- The Washington Times - Monday, June 18, 2001

Excerpts from a sermon by the Rev. Ronald C. Brown Sr. at Christian Love Baptist Church in the District of Columbia.

It is time to grow up. When Peter is telling folks to "grow in grace and knowledge" of God, he is talking about what we can become [2 Peter 3:18].
The beginning of this growth is knowing Jesus for ourselves. His divine power leads us in a godly life. Too often we rely on others for this knowledge, whether the preacher, songwriter or testimony of others. But to grow, you need a direct knowledge.
Now, you dont get this just because you are in church. It is just like work. Some people go to their job week after week and get a paycheck, but they dont do any work. Our government is notorious for having such folk on a payroll. Nothing ever seems to get done, like when they dig up the streets.
In the same way, you may wonder why we dont get better by coming to church. First, when we come, we influence each other and all of us live in very earthly ways. We can distract each other from godly ways. Then we wonder why our children are not getting any better. We need to truly come to God, and then there is change. We are not here to please the world. What we face today, Peter understood way back then.
This is the challenge of being church folk. Peter wasnt talking to the people on the outside, the adulterer and drug addict, the alcoholic or the young man or woman with child out of wedlock. No, he was talking to people inside the church. The devil already has that world outside, so Peter says we have to keep growing here on the inside.
You remember that old tuna commercial that says, "Sorry, Charlie." Starkist didnt want tuna that only looked good. It had to have quality on the inside. But now commercials are all a pretty picture on the wrapper, with no concern about inner quality. So, are you worried about looking good? God wants our inside well dressed. He wants people to grow up on the inside.
You know about growing up. We pot train our children so they dont mess themselves when they get older. The same thing with Gods training of us. That means someone who is not grown in Gods word, no matter how big their body, is still a child. Because our children dont grow up, the schools are trying to do what we should be doing at home.
Think about it. When youre little in school and get in trouble, they have a "time out." You get older and its detention, right? Older still they have suspension. Now, when youre full grown and dont obey mans laws, they have something else its called jail. The same is true with Gods law. If you finally reject Gods word and law, I believe there is place called hell. This idea of the "wages of sin" is not just the preachers idea. The preachers job is just to tell you whats in the Scripture.
We have to train our teens in the word of God. I heard on the news that a day care in Virginia lost its license because of a cohabitation law. A man lived with a woman who ran the business, and he said, "If we got married, shed lose her benefits." Are we doing that to our children? Telling them, "Dont marry so you can get benefits?" Then they go out and get pregnant. We spread decadence to our children, and they spread it to theirs.
Peter is talking to us adults and saying, "We should grow up." Grow up in our relationships. Grow up in our love, especially you fathers on this Fathers Day. Our children are the future. When we are reminded to do better with them, from teachers or from pastors, you adults shouldnt say, "Dont talk to me like that. Im grown."
Peter wants us to be grown in the Lord, not just grown in the world. Listen to Peter on "moral excellence." He says self-control leads to godliness and then to patience, and that leads to love. You will have grown to really love everybody.

Next week: a sermon by the Rev. Olin P. Moyd at the graduation of Washington Baptist Seminary.


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