Importance of spiritual growth is needed due to ushering in of policies that are characteristic of the Church of the Laodiceans, as revealed by the Apostle John, in the Book of Revelations.
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would (wish) you were cold or hot. Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold not hot, I will spew you out of my mouth (reject you) (Revelation 3:15-16). As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent (Revelation 3:19). It was noted that the church's name "Laodicean" means "People Ruling" and represents the unbelieving, materialistic church of all ages.
An invitation was extended by the Lord: I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup (dine) with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:20). The importance of spiritual growth is amply identified in these verses rather than continue in the same condition that would bring rejection and judgment!
The importance of spiritual growth is identified by Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, who warned of those who would bring falsehoods: I give all diligence to write to you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith, which was once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).
It was noted that Jude was forced by developments in the church to pen this earnest exhortation. Jude identified Christian faith as definite, unchanging, and unchangeable. He wrote to Christians whose ranks had been infiltrated by false teaching; misled by those peddling a message that promoted moral laxity and destructive pride.
In a prophecy given in a Camp Meeting were these words: When I visit My people in mighty revival power, it is to prepare them for the darkness ahead. With the glory shall come great darkness, for the glory is to prepare My people for the darkness, I will enable My people to go through because of the visitation of My Spirit. In the last days shall come seducing spirits that shall turn many of My anointed ones away. Many shall fall through divers (various) lusts and because of sin abounding.
But if you will seek Me diligently, I will put My spirit within you. When one shall turn to the right hand or the left you shall not turn with them, but keep your eyes wholly on the Lord. After I have visited My people, the way shall become more and more narrow and fewer shall walk therein. But be not deceived, the ways of righteousness are My ways. For though Satan becomes as an angel of light hearken not to him; for those who perform miracles and speak not righteousness are not of Me.
There has been a walking away from the Unadulterated (Pure) Word of God by nations that once stood firmly planted on God’s Word! Jude revealed: There are certain men crept in unawares (unnoticed), who were before (long ago) of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness (license to immorality), and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4).
These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaking great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage (flattering to gain advantage). These be they who separate themselves (cause divisions), sensual (worldly), having not the Spirit (Jude 1:18-19).
Importance of spiritual growth is that one may be able to detect truth versus deceitful words that can endanger one’s spiritual growth and testimony. Many nations, and individuals, have veered off the pathway of righteousness established in God’s Word, towards acceptance of adulterous ways that divorces one from God’s righteous ways.
Jude warned of the fallacy of such in giving reference to God’s destroying those that believed not; or failed to practice His righteous ways, in writing: Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication (sexual immorality), and going after strange flesh (homosexuality), are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance (punishment) of eternal fire (Jude 1:7).
The importance of spiritual growth is identified; rather the lack thereof in bringing immorality in the land, with a Sodom and Gomorrah agenda that is gaining in momentum rather than being condemned! It was noted that Sodom and Gomorrah is mentioned often in Scriptures as example of God’s severe judgment on sexual sin, in particular sexual perversion.
Immorality had entered in the ranks of believers; whom Jude as previously noted were of old ordained to this condemnation (to be not caught unaware of such developments). God’s Word clearly condemns the adulterous practices in effect today; that has now escalated!
Importance of spiritual growth is the key to offset the immoral practices that have polluted the land and even the church in some cases. A genuine God-inspired, God-ordained, Spirit-filled revival is needed to enhance spiritual growth once again. Satan inspired activities, with immorality placed on the plate of acceptance, need to be exposed for what they are, by the Word of God being taught and preached to its fullness not just the niceties that would tickled the ear.
The Apostle Paul warned Timothy, a young evangelist: The time will come when they (the people) will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears they shall turn away their ears (hearing) from the truth, and shall be turned into fables (that which is fictitious).
Watch in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of your ministry (2 Timothy 4:3-5). Preach the word, be instant (ready) in season, of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2). It was noted that preaching is the God-ordained means to prevent defection from the truth (stressing the importance of spiritual growth). Those who appeal to itching ears tell people what they want to hear not what they need to hear.
It was noted that the church is now being tempted to pursue social status rather than sanctification (being set apart unto God), financial security rather than sacrifice, prestige rather than the presence of God, and respectability rather than the moving of God’s Spirit.
In a sermon entitled “Little Foxes” it was noted that almost as fast as the church grows in efficiency for labor she drifts into worldliness in one way or another and all because of fostered pride and love of pleasure. Those who have been responsible for the housekeeping in the church have not been watchful enough and let the little foxes creep into the vineyard and now they are so numerous and big that they cannot be driven out by ordinary methods of teaching and warning, for they well-nigh have possession of the vineyard (Noah H. Mack).
It was noted that things which once would have shocked Christians are now commonplace. There is much that does not disturb the church like it once did. Many Christians have been lulled into believing that all is well. There may be small victories, a revival here, a church doing a good work there, but where is the moral change necessary to petition God for a new reformation or another great awakening?
The importance of spiritual growth is stressed so that the seed of corruption will not flourish. It was noted that the sum of the whole matter is that our civilization cannot survive unless it is redeemed spiritually (Woodrow Wilson).
There is an inroad towards immorality as in the pre-Flood days of Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Babylon the hold of every foul spirit stressing the importance of spiritual growth towards the righteousness of God. Unrighteousness is knocking at the door, towards a pathway of acceptance, rather than reproach of ungodly lifestyles condemned in God’s Word!
The culture of yesteryear use to condemn ungodly behavior rather than embrace it. There is a movement to silence any opposition towards the ungodliness of man; by laws and rulings to accommodate rather than condemn such activity.
The Prophet Isaiah revealed: With my soul have I desired in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek you (God) early; for when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness (stressing importance of spiritual growth) (Isaiah 26:9).
It was noted that while others were asleep, in the times of darkness, the spirit that was within those awake to what was happening, were intense in spirit and eagerness of soul in seeking the Lord. We are seeing pestilence, famine, sword, and the like, but unfortunately it is not awakening the need for the righteousness of God and salvation of the soul; Isaiah’s call was to learn the righteousness of God, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in an adulterous generation.
Apostle John wrote: He that keeps his (God’s) commandments dwells in him, and he in them. And thereby we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given to us (1 John 3:24). Apostle Paul: Let us hold fast the profession (confession) of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised (Hebrews 10:23).
Wherefore seeing (since) we are compassed (surrounded) about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset (ensnare) us, and let us run with patience (perseverance) the race that is set before us; looking to Jesus, the author (originator) and finisher (perfecter) of our faith (stressing the importance of spiritual growth) (Hebrews 12:1-2).
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