â€śGrow in Grace and Knowledge of Christâ€¦â€ť.
March 11, 2017 By Pastor Dave Ryan
“But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” 2 Peter 3:18
In a simple way, Peter completes his astounding second letter to the church, a people with roots going back to creation and stretching toward that day of Eternity with Jesus Christ… a people with quite a heritage and a glorious future. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary as a ministry together, we would do well to hear and keep focused on this simple mission as a local church~ “to grow in grace and knowledge of Christ…”.
“To Grow” implies a beginning and a foundation: We remember in our own 50 years, the sacrifices, faithful ministry and humility in times of testing of those who have served and proclaimed God’s grace at Grace Baptist. However, the foundation of those who began this ministry was rooted in a much larger and deeper foundation of the work of God to give His Word and our Savior to provide the only way to salvation. We have no other foundation other than the holiness of our eternal God and His amazing Gospel of grace in Christ to bring redemption. There are many activities and ministries each year in our church, and each one must continue to be anchored in the Word and Grace of God. Thank you to each one from over the years who has worked hard to teach the Scriptures officially before a group and unofficially through counsel, friendships and relationships as we enjoy blessings and work through testing times together.
“To Grow in Grace” commands us toward a purpose: Our church family enjoys rejoicing together over life celebrations like graduations, births of babies, new jobs, weddings and new accomplishments for our youth. These are all exciting events, but they are thrilling even more so, because they are only beginnings of growth and development toward something better that we pray will mature over time(Ephesians 2:10). In our social gatherings, outreach efforts, building expansion, mission trips and regular gatherings for worship, this purpose must be priority and worked toward. Our priority is not, “Did y’all have a good time?” (though we often do), but “have we grown in the knowledge of Christ and grown in applying His Grace to our lives?”. We desire to work purposefully not just on the beginnings, but even more so on steady growth through the blessings, trials and the “common everyday stuff” to become a mature disciple of Jesus Christ and fruitful servant in His church.
As we consider our own walk with the Lord and also working with one another in serving the Lord, we should ask these questions: a) How would I evaluate the stability and maturity of my relationship with Christ? b) What kind of encouragement, learning, experience is needed to take the next steps in maturing in Grace? c) Who will I seek to learn from and influence in growing in Grace this next month/year? d) Am I actively battling “sluggishness” (Hebrews 6) and staleness in my walk with Christ? (Do I truly know His Grace in my life?) e) Am I actively desiring to be a part of the larger mission Christ has for myself and His Church body together?
We are growing and preparing for an “Eternal Day”: The history of any local church is brief compared God’s larger plan and His Eternal design. Churches (and people) become stale and then deceived when they become more caught up with protecting their historical treasures and goods and less directed by “doing all things to please the Lord whom we will all stand before” (2 Corinthians 5). As GBC celebrates our 50th anniversary, we should look back in gratitude and recognition of praises, examples and lessons to grow from, but may we even more look forward to evaluating our work against God’s unchanging Gospel and mission for His church.
We continue on to Grow in Grace together. What a very good plan Jesus Christ has for His children! He works to awaken us from being dead in our sin to a new life and joy in salvation and relationship with Him. Thankfully, though we come to grace by personal faith, we do not remain alone, but are brought into a family of Christ followers who are all different places in our growth and maturing. We are never “only children” but are given older brothers and sisters to teach us and serve with and younger siblings to care for and encourage in the Gospel of Grace. We grow in God’s grace together and so build up the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-17)
May we strive to grow in the grace of God and knowing Christ in His Word and our through our obedience as we look forward to the greater day when we come before our Lord face to face. May the Lord use us Grace Baptist as faithful messengers of His Gospel in the days to come to make the light of the Gospel known in an increasingly darkened and confused culture. (Philippians 2:12-16)