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Summary: This message tells how mature Christians grow after their born again. 1 of 12

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What A Long Strange Trip It Is: Christian Maturity

Book of James Series 1 of 12

June 16, 2002 First Baptist Church, Chester, IL Mike Fogerson, Speaker

Introduction:

Let’s look at some of these pictures and see if we can guess who they are.

(Will show pictures of some of our older members of when they were younger & will then show a picture of them now.)

a These people have changed. Matured. Became seasoned.

b We all will mature physically. We have no choice. (Balder, hair hats, thinner, wider,...we will change as we mature.)

We will not all mature spiritually. (I’ve been churches were there are more babies sitting in the pews than there are crawling in the nursery.)

a Spiritual maturity is a choice and it’s a journey.

b We’ll look at 3 legs of the journey that is Christian maturity.

We’ll be looking at the book of James this summer.

HISTORICAL INFORMATION

*James was written by the half-brother of Jesus. (Major figure in the early church in Jerusalem)

*In v:1,

JAS 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. James doesn’t say that. Why not? Humility.

*He spent so much time in prayer that he developed calluses on his knees. Old Camel Knees.

*Because James spent so much time in prayer, I believe this book comes from a man who is under complete authority of God.

*He wrote a letter for Jewish Christians. Sounds very Old Testament. Wisdom literature. Proverbs.

*Apparently there were major problems in the early church.

(It’s wrong to assume that because it is a church, things are going to roll smoothly.)

a If you want to get sick, go to the hospital. (Sickness, Disease, Viruses, etc.)

Are there sick people outside the hospital? Yes. Untreated, undiagnosed or disguised their disease.

b (Just as the hospital collects sick people, the church collects sinners and put them under one roof!)

*The church is not usually the model community of good behavior. Rather they are a place where human sinfulness is brought out in the open, faced and dealt with. We KNOW were sick.

James is a book of wisdom.

a He not only names sin openly, he gives ways to live without it.

b James gave the first century Jewish believer directions that led to spiritual maturity. ETS

Mature Christians grow after their born again. ESS

a I hope you’ll commit to the journey that is Christian maturity. (Objective)

b How are you doing on your journey? (Probing Question)

T.S.: Let’s look at 3 legs to the journey that is Christian maturity.

I The first leg of the journey of Christian Maturity is......THE PATH. (vv:2-4)

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, [3] because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. [4] Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. [

A James told the Jewish believer what the path looked like. (The trail looked like a trial.)

a God allowed/caused difficult times to happen in order to test their faith.

b In the test, they passed or failed. Approved or unacceptable.

B God is still using trials to test the believer.

a The lesson we learn from these tests is perseverance/patience.

*Romans 5:3/4[3] Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; [4] perseverance, character; and character, hope.

b People pray for "patience." (I don’t think that’s a good idea.)

*Patience isn’t delivered to you in on a silver platter and "poof" you have patience.

*Patience comes through trials, tests, suffering. *Be careful when you pray for patience....you may get it.

C Boeing, McDonnell-Douglas & others spend hundreds of millions of dollars in designing planes.

a Blue prints, schematics, model building, construction of ONE plane. The question is....will it fly? Will it perform? A test pilot comes in to fly the plane and puts it through....TRIALS.

b God tests our faith. Will our FAITH fly? Will our FAITH perform? He gets behind the wheel of our faith and puts it through......TRIALS.

T.S.: If there is a path to Maturity it’s trials. Let’s see what the view from that path should look like.

II The second leg of the journey of Christian Maturity is....THE PERSPECTIVE. (vv:5-11)

5] If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. [6] But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. [7] That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; [8] he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. 9 The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. [10] But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. [11] For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

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