|Growing in the Word
By Joseph Prescia
We are exhorted to grow in the knowledge of God's Word.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (KJV)
Some wrongly believe that just knowing ABOUT God, just knowing that Jesus Christ existed is good enough. Many stop there. Yet everything about God is based upon growth. His creation continues to grow, to expand. God is a multiplying God. When a seed is planted it grows. Can you expect fruit when something is dormant? Could you expect to reap a harvest if months from now things looked the same as today? Something has to change. Something has to be planted before something can grow.
When God was putting things together way back in Genesis this word "grow" comes up right away in the second chapter.
Genesis 2:8-9 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (KJV)
From the very beginning, every tree that was good for food to sustain mankind was made to grow, was made to increase. God set that pattern early with plant life prior to man's arrival. God would create man later and if man were to grow with God other things would have to be set in motion to grow along with mankind.
Psalm 92:12-15 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; To shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. (KJV)
To flourish, to grow, is a godly design. Notice the abundance that God is communicating will happen when the righteous obey Him. The righteous are to bring forth fruit, to be fat and flourishing. They do that with God's help.
Jeremiah 33:14-16 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. (KJV)
God promised to have a Branch of righteousness grow up unto David. Who could that be? It was the promised seed, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. He was of the seed of David. Everything that God has put together for mankind, whether it's trees and food for man's physical life or the promised Messiah for man's spiritual life has growth in it. If something doesn't produce fruit it is considered worthless, and in some cases, worthy of death.
Matthew 21:18-19 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. (KJV)
Jesus saw that this fig tree was not going to bear fruit because there were no buds on it to produce the fruit; it only had leaves. Since it was not going to grow to produce fruit, he cursed it. The fig tree represented Israel. Israel rejected the savior. They didn't grow; they didn't produce fruit; they didn't believe God. Therefore Jesus made the point that the fig tree, which represented Israel, was worthless.
Acts 6:1-7 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased (auxano- grew, growth inside without compulsion); and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. (KJV)
The Word of God increased. It wasn't that their Bibles multiplied! How did the Word of God increase? It increased in their hearts because more people believed more of it.
In a related Greek word, the term auxin is derived from the Greek word auxein, which means to grow. Auxin is a plant hormone that regulates the amount, type, and direction of plant growth. Plants will grow towards light. Our nature as God's children is to grow. Growth of God's Word in us, His light, keeps us growing towards God. Auxano in the Bible means growth from within without compulsion, from stage to stage, a perpetual springtime. There is no winter, no lack. In order to grow there must be activity; there must be action. The first century Church is noted for their success. They acted on the Word of God. That's why the book of the Bible that tells of their success is called the Book of Acts.
Acts 19:18-20 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew (auxano) the word of God and prevailed. (KJV)
The Word of God prevailed because they got rid of things that held them back. Anything that wasn't godly they burned, they threw away. When they did that, mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed. Where did that word of God grow? In their hearts and it prevailed because they acted on it. It was growth from within without compulsion. No one said they HAD to burn these things. The Word of God grew because the people wanted it by their freewill and changed their lifestyles accordingly.
Ephesians 4:14-15 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up (auxano) into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (KJV)
In the past, we were so concerned about ourselves that we made ourselves lord. In order to make Jesus Christ lord we have to place him as the head, not ourselves. We grow up as verse 15 says, when we speak the truth in love. Love is the key to that growth. There is no compulsion in agape love, just freewill to want to grow.
1 Peter 2:1-2 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 (auxano) thereby: (KJV)
We desire the milk of the Word until we grow and can handle the meat of the Word. No matter where we are at, we are to continue to grow.
Mark 4:14-20 The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time (We don't want to endure for a time): afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. (KJV)
We don't want to just endure for a time. We want to grow; we want to produce fruit, thirty, sixty, a hundredfold; we want to abound; we want to prosper. To simply endure is to just survive, barely make it; but to produce fruit involves growth.
1 Corinthians 3:5-7 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase (auxano). So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase (auxano). (KJV)
Who does these things? God does. When creation grows with God and when mankind grows with God, it is still God who puts the elements there necessary for growth.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow (auxano) in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (KJV)
There must not be a point where you can learn all you need to know because we can keep growing in that knowledge. We are to grow in grace also, in divine favor. We are to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. That's obviously what they did in the book of Acts during the first century Church. They grew with God, without compulsion. That's what we are to do. We grow in that fellowship and produce fruit with and for God. To embark on an aggressive program to build trust in God, to expand mental abilities and to drive your mind to do more than you ever have will produce the greatest fruit in the shortest amount of time. Growth is essential to accomplish this. In order to grow more, then a change in actions will be necessary to accomplish this goal.
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