Summary: Just like we grow physically in stages, God wants us to grow up spiritually, becoming more like Jesus every day.
WHAT TIME IS IT? IT’S TIME TO GROW UP!
INTRO TO TOPIC: Does anybody know what time it is? (NOT “Tool Time!”).
• Jesus said to the Pharisees: “how is it you do not discern this time?” (Luke 12:56).
• “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” (Romans 13:11).
• “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16).
• It’s time to rise up, and become the church of Jesus Christ – it’s time to GROW UP!
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some, pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man (teleios – mature, complete, of full age, or perfected), to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting. But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into him, which is the head – Christ – from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:11-16).
• We start out as children, but God wants us to grow up in Him, and become mature (teleios). It’s time to grow up!
• “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18).
• Spiritual growth is not for the sake of perfection in itself, but to know Jesus better!
• It also means to grow up into Jesus – to become more and more like Him in every way.
STAGES OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH:
There is a parallel between the physical growth of a human being and the spiritual growth of a Christian – when you first become a Christian, you’re in the baby stage, etc…
1. STAGE #1 – A CHILD:
“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:1-3).
• The best thing for a baby is milk, and the best thing for a baby Christian is the milk of God’s Word.
“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 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 3:1-3).
• Characteristic #1 of the child stage = carnal – envying, strife, divisions.
• Little children do two things well – they make lot of noise, & make messes!
• It’s time to grow up out of this stage!
“For though by this time (there it is again – what time is it?) you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God (speaks of the ABC‘s of God‘s Revelation – spiritual Kindergarten); and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age (teleios), that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:12-14).