Summary: Part 2 focuses on the the food baby Christians eat - MILK. The foundation Scripture is Hebrews 5:11-14.
It’s Time To Grow Up - Part 2
Scriptures: Proverbs 20:11; 1 Cor. 13:11; Heb. 5:12-14
This is part two of my message “It’s Time to Grow Up” and I must tell you that I will not be able to finish it this morning. I ask for your patience as I listen to and share what the Spirit of God is sharing with me.
Last week I shared with you that many Churches operate as “spiritual daycare” centers that are caring for baby Christians. There appears to be an acceptance that these baby Christians will remain babies and in some Churches that is the expectation. I do not believe that this is the will of God for how the Church is to be operating. According what is written in the New Testament, we are supposed to be teaching and training baby Christians to grow in the Word of God into mature adult Christians. As mature adult Christians they are equipped to deal with the world’s issues while teaching others about Christ and their need for Him as their personal Savior.
In my message last week I focused on the behaviors of small children. I gave you examples of the differences between the behaviors of a child versus the behavior of an adult. This morning I want to begin sharing with you these differences from a spiritual perspective. While I do not wish to offend anyone, although some of you will possibly be offended before this series is complete, it is important that we self-examine ourselves to identify where we are on the spiritual maturity scale. If you discover that you are still a baby Christian and you are happy being a baby Christian (and many Christians are) then understand that it is your choice and not God’s plan for you. God’s expectation is that we will grow and mature so that we can function for and be used by Him. As I told you last week, my father always told my brothers and me, “The older you get is just the older you get!” As you listen to the message this morning, ask yourself, “Am I just getting older as a Christian?” Remember what was recorded in Proverbs 20:11. It says “It is by his deeds that a child distinguishes himself, if his conduct is pure and right.” Our deeds/behaviors continue to define us as we become adults just like they did when we were a child. As Christians, our conduct/behavior also defines what maturity level are as a Christian. Spiritually, what are your behaviors saying about your spiritual maturity?
This morning, and for the duration of this series, I will be using two visual aids to help you visualize the fullness of the message. The first visual aid is a baby bottle. A baby bottle is what is used to feed infants because they are unable to eat solid food. As I have already stated, many Christians are coming to Church with the baby bottles in hand looking for milk to fill them. Their bottles get filled and then the milk spoils because they never drink it all. They get milk on Sunday and then take it home and never touch the bottle again until the next time they come to Church. Sounds familiar? The second visual aid is a baby pacifier. A pacifier is used to quieten a baby when it’s hungry, irritated and/or crying. I want you to see this. A pacifier is used to “trick” the baby into thinking it is receiving food when it reality the baby is receiving nothing! When pastors, me included, deliver any Word that is designed to pacify you and make you happy, it’s the same as sticking a pacifier into the mouth of an infant because you are not being fed, you’re being pacified!!! So as you see me sucking on this bottle and this pacifier for the remainder of this series, ask yourself if I am representing you! Now let’s start this morning where we left off on last Sunday. Please turn in your Bible to 1 Corinthians 13:11.
Last week I gave you an image of me being in a grocery cart with Nikki pushing me down the aisle while I scream “go faster.” That image caused many of you to laugh out loud and consider what your actions would be if you ever saw that. In reality, it would be a very childish thing for me (and ultimately Nikki) to do. Determining someone’s level of spiritual maturity is easily seen in how they live their lives. A baby Christian will act like (through their conduct, decisions, etc.) a baby Christian. A mature, adult Christian will act like and make decisions like a mature, adult Christians. I will provide examples of this later. Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth the following in 1 Corinthians 13:11. He said, “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” In this verse Paul speaks about spiritual maturity. He said, when he was a child, he spoke, thought and reasoned as a child. Think about some of the things you did as a child – how you thought and the reasons you did some of the things you did. I did a lot of stupid things when I was younger. My daughter says we do those things because our frontal lobes are not fully developed until we reach our early twenties. Whatever the reason is, when we were children we talked, thought and reasoned as children. We did not have the knowledge necessary to make grown up arguments and/or decisions even though we tried to exercise what we thought were our rights. Have you ever tried talking to a child who would argue with you and never back down? In their minds they are right and they will not accept anything else. They know what they know and they are sticking with it. As a child we are expected to speak, think and reason as a child. However, when we become adults we set aside those childish things because we are expected to know better. Now imagine trying to carry on an adult conversation with an adult who is talking and reasoning like a child. Can you see how frustrating that would be? This is one of the reasons people often tell me how they could never be a pastor. They expressed how frustrating it would be to deal with some of the issues that pastors must deal with. The reason these issues exist in most circumstances is because we must deal with baby Christians. Mature Christians know how to work through difficulties because they understand the foundations for handling conflicts because they studied! If you want to be a blessing to your pastor, whether you are a member of this Church or another one, grow up. Start studying your Bible. Do your homework. Stop showing up empty handed or with an empty plate waiting for someone to put some food on it! Bring something with you. That my friends would help your pastor! We are supposed to grow up and put away the childish things in our lives. Let’s move on and examine the first way you can identify a baby versus a mature Christian.