Growing Up (Ephesians 2:7-16 Under Construction Series)
I was made aware recently that for some young people the word adult has become a verb. “Adulting as described in the urban Dictionary as (v): to carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals (paying off that credit card debt, settling beef without blasting social media, etc). Exclusively used by those who adult less than 50% of the time. In the real world however nobody is going to show up and pat you on the back for paying your mortgage or electric bill. They will take your house and turn off your lights if you don’t.
For Tammy and I the goal was always to prepare the boys to be self-sufficient. That they would leave the nest and be able to take care of themselves. And they have all grown into responsible adults. But sadly, this is not always the case many have what I call Peter Pan syndrome.
The remain immature never really growing up into adulthood. And very often they are led around by their emotions, they remain self focused. Even more so it is a shame when we who have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit remain infants in Christ rather than growing spiritually as we are called to do. The Apostle Paul speaks to the importance of the church and using the gifts given the church to enable us to mature spiritually
Read Ephesians 4:7-16
Jesus organized The Church- the church was not something that was created in the mind of man but was made by God. the church as a new organization with a new covenant.
Apostles – those who disciples and appointed by Jesus to lay the foundation of the church. They gave us the New Testament and planted the first churches. Some you use the term today in a different fashion to describe church planters but I don’t think that’s what Paul is talking about here.
Evangelist- lead people to Jesus through sharing the gospel
Prophets- simply speaks under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Preaching means to speak prophetically to the church.
Pastor/ Teachers- Feed the sheep and protect the sheep-
What does Spiritual Maturity look like?
- Equipped for the work of the ministry-equipping means giving a soldier what they will need for battle and training them how to use the weapons. Make no mistake we are in a spiritual battle and to not be equipped is like walking out onto a field of battle against the enemy Each Person is given a spiritual gift in the church. We are not just here to observe but to learn. This is a discipleship ministry. That means when you come on Sunday or on Tuesday Evenings expect to take to heart some message, some teaching that will direct you into some kind of service for the Lord. How do you know what God wants you to do/ this will usually be discovered as you spend time with your church family and you pay attention to what moves you? Are you moved towards prayer, or are you a good listener, do you find that you desire to learn the word and help people understands, are you moved by a concern for those who struggle financially? Spend time with church family and pay attention to what moves you.
- Not easily deceived by the Devil- Have you ever been surfing or body boarding and wiped out or you went out when the water was rough. I remember one time when I was in San Diego many years ago and I decided to go to Wind and Sea Beach. I had my leash on and I paddle out and the waves were pretty big and the sets didn’t leave you a lot of time to get out there. At some point I kind of realized that I was way out of my depth. My leash broke and my board headed towards shore and I was being tossed around by the waves. A little bit of panic set in until I reminded myself to just start going with the current and I made my way in.
- Every Wind of Doctrine- the reason that we need to grow in our knowledge of God’s Word and in our walk with him is so that we are no longer tossed to and for due to a lack of experience and knowledge with his word. I have seen some Christians come across some false teaching and really get tripped up in their faith. The get tossed around by waves of doctrine because they have not trained themselves to recognize the lies of the enemy.
- they were casual in their Christianity and then they meet someone who really seems on fire for what they believe and their they go joining some cult and getting side tracked. It is true that if you find someone who is passionate about a cause and they seem like they know what they are talking about they are more likely to win you over than if you had done some research on your own. Th at is happening all over the place today in religion, science and politics. We call this the information age but it could also be labeled the age of Fake News as well.
- I am thankful for those who are hungry fo the Word of God. It is a joy to see you grow. Jesus said those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled. If you want to be inoculated against false doctrines and the like than you need to be hungry for the Word of God.
- Deceitful Schemes- I called my Dad last week and he had me listen to these messages that he was getting from these social security scammers. He was laughing at them because it sounded so ridiculous. But think about it if these scams didn’t work no one would be trying it. We need to defend ourselves against the deceitful schemes of the devil. How does he scam us? By using fear, by placing doubts in our mind about our relationship with God. To doubt if God’s going to answer our prayers or is He going to provide for us.
- Speak the Truth- in love. to be the hallmark of the Christian life. It means you actually care enough about people to give them what they need rather than just what they want. Those of you that are parents know what tough love is. The same goes for believers. If we see a brother or sister getting off of the path we can speak truth in love to hopefully nudge them back onto the path. By doing this we preserve the body of Christ in a way that glorified God. The growing or maturing believer doesn’t avoid conflict because of the messy inconvenience of it all. But they recognize the value in helping to preserve the walk of a fellow believer.
- Kingdom Minded-simply means that you get it. No one has to tell you the purpose of your life and why its important to be part of the body of Christ. You understand your role in the larger scheme of things no matter what life throws at you. Focus is to make sure that God is glorified in your life.