville); Bro Sun Sokha & Ministry (Phnom Penh).

3. IBPFM & PMU Boards & their Missionaries.

4. Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam

5. Ministry in New Life BPC (London): Ps & Sis Ki. Special Prayer: Ministries in S’pore & Korea in Dec.

6. Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.

7. iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & Ordination - Pr HS Lim  (Melbourne, Vic).

8. Ps & Sis Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC. 

9. Journey mercies: Bros Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo), Raymond Chia (S’pore) & Raphael Ng (Goolwa/Adl); Sisters Jillian Chia (S’pore) & Megan Lim (Adl); & those who are travelling. 

10. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

11. Full-time Job - Sisters Michelle Lee & Corinne Teng; & others looking for  stable jobs.

12. Unity in doctrine & fellowship of all B-P Churches

13. Normal labour & delivery: Sis Josephine Wong

14. Health in pregnancy - Sis Kerrie Lam

15. University students - preparation of supplementary exams.

16. Believers under persecution in Islamic nations.

17.  Australian work visas - Sisters Clara Sim & Felicia Tan

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063