Summary: Paul provides signposts on the road to spiritual maturity.
Marks of Maturity (Part 3)
Ted Williams, who died in 2002 was arguably the best hitter baseball has ever known. He was the last baseball player to hit better than .400 in a season. Upon his death George Will said in his column "There is no joy in Red Sox nation, a.k.a. New England, or in any heart where baseball matters." One of reasons Williams was unique in his ability to hit a baseball was because of how fastidious he was with the bats he used. For instance he used a postal scale to check that humidity had not added an ounce to the weight of his bats. He was once challenged to find from among six bats the one that was half an ounce heavier than the others without the scale…he quickly did. He once returned to the maker a batch of his Louisville Sluggers because he sensed that the handles were not quite right. The handles were off by five-thousandths of an inch." Some would call him obsessive, but it was hard to argue with the results. Ted Williams knew bats and could detect the smallest discrepancy.
The Apostle Paul has been urging Ephesian believers toward maturity and marking the road with signs on how to arrive there. Paul says a mature church will have a unity of the faith. It is unified in the essential truths of the gospel. Another sign of maturity is attaining to the knowledge of the Son of God. It means we are to be so convinced of who He is and what He has done for us that we respond to Him accordingly. We daily submit ourselves to Him. We daily follow His lead and allow Him to call the shots in our life. We live life in daily dependence upon Him. We respond daily to the reality of Jesus Christ in our life to the point that the balanced character of Christ is replicated or as Paul says, as “mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
Another signpost to maturity is to be as detailed and concerned for truth as Ted Williams is with a bat. A mature believer will be able to detect even the slightest imbalance or defect and will not be duped. Read Eph 4:11-14.
Our children live in a world that seems more dangerous than the world of my childhood. Even though we were taught as kids not to trust strangers, it wasn’t unusual in many neighborhoods to leave your home unlocked. A child could ride his/her bike in the neighborhood or spend the night at a friend’s house without much worry. We live in a different age now. The divorce rate has caused child-abduction by a parent to be a major concern. The Internet has put the abductor right in the bedroom and dens of our homes as kids communicate personal details of their life online. The Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard cases put fear in already suspecting parents today. In light of the times, how many parents today would allow a grown man who met our eleven year old daughter on-line come over and take her for a ride or visit in the home? It would be unthinkable. And yet many purveyors of false doctrine are welcomed into Christian homes and believers are like naïve children in not recognizing the deceit and putting ourselves in harms way. Here is my premise I hope to convince you of today. In the spiritual realm the dangers of false teaching are just as pervasive and may I suggest just as damaging as sexual abuse or kidnapping.