Summary: John tells Christians that no matter where they are in their spiritual maturity, they can still learn.

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Maturity In Christ

1 John 2: 12 -14

Intro: A little boy fell out of the bed in his sleep. His father picked him up and put him back in bed. He asked him, "Son, what happened?" The little boy responded, "I fell asleep too close to where I got in."

. I believe that describes too many Christians today...they have fallen asleep too close to where they got in. They are not in danger of falling out of salvation...but they have made no spiritual progress since they were saved.

. They have been saved but have not grown spiritually.

. Our spiritual growth is much like a marriage, when we “fall in love” and get married, we think that’s all there is to it. The longer we are married though, we realize that our love for one another is growing.

. I was talking to someone last Sunday night about this concept of love growing through the years in most marriages.

.Rick warren wrote this about spiritual growth in his book, The Purpose Driven Life.

. “It takes years for us to grow to adulthood, and it takes a full season for fruit to mature and ripen. The same is true for the fruit of the Spirit. The development of Christ like character cannot be rushed. Spiritual growth, like physical growth, takes time.

When you try to ripen fruit quickly, it loses its flavor. In America, tomatoes are usually picked before they are ripe so they won’t bruise during shipping to the stores. Then, before they are sold, these green tomatoes are sprayed with CO2 gas to turn them red instantly. Gassed tomatoes are edible, but they are no match to the flavor of a vine-ripened tomato that is allowed to mature slowly.”

. We are back in 1 John this morning and our scripture highlights the stages of spiritual maturity or spiritual growth.

. 1 John 2: 12-14

. 12I am writing to you who are God’s children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.

13I am writing to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I am writing to you who are young in the faith because you have won your battle with the evil one.

14I have written to you who are God’s children because you know the Father. I have written to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I have written to you who are young in the faith because you are strong. God’s word lives in your hearts and you have won your battle with the evil one.

.John is talking about and highlighting the stages of spiritual growth.

. We are commanded to grow spiritually. The apostle Peter writes in his second letter:

. 8Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

. This is not a suggestion from Peter, it is a command.

. You Must grow.

. In the theological circles this is call sanctification.

. Sanctified means to be set apart and sanctification is the process of being set apart.

. The simple definition is to grow spiritually.

. We all are in different places in this spiritual growth process.

. What John is saying that no matter where you are in your spiritual growth, what I am writing will pertain to you.

. Before we look at these stages, I want to take just a few minutes and cover some misconceptions about spiritual growth.

. The first misconception is:

. Those that are more mature in their faith receive more of God’s Grace.

. Your spiritual maturity has no bearing on whether you receive God’s grace of not.

. At the moment of belief and acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice for your sin, God’s grace is bestowed upon you.

. The grace you receive is the same grace that the most spiritual person in the world has.

. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul addressed this very issue. In Romans 3 21-26, Paul wrote this.

. 21But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago.

22We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

23For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

24Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

25For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,

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