Summary: A sermon on spiritual maturity from Ephesians 4:13-14 (Some material taken from Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Church)
Sermon for 9/13/2009 on Ephesians 4:13-14
300 pound Mark McGuinness as a baby. Wouldn’t it be interesting if God would somehow dress believers according to their progress in spiritual growth? How many of us would be dressed like infants, or perhaps like toddlers?
Today is Grandparents Day. How many grandparents really act their age?
Second childhood. We need to act like children- Jesus said, (Mat 18:3 NIV) “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus was not talking about the negative aspects of childhood, he was talking about the positive aspects of childhood- (Mat 18:4 NIV) Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
A. The New Testament is very clear that God’s will for every believer is spiritual maturity. He wants us to grow up. Vs. 14.
B. Just grow up already. Why are you so immature?
Thesis: Let’s start by dispelling some misconceptions about spiritual maturity and then talk about 5 things we can do to develop spiritual maturity
I. Misconceptions about spiritual maturity
1. Spiritual growth is automatic once you are baptized, saved.
A. (Heb 5:12 NIV) In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
B. (Phil 2:12 NIV) Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Notice that it says “Work out”, not “work on”, your salvation.
C. In one of his books, James Emery White tells of the Russian-American comic, Yakov Smirnoff’s, initial response to the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He said, "On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk--you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice--you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to my self, what a country!" Wouldn’t it be great if conception and childbirth were that easy? Maybe not. Wouldn’t it be great to just add water to our spiritual births and voila instant spiritual maturity! However, it isn’t that easy, is it?
2. Spiritual growth is mystical, and maturity is attainable by only a few.
A. Must become a monk or nun. Maturity is only for the super saints.
B. (1 Tim 4:7 NIV) Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. (1 Tim 4:8 NIV) For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
3. Spiritual maturity can occur instantly if we can find the right “key.”
A. No magic bullet. We have instant everything but there is no instant spiritual maturity.
B. Ephesians 4:13. This verse implies a journey. It is a journey that last a lifetime.
C. Vs. 14 talks about those who are looking for the right key.
4. Spiritual maturity is measured by what you know
A. Man at the post office. He was drunk and preached the best sermon I have ever heard. This man had a lot of knowledge but was he really living out the message?
B. Spiritual formation- (James 1:22 NIV) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
D. (1 Cor 8:1 NIV) Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
C. (James 3:13 NIV) Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
E. Gene Getz said, “Bible study by itself will not produce spirituality. In fact, it will produce carnality if it isn’t applied and practiced.” Study without service produces Christians with judgmental attitudes and spiritual pride.
F. There is the old illustration of a pond that becomes stagnant because it takes in water but doesn’t give any out.
G. Our young people know some of the Word but they are not even doing what they know. Know the right answers but it is not all about knowing the right answers.
5. Spiritual maturity is a personal and private matter.
A. We need relationships to grow. We cannot grow on our own. We must have mentors and examples to follow
B. (Heb 10:24-25) And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.