Quarter’s Theme: Discovering Spiritual Maturity
Unit 1 Theme: Spiritual Maturity Process (Lessons 1-3)
Sunday 14/12/ 2014
THE LAWS OF SPIRITUAL MATURITY (PART 1)
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 350, 433
Devotional Reading: Eph. 3:14-21
Topic For Adults
DEEPER AND HIGHER IN CHRIST
Topic For Youths
UNTIL CHRIST IS FORMED IN YOU
Topic For Intermediates
STICK TO GOD’S LAW
GAL 2:20; 4:19; HEB. 5:12-13; 1 TIM. 4:6-8; 2 COR. 3:18; MATT. 7:24-27
“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon” (Ps 92:12) NKJV.
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Spiritual Maturity Brings Growth In Faith
Faith is responding to God’s revelation of Himself through His word and actions by putting one’s trust in Him. As a Christian matures spiritually, this trust grows proportionately. The growth is demonstrated in how the Christian handles situations and problems which he comes across in his life’s journey. The disciples felt helpless when they could not help the man who brought his epileptic son. The man was also frustrated by the disciples’ inability. Jesus’ statement “how long shall I be with you?” is a call for both the man and the disciples to wake up, grow up spiritually so they could meet each challenge or problem with the faith that is strong enough to bring solution. The Church as a whole and the individual members are facing the same dilemma of weak faith today. It is time we all got fed up with our lack of spiritual maturity. It is high time to rise up and get thirsty for spiritual growth which will mark us out as “sons”.
Point of Emphasis: The faith of a spiritually immature person is weak and results in frustration.
Prayer Point: Strengthen my faith, oh God.
Growth is a desirable attribute of every living organism. It is the expectation of all parents for their children to grow up to maturity. Inability to grow is
always a source of sorrow to every parent and a limitation to the child involved. As it is in the physical, so it is in the spiritual. After being born-again, every child of God is expected to grow up into maturity. This will bring glory to God and manifold advantages to that child of God. In our lesson today, we shall explore some of the laws of spiritual maturity.
NOTES ON THIS TEXT
- SPIRITUAL MATURITY IS INCARNATIONAL: GAL 2:20; 4:19
Spiritual maturity is both mystical and practical. It is both what God does (mystical) and what each believer does (practical). It does not just happen by imitation and impartation. It happens as the Word of God becomes flesh, by being rooted in the Lord. Apostle Paul said “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” Gal. 2:20 NIV.
To whom God was pleased to make known how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ within and among you, “the Hope of [realizing the] glory” Col. 1:27 (AMP). Spiritual maturity is basically Christ likeness. It is a process of becoming like Jesus Christ. This process starts from the new birth in Jesus and continues till Christ is really formed in a believer. Paul gave us this picture when he described the role he played in the process of maturity of the Galatia brethren. He said “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you” Gal 4:19 NKJV. The clause “until Christ is formed in you” is rendered in the New Century Version as – “until you truly become like Christ”. Maturity as seen in the text above, is a process of truly becoming like Christ or Christ being formed in a believer. It is therefore incarnational.
- II. SPIRITUAL MATURITY IS INTENTIONAL: HEB. 5:12-13
Some people believe in a myth that spiritual maturity is automatic once you are born again. This is a wrong notion. Spiritual growth does not just happen once you are saved, even if you attend services regularly. Churches are filled with people who have attended services for their entire lives, yet are still spiritual babes. An assimilated member is not the same as a mature member. Spiritual maturity is not automatic with the passing of time. The writer of Hebrews sadly noted, “You have been Christians for a long time now and you ought to be teaching others but instead … you need someone to teach you … When a person is still living on milk, it shows he isn’t very far along in the Christian life … He’s still a baby Christian!” Heb. 5:12-13 LB .
The truth of the matter is spiritual growth is intentional. It requires commitment and effort to grow. A person must want to grow, decide to grow and make efforts to grow. Becoming like Christ is the result of the commitments we make. We become whatever we are committed to Without a commitment to grow, any growth that occurs will be circumstantial, rather than intentional. Spiritual maturity is too important to be left to circumstance. We can only grow by making commitments.
III. SPIRITUAL MATURITY IS INCREMENTAL – 1TIM. 4:6-8; 2COR. 3:18
There is another myth that Spiritual maturity can occur instantly if you find the right “key.” Many sincere believers spend their entire lives earnestly searching for an experience, a conf-erence, a revival, a book, a tape or a single truth that will instantly transform them into mature believers. Their search is futile. Although we have instant coffee, instant potatoes and now even instant weight-loss methods, there is no such thing as instant spiritual maturity.
The truth is spiritual maturity is a process that takes time and effort. We grow by a step by step process. It takes a gradual process of change to develop us into the image of Christ. There are no shortcuts to maturity. It is a slow process that takes discipline and focus. There are developmental stages to spiritual maturity. They are: knowing Christ, loving, growing, serving and sharing. Despite our wish to speed up the process, spiritual growth is a journey that will last a lifetime.
- SPIRITUAL MATURITY IS PERSONAL: MATT. 7:24-27
There is another myth that every-body grows at the same pace. Many sincere believers are living in frustration because they are trying to measure their progress by comparing themselves with other believers. This has made many to throw away their uniqueness, minister in a way that is foreign to their design, jump over essential growth processes through exaggerated opinion of self, take on position beyond their level of maturity and eventually make a shipwreck of their faith through spiritual overload. Most of the times, what they are made up of is revealed in the crucible of life.
The truth is, we grow according to our S.H.A.P.E. When we come to know God’s purpose for our lives and grow in that area, we make tremendous progress with little stress. When we concentrate on our personal growth, we become an asset to the body and not a liability, thus, contributing to the overall growth of the Church (Eph. 5:16). We cannot afford to concentrate on making the body grow when in reality we are not growing. The charge of Paul to Timothy is still relevant to us today – “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you” I Tim. 4:16.
We have learnt in this lesson what spiritual maturity is and what it is not. We have seen that spiritual maturity is incarnational, intentional, incremental and personal. It is both mystical and practical. That means as God has His role to play; each believer also has his or her roles to play. In order to develop spiritually, we must all engage in the following spiritual exercises. We must keep hearing the redemption story. Furthermore, we must be rooted in Christ by allowing His word to dwell richly in us. We must also desire to grow, decide to grow and make efforts to grow.
- What are the most important lessons you learned from this study?
- What is spiritual maturity according to your knowledge of this lesson?
- Spiritual maturity is both mystical and practical; explain.
- What are the hindrances to spiritual maturity; which one is peculiar to your life?
- What practical steps will you employ to enhance your spiritual maturity?
LA MATURITE SPIRITUELLE FAIT CROITRE LA FOI
MATT. 17 :14-21
La foi c’est répondre à la révélation de Dieu lui-même par sa parole et ses actions en se confiant en lui. Cette confiance croit proportionnellement en fonction de la maturité spirituelle du chrétien. La croissance se démontre dans la façon dont le chrétien gère les problèmes et les situations qu’il rencontre au cours de sa vie. Les disciples se sont sentis impuissants quand ils ne pouvaient pas aider l’homme qui leur apporta son fils atteint d’épilepsie. L’homme était frustré par l’incapacité des disciples. La parole de Jésus « Jusqu’à quand serai-je avec vous ?» est un appel à la fois à l’homme et aux disciples de se réveiller, de croître spirituellement afin qu’ils puissent aborder tout défi ou tout problème avec une foi assez grande pour produire une solution. L’église toute entière et les membres individuels sont confrontés de nos jours au même dilemme de foi affaiblie. Il est temps que nous ayons tous marre du manque de maturité spirituelle. Il est grand temps que nous nous levions et ayons soif de la croissance spirituelle qui nous fera distinguer comme ‘ses fils’.
Point essentiel : La foi d’une personne spirituellement immature est faible et aboutit à la frustration.
Axe de prière : O Dieu, affermis ma foi.