Summary: A sermon that discusses the need for maturity for the believer and the church = "Only a mature plant will produce good fruit."
Have you ever noticed that the most mature fruit comes from the most mature plants.
You don’t get good apples from immature trees!
Maturity over recent years has received a bad press.
The value of immaturity has been popularised at the expense of Maturity.
In todays world Immaturity has been idolised at the expense of Maturity.
Why? Because immaturity delivers more short term pleasure and sensuality than Maturity.
But the long term results of immaturity are both ugly and extremely damaging.
Take the drug culture for example.
Immaturity would suggest that to take one suck of a Marajuana cigarette can’t do any harm - but anyone who has been involved with folk affected by drugs will tell you - the long term effects for a certain percentage of people who try one cigarette - there lies ahead a road of growing addiction - moral degradation and an eventual early death.
At the social beginning, however, the immature choice presents as more attractive than the mature alternative - in fact in such a situation the mature decision can look irrelevant and rather boring.
Jesus was talking to his disciples one day and here is something of what he said:-
LK 8:11 "This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
In this parable Jesus has been talking about the seed of God’s word and he points to three things that rob the believer from maturity
It is not possible to mature fully as a Christian if you are mesmerised by any one of these three.
Interestingly enough each one of them are held up in our society as virtues.
I believe that as the Western world progressed through the twentieth century it became mesmerised by all three.
If we were to go back just one hundred years we would find that our 1902 equivilent was much less worried about life in general - in her or his day, couselling was far less prevelant and, what is more, despite some terrible exceptions was in fact often unneccesary - further most people were content with far less and pleasure often equalled a trip to the annual A & P show - some small hobby or craft and, for many time on the sabbath worshipping God and exploring his world.
If some of our forebears were to enter our current world they may well find us far too obsessed with ourselves - our wallets and our fears.
Indeed they may well find us imature - perhaps as immature as we might regard the Mad Hatters Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland.
Can I read a little to you.
`Have some wine,’ the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.
Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. `I don’t see any wine,’ she remarked.
`There isn’t any,’ said the March Hare.
`Then it wasn’t very civil of you to offer it,’ said Alice angrily.
`It wasn’t very civil of you to sit down without being invited,’ said the March Hare.
`I didn’t know it was your table,’ said Alice; `it’s laid for a great many more than three.’
`Your hair wants cutting,’ said the Hatter. He had been looking at Alice for some time with great curiosity, and this was his first speech.
`You should learn not to make personal remarks,’ Alice said with some severity; `it’s very rude.’
This kind of immaturity exposes the Folly of such behaviour.
But what of maturity?
Where can we find examples of maturity?
In Luke Chapter 8 we read:-
15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
There are mentioned three things which will mature the Christian.