Our apologies, the software we use to record our services cut the sermon into 2 parts
(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…
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 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…
- 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
- 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
- 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)
“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
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
What we learn about the lost…
Reason #1: The lost wander away
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Luke 15:4 (NLT)
Reason #2: The lost are neglectful/careless
Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Luke 15:8 (NLT)
Reason #3: The lost are willful
“A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. Luke 15:11-12 (NLT)
What we learn about God…
- God is concerned for the lost.
- God is seeking the lost.
- God rejoices when the lost are found.
What we learn about ourselves…
We are active participants in God’s mission
Haunted houses are always portrayed as scary, run-down buildings, but we want the Holy Ghost to haunt our church.
So how do we know if the Holy Spirit is at work in a church?
- There is a visible expression of peace
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42
Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father. Ephesians 2:16-18 (The Message)
- There is evidence of shared life
All the believers were together and had everything in common. Acts 2:44
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Galatians 2:2-3 (NLT)
- There is a high level of participation in the community
They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Acts 2:45-47
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
- There is evidence of growth
And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:47