Summary: Peter and Paul admonish new Christians as new born babies to get up off their knees and grow.

“It’s Time to Get Off Your Knees”

-Disciples are Christians on the Grow-

I Peter 2:2-3

I Corinthians 3:1-9

The Apostles Peter and Paul give persuasive advice on Christian growth and maturity. Peter describes the process of spirituality in I Peter 2:2-3. Just as a newborn baby has an unending appetite for milk so the newborn Christian has a compelling desire for the Word of God.

As I look back on raising four children there are high points and low points. High points are when the children are born. There are exciting moments with each one. I remember another high point was the first time our first-born son Tim said his first words. I was especially excited when he began to crawl. I was even more thrilled when he learned to take his first steps. He no longer had to crawl around on his hands and knees.

The Word of God serves as a mirror and in the mirror we see the reflection of we are continuing in the crawling stage or we have gotten up off our knees and are now standing and moving forward for the Lord.

Baby Christians are called to grow. Growing Christians are following Jesus as Disciples. Discipleship is a process. A disciple is a person following Jesus. A disciple is a “learner.” A disciple is “teachable.” A disciple is committed to living as Jesus lived and obedient to all that Jesus taught.

In I Corinthians 3 the Apostle Paul addresses the problem of new Christians staying too long in the baby stage. He writes to the people in the church in Corinth: verse 1-2 “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.” To rephrase what Paul is saying: “It’s time to get up off you knees. You’ve been crawling long enough. Get up and get into the meat of God’s Word.”

From the teachings of Peter and Paul we see characteristics of those who are spiritually immature and those that are more mature.

I. Characteristics of People Who Are Spiritually Immature.

Paul admonished people in the Church in Corinth: “I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly, mere infants in Christ.” Milk is for an infant. Milk is needed for a delicate and undeveloped body. Solid food or meat is for the strong and mature person who needs strength to do rugged work.

The church at Corinth was full of problems, factions, divisions and splits largely because its members loved the wisdom of men. They were proud of their eloquent ability to explore and explain many fascinating subjects, although no one was being changed much by all this display of erudition and knowledge. And because, as always happens, human wisdom reflects various viewpoints, they had split and divided and they were full of boastings and glorying in the leadership of various men.

What is solid food/ meat? Solid food is teaching that unfolds the full riches and magnificence of the gospel so that people grow up. They stop being children, as Paul says in Ephesians 4, " longer to be children, tossed to and fro and carried about every wind of doctrine," {Eph 4:14 RSV}. That requires the meat of the word. Christ died for my sins; that is milk. We died with Christ to sin: that is meat. That is what will free me from habits and attitudes that are irritating to others and that make me difficult to live with. The knowledge of the gifts of the Spirit -- that is milk. These Corinthians had that knowledge. Paul says right at the very beginning that they had all the gifts present among them so that "you are not lacking in any spiritual gift," he says {1 Cor 1:7 RSV}. They knew all that, but that is milk. What they did not understand was how to produce the fruit of the Spirit, which is love. That is meat. Later on Paul will point that out to them. He will discuss the gifts of the Spirit, and then he will say, "and I will show you a still more excellent way," {1 Cor 12:31b RSV}. That is love.

1. Spiritually immature people harbor jealousy and envy. Verse 3: “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?”

A person who is jealous puts others down with harmful words and actions. A jealous and envious person rejoices when others hurt and feel hurt when others rejoice.

Attitudes of jealousy and envy need to be confessed and taken to God in prayer. You have a hard time being jealous or envying a person you are praying that God will bless. Showing kindness toward those who have hurt you or despitefully used you shows a sign of maturity.

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