Summary: God desires that every Christian grow to maturity in Christ. Three areas that we often need to grow in are worship, witness and work.
A. Last Sunday, We spent some time trying to get a clear and simple vision of our God-given mission for our congregation.
1. I introduced a vision statement that I believe will give us a needed handle for pleasing God.
2. So what is it that God wants us to be as a church? God wants us to be a people who are striving to love God, love people, and love truth.
3. So when people ask any of us, what is your church all about? We can say we are about loving God, loving people and loving truth.
4. If you missed the sermon last Sunday, I would encourage you to get a CD copy from Nathan Laatz, or just go to our website and listen to the sermon, or watch it on our YouTube channel.
B. In today’s sermon, I want to build on last week’s lesson.
1. So what can each of us be doing to enable us to be the kind of church that loves in these ways?
2. The answer is that we can make a commitment to grow, and then we can do the things that will help us grow.
C. Let’s consider this riddle: What is one significant difference between an airplane and most other forms of transportation?
1. Answer: Most other forms of transportation, whether it be the horse and buggy, the car, the train, or the boat, can all come to a standstill without danger, and they can safely go backward.
2. But the airplane cannot fly backward, and it dare not stand still. If an airplane loses forward momentum, then it crashes.
3. The only safe direction for the airplane is forward and upward.
D. Likewise, the only safe direction for the Christian is forward and upward. If he or she stops, or if he or she begins to slip and go backward, then there is danger.
1. My main point today is a very simple one: God desires and commands that his children grow toward maturity in Christ.
2. One day a group of tourists were traveling through Europe visiting historical sites. They were impressed that so many small villages were the birthplaces of great artists, poets, composers, and political leaders.
a. While the group was strolling through a particularly picturesque village, one of the tourists asked the guide, “Were any great men or women born in this village?”
b. The guide replied, “No great men or women were born here, only great babies.”
3. Every one of us starts off at the same place both physically and spiritually.
a. We all start off as babies - and all have the opportunity to grow into greatness.
4. But unfortunately, some of us don’t grow beyond the baby stage.
a. Or if we grow beyond that stage into infancy or childhood or adolescence, we stop there and go no further.
5. When Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians, he was frustrated with their immaturity, he wrote: Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly - mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. (1 Co 3:2)
6. When the Hebrew writer wrote to his audience, he was critical about their progress, he wrote: We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Heb. 5:11-14)
a. There are a number of important things in that passage, but let me point out two.
b. First, in reality, some should be further along than they are.
1. Some in that Hebrew audience should have been far enough along to be teachers, but they need to be taught the most elementary things all over again.
2. Perhaps, all of us could be further along than we are, right?
3. But very sadly, there are some among us that should be a lot further along than they are, and that is very displeasing to God.
b. A second important thing that I see in this passage is the primary place of God’s word in our development toward maturity.
1. It is the constant attention to the Word of God (the solid food) that has trained the mature to think and act like God.
2. When we cooperate with the the Holy Spirit within us, and allow the Spirit to work through the Word, then we grow.