The Key to Spiritual Growth

We are going to look at one scripture from Matthew 16, so we will go there first, after which we'll go to Matthew 26 and then look at a couple of verses from John 16 and hopefully, we will wind up on the Day of Pentecost.

I have had some question me concerning the fact that they just don’t feel like they are growing as fast as they should. The Lord had showed me something and I think this is very important. I want to start with the 16th chapter of Matthew. This has to do with when Jesus came into Caesarea Philippi with His disciples.

Matthew 16:13-17 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that Thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.

In other words, Jesus said, “Peter, you’ve got a revelation. This wasn’t revealed to you by anyone else. I didn’t even reveal it to you Myself, but the Father which is in heaven revealed it to you.”

Matthew 16:18-19 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church …
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of heaven …

It is upon that revelation that the Lord builds His church. Going down to verse 21, let’s see what comes next. There is an order in revelation and this is the next step that takes place after you get a revelation of the Lord.

Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to show unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

It wasn’t time for Jesus to talk to them about what was going to happen until they had the revelation of who He was. Now it is time, so this is the next step. But look at verse 22.

Matthew 16:22-23 Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee.
23 But He turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind Me, Satan: thou art an offence unto Me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Peter is saying, “No, I don’t want to lose my Jesus. This cannot happen to You. You have to stay with us. I will not accept that!” The Lord rebuked him for that.

Now let’s go to Chapter 26. There is something I want to point out here.

Matthew 26:1-2 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, He said unto His disciples,
2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

Jesus is talking about it again – just two days and this is what is going to happen. Now go to verse 6.

Matthew 26:6-13 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
7 There came unto Him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on His head, as He sat at meat.
8 But when His disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
10 When Jesus understood it, He said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? For she hath wrought a good work upon Me.
11 For ye have the poor always with you; but Me ye have not always.
12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on My body, she did it for My burial.
13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

I'm not so much interested in the oil being poured, but what I am interested in here is where the disciples are at this time. This is the last week of Jesus’ ministry. Chapter 27 is when Jesus appears before Pontius Pilate, Caiphus and then is crucified, so we are right at the very end. The disciples had walked with Jesus for 3-1/2 years. They had seen what He had done. He had ministered to them. He had blessed them and talked to them and revealed things, but for some reason they were not getting it. They were just not getting it. After 3-1/2 years of instruction by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, they are still very, very immature. You couldn’t go to a seminary and get a better spiritual education than what they got from the Lord Jesus Himself. But they are still very, very immature.

Here are some other things that the Lord said to them from John 16. This is right near the end of His ministry, too. In fact, beginning with chapter 14 of John this is Jesus preparing them for when He departs.

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.

In other words, it is most necessary for you! Now look at verse 13.

John 16:13 Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth…

Back in the John 14, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus Christ is the truth. Now, He is saying, “When the Spirit of truth comes….” In other words, “I’ve been with you guys and I’ve been teaching you as the Son of man, the Christ, but when I come to you as Spirit, it is then that you’re going to open up to revelations and visions you never knew. Then the Spirit of Truth will guide you into all truth.”

John 16:13 …for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.

It is a strange thing, for Jesus is referring to Himself as another person. What does He do as the Spirit of Truth?

John 16:14 He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.

“Brethren, you don’t realize it now, but when the Spirit of Truth comes on the scene, this is when you are going to get some superb teaching.”

John 16:15-16 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall it unto you.
16 A little while, and ye shall not see Me…

Why? Because it’s expedient for you that I go away.

John 16:16 …and again, a little while, and ye shall see Me, because I go to the Father.

What does that mean – a little while, and ye shall see Me? "It is not going to take very long and you will begin seeing Me, but it will be in a way that you have never seen Me before." You are going to have perception.

Let me put this in a time frame. We are at the end of Jesus’ ministry. He has been teaching those disciples and ministering to them for 3-1/2 years as the Christ, Son of the Living God, the Son of man. They are still very, very immature.

Now, you move less than two months forward to the Day of Pentecost. There are fifty days from Passover to Pentecost. Jesus appeared to them after His resurrection for forty days and He was in the grave three days. So, we can figure that is forty-three days. They were in that upper room for at least seven days. But here is what was happening. After His crucifixion, the disciples asked, “What are we going to do?” Peter said, “I’m going fishing. I don’t know what you’re doing, but I’m going fishing. He’s gone. It’s over with.” No, it isn’t over. Peter doesn’t realize how much he doesn’t know yet. But less than two months down the road, they are up in that upper room for about a week and they are worshipping. Then the Day of Pentecost takes place. What are they doing in that upper room? They are learning how to worship the Lord who they cannot see. They are learning to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. They are learning to know Him. Then on that precious Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came, they were filled with the very presence and Spirit of the Lord. After that, the miraculous change took place. From that day forward they were different people. They had revelation. The Scriptures had opened up to them. They could minister the mysteries of Christ from the Old Testament and were speaking the Word of God, and miracles and things were happening.

After 3-1/2 years with Jesus Himself and they were not growing, they were still so immature they could not do anything, and Jesus said, “How long am I going to be with you? Oh, ye of little faith!” But then in such a short time something happened that these disciples became real men of God. It was spoken of them that “they who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” People looked at them and said, “It’s obvious they have been with Jesus.” What made the difference? The difference is they quit relating to the Lord as a man in the natural and they learned how to recognize Him spiritually, learned how to recognize His Spirit. This is where the change took place, and this is where they became real men of God.

They weren’t looking forward to another day, “Well, when He comes back ….” To them the Lord was back. He was with them. He was in them. He was moving through them and they moved with such boldness that it scared people. The difference was in their relationship to the Lord. It is the same thing today. As long as we are only relating to Him as a man, we’re not going to grow. We’re sitting here saying, “Well, one of these days when He comes back….” But we can make that breakthrough, that transition, like the disciples did and learn how to worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth, and to know Him, to know His presence. As long as we are looking for another day when Jesus the man will come back, we don’t know Him yet. One of the disciples said, “How is it that You are going to manifest Yourself unto us and not unto the world?”

“It is expedient for you that I go away. If I do not go away, you are going to cling to the man Jesus. But if I go away and the Spirit of Truth comes, He shall guide you into all truth, because He is Spirit.”

There is the difference. If we want to grow spiritually, we must stop relating to the Lord as a man and begin relating to Him as the Spirit of the Lord.

II Corinthians 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh … Though we have known Him as a man, as Jesus the Nazarene … yet now henceforth know we Him no more.

We know Him no more in that way. Pretty simple, isn’t it? It wasn’t easy. When the the Lord begins to leave, you will probably be like Peter, “I think I’ll go fishing.” I believe that is the key to spiritual growth. The spiritual growth did not take place while they had Jesus ministering to them as a man. The spiritual growth took place, the spiritual change took place, when the man was out of the way and they learned to recognize a spiritual, present Lord and to serve Him. That is what brings change. Amen.

Copyright © 2010 by Henry DuBose