Faithlife Sermons

Don’t Be Afraid to Grow Up

Emotional Faith: a journey with Joseph, Mary, and Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:32
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Following Jesus, walking with God, is full of feelings and emotions.

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Jesus Returns to Nazareth

Luke 2:39–40 NKJV
So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

Topic: Don’t Be Afraid to Grow Up

(Journal. Pray)
Today, we finish our series Emotional Faith: a journey with Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.
I acknowledge faith is a journey and that it can get emotional at times.
(I don’t know whether you ever caught feelings with God, but I attest it happens)
(If you were to back my in a corner and twist my arm I would even say that feelings and emotions are good in our faith walk—they can indicate an interpersonal relationship with God, Supreme Authority, Creator of the Univeristy, God Almighty, Savior, King, Lord.)
It is my prayer that when you imagine yourself in your future you are dreaming of eternal relationships, eternal impact, eternal rewards…when Jesus reminds those who hear Him
Matthew 6:19–21 NKJV
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
...Jesus is calling us to resist the worldly temptation and propaganda to invest our heart in things that are temporary, that are of this world....not that what is around you and around me are insignificant. But rather, their significance is limited, ultimately short lived.
Jesus modeled for us how to work towards eternal purposes.
John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Jesus’ public ministry was filled with notable moments... such notable moments that Jesus’ disciple John, who authored the Book/Gospel of John, remarked
John 21:25 NKJV
And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
Jesus’ had a public ministry of three and 1/2 years…it was brief, relative to His full life. But the 3 1/2 years were full of impact—immediate and eternal.
(Focus less on the number of years and more on the quality of years.)

Jesus’ public ministry had a notable and noticeable start.

One day, while Jesus’ forerunner (and cousin) John The Baptist was baptizing, preaching repentance...

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:

‘Prepare the way of the LORD;

Make His paths straight.

...Jesus came to John to be baptized by John.
Luke, the author of our main text, records this testimony of Jesus’ baptism:
Luke 3:21–22 NKJV
When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”
What a public entrance!
Jesus begins his miracles with the infamous water turned to wine at a wedding party.
John 2:9–11 NKJV
When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
Jesus began his public ministry at about 30 years of age (Luke 3:23) …and by 33 1/2 years old Jesus had completed his mission and public ministry (birthed, lived, was crucified, died, buried, resurrected and returned to heaven. )
What I want to briefly touch upon today are the in between years—the time from when Jesus was born with purpose to when His purpose became widely known and fulfilled.
What do you do for those in-between years?

Announcement - Fulfillment

Some of you might feel and think and notice that you are in the “in-between time”—you’ve come some distance but are not yet who you are fully going to be in Christ.
(Say to your neighbor, “In between”)
May you be encouraged in your in-between years.
What was Jesus doing all of that time before age 30? Was that wasted time such that Jesus could have started his public ministry earlier in life and had His ministry last longer?
Our opening text:
Luke 2:39–40 NKJV
So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
What on earth, literally, did Jesus do for these 30 years?
The short answer: He grew up.
Tell your neighbor, “Don’t be afraid to grow up.”
Encourage your neighbor, “I’m going to grow up, too.”
As we dive into the text, I want to acknowledge, Jesus had a home base.
Later on, in public ministry, Jesus would declare to those who wanted to follow Him Matt 8:20 “And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.””
Still, as a child, Jesus had a home base that belonged to His parents.

Jesus grew in His home base

Geographically, Jesus grew in their family’s own city. (Jesus could wear the T-shirt or hat “Made in Galilee”, “Made in Nazareth”.) It is from here and to here that Jesus would travel, He would be known in the context of His family and city, He would gain legitimacy and simultaneously be challenge. Jesus’ eventual disciple Nathanael would even initially ask Jn 1:46 “And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.””
Q: what is your home base?
Beloved, I suspect there is a place you have lived (or are living) such that in your living you have marked the place and it has marked you—your presence and participation in everyday life has worn a groove (of familiarity), albeit small or large.
Baltimore belongs to OrLando. And OrLando belongs to Baltimore. There is a mutual belonging. Other places claim me but I was first shaped in Baltimore.
(You might have heard a version of the saying, “You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy.”)
We’re talking about your home base.
Jesus’ home base was both a blessing and liability.
(If you can relate, say, Amen.)
Nazareth of Galilee had a reputation that Jesus would eventually have to step above—remember Nathanial’s words”…can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Yet, it was in this geographic location that Jesus spent a very high developmental season of life.

In three areas Jesus grew:

Briefly, I want to touch upon three areas of development, that if Jesus can grow in them we, too, can seek to grow in them.

Natural Age & Ability. Wisdom. Grace.

1. Natural Age & Ability. Jesus grew older and stronger.

Jesus grew in age—up to age 30 before He entered His public ministry.
One of the things we do in our “in-between time” is we grow older and maybe stronger.
Naturally, Biologically, Jesus developed from a baby and young child, to adolescent, to adult.
Some estimate Jesus walked, in His public ministry, more than 3K miles.
Q: what type of work is connected to your purpose? Will you be able to keep up?
Our in-between years can be a time of conditioning for what’s ahead. We can grow stronger mentally, physically, emotionally.
Jesus’s growth was in the nurture and care of others, namely of His parents, Mary and Joseph. Under the tutelage of Joseph, who was a carpenter, Jesus would have begun to learn his father’s trade. Jesus would have begun to know His family’s place in the world, socially, economically.
Q: how old were you, where were you, when you discovered your family had a place in the world—socioeconomically, religious, perhaps, ethnic? What impact has this realization had on you?
Jesus grew in the company of His siblings.

Lived Experience

While it is true that where you start is not where you have to finish, the beginning and the middle of your faith journey can help give you a deserved level of legitimacy, authority, qualification, and authenticity for how God will work through you in life.
Jesus’ ministry capitalized upon Jesus’ upbringing and life experiences…as a result Jesus is more relatable and more compassionate.
When the author of Hebrews encourages us “hold fast our confession” ...
Hebrews 4:14–16 NKJV
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Q: Have you noticed that you have more compassion for others in areas where you can relate?
Where is your empathy strongest?
Jesus grew for years in Nazareth of Galilee.
In addition to growing older, Jesus grew stronger.

2. Spiritually. Jesus was “filled with wisdom”

This relates to Jesus’ knowledge of the ways of God and Jesus’ ability to use that knowledge in living for God.
One way I see evidence of divine wisdom in Jesus relates to Jesus’ faith rituals—how Jesus made common religious practices personal and meaningful.
(The good thing about being a member of a religions is that the religion can give us some spiritual practices. The challenge, at times, is that those spiritual practices can be a cover for impersonal relationship depending on how we engage others and God when we do what we do.)
Luke tells this story of Jesus:
Luke 2:41–42 NKJV
His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.
As we will see, In your in-between years you can make an opportunity to go deeper than just going through the motions.
Q: In what spiritual practices are you currently going through the motion and could benefit from making it personal and real?
For those acquainted with the story/text of the boy Jesus traveling for the Passover, you might recall, when Joseph and Jesus’ mother Mary began their travel home, Jesus was not with their company—Jesus was missing.
Luke 2:46–50 NKJV
Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
Spiritually, Physically, Jesus, even while young, began to place Himself in the center of God’s will, in the center of God’s purpose for Him, in the center of God’s presence.
Jesus pushed back on norms and customs, making them His own, making them a part of His personal story and journey.
Jesus’ relationship with God the Father was so intact and in-sync that by the time Jesus entered His public ministry, people were in disbelief.
Matthew 13:54–56 NKJV
When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?”
Jesus was “full of wisdom.”
How do we get God’s wisdom and not the wisdom of this world?
James 1:5 NKJV
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

3. Spiritually. Jesus had God’s grace upon Him.

Grace is unmerited favor.
Luke 2:52 NKJV
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
For a minute I want to talk about when God’s grace is upon you.
It takes experience (with life and with God) to see with clarity and assurance when God’s grace is upon you.
Had it not been for God’s grace, I never would have made it.
How do you know (when) the grace of God is upon you?
(Jesus escaped murder as a child, boy)

How do you embrace or reject your home city?

Describe your natural growth. Growing too fast. Growing too slow. Growing just right. In what ways might you be being conditioned for your ministry work ahead?

In whose wisdom do you operate? In what life areas do you operate in God’s wisdom? In what life areas do you operate in the world’s wisdom or your own?

Say to your neighbor—fill up on God!

People look at your past and misinterpret your future.

Jesus’s life allowed Him to relate to us and that we would be able to follow Him in deed and thought.
…was in all ways tempted…compassionate high priest.

God can work the long game.

You can have a destiny and be in process. A prophetic word this morning doesn’t have to necessarily manifest itself this afternoon.
God is not a man that He should lie.
Whatever proceeds from His mouth shall accomplish that for which He sent it.
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