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Who Is a Mature Believer -17

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
July 24, 2022 7:00 pm

Who Is a Mature Believer -17

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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July 24, 2022 7:00 pm

What are the marks of spiritual maturity- Pastor Greg Barkman continues his exposition in Philippians.

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Well, in my experience, I found that most Christians consider themselves to be mature, at least those who have been saved any length of time.

In fact, it almost seems like many people believe that maturity comes naturally over the course of time. If you've been saved for any number of years, you must be mature. But I wonder if that is a biblically correct assessment of Christian maturity. In fact, as I study the Bible, I'm quite convinced that it is not. So the question for you today is, are you a mature Christian? And if you think so, why do you think so?

And is your evaluation correct? And we hope that by the end of the sermon today, you will have a better understanding of that subject and a better way to measure the marks of Christian maturity. How should we evaluate the issue of spiritual maturity? And the Apostle Paul is very helpful in pointing us the way in our text today in Philippians 3, verses 15 and 16. He says, Therefore, let us, as many as are mature, have this mind.

And if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule and let us be of the same mind. In these two verses, we will see, number one, the mature mind, number two, the mistaken mind, and number three, the continuing mind, the mature mind. Christian maturity begins in the mind. Most things begin in the mind. The battles that we fight have their beginning in our mind. We either think correctly or do not think correctly. And to the extent that we are thinking correctly, we make progress in life.

And to the extent that we are thinking incorrectly, then we have all kinds of problems that ensue. And so the mature mind. And the question is, what is maturity? Because Paul begins verse 15 by saying, Therefore, let us, as many as are mature.

What is that maturity all about? It turns out that this word mature is actually the same Greek word or virtually the same Greek word that is found in verse 12 that in my Bible is translated perfect. Where Paul says, Not that I have already attained or am already perfected or perfect, but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. And so the same Greek word in a different form in verse 12 has the idea of final perfection, ultimate perfection, full and final redemption, which means, of course, perfection in every way. But in verse 15, it has a different meaning.

It has the idea of strong, well developed, ready for action. John Eady, in his helpful commentary on Philippians, based strongly upon an explanation of the Greek text, points out that in verse 12, this Greek word is a verb and in verse 15, it is an adjective. And it is his conclusion, based upon this and a couple of other similar texts, that generally when the word is in the verb form, it refers to ultimate final perfection.

But in the adjective form, it has the idea of maturity, relative perfection, relative maturity. Whether that's the way it is all throughout the New Testament, I don't know, but that certainly rings true in this passage before us. In verse 12, Paul is talking about final and full perfection in the presence of Christ. In verse 15, he's talking about strength of spiritual life in the present world and he puts himself in the category of the mature. Notice he says, therefore, let us, not let you, not let they who are mature, but let us who are mature. So Paul puts himself in the category of those who are mature Christians. That certainly doesn't surprise us. But maybe what does surprise us is that he invites the Philippians to classify themselves.

And maybe that's a good idea. He doesn't sit them down and say, all right, I've been watching your lives. And in my estimation, you're mature and you're not. No, he says, let us as many as are mature. And then he gives instructions for those who are mature with the supposition that those who are mature will follow the instructions and thereby demonstrate their Christian maturity. And those who ignore the instructions thereby demonstrate that they're not mature. And so those who think themselves mature must show it by obeying the directions of the apostle Paul.

That's the way you figure out whether or not you are mature. Do you follow the instructions of an apostle of Jesus Christ? Do you follow the instructions of God's word? Now, the Bible speaks in terms of Christians being either immature or mature. Sometimes other languages use babes in Christ as opposed to those who are grown.

One passage will suffice. First Corinthians three, one, Paul says, and I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people. Or spiritually mature, but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food, for until now you were not able to receive it.

And even now you are still not able. So here the immature are those who can't digest strong doctrine, strong truth from the word of God. They're still stuck in the milk phase, the baby stage of Christianity. For you are still carnal for where there are, and here's some of the characteristics of immaturity, where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, are you not carnal? So Paul divides Christians into immature and mature, to babes in Christ and to grown-ups in Christ, to spiritually undeveloped and spiritually well-developed. And here in Philippians 3.15 he makes an appeal to those who are mature, those who are well-developed spiritually.

And so there are clearly, according to the Bible, mature Christians and immature Christians. And again I ask you, in which category are you? If you were being honest, place yourself in one of these two categories, where would you place yourself? And how would you know where to place yourself?

And how would you know if your placement was accurate? And that brings us then to consider what characterizes the mature mind. We're talking about the mature mind. And what characterizes the mature mind? Because Paul says, therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind. As many as are mature, let us have this mind. Question, what mind?

What mindset? What pattern of thinking characterizes mature believers? Clearly Paul is thinking about what he just said in this chapter, in this context.

The word therefore points us back in the previous context. And so combing through this section from verses 1 down to our text in verse 15, I picked out six characteristics named by Paul as things that characterized his life. And then he gets to this point and he says, therefore as many as us, what I've just described in myself, and as many as you who share a similar Christian maturity, let us all together have this mind, the same mind, the same way of thinking. And again, what is that?

And I'll give it to you quickly. Number one, those who understand the true gospel. Those who understand the true gospel, or maybe I should say those who understand the gospel truly, who understand it well solidly are those who would be characterized as mature. And we find that in verses 1 through 3 and again in verse 9. I'll not read those verses to you.

Number two, those who take no pride in human achievement. That's verses 4 through 7. And you remember Paul said, I could lay my credentials down beside these Judaizers and mine would be better than theirs.

I was born of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, and circumcised the eighth day, and on and on and on it goes, a Pharisee of the Pharisees. And yet he says, all of these things I have renounced. I count them as nothing. They're lost.

They're done. I count them as nothing in order to gain Christ. And so Paul had renounced all of these achievements that made so many in his generation very proud of themselves. But that pride in human achievement is a characteristic of immaturity.

A characteristic of maturity is to have no pride in human achievement. Number three, those who are willing to suffer loss for Christ. That's verses 7, 8, and 10.

Paul just mentions this in passing, but it's very clear. Here and in other passages, more obviously clear that Paul suffered greatly for the cause of Christ, and yet counted it a privilege to do so. He was glad to do it, willing to do it, did not resent it, did not complain about it, counted it a great honor to be able to suffer loss for the honor and glory of Christ for the cause of the gospel. That marked him out as mature, and he said, now those of you who have this same mind, a mind like this, willing to suffer loss for the cause of the gospel, then you join me in the category of those who are mature. Number four, those who are striving to know Christ better.

What did Paul say in this passage? That I may know Him, the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable unto His death. The venerable apostle of 30 years who had served the Lord in the way that very few people have, still did not feel like he knew Christ as well as he wanted to, as well as he could, as well as Christ was capable of being known, and he longed to know Christ better, and that was a mark of his spiritual maturity. That was, we might say, the primary goal of his life, and similarly, those who are spiritually mature will have that goal as well, those who are striving to know Christ better.

What else? Number five, those who know that they have not yet arrived. Verse 12, not that I have already attained or am already perfected, but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me. A mark of spiritual maturity is to recognize that you are not perfect, that you have not arrived, that you don't have all the answers, that you aren't the perfect example, even though you are an example because there are no perfect examples except Christ. But nevertheless, those who know that they have not yet arrived are demonstrating spiritual maturity.

Those who act like they have really arrived and everybody else ought to recognize that are demonstrating their spiritual immaturity. Secondly, number six, those who are not distracted by secondary issues. Brethren, I count not myself, verse 13, to have apprehended, but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upper call of God in Christ Jesus. You remember Paul here uses an athletic illustration of a runner, and he says runners who want to win keep their eye on the finish line and don't allow themselves to be distracted by anything else.

Runners who are looking over their shoulder to see who's gaining on them and how they're doing, they're the ones who don't win. And so he's talking about those who are not distracted by lesser things, not distracted by other people, not distracted by the opinions of others, keeping their focus on the goal. Those who are not distracted by secondary issues demonstrate their Christian maturity, but those who are so easily distracted are demonstrating immaturity. Now, you recognize that in all of this, Paul has just given us general principles and not a lot of particulars. But I'm going to fill in some particulars.

What are some of the secondary issues that immature Christians get distracted by? And there are many of them. I couldn't begin to name them all.

But let me name a few, and you place yourself accordingly. One of them is politics. Now, politics is not unimportant. We are all citizens of the United States of America with a responsibility to use our citizenship for the Kingdom of Christ and to inform ourselves and to vote in the elections. But, folks, the most important thing in the world is not politics. The most important thing in the world is Jesus Christ and the Gospel of Christ. And I know a lot of Christians who are distracted by politics.

That seems to consume their whole lives, and I'm suggesting to you that that is a mark of immaturity. Ouch. I heard some of you say ouch.

I'll give you another one. Music styles. Christian music styles.

Worship music styles. Now, I've got very strong opinions and preferences in that area, but let's be honest. That is not a primary issue. It's a secondary issue. And if some of our brothers and sisters in Christ worship the Lord in a music that is Christ-honored, God-honored, good, solid, truth that points to Christ and do so in a style of music that's different from what others use, then fine. Let's not make that a dividing issue. We shouldn't be warring over styles of music.

That's a secondary issue. And those who can't seem to get along in that area are demonstrating spiritual immaturity, not maturity. Dress styles. How should you dress for church?

Well, everybody knows you ought to wear a suit and tie, and if you don't, you're a scumbag. You are just demonstrating your immaturity and your ignorance of the Bible. Let's not demonstrate our immaturity by dividing over these secondary issues and on and on it could go. Let's talk about Bible translations. I actually heard someone say this many years ago.

Get ready for it. If the blessing King James was good enough for the apostle Paul, it's good enough for me. Folks, the King James Bible is a wonderful translation and used highly by God down through the years. But people who divide over Bible translations are demonstrating ignorance and immaturity. That's a secondary issue. I'll give you another one. It's no wonder Paul couldn't deal with all these things. I'll give you another one. He couldn't deal with the Bible translations.

He didn't have the King James and all the other English translations in his day. I'll give you another one. Masks.

Should you or shouldn't you? Unbelievably, some Christians actually divide over that. It hasn't been too many months ago that a man came to our church and wanted to start an argument because at that time a lot of us were wearing masks. That was early in the COVID epidemic and I think we'd asked everybody to wear a mask.

He came in and was railing against us because we were doing that and demonstrating his, what, immaturity in the process. Or vaccines. But anyway, I stop. I could go on and on. Mature Christians keep their eyes on the finish line. Spiritual maturity is not what some people think it to be, namely superior knowledge of the Bible, not that alone. That's part of it.

That goes along with it, but not that alone. But spiritual maturity is humility and selflessness and zeal for the cause of Christ, not even advancement of myself within the kingdom of Christ like the immature disciples before they grew up. Lord, allow me to sit on your right and you and my brother on your left hand when we come into your kingdom. Oh, there's zeal for Christ's kingdom as long as I'm in a prominent place.

Let the immaturity grow up. Let us, as many as are mature, have this mind, this kind of mind that Paul has demonstrated for us, the mature mind. Secondly, the mistaken mind, and he refers to that in the last part of verse 15.

And if in anything you think otherwise, contrary to what I have just described, contrary to the mindset that I have just laid before you, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you, the mistaken mind. And Paul talks first of all about the reality of different opinions and if in anything anybody thinks otherwise, different from the way I think, different from what I have said before you. Otherwise, have a different opinion than Paul about certain things. Now, Paul is clearly not talking here about gospel basics.

We know how he treats that. He's very clear about that in several passages. If we or an angel from heaven would preach any other gospel to you than that which has already been preached, let him be accursed, let him go to hell. We don't tolerate error about the person and work of Christ. But if there are differing opinions about, go back through the list of things I just named and you could add a number of other things to it, if there are differing opinions about that, that's not a tragedy, that's not a problem, shouldn't be a problem, it's not a problem for mature believers.

Secondary matters. Though Christians, true born-again Christians, cannot, may not, will not allow differences about the basic gospel, we cannot join together those who believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone and those who believe that salvation is only acquired by some effort of man, either in whole or in part. That can't be joined together and called Christianity. But we can differ about some matters and still walk together in Christian love.

If any, if in anything, you think otherwise. Different opinions. But then Paul goes on to talk about unifying opinions. These differing opinions will one day be erased and will even now become less different.

There will be some change in a more unifying direction. Because he goes on to say, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. It's interesting, Paul didn't say if you have a different opinion from mine, your opinion is as good as mine.

That's not what he said. That isn't what he thinks. He actually thinks that his opinion is the right opinion. What he's telling us is that there are some opinions that even though you have the truth, it's not God-honoring to make a fuss over, to divide over, to make issues over. So if you have a different opinion, God will make that known to you in time. God will straighten you out. God will correct you. God will bring your wrong opinion into conformity with my right opinion. That's what he's saying in a very tactful and kind way.

God will reveal this even to you. It is not that different opinions don't matter. They do. They do matter, but they are not big enough to divide over. They ought not to separate brethren. And continued growth in grace is going to bring greater unity, even about these secondary issues. Because, and get this now, you may never have thought about this before.

I hadn't thought about it much until this week. But because in heaven we are, listen to me, in heaven we are all going to have the same opinion about everything. Now isn't that an astounding thought? But in heaven we're all going to have the same opinion about everything. But on earth there will always be some differences of opinion among true believers.

And we should understand that and live as peaceably with others as we can. This reality explains in part the many different Christian groups and denominations. Sometimes people say, how come there's so many different denominations? If we've all got one Bible, there's only one truth, how can there be all these different denominations? Why all this disunity? Well, there's various answers to that question.

This answer isn't the total one. A great deal of it has to do with apostasy. A great deal of it has to do with departure from the true gospel. A great deal of it has to do with those who slide away from the gospel of grace in the person and work of Christ and the truths about that. And we cannot continue in Christian fellowship and unity with those who've abandoned the gospel. But a lot of the differences among Christians have to do with these differences of opinion that are secondary.

And if you're mature, that's not going to be a stumbling block for you. You're going to understand it. Paul understood it.

He's talking about it here. He's saying as many of us as have the same mind are mature. But if any of you think otherwise, OK. In time, God's going to reveal that to you, but we can live together until that time. We don't go off into warring parties until we get to heaven and get these things straightened out. To some Christians, nothing is a major issue. Everything is secondary.

We don't contend for anything. And so we have apostasy rife in most of the mainline denominations in America today. It becomes more and more obvious farther and farther and farther they go. You can't believe how far from truth so many of our main denominations have drifted. Why? Because there were people, many people in them, no doubt true born again Bible believers, but who just weren't willing to make an issue about anything, even the things the Bible says we need to make an issue about, such as the gospel, the person and work of Christ. That is not a secondary issue. It's a major. But to some people, everything's a secondary issue. But to other people, everything is a major issue. There is no such thing as a secondary issue. And both these opinions, both these ideas are wrong. To think that there is no such thing as a major issue, that everything is secondary is absolutely wrong. And the Bible is clear about that. There's some things that we can and must contend for and not back down, not give an inch, not make partnership with those who hold such fundamental errors. But there are many other things which are secondary that some people want to fight over every single one of them whenever they find a difference. And that's wrong too. That is an immature spirit.

That is being a babe in Christ. If you find that you have trouble getting along with brothers and sisters in Christ again and again and again and again, that you're continually going through life, starting out with a decent relationship and it isn't long before it falls apart, and it happens again here and it happens there, and you go from church to church and you go from place to place, and you no doubt have the opinion that this is because everybody else is wrong and I'm right, I would suggest to you that it's probably the other way around. You have a wrong spirit. Even if you are right about everything, which is impossible, your attitude is wrong. It's immature.

It's carnal. Mature Christians understand that there are some things that are major and some things that are minor, and they will contend to the end with their very lives for those things that are major, and they will lovingly and graciously get along with others in those things that are minor. May God give us grace to understand which are which. We know that's true, but when it comes down to the particular, sometimes we have trouble sorting out.

Now, which category does this one fit in, major or minor? But that's what Paul says. He says God will make that plain to you. And if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.

If you look to Him for it, if you spend time in prayer on your knees with an open Bible, if you ask God to lead you and guide you in these areas, God will show this unto you. And so there is, what did we say? The mature mind. Number two, there is the mistaken mind, but there is number three, the continuing mind, and that's in verse 16. Nevertheless, to the degree we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule. Let us be of the same mind. And I have three questions to help us work through verse 16 and understand this continuing mind.

And they come from the text. The question number one, how did we get where we are now? Number two, how should we continue? And number three, what should we expect? How did we get where we are now?

Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained. How did you get to where you are now in your life? The answer is by receiving the word of God. At one time in your life, you were unconverted. How did you become a Christian? By receiving the gospel, the word of God that came to you and the gospel of Jesus Christ. You believed that.

You received that. That made all the difference in the world. It took you out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.

But you have been growing on since then. How has that happened? By your reception of God's word, by establishing spiritual disciplines that have to do primarily with the word of God. Spiritual disciplines like regular church attendance at a Bible believing church where you hear God's word expounded. By regular reading of God's word yourself, regular times for prayer yourself. These spiritual disciplines is how you have come to the place you are now in your Christian life. By steady spiritual progress, by growing by degrees.

That's how we all got to where we are now. And the reason why some people are a lot further along than others is because some have frankly been a whole lot more disciplined than others. Those of you who are pretty haphazard about your church attendance, you're not really committed to it, are not as spiritually mature.

You're not as far along as those who have made that a habit. Those of you who have a habit of reading your Bible every day and asking God to show you its truth are growing much more rapidly and have progressed further spiritually than those of you who haven't. Those of you who have regular times of prayer are growing much more rapidly and spiritually than those of you who neglect that. So how did you get where you are in your Christian life? Well, whatever spiritual progress you've made has been by your exposure to and reception of the word of God. And the degree of progress you have made has to do with how regularly and faithfully you have been in taking the word of God in your life.

Has your life been one primarily of diligence or primarily of haphazardness? So number one, how did we get where we are now? Number two, how should we continue?

Same way. Verse 16, nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained what? Let us walk by the same rule. Let us walk by the same rule.

How should we continue? We should keep walking. That's a military term actually. It means keep in line, march in line, move steadily forward.

Now here Paul doesn't employ a racing metaphor. He employs a marching metaphor. Because growing in grace isn't so much a race as it is just a steady march. One foot in front of the other, day by day by day by day. A lot of times you can't tell a lot of progress from one day to the next because you're just walking. You're not running. You're marching. You're moving slowly. But over a few months, over a few years, you'll notice a great difference.

Much progress. A runner can get from the starting line to the finish line of a mile run a whole lot quicker than I can because I can't run anymore. I used to. My knees gave out. I don't run anymore. So Mr. A is going to run from the starting line to the finish line. And he gets there fast.

Mr. B, Barkman, is going to walk from the starting line to the finish line. And he gets there slow. But after 20 minutes or so, he gets there. He doesn't get there in 10 minutes. He doesn't get there in 8 minutes like the runner. But he gets there in 20 minutes or so just by walking, walking, walking.

That's the way the spiritual life is. If you will walk steadily day by day by day by day, you're going to make progress. You'll look back and say, well, look at that. I did finish a mile. I have made progress. So how should we continue? Walking by the same rule. The rule here is God's word.

Walking by the same standard, walking by the same standard, by the same measuring rod, by the same ruler. The word of God. And so how do we continue? Steady, regular progress in the word of God.

Slow and steady, slow and steady, slow and steady, but regular, regular, regular, regular, disciplined, faithfulness, regular. That's the way we shall continue. The way you got to where you are now is by your reception to the word of God. The way you will continue in further progress is by growing steadily in the word of God.

And as you do that, question number three, what should we expect? The last phrase, let us be of the same mind, right? Verse 16, nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk according to the same standard. We're all using the same standard.

The Bible is our standard. Let us all walk by the same rule. Let us all be of the same mind. That is, the more we grow, the more we agree. Greater maturity results in greater unity. So I would suggest to you, if increased knowledge, you're a student of God's word, you love to study and probably love to tell people how much you study.

If increased knowledge makes you more divisive, something's wrong. And the Bible tells us what it is. It tells us knowledge puffs up, but love, it doesn't use this language in the Bible, but to make a parallel, love opens up, opens its arms wide to receive others. Knowledge puffs up, makes us feel superior to others, but love with knowledge, hopefully, but love makes us open our arms wide to others. Greater love and unity and harmony. And so the basic Christian mindset is this, the Bible is our rule of faith and practice. If we don't agree on that, we really don't have much in common.

Is that your commitment? The Bible is our rule of faith and practice. Now, we may not all understand it the same, but as we continue to grow, to study, to learn, to make progress, we will become more and more unified in our thinking because we will become better and better knowledgeable, more knowledgeable, correctly knowledgeable in the truth of what God's word is teaching us. We'll understand it better. But we're never going to stop growing in our understanding of truth until we get to heaven. So that means, number one, we will never have unified thinking about everything, but number two, the more we make progress, the more similarity of thinking we will enjoy. A lot of our differences of opinion have to do with just pure ignorance. A little bit of studying would help a whole lot. I read the paragraph on the back of our bulletin this morning by Charles Spurgeon.

I thought it was excellent. Please take time to read through it. And as I read that, I'll read the first line. I do not know from the word of the Lord that first of all, or I do know rather from the word of the Lord that first of all, they must reign lovingly over all his elect. Some of them are hard to bring in, but they must come sooner or later. Christ himself said, I have other sheep which are not part of this fold.

I must also bring them. And on it goes. It's an excellent paragraph.

And as I read that paragraph this morning, I couldn't help but think about the time back in the 80s. I had received in the mail about a 40 or 50 page booklet from a Christian leader who wrote the booklet denouncing what he called the heresies of Calvinism. But also in that same booklet applauded the ministry of Charles Spurgeon. So evidently he doesn't know that Spurgeon was a Calvinist. So I wrote to him back in the days of snail mail, no emails, no.

I wrote to him a letter to where he was in Memphis, Tennessee. And I said, I've noticed what you said here about Calvinism being a heresy, but you also have applauded the ministry of Charles Spurgeon. Are you not aware that he was a Calvinist? He wrote me back and said he was no such thing. So I'm uncovering a little more ignorance here. So I just copied some material similar to what's in your bulletin today.

I don't remember exactly what. But sending back some material that demonstrated beyond all shadow of a doubt that Spurgeon was a committed Calvinist. But also one of the most effective and fruitful and fervent evangelists that I've ever known.

That was very instructive to me when I was struggling with these issues. And I learned that my hero, Charles Spurgeon, was a Calvinist. That helped me understand that Calvinism is not incompatible with evangelism. In fact, Spurgeon was a preeminent evangelist. So I wrote that and sent him the material and the answer I got back was, oh, well I guess Spurgeon was a heretic too.

That was the answer. I don't know if that brother is still living or not. That's been so many years ago. It would probably take a while for us to grow to unity in our thinking. But if we'll keep at it, keep studying the Bible along the way, if we really want to know the truth. The problem is a lot of people really don't want to know what the Bible says. They want to just stay stuck on what they think the Bible says and please don't disturb me. Don't upset me. Don't challenge me. I know what I know and I don't want to know anything else.

Shame on you. We must all have an appetite to learn what the Bible teaches, all of what it teaches, everything it teaches, God helping us. And the more we do, the more we're going to come together in Christian unity. Well, let me mention a couple of conclusions and applications and lessons out of this passage. I notice first of all that this passage shows us that the teaching of Christ's apostles is equal to Christ's teaching.

That's right. Paul makes it clear, back to verse 15, Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mindset, this one that I set before you, and if anything you think otherwise, God will reveal this even to you. In other words, what I have said is the truth. Now, I'm giving you latitude and time to come to the truth. You may not be there yet, but it's not that my opinion is one and yours is just as valid.

That's not it. My opinion is correct. I'm an apostle of Christ. I have the Spirit of God that's guided me. What I have said is the Word of God.

The word in Scripture, the inscripturated word of the apostle Paul, is every bit as much the word of God as the red letters in your Bible that were spoken by Jesus Christ. That's what this passage teaches. The second thing it teaches us is that a growing desire for Christ is the primary characteristic of those who are growing spiritually.

A growing desire for Christ is the primary characteristic of those who are growing spiritually. Number three, no one of us has arrived at perfect knowledge, but we can all keep on the right path in pursuit of perfect knowledge. Salvation has set us on the path of truth. We have the Bible, God's word. We have the Holy Spirit, the teacher of God's word. We have been set on the path of truth. We don't understand it all yet, but if we keep on the path, we're going to understand it better and better as we go along.

And that is our joy, our delight. Number four, God will give more light to those who walk in the light already given. As many of us as are mature have this mind, and if anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.

Walk in the light that you've been given, and God will give you more light. And finally, we can teach, but God must reveal. The apostle Paul is teaching them, but he recognizes they haven't all got it.

Why? Because it takes the Holy Spirit to impart the understanding of it. So we can teach and should and will, but we know that God must reveal.

And God reveals truth to different people at different rates for whatever reason. So we need to be patient. God is patient.

Aren't you glad that he's patient, has been patient with you? We need to be patient with others. Shall we pray?

Father, thank you for your word and what it teaches us. Help us to live in the light of it. Help us to grow. Help us to be mature. Help us to be loving and kind to those around us that we can help along the way. And help us to honor the Lord Jesus Christ in everything we say and do as we ask it in his name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-20 03:28:17 / 2023-03-20 03:43:36 / 15

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