Summary: Message six from 1 John dealing with spiritual growth stages.
Stages of Spiritual Growth
Like any personal letter, John wrote for a number of reasons. However a clear theme winds its way through he whole letter.
How do I attain and maintain an intimate relationship with the God who is LIGTH and LOVE?
I. GOD IS LIGHT
A. THE MESSAGE: God is Light 1:5
B. THE IMPLICATIONS 1:6-4:6
1. Continually walk (live) in the Light 1:6-7
2. Continually confess sin 1:8-10
3. Rely on your advocate 2:1-2
4. Give attention to His instructions 2:3-6
5. Love one another (don’t hate) 2:7-11
6. Grow up 2:12-14
Before John moved to another obvious implication in verse 15 he paused for a personal observation of three levels of spiritual maturity among believers. He specifically addressed believers at each of the three levels. Each level focused on a specific characteristic or level of understanding and practice. The implication in this passage is that God expects all believers to keep growing in their faith understanding and practice. All believers should continually cultivate a deeper relationship with God.
God created you to grow. The expectation is growth; change, transformation.
Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Hebrews 5:11-14
but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, Eph 4:15
For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. Colossians 1:9-12
grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. 1 Peter 2:1-3
Just as babies and children grow and mature so every believer is expected to grow and nature.
The Scriptures were given to bring about maturity.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Pastors are given to bring believers to maturity.
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, Ephesians 4:14-15
We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. Colossians 1:28
My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you— Galatians 4:19
Trials produce maturity.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
We may grow up in many ways. We may demonstrate maturity in many ways. The ultimate measure of growth and spiritual maturity is becoming more like Christ.