May 2024 – Grow in the Grace & Knowledge of Jesus Christ

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.2 Peter 3:18 (NKJV)

I welcome you to May 2024, the fifth month of the year of Divine Repositioning. Five is a strategic number of God’s grace. Understanding that helps you to partake of the blessing of amazing grace and to grow in it. Then, the God of all grace will “perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10). I decree that God’s grace will speak for you and yours this month, in Jesus’ Name. It is written that Noah “found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:8-9). This month, the grace that worked for Noah will declare you just and perfect, in Jesus’ Name.

Growing in grace and in the knowledge of our LORD are not independent operations. You will not grow in grace without growing in the knowledge of the LORD. Consequently, as you grow in your relational knowledge of the LORD, you will also grow in grace. As Peter closed his second letter, he encouraged his readers to be on their guard and to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus so as not to fall into error (2 Peter 3:17-18).

This month, we will discuss: (i) what growth is (ii) what grace is (iii) the different kinds of grace, and (iv) why there is a command to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

I. Growth

In life, aging is a must. As you sleep and wake up and advance in years, you are aging and constantly experiencing physiological changes. However, growth defined by increased intelligence and maturity; a philosophical growth, is a choice. Attaining your 40th, 50th, or 60th birthday is simply evidence that you are aging, but not necessarily that you are growing [philosophically]. a sign that you have aged, not necessarily grown. It is the nature, plan, and constitution of heaven that all living things should grow since growth is programmed into their DNA. A failure to grow is an indicator of existing or impending death.

Idowu Koyenikan, an author and international financial consultant, said, “You must have a level of discontent to feel the urge to want to grow.” Robin Sharma, Canadian writer, and international leadership expert, said, “The swiftest way to triple your success is to double your investment in personal development.” In terms of growth, what matters is not so much where you are, but the direction in which you are headed. Gian Carlo Menotti, a 20th-century Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, said, “Hell begins on that day when God grants us a clear vision of all that we might have achieved, of all the gifts which we have, of all that we might have done which we did not do.” Leadership gurus, Warren Bennis, and Burt Nanus affirm that “It is the capacity to grow and develop and improve their skills that distinguish leaders from followers.” Respectfully, I want you to consider if you are growing or simply aging, and if all the information you have ever received in your life is making an impact.

II. Grace

The grace of God is His favor and acceptance to those who do not deserve it but gain access by placing their trust in Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior. Having been in ministry now for about 45 years, I have come to realize that winning in life goes beyond human strength, smartness, tireless input, and wisdom alone. Ecclesiastes 9:11 (NKJV) says, “I returned and saw under the sun that— The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all.” Undoubtedly, there are skills required for progress and greatness. However, on their own, they are grossly insufficient to give you the kind of progress that God has ordained for you. No wonder David said, in Psalms 127:1, “Except the LORD build the house…”

Behind the making of any man in God’s kingdom is the grace of God (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). So, what looks like a handicap or limitation in your life might be the reason God has called you. He wants to make nonsense of the wisdom of the world.  If you do not appreciate the place of grace as you go higher in life, you may end up in disgrace. Salvation, sanctification, and the hope of heaven are all the handiwork of grace. Grace is what sets Christianity apart from other philosophies, theories, and religions. 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NKJV) says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” Essentially, you need grace the size of God to operate beyond human smartness, skill, and intelligence, to become unstoppable. 

III. Different Kinds of Grace

There are different kinds of grace, and it is God’s grace that enables one to operate in one’s God-given capacity to its fullness (Ephesians 4:7; Romans 12:6-8).  

1.  Common Grace

This is the grace God gives to all people whether they acknowledge Him or not because He loves everyone (Matthew 5:45; John 3:16).

2.  Saving Grace

By His saving grace, God has paid the ransom for everyone who will receive His gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8). This alone is overwhelming.

3.  Sanctifying Grace

The power in God’s grace works to purify and sanctify us immediately after we are saved (Philippians 1:6). God requires that we partner with Him in the purification process through our obedience.

4.  Provisional Grace

God makes provision for all our needs through His grace (James 1:17). When you get a better job or an unexpected gift, count it as grace from God.

5.  Miraculous Grace

The early church experienced phenomenal demonstrations of miracles, signs, and wonders (2 Corinthians 12:12; Acts 6:8). Through His grace, God still does miraculous things every day, not out of compulsion, but because He is full of grace.

6.  Serving Grace

We each receive serving grace. Every believer is freely given spiritual gifts to serve others and bolster their faith (1 Peter 4:10).

7.  Sustaining Grace

Finally, in those times of trial and suffering, Jesus assures us His grace is sufficiently available, including His power to strengthen our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). God sustains us with the mercy and grace we can confidently approach His throne to receive (Hebrews 4:16).

IV. The Command To “Grow In Grace & Knowledge”

Personal growth is a process that produces personal change and progress, and it starts from within you. It comes from learning a valuable lesson and using it effectively to become a better person for yourself and others. Personal growth may be expensive, but embarking on it yields personal development.

We need to grow:

  • God commanded growth implicitly in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
  • Jesus commanded His apostles to make disciples baptizing them and teaching them to observe all things He commanded. Implicit in the command to teach is that disciples would be obedient learners, i.e., constantly growing as they learned and obeyed their LORD.
  • The word of God explicitly commanded growth in 2 Peter 3:18, requiring that we grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
  • 2 Peter 1:5-8 describes how we are to grow: adding to your faith such graces as virtue, knowledge, self-control etc. Abounding in these graces makes you fruitful, which implies growth.
  • Christians who did not grow were sternly rebuked (Hebrews 5:12, 6:1).
     

V. To Grow in Grace

To grow is an activity, not a state of being. Growing relates to increasing in size, knowledge, maturity, or capability. As believers, we enter a state of grace, which is not static (Romans 5:2). We should be growing in that grace. Luke 2:52 says Jesus grew in grace with both the people He grew up around and with God.

Growing in the favor of man would imply that Jesus lived a life commended by those around Him. As He grew, He developed as a citizen and a productive community member. The people around Him were pleased with what they saw. To grow in favor with God is very similar to that, except that it is in God’s eyes rather than other people’s. It is maturing as a believer, becoming more productive in the Kingdom’s work, and becoming more Christlike in all you do. It should be an ongoing process that comes to an end only when we leave this life.

VI. To Grow in Knowledge

As we grow in grace, we are also to grow in the knowledge of the LORD Jesus. The word translated as knowledge is defined by Vines as “primarily a seeking to know, an inquiry, investigation.” It carries with it the idea of seeking, like searching for buried treasure.

There are two related aspects of growing in the knowledge of Jesus. The first is an intellectual pursuit, learning more about Him, like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. The second is relational. It is coming to know Him as a person and developing an ever-deeper relationship with Him. As I grow in the knowledge of the LORD, I will understand better Who He is, what He is doing, and what I should be about. Having intellectual knowledge does not guarantee relational knowledge, but it does provide a foundation that can be built on. That should be the end goal of knowing more about Jesus, knowing Him better.

Conclusion:

The Apostle Paul was always quick to point out that he had not yet attained Christlikeness in full but was still seeking to be more like Christ (Philippians 3:12-14). Paul saw himself for who he truly was at the time – an imperfect man. He also had a very clear view of his future, based on the heavenly vision God gave him. This motivated him to keep pressing forward in obedience to the vision so as to reach the goal of his heavenly calling. Paul’s willingness to acknowledge that he was yet on a journey to his spiritual zenith demonstrated a yearning desire for continuous progress. We should emulate the Apostle Paul (John 13:17).

PRAYERS:

  • Thank You, LORD, for Your word that is forever settled in heaven (Psalms 119:89).
  • Thank You, LORD, for Your grace and mercy daily (Psalms 68:19).
  • I receive the touch of heaven that facilitates my growth and knowledge of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • Father, as Jesus grew, I shall grow in wisdom, stature, favor with God and man, in Jesus’ Name (Luke 2:52)!
  • Father, I thank You that You can make all grace abound to me, so that in all things at all times, having all that I need, I will abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).
  • I refuse to be satisfied with my progress. LORD, as the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul thirsts for grace, knowledge, and the desire to know and be more like You, Jesus (Psalms 42:1). Help me, LORD.
  • LORD, I pray for the three Ps to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. First P, patience (maintain commitment); second P, persistence (keep on keeping on) and the third P, perseverance (ability to overcome setbacks and maintain motivation).
  • Thank You, LORD, because You are able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that I may ask or think, according to the power that works in me (Ephesians 3:20).