Today, we’re continuing in our message series Live Out God’s Purpose. In this series, we’re studying the book of Ephesians to understand God’s purpose for our lives and for the church. 

How might we summarize God’s purpose for our lives? We’re going to be learning that God’s primary purpose for your life is spiritual growth. God main purpose for His church is spiritual growth. Now, there are many aspects to spiritual growth, but let’s turn to the book of Ephesians to help us better understand.

Ephesians 4:15 (ESV)  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

This verse expresses what God’s purpose is for us on the personal level. We are to grow up in every way into Christ. In other words, we are to spiritually grow to become more and more like Jesus. The more we become like Jesus, the more we’re going to think like Him, talk like Him, act like Him and live like Him. The more we become like Jesus, the more we’re going to pray like Jesus, love like Jesus and sin less and less, as Jesus didn’t sin at all. The more like Jesus we become, we’re going to see more saved, more people healed and more people set free. I want to become more and more like Jesus. What about the church?

Ephesians 4:16 (ESV)  from whom [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

The church is called here the body of Christ. The church is made of individual believers, here called parts of the body. When each believer in the church is working properly, that is growing up into Christ, than the whole body is growing as well. We might summarize both spiritual growth for an individual believer or for the church as building itself up in love. We are each part of the local church here at Life Church.

In order to grow spiritually, a believer needs to be connected to a local church. Why? There are two main reasons to be connected to the local church. The first is that you can receive from God through a local church in a way that you can’t on your own. God has purposefully set things up so that a person cannot properly grow spiritually on their own, outside of a church. In church, you receive encouragement, teaching, prayer, fellowship, help and many other things. But simply receiving from the church and other believers is not the main reason to grow in a church.

The second reason to be connected to a local church is to have opportunities to give and minister to others within the church. The more that you learn to give, the more you will receive. Which is more important, receiving or giving? Most people would say receiving. What does Jesus say?

Acts 20:35b (ESV)  … remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Spiritual growth comes as we put what we have received into practice through giving. So, today, we’re going to learn how to grow spiritually in power and love. And we’re going to give by helping others grow as well. Let’s get started and learn to …

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