DNA: Challenged To Grow In Christ

(Colossians 2:6-7)

February 4, 2024

In our home we have a measuring board that I created and put up because when our kids were younger they were fascinated with how tall they were.

They wanted to see how much they had grown.

I convinced them that if they wanted to grow tall, then they needed lots of sleep…they fell for it for a while, which was nice.

Have you ever noticed how we are often times preoccupied with growth.

When a baby is born, we announce the percentile of its birth, the height and weight.

Kelly did an amazing job of putting together growth books, starting when they were babies and right on up.

We know that growth is healthy and so we are concerned with it.

I find it fascinating the way God created all of creation.

I read a story about a young man who dives for exotic fish for aquariums.

He said that one of the most popular aquarium fish is the shark.

That got me curious, because sharks are huge, I mean the average length of a shark is around 8 feet long.

I don’t know about you but that is an awfully big aquarium.

But in the article the young man explained that if you catch a small shark and confine it, it will stay a size proportionate to the aquarium you put it in.

Sharks can be six inches long yet be an adult.

But if you turn them loose in the ocean, they grow to their normal length of eight feet.

That is like what happens to some Christians.

If we are not intentional on continuing to grow in our relationship with Jesus then we will stunt our growth.

We will never reach the full capability of what Christ has in store for us.

Jab 3:

In our passage this morning the Apostle Paul challenges the church in Colossae with continuing to grow in Christ.

The Apostle Paul was under house arrest in Rome when he wrote this letter to the believers in Colossae, located in the southwest region of modern-day Turkey.

Epaphras, a disciple of Paul, founded the church in Colossae.

Now, this church was under constant pressure from the numerous religious philosophies abounding in the first century world.

Colossae seems to have become a center for Gnosticism.

Gnosticism is a hybrid religion and philosophy that mixed Christian, Jewish, and some pagan teachings.

It was and still is a very dangerous teaching.

So, Paul wrote this letter because there was this group of teachers called Gnostics (which means “knowledge”), on the surface that sounds really good, right!

I mean you don’t want to learn from on unintelligible teacher, you want to learn from a teacher with knowledge, right!

Well the problem was, the Gnostics claimed to have supernatural knowledge necessary for salvation, this was this synthesizing of world views, which is still prevalent today and we have even seen it make its way into the church.

Contrary to common belief, Gnosticism is alive and well in our twenty-first century.

It survives the eons of time exceedingly well because of its uncanny ability to morph and mutate, to disappear and to materialize.

Gnostic thinking is basic to the “human potential movement” because it focuses on man and his problems, man and his needs, man and his happiness.

Taking up the mantra of Enlightenment thinking by making “man as the measure of all things,”

Gnostic thinking would postulate that human tragedy is not the result of sin, but only ignorance.

The answer to life’s plight and inequities is therefore found in knowledge.

Evolutionary thinking would prefer to find man in his next stage of development, free from the oppressive bonds of religion and open to the fresh winds of self-awareness, human reason, and discovery as man discovers new vistas of “human potential.”

Immediately at hand is Gnostic thinking that whispers to the anxious enquirer, “Search your heart; seek the truth deep within your soul. You are the truth because God is in you.”

Isn’t that an attractive world view?

I mean who doesn’t want to be their own truth…and so we see today the increasing rise of people who fall into the camp of relative truth verses absolute truth.

Here at MACC, we do not believe in nor teach a relative truth, we teach absolute truth and absolute truth comes from the Word of God.

And so, Paul wrote this letter to warn against the subtle arguments and false teachings that threatened to undermine the Colossians’ faith.

And here at MACC we keep this in the forefront of our teachings because we know that false teachings are constantly being introduced and we must guard against them.

So we say it like this,


Colossians 2:6-7

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Right off the bat we know that Paul is talking to Christians, because he says, “as you received Christ Jesus as Lord…

That’s pretty clear is it not?

If you have not received Jesus as Savior and Lord, then you might think, well this doesn’t pertain to me.

So a lot of time non-Christians kind of shut down, but if you are here this morning and you have yet to surrender your life to Jesus as Lord and Savior, I want to encourage you to listen closely because I believe God has prompted you to be here for a reason.

Being a Christian is a life-long, day in day out, journey with Jesus.

So, if you are thinking about asking Jesus to be your Savior, you need to know that He will also be your Lord, which means continued growth in Him.

Next Paul says, “continue to live your lives in Him…”

This means that if you are not careful you could be led astray.

Do you hear it? I hear Paul saying, “I challenge you to grow in Christ!”

Because if we are not growing we are not healthy, we will be like the shark.


God initiated a love relationship with us through Jesus.

John 3:16, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God invites us into relationship with himself and in turn, we experience growth as a natural byproduct of a healthy relationship with Him.

We are commanded in Scripture to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). This growth is spiritual growth, growing in faith.

At the moment we receive Christ as our Savior, we are born again spiritually into God’s family.

But just as a newborn baby requires nourishing milk for growth and good development, so also a baby Christian requires spiritual food for growth.

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2-3).

Milk is used in the New Testament as a symbol of what is basic to the Christian life.

But as a baby grows, its diet changes to also include solid foods.

With this in mind, read how the writer of Hebrews admonished the Christians.

Hebrews 5:12-14, “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

Paul saw the same problem with the Corinthian believers; they had not grown in their faith, and he could only give them “milk” because they were not ready for solid food (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).

The analogy between a human baby and a spiritual baby breaks down when we realize how each baby matures.

A human baby is fed by his parents and growth is natural.

But a baby Christian will only grow as much as they purposefully read and obey and apply the Word to his life.

Growth is up to them.

There are Christians who have been saved many years, but spiritually they are still babies, they are 6 inch sharks.

They cannot understand the deeper truths of the Word of God.

Which brings me to the next thing I want to talk about this morning:


A Christians diet should consist of a steady feeding on The Word of God!

Daily, we should all be in God’s Word.

Psalm 119:105, Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Do you want to stumble in darkness or walk in the light?

If you are not in God’s Word daily, you are going to stumble around in darkness, but if you get in the word of God, the word will illuminate your path.

Rob Harrison, I love his holy habit.

Rob is a body man, that means he fixes cars and he is exceptional at it, but he does something that I have started doing.

He opens his Bible to a passage and he reads that passage any time he walks by his Bible for that day.

What a great practice.

Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Do you hear how powerful the Word of God is?

I know some people say, I fall asleep when I read the Bible.

Listen, before you read it, pray asking God to reveal himself more and more and pray asking for the Lord to help you see where the particular passage needs to be applied in your life.

Get in the Word with others if you can.

Our staff starts every morning at 8am in the Hospitality Room, we read a chapter of Scripture together and then different staff lead us in a devotion on that chapter, we try to keep to 20 minutes and then we pray, we pray for those of you in our congregation, we pray for our families, we pray for world events, we pray that our work would glorify God.

These things are important to me and the rest of our staff.

This is the first church I have ever served at where we start our day off like that.

Many churches do it on the day they have their staff meeting and then that’s it.

But we do this each day Monday-Thursday and then Friday through Sunday we are on our own.

The truths taught in the Bible are rich food for Christians.

Peter wrote that God has given us everything we need for life through our (growing) knowledge of Him.

This week I have some homework for you.

Read carefully 2 Peter 1:3-11 where Peter lists character qualities that need to be added to our beginning point of faith in order for maturity to take place and to have a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Let those soak in.


First Scripture that pops in mind is James 1:22, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Do what it says.

Does anyone ever struggle with this, like we get it most of the time, but there are times, we just mess up and we don’t do what it says.

I mean the challenge is simple…do what God’s Word says, but the application can be hard at times.

Well, that’s no excuse, we are to do what the Word of God says, even if it’s unpopular, even if it’s hard, even if it means persecution.

The Apostle Paul addresses this point blank in Romans 2:13, For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

Paul is saying that this should be our normal behavior that spills over into everything we do, at home, at work, at school, in traffic, on the golf course, the ball court or field.

Knowing that growth begins with grace and that our growth is dependent on the Bible and prayer and that full devotion to Jesus is our normal behavior all this manifests itself in my final thought for today:


The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:18, And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

The word transformed is the Greek word μεταμορφόω this is were we get our English word metamorphosis.

And a metamorphosis is a process.

It is a growth process in which the old dies and the new comes to life.

Think of the butterfly, the caterpillar dies so that the butterfly lives.

As we become more like Christ our old nature dies and a new nature emerges.

Paul said in, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

The word “therefore” refers us back to verses 14-16 where Paul tells us that all believers have died with Christ and no longer live for themselves.

Our lives are no longer worldly; they are now spiritual.

Our “death” is that of the old sin nature which was nailed to the cross with Christ.

It was buried with Him, and just as He was raised up by the Father, so are we raised up to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

The “old” refers to everything that is part of our old nature—natural pride, love of sin, reliance on works, and our former opinions, habits and passions.

Most significantly, what we loved has passed away, especially the supreme love of self and with it self-righteousness, self-promotion, and self-justification.

The new creature looks outwardly toward Christ instead of inwardly toward self.

The old things died, nailed to the cross with our sin nature.

The new has come, full of life and the glory of God.

The newborn soul delights in the things of God and abhors the things of the world and the flesh.

Our purposes, feelings, desires, and understandings are fresh and different.

We see the world differently.

The Bible seems to be a new book, and though we may have read it before, there is a beauty about it which we never saw before, and which we wonder at not having perceived.

The whole face of nature seems to us to be changed, and we seem to be in a new world.

The heavens and the earth are filled with new wonders, and all things seem now to speak forth the praise of God.

There are new feelings toward all people—a new kind of love toward family and friends, a new compassion never before felt for enemies, and a new love for all mankind.

The things we once loved, we now detest.

The sin we once held onto, we now desire to put away forever.

We “put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9), and put on the “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).

We are growing and that means we are becoming like Christ as He transforms us from the inside out.

So, how do we help you grow here at MACC?

First, and I may be biased in this, but I believe we do a pretty good job preaching the Word each week.

That is paramount to our Vision and Mission as well as this core value.

But as I have always said, if the Sunday sermon is all you are getting then you are malnourished.

If this is the biggest meal you have, then you are malnourished.

That is why we provide additional opportunities for you to grow in your knowledge and relationship with Jesus in his Word.

It’s why we are preoccupied with helping you develop a Biblical Worldview, not a Christian worldview, that is so open to suggestion anymore, but a Biblical worldview is the way we view the world through a Biblical lens.

So, to help in that we provide EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES.


  • Jesus 101 (Roger Smith)
  • How to Study Your Bible (John Deckard)
  • Cover to Cover (Kenlyn Deckard)
  • Blue Print for Life (Bruce Western)


  • Bible (Bruce Eidson)
  • Family Life (Andy Farwell)
  • Topical/Discipleship (Steve Clements)

LiFE Groups

Women’s Precepts

Overseeing all of this is Christina Farwell, our Discipleship Minister.

We are providing you with opportunities but we can’t make you grow, you have to desire that and work at that.

Some of you may be comfortable limiting your growth to an aquarium and growing no more than that six inch shark, but we hope and pray that all of you want the ocean so you can grow in Christ as much as possible.

There is a list of resources at the Adult Ministries table for you to pick up to use to help you as you are CHALLENGED TO GROW IN CHRIST.

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