Summary: A broad challenge on "Academy Sunday" for ALL of us to be life-long students of Christ striving for the fullness of His maturity.
MATURING LIKE CHRIST
Rev. Todd G Leupold Perth Bible Church 6/8/08 AM “Academy Sunday”
SCRIPTURE: LUKE 2:40-52
From this passage we are examining this morning with help from the Holy Spirit, God the Father communicates and Jesus the Son demonstrates that as we move on in our lives, God Almighty expects
us to grow in maturity as Jesus, our Savior, exemplified! In this specific and historical example Scripture testifies to how Jesus Incarnate appeared to mature as he grew from a young child to a young adult.
As we celebrate “Academy Sunday” this morning, it is especially poignant that our young people learn from and heed Jesus’ example. Just as important, as parents, grandparents and family in Christ Scripture here summarizes what ’product’ (if you will forgive the analogy) God desires us to “produce” out of the “raw material” that is our young people!
And as significant and awesome as all of that is, it is also essential that we understand that, while the example Jesus is providing here may literally apply to his maturity as He physically grows from a child to an adult, the greater context of Jesus’ teachings and Scripture remind us that this is equally true of our spiritual growth from ’baby Christians’ to ’mature Christians.’
With all of this in mind, and the understanding that it relevantly applies to each and every one of us in more than one way, let us take special note to recognize and study the two great expectations God has of all of His children (even and especially His ’adopted’ ones):
I.) SUBJECTION TO AUTHORITY
Even as what we would call a pre-teen, Jesus recognizes and conforms to the fact that His real identity and purpose is to relentlessly pursue to better know, understand and follow His Heavenly Father.
Thus, there is nothing more urgent or important in this process of growing up and maturing, then a devotion to be in God’s house in order to read, study, dissect and greater understand God’s Word! THIS is the key that unlocks the process that produces Christian maturity!
Thus, we learn here first and foremost the necessity of a life of learning and obedience under the authority of our Heavenly Father. Even still, this is the beginning, not the whole story.
In my experience, most of the time when someone (including myself) reads, hears, or talks about this highlighted event in Jesus’ life, the focus gets stuck on this point that Jesus freely and with no hesitation or guilt put the authority, call and purpose of His Heavenly Father over those of His earthly father and mother.
Sadly, this is then staunchly and wrongly held onto as an excuse and justification for our own choices to not listen to, obey, or respect our parents or others in authority since – as far as we’re concerned – we’re still following God the Father.
We fail to accept this greater truth of God’s authority without understanding it within its greater context, as shown in v. 51.
After greater searching and understanding of God’s Word, Jesus then submits to God’s authority by applying and living them out. But, how does a young many do this?
BY BEING OBEDIENT TO YOUR PARENTS.
Like it or not, this is a very direct and unmistakable connection.
Still, even earlier context shows us this is not all. Jesus demonstrates submission to yet another form of authority.
Reread verse 46.
In seeking the keys to His transformation from a child to a fully mature adult, Jesus did not just “go” to church (the Temple) or read and study the Scriptures by Himself.
He sought out those who were teachers and sat under them eagerly listening and asking questions!
If even Jesus sought out other Christians equipped to teach, should not we who are so much weaker, more ignorant and immature?
Btw., a “teacher” does not have to be someone with a special position or title. It can be anyone who has the experience, knowledge and/or wisdom to positively and accurately help us in our process of maturing in Christ!
II.) POSITIVE GROWTH
- The two ’parts’ are interconnected. The fact that “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people” was a direct result of His having willfully submitted to these spiritual authorities in His life. So too may we mature if we choose to regularly . . .
1.Feed on Word of God
The first change I made in my life the very night of my salvation as a 20-year-old college student, I opened up a (borrowed) Bible and confidently read for understanding. From that day forward, it didn’t matter how many hundreds of pages of assigned reading or tens of pages of papers loomed before me, I committed to read, study and meditate upon God’s Word every day.