Growth Requires Nourishment and Exercise 1 Peter 2 2 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Normal growth requires proper nourishment and exercise.
Physical growth is the result of proper nourishment and exercise – physical growth doesn’t happen automatically. When a child is born, it is normal to expect that child to grow, as long as he is eating, drinking and sleeping properly. If he is not growing normally, you can visibly see the effects of malnutrition, undernutrition and poor nutrition. Likewise, you can see the results of proper nutrition and exercise. The results are dramatically different.
Spiritual growth is the result of proper nourishment and exercise – spiritual growth doesn’t happen automatically. We have missionaries that write and ask us to pray for the spiritual growth of their new converts. If these new Christians will read their Bibles [1 Pet 2:2], go to church and follow the preaching and teaching of the word of God [1 Pet 5:2], and exercise themselves unto godliness [1 Tim 4:7-8], exercise their senses through the use of strong meat [Heb 5:14] and endure the exercise of the Lord’s chastening [Heb 12:11], they will grow properly. We can pray for their spiritual growth all night and day; if they don’t come for the food and and if the don’t exercise [Phil 2:12-13], they aren’t going to grow.
Church growth is the result of proper nourishment and exercise – church growth doesn’t happen automatically. You should expect a church to grow if the people in the church are healthy and if the folks will do the work of the ministry. We are nourished by our pastors feeding the flock [Eph 4:11-16; Acts 20:28]. And pastors don’t just feed the flock what the flock wants to eat. We feed you what you need to grow: sound doctrine [2 Tim 4:1-4]. The scripture, which we believe is the King James Bible, “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 3:16-17].
But what is our exercise? Looking at Eph 4:11-16 we see three things that need to grow: our faith [Eph 4:13], our knowledge of the Son of God [Eph 4:13], and our love [Eph 4:15]. You can find these three things in 1 Thes 1:3. They are the work of faith, the labour of love and the patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. In 2 Thes 1:3-4, Paul said, “your faith growth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure.” See their growth?
God has exercised and grown our faith at Bible Believers Baptist Church. Think back to our beginning. In the bunk house, we had one missionary we supported and a weekday radio broadcast and we needed a building to rent. The rent was $1,800 per month and we were praying hard that God would provide for the expenses. Then we outgrew that building and bought land for cash. We were land poor; we had the land and very little money in the bank. Then God provided enough money for us to start building our first building. But we didn’t have the cash on hand to finish once we started. So, we negotiated an interim construction loan, just in case. We never had to draw a dime on the note; God provided every need before it came due. And then we had to build the second building and God had strengthened our faith enough that we didn’t even bother with a loan. We just built what we could afford to build and God provided every penny through his people. Here we are, not even five years later, and you folks gave as much money to missions last year as we had in the bank when we started building the first building. Thank the Lord that he strengthened our faith. And we are confident that he will keep strengthening our faith so that his church can grow.
The Lord has “exercised” and strengthened our love for each other and for lost souls, as well. If we just go out because that is our duty to do [Lk 17:10] we can certainly sow some seed and even see some souls saved. But if we abound in love, telling others about Jesus out of love and compassion for them, the results are going to be noticeably different.
The Lord has increased our knowledge of him, as well. But this exercise is the result of suffering and tribulation. You, who have suffered something through your relationship to Jesus Christ, have grown in your knowledge of him [Phil 3:10]. And your growing knowledge of him has increased your patience. We can’t accomplish what God wants to do through Bible Believers Baptist Church by just running out and doing what we think is best for the church. We must patiently wait as he develops us to do what he wants to do through us. This takes time but this also allows us to continue to enlarge our ministry as he sees fit. This was Paul’s “rule” in the ministry and in Corinth [2 Cor 10:12-18].
Conclusion: I certainly believe that God has more for Bible Believers Baptist Church to do than what we are doing now. And as we grow in faith, love and patience though the knowledge of the Son of God, the Lord will enlarge the ministry. As he did with the Boatman’s, who are now in Beeville, I believe the Lord will raise up others from our midst to “preach the gospel in the regions beyond us.”