Introduction: Theme Series – Equipping the Saints. Eph 4:12
A. What does it mean?
Equip - to furnish or provide with whatever is needed for use or for any undertaking; refitting a ship.
Greek Kartartismos - complete furnishing, equipping (Thayer Lexicon).
“For the mending (repair) of the saints.” (Robertson Word Picture)
Matt 4:21 – James and John “mending” their nets. The word implies something was defective and needs repair to make it useful for its intended use.
The KJV renders this verse, “For the perfecting of the saints”.
Ephesians 4: 12 - Here it means that these various officers were appointed in order that everything in the church might be well arranged or put into its proper place; or that the church might be “complete.”
B. WHY DO WE NEED TO EQUIP THE SAINTS?
So that we may be effective workers in the Lord’s vineyard.
One does not go to the internet to learn how to become a doctor; he enrolls himself in a school to learn it.
Discussion: 2 Peter 3: 18
A. Growth in an individual Christian is not an option; it is a command 2 Pet 1:5-7
After listing these areas of personal growth in a Christians, Peter concludes: For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Pet 1: 8
The word “barren” in Greek means, lazy, idle. Such a person is idle, he is not making diligence to improve himself.
Growth indicates a continuing process. None can say that he has attained perfection and there is nothing left for him to improve on. This person has stopped growing.
The biggest room in this world is the room for improvement.
B. Why do we need to grow?
God expects His children to grow. Heb 5: 12 – 6: 1
The best thing that a Christian can do for himself, for God, for the church and for the elders is to grow.
The Christian Life begins with a Birth. John 3: 3-5; 2 Cor 5: 17; Rom 6: 3-5
But after birth comes growth. If there is no growth after birth, then there is no life.
We would expect babies to grow. He cannot stay in foundation class forever.
The only way to avoid slipping back is to go forward. 1 Pet 2:2; Eph 4: 14
C. What Christian growth is:
It is learning more of what God wants through His Word. Psalm 119: 105
It is being able to do more of what God wants. Matt 25: 20, 21 God does not espect you to give what you do not have.
It is living the life that God wants. Rom 12: 1, 2
D. Growth will result in change.
Physical change in a baby to a man.
Peter: From backsliding to a fiery preacher.
Paul: From the Damascus road to the Roman Road .
John: From the Son of Thunder to the apostle of love.
E. Two important areas Christians must grow. 2 Pet 3: 18
Grow in Grace – living the life that God wants.
Grow in Knowledge – Learning more of what God wants.
F. Why do we need to grow in grace and knowledge?
Grace without knowledge will prevent us from effectively convicting the sinner; an effective personal work worker.
In the same way, knowledge without grace can make us appear as “holier than thou” and turn many away from the message of forgiveness.
G. What does it mean to grow in grace?
It is found in 2 Pet 1: 5-7.
Grace – What first comes to your mind – A graceful swan?
Compare the eagle and a swan.
Let your speech be with grace - Col 4:6 – Pleasant, kind, sweet.
It means, to grow in favour with God and men. Lk 2: 52
How does one grow in favour with God and men?
Growth in grace is a gradual and continuous process. It takes time.
One may advance rapidly in knowledge, and yet make no advances in grace.
One cannot be said to grow in grace with God and yet not growing in grace with men.
To grow in grace means one’s life is in line with God and with men. That person has a right vertical relationship with God and a right horizontal relationship with men. Gal 5: 22, 23; 2 Pet 1: 5-10
H. Evidence of growth in greace - A change in life.
Outward - An increase in love for the brethren.
Upward - A continual desire for God.
Inward – A new creature; a renewed self.
I. Grace versus knowledge
Growth in the knowledge of God is a condition of growth in His favour. We can grow in knowledge, without growing in His favour, but we cannot grow in His favour without growing in His knowledge. Hosea 4:6; John 8:31; 2 Pet 1: 8
A person may grow ever so much in knowledge, and have no grace at all.
We cannot grow in grace without increasing in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ – “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Col 1:9-10
J. Why do we need to grow in knowledge?
A knowledge of God promotes a “unity of the faith” Eph 4: 13
We will no longer be like “children toss to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine.” Eph 4: 14
We will know the truth and speak the truth in love and grow up in Christ Jesus. Eph 4: 15
We will be able teacher for God. Heb 5: 12-14
We will grow in our faith. John 20: 30, 31
We will be able to test the spirit. 1 John 4: 1
We will be able to defend the truth. 1 Pet 3: 15
K. How do we grow in knowledge? 1 Pet 2: 2
Growth in the knowledge of God requires patience and a teachable spirit. 2 Tim 2:15
One needs to mediate on the word of God daily. Psalm 1: 2; 119: 97
Peter’s key word in his second epistle: Remembrance. 2 Pet 1: 12, 13, 15
All too soon, we forget what we have learned and studied.
We need to be diligent in our studies of God’s words lest we forget.
A. Evidence of one who is growing in grace and knowledge
An increase in the knowledge of God. Heb 8: 11
Increase benevolent towards one another. Eph 4: 32
Increase faith in God. Rom 10: 17; Heb 5: 13, 14
An effective worker for God. Eph 4: 12; 2 Tim 2: 20, 21