Summary: This sermon is an introduction to the book of James. A Spiritually Mature Person is: 1. Positive under pressure 2. Sensitive to people's needs 3. Master of his mouth 4. A Peacemaker not a troublemaker 5. Patient
The Marks Of A Mature Christian
(An Overview of James)
Without a doubt the biggest problem that we have in the church today is that of spiritual maturity. We get ourselves into all kinds of problems by saying immature things, by making immature decisions, by acting in immature ways. We need to become spiritually mature. We need to grow up.
Did you know that it is God’s will that every Christian become spiritually mature? It’s true! God wants us all to grow to spiritual maturity. In fact Paul scolds the Corinthian church for their lack of maturity. He treats them as if they are babies in Christ. Look at what the Bible says in First Corinthians chapter three:
“I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” 1 Corinthians 3:2-3 (NKJV)
Paul tells them to grow up! God wants them to grow up – because spiritual immaturity causes all kinds of problems. God’s will for your life is spiritual maturity. One of the purposes of the church is to help you grow to spiritual maturity. What is spiritual maturity – let me start by telling you what it is not:
A. Spiritual maturity is not a matter of AGE
Let me say up front – spiritual maturity does take time. It takes energy and it takes effort. No one becomes spiritually mature overnight. Even Jesus grew – as he grew up. Look at what the Bible says in Luke chapter two:
“Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:52 (NKJV)
But, (here is the warning), you can get older and not grow to spiritual maturity. It’s like the bumper sticker that says, “I may be getting older, but I refuse to grow up.” Some Christians refuse to grow up. I’ve seen 50 and 60 year old spiritual babies. Spiritual maturity involves much more than just aging.
B. Spiritual maturity is not a matter of APPEARANCE
Some people look and sound spiritually mature – they know how to talk the talk – but question is – do they know how to walk the walk? Some people look holy – they seem to have heaven hovering around them – but that may just be appearance and not reality. Appearances can be deceiving. Spiritual maturity is not a matter of what a person looks or sounds like on the outside.
C. Spiritual maturity is not a matter of ACHIEVEMENT
You know you can be recognized by all kinds of organizations but that does not make you spiritually mature. You can have all kinds of degrees and diplomas hanging on your wall but that is not spiritually mature either. Achievements are not a sure sign of spiritual maturity.
Spiritual maturity is a matter of ATTITUDE and CHARACTER
Attitude and character make a difference. It’s attitude and character that count. D. L. Moody said, “Character is what you are in the dark.” Recognition is what people say about you. Character is what God knows about you. God says it’s your attitude and your character that determines who you are.
In the book of James we have a manual on spiritual maturity. James is a manual on how to become spiritually mature. Today we’re going to look at six marks of spiritual maturity. Let’s look at the first mark:
1. A spiritual mature person is positive under PRESSURE
Let’s look and see what James tells us in chapter one:
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
Do you seek spiritual maturity? Do you seek to be complete in Christ? If you do – James tells us to have a positive attitude when it comes to pressure. He tells us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”
All of us have problems – all of us have trials – all of have situations that are not good. How do you handle them? How do you deal with being dealt a dead hand? Do your problems blow you out of the water? Do you get up-tight? Do you grumble and gripe? Do you get negative or nervous? The first test of spiritual maturity is – how do you act positive under pressure? Remember the Bible says: “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”
Folks here is a fact. Life is full of problems and a big part of life is – problem solving. The question to ask is, “Do I have the right attitude as I approach the problems of life?” Remember the Bible tells you to, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”