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The Secret to Spiritual Growth

Brian Hindman

Presenter

Brian Hindman

History and Bible Teacher, Mount Pisgah Academy

Recorded

  • July 21, 2018
    12:45 PM
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Well this morning our subject is the secret of spiritual growth is it a secret not really. But how is your experience the Bible says and so your Corinthians 13 and verse 5 it says Examine yourselves not somebody else it's easy to point fingers other people examine yourself whether you be in the faith prove your own selves know you not your own selves how that Jesus Christ and His Life and Character is in you except to be reprobates that is what we want to do today is to examine ourselves and see do we really have the life of Christ living in us because if we do there will be a growing aspect to our lives ever felt like your Christianity was. And I'm here to appeal to you as a brother who has gone down and been in some of these situations before ashamedly So what I want to encourage you and speak from a point of encouragement from the Word of God this morning that God designs for us to grow and continue developing in His great love for us well there's a story about a man named Simeon who was an ascetic monk who lived way back in the area of Syria what is today modern day Syria over in the Middle East back in the 30480 and he was known for being very withdrawn from people around him in fact he became famous because he wanted to get away from people and he climbed up on a 9 foot tall pillar so that he could stay away and not have to talk and pray with people literally to not have to pray with them and answer spiritual questions you know as a monkey or a religious person and he wanted to be so devoted to studying and learning himself that he didn't want to be interfered with by other people now that's not like us is it of course not and as things went on his reputation grew and so more people came out to see him. Which only perturbed him and caused him further annoyance and so he decided to get on an even taller pillar Some say it was taller than 50 feet 50 feet tall suspended up in the air on a small one metre square or about 3 feet by 3 feet the top pillar and he stayed up there and people would still come and try to see him and look at him and it was said that he would begrudgingly talk to people they climbed a ladder and were within shouting distance of him in the afternoon sometimes on one occasion simians mother came to see him and simians mother was told You cannot see and talk to him he's not seeing and talking to people and so he would not even allow his mother to come up and see him and he continued to do this for 37 years. 37 years to the point of where he actually died on the pillar on this column they don't ask me how he got food and took care of other things but evidently people would send up food somehow with a pulley or I don't I'm not even sure I don't that's not important but he spent the last 37 years of his life separated and isolated from as many people as possible and this was a religious fervor that he had that he thought compelled him to do this but is that what Jesus asks for us to do course not right thank you young man up on the balcony Jesus tells us very plainly he says Ye you my followers all of my faithful believers are the light of the world a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel but on a candle stick and I give it a light unto all that are in the house I mean did we learn that in creator role this little light of mine I'm going to let it shine let it shine I mean light being a metaphor and a symbol for truth and the good news of the Gospel continuing Jesus says Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven yes Jesus designs for us not to shut our selves away and sequester ourselves in monasteries or in convents but to rather be a light of example to those around us wherever we find ourselves in the Psalms we read this council the righteous shall flourish like the palm tree and he or she shall grow like a cedar in Lebannon cedar in Lebanon is a mighty majestic powerful tree and that promise is that the righteous not will grow or could grow but they shall grow it will happen we all know that Jesus has given us a commission right he's given us a commission to go and. In marks 1516 were more familiar maybe with Matthew 28 go either for and teach all nations but I kind of like Mark's account of this story it's kind of succinct and simply says this Jesus is quoted and says Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature preach the gospel the gospel the good news that is the essence of Christianity is to share the good news with every created living being that is human beings that God is created on Earth that would include our neighbors across the street not to mention our colleagues at work and pretty much everyone else around our sphere of influence that is everyone around us but what are the excuses that we make for not sharing our light for not sharing and fulfilling the commission that God has given to us Well there are many beginning with maybe I don't know enough I don't know enough information and so I don't have the Bible memorized yet so I can't share with anyone. Well I have a Bible verse for that we're counseled to study to show ourselves approved on to God we're continually to be studying but we're also continually to be giving and sharing what we study and learn however small it might be with whoever is around us well some say well you know it's not just my thing it's not my personality I don't you know relate well with people and that might be true there's some people that are more extroverted than others I understand but amazingly the Bible says it's like a Corinthians 517 that if anyone is connected to Jesus they are a new creation all things are passed away maybe the old way of it's not my thing it says behold all things are become new and if everything is become new I think included in that is the desire and a willingness Whether it's difficult or not to share the Good News of the gospel with someone around our sphere of influence Well what about this when I'm too scared or I'm too nervous I get nervous and scared sharing with people that's OK because God has promised I can do all things through Christ would strengthen with me always in a connection with him we have the power to do things that might seem scary yes I have gone door knocking in California and we had to keep record when I was an amazing facts and knocked on over a 1000 doors during my time there and it's a hard way to get a Bible study I'll say I mean I'll It's a hard way I had many doors slammed in my face but there were always there were always soem however small a number that were responsive and were receptive to an invitation to study and to find out more about God's word and I got to tell you that that one or IT or 2 persons made all the door slams all the Get off my property what are you doing I'm going to call the police all of it just sank into insignificance because of one person who was interested in knowing the precious true is that we know and hold so dearly from the. What about this excuse what if I make a mistake you probably will I've made mistakes God you know he knows that we all have weaknesses but he will make up the difference right he will help us in fact he says it's like with these 129 that my grace is sufficient for you for my strength God says is made perfect in weakness so that's a good thing as we recognize our weakness in being able to share the precious truth is that we believe in God can help us if we ask him to do so and then here might be another one that's a little more sad in a way that I don't have time I have other priorities I have a different focus in life now the Bible says of Libyans 23 and 4 that we should consider others better than ourselves flippy as to verse 4 says Look not every man on his own things but every man also on the things of others that is the counsel given to us in the Bible that I should be more interested in looking out for the things that are going on in the lives of the people around me than what's on my plate what I have to do what's my what are all of my issues and challenges and those will always be there but those also too will sink into insignificance as we are busy about the master's business well ultimately what is the motivation it has to be a love for Jesus and a love for those that he died for Jesus loves everyone I spent all this week at Vacation Bible School sharing with kids about how Jesus loves all the children of the world red and yellow black and white all are precious in His sight and in repeating that that statement it was strengthened in my own mind in my own heart that yes Jesus loves the children of the world and we as adults are children as well we're just big kids that still need to sit on Jesus' lap and have his wonderful face shine upon us the Bible says a cigarette these 5 years 14 for the love of Christ constrain with us. That is it compels and motivates and drives us that is the driving factor and motivation in all that we do and all that we say it is the love of Jesus and then it also says in 1st John 3 Verse 14 These are powerful words how do we know that we really have a connection with Jesus that the Apostle John writes and tells us that we know that we really have a connection and a saving growing relationship with Jesus because of this 1st John 314 we know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren because of our love for other people and those that Jesus died for that is an evidence that we really truly ourselves have passed from death into life and that we are connected to Jesus he that loveth not his brother abideth in death well there are actually 2 kinds of evangelism if the word evangelism just means good news the good news along with the gospel the gospel is the good news not everyone is called to publicly preach or teach the gospel in holding evangelistic meetings not everyone we're told is called to do this but everyone is called in some way to make a priority a high priority and I would submit the highest priority to be an example an influence and a witness to everyone around us and to find some way to share the Good News of the gospel with him in some way or another I heard a story a long time ago from Pastor MARK FINDLAY and he was talking about when the communism fell in the Soviet Union in 1901 and they began to allow missionaries to go into formerly what had not been a place where missionaries could go in Russia because Christianity was not allowed and as he went and was was being able to hold meetings there after a period of time several years or so he got news and heard about a man who. Was the high is sole winner in Russia and I think he had heard that this man had brought it was either hundreds or maybe thousands and I haven't heard the story in a while I don't want to miss tell it but I think it was an incredible number might have been as high as several 1000 people had been baptized as a direct result of this man's influence and what he was doing and so Mark Finley of course naturally wanted to meet him and find out what is he doing how is he doing this and so eventually I guess arrangements were made and when he met this may in the guy was just a short fellow was a blue collar worker wasn't necessary I mean a white collar sophisticated highly educated person and Pastor finally said How how are you leading so many people to Jesus what is it that you're doing please tell me and so the man evidently just did something like this and Pastor Finley was like What is that what is this what does that mean and so the man took him over to the V.C.R. and took a tape of Pastor Finley sermons and just took and pushed it into the V.C.R. and pushed play and says I invite people to come here you preach. That's it that was all so even though he himself wasn't a public preacher and evangelist he just simply says I know who it is and I'll put on a video of someone who is preaching the truth and then I'll invite people to come and hear it so they can hear the good news and be inspired about the truth is that I know I might not be able to explain it as well as Pastor Finley but I'll do the next best thing and put in a video of him so I thought that was incredible that something as simple as just putting in a video cassette can result in many many people being baptized What is it that we can do what small thing what little thing seemingly little can we do that will be an influence to help others what is the secret let's read about the secret this explain and articulated very nicely here in signs of the Times June 12th 1001. The serve the Lord inspired testimony says this one of the divine plans for growth is impartation Yes it's important to study we must do that and not neglect that it's important to pray we must do that and not neglect that but there was a time in my life when I did those things but I still didn't notice or see or realize any real excitement and growth in my experience it's she says the Christian is to gain strength by strengthening others and then she quotes Proverbs 1125 he that water it shall be watered also himself and then continuing it says this This is not merely a promise he that water it or nurtures or blesses others will himself or herself also be watered this is not merely a promise it is a divine law all a fixed law of God divine a law by which God designs that the streams of benevolence like the waters of the great deep shall be kept in constant circulation continually flowing back to their source and then the final sentence says in the fulfilling of this law the law of imparting the whatever we know what amounts of truth we have studied for ourselves in fulfilling this law is the secret of spiritual growth and that's the title of our message today that is the secret imparting and sharing in how whatever measure we know and understand to others that will help our own experience to grow and that's what I think all of us are eager and anxious to do and I am excited that our church has been so supportive of missions and this project that we're working on with Peru thank you Zach and for Chris and all that have supported and given to this project it's so vital to our own growth and I encourage you maybe if there's been a stagnation in your spiritual experience to consider going on a mission trip because that will fire you up like very few things can to go in a place where people have very little. And yet they are excited about the gospel the book actually apostle simply says this strength to resist evil is best gained by aggressive service the strength to overcome the challenges and obstacles in our lives if I just keep it to myself and I just stay in my room and I'm reading and studying and those are good but I neglect to be to be thoughtful and intentional about sharing an outreaching to someone then there's not going to be the same strength that is gained by being an example and witnessing with other people this is a one day church being put up in Africa also we're told in Christ object lesson the Lord desires us to use every gift we have and if we do this we shall have greater gifts to use in other words it works by multiplication as we use the little amount that we might think we have God will bless and multiply and increase the talents and the gifts that we have to even greater talents and abilities he does not supernaturally endow us with the qualifications that we lack but while we use that which we have he will work with us to increase and strengthen every faculty by every wholehearted earnest sacrifice for the Master's service our powers will increase and that's what I longed to have everyone in our church experience it is such a blessing to share with others and I know all of us are not called to be dug bachelor MARK FINDLAY but we're told testimonies for the church here volume 5 all can do something in the work and none of us can shift our responsibility to someone else all of us can do something the Lord needs all from the officers to the rank and file soldiers we are all soldiers for Christ and we are all called in commission given the same marching orders to do something that will help others and to help them know what God wants them to know about the precious truth that we have well are ours getting late and I'm going to try to make some of these kind of quickly I want to share at least of a few things a personal testimony about how myself you know for years I would read. And study in was a was learning things but there was no real power in my Christian life and I couldn't put my finger on what was missing well what was missing was the fact that I was not really sharing that with anyone just keeping it to yourself that really it was not flowing in and out there was not a channel of sharing and blessing to other people and so I decided to try to find and start a Bible study group so I did I put out some flyers at a place a public place and on the 1st night I was all excited I was in I was eager and I had one couple that came just one and I had all this information all these facts and all these notes for this Bible study and it was 11 couple that came and the man was a nice fellow They were friendly but he disagreed with everything I said. It was so hard for me but I studied with with him for about 2 years and eventually he got so upset at me that he said I didn't want to study with you anymore I never rip repelled him or said anything hostile or angry to him but that was the beginning of realizing and during that time I think the Lord helped prepare me for anyone else that might come after that because I mean literally everything I said every point every Bible verse he took a different way he saw it differently know what you know no you're wrong this is not and so I had to humble myself and my faith was just it was getting pummeled in a way trying to share the things that I thought were so precious and clear that was not so precious and clear to this man but evidently he liked me enough that he would keep coming week after week and in doing that though it only inspired me to want to reach out to more people and so beginning to reach out to our neighbors our neighbors my wife is braver than I am and she had the idea of trying to make some food which is always a winning idea I think to share with your neighbor some apple crisp and we have to bachelor's that have been our neighbors next to us one guy comes out and and shoots we've had some snakes around our and he comes and shoots snakes in the in the middle the day time we're shooting right next to the house and just trying to shoot snakes a little bit a little bit crazy but that's OK When my wife gave him the apple crisp the guy just melted I mean he's all tough guy me looks all of me and got it of a tank top and is all rough and tough looking and here comes my little wife and I'm just kind of trailing along behind her and when she. You're a you go 1st and but when when she when she got this he was like I'm going to go to us that she thought these guys will get homemade food I'm going to try to make some food for him and so the guy was like I'm going to go to get some ice cream so I can put on this this is so wonderful this is great and it really just softened and just brought about a just a simple warmth with with us and in this fellow which we've kind of been afraid of and still have been a little bit scared of him and and the other guy at the end the end of the road he also is a single fellow younger man and when my wife brought the apple crisp to him his dogs were barking and I thought they were going to tear us apart and anyway comes out and he starts apologizing for not talking to us 1st and I thought we waited how many months and how long we waited to reach out to our neighbors and so anyway that was I was very exciting in to them to come to some of our meetings last year and they didn't come but at least they know that we care about them and so it starts with letting people know that you care but I'm always hoping and have and I of getting the gospel to them in some way I want to get to that and so also there's a few places I like to eat and I like Mexican food and so I've gone to Mary's burrito over here a number of times so they kind of know me when I come in there and there's a young man that is usually fixing the food and I was like I got to do something for this guy and so I got a Spanish Steps to Christ and he's a young fellow he's either maybe early twenty's or so and I gave it to him and he likes soccer and so I try to keep up with a little bit of soccer just so I can talk to him and even this week I talk with him in. Showing me pictures on his phone of his car and then other customers will come in I have to make food for them and they'll come out to the table and talk to me and so I'm trying to build up a reporter so that I can you know just see how it goes and maybe be able to start Bible studies with them I don't know but I'm looking for ways I'm just trying to be practical now. There's a place I go to get my hair over here at great clips by by Wal-Mart at Sam's Club and I've been going to this this one lady that she has a good job I'm I don't have much here for you can see it obviously and I've been going to her again and again I request her and so I began to build up a report with her and she knows I'm a pastor and she knows that I'm here and I've kind of gently invited her to come to our church and you all think about it in will see I think she's 25 and she just got married she'd been living with her boyfriend for about 2 years and they just decided to get married kind of out of the blue just 2 weeks ago and she said I almost called to see if you could come and do the service but I was I was away and so I was like all that would have been amazing in and I found out that she needs a washing machine so if any of you know of have an extra washing machine or something see me afterwards I'd love to be able to to do something in so I try to talk with her in just a Right now that's just where we're at I know she has a cat I always talk to about a cast I'm just trying to be interested in her life but I'm running out of hair so if I do not a hair. I'm not going to have time to cue keep going back there and it might seem strange if I show up without any hair and I'm still want us here to talk and so I'm trying to keep keep moving forward but I want to encourage you that there's something that someone that you know even in places like where you get your haircut or places that you maybe like to eat that and there's another Mexican restaurant that my wife and I like to eat at up 100 a road and we've taken them Spanish great controversies and they were very thankful and very excited about that and so we're just waiting to see how that will work out and I just come and just smile and try to talk when I can in any way God's appeal to you and me is to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to him be glory both now and forever amen the apostle says at the very close of psycho Peter $318.00 but grow the principal action of the Christian is a growing action there is no plateau or standstill it is always moving forward and speaking of moving forward I want to close with this story about a tremendous person that is a tremendous inspiration to many people who is famous for saying I will go in a direction so long as it's forward some of you many of you may have heard of David Livingston he lived in the 800 he was a a Scottish Christian medical doctor missionary and explorer and while he was in medical school he heard one of his teachers talking about the need for Africa how at the time Africa was a continent that was largely unchurched and unopened and unknown to to Christianity and so his teacher would say something like I have and he had been to Africa I have seen the smoke from a 1000 fires over the horizon in Africa all of which are villages who have never heard the name of Christ and again and again he would hear this smoke of a 1000 Villages all who have never heard the name of Christ and he. I was motivated to say what can I do and go and reach these people who've not heard the name of Christ and so at a young age he decided to go and help those in Africa well when he went it didn't take long when he went with some other missionaries before he realized these other missionaries they just wanted to set up a nice outpost and a nice home and just kind of live comfortably and not really push into the the real difficult areas where people were at and so he actually I'm quoting he called them verandah missionaries because they just want to hang out on the veranda where it was nice and cozy and comfortable and not go where the people that really needed help were and so Livingston all along he's exploring he's doing evangelism he's doing medical missionary work all along passing out tracks and Bibles. And he continued to go forward while as he was moving along and going forward he got married and had several children and several of his children after he had them they died from malaria malaria is a real problem there in Africa and his wife also got sick with malaria and so he sent her back home to Scotland but he said I'm a stay in Africa because there are people that need to hear about Jesus Christ now on one occasion he was attacked by a lion and he lost the use of his left arm really for the rest for the rest of his life it really was not is not really is useful but there were some natives that actually came to his aid this lion jumped or attacked on him and he was able to escape with his life. Well after 8 years away his wife Mary returned 861 Notice I said she was gone for 8 years and he is all on his own doing work to reach people that need to know about Jesus Christ well after she returned after just a few months they were on an expedition up the sand B.Z. river and she got malaria again and this time she died and this really was hard for David Livingston because he really did love his wife his wife was a precious lady and she understood the thinking of her husband and his motivation above all else to save souls and so she was united with him in that work together to save souls but he was really devastated upon the loss of his wife and he made these words this comet he says I will go anywhere provided it be forward anywhere anywhere with Jesus as long as Jesus is with I'll go anywhere as long as it's forward and so it has been estimated that David Livingston traveled 29000 miles in Africa all the while exploring and trying to spread the gospel. Well he contract malaria many times but then one time in 873 he contracted malaria at the age of 60 and this time he did not recover in fact the story goes that he was in his small hut or tent rather I think this artist drawing is showing a hut I think was a tent even very few low on supplies and his attendants were or outside sleeping outside and they waited waited waited for him all night they waited for him to come out and they finally got the courage to go up and go and go in and get him and you can see from this artist drawing they found him he had gotten up and had been praying and he actually died while kneeling in prayer praying that God would help him and strengthen him to go forward in sharing the gospel in Africa will his 2 loyalist attendants actually took the body and they took his heart out and they buried it near where he had died and then the body was taken and shipped back to England where it was buried with the kings and queens in Westminster Abbey where it still is today. You know David Livingston is an example of what I think is just a full commitment to God a desire to say Lord where Here are my send me 68 I heard the voice of the Lord saying whom shall I sin and who will go for us and then the response of the prophet Isaiah was then said I Here am I Send me send me across the street to my neighbor send me to my colleagues it works in me to whoever wherever and whoever cuts my hair whoever comes my gas or were ever they are sin me and so I'm going to just a few of the quote the David Livingston said that or I share these to encourage and inspire all of us myself included he said God send me anywhere only go with me lay any burden on me only sustain me and sever any tie in my heart except the tie that binds my heart to yours any tie of anything that would be a distraction from my love and dedication to you sever that. Then they will live instead if you have men who will only come that is come to Africa if they know there is a good road I don't want them I want men who will come if there is no road at all that was the character of David Livingston then finally he says all that I am I owe to Jesus Christ revealed to me in his divine book yes he studied the Bible and we don't ever want to Glenn that that is a foundation for our faith but he he studied his Bible and had a love for Jesus and says I want to follow and share Jesus wherever I go yes dis morning Jesus is bidding all of us to follow me follow me in a call to Personal Evangelism and I'll close with these 2 verses Mark $1045.00 says for even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister that is he came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom as a purchase price redemption for many many people in fact is for all of us that purchase price that was paid that was his mindset that was his attitude and Luke 640 Jesus tells us these words the disciple is not above his master but every one that is perfect shall be as his master this morning I want to be like Jesus I want to have his love in my heart for everyone around me I want to be led by him day by day moment by moment to be a blessing and an influence to reach out to everyone around me no matter where they are no matter where I find myself and so this morning I just want to encourage you to follow Jesus in his example of service will Father in Heaven Lord all that we would have more grace to trust in Jesus to lead us faithfully and that guy this of those who need to hear a word a message of truth to comfort and to support and to be a blessing to those who need the promises and the blessings that have been poured out upon us what I pray for all of my brothers and sisters Lord as she would lead us and guide us. This coming week to be a witness for you will go anywhere so long as this with Jesus and so long as forward with Him bless us now I pray in Jesus' name amen and amen this media was brought to you by audio force a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermon leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.

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