Summary: This sermon seeks to outline both the Scriptural precedence for and three characteristics of spiritual maturity.
August 18, 2002
A. [Paul Harvey’s "For What It’s Worth"]
Our For What It’s Worth Department hears from Hershey, Pennsylvania—where the woman in the Mercedes had been waiting patiently for a parking place to open up.
The shopping mall was crowded.
The woman in the Mercedes zigzagged between rows—then up ahead she saw a man with a load of packages heading for his car.
She drove up, parked behind him and waited while he opened his trunk and loaded it with packages.
Finally he got in his car and backed out of the stall.
But before the woman in the Mercedes could drive into the parking space, a young man in a shiny new Corvette zipped past and around her and he pulled into the empty space, got out and started walking away.
"Hey!" shouted the woman in the Mercedes, "I’ve been waiting for that parking place!"
The college-ager responded, "Sorry, lady; that’s how it is when you’re young and quick."
At that instant she put her Mercedes in gear, floor-boarded it, crashed into and crushed the right rear fender and corner panel of the flashy new Corvette.
Now the young man is jumping up and down shouting, "You can’t do that!"
The lady in the Mercedes said, "That’s how it is when you’re old and rich!"
B. Today, in Acts 17, we want to see if we can learn some things about maturity.
1. Obviously, because one is old, does not necessarily mean they are mature—especially when it comes to spiritual maturity.
2. The Scripture is replete with importance of not remaining babes in Christ but to continually move towards maturity.
3. Part of our vision for the future of Somerset is to continually move believers towards maturity.
4. We are to be continually growing spiritually, more and more in the image of Christ.
5. Hebrews 6:1, Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity,
C. Now, before we read about what happened in Thessalonica, I want to give you a little "pop quiz" to see how I much I’m getting across.
Question #1: Where was the first place Paul normally went when he entered a new city? Answer: The synagogue.
Question #2: To whom did Paul usually preach first in each city? Answer: To the Jews.
Question #3: What was the main point of Paul’s preaching in the synagogue? Answer: That Jesus really is the Christ, the Son of God.
Question #4: Were there any conversions as a result of Paul’s preaching? Answer: A great number of Jews and Gentiles believed.
Question #5: Did everyone believe Paul’s message and if not, what did the people who refused to believe normally do? Answer: There were usually refusers who stirred up persecution for Paul.
E. Well…shall we read now what happened in Thessalonica?
I. Predictability in Thessalonica / Regular Worship
Acts 17:1-9, When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ, " he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. 5 But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: "These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus." 8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. 9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.
A. Sound familiar?
1. All predictable things that we have seen of both Paul and the people in the city.
2. I think Paul is probably getting as used to this as we are.
B. But what can we take from this incident in Thessalonica about maturity?
1. I believe there is something here about regular worship in spite of circumstances!
2. Verse two says, "As his custom was…"
3. Time and time again, Paul went to the synagogue.
4. Time and time again, people stirred up trouble for him.
5. Time and time again, Paul was persecuted, being beaten, thrown in jail, and run off.