Quarter’s Theme: Discovering Spiritual Maturity
Unit 1 Theme: Spiritual Maturity Process (Lessons 1-3)
Sunday 21/12/ 2014
THE LAWS OF SPIRITUAL MATURITY (PART 2)
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 243, 350
Devotional Reading: HEB. 6:1-12
Topic For Adults
LET US GO TO MATURITY
Topic For Youths
NO LONGER BABES
Topic For Intermediates
KEEP TO THE SPIRITUAL MATURITY
HEB. 10:25; 1 TIM. 4:7B-8; ACTS 2:42-47; 26:18-20; JN. 8:37-44;
“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” (Eph. 4:14). NKJV.
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Restored Eternal Inheritance
1 Pet. 1:3-9
Most of earthly inheritances do not last before they are wasted or they lose their value. Yet men fight over wills of their deceased parents to have part of the inheritance left behind. There are other millions of people for whom no inheritance is left – people born without any spoon at all in their mouths, either silver or wooden. The Christian has been made an heir to God, co-heir with the Lord Jesus Christ. The inheritance for the Christian is not one that will lose its value, neither can it be exhausted. It is a glorious inheritance which will last through eternity. We only come into this inheritance when we get to heaven. Since the inheritance is for eternity, the Christian needs be prepared to inherit it – an eternal inheritance can only be inherited by an heir who has eternal life. We pass through trials and temptations to purge us of all the things that could disqualify us from the eternal life, which is a necessity for the inheritance.
Point of Emphasis: The genuineness of your faith must be tested for you to qualify for the eternal inheritance.
Prayer Point: Father, prepare me for that eternal inheritance. I will not miss it in Jesus’ name.
We started this topic last week and we examined four basic rules for spiritual growth essential for every child of God. We shall conclude the lesson this
week to examine another set of three rules of maturity. These have to do with our habit, relationship and behaviour.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
- SPIRITUAL MATURITY IS HABITUAL: HEB. 10:25; 1 TIM.4:7B-8
The most practical and powerful way to get believers headed in the direction of spiritual maturity is to help them establish habits that promote spiritual growth. What is a habit? A habit is something you do instinctively without effort. What starts as discipline becomes a habit. Discipline is a training that develops self-control, character, orderliness and efficiency. Habit is a continual, often unconscious inclination to do a certain activity acquired through frequent repetition. It is an established disposition of the character and a customary practice. Self-discipline is a concentrated constraint, effort and focus to perform something that is unnatural and not instinctive. Habit is something you do instinctively, without forethought and severity of conscious effort. It determines the rhythms of life.
Discipline requires constant effort, constant attention, and that is not necessarily a happy lifestyle. It is usually for a limited time to birth the habit, a routine or action that eventually becomes natural. Habits are developed and reinforced by frequent repetition. In fact, another definition of habit is “a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition”. Studies reveal that it takes twenty-one consecutive days of Discipline to birth a new habit. Incidentally, if you miss a day, you must begin your twenty-one days over again.
Hear what the following men of God said about habit: “The second half of a man’s life is made up of habits he acquired during the first half” – Dotoyevski. “The strength of a man’s virtue … is measured by his habitual acts”. Pascal. “Human beings are creatures of habit. If we don’t develop good habits, we will develop bad ones” – Rick Warren. “The secret of champions is in their daily routine. What you do regularly determines what you become permanently”. – Mike Murdock.
- I SPIRITUAL MATURITY IS RELATIONAL: ACTS 2:42-47; HEB. 10:25
There is a myth that you can attain maturity by yourself. The idolatry of individualism in our culture has influenced even the way we think about spiritual maturity. Most spiritual formation teachings tend to be self-centered and self-focused without any reference to our relationship with other Christians. Although we have been taught that spiritual maturity is personal, it takes a corporate effort for it to be achieved. Christians need relationships to grow. We don’t grow in isolation from others; we develop in the context of fellowship. We grow in community (Acts 2:42-47).
Today’s English Version of Hebrews 10:25 says: “Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more …”
The quality of your relationship to Christ can be seen in the quality of your relationship to other believers (I Jn. 3:14; I Jn. 4:20; Matt. 5:23-24). A Christian cannot be in fellowship with God and out of fellowship with believers at the same time. As we mature in our relationship with others it reflects in our spiritual maturity.
III. SPIRITUAL MATURITY IS BEHAVIOURAL: JN. 8:37-44; ACTS 26:18-20
There is a myth that says spiritual maturity is measured by what you know. Many people and Churches evaluate spiritual maturity solely on the basis of how well you can identify Bible characters, interpret Bible passages, quote Bible verses, and explain Biblical theology. The ability to debate doctrine is considered by some as the ultimate proof of spirituality. However, while knowledge of the Bible is foundational to spiritual maturity, it isn’t the total measurement of it.
It is not just a matter of creeds and convictions; it includes conduct and character. Beliefs must be backed up with behavior. Our deeds must be consistent with our creeds. “For though once your heart was full of darkness, now it is full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it!” Eph. 5:8.
Consider the following Scriptural verses as well:
“Only be sure as citizens so to conduct yourselves [that] your manner of life [will be] worthy of the good news (the Gospel) of Christ, so that whether I [do] come and see you or I am absent, I may hear this of you: that you are standing firm in united spirit and purpose, striving side by side and contending with a single mind for the faith of the glad tidings (the Gospel)” Phil. 1:27. “Tell believers to live the kind of life that goes along with accurate teachings”. Titus 2:1 (GW). “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” Matt. 7:16. It is fruit, not knowledge that demonstrates a person’s maturity. Knowledge must be tempered with character (I Cor. 8:1). If we don’t put into practice what we know, we foolishly “build a house on sand” (Matt. 7:24-27).
It takes all 5 purposes to produce maturity. As we commit to the five purposes, we gain proper perspective and we become warmer through Fellowship Deeper through Discipleship, Stronger through Worship, Broader through Ministry and Larger through Mission. “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you”. Jam. 1:27 (NLT).
- What is habit?
- In the light of today’s lesson, how can spiritual maturity be achieved?
- What does discipline in spiritual maturity require?
- What role does fellowship play in spiritual maturity?
- What practical steps will you take after this lesson towards your personal spiritual maturity?
L’HERITAGE ETERNEL RETABLI
1PIE. 1 :3-9
La plupart des héritages terrestres ne durent pas avant qu’ils ne soient gaspillés ou qu’ils perdent leur valeur. Toujours est-il que les gens se battent sur les testaments des défunts parents pour avoir leur part dans l’héritage qu’ils ont laissé derrière eux. Il y a d’autres millions de personnes pour qui aucun héritage n’a été laissé; ces gens nés sans aucune cuillère dans la bouche que ce soit de bois comme d’argent. Le chrétien a été fait héritier de Dieu et cohéritier avec le Seigneur Jésus-Christ. L’héritage pour les chrétiens n’est pas du type qui perd sa valeur non plus du type qui peut s’épuiser. C’est un héritage glorieux qui durera pendant l’éternité. Nous aurons part à cet héritage quand nous serons dans les cieux. Etant donné que cet héritage est pour l’éternité, le chrétien doit se préparer à l’hériter. Un héritage éternel ne peut être hérité que par un héritier qui a la vie éternelle. Nous traversons des épreuves et des tentations pour nous purger de toutes ces choses qui pourraient nous disqualifier de la vie éternelle qui reste une nécessité pour l’héritage.
Point essentiel : La sincérité de ta foi doit être éprouvée pour que tu sois qualifié pour l’héritage éternel.
Axe de prière : Père, prépare-moi à cet héritage éternel; je ne le manquerai pas au nom de Jésus.