Due to the large amount of sermons and topics that appear on this site I feel it is necessary to post this disclaimer on all sermons posted. These sermons are original to the author and the leading of the Holy Spirit. While ideas and illustrations are often gleaned from many sources including those at Sermoncentral.com, any similarities and wording including sermon title, that may appear to be the same as any other sermon are purely coincidental. In instances where other minister’s wording is used, due recognition will be given. These sermons are not copyrighted and may be used or preached freely. May God richly bless you as you read these words. It is my sincere desire that all who read them may be enriched. All scriptures quoted in these sermons are copies and quoted from the Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible.
Pastor James May
IT’S TIME TO GROW UP – PART II
Last week we began to teach concerning the fact that there is such a great lack of spiritual maturity in the church and that this lack of spiritual maturity is the source of most of the turmoil that occurs within the church. We talked about the child like attitudes of many Christians that must be given time to grow and to change if we are ever going to accomplish the work that God has given to us.
Tonight I want to continue in that same vein of thought as we discuss the problem of spiritual immaturity a little further.
Looking together at the scriptures I want us to consider two separate passages where we will get the idea that most who never grow up spiritually will begin to act in similar fashion to babies in the nursery or to small children in the Pre-K and Kindergarten classes.
You cannot turn your back for long on small children. They are in need of constant monitoring and constant care for their own protection and for the good of the whole.
Likewise those who are Spiritually Immature need constant tutoring also.
Galatians 4:1-3, "Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:"
Please understand that this is not necessarily a condemnation of those who are Spiritually Immature for all of us must grow in the Lord. Those who are newborn babes in Christ are expected to be spiritually immature but those who have been saved for any period of time should immediately begin to grow up.
Babies are cute, huggable and lovable but anyone who still acts like a baby after they have grown a few years are looked upon much differently. The older we get while still acting like a baby, the worse it becomes offensive. A new born baby sucking on a bottle is natural but a grown man with a beard and mustache who is still sucking a bottle certainly isn’t natural, in fact, it is downright foolishness.
To a certain extent we all have to go through the growth periods spiritually just as we must do in the flesh. No one ever becomes a man or woman by skipping the adolescent years between childhood and manhood. Sometimes we may wish we could skip those troublesome teenage years with their flights of fancy, mood swings, raging hormones and attitude problems but it simply can’t be done. Going through the rough times of the formative and learning years are an essential part of your life and they shape your character for many years to come.
Even so, there are far too many who choose to remain in the Primary Department instead of moving on to bigger, better and more mature things. Sad to say, many never come out of that Primary Department.
Hebrews 5:12-14, "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
Perhaps it would helpful for us to take a quick look at what types of behavior we find in the nursery and primary classes to see if there are spiritual and moral applications to our lives so that we avoid some of the mistakes and grow into the Spiritually Mature man or woman of God that He desires us to.
So just how do kids in the nursery and Kindergarten behave?
1)Constantly in need of feeding! Most newborns require a small amount every few hours. They are not able to handle large volumes of food or milk at first because their stomachs are still growing and developing.
I have seen Christians who loved to hear you preach or teach as long as it wasn’t too long winded. They love their spiritual food fed to them a few bites at a time. They can’t handle it when you attempt to give them an extra bit of spiritual meat from God’s Word. They like short sermons, sermonettes and devotionals but they don’t care for listening the Word of God being expounded for an hour or two. Sometimes we can blame this on the speaker but most of the time it’s due to the Spiritual Immaturity of the hearers.
I have heard it said that “Sermonettes only develop people into Christianettes”. Somehow that doesn’t give me a clear picture of a Spiritually Mature man of God.
2)Little kids love the candy and sweets! I hate to admit it but that is a weakness of many of us older people as well. Just look around and you can tell just how true this really is.
Looking at those who are Spiritually Immature we see that the vast majority of them only serve God when its convenient and comfortable. They never step outside of that Comfort Zone lest it requires more from them than they are willing to give.
The Spiritually Immature are always looking for the fun things but they don’t want anything that even sounds like work or commitment.
Their attitude toward working in the Kingdom of God reminds me of a TV program that was only when I was much younger called “Dobie Gillis”. In that program there was a character played by the same actor who played Gilligan on “Gilligan’s Island”. On the Dobie Gillis Show he was known as “Maynard”.
It seemed that Maynard had a real allergy to work of any kind. Every time he heard that word “work”, Maynard would act shocked and scream, “WORK”, cringe as if he were in pain from only hearing the word and then he would simply disappear until the work was done.
Does that sound like people you know? They are always around, always in the middle of everything, always ready to give their opinion, or spout their limited intelligence on any matter, but let there be a real need for actual manual labor and everyone of them will just disappear into the woodwork until the work is done.
There are people in God’s House who are the same way. You can always see them around and hear their mouth until the work starts but where are they then? Those are Spiritually Immature people because they have not learned that it always takes people working “by the sweat of their brow” to accomplish anything worthwhile. Nothing worth anything is ever really free. With every good work there is hard work attached. It’s the work that actually brings the ultimate satisfaction.
There is much more satisfaction in working and accomplishing the winning of a trophy than to just have someone give it to for no reason. Where is the joy of victory or the agony of defeat in that?
3)Constantly crying about something but unable to communicate what’s really wrong.
I don’t know about you but I have a hard time with crying babies. It not that I don’t care but I don’t know what they want. I don’t know if they are mad, dying, sick, hungry or if they have other problems. All I know is that they are constantly crying about something and I never know really why. I get upset and angry easily over a crying child, especially if I am the only one left to care them. That’s why I refuse to babysit any children until they are old enough to tell me what they want or what’s hurting. I’m not good at mind reading or understanding pantomime or sign languages, so I don’t know what they want. It’s not that I get angry with the baby. I get angry with my own inability to cope with the situation because I pride myself in being self sufficient to a great degree.
That sounds like a large number of Christians that I have met through the years. Their mouth is constantly going, constantly making noise about something but none of it ever really matters.
I’ve seen many who will turn and walk away from God because they got upset over some little insignificant matter but they would never let anyone know about it. Then there those who let you know about it all the time but their problems are so miniscule in the scope of the big picture that we often ignore their crying about it.
I do know that there are a lot of people who claim to be Christian who will make a mountain out of a molehill in a heartbeat if it serves to make them look better or feel better.
If you ask people what’s wrong they will just about always say, “nothing, everything is fine.” Then the next thing you know they aren’t in church anymore and they won’t even talk to you.
Please, have enough Spiritual Maturity to communicate in a manner that makes your desires, needs, wants and concerns understandable to everyone else.
4)Communicate only through actions!
I’ve observed babies for a long time. I even have two very young grandchildren living with me. If there is one thing that they are noted for it’s that they learn pretty quickly how to get what they want or to get their own way.
But, they don’t communicate with words; they communicate with sounds, gestures and movements.
If my grand daughter wants a cracker that’s on the counter, she can’t say, “give me that cracker.” Instead she will stand there and point and cry until you guess through everything on the counter until you hit on the right thing. Sometimes I just give up and tell them to go ask mama or grandma because they seem to understand the kids better than I do for some reason.
Sometimes I give them one of everything and they hand back what they don’t want and keep what they do want. That seems to work except that it’s a lot of wasted motion and extra work and time.
Have you ever seen people in the church act that way? I certainly have!
All they ever do is go around pointing fingers and complaining or crying about something or other. The music isn’t right. The preaching is boring, too short or too long. The sound is terrible. Something is always wrong somewhere. There is a constant turmoil in their relationships within their own families and within the church family. You try to give them one job after another after another and nothing satisfies them. You try to ignore them and they only get louder. You try to get them to explain their feelings to you and they either refuse to do it or they can’t do it and then you have to start playing the guessing game to figure out the problem. Yes, people can act just as immature as little kids if things aren’t where they want them to be.
There are also those in the church who will not say or do anything until things have gone so far that its hard to correct them and satisfy them.
My son was like that as a child. He never spoke more than a few syllables until one day, out of the clear blue he put a full sentence together and said, “I want a drink of water.” It floored us because we didn’t think he could even talk yet. He also surprised an older cousin who was bringing him along in the car. When they stopped at a stop sign and she didn’t move fast enough he said, “Well Go On Stupid!”
Learning to communicate with God and with your fellowman is a large step in the direction of Spiritual Maturity. We must have good communication skills if we plan on doing much for the Kingdom of God.
5)Babies and little kids are always raising a big stink if you know what I mean!
Just to make this a short point let me say that I have seen many Christians who were immature enough in their walk with the Lord to cause great divisions within the congregation and even the destruction of an entire church. They love to start a fight and won’t stop until there is nothing left or they get their own way at all costs.
6)Very short attention spans!
Have you ever tried to keep a baby occupied? Their attention span on any certain thing is so very short that you have to be in constant motion. They have to have a new toy all the time because they get bored with the old one quickly. They can’t watch anything but cartoons on TV because they don’t have the power of concentration or the reasoning skills as yet to understand much more than that.
There are people in God’s House who are the same way. You give them one job to do and they soon tire of it. Give them another job and they tire of that too. This pattern continues until there is nothing left to offer that they can handle then they complain because the preacher won’t give them anything to do.
You will never accomplish anything great for the Lord without some grit in your craw that makes you keep on when you feel like quitting. Remember, “nothing worthwhile is ever easy or free but it costs you something.”
7)Sleep a lot!
Simply put, there are a lot of spiritually immature people who are in God’s house but they are asleep spiritually and often physically. They are there but their mind isn’t. You look into their eyes but there’s no one home. They grasp very little of what’s said and they often miss out on everything because they weren’t paying attention.
I want you to know that many of these sleeping saints won’t make Heaven their home either. When the rapture comes, Jesus may say the same words to them that he said to Peter in Matthew 26, "...Sleep on now… "
8)Another mark of the Spiritually Immature is that they have no understanding of anything above their own needs and wants.
They don’t care about the big picture of the ministry. All they want is to have their own way regardless of how much it hinders the work of the Lord.
They won’t attend any function that they didn’t have part in planning. They won’t agree with anything that’s not according to their likes or dislikes and they won’t tolerate other people who don’t live up to their own standards or expectations.
A spiritually mature child of God is far more concerned about the condition of the church, or the heart of a person, than they are about doing things their way.
9)Can’t handle a lot of solid foods. Their digestive system is not ready for it.
Until we have exercised our heart and mind and built a relationship with Jesus and developed a hunger for the Word of God, we will never be able to handle the deeper teaching of the Word of god.
Spiritually immature people dwell upon only the surface of the Word of God and they never dive off into it with a genuine hunger to learn many of its hidden secrets and nuggets of wisdom. That’s the same reason that most won’t study Revelation or look into the types and shadows of the Tabernacle compared to Jesus Christ.
You can’t get off into a deep study of the Word of God with immature Christians because your breath is wasted as the word just goes right over their heads. It’s time we start growing up and learning some of the more weighty matters of the Word.
What comes next after salvation? What is sanctification? What part does the Holy Spirit play in our lives? What is the trinity all about? What deeper, more personal meanings can be found in the parables of Jesus that will affect me directly as it will few others?
These types of questions can never be answered if all we ever do is talk about Noah’s Ark, David and Goliath, or Jonah and the Whale. There is so much more to learn if only we would grow up enough to learn it.
10)Can’t teach others what they don’t know but they will always try anyway.
The final point I want to make this evening is that Spiritually Immature people can never be good teachers for other people to learn from. The only real lessons we can learn from an immature Christian are these:
Stay away from them whenever possible without ostracizing them and don’t become like them.
Too many Christians want to teach and they don’t know anything. You can spot them everywhere. They are usually the loudest of the group and the most talkative. They think that because they say so much that it makes them look wise and knowledgeable. In reality, they say very little that really matters.
Ecclesiastes 5:7, "For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God."
2 Corinthians 1:17, "When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea,
yea, and nay, nay?"
Both Solomon and Paul considered meaningless talk as nothing but vanity and pride in the heart of a man or woman who talks non-stop without really saying anything of importance.
Everyone wants to be a teacher or a leader but no one wants to pay the price that it takes to become that leader or teacher. Our churches are filled with leaders without leadership ability and teachers without teaching ability.
Let’s learn to grow into a Spiritually Mature man or woman of God that can be used by God to further the message of the Gospel in the earth.