4 Steps of Spiritual Growth
Reading: Mark 8:27-38
Additional Reading: John 6:56-69
Blanks: what about you, suffer, rise, God, deny, save, words
Today, we will think about 4 possible steps of spiritual development that may happen in your life.
These steps happened in the lives of students of Jesus.
It happened in my life.
It may happen in your life.
So let’s have a look at them.
(4) 4 step of development goes like this.
First, you get to know Jesus.
Second, you share of Jesus.
Third, you will get to know more of Jesus.
Fourth, you will be sent by Jesus to do God’s ministry.
You may grow like this.
Let's explore a little bit more detail:
The first stage is to explore who Jesus is.
So here, you read about Jesus.
You get to know of Jesus and so on.
Two thousand years ago, many people followed Jesus. .
They just came and watched what Jesus was doing.
Do you remember Andrew, a disciple of Jesus?
Andrew came and watched what Jesus was doing, because Jesus invited him to come and see.
No commitment is necessary at this time.
Just come and watch.
Come and start your journey of faith.
Watch and learn the faith of Jesus,.
(3) Secondly, then you talk to other people about Jesus.
At this time, you don’t know much about Jesus.
But still you tell other people about Jesus.
That is what Andrew and Philip did.
They invited other people to come and see.
Philip invited Nathanael.
Andrew invited Peter.
They told others to come and see.
So Peter and Nathanael came and learned about Jesus.
At that time, Andrew and Philip didn't know much about Jesus either.
They didn't know about his future death and resurrection.
They didn’t know many teachings of Jesus.
But they shared with Peter and Nathanael what they found out so far.
Then they learned more about Jesus as they talked with Peter and Nathanael.
They discussed together about what Jesus said.
And they learned more about Jesus.
So, as you share with other people, you learn more about the story of Jesus.
Sometimes, only when you share what you know, you get ahead and learn more.
(3) For example, if you go to Israel, you will see the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea.
These two seas are very interesting.
In Galilee, there is full of life.
There are a lot of trees.
There are a lot of fish.
Many people live around Galilee.
There are fishermen working to catch fish at night.
A lot of children play and swim during the day.
The Jordan River flow through this sea.
The Jordan River flows into the Sea of Galilee and flows out of it.
And it continues to flow into the Dead Sea.
But in the Dead Sea, there is no fish; no tree; no birds flying above.
No people live around the sea.
No animal comes and drinks the water.
Life does not exist here.
So only tourists come and use this place.
At least, that is how people use this place.
Water flows into both seas.
But when the Jordan River comes to the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea does not let go of enough water.
The Dead Sea does not share enough water.
But then the weather is hot.
So water evaporates.
Then the Dead Sea has too much salt in it.
So no fish survives.
That may have some spiritual meaning.
When we share what we receive, there is life inside and out.
When we cannot share what we receive, there is no life inside and out.
When you share what you learn, people may also learn and grow.
When you share what you receive from God, God’s power work in your life. So you understand God even more .
When you share the story of Jesus, you learn more about the working of the Holy Spirit in your life.
(3) So sometimes, I ask you to have a chance to teach a Bible study.
I hope that sometimes, in future, some of you may teach 1st graders, 2nd graders, 3rd graders, 4th graders or 5th graders.
I hope that you can teach them at our next VBS here at the church.
Anyway, I hope that try to share some knowledge that you have about God.
Try to share what you understand and learn from God.
(3) The third step is to learn more about Jesus.
As you share, people may ask you some questions.
You may know the answer.
Or you may not.
So you study more about Jesus.
Or sometimes, you may feel you have nothing more to give.
You have given everything you got.
So you may study more and learn more.
You ask questions and discuss with other teachers.
You study the Bible with good teachers.
In this way, you learn more.
(3) From our Bible text today we read Jesus mentioning about his death for the first time.
When they learned and shared what they knew, now Jesus was guiding them to go deeper.
(4) Fourthly, one day, when you are ready, you will be sent by God to do something.
As you get to know Jesus and as you get to understand your own self in God, you may hear this calling.
(3) But still at this stage, your learning continues.
You continually learn more about who you are in God.
You discover your spiritual gifts.
You discover how you should live.
You gain more conviction.
You get to know how to serve others using your spiritual gifts.
You understand how Jesus may use you and your gifts.
This journey continues, as you learn of Jesus, God and Holy Spirit.
At this stage, you need to learn to pray as well.
You can only learn praying by praying.
There is no other way.
That means, you need to be surprised sometimes, by the fact God really listens to your prayer.
You need that experience.
So you need to learn more about prayer.
As you pray, God will helps you to discover who you are in God.
You will learn this by talking to God.
By talking to God, you may also know personally what God is like.
Then your faith may be matured.
Then you may have peace.
You may be able to rest in God's power.
Now you know more how to communicate with God.
You are not afraid when you come to God in prayer.
You know God is very gentle and good.
(#) Then one day, Jesus may also ask your full commitment.
Jesus may say:
“Be fully committed to God.
Meaning, take up your cross and follow me.”
Jesus may ask you to suffer for the truth.
Jesus may say:
“Stand up for me and for my truth.”
Then you really need the power of the Holy Spirit.
You really need the Holy Spirit empowering you to take up your cross and sacrifice your life for the truth
Your faith may be matured like this.
We may need to repeat this process until we get it right.
Then we may know who Jesus is.
We may know more and more who you are in God.
And you are peaceful about it.
Then you may go even to some nations where there is no church nearby.
But still you will be able to live as a Christian.
You will worship and believe in God.
You know how to share your life.
You know how to serve God and people.
You know how God may use you.
So you may serve God and people according to your calling.
You may have opportunity to serve God.
I hope that you experience this kind of spiritual development.
I pray that you have various opportunity to grow like this.
Jesus, thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit.
Thank you for helping us to serve you with our gifts and talents.
Thank you for guiding us and giving us strength.
Thank you for creating various opportunity for us to know God.
Thank you for using this church so that people may grow in you.
May we be able to learn more of you and serve you.
May we be fruitful in all we do.
In Jesus name, we pray.