Go and Grow--by Kimberly B. Southall
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Go and grow. These two actions are vital in the life of each Christian in order for faith to mature. In fact, one action cannot be achieved without the other. These two actions are inseparable as part of one's faith. There are several scriptures which, when studied together, teach this lesson. But perhaps the passage which "sums it up" best is found in Paul's second letter to the Corinthian church:
Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our area of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. --2 Corinthians 10:15b-16a NIV

From this, we see that evangelism, or the spread of the gospel, is dependent upon the growth of individual faith. Jesus also teaches that those who stand firm in their faith are essential to the gospel being preached to all nations:

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. --Matthew 24:12-14 NIV

Other scriptures addressing Christian growth can be found at Ephesians 4:15-16, 1 Peter 2:2, and 2 Peter 3:18.

Ask just about anyone who professes to be a Christian, and he or she will readily admit that they want to grow in faith. The problem is that many will claim they haven't yet grown enough to be able to "go," which is the second action we will examine, along with its relationship to one's faith.

A quick review of scriptures in which individuals were divinely commanded to go is in order. In Acts 5:20 the apostles were commanded to go and proclaim the message in the temple courts. In Acts 8:26, 29 Philip twice followed the command to "go." As a result, the Ethiopian eunuch became a Christian. In Acts 9:6, 22:10, & 22:21 we see Paul was commanded to "go" three times. This led to his conversion and subsequent ministry. In Acts 9:11, 15 we see that Ananias was twice commanded to "go" in connection with Paul's conversion. In Acts 10:19-20 Peter was instructed to "go." This led to the kingdom being opened to all gentiles. In Hebrews 11:8 we can see it was by faith that Abraham obeyed the command to go. In each of these cases, faith was required on the part of the individual commanded to go. However, when each one obeyed, not only was he rewarded with a greater faith but others benefitted as well.

Most important today is the command to "go" which Jesus Christ gave to all of his followers:

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." --Matthew 28:18-20 NIV
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He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. --Mark 16:15-16 NIV

Evangelism is dependent upon the growing faith of individuals just like you and me. It is impossible for one's faith to grow to maturity if he or she does not also follow the command to go. The question is...what is your response to Jesus' command for you to go? Do you want to grow in faith? Will you go and grow?

Copyright © 1999 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.