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Summary: God calls us to spiritual maturity. Spiritual growth is planned, a process, personal, practical and involves people.

EQUIPPING IN DISCIPLESHIP

Benjamin Franklin learned that crushed plaster sown in the fields would help make things grow. He told his neighbors this, but they did not believe him and they argued with him trying to prove that plaster could be of no use at all. After a little while he allowed the matter to drop and said no more about it. But he went into his field early the next spring to plant some grass. Close by the path, where people would walk, he traced some letters into the ground put plaster into them and then sowed his seed in the field. After a week or two the seed sprang up. His neighbors, as they passed that way, were very much surprised to see, in brighter green than all the rest of the field, the writing in large letters, "This has been plastered." Benjamin Franklin did not need to argue with his neighbors any more about the benefit of plaster for the fields. For as the season went on and the grass grew, these bright green letters just rose up above all the rest until they were a kind of relief-plate in the field -- "This has been plastered."

Before I am misquoted today that, “Pastor Steve says I am supposed to go get plastered”, it is true that Christians should be people that stick out in the world. We are called to be different - to show the character of Christ in our lives.

We are continuing in our series getting back to the basics. For the last 2 weeks we have looked at the great commandment – loving God and loving others. This is worship and fellowship. Today we move to the other ‘great’ statement of Jesus, the great commission:

Mat 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

We see in this statement that making disciples is a process. As we go into the world people come to Christ, they are baptized and they are taught and grow in their relationship with Christ. This process of growing in Christ is called DISCIPLESHIP.

Eph 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

God calls us to spiritual maturity. He wants us to grow. The problem is that often we do not understand what spiritual growth is. Let me break some of the myths about spiritual growth:

a. Growth is not automatic – it is a choice

You can grow older without growing up. A lot of people grow old and yet are still immature physically, emotionally, spiritually. Age does not equate with maturity.

b. Growth is not instant – it is a gradual process

The reality is there is no magic pill that will instantly turn you into maturity. It’s a process that starts at your conversion and lasts until you go to heaven. There are no shortcuts.

c. Growth doesn’t happen by just attending church – you must developing habits

Some people think that the Christian life is just a series of meetings. That if you go to a church every once in a while and you are a good Christian that means you are growing. Jesus did not say, “I have come that you might have meetings.” He said, “I have come that you might have life.” Life is at home and work AND at church. A lot of people don’t have time for ministry and mission because they are in meetings all the time.

d. Growth doesn’t happen just by yourself – you need to grow with others

You need other people in your life. Other religions teach that the way you become spiritual is to isolate yourself from everybody else. The holy people are those who live off in monasteries or up on a mountain in a cave. That’s not what Jesus taught. Jesus was the holiest person who ever lived and He went to parties. He was with people. Loving God means loving your neighbor as yourself. That’s what it’s all about. You’ve got to be with people.

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