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.
The 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).
Share Your Story
What Does the Bible Say About Christian Growth and Overcoming?
Is Christianity a part of life or a whole way of life?
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.
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
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.
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?
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
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"
What tools do we have available to help us grow?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there
is no law.
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
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?
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?
"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
"Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his
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.
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
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
Growth: From Immaturity to Immortality
Command to Us: Bear Good Fruit and Much Fruit
a True Christian?
The Ten Commandments
Learn, Live and
Love the Bible
and Power of Prayer
Fruit of the
and Pray Always"
What Did the
Early Church Believe and Practice? from the booklet The
Church Jesus Built