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Grow Up

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GROW UP

1 Cor. 13:1-13

Message Sentence/Key Thought:

The new birth is a beginning point for a new life.  Naturally, we expect babies to grow and mature.  In like manner, God expects us to grow and mature.  A key indicator of our maturity is how we love.  Love reveals itself in our talk, thoughts and reasons.

Introduction:

When I was a child I spoke, thought and reasoned like a child but when I became a man I put away childish things.  This text speaks to us in a number of ways.  First it states that there are indicators to determine if I’m a child or a man.  These indicators are wrapped up in my behavior (i.e. how I talk, think and reason).  Jesus said that a tree will be known by the fruit that it bears.  If I’m acting (i.e. my talk and actions) are childish then I’m a child.  It doesn’t matter how old I am or how big I look I’m a child.  Paul said that there were those that should be teaching others but they were in need of teaching.  We have become accustomed to judging our own and others character by indicators that are not true indications of where they are. For example, we call people bishop and elder many times and they do not deserve that title.

A TTR is a test that tells the condition of a transformer.  In like manner, our TTR (talk, think, and respond) is an indicator of our maturity.  I find it interesting that Paul never used talent or special gifts as indicators of maturity.  Also, he summed up maturity as the ability to love.

We have seen examples of national leaders that have fallen.  Our tendency is to make excuses for the behavior because of the anointing that is on their lives.  If I act immature then I’m immature.  Romans 11:29 speaks of how God’s gifts and calls are without repentance.  God gives gifts and makes calls according to His purpose.  He is willing to forfeit the call/gift in order to preserve the purpose.  For example, He called Israel and made them His chosen people in order to bring the messiah into the earth.  However, they have rejected the messiah but not until after God accomplished His purpose.  Despite their rebellion, God used what He did in them to save the entire world (all nations).  God is the same today. He will give the gift of healing to a person and use them to heal many (which is His purpose) and the person that He used then turns against God and His ways.  Nevertheless, as He did not stop calling Israel His chosen people He will not stop calling that person a vessel for healing.  As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:27 “lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”  Therefore, giftings and ability do not determine spiritual maturity.

We are going to talk about growing up or being mature.  Spiritual maturity is determined by how we love.  Indicators of our maturity are found in TTR.  Each of us should begin to do an assessment in these three areas to determine how mature we really are. 

 

Outline: I would like to begin today’s lesson by reviewing our mission because growth is a key element of NVF’s purpose.  Afterwards, I will discuss the need, pursuit and characteristics of love.  Next week, we will discuss three ways in which love reveals itself (i.e. how we talk, how we think and how we reason).

I)                   Review the vision:  Changing the world by changing me.  Changing me by changing how I see.  New vision is more accurately a correct vision.  The bible teaches that the God of this world has blinded the eyes of those that are lost.  The purpose of New Vision Fellowship Church is to open our eyes so that we can see things as God sees them.  As we begin to see life and its issues as He sees them we will live this life as He designed.

A)    Growing people (challenge to change).  If we keep doing what we are doing we will keep getting what we are getting.  We are to be a church on the move.  Never satisfied with less than God’s plan for us.

1)      NVF will not be for everyone.  The ministry is designed to provoke change and growth by challenging how we think.

1a) Challenge religious, cultural, and personal ideas especially as they pertain to:

i)                    Our spiritual, social, financial, soulish, and physical lives. 

2)      We are called to impact every area of life.

2a) Our emphasis is on marriages and families.

B)     We believe that growth comes from understanding and applying biblical principles.

1)      Our mission is to help people understand and apply biblical principles to every area of life.

1a) Therefore, our emphasis will be on life applications more so than traditional biblical topics (e.g. apocalyptic studies).

2)      The victory is in the strategy:  The reason why so many Christians are defeated is because they rely on religious myths/traditions more than the principles of God’s word.

2a) Defeat is not because God’s word is not true but it is because I have not understood how to apply God’s word.

3)      Therefore, above all else we are called to help people achieve a Godly perspective.

3a) We are what we think, God wants to renew the spirit of our mind.

C)    We are called to help people find and fulfill their God given purpose.

1)      God has a good plan for each of us.

II)                Love as a sign of maturity.  Paul in essence states that all your gifts and talents mean nothing if you do not know how to love.  As much as we pursue after gifts we need to more fervently pursue after love.

A)    We Must learn to love (Agape) Jesus’ purpose was intrinsically connected to the fact that He wanted the love that He experienced with the Father to be in us.  He reveals the Father to us so that His love may be in us. {John 17:26  26 And I have revealed you to them and will keep on revealing you. I will do this so that your love for me may be in them and I in them.”           NLT}

1)      The pursuit of love:   Proverbs 21:21    21 Whoever pursues godliness and unfailing love will find life, godliness, and honor.                                  NLT

2)      PRINCIPLE: Persistent love produces life.

B)     What does love look like:

1)      Love is corrective.

1a) Deuteronomy 8:5-6 - 5 So you should realize that just as a parent disciplines (Chasten = admonish, instruct, discipline) a child, the Lord your God disciplines you to help you.  6 “So obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and fearing him.  NLT

i)                    admonish  1. To reprove gently but earnestly. 2. To counsel (another) against something to be avoided; caution. 3. To remind of something forgotten or disregarded, as an obligation or a responsibility.

ii)                  discipline  Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.

iii)                instruct  To provide with knowledge, especially in a methodical way

1b) So, love by its very nature, is not blind.  That is emotion (Eros) not agape.  Love is helpful not hateful (e.g. not hateful towards gays but never condoning of their activity (helpful is letting them know that they first need to be delivered and 2nd that they can be delivered).

2)      Love is patient

2a) It endures misfortunes and troubles, it bears the offenses and injuries of others, it is mild and slow in avenging, and is longsuffering, slow to anger, slow to punish[1]

3)      Love is kind.

3a) kind  Of a friendly, generous, or warm-hearted nature. 2. Showing sympathy or understanding; charitable. 3. Humane; considerate. 4. Forbearing; tolerant. 5. Generous; liberal. 6. Agreeable; beneficial.

4)      Love is not jealous

4a) envy  A feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another.

5)      Love is not boastful

5a) Boast  To glorify oneself in speech; talk in a self-admiring way. --tr. 1. To speak of with excessive pride.

6)      Love is not proud

6a) Filled with or showing excessive self-esteem.

7)      Love is not rude.

7a)  Ill-mannered; discourteous., abruptly and unpleasantly forceful.

8)      Love does not demand its own way.

9)      Love is not irritable.

10)  Love does not keep records of when it has been wronged.

11)  Love is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

12)  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

III)             Next Week:

A)    Becoming a mature talker.

B)     Becoming a mature thinker.

C)    Becoming mature in our reasoning.

SUMMARY:

We have been called to growth.  Anything that does not grow is dead.  Anything that grows can be measured.  The measure of our spiritual maturity is in how we love each other.  Several indicators of how we love are in our talk, thoughts and reasons.


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[1]Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.

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