Summary: We are to be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, and we are to be moving towards maturity in the faith. This sermon looks at this teaching more closely.
Text: Ephesians 4:13-16
By: Ken McKinley
Nostalgia is a powerful thing. Have you ever noticed that when some people talk about the past they refer to it as the “Good ole days?” TV commercials have picked up on this. I remember seeing the commercials for Life cereal where the little boy took a bite and his friends say “Mikey likes it.” And not too long ago I was watching a commercial where the now grown up Mikey still likes Life cereal. I think Toys R Us nailed it when they sang, “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a toys R us kid…”
So like I said, nostalgia is a powerful thing. But nostalgia itself isn’t so bad; it becomes bad when a person literally doesn’t want to grow up.
In our text; the apostle Paul tells us that out goal, is maturity in the faith. Last time we talked about how God has called apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry – today we see why we need to be equipped. So that we can grow up.
Our culture may want to get in touch with their inner-child, but the Bible tells us that we are look forward towards maturity and growth, with the goal being that we become more and more like Jesus.
Back in verse 3 Paul told us to make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit, last time he told us that God gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints, and in verse 13 we see Paul speaking about unity once again. The unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God. In-other-words, in our faith we are supposed to have unity. We’ve talked about how we can differ on the non-essentials, but in the essentials we are to have unity. We are to grow up, to be more mature in what we believe. If we do this it will help keep us from looking to false doctrines and the entertainment based worship service.
I don’t mean to offend anyone, but those things are for the more immature Christian, the Christian who needs to be motivated by something other than God’s promises in his word. Let me use Scripture to explain this. Turn with me to 1st Cor. 14:20-22 (read). Signs, wonders, entertaining worship services… all of these things are were to peak an unbelievers interest and hold an immature Christians interest. But the mature Christian doesn’t need these things. They don’t need to see a miracle to know that there is a God, they know that they’ve already been part of a miracle when they were born again. They are rooted and grounded in God’s Word and don’t need to be entertained to walk by faith. Now like I said, I’m not trying to offend anyone here, I’m just telling you what the Bible says.
Paul tells us that we are to grow up in our faith, but he goes on and says we should be growing in knowledge as well. Jesus said that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, MIND and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. But this knowledge goes beyond just knowing the facts about something; it has to do with knowing something is true and then acting on that knowledge (remember our lesson from Romans chapter 6).
By growing in faith and knowledge we come together in unity and maturity. If we all agree, that doesn’t mean that our job is done. I mean, we can all be immature and agree on something just as easily as we can all be mature and agree on something.
And let me just say this really quickly – Christian maturity has nothing to do with ones chronological age, it has little to do with how old a person is. It has to do with reflecting the character of Jesus Christ. David was a teenager when God called him, so was Daniel and so was Mary. John the beloved was a young man, so was Timothy; Peter and Paul were middle aged, Moses and Abraham were old.
How much of the character of Jesus Christ do you reflect in your life? What growth have you seen in your life recently? Do you understand the Christian faith better today than you did a year ago… or two years ago… or ten years ago? Do you love the Lord now more than you did in the past? Are you maturing in your faith, or are you resting on where you’ve been? We are to be moving up, not down, and you cannot coast uphill.
So Paul says we shouldn’t be children who are tossed to and fro by people who trick us with false doctrines.