Growing with Jesus Every Day


  1. INTRODUCTION:

    1. SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:52 = "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man."

    2. WHO IS JESUS?
      1. Jesus asked his disciples this question in Caesarea Philippi. Matthew 16:13-16 = "When Jesus came into the coast of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, but whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
      2. The answer to this question is very important for each of us.
        1. How we answer this question will determine where we will spend eternity.
        2. Jesus while teaching in the temple [John 8:20-24], said to them in John 8:24 = "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins."

    3. THERE IS CONFUSION ALL OVER THE WORLD ABOUT WHO JESUS IS:
      1. Countries and people differ in their beliefs concerning Christ.
      2. Yet God sent His only Son to save the world and confusion about His Son differs with nearly everyone you meet. John 3:16 = "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." I John 4:9 = "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him."

    4. THE WORD OF GOD IS THE ONLY SOURCE TO REALLY ANSWER THE QUESTION OF WHO JESUS REALLY IS:
    5. NOTE: We need this information to fully answer the question of who Jesus is before we can, with a ready mind, follow Jesus and grow with him every day.

      1. John 1:1-2 = "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God." John 1:14 = " And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
        1. The Word was God, and yet the Word was with God.
        2. COMMENT: Thus we have two said to be God, and yet there is a third the Holy Spirit said to be God. I John 5:7 = "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, The Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."

          1. This is not indicating three Gods, but one. Deuteronomy 6:4 = "… The Lord our God is one Lord."
          2. These three are one in Spirit. John 4:24 = "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
        3. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among man.
          1. This was not in a Divine Spirit, but in a body of flesh. Philippians 2:5-8 = "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
          2. This form was needful "to make reconciliation for the sins of the people". Hebrews 2:14-17 = "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same: that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."
          3. Christ in this fleshly form "should taste death for every man". Hebrews 2:9 = "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."
      2. The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem was the beginning of world wide reconciliation of God and man:
        1. God Sent His Son [John 3:16]
        2. His Son that was conceived of Mary was by the Holy Spirit [Matthew 1:20].
        3. That Son was the Word that became flesh and dwelt among man [John 1:14].
        4. Therefore we have the Godhead in place for the salvation of man. Colossians 2:9 = "For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." [Read Colossians 1:10-20.

    Note: Colossians 1: 19 = "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell."

    COMMENT: This background information readies our minds for the real lesson of the evening and that is "Growing with Jesus every day". And that brings to mind one of the songs in our hymnal.

  2. DISCUSSION:

    1. SONG: "O TO BE LIKE THEE".
      1. We will not be perfect and "without sin" as He was [Hebrews 4:15].
      2. But we must strive to be free of sin for the reconciliation to God was made possible by Christ.
      3. Paul said in Romans 8:29 = "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren."
      4. COMMENT: God did not predestine an individual but a group of individuals that would obey Him, which He would accept. That would be those that would obey Him, or that those obedient to Him would be the ones He would accept as His children [Read I John 5:1-8].

        II Timothy 3:16-17 = "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 perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

        Philippians 3:13-14 = "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

      5. Peter wrote in I Peter 2:21 = "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps."

    2. THE EARLY LIFE OF JESUS:
      1. Many books have been written over the years about the early life of Jesus and yet the only true source of information is The Bible itself:
        1. It is here that we obtain from the teachings of Jesus himself references to his family life.
        2. It is here that the sacred writers, give us brief glimpses into the life of Christ.
          1. Matthew tells us in 2:12-23 =
            1. That Joseph and Mary were warned not to return to Judea, the area of King Herod, and fled into Egypt. [Matthew 2:12-18].
            2. Then after the death of Herod they were told to go into the land of Israel and they dwelt in Nazareth and fulfilled the prophecy that "he shall be called a Nazarene". [Matthew 2:19-23].
            3. Later in Matthew 13:55, we find He is referred to as the "carpenter’s son".
          2. Luke tells us that:
            1. Joseph and Mary had gone to Bethlehem due to the taxing decree of Caesar August as Joseph was of the lineage of David, and here is where Jesus was born 
              [Luke 2:1-20]
            2. That Jesus was circumcised on the customary 8th day and that His name was of divine origin [Luke 2:21]
            3. Nazareth was the home of Joseph and Mary. [Luke 2:39]
            4. That here Jesus "Grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him." [Luke 2:40]
            5. Joseph and Mary went every year to Jerusalem for the Passover [ Luke 2:41-42]
              1. On one of these trips, Jesus is overlooked by them and when they finally find Him he is in the midst of "doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions" [Luke 2:46]
              2. When questioned by Joseph and Mary why He was not with them he asks them: "How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business" [Luke 2:49] From which we learn:
                1. Jesus knew who His real Father was.
                2. Jesus knew the business, or purpose, for which he was here.
                3. Yet Jesus returns to Nazareth with them and is "subject unto them" [Luke 2:51]
            6. Then Luke tells us at the age of 30, Christ was baptized of John in the Jordan 
              [Luke 3:21-23]
          3. Mark tells us Mark 1:9, that "Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan". Thus Jesus has spent most of his growing up time in Nazareth.
      2. The life of Jesus may be summed up thusly:
        1. He live in Nazareth in subjection to his parents [Luke 2:51]
          1. He knew Joseph was not his father. [Luke 2:49]
          2. He knew also what His mission was in life. [Luke 2:49].
          3. He humbled Himself and was obedient to His parents being nurtured, instructed, disciplined and loved by them. [Luke 2:51]
          4. He was with his parents for 18 years and the only information we have concerning those years are contained in Luke 2:52 = "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man".

          Note: These 18 years are the time between his age 12 at Jerusalem [Luke 2:41], and the age of 30 when Christ was baptized [Luke 3:21-23].

        2. Jesus received the same training as his brothers and sisters [Matthew 13:55-56] in being brought up by God fearing parents. [Read Ephesians 6:1-4].

    3. HOW DID JESUS GROW?
      1. He grew in wisdom:
        1. The Greek word for "wisdom" is {sophia (sof-ee'-ah)}: wisdom (higher or lower, worldly or spiritual) --It is used in the Scriptures in regards to both divine and worldly wisdom
        2. The Jews had instituted a mandatory education system for every male that was basically divided into two levels:
          1. The first level, for the younger boys, centered around their learning the basics similar to ours today of reading, writing and arithmetic.
          2. The second level, for the older boys centered around a study of the Pentateuch and the oral Jewish law.
          3. Comment: These two levels placed strong emphasis on morality and practical application of the Jewish Law to every day living. It can be assumed from Luke 2:22, Luke 2:39
            Luke 2:42
            , that with Joseph and Mary being strict Jewish parents, that Jesus received this instruction: = [Luke 2:22] "And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;", [Luke 2:39] "And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city Nazareth." [Luke 2:41-42] "Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast."
        3. The cultural environment of Galilee was not recognized as one where a child of the area would go on to a school of higher learning above these two basic levels of education. Consider these statements:
          1. Nathaniel was amazed when he heard Jesus was from Nazareth, and is recorded as saying in John 1:46 = "And Nathanael said unto him (Philip, JHB), Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, come and see."
          2. There was amazement among the Jews, who marveled at the knowledge of this unlearned man. John 7:15 = "And the Jews marvelled, saying, how knoweth this man letters, having never learned?"
          3. This area was known only for it’s carpenters, fishermen and common laborers. No recorded teacher was known to have arisen from this area.
        4. Jesus grew in wisdom coupled with the ability to use the knowledge obtained to touch the hearts of the people.
          1. Jesus’ use of wisdom coupled with understanding is evident in:
            1. Every question He either answered or asked.
            2. Every parable He taught.
            3. Every Word of exhortation that followed the miracles He did.
          2. The learning of Jesus was two-fold coming from:
            1. His earthly parents – Joseph and Mary.
            2. His Heavenly Father -- God.

        Comment: We can gain the earthly knowledge and be taught facts, but the application of the wisdom taught will be gained only through deliberate, disciplined, effort and experience with a recognized need of it and praying to God. James 1:5 = "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and unbraideth not: and it shall be given him."

      2. He grew in stature:
        1. The Greek word for "stature" is {helikia (hay-lik-ee'-ah)}; maturity (in years or size): age, stature.
          1. This then would have to do with how He grew physically.
          2. Jesus’ growth was before both God and man.
        2. There have been various descriptions of Christ among man and these show a complete lack of knowledge of who he was. It is recorded in Isaiah 53:2-3 = "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
        3. Comment: How has He been depicted by man:

          1. Some paintings of Him show him as a blond, with blue yes and fair skin. Yet Christ was a Jew, fairly dark skinned, dark hair and dark eyes.
          2. Others have him small in frame, weak in appearance and almost effeminate. Yet he was a carpenter and probably work out of doors in the hot sun, and possibly stronger and more muscular than the average man of that day.
          3. The suggested picture of Jesus from the Bible is:
            1. One of imposing stature who cleansed the temple without resistance driving out the money changers and those who sold animals for sacrifices [Mark 11:17
              John 2:13-16
              ].
            2. He was one of physical strength and stamina as is evidence when he bore the cross for His crucifixion on his shoulders after having been up all night enduring a Roman scourging [Matthew 27:32; John 19:17].
            3. Let us not forget to consider that this growth in stature in not only in physical appearance but in spiritual appearance as well, therefore Jesus would have done all that was right to keep his body pure in both physical and spiritual stature. Consider then:
          4. The spiritual stature of Christ:
            1. The treatment of the body must be considered as it is the temple of God and the Holy Spirit, in not doing that to, or with, our bodies that would be harmful to them. 
              I Corinthians 6:19-20
              = "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s." II Corinthians 6:16 = "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God’ as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
            2. There needs to be a time for resting and eating. Jesus is found saying unto His apostles, Mark 6:31 = "…Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat."
            3. There need to be time for bodily exercise, but it must be remembered that bodily exercise if profitable for little as life is short; while godliness is profitable both for life now and that to come. I Timothy 4:7-8 = "But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."
            4. NOTE: There is a need for both development of physical and spiritual stature, and if both are properly carried out the benefits are beyond measure both for now and for eternity.
      3. He grew "in favor with God": [Luke 2:52]
        1. The Greek word for "favor" is {charis (khar'-ece)} = graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude):
        2. God said twice: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased".
          1. At His baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist [Matthew3:17].
          2. At the mount of transfiguration [Matthew 17:5].
        3. Jesus was obedient to His Heavenly Father’s Will:
          1. He taught His disciples to pray: That His Father’s "will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." [Matthew 6:10].
          2. He said to his disciples "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work" [John 4:34].
          3. Jesus sought to follow only one will and that was His Father’s and said, "I seek not mine own will, but the will, of the Father which hath sent me" [John 5:30].
          4. In reference to Psalms 40:6-8, we find recorded in Hebrews 10:7, these words: "Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God."
          5. Jesus prayed in John 17:4 = "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do."
          6. We are told in Hebrews 5:8-9 = "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him".

        Comment: We need to have the same devotion to please our Heavenly Father as Christ did. We need to be "Faithful unto death" [Revelation 2:10].

      4. He grew "in favour with God and man" [Luke 2:52].
        1. The Greek word for "favor" includes two aspects of grace which manifests how one is looked upon by another:
          1. Objectively, "grace in a person, graciousness."
          2. Subjectively:
            1. "Grace on the part of a giver, favor, kindness."
            2. "A sense of favor received, thanks." It is rendered "favour" in 
              [Luke 1:30; Luke 2:52; Acts 2:47; Acts 7:10, Acts 7:46; Acts 24:27].

          NOTE: We have just noted how Christ as an obedient child grew in favor with His Heavenly Father; and now we want to look at how he grew in "favor with man".

        2. We know very little about Christ’s conduct as he was growing up in the area of Nazareth, but his conduct was one that was favorably received by those around Him.
          1. The very statement of Luke 2:52, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man", indicates Christ was approved of, or received the favor of those about whom He lived.
          2. We know Jesus was an obedient child. Luke 2:51, tells us He was in subjection to His parents.
          3. We know Jesus was social in His conduct with others: Mark 2:15 = "And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him."
          4. Jesus has close contact with hundreds of people as is evident from the many that where healed by His miracles; whose sins He forgave; and the multitudes that followed Him.
          5. His first miracle was at a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee [John 2:1-11].
        3. Jesus knew, as we must, that it is important to be favorably received by those about you.
          1. The same Greek word for favor is used in Acts 2:41-47, where:
            1. The church had 3,000 added to it in one day [Acts 2:41].
            2. The disciples were steadfast "in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and breaking of bread and in prayers" [Acts 2:42].
            3. "All that believed were together, and had all things common" [Acts 2:44].
            4. The disciples continued " … daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." [Acts 2:46-47].
          2. We need to live in such a way as to cause those about us to eventually speak well of us.
            1. Remember what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 7:16 = "For what knoweth thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? Or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?"
            2. Peter wrote in I Peter 3:15-16 = "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience: that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evil doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ."
          3. There is however a warning against compromise.
            1. Paul wrote in II Corinthians 6:14-17:
              1. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness." [II Corinthians 6:14].
              2. The temple of God hath no agreement with the temple of idols 
                [II Corinthians 6:16].
              3. We are to separate ourselves from the evil or we will not be received of the Lord [II Corinthians 6:17].
            2. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:11 = "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
            3. Christians are to take the Gospel into the world [Matthew 28:19-20], but we are not to take the world unto us [II Corinthians 6:17].
            4. Jesus received favor of those about him, not due to:
              1. The way His hair was cut, or colored.
              2. The distinctive clothes he wore.
              3. Nor even a rebellious nature presented to the Mosaical Law, for He lived under it.
              4. But by the life he lived in pleasing His Heavenly Father.

  3. CONCLUSION:

    1. JESUS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE FOR US TO PATTERN OUR LIVES BY AS WE GROW DAILY.
      1. He developed mentally and physically every day.
      2. He was law abiding and yet dedicated in His obedience to His Father.
      3. He came to know well the weakness of man and "…was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin." = Hebrews 4:15.
      4. Peter wrote in I Peter 2:21, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps."

    2. LET US THEREFORE DETERMINE NOW TO FOLLOW THIS EXAMPLE OF CHRIST: Luke 2:52 = "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man."
      1. This involves a combination of growth in areas of: Intellect; Knowledge; Understanding; Spiritually; Physically; and Socially.
      2. Yet in all of this never make compromises with evil ways.
      3. We must learn to reach the sinner there has to be love for the sinner and condemnation for the sin.

 

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