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On to Maturity, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
September 20, 2023 10:17 am

On to Maturity, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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September 20, 2023 10:17 am

Pastor Rich shares from the text what that maturity in Christ looks like, pointing out that Bible knowledge, intelligence, and how long someone has been saved don’t lead to maturity in and of themselves.

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. In Hebrews 5, 11-14, the author calls believers to maturity. He says, God birthed us into his family with the expectation that we would grow up. Pastor Rich shares from the text what that maturity in Christ looks like, pointing out that Bible knowledge, intelligence, and how long someone has been saved don't lead to maturity in and of themselves. Let's listen to this message titled, On to Maturity.

This is the third part of the sermon, which was first preached on July 1, 2022. So there's the exercise and the practice and the habit and you couple that together with the nourishment of the truth of God and it brings a person to full age. So it becomes very clear that there's more to spiritual maturity than just gaining truth. But it brings you to full age, which means maturity.

Full age means you are productive and you are reproductive in terms of the economy of God's kingdom. And it is one whose senses are exercised means that your mind is molded by, in other words, trained and disciplined in God's truth. And this would be, as opposed to if you have your mind molded by trained and disciplined in God's truth, it's different from a life of Christian how-to seminars.

And I'm afraid that that's what much of our Western Christianity has become. Successive how-to Christian, how-to seminars. Oh, I've got this issue in my life. Oh, I need to go to a Christian seminar that teaches me how to do this and this and this and this. And so we have a checklist of seven things, seven secrets to being a great husband or 10 secrets to raising your kids. And, you know, there's a place for those things.

I understand that. But for many people, their whole walk of faith is a whole succession of Christian how-to seminars. And we never get to the point where our senses are exercised to discern both good and evil. But this is what he gets to next, the point of discerning good and evil. When it comes to what I take in and what I give out, I am able to discern what does and what does not proceed from God's character and purpose.

What I give, what I take in and what I give out, I know what does and what does not proceed from God's character and purpose. Good means excellent. It means right. It means beneficial.

What is good proceeds from God's character and purpose. What is evil is worthless. It is harmful.

And those are the meanings of that word. It is worthless and harmful. That means it's not good for me. And that does not proceed from God's character and purpose. Whatever I have in my life that does not proceed from God's character and purpose is evil for me.

It is not good for me. Whatever wants to come into my life, whatever I want to do in through my life that does not proceed from God's character and purpose is evil for me. And this discerning of what's good and evil helps me understand what nourishes the soul and what does not. It helps me recognize what moves me towards God or away from God.

It helps me realize what satisfies versus what leaves me wanting. I have a question for you. What does a baby put in its mouth? Exactly. What does a baby put in its mouth?

Everything. And the writer of Hebrews is saying that shouldn't be the case for you. Just because something sounds spiritual or because something sounds biblical doesn't mean that it is.

Your senses exercised means that you are able to recognize what does and what does not proceed from the character and purpose of God. But that only comes with the right kind of nourishment and exercise. And so instead of a baby whose life is defined by what it consumes, we who move on to maturity, our life is defined by what we invest.

There's a big difference there. So bringing this thing to a conclusion, this conclusion will be an introduction, if you will, to Part 1B. On to maturity, Part 1B. There are certain implications here about spiritual maturity that we need to recognize.

And the first one goes like this. Spiritual maturity is not equal to intelligence. There are some really smart people out there and some of them have an air of spirituality that doesn't make them spiritually mature.

There are some smart people listening to me here this morning, smarter than I am. That doesn't mean you are spiritually mature. As you are listening to me this morning, please do not assume that you are spiritually mature. Go back to that definition of what it means, as the writer says, by this time you ought to be teachers.

Here's a second implication. Secondly, spiritual maturity does not equal Bible knowledge. Spiritual maturity does not equal Bible knowledge. Remember the case of the Sadducees. He did so with the Pharisees as well. They didn't recognize Messiah. And Jesus says to the Pharisees, go back to the writings of Moses.

He says, for they speak of me. But they were not able to recognize Messiah when He came. Bible knowledge does not equal spiritual maturity. You need to be aware of that. Just because you know what the Bible says doesn't mean you are spiritually mature, because there has to be that exercise of it.

The senses exercise to discern good and evil. There are many people who know the Bible better than any of us, but they are not spiritually mature. Here's a third implication when it comes to spiritual maturity.

It does not equal longevity. You may have been in Christ now for a long time, decades. The writer of Hebrews is challenging you this morning and he is saying, by this time you ought to be teachers. Just because you've been a Christian for 30, 40 years doesn't necessarily mean you are spiritually mature. Longevity does not equal spiritual maturity.

Very important truth that we need to understand. You know, you can still be, if you remain an infant all your life and you're just in your infancy stages and all you do is just consume and consume and consume and consume and you never grow up, you become a spiritual little fat baby. You can be a very smart fat baby spiritually. You can also be a fat baby that knows a lot of Bible. You can also be a fat baby who's been a fat baby for 30, 40 years.

You see, you know what? You don't drift. You don't mature by default.

You don't drift into maturity. It requires pursuit. It requires consuming truth. It requires exercise of that truth. This is how the writer of Hebrews is challenging his readers.

Don't be a fat baby. But spiritual maturity comes from devotion to God's revelation. Now be careful with this statement, okay? Because you can just kind of, you know, brush it off. Oh, okay.

Yeah, I know that. Spiritual maturity comes from devotion to God's revelation. Two very important words there, devotion. By that, I don't mean I get up and I have my quiet time for half an hour every morning. That means I'm devoted to God's revelation. Well, not necessarily because you know what? It could be just a routine for you.

It's good if it is a routine, but if that's all it is, then it's not doing you a whole lot of good. But when you are devoted to God's self-revelation, remember, truth has a name. Truth is a capital T. And when you are devoted to God's self-revelation, it means two things in particular. One, you have a determination to seek.

And secondly, you have a disposition to surrender. A determination to seek that you are in passionate pursuit of truth capital T, truth that has a name. And you are determined to seek and you seek with the disposition to surrender to that truth. That will lead you to spiritual maturity.

That is like saying, Father, show me, transform me, and live through me. Because if I do not pursue truth in that way and exercise truth in that way, I will remain a fat baby. And I might be one for 30, 40 years.

I might be a smart, fat baby. I might be a smart, fat baby for 40 years that has a lot of Bible knowledge, but I'm still a fat baby. And the writer of Hebrews is telling us this morning, it shouldn't be that way.

By this time, you ought to be teachers. So with that, we begin the third warning of the book of Hebrews. And next week, I'm going to unpack a little in verse 14, the idea of who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

We're going to unpack that and understand what that means for the mature Bible believer, the one who has surrendered themselves in faith to Christ, what that means and what that looks like versus being doomed to living a Christian life that goes from one how-to seminar to another how-to seminar. Just tell me what to do. I don't know what to do here. Just tell me what to do. Tell me what to do.

We need to grow up out of that. And the Bible teaches us that we can, and we ought to. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace, weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-05 12:04:12 / 2023-10-05 12:08:37 / 4

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