Summary: The Apostle John’s life is an example of the Christian Life in Spiritual Growth and Maturity. In John’s life we see three levels of maturity.
Apostle John’s the Beloved
-Growth in Spiritual Maturity-
Jesus called 12 men of different personalities, passions and skills to follow Him and become His disciples. We call them Apostles because Jesus commissioned and sent them out as His Missionaries to preach, teach, baptize and make disciples of all people. The word “Apostle” means “sent one.” Mark 3:13-19 the 12 Apostles are listed….”Jesus appointed twelve designating them apostles.”
Today we are looking at the life and ministry of the Apostle John. We know John as John the Beloved. John became a disciple of Jesus when he was about 23 years old. He was the youngest of the Apostles. He was part of a fishing business partnership with his brother James and Peter and Andrews. His father was Zebedee and his mother was Salome a sister of Mary, mother of Jesus. John was the only apostle that died of natural causes. He died around the age of 90.
You can read the Gospel of John and not find one place where the author refers to himself as John. Time and time again he refers to himself as “the disciple who Jesus loved.” John may have been thinking – “I know my immaturity in comparison to some of the other disciples, yet Jesus loves me and overlooks my weaknesses.”
The Apostle John’s life is an example of the Christian Life in Spiritual Growth and Spiritual Maturity. In John’s life we see three levels of spiritual maturity.
I. Spiritual Immaturity
The first level is spiritual immaturity.
We first see the spiritual immaturity of John. Jesus referred to John and his brother James as the “Sons of Thunder.” John tended to be obnoxious, self centered, temperamental, and got angry easily.
In spite of his weaknesses he was dependable, prompt and courageous, faithful and devoted. He was one of three closest to Jesus. John was the only disciple that followed Jesus all the way to the cross.
Many of us in our Christian life have struggled with some of the same spiritual immaturities that John struggled with. John in his spiritual immaturity had to face up to his spiritual pride and self centeredness.
A. Spiritual Pride
Mark 9:38-41 – John observed a follower of Jesus who was not part of the 12 driving out demons in the name of Jesus. John told him to stop. John bragged to Jesus what he had done. Jesus confronted John and rebuked him and told him not to tell him to stop. Jesus said, “Those who are not against us are for us.” God’s power over sin and Satan is not limited to just a few. His love and power are available to all.
It is spiritual pride that causes you to look down on those who do not believe as you do. “I am a follower of Jesus. I am a better person than you whose who don’t. People need to believe as I do, or their not as good a Christian as I am.”
“You are not part of our elite group. Stop what you’re doing in the name of the Lord.”
Spiritual pride quickly moves a person to becoming judgmental. If you don’t dress like I do. If you don’t like the music I like. If you don’t worship as I worship. If you don’t (you fill in your personal preference) you are not as good a Christian as I am.
B. Self Centered
John also needed to face his self-centeredness.
Matthew 20:20-28, the mother of James and John knelt before Jesus and requested that Jesus allow her two sons to sit with him when he established his Kingdom. James and John chimed in and said they would be honored to sit on the right and left hand of Jesus. They were thinking, “We are the greatest. We deserve to be at your side in as You reign over the Kingdom of God.”
# The story is told about a Lion that boasted as being the greatest in the jungle. . The lion was proud of his mastery of the animal kingdom. One day he decided to make sure all the other animals knew he was the king of the jungle. He was so confident that he bypassed the smaller animals and went straight to the bear. "Who is the king of the jungle?" the lion asked. The bear replied, "Why, you are, of course." The lion gave a mighty roar of approval. Next he asked the tiger, "Who is the king of the jungle?" The tiger quickly responded, "Everyone knows that you are, O mighty lion." Next on the list was the elephant. The lion faced the elephant and addressed his question: "Who is the king of the jungle?" The elephant immediately grabbed the lion with his trunk, whirled him around in the air five or six times, and slammed him into a tree. Then he pounded him onto the ground several times, dunked him under water in a nearby lake, and finally threw him up on the shore. The lion--beaten, bruised, and battered--struggled to his feet. He looked at the elephant through sad and bloody eyes and said, "Look, just because you don’t know the answer is no reason for you to get mean about it!"