Home Faith Higher Ground – “Spiritual Growth” Message from Pastor Robert Stretch

Higher Ground – “Spiritual Growth” Message from Pastor Robert Stretch

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I recently had the privilege of team-teaching the book of Colossians with three other pastors. The church had recently lost its pastor, and we quickly put a team together to preach through Colossians.  I was blessed to be a part of that effort.

The Colossian church was overrun with false teachers. These false teachers’ main premise was that Jesus was not enough. For them it was:  “JESUS CHRIST + ____________________ .”  

The false teachers from a Greek background added philosophy. The Jewish false teachers added legalism, and Paul recognized it because he had been one. The mystical false teachers added mysticism. Those with a background in asceticism added harsh self-denial or even self-harm.

The problem with “JESUS CHRIST + __________________ ideas is that they have no value against our sinful natures. Unfortunately, the Jesus + ___________ crowd is still with us.

The Apostle Paul taught them that Jesus was enough. In verses 6 and 7 of Colossians 2, Paul wrote this:

“Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”

Please notice how Paul described their saving relationship with Jesus. They were to “walk in Him, having been firmly rooted.” When a person trusts Jesus Christ for salvation, a vital union is established between them and Jesus. Through that union, we have a spiritual life. This is not a foreign concept, as Jesus spoke of the “Vine and the branches” in John 15.

Paul then moved to “. . . being built up in Him.” There is to be spiritual growth in the life of each believer. We are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” If we get to the end of 2024 and there is no appreciable growth in Christ, we need to ask ourselves, “Why?”

Paul then spoke of being “established in your faith.” A new believer may be unsteady in their Christian life, but someone who has walked with Christ for years should be “established.” After 44 years in ministry, I can attest that there are too many spiritual toddlers running around.

The last thing Paul wrote about was gratitude. We are to be overflowing with it. Other Bible translations use the word “thankful” or “thankfulness.” This is an area where we can all improve. It’s far easier to gripe and complain than it is to give thanks. Holding an “I’ve been ripped off!” attitude comes easier than having an attitude of gratitude. Being bitter is easier than giving a blessing.

If you read Colossians 2, it becomes obvious that for Paul, it was the following:

JESUS + NOTHING = EVERYTHING

Are you trying to add something to the Lord Jesus Christ? There is no need because you have great spiritual riches in Christ.