Summary: Paul tells us to put away childish things but before we can put them away we need to know what they are.
If I were to mention 1 Corinthians 13 to most of you, it would be recognized as the “Love Chapter” and that is true. The main part of the chapter is about love and we hear it preached on and read at weddings, in particular the section between 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
And that is a great passage of Scripture, I have preached on it numerous times, referenced it countless times have read it at every wedding I have performed over the past thirty some years.
However that is not the passage we are going to look at today, instead we are looking at one verse toward the very end of the passage and that is 1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.
So what are the childish things that Paul is talking about here? He’s not talking about his physical life, he is in the midst of a spiritual discussion and he’s talking about the natural progression of our spiritual life. Time and time again the analogy is used of a new life, a new birth a new beginning in regards to our relationship with God. But it doesn’t stop there; the New Testament teaches us that our relationship with God may start with a new Birth but it doesn’t end there. Just like our natural birth is followed by a maturing process, that is growing up, should be the same with our spiritual life.
Let’s see what the Bible says about the process, Hebrews 6:1-2 So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
Paul is telling us that there are basic teachings each one of us needs in our life. And he’s telling us that we shouldn’t get stuck at that point in our spiritual lives. I was going to say that sometimes as Christians we are like a stuck record, playing the same thing over and over again, and then I realized that analogy would be lost on most people today.
And we need to know the basics before we move on, but once we do know the basics then we are supposed to move on. So what are those basic teachings?
1) Repentance From deeds That Lead To Death So the first thing that we need to learn about new beginnings is repentance. But the question is, what is repentance? Well it literally means “a reversal”. Peter defined it best in Acts 3:19 Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.
Do you see it? Repent then, and turn to God. The changing of direction. You see all too often we confuse repentance with remorse, that is being sorry. And well remorse is a part of repentance it is certainly not all of repentance. Because we can be sorry that we did something but continue to do it, right. Repentance though is being so sorry that you’ve done something that we stop doing.
Friend of mine has a sister who had a son who liked to play in the toilet when he was about 18 months old. It was kind of neat, a bucket of water that was always full. And so on various occasions she would discover him elbow deep in the loo. Well you know the story she would slap his hand, tell him that he was naughty and he would say “sorry mommy”. End of story, not quite. Because he still liked playing in the toilet. So even though there was remorse, there wasn’t repentance because the next time he got a chance he was back doing it again.
It’s amazing how many toilets we as grown and supposedly mature adults can find to play in. And when we get caught we say, “I’m sorry” and we are, right up to the point that we can find another toilet to play in.
And so we need to repent. But what do we need to repent of; well the bible says we need to Repent of Acts that lead to death. Ok what are they, things like jumping off tall buildings, stepping out in front of speeding trucks, teasing pit bulls. Nope because Paul’s not talking about a physical death as much as he’s talking about a spiritual death.