Institutional First Baptist Church Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr
Delivered On
July 27, 2014 at 10:45 AM
The Challenge of Growing Up
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr. Sunday July 27, 2014
The Challenge of Growing Up
2nd Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever.”
All forms of life have a cycle of growth. Each has a beginning, a period 
of development, and ultimately a time of decline. The human cycle of growth 
consists of infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle age, and old 
age which is the final stage of growth. 
Both the expectation of growth and the prospects for growth require 
time, provisions, nurture, and favorable natural conditions. Within the 
farming communities, the crops have withered, the cattle are losing weight, 
the water supply is dwindling - are because of a prolonged drought. This 
exceptionally hot weather is also placing stress on the human community, 
especially the elderly and those persons unable to afford an air conditioner. 
In view of this prolonged drought and our continuing obligations to 
move about during this hot weather, it is possible that many of us might 
become lethargic, hostile, and over indulge in the wrong type of beverage to 
keep cool. Such a decision is risky because the liquids might cool our body 
but heat our head. 
From a slightly different angle, our Scripture today addresses the need
for growth even in time of religious drought and the heat of opposition. Our 
sermon, in this connection, will address the need of Christian growth notwith 
standing the fact that it is far from being an easy task. 
The sermon is undergirded by the following objectives: 1. to reemphasize 
the expectancy of growth, 2. to identify some deterrent to growth, and 3. to 
list some consequences of growth. 
As a background for addressing these objectives, brief attention will be 
focused on the word growth. Essentially, this word refers to a noticeable 
change in direction. It is often measures in terms of size, weight, and height. 
Growth can also be reflected in behaviors that include performance on tests, 
actions under stress, and general outlook on life. Additionally, growth can be 
discerned by attitudes and responses within the religious community. Growth 
was a topic of recurring interest in the New Testament. Luke, for example, 
wrote about the growth of Jesus; he described him as being waxed strong in 
spirit, filled with wisdom, and the Grace of God was upon him ( Luke 2:40 ) 
Saint Paul, also, had a concern for human growth; hence, he wrote, “When I 
was a child I thought as a child, I understood as a child, But when I became 
a man I put away childless things ( 1 Cor. 13:11 ). Lastly, Peter - in our text 
today - wrote about growth; he called upon Christians to “...grow in the grace 
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” ( 2nd Peter 3:18 ). 
Against these three of many Scriptures that teach the necessity of 
growth, there is an urgent need for Christians to embrace the obligation 
to grow, to maintain at least a mental record of the growth, and to avoid - 
those forces that reduce, if not prevent, growth. As indicated earlier, our 
sermon today, entitled, The Challenge of Growing, will address three aspects 
of this process. 
The first consideration is The kind of growth commended by Peter. 
Although the normal person must attain physical, social, and emotional, 
growth, our text talks about another type of growth. It seems that Peter 
recognized these types of growth because, as noted in the text, he wrote, 
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. 
This type of growth causes a person to be happy, helpful to others, and 
appreciative to the Lord for life and an opportunity to grow spiritually. Through 
growing in grace, a person’s character become more Christ like. 
In addition to growing in grace, our text calls upon us to grow in the 
knowledge of Christ. By this type of growth, we are able to know more of Jesus 
and, at the same time, to draw closer to his bleeding side. As we grow in the 
knowledge of Christ we learn to trust and obey him. Then, as any growing 
process shows, we become stronger and stronger as the days go by. 
While growth is desirable, it does include several requirements; there- 
fore, our sermon will now explore some of them. First, there is a need to be 
firmly rooted if proper growth is to occur. The plant must be rooted in the 
ground in order to grow. In a similar manner, the Christian must be rooted 
in Christ as the source of growth. Next, growth requires suitable food for 
development. The Christian foods include: faith, love, prayer, conviction, 
trust, and forgiveness. When we feast too lightly on these essential foods, 
we become undernourished. It is a sad fact the too many people dine on 
gossip, envy, and anger. Such persons are losing Christian weight and
becoming bloated with self righteousness. 
While suitable foods may be available, the Christian must utilized 
energies produced by consuming them. The activities include both work 
and play. Increasingly, we hear references to the need for exercise; however, 
the fact is that we are somewhat indifferent about exercises. Within this 
context, we can eat us the gospel on Sunday, talk about it Monday, and 
do nothing constructive with it from Tuesday until the next Sunday. 
Finally, what are the consequences of Christian growth? The first is 
that of a warm character, a cordial person, a God fearing individual. This 
is the spiritual consequence of Christian growth. Next, is the indication of 
what we have outgrown. Paul wrote, but when I became a child, I put away 
childless things. Have we grown to the point that criticisms and injustices 
from others no longer cause us to grieve? Have we grown to the point that 
delayed answers to our prayers cause us to doubt the that we are getting 
through to God? Lastly, Christian growth enables us to resist temptation. 
We are surrounded by countless forces that seek to draw us away from 
principles of Christianity. The Television, theaters, videos, nightclubs, 
and illicit sexual activities - are but a few of the worldly attractions that 
represent temptation. But let us always remember that we yield to 
temptation by one of three weaknesses: hunger, vanity, greed. Beloved, 
let us not worry about the problems of the world because our text today 
has given us a solution for them - grow in grace and knowledge of our 
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen!
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