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Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:12-16
Growing to Maturity
1. Spiritual maturity is
desired by all conscientious Christians,
Matt. 5:48; Phil. 3:12; Eph.
2. "Spiritual maturity" has taken on some unscriptural definitions:
a. "Open-mindedness" (i.e., tolerance/ compromise), 1 Tim. 6:20-21.
b. Always questioning but never being definite, 2 Tim. 3:7.
c. Free-thinking (atheists / agnostics), Rom. 1:21-22.
d. Emotionalism (regardless of revealed truth), Jer. 10:23.
e. Bible knowledge (worthless without obedient faith), 2 Pet. 3:18.
3. teleios: "brought to its end, finished; wanting nothing necessary to completeness; perfect; that which is perfect; consummate human integrity and virtue; of men -- full grown, adult, of full age, mature" (Online Bible, #5046).
4. The preaching of the gospel is intended to perfect us in Christ, Col. 1:28. How do we reach and secure our own spiritual maturity?
I. BY PUTTING AWAY
A. Put Away Sin, 1 Cor. 3:1-3 (Col. 3:5-9).
1. Immaturity / undeveloped spirituality (3:1) will soon give way to anti-spiritual conduct (3:3). Flesh controls rather than the spirit.
2. This causes contentions, strife and sin in our lives (cf. 1:11).
3. With these present we are not maturing; not spiritual mature.
II. BY CULTIVATING YOUR
UNDERSTANDING OF TRUTH,
14:20; Eph. 5:17; Jno. 8:31-32.
A. Word of Christ must be in Our Heart, Col. 3:16; Jas. 1:21.
1. The instrument of our obedience, Jas. 1:22-25 (3:2).
2. Able to answer others, 1 Pet. 3:15.
B. The Mature Wisely Use their Understanding, Jas. 3:13-18.
III. BY BEING MORE AND
MORE LIKE CHRIST,
A. The Maturing Christian Measures Himself by Christ.
1. By the stature of His character and conduct, 1 Jno. 2:5-6 (1 Pet. 2:21).
a. Is faith in Christ present? Jno. 8:24
b. Does the humble mind of Christ define you? Phil. 2:5
B. Christ must be Formed in You, Gal. 4.19 (2:20).
IV. BY PROGRESSING
BEYOND FIRST PRINCIPLES,
6:1 (press beyond
first principles to fully develop,
A. In Your Understanding and Use of God's Word, 5:11, 13.
-The mature devote themselves to comprehending and using truth.
B. In Your Willingness and Ability to Teach the Truth, 5:12.
-The mature devote themselves to teaching what they have learned.
C. In Your Ability to Discern Right and Wrong, Truth and Error, 5:14; Phil. 1:9-11 (Lk. 12:57; Jno. 7:24).
-The mature are able and willing to discern (judge, separate) sin and error from righteousness and truth.
V. BY OVERCOMING
1 Jno. 2:14
(1 Pet. 5:8-9).
A. The Word of God Abides in the Strong, Psa. 119:11.
-This is not merely quoting scripture -- It is walking in the truth.
B. By Diligently Increasing in every Fruit of Righteousness, 2 Pet. 1:5-11.
-You can do it! (cf. 1 Cor. 10:12-13)
1. You have a mandate to mature (2 Pet. 3:18).
2. How are you doing?