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Summary: The indications of spiritual immaturity and maturity

SERIES: “OVERCOMING OBSTACLES THAT OBSTRUCT OBEDIENCE”

TEXT: 1 CORINTHIANS 3:1-23

TITLE: “THE CHARACTERISTICS OF CHILDISHNESS AND THE MARKS OF MATURITY”

INTRODUCTION: A. A young boy came to his father after church one Sunday. He said, “Dad, I want to

ask you something.”

The father said, “What is it son?”

“Dad, I’m kind of confused. In Sunday school this morning, the teacher kept

telling us about the children of Israel – how the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea,

the children of Israel built the Temple, and the children of Israel making sacrifices.

Didn’t the grown-ups ever do anything?”

B. The apostle Paul has already explained in 1 Corinthians Chapt. 1 that there are two

kinds of people in the world: unsaved and saved; non-Christian and the Christian

--He points out to us in Chapter 3 that there are two kinds of Christians:

1. Carnal (fleshly) and spiritual

2. Immature and mature

C. Difference between being childlike and childish:

1. Childlike

--Mt. 18:2-4 – “He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he

said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you

will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like

this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’”

a. Trusting

b. Humble

c. Eager

d. Loving

2. Childish

a. Immaturity is to lack the qualities of being fully developed – physically,

emotionally, and spiritually

--Just this week my wife said to me, “Sometimes you can be so immature!” So I

stuck my tongue out at her.

b. Marked by irresponsibility

1). They can’t do important things without being reminded

2). Sometimes just don’t care whether they get done or not

c. Also marked by instability

1). Never consistent

2). Sometimes you can depend on them and sometimes you can’t

--You really don’t know what to expect

D. Paul gives us four indicators that show whether Christians are immature or mature

I. WHAT WE EAT

--1 Cor. 3:1-5 – “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave

you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still

worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting

like mere men? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not mere

men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—

as the Lord has assigned to each his task.”

A. Paul says that spiritual maturity or immaturity is caused by one primary factor: our spiritual diet

--Heb. 5:11-14 – “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.

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! Anyone who lives on milk, being

still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature,

who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

1. The immature Christian should have left the milk bottle and moved on to solid food but their

immaturity shows in that their still being nursed on milk.

2. The mature Christian eats a steady diet of meat

B. The traditional interpretation of this passage from Hebrews has usually been that “milk” represents the

easy things in God’s Word and “meat” represents the difficult things.

1. The mature Christian eats a balanced diet from God’s Word

--Word of God is called “spiritual food” several times in the scriptures:

a. Bread – Mt. 4:4

b. Meat – Heb. 5:11-14

c. Honey – Ps. 119:103

2. The immature Christian lacks proper nourishment

--they like to snack foods and junk foods

3. A prime indicator of immaturity and maturity is shown through the kind of preaching and teaching

they enjoy

a. Immature Christians like to be entertained and to feel good about themselves when they leave

b. Mature Christians want to be edified and enlightened

II. HOW WE RELATE TO EACH OTHER

--1 Cor. 3:3-5 – “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not

worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, I follow

Apollos, are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through

whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task.

A. Paul mentions several thing that indicate immaturity

1. Jealousy and quarreling

a. They disagree and fuss a lot

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