Mature Class Study, teacher Edith Tolbert.
To grow in grace is a command and is necessary. Growing in grace is gradual and not instantaneous.
II Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory…
Growing is difficult because we grow through our trials and tribulations. Trials and tribulation work our faith. God wants our faith worked so it grows and we have patience in hard times. God wants us to have joy and thanksgiving in that time. If we have patience in our tribulation, God helps us. We have to crawl before we walk. Babies learn to crawl first. When they to learn to walk, they fall down but get right back up. That’s what God wants us to do as babes in Christ when we get saved. We don’t obey one day and then we’re fully grown and mature the next day. It’s over a gradual process.
James 1:3-4 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
God’s grace has appeared to all men. When people are accountable in knowing they have sinned, God deals with them.
Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
The grace of God teaches us how to live. It teaches us to abstain from all appearance of evil and everything unlike God.
Titus 2:12 (Amplified Classic) It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world,
Paul said one plants and another waters, but God gives the increase (I Corinthians 3:6-7). He was saying you can’t do anything without God. God helps us grow when we’re grafted into the vine, we can bear fruit. Our part like a baby is to desire the sincere milk of the word. Babies eat and drink, then they grow. They don’t strive to grow. They do what they’re supposed to do so God automatically helps them grow if they’re healthy. God helps us grow in the same way if we do what he wants.
John 15:4-5…As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me…bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
When we repent and the grace of God deals with our heart, God wants godly sorrow and not worldly sorrow. With godly sorrow we’re really sorry we sinned against God and for all the wrong we did in our life. With worldly sorrow, people are sorry they got caught but don’t want to correct what they got caught about. Godly sorrow brings real repentance.
II Corinthians 7:9-10 Now I rejoice…that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner…For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
Godly sorrow brings a carefulness about what we do and we just want to please God. We’ll be careful about how we talk. We’re not going to lie anymore. We don’t cheat or steal or do other bad things we did before. We’re indignant when the devil tries to get us to go back to our sinful life. We have a great desire to please God, a zeal and enthusiasm to do what he wants. It says “what revenge” and that’s getting even with the devil by being obedient to what God wants us to do. We want to clear ourselves for the things we’ve wrongfully taken. Clearing ourselves in repentance isn’t complete without restitution. It’s vitally important that we’re willing to make things right with our fellowman so we can be right with God.
II Corinthians 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
Before someone brought a trespass offering, he had to make it right with his fellowman by bringing the principal plus adding a fifth part. That means if we stole one hundred dollars, we would add twenty dollars – a fifth of what was stolen.
Leviticus 6:4-5 Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty…shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering.
We all have restitutions to make when we get saved. Some owed an apology or money or something that was stolen.
Ezekiel 33:15-16 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
We have to be holy to be sanctified (Romans 12:1). We have to do everything God asks us to and have no reservations to be clear, to grow, and be sanctified. Restitution is important because we need to have our conscience clear of offense toward God and man. We need to be able to look everyone in the face and know we don’t have a wrong attitude, haven’t been mean to them, gossiped about them, or owe an apology. Our conscience must be clear toward all to be sanctified.
Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
Everyone was murmuring that Jesus went to dinner at Zacchaeus’ house because they said he was a sinner. So they could hear, Zacchaeus said he’d give half his goods to the poor and restore fourfold anything taken falsely. The grace of God was dealing with him. He was willing to restore over what the law said to get his heart right with God. Fourfold of $100 was $400.
Luke 19:5-7 And when Jesus came…he looked up…said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house…they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
Luke 19:8-10 And Zacchaeus…said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said…This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
We’re not going to desire the milk of the word if we aren’t careful to get rid of things, to lay aside malice, guile, hypocrisies, and evil speaking. We need to check what we’re doing if we’re not desiring the word like newborns want milk. They’re hungry and crying to be fed every 2-3 hours when they’re first born. We need to be hungry for the word so we can grow and be strengthened by it. We will be hindered from growing if we allow malice, bad attitudes, evil speaking, putting down, sarcastic remarks, not forgiving, or bitterness when someone wrongs us.
I Peter 2:1-3 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Signs you are growing, you are less angry and irritated when things don’t go your way. There will be less murmuring.
Philippians 2:14-15 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
We’ll be murmuring and disputing if we get impatient and irritated so we say things we shouldn’t. We have to come boldly to the throne of grace for help to control our tongue and avoid murmuring and disputing (Hebrews 4:16). This world is getting worse and people are angrier, more irritated, and less patient. God wants us to be blameless and harmless so we shine as lights in the world. We’ll be less anxious and worried about problems if we’re growing. We’ll cast our cares on God.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds…
We need to examine ourselves to see if we’re in the faith (II Corinthians 13:5). It doesn’t say examine somebody else but examine yourself. Worrying and fretting is a tormenting spirit that will keep us from having peace. It means we’re more concerned for our motives and integrity. If we’re growing in grace, we’ll be more concerned about souls and the saints’ needs.
Song “We Need Each Other, Brethren” by Angela G. Gellenbeck, 1985.
Last verse: “Dear Saints, let us vow to each other, I Will help, I will comfort and pray;
I will stand by your side and defend you, In the battle you’re facing today.
Chorus: “We need each other, brethren, For only love will carry us through;
Let us stand by each other, brethren; Take courage, be faithful and true.”