MOVING TO MATURITY
SERIES: Balancing Act
Sunday, January 28, 2018
- “Adolescence and awkwardness are synonymous” (voice, body, B.O., social skills)
- Thought: Jesus experienced adolescence. Sinless, but was He awkward?
- Luke 2:52 (782)
Growing older doesn’t necessarily mean maturing
- OT-NT / Author: Paul / Audience: Ephesians (Ephesus, modern day Turkey) / non-Jewish audience / Written around 60 AD from a prison in Rome
TEXT: Ephesians 4:11-16 (897)
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
- God provides (calls) leaders for the church
- Not do the work and build up the church, but to PREPARE AND EQUIP GOD’S PEOPLE to do His work and build up the church
- Less like your attorney, more like your personal trainer
As we do this, it will bring me and you and us collectively into maturity
13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
- Maturity Immaturity
- Paul: Some of you are immature in the faith, I want all of you to become mature in the faith
So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. 2 You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. – Hebrews 6:1-3 (922)
- Stages of Growth
- Childhood: Only aware of self / Focus is my needs and wants / Dependent / Immature
- Adolescence: Aware of others / Focus is my needs and wants / Independent / Immature
- Adulthood: Aware of others / Focus is outward and needs of others / Interdependent / Mature
- Many stop at independence
- 1 John 2 / Write to you who are mature in the faith, write to you who are young in the faith
- Our mission: Helping people take…
Unlike physical maturity, this isn’t automatic. So how do we get there? Paul says, don’t be immature and describes what that looks like then he writes…
15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
- Speak the truth in love. If we want to grow, if we want to take the next step, we have to help each other by speaking the truth in love
- You’ve got to have both.
- Love without truth: You’ll feel affirmed while you screw your life up. You will be validated but you won’t grow. (Proverbs 27:6 = wounds from a friend)
- Truth without love: You may improve but you won’t mature or grow emotionally and eventually you tune out those voices or turn away from them
- Paul: As we each do our own special work, it helps those around us to grow
- Commentator: “Paul’s instruction to the Ephesians PUTS INTO THE BACKGROUND THE SELF-DEVELOPMENT AS AN ENTIRELY INDEPENDENT ACT.”
- Commentator: Unity in the faith and maturity as believers is a CORPORATE ATTAINMENT
Taking our next step toward Christ / Dependence – Independence – Interdependence
- All are natural stages, you can’t skip them
- But you can’t stay in them either until you reach maturity
- Ways Paul Says We Can Do This:
- Seek truth and training (church leaders)
- Seek community (why the church matters)
- Invest yourself in the body of Christ (as you grow, you help others to grow too)