Grow up 3
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.
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.
I) Growth/Maturity has everything to do with acting in a way that is consistent with one’s purpose. We must know that we are chosen:
A) V. 5 – We have been chosen we cannot choose ourselves.
1) Lucifer was exalted/chosen to be praise leader. He wanted something else. He decided to exalt himself. The point is that God has made you beautiful as you are. We each have been made to God’s specification and He has set us in a place.
1a) Ez. 28:11-15 -- 14Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
1b) What was the iniquity
i) Is. 14:12-15 12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
ii) Need to be seen (doesn’t matter who does it as long as it is done). He desired to shine brighter then anyone else.
® Careful if you desire to hear your name mentioned. Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
iii) Need to be in control. Does it always have to be done my way.
iv) Desire to steal God’s glory. I trouble.
1c) We must be careful to not think more of ourselves then we ought. Humble thyself in the eyes of the Lord and in due season he will lift you up (James 4:10). The way up is down. The way to greatness is through service.
1d) Do not desire to be great. Desire to please him. David was a man after God’s heart. It did not matter to him if he was a shepherd or king.
II) We mature as we stay in the chosen place:
A) Many are called but few are chosen (Matt. 22:1-14).
1) Many were called but few responded.
2) Those that responded were equipped. God will provide the grace and talent necessary to do what he has called you to do.
2a) Great things are not done by great people but people who do great things become great.
B) Special purpose requires a special response.
1a) E.g. Hanna, Esther/Mordecai
1b) Maturity is knowing what you have been called to and shaping your life around the call.
1c) Its all about work.
III) V. 10 Paul wanted to cover more (e.g. Christ as our priest) but could not because they were dull of hearing.
A) Dull = sluggish/slothful. Paul is not saying that they are stupid but that they are lazy about obtaining knowledge.
B) Maturity is all about doing it not talking it.
1) Going for it and not complaining that you do not have it. Don’t complain get knowledge.
1a) Find out what it takes to get to where you want to be. Find truth. The truth is most times we only think that we want it.
i) Once you have knowledge you realize that “it” is not all that. Pride often makes us want things that we don’t really need (trying to keep up, wanting someone to think that I’m something instead of knowing that you are something. We don’t really want “it” we want the “glory”.
® Remember, maturity is all about doing it. The reward is insignificant to the purpose/goal.
2) Bereans searched the scriptures to see if what was being said is true.
3) Should be teachers but have need of someone teach you again.
3a) Response is everything. We must learn to be studious about God’s word.
® Purpose that the Lord you will only have to tell me once.
® I’ll labor over and study what you have given to make sure that I know it.
C) The hold up: Old material had to be constantly reviewed.
1) Jesus said that to him that hath it shall be given…
2) The way to progress with God is to cherish what he gives. This provokes him to give more.
2a) Faithful over little to be ruler over much.
IV) We must progress. The theme of this passage is that there must be obvious signs of growth in a believer. We must go through the stages. Babe/mature is not a function of head knowledge but of what you use (doers and not hearers only)
A) Babe is defined as one who is on milk (v.14). Things that require no effort to digest.
B) Indicator of a babe is that they always do what is easy. Things that are easy to swallow. An immature person will avoid many things because of the level of difficulty.
1) Common expression: “But its hard” – Do it hard.
C) Characteristics of a babe:
1) Babes are unskillful (unable to use what you have) in the word of righteousness.
1a) Not based on tremendous head knowledge. It is based on the level of faith. Ones ability to hold fast to what God has said. Knowledge
2) Babes are unstable (Eph. 4:14): No longer children being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.
2a) Did run well what did hinder you (Gal. 5:7)?
3) Babes have poor reasoning.
3a) Be ready to give a reason for the hope that we have (I Pet. 3:15).
4) Babes are uncontrolled
4a) Bondage to the elements of the world (Gal.4:12)
D) Maturity: Those who are of full age eat meat. Meat requires effort to process. It is more demanding on the entire digestive system. Signs of maturity (Mature thinker).
1) They use what they have: By reason of use.
1a) Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
2) They exercise themselves: Exercised their senses.
2a) (I Tim. 4:7-8) -- 7But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
3) They discern Good and Evil: discern both good and evil
3a) (I Joh 4:1) 1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
4) They are stable:
4a) Eph. 4:14
5) They are thinkers: Apt to teach others.
5a) (Acts 17:10-11) 10And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
E) Summary. Babes vs. mature is based on how you apply what you have heard.