Free Bible Study Guides

Series 5 - What God Wants for You

Hi, friends! What does God want for you after you have been baptized, forgiven and received His Holy Spirit? Is that all there is? Do we coast from that point on?

Many scriptures show how followers of Jesus Christ are to live in this life in preparation for eternity. This is a huge subject that demands our attention for the rest of our lives, and this short lesson can only scratch the surface. But we hope this foundation will give you the tools and motivation to continue learning and transforming your life to be more like our loving God.

If you have any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you and serve you in any way we can.

Lesson 6: Growing in God's Grace and Knowledge

Christian conversion does not end with repentance and baptism. God calls on us to change, grow and overcome to become more like Him throughout our lives. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can have Christ formed in us.

Growing in God's Grace and KnowledgeThe story of Aquila and Priscilla helps us understand some of the ways God helps us to grow in our Christian walk.

It seems Aquila and Priscilla were already Christians when they met Paul in Corinth, and it also seems they hit it off. Not only did they share the same trade of tentmaking (or leatherworking), they shared a love of the truth. "It is doubtless in this period that they endangered their lives for his [Paul's] sake" (New Bible Dictionary, 1982, article, "Aquila and Prisca, Priscilla").

They followed Paul as far as Ephesus, and after he left, an eloquent speaker and Bible scholar named Apollos came to town.

"He had been taught the way of the Lord and talked to others with great enthusiasm and accuracy about Jesus. However, he knew only about John's baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God more accurately" (Acts 18: 25-26, New Living Translation).

This caring and zealous couple were not trying to show off their knowledge, but to truly help and encourage another believer to grow. Their own faithful study had prepared them to humbly teach and help others.

What was the result? "By the words of Aquila and Priscilla he was more fully instructed. The result was that Apollos, who already knew Jesus as a figure in history, came also to know him as a living presence; and his power as a preacher must have been increased a hundredfold" (William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, 1976, p. 139).

When Apollos traveled on to Greece, he "proved to be of great benefit to those who, by God's grace, had believed. He refuted all the Jews with powerful arguments in public debate. Using the Scriptures, he explained to them, 'The Messiah you are looking for is Jesus'" (Acts 18:27-28).

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What Does the Bible Say About Christian Growth and Overcoming?

Is Christianity a part of life or a whole way of life?

Acts 24:14
But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

It is not enough for Christianity to just be a compartment of our lives. It is an all-encompassing way of life that must take first priority in our lives. "The Way" was actually what Christianity was called during the time of the apostles.

How does God reveal how to be like Him?

1 John 5:3
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

God is love (1 John 4:8) and He shows us how to love Him the way He wants to be loved in the first four of the Ten Commandments. He then shows us how to love others in the last six commandments (See our free booklet The Ten Commandments for a fascinating and practical study of God's holy, just and good law.)

Do we become perfect soon after baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit?

Romans 7:19, 24-25
For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice...
O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

2 Peter 3:18
...but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

Revelation 3:21
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

Paul described the constant struggle he faced years after his baptism. Romans 7 can seem depressing since Paul was being realistic. However, the situation isn't hopeless. He ended with the solution—Jesus Christ and the powerful gift of the Holy Spirit that Paul expounded on in Romans 8. And as he wrote in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Conversion is a growth process (Ephesians 4:15; 1 Peter 2:2). We must continue to learn and repent (1 John 1:8-9). Repentance is not just something we do before baptism; it is a lifelong process. We must not let our love grow cold (Matthew 24:12).

Jesus promises great eternal blessings to those who overcome sins and challenges. "Overcomes" can be translated as "conquers" (New Revised Standard Version) or "is victorious" (New Living Translation). We must overcome the pulls of the flesh, the temptations of "the world" (2 Peter 2:20; 1 John 5:4) and "the wicked one" (1 John 2:13).

How does God guide us to grow?

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

1 John 2:6
He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

2 Timothy 3:15-17
...and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

We must always keep studying the entire Bible to understand how God thinks and how He wants us to think and act. We should especially note how Jesus Christ lived so we can walk as He walked until "Christ is formed in you" (Galatians 4:19).

What tools do we have available to help us grow?

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Ephesians 6:13-18
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints...

The apostle Paul packs a lot of helpful information into these passages. We encourage you to study them in detail. An entire series of articles about the "Fruit of the Spirit" was printed in The Good News magazine, and you can access all of them through the link. We also have a series of Bible Study Guides on the Armor of God.

These and other tools can help us in fighting the spiritual battle we face with ourselves, with the wrong pulls of society and the negative influence of our enemy, Satan.

How can God's Church help us in our Christian growth?

Hebrews 10:24-25
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

God gave Christians the Church as a support and training ground. He commands us to worship together on His Sabbath and annual festivals (see Series 4 on "God's Plan for You and the Entire World" for more details). In addition to biblical instruction, the Church provides a place for fellowship and service and learning how to get along with each other. We also grow by participating in the Church's mission to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the world.

What should we be doing as we move ever closer to the return of Jesus Christ?

Luke 21:36
"Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."

Matthew 24:13-14, 45-47
"But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come...
"Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?
"Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.
"Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods."

In the context of Jesus' Olivet Prophecy, watching relates to not only carefully considering our own spiritual state, but watching world events that fulfill these end-time prophecies. Prayer is part of the lifeline God provides to strengthen our relationship with Him.

We can ask God for help to endure the difficult times ahead and to complete the mission of preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Instead of being distracted and becoming focused on the physical cares of this life, we must focus on doing the things God has commanded us to do.


Apply Now

The Bible is filled with instructions and examples of how to live a Christian life. Some of the most challenging aspects of following Jesus Christ today are those practices that are forgotten or repudiated in today's world. Christians trying to follow the teachings and practices of the New Testament Church are often considered out of step with even the religious world of today.

Read "What Did the Early Church Believe and Practice?" and make a list of things you can do to more fully follow the example taught in the Bible.

Next Lesson: Eternal Life as God's Sons and Daughters!

Questions about this lesson? Feedback about this lesson?

Related Resources:

Spiritual Growth: From Immaturity to Immortality

Christ's Command to Us: Bear Good Fruit and Much Fruit

What Is a True Christian?

The Ten Commandments

Learn, Live and Love the Bible

The Privilege and Power of Prayer

Fruit of the Spirit

Armor of God

"Watch Therefore, and Pray Always"

What Did the Early Church Believe and Practice? from the booklet The Church Jesus Built