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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Matt Hagee » Matt Hagee - Grace That Grows

Matt Hagee - Grace That Grows

Matt Hagee - Grace That Grows
Matt Hagee - Grace That Grows

Tonight because this is one of those things that when I began to dig and look into the content, it really struck me why I have such a problem with this thing called "New year's resolution". Now, if I'm just sharing my testimony, go ahead and let me. But if I might be helping you with your testimony, you need to listen close. How many of you seem to struggle when this concept that at January 1 of the new year, everything changes, and you're going to be something totally different than you have been for the last 48 years of your life? How do we really make change? And how do we make change permanent? And how do we succeed in the changes we want to make?

Because I don't know about you, but there are things in myself that I would like to see improve. But the more I try to improve them on my own, the less successful I am. I need help! Where this really gets to be a challenge is when what you want to change is your spiritual development, when what you want to do is draw closer to God, when what you propose to do is to get you into a place where you can hear God more clearly through spiritual growth. When growth is your goal, and you attempt to do it on your own, you'll fail every time.

Romans 8:8 says these words that those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Everything that you do spiritually has to have a spiritual source. And if it doesn't, it's not spiritual. Consider the first church in the Book of Acts. When you read acts 2:47, it says, "And the Lord added daily". Say that with me: "And the Lord added daily". Who added? The Lord. So where does the grace to grow come from? Our text for the evening is Ephesians 2, the 1st through the 10th verse. I want you to turn in your Bibles and follow along as I read.

"And you, he made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sin, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lust of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature, children of wrath just as the others". Verse 4 says, "But God", say those two words with me, "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. By grace, you have been saved", say that with me, "By grace, you have been saved and raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us in Christ Jesus".

Verse 8, read it with me, "For by grace, you have been saved through faith, and not that of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are his workmanship created in Christ for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them".

Lord, let these words come alive in us tonight so that we understand what you intend for each and every child of God who has received your son as a Savior. Let them learn how to grow in the grace of God, as your word has so eloquently stated: that we might bring you glory and honor through the church in all generations. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

How many of you would agree with me that the world we live in takes God's grace for granted? The reason that we take God's grace for granted is because we forget what God can do in his wrath but chose to do in his love. And it's time that we stop doing that. You see we all have God's common grace. God's common grace is extended to the righteous and the unrighteous. There isn't a difference in gravity for the wicked and the just. And then we have God's saving grace. God's saving grace comes to us in the verses that we read in Ephesians 2, "For you were saved by grace through faith". But then we have grace that grows.

You see when you receive Jesus Christ, you, according to the Word of God, become a new creature. You're born again. And just like the birth of every child, God expects growth. Let me give it to you in this example. How many of you would look at these roses and suggest that they're beautiful? They smell good. If you took them home and gave them to your wife, she'd be very glad that you thought so much of her to bless her with such a beautiful gift. The reality of these roses is in spite of how alive they look and how pretty they are, and how vibrant they appear to be, and how fragrant they seem to smell: do you know what the truth about these roses is? They're dead already. They look good right now, but they are dead already.

This is what the Bible said about you and I when we were in our trespasses to sin. We were dead already. There's a lot of people on this earth that right now, they look pretty good, but they're not doing real well because if they have a billion dollars but they don't have Jesus, they're dead already. It looks okay right now. But let me tell you what heaven sees, because this is all that these can become. These are not going to get any prettier. You leave them out here till next week, they'll look just like these. But whenever you get to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Bible says that he grafts you, he pulls you back in. You become a new creature in Christ, and he ties you to the branches and to the vine. And this might not look as pretty as this, but do you want what? This is full of potential.

There are a lot of people in this world who are trying to do spiritual things. But because they haven't received a source of grace and grow spiritually, it doesn't matter what they try to do: they cannot please God. But there are people who have been grafted into the promises of God that won't grow much more than this, because they don't know how to use the grace that grows. Here's five facts that you need to know about God's grace that grows. These facts are both natural and supernatural. Let's discuss them naturally.

First, growth is expected. Say that with me, growth is expected. When you have children and you take them to the doctor, they put them on the growth chart, because they want to make sure that they're progressing naturally, they didn't grow too fast: that you don't have a five-foot-tall two year old, growth is determined by the source of life.

Another truth about growth is that growth requires relationship. Say that with me. Growth requires relationship. For several weeks, when Kendal was pregnant, she didn't know it. And then when she found out she was pregnant and we went to the doctor to confirm she was pregnant, growth for that child required a relationship. Now naturally for nine months, the baby grows in the womb. The baby does not ask for food. The baby has a special connection with mom. And everything that the child needs is given to that baby. At birth, the cord is cut, but relationship is still required. Hannah couldn't feed herself. We had to feed her. Now, Hannah has matured enough that if Hannah wants food, she can go to the refrigerator and make herself a sandwich. The point is, is that the more mature the child becomes, the more independently they are responsible to feed themselves.

A fourth truth about growth is this: is that growth is increased whenever it's put under pressure. Growth produces power when put under pressure. The more pressure, the more growth. The more growth, the more their potential can be realized. If we didn't give our kids the opportunity that exert force, eventually they'd develop health problems, because there's not a balance between intake and output. And the fifth thing that you need to know is that growth takes time. Say that with me, growth takes time. From the moment that a child is conceived, it takes time to develop. It takes weeks. It takes months. It takes years. Now the way that these principles are true in natural growth, they're also true in spiritual growth.

This is what Jesus said in John 3:6: he said, "Flesh is born of flesh, and spirit is born of Spirit". Say that with me. "Flesh is born of flesh, and spirit is born of Spirit". The first truth: remember? Growth is expected. Say that with me, growth is expected. John 15:16, Jesus told the disciples: he said, "You didn't choose me. I chose you that you should bear fruit. And that your fruit should remain". He was telling the disciples, I've brought you into a source and I am expecting you to become a resource of growth. Whenever you receive Christ as Lord, he becomes the source of growth. And God, the father, expects you to become productive.

Another truth about spiritual growth is that growth requires relationship. Jesus said again in John 15:5, "Apart from me, you can do", what? "Nothing". Jesus said, in John 10:10, "I have come to give you life". That was not natural life: that was spiritual life. 1 Peter 2:2, it tells us that "Newborn babes long for the pure milk of God's word so that by it, they may grow". By it, they may do what? Grow. Just like natural children receive all that they need in their infancy, when you take the Word of God and you begin to read it, you begin to develop. Whenever you're an infant in the faith, it's milk. But then as you begin to develop, it becomes bread. And as you continue to grow, it becomes meat. It's alive, and it's powerful, and it gives you everything that you need every time that you to pick it up.

A third truth about spiritual growth is that growth comes through struggle. Strength comes through struggle. How many of you are familiar with what they call "Growing pains"? Spiritual growing pains come through resistance. When it comes to spiritual growth, it is accelerated, not by your comfort, but by your conflict. It's accelerated by your conflict. This is why James 1:2 says, "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience". Why should you count it all joy? Because when you come into a trial, you're entering into a growth spurt. I know that doesn't sound real exciting at the moment. But I assure you, you'd much rather go through the growth spurt than wind up stunted. It's the furnace of struggle where your spiritual strength is forged.

The good news is is God will never give you more than you can endure. He's your source. He knows and he divinely created you. He'll never give you more than you can endure. How many of you have ever felt like you got a little bit more than you could take? You need to have trust in God to know that he'll never give you more than you can endure. He'll never put you in a lion's den unless he knows that your faith is enough to get you through that lion's den. He'll never put you into the fire unless he knows that your faith is enough to resist the flames. He'll never give you a struggle that he himself will not be there to give you the strength to endure. And in the midst of enduring the struggle, you'll begin to grow in your strength so that on the other side of the conflict, you can say, "I am more than a conqueror through Christ".

The way we read if Word of God, according to James, it says that trials produce patience. And when patience has its perfect work, you're going to be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. And the way that we like to read it is, God, make me perfect, and make me complete, and don't let me lack anything, but don't let me struggle. You can't get to James 1:4 unless you start with verse 2. "Count it all joy when you come into various trials," because it's in that struggle that you're going to learn what you can live with and what you can't live without. And when you recognize that you can't live without Jesus, then you're going to develop the patience that gives you the opportunity to be perfect and complete, lacking nothing, because struggle produces patience. Why patience? Because growth takes time. Say that with me. Growth takes time.

1 Chronicles 16:34, we read these words, "Give thanks to the Lord: for he is good, and his mercy endures". His mercy does what? Endures. What is his mercy enduring? You and i. His mercy endures forever. 2 Peter 3:9, it says that the Lord is not slack concerning his promises, but he is longsuffering. What is longsuffering? That word means "Patience". His promise to the believer is that he would grow us into the image of his own son. How does he do that? By giving us his word. The Bible says that his word is a seed that will not return void. Just like the seed that grows these flowers has the potential to grow a whole garden: God's seed that's been planted into you has the potential to do anything far and above anything you could ask, think, or imagine.

And God, who knows the potential and the power of the seed that he's planted in you, he's longsuffering waiting for that seed to grow in you. What keeps the seed from growing? Not receiving the grace to grow. You see when God gives us a word, what we often do is we ingest it, and we treat it like we can do it on our own. God, I'm asking you to send a revival to the church. God says, I'll send a revival. It would be wrong for me to say, in four weeks, I'm going to start a revival. Why? Because it's not my revival: it's his! And his ways are not my ways, and his time is not my time.

I have to be patient and wait on the grace to grow in what he's put in me. Because the things that are of flesh will never please God. I can't do anything of myself, and God look at it and be happy with it. It may look right to you. But if I'm not doing it through him, he's not pleased. Stand here and preach in my strength? God won't accept it. Sing a song of worship in my gift? He won't accept it. Do it for his glory: it's music to his ears. Why? Because remember the truth about growth is that growth is limited by its source of life. Flesh is born of flesh, and spirit is born of spirit. When you were born in your natural body, your limitations were established at the moment of conception. Your DNA crossed, and everything you would be, and everything you wouldn't be was decided.

There's nothing you can do about it. You may try to put out tremendous amounts of effort, but you can only increase your potential so far, because no matter how hard you try, you're not going get any taller, you're not going to get any faster, you're not going to get any stronger, because your genetic limit was set. However, that's your natural self. Flesh is born of flesh. Spirit is born of spirit. When you read the Bible, 2 Corinthians says that those who come to Christ Jesus, "Therefore", 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone", say that with me, "If anyone is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature".

Your limitation is established by your source of life. And when you come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, you have connected with a source of life in whom there is no limitation. He is the one who has said all things are possible for you. He is the one who has said you can speak to a mountain and it can be removed. He is the one who made us alive when we were dead in our trespasses to sin. He didn't give you the opportunity when you came to the knowledge of Jesus Christ to become an improved version of your old self. He said, "Old things have passed away". If in your natural life, you were an alcoholic, in your saved life, you're set free. Whatever mountain stood in your way, he made a way where there is no way, because whenever you connected with him, you connected with an unlimited source that can give you the ability to do all things through Christ who gives you strength!

This is where the spirit and the grace to grow comes from. In recognizing what John the Baptist said that I must decrease: that he might increase: that I have to allow myself to become less so that Jesus Christ in me can become more. Because if he becomes more in me, then I can say to that mountain, "Move," and it'll be cast into the midst of the sea, not because Matthew Hagee has spiritual power, but because God, through Jesus and his grace, put spiritual power in me. It gives me the ability to ask and receive. It gives me the ability to do greater things than I could ask, think, or imagine, not because of who I am, but because of who lives in me!

So how does this work in your everyday life? Every day you have to do what the apostle Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ: therefore, I no longer live. But it's Jesus Christ who lives in me". "It's Jesus Christ who lives in me". The way that this works is for you to make the conscious decision, "I am crucified with Christ". And the more that you are willing to die to yourself, the more he has the ability to grow in you. One of the reasons why we have so much struggle, and trial, and trouble in the church is because we've got Christians, who are very strong in their flesh, and they're very weak in their faith, because they haven't given God the opportunity to use the grace to grow, so that when you walk into a day of battle, you can say, "Jesus, you're in charge. Take me through this fight and make me more than a conqueror through Christ".

Can we stand in the presence of the Lord here this evening? With every head bowed and every eye closed, you're in this place tonight, and you say, pastor, I've been trying to do it on my own. I've been trying to please God my way. I've been taking his grace for granted, and I don't want to do that anymore. I want to grow in the grace of God. And it starts tonight. I want him to become the Lord of my life, not just my Savior, whose saving grace I received. I want him to become the Lord of my life to where I can say like Paul did, "I am crucified with Christ. And I no longer live, but it is Christ who lives in me". If that describes you, I want you to raise your hand right where you are. And I want you to hold that hand high, as a testament to the Lord that tonight you're willing to grow in his grace, by his mercy, for his glory. I want you to repeat this prayer with me tonight, everyone in this room:

Lord Jesus Christ, tonight I thank you that you have redeemed me. Tonight I thank you that your word sustains me. Tonight I thank you that the grace of God has been poured out in my life. And tonight I receive your grace that enables me to become everything that your word has promised. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your mercy. And now by the grace of God, give me the strength to grow, in Jesus' mighty name: that I might see your power, your glory, and your kingdom established on this earth, in Jesus' name. Amen.
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