Josiah Adam Beck 02.02.12
Harper Lea Hornick 09.02.11
Reagan Elise Wentz 08.23.11
R U Mature? Are you growing up or just getting older? • Birthday Card: You’re not getting older; you’re getting better! • That may or may not be true about you. • As some people get older, they do get better. • But, others just get bitter. • Some people are adding years to their life. • Others are adding life to their years. • The same can be said spiritually. • Some are not growing spiritually; they’re just getting older.
What is a mature Christian? Charles Swindoll: A grown-up Christian displays wisdom, self-discipline and commitment to a consistent walk with Christ. He or she is determined to obey God regardless of the cost and to seek regular nourishment from His Word. Also, a mature Christian strives to reach out and care for others whether they be friend or foe. Such an individual willingly shoulders his or her responsibilities with a contagiously positive attitude. That’s what a mature, grown-up Christian is.
Let’s read what Paul says about the importance of growing up &becoming a mature believer. • This is the big picture, and then he later narrows the focus to us individually. Ephesians 4:1 – Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. • Look at the word calling. Do you realize that you have a calling? • If you are a believer, you have a calling from God. • To believe this maynecessitate a paradigm shift in your thinking.
Many believe the misconception that there are 2 classes of people in the Christian Faith: • The Full Time Clergy • The Rank and File Believer • The 1st group is the really important ones and the 2nd group is the scrubs on the bench. • But, if you are going to grow to maturity, youhave to see yourself correctly. • You ARE called and EQUALLYimportant!
Not only that, but you cannot compare yourself to other people. • Others are not your standard. • You may look at Billy Graham and think he’s what a mature Christian is. • Or, even Mother Theresa and say, “What a wonderful person she was. She’s my standard.” • No, neither she nor Billy Graham areyour standard. • Neither is comparing yourself to a person living on the streets your standard either.
A little boy has a puppy . . . • That’s the mistake we often make. • We look at somebody like Billy Graham or Mother Theresa and say, “That’s a $5,000 Christian.” • And we look at a person living on the streets, and we say, “That is a $2 person. I’m better than them.” • We start assigning values and that’s wrong. • God values all of us the same. • Another person is not our standard. • Jesus is! • And, regardless of what your call is or your place in the church, He values you the same.
2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.
Here’s the big picture. • There’s one body—the Church of Jesus Christ. • And, there is one Head, Jesus Himself. • Each part is equally important and necessary for the overall healtyof the church. Why are you in this church anyway? • To grow spiritually (mature) • To serve—your gifts are needed • Both feed each other. How do you grow? • Serve • As you serve, you are growing to maturity.
Paul uses the analogy of the human body in: 1 Corinthians 12:14-18 – Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, "I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand," that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, "I am not part of the body because I am not an eye," would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? 18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where He wants it.
It’s pretty clear—every part is important and necessary. • You ARE important and necessary in our body. • It doesn’t matter what part you are. • Even the unseemly parts are important. • Take the arm pit for example . . . • Let’s go back to Ephesians and see how Paul breaks it down from 1 body.
Ephesians 4:7-8 – However, He has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. 8 That is why the Scriptures say, "When He ascended to the heights, He led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to His people." • Even though there is one Body, it has many parts. • Oneness in Christ doesn’t mean your individuality is lost. • The Holy Spirit has given each of us special gifts for building up the church—to make the body healthy. • You are uniquely made and endowed with certain gifts that need to be used for the glory of God.
Using those gifts in the church is a major key to your spiritual maturity and growth as well. • Body = Healthy • You = Mature • Then, Paul begins to describe some of the individual gifts given to the church: 11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Paul labels some of the body parts: • Apostle • Prophet • Evangelist • Pastor • Teacher • This is what we commonly call the 5-fold ministry gifts given by Jesus to the Church. • Believers like myself, Jeremiah, Randy & Jeremy would fall into this category.
How many ministers are there in our church? According to the New Testament, who are the ministers? • The next verse answers those questions: Ephesians 4:12 – Their [5-fold ministers]responsibility is to equip God's people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ. (NLT)
Ephesians 4:12– For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. (NKJV) The equipping of Whom? • The Saints Equipping them to do what? • The work of the ministry. Who then is to do the equipping? • The 5-fold ministers of verse 11. How many ministers are there in this church? • How many believers are here . . .
A well-known coach was once asked. . . How much does college football contribute to the national physical fitness picture? • A similar situation exists in many churches today. • When you compare the members who are actively using their gifts, it’s not unusual to have a small group laboring “down on the field.” • While others are acting like spectators sitting in the stands and eating popcorn. • There are no 1st and 2nd teams in the Body of Christ.
God’s plan is not like a football game. • The plan doesn’t call for the job to be done only by the “professionals.” • In the game of life, all believers have their positions and spiritual gifts whichthey need touse“for the profit of all” (1 Cor. 12:7). • If you’ve been sitting in the stands, you’re badly needed down on the field! • Mature believers are in the gameand not on the sidelines.
For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry . . . • Equip carries the idea of repairing or making whole again, such as repairing a fisherman’s net or restoring someone to fellowship. • It was also used by the Greeks for setting a broken bone. • Toequip is to help you find the place where you fit. • As a result, the Body of Christ will be built up and edified.
Incorrect View: I’m helping the pastor out, so he can get his work done. • Correct View: The pastor isequipping me to fulfill my call to serve others and build up the body. • The spirit of this verse is that the path to maturity is through serving &doing our part. • The focus is not on you but on serving.
13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. • This will continue until . . . indicates that the equipping process will continue until a certain end is achieved—unity & maturity. • Think of it this way: the Body (the church) must match the Head (Jesus) in growth and maturity. • Otherwise you will have an abnormal body. • A big, adult sized head on a toddler’s body.
Where are you in your spiritual development? • Are you spiritually: • new born • toddler • elementary aged • teenager • full grown adult? • Are you growing spiritually or are you just getting older?
The key word in this whole passage is mature. • It is used to describe a fruit tree that is producing fruit. • It’s talking about a believer growing to the place of fruitfulness and maturity. • Fruitful trees are mature trees. • Fruitful believers are mature believers. Where’s the beef? • Under the pickle. Where’s the fruit? • Hidden under all the insecurities & immaturity.
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. What is our goal? • To grow up to be mature, productive adults spiritually. • Physical age &spiritual maturity are not the same. • And, according to this passage, the way we grow is through finding our place and serving. • God designed it so your growth & involvement in the local church go together.
What are the signs that we are spiritually mature? • Allow me to give one from this verse: Emotional Stability • Babies need milk for nourishment. • You need the Word of God to feed you. • A baby needs to exerciseto learn to walk. • You need to find a ministry to exercise your gifts. • A baby needs warmth and relationships. • That is why you come to church. • A baby needs to learn to talk. • That is why you learn to pray.
Mature believers know the Word of God and are not easily influenced by deception. • They are not tossed to and fro by their emotions like a child is. • A child shows his emotions easily. • They throw tantrums and cry at the drop of the hat. • Jesus says to be childlike not childish. • Mature adults are steady &consistent emotionally.
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching . . . • Paul uses the analogy of a wave in reference to maturity. • Are you like a wave or like a rock? • When bad things happen or when you receive bad news, how do you react? • Is your response filled with faith or despair? • Are you faith-filled on Sunday but depressed through the week?
Mature believers are steady in their faith. • They are not easily moved. • Maturity in Christ makes you emotionally stable and secure.
Conclusion Have you ever seen someone with a paralyzed hand? • The brain sends impulses to the hand to move, but it can’t. • It just lays motionless. • It’s paralyzed. • It’s so unfortunate. • Jesus, the Head, is calling to you to rise up, move and begin to fulfill your call. • When you don’t respond, that part of the Body is paralyzed. • We need YOU!
The essence of this passage is: • Jesus does not want us to remain spiritual babies. • He desires for us to grow up, become productive and fruitful, so the entire body may be healthy. • And, finding your place is essential to this. Are you adding years to your life? Are you adding life to your years? R U Mature? Base Camp • April 15, 22, 29 • Sunday, 1:00-2:30 pm