Mature Community

(Jesus said) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

 

A community of those who are a path to maturity has a few characteristics…

 

  1. It is inclusive

 

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:10

 

  1. It is real

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

 

  1. It is accepting

 

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

 

  1. It is encouraging

 

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:14

Mature Biblically

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:1-5, 14

 

Reasons Why Biblical Knowledge is Essential…

 

  1. The bible is essential for spiritual growth.

 

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2-3

 

  1. The bible is essential for spiritual maturity.

 

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:11-14

 

  1. The bible is essential for spiritual effectiveness.

 

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

 

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.  But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action. James 1: 22-25 (The Message)

Mature Activity

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19

 

Three Markers of Spiritual Maturity

 

Spiritual intimacy

Biblical knowledge

Holy obedience

 

Snow Ball Effect…

Closer to Christ Care More Closer to Christ Care More Closer to Christ

 

Three Truths about Mature Activity:

 

Truth #1: Spiritual actions will interrupt  our schedule

 

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”  John 4:7

 

Truth #2: Spiritual actions will cost you

 

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ Luke 10:33-35

 

Truth #3: Spiritual actions change lives

 

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:42

Lone Survivor

You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (MSG)

 

We should train hard to strengthen our spiritual life so here are four priorities that are essential for the development and maintenance of a sound spiritual life…

 

Priority #1: Decisiveness

 

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 1 Timothy 4:7

 

Priority #2: Dedication

 

Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. 1 Timothy 4:8 (MSG)

 

Priority #3: Discipline

That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10

 

Priority #4: Destination

 

Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation. 1 Timothy 4:15-16 (MSG)

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

Les Miserables

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16

 

Why did Jesus come?

 

First, Jesus came to justify

 

And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. 1 John 3:5

 

Secondly, Jesus came to sanctify

But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8 (NLT)

 

Three Truths about personal holiness…

 

Truth #1: Holiness is a response

 

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)

 

Truth #2: Holiness is a realization

 

Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! Romans 6:6-7 (MSG)

 

Truth #3: Holiness is a re-clothing

 

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3:12-14 (MSG)

Show Yourself!

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. Romans 8:11 (NLT)

 

Dunamis: a force; a miraculous power; the EXPLOSIVE power of God

 

The Holy Spirit displays his power in four ways…

 

 

  1. Power to share Christ boldly.

 

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

 

  1. Power when you are weak.

 

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26

 

 

 

  1. Power to have hope in a hopeless world.

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

 

 

  1. Power to experience all the fullness of God.

 

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

Simply the Best Spiritually

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)

 

Four ways we can enhance our spiritual life…

 

  1. Take a Sabbath rest

 

And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation. Genesis 2:3 (NLT)

 

Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:30 (NIV)

 

  1. Reduce worry in your life

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34

 

  1. Seek to be restored

 

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NLT)

 

  1. Reflect on spiritual things

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

 

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Am I Good Enough?

Four things that we learn from the rich young ruler:

 

First, his view of his goodness was superficial & empty.

 

You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. Luke 18:20-21

 

Secondly, he was not as good a person as he thought he was.

 

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. Romans 3:20

 

“You shall have no other gods before me!” Exodus 20:3

 

Third, he knew that he was not good enough.

 

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 18:18

 

Fourth, he was unwilling to do the one thing that was necessary.

 

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Luke 18:24

 

Something to Think About…

  • Even good people need to be saved.
  • You can never be good enough to earn salvation
  • All can be saved but not everyone will because some refuse to give in to God.
  • Good people and bad people are both saved by repenting of their sins and placing your faith in Jesus. (Acts 20:20-21)

Use Me

“What a huge harvest!” [Jesus] said to his disciples, “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!” Matthew 9:37-38 (The Message)

 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

 

Three types of people God uses most often…

 

  1. God loves to use the insecure.

 

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” Exodus 4:10

 

 

  1. God loves to use the unlikely.

 

Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”1 Samuel 16:6-7 (NLT)

 

 

  1. God loves to use failures.

 

But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.  At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly. Luke 22:60-62

 

Key Thought…

 

You will have to step out to find out what God wants to do.

Send Me

Three Responses to God’s Call…

 

Response # 1:  “Here I am. I’m not going!”

 

The word of the Lord came to Jonah: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord.  Jonah 1:1-3

 

Response #2: “Here I am. Send someone else!

 

[God said] So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt. But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” Exodus 3:10; 4:13

 

Response #3: “Here I am. Send me!”

 

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

 

What do you need to fully surrender to God?

 

You need a genuine experience with the presence of God.

 

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Isaiah 6:1

 

You need is a genuine awareness of your sinfulness.

 

Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” Isaiah 6:5 (NLT)

 

You need a genuine understanding of God’s Grace.

 

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Isaiah 6:6-7