Summary: It is a reminder that we cannot allow our Christianity to become stagnate, rather, we must always be growing in Christian maturity.
Surrender, Submission and Sharing 8-19-07
Do you remember the “Rubik’s Cube” that crazy cube made up of rows and rows of colored squares that would rotate in every direction? The idea was to line up the little squares in such a way that all six sides contained only one color. Do you remember that crazy thing? Do you remember how badly you wanted to try it the first time you saw it? How many of you ever played with a “Rubik’s Cube?” How many of you ever completed it?
The “Rubik’s Cube” is just one in a long list of things that I started but I never finished. It would stand right alongside my trumpet lessons and that scale model of the aircraft carrier Saratoga that I tried to build back in Jr. high.
I’m sure if you think back through your life it won’t take long to compile a list of things that you started with the greatest of enthusiasm, things that went by the wayside as you lost interest in them, things that you started with great expectation and optimism. What caused you to lose interest?
We lose interest as we begin to see ourselves as unable either physically or mentally to complete the project. We are unable to understand the basic concepts that would allow us to finish whatever it is that we have started. We decide that even while others may be able to do it, we can’t perform at that level. We can’t make it work.
There is no shame in a “Rubik’s Cube” hidden away in your closet each side still being multicolored and unsolved. With some things it’s O.K. to just give up. Problem is we don’t always demonstrate good judgment on which things are O.K. to give up and which things are not.
Giving up on that “Rubik’s Cube”, putting it in the back of the closet and forgetting about it probably saved you hours of frustration. It might even symbolize your conclusion that life has more to offer than fun and games.
The problem comes when we do the same thing with Christianity, some people give up, they set it aside, they start out full of enthusiasm and excitement but slowly, over a period of time, they lose their focus. They decide it doesn’t work for them. The joy they experienced with salvation stagnates with neglect into the traditions of religion and soon they become disillusioned with the entire experience. Some fall away never to return others remain in the church long after they have given up on experiencing a meaningful relationship with God. They hang on to the habit of church no longer even expecting to experience growth or maturity.
In Revelation Chapter two we have the letter to a stagnate church in Ephesus. Do you remember what was written to them?
You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place
I ask you with all sincerity this morning have you lost your first love, have you traded the Gospel of Jesus Christ for a ceremony called church? Have you laid aside the teachings of Christ for the traditions of men? Are you still actively in his service or having claimed salvation through his blood have you been content to slide back into the world?
For a person to remain active in Christianity we have to do more that merely attend a weekly worship service. If we are to remain in Christ and not fall away we must forever be active in Christ.
If we are to continue in His service and not become disillusioned we must understand the different stages of Christian maturity and how they work.
There are three stages to Christianity and while they are not unique from each other they are distinguishable from each other. It doesn’t matter where you are in the process as long as you are involved in always moving forward to the next level of growth.
The three stages of Christianity that we are going to look at biblically today are surrender, submission and sharing. Every Christian should be able to identify where he is in this process and have a plan that will provide growth and maturity to take him to the next level. Those who are content to stay at their present level, no matter what that level may be, risk becoming stagnate and falling away. They forfeit the blessings and rewards that God wants them to have.
The example that Jesus left for us to imitate is so foreign to our worldly nature that no man will ever master it.
No matter how much you grow and mature in Christ there will always remain the opportunity to take your Christian experience to the next level of application and performance.