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Summary: EVERYTHING YOU CAN THINK OF IS IN A CONSTANT PROCESS OF MATURING, INCLUDING THE CHURCH AND OUR CHRISTIAN WALK. IT IS IN A PROCESS OF DEVELOPING UNTIL A FINAL STATE IS REACHED.

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THE MATURING CHURCH

ACTS 6:1-7

EVERYTHING YOU CAN THINK OF IS IN A CONSTANT PROCESS OF MATURING. IT IS A PROCESS OF DEVELOPING UNTIL A FINAL STATE IS REACHED. HUMANS, FOR EXAMPLE, BECAUSE WE WILL LIVE FOREVER, WILL BE IN A CONSTANT PROCESS OF MATURING UNTIL WE REACH OUR ETERNAL STATE. IT WILL BE IN HEAVEN OR HELL, BUT ONLY THEN WILL WE REACH OUR FULL MATURITY AS HUMANS.

SPIRITUAL MATURITY THOUGH IS A MUCH MORE COMPLEX ISSUE. WE WILL ACHIEVE SPIRITUAL MATURITY, ONLY WHEN WE ARE PRESENT WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IN HEAVEN.

THE SCRIPTURE IS VERY CLEAR ON THIS:

1 CORINTHIANS 13:11-12:

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I stopped those childish ways. 12 It is the same with us. Now we see a dim reflection, as if we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see clearly. Now I know only a part, but then I will know fully, as God has known me.

PAUL IS TELLING US THAT WE ARE IN A PROCESS OF CONSTANTLY MEARNING, UNTIL WE REACH THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF MATURITY WHEN WE ARE WITH CHRIST.

THIS MEANS THAT THE CHURCH IS IN A CONSTANT PROCESS OF MATURING, OR REFINING ITSELF, OR AT LEAST SHOULD BE IN AN IDEAL WORLD.

WE HOWEVER ARE NOT IN AN IDEAL WORLD, AND THEREFORE PEOPLE WILL BE AT DIFFERENT STAGES OF MATURITY IN THEIR CHRISTIAN WALK ALTHOUGH SOME THINGS SHOULD BE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT FROM THE START.

A) A DESIRE FOR PRAYER AND TO READ THE BIBLE

B) A DESIRE TO PLEASE GOD

C) A DESIRE TO KNOW GOD

D) A DESIRE TO BE WITH GOD AND HIS PEOPLE.

THE PROCESS OF MATURING IS NOT ALWAYS ENJOYABLE, BUT IF WE ARE HONEST WE WOULD HAVE TO SAY THAT IT IS EXCITING. MOUNTAINTOP EXPERIENCES DO NOT CONTINUE FOREVER WITHOUT INTERRUPTION, AND IN MOST OF THESE CASES, THE INTERRUPTION WILL COME IN WHAT I CALL A “MATURING CRISIS.”

A MATURING CRISIS IS ANY CRISIS THAT A PERSON OR CHURCH FACES, THAT REQUIRES A DECISION. THEY CAN COME IN MANY FORMS, BE SIMPLE OR COMPLEX IN FORM, AND HAPPEN TO PEOPLE OF ANY AGE.

THE COMMON ELEMENTS OF A MATURING CRISIS ARE:

FOCUS

DECISION-MAKING

WHEN FACED WITH A MATURING CRISIS, WE WILL TEND TO FOCUS ON THAT CRISIS MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE AROUND US. IT WILL EFFECT OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS. WE WILL LOSE SLEEP OVER IT.

WE WILL ALWAYS MAKE A DECISION WHEN FACING A MATURING CRISIS. THE DECISION COULD BE POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE IN EFFECT, OR THE DECISION COULD BE TO TAKE NO ACTION AT ALL, BUT WE WILL MAKE A DECISION.

POINT ONE: THE MATURING PROCESS OF A CHURCH IS DETERMINED BY A MATURING CRISIS.

THE CHURCH ONLY MATURES BY GOING THROUGH WORTHWHILE STRUGGLE. JUST AS AN ATHLETE NEEDS RESISTANCE TO BUILD MUSCLES SO TOO DOES THE CHURCH NEED CHALLENGE TO MATURE.

I WAS WATCHING A RECENT GAITHER PROGRAM AND THE MAN WAS TALKING ABOUT FACING TRIALS IN OUR LIVES. WHITLEY PHIPPS QUOTED AN OLD LADY WHO WISELY SAID:

“IF THE MOUNTAIN WAS SMOOTH YOU COULDN’T CLIMB IT.”

MATURING CRISES FOR INDIVIDUALS AND CHURCHES ARE REMARKABLY SIMILAR, AND COULD REVOLVE AROUND:

1. FINANCIAL MATTERS

2. ETHICAL MATTERS: a) LEGAL


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