9 Marks of a Healthy Church – 8 A Concern for Discipleship and Growth

John Carter – January 14, 2018

Mark Eight: A Concern for Discipleship and Growth

WIAHC?

  • “Growth is a Sign of life”[1]

Growth in Holiness

What Growth Does and Doesn’t Look Like

  • One Another-ness
  • Sacrificial Giving (Time, Money, Gifts, etc.)
  • Outward focused
  • Passion for health (marks of health)

God Glorified by Growth

  • “When we do encounter a church composed of members growing in Christ-likeness, who Gets the Glory? God does…”
  • 1 Corinthians 3:6-7
  • Matthew 5:16
  • 1 Peter 2:12

9Marks

A Biblical Theology of Growth

  • Biblical Theme: “Be Fruitful and Multiply”
  • Psalm 92:12-13
  • “It is not finally the preacher who causes a church grow.” P.214
  • “Growth doesn’t have to produce pride. Growth can cause humility and recognition that it is God who gives growth.” (2 Thess. 1:3) (P.214)

A Biblical Practice of Growth

Expositional Preaching

  • “When we hear expositional preaching we become less dependent on the preacher.” (P.217)
    • Yet in an ironic way the more we hear it, the more we want it.

Biblical Theology

A Biblical Understanding of the Gospel

  • “Preachers who talk only about God’s love talk about it less and less with every sermon they preach, because there is less and less in their own mind that God loves us in spite of.” (P.219)

A Biblical Understanding of Conversion

  • “God loves us out of his own nature of love.” (P.219)
  • God does love us because of who we are but because who he is.

A Biblical Understanding of Evangelism

  • “The church is not a booster organization.” (P.220)

A Biblical Understanding of Church Membership

  • “…God doesn’t call us to run this race alone. Being rooted in a church also encourages accountability.” P.221

A Biblical Understanding of Church Discipline

A Biblical Understanding of Church Leadership

  • “As God brings people into our lives whom he has called to be spiritual leaders, we gain practical role models and godly vision.” (P.222)

Hopes for Growth

Pastoral Visitation

Growth Together as a Church

  • “…growth as a Christian in not just the responsibility of the individual.” (P.224)

The Importance of Good Growth

  • “…only things that are alive swim upstream.”
  • “According to [Jonathan] Edwards, while these things may be evidence of true Christian growth, the only certain observable sign of such growth is a life of increasing holiness, rooted in Christian self-denial.” (P.226)
  • “What has happened in our churches, when people who really live like a Christian seem unusual, even compared to other church members?” (P.227)
  • “If we are to grow as individual believers and as churches, we must sit under the Word. We must pray for the Holy Spirit to plant and to weed the gardens of our hearts. This spiritual growth is not optional; it is vital, because spiritual growth indicates life.” (P.227)

What If We Don’t Grow?

  • Faith without works is dead
  • James 2:26
  • Fruit trees grow fruit.
  • If anyone claims to be a Christian but lacks good fruit that person may indeed not be a Christian at all, but only an imposter.

Practical Steps to Fuel your Growth

  • Read you Bible
  • Read Biographies
  • Read Books about the Bible and the Christian Faith
  • Pray
  • Invest sacrificially in another 1-3 people for the next year
  • Participate regularly in the Local Church

[1] P.107 – WHIAHC