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Grow up2

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GROW UP (Pt. 2)

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 talked, thought and reasoned (TTR) 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, thought, and reason) 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 ding 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)             Becoming a mature Talker.

A)    The power of words:   Matthew 12:33-37  33 “A tree is identified by its fruit. Make a tree good, and its fruit will be good. Make a tree bad, and its fruit will be bad. 34 You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 35 A good person produces good words from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil words from an evil heart. 36 And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgment day of every idle word you speak. 37 The words you say now reflect your fate then; either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned.”  NLT

1)      What we say and do determines the fruit of our lives.

1a) So what we say is important.

i)        Blessed is the man that swears to his own hurt and changes not.

ii)      Death and life are in the tongue.

iii)    Be careful what you say because every idle word must be accounted for.

®    Avoid foolish talk.

B)     It begins in the heart.

1)      Know yourself and be honest:

1a)  Jeremiah 17:9  9 “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?    NLT

1b)  

2)      Say what you mean and mean what you say.

2a) Speak the truth in love

3)      Know your opinion and speak it and be willing to commit to what you say.

3a) Rom. 10:9 – Our commitments follow our confessions.

3b) We must walk what we talk.  Matt. 15:10 – We are defiled by what we say and do.  Conversely we are blessed by what we say and do. 

C)    A perfect (mature) person is one that does not offend with his words.

1)      James 3:1-6  1 Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged by God with greater strictness.     2 We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way. 3 We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself.    NLT

IV)             Becoming a mature thinker.

A)    We must renew our minds:  Ephesians 4:22-23    22 throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. 23 Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.          NLT

1)      Control your thoughts. 

1a) Devil would like for us to think that we cannot control our on mind. 

1b) The spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. 

1c) If you believe that you can’t you won’t .

2)      Tear down imaginations and thoughts that exalt itself against God.

2a) 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;   KJV

3)      Build up/Replace old thoughts.

3a) Philippians 4:8-9  8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.  NLT

B)     Take no thought:

1a) Luke 12:22  22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.   KJV

1b) Romans 12:2  2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.   NLT

C)    How to change what we think.

1a) As a man thinks so is he.

1b) We change what we think by resisting old thoughts and renewing good thoughts. 

1c) Begin to say what God says.  Invest in your thoughts.  We believe based on what we feed ourselves.

1d) Husbands must reinforce their wives beauty.  Wives must reinforce their husbands character.

V)                Becoming mature in our reasoning.

A)    Reasoning is the process that we use to make our judgments, decisions, and commitments.

1)      Children are unable to make long-term commitments that do not yield immediate gains.

2)      A child makes decisions and is easily swayed from them.  Paul used the analogy of being children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine.

3)      E.g. the young prophet that was swayed from his commitment by the older prophet. (I Kings 13).

B)     Reasoning consists of making sound judgments, decisions and commitments.

1)      Making sound judgements:

1a)   This life is an exercise/training ground.   1 Corinthians 6:1-3    Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?      KJV

1b)  The Father trusted Jesus’ judgment.    John 5:21-22   21 He will even raise from the dead anyone he wants to, just as the Father does. 22 And the Father leaves all judgment to his Son,    NLT

1c) Good Judgment requires:

i)        Patience:  Do not judge from outward appearance (God judges the heart).  Be patient to see how matters really play out.

®    Patience will overcome the emotional response.  (Be anxious for nothing).

®    Do not lay hands on anything quickly (don’t give quick endorsements).

ii)      Wisdom:  Solomon asked for wisdom in order to direct/judge God’s people.

®    James assures us that God will freely give wisdom to all that ask.

®    Proverbs says that wisdom cries in the streets.

iii)    Good counsel:  Seek the advice of others.  Be willing to listen.

®       Proverbs 11:14    14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.     KJV

®       Proverbs 15:22    22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.    KJV

®    Proverbs 24:6   6 For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.     KJV

2)      Making good decisions:

2a) Decision making process:

i)        Determine the objective:  The purpose (objective/goal) must guide and not emotions.

ii)      Assess Needs: Luke 14:28 count the cost.  Determine what it will take to accomplish the task.

iii)    Determine Resources:  What you have compared to what it will take.

iv)    Is it Realistic:  Based on what’s needed and what you have determine the odds of success.

®    This determines the level of faith.

®    Determine is this a God plan or a good plan, emotion or call.

v)      Make the decision to go or hold.

2b) Implementation Process:

i)                    (PDCA)  Plan, Do, Check, Adjust.

C)    Making strong commitments:

1)      God has no pleasure in someone that turns back:  Hebrews 10:38  Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.   KJV

2)      Luke 9:62  But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”   TNLV

3)      Dream about no reverse.

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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