Going On to Maturity

July 8, 2015

                           Going On To Maturity

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God” (Hebrews 6:1). Note: When we find the word “perfection” in the Bible it almost always means maturity. There is a note in my Bible that says “The word “perfect” implies full development, growth into maturity of godliness, not sinless perfection.” We never reach perfection in this life.

A new believer is most often excited about his new relationship with the Lord.  We tell him, and rightly so, “Now you need to go to church faithfully.” Perhaps he does for a time, but   he may start missing church.   We are concerned and encourage him to be faithful.  We might show him what the Bible says in Hebrews 10:25. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”  He may continue in church, but it is obvious that it doesn’t have the priority that it did at first.  We might question whether he was really saved.  That, of course, is a possibility, but it might also be that we haven’t done all we could to help him go on to maturity.

Why is it that some new believers, after a short time, are busy using their talents and time serving the Lord, and others go on for years without showing much evidence that they are saved?  The explanation is that some go on to maturity and others go on indefinitely being what we might call “babes in Christ.”

What is spiritual maturity?  It is something we should desire and strive for.  We see that in the prayer of Epaphras in Colossians 4:12.  “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” That should be our goal for our own life, and our prayer for new believers and fellow Christians.  The mature believer is one who has stability.  He doesn’t easily give into temptations.  He is one who can be counted on to complete what he says he will do.  Instead of being one who constantly needs to be encouraged and motivated, he is out motivating others.  Matthew 5:48 says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  (See the note at the beginning of this article on the word “Perfection”.)

The ideal thing would be to find a local church full of mature Christians.  It is doubtful that there is such a thing.  There are two tendencies in churches that leave Christians immature.  One is a church with a strong emphasis on soul winning.  To win souls is our duty.  Proverbs 11:30 says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” If the church wins souls, but makes no effort to disciple them and help them reach maturity it will be a church full of immature, carnal believers.  A church full of immature believers is a surprise box.  Scandals may even break out every once in a while.

The other tendency is a church that is influenced by the charismatic movement.  These churches draw a crowd because there is a high level of emotion and excitement.  This excitement is interpreted as “a moving of the Spirit.”  The problem, however, is that the excitement soon wears off so it needs to be replaced with another excitement.  News spreads about what is going on in the church and people come to see for themselves.  The testimony of some churches has been ruined because of bizarre things that are going on in the church.  Some churches have lost their testimony because people were overcome by laughter or they started barking like dogs.

According to Colossians 4:12, another result of spiritual maturity will be that the believer is “complete in the will of God.” Colossians 2:10 says we are “complete in him.” That means we are complete in Christ.  Genuine salvation results in joy and excitement, but it doesn’t last forever.  Satisfaction that results from external phenomena is short lived.  If we are complete in Christ we have a satisfaction that comes from within.  John chapter 15 speaks of abiding in Christ.  Verse 11 says, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” It results from daily communion with him.  II Peter 1:3 says that God offers us everything we need in life. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.”  If we take advantage of what God offers us, it will lead us to victory and spiritual maturity.

A church full of immature believers leaves the pastor and leaders busy dealing with problems in the church.  God calls church leaders to lead the believers to maturity.  Ephesians 4:11-12 says “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;   for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”  The more mature believers there are in a church, the more successful the church will be in winning souls and discipeling them.  Maturity of the believers contributes to a healthy church.  II Timothy 2:2 gives us the formula for the perpetuation of maturity.  “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

It is possible to arrive at spiritual maturity.  If not, Matthew 5:48, that we read, would be telling us to do the impossible.  Being mature doesn’t mean that there remains no more room for improvement.  It just means that we have reached a level of stability.  We don’t keep stumbling and falling back.  Colossians 1:10 says, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” I Corinthians 15:58 also says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”  As long as we live we need to keep pressing on.

Where are you, my friend?  Are you where you want to be or should be?  Have you reached spiritual maturity?  It is a great satisfaction to reach the level outlined in II Timothy 2:21.  “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”

If you have questions or comments you can direct them to us at the following address:  rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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