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IMPACT: Maturing the Believers Sermon 102206

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Maturing The Believers

Ephesians 4:11-16

I.        Introduction

A. Purposes of the church IMPACT

B. See Acts 2:42 – They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship

C. What is discipleship

1. Spiritual training

2. Mandated in the great commission

3. The nature of discipleship – Luke 9:23-24 - 23) Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24) For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.

4. Gene Mims, “Kingdom Principles for Church Growth,” says,”Mature discipleship means that believers are living for the Lord in all areas of life.  They take the Bible seriously and without question or compromise.  The life of Christ is the center and focus of their lives.”

5. Rick Warren, “The Purpose Driven Life,” says, “God’s ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development.  He wants you to grow up spiritually and become like Christ.”

II.      Training (11-12a)

A. Illustration – Every player needs training

1. Any football player starts out his football career knowing no plays, not knowing how to stretch or work-out, not knowing how to tackle or pass or anything else – I teach positions first in soccer

2. A coach comes along side each individual player and tries to make sure each one develops the skills necessary to play the game well

3. Each player has to work hard on his own to build their own knowledge and muscles to be the best that he can be

B. Exegesis – God gives coaches to train us individually

1. The coaches

a) Apostles and Prophets

(1) Apostles - those converted and called by Jesus during His earthly ministry. 

(2) Prophets – Those who spoke the word of God

(3)  These were the men who gave us the Word of God.  We need to seek growth through the Word

b) Evangelists – Those who spread  the “good news” – This is the basis and beginning of our faith “recruiters”

c) Preachers and teachers – pastors and elders (includes teachers)

2. Their job – To equip the “saints” for works of service

a) Equip – to perfect, or to mend, often used for setting a bone in medical terms

b) The saints – “a}gio$” The holy ones, set apart, the saved, the church

c) For the work of service (ministry) – To do the work of Christ

C. Application

1. We need to be in training – We are much too passive in our faith

2. We need to be studying the Word

3. We need to be training others in the word

III.   Playing your position (12b-14)

A. Illustration

1. Training always has a purpose in mind.  You never train for the sake of training, but in order to play the game

2. The more we train and get better, the more play we see in the game

B. Exegesis

1. So that – Cause statement

2. The body of Christ may be built up – The ultimate goal is to strengthen the body of Christ, the church

3. the example of the goal – the sports poster on your wall

a) all reach unity in the faith

b) and in the knowledge of the son of God

c) and become mature – a full-grown man

d) Our ultimate goal – to attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ – becoming just like him

4. The result of reaching the goal

a) No longer infants

b) Tossed by the waves

c) Blown by the wind of every teaching and by cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming

5. Application – play your position well

a) We are training to play the game

b) We want to be a team that stands firm and is not easily tackled or intercepted

c) We must each individually build our spiritual bodies in order to resist the other team and play our positions well

IV.    Building a Team (15-16)

A. Illustration – Fletcher’s soccer team has good players but are being beaten by other teams with more unity between its players

B. Exegesis

1. Our play is different than theirs – We are running a different play

a) Theirs is cunning and craftiness and deceitful scheming

b) Ours is speaking the truth in love

2. We will become a unity under the headship of Christ

a) We will grow into our head

(1) image of baby with bigger head then the body

(2) Image of a guy that works out only one part of his body

(3) We must work our spiritual bodies out so that as we grow we will grow into a body of Christ that matches the head – Christ Himself

3. The body should be unified – joined and held together by every supporting ligament

4. The body should grow together – not just parts of it, then it would be deformed

5. As each part does it’s work

C. Application – The more we each grow individually, the more we can grow together as a team to build up the full body of Christ

V.      Conclusion

A. We need to become a fully mature church

B. It is done by building one another up

C. Teaching others

D. Mentoring others

E. People who can teach taking up their position

F. Those who need training being in training

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