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February 21, 2021 5:00 am
I love sitting up here to the front of the room where room where I can hear your voices just coming and go sing that song living he loved me dying he saved me rising. He carried my sins far away and I forgot the rest the words but anyway, hearing post offices is come over since it's amazing to build a be in this room and celebrate that together.
The gospel, the life that we have figure Bibles and turn to Ephesians chapter 4 Ephesians chapter 4 were continuing our series here in the book of Ephesians we are on sermon number 19 in this series, and we have quite a ways to go still but I hope that you are gaining as much as I am as we work through this and many of you are still memorizing the book of Ephesians and at him and think of real proud of you and II continue to memorize. Maybe not quite the pace that some of you are but it's it's it's incredible just to build and immerse ourselves in this book if you were to go to the on the religious section of Amazon.
The books there. They are looking at the religious books on Amazon were the things that you would find is is some mom some books for the titles of it could be something similar to in three ways to discover God's will or or here's 10 ways for the Christian to be happy or the greatest or the not the greatest love is to pause there but but the most selling book Christian book of all time size.
The Bible, your best life now XI think there's no one's right, for that is pretty close. Your best life now you find books like like that but then when you take that that mental picture of you doing everything that you can suit.
You have your greatest life now and you when you compare it to Hebrews chapter 13 verses 20, 21 is really starkly different picture.
There is what he Hebrews 13 says now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus the great Shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ. To him, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen your contrary to popular opinion, it is not us who equip ourselves for the Christian walk is Jesus who equips us for the Christian walk is not our own ability. This, the driving force behind our success. As Christians, it is Jesus who gives us the tools that are necessary for us to have the ability to follow him and to do whatever it is that he calls us to do you in every single area of life. Your success or failure depends on having the right equipment. For example, I'm not going to play golf with a baseball bat.
Okay, it's doesn't make sense to do so now if you're incredibly gifted, like maybe do perfect and you could you could do that. Maybe you have a decent score but I will have a horrible score trying to play golf with a baseball bat you don't try to fly over the ocean in a hang glider, we shall get very far into the rescue team is to come pick you up out of the water. The just you don't you don't do things with the wrong equipment you don't walk through the Christian life with the wrong equipment and God is the one that provides that equipment for us in overseeing your Ephesians chapter 4 as we study is that God gave us the church specifically give us relationships within the church to be able to dictate to give us our main equipment for growth. Now granted, the church is not perfect and the people in the church are not perfect. That's okay, still God's mode for for us being able to grow, to move forward to mature as Christians will pause doing here in chapter 4. Is he showing how the unity in the beauty of the church translates into Christians who are equipped for the ministry and they are then sold out for Jesus to go to whatever it is that he calls them to do what want to do here the beginnings, recap chapter 4 because it it ushers is right and what were talking about today. Okay, so if you shot before you can read along starting in verse one. Here's what it says. I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called right now. Here's verse two.
Here's how we do that okay with all humility and gentleness with patients bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace are not. Here's all ready to be united around starting verse four here's a lawyer to be united around the gates, there is one body and one spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all who is over all and through all and in all but grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.
Therefore, it says when he ascended on high, he let a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.
Verse nine and saying he ascended, what is it mean that the he had also descended into the lower regions the earth.
He who descended is the one who is also ascended far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. That was positive for just a moment where he spent a lot of time working through these verses, but just as a quick recap of Paul saying here is major on the majors and minors in the minors, we unite around these ones that are found here in verses four through 724 through six. We unite around that.
But then we see their bid that she does this idea that Jesus ascending and descending the idea behind that is that Jesus has ascended back to heaven after being on earth, and he does so, having secured the victorious redemption of Christians are so then went when a Christian becomes a Christian when they accept Jesus as their Savior. Jesus then gives that Christian specific gifts to be carried out within the context of the local church, so he has secured our victory.
And then he has graced us with these gifts is continue reading your verse 11 Paul talks about how the Christian is equipped and he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, verse 15 speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head to Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped with each part is working properly makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love now were spent a couple weeks here working through this passage. Specifically, okay in these verses we find the goal.
The goal, why are we to be unified. Why are we to be using our spiritual gifts. Why are we to be equipped.
What is the goal for the Christian. What is the goal for the church as a whole, and I think that as I read that I could pretty much sum it up in one word again. Here it is.
The goal is maturity. The goal is maturity everything that you find in verses 11 through 16. There are pointing to one thing that they're pointing to spiritual maturity. Now as a kid grows up.
They mature. That's that's how supposed to happen rightly, that the music they learn more. They experience more they trust more they know more late simply grow up. The goal that parents generally have is to help their kids mature in in in different walks of life in different areas so they would help this kid mature physically. The one help the child mature emotionally and mentally and spiritually. They would help the kid had a well-rounded maturity. That's the goal for their adulthood and really the same thing is kind to say happens for us, our spiritual lives.
The goal is a well-rounded maturity LSA that a child does not mature in in a specific area where that that's not normal it's this it's an abnormality it's is not the way supposed to be the same thing happens with the spiritual life when you don't mature in a specific area then that there is something is not quite right is not normal. It's an abnormality. The language of these verses gives us this mental image of a spiritually immature kid who's tossed around by life and really they get tossed around by all kinds of things. Maybe it's a tough circumstance.
It takes faith takes place in their faith is shaken to the core because the foundation is not in the gospel. Or it could be that somebody trusted tries to tell this spiritually immature person.
Something is not consistent with God's word and they believe them simply because they don't know any better and I don't grounded in Scripture, it could just be that the enemy. Then into thinking that their salvation is something that can be put on the shelf with their Bible every week and then on Sunday morning you pull it off to get to church with you when you get home you put it back on the shelf and thus the end of their spiritual life. That's the concern that that's the that's the extent of it. But all of these things are describing a spiritually immature person and there's many many more examples that I could use a little want to do today is talk more about how do we mature. How does a Christian, mature as a Christian move forward. Having grow up. Every Christian should know the answers to to this question. How do I mature maybe don't at this point and that's okay.
No walk-through today and and and these are these are honestly not all found in Ephesians chapter 4 where were at that as we come back next couple weeks were to learn more and more about will rent.
I will start today was just a very simple foundation of. Here's what it looks like for the Christian, the individual Christian to mature five ways of this Christian matures number one we read God's word number one you read God's word accepted to one of the first things we see the new believers being committed to was God's word.
They jumped into they immerse themselves in God's word get on in chapter 6, and you find God's word being so important to them that they had to devote themselves to that they did to them. There was no other alternative if they were to grow as new Christians. They had to immerse themselves in God's word is the same thing for us today. You cannot mature as a Christian unless you commit yourself to reading and being taught by the Bible is the word of God is God's message to us as Christians second Timothy chapter 3 verse 14 and through 17 says this Paul's teaching Timothy, a younger believer. He says this but as for you, continue in what you have learned in a firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. So Paul is discipling Timothy here and is instructing him to hold onto God's word. He knows that when Timothy commits himself to the Scriptures. Timothy is going to grow closer to God and he's gonna mature in his faith. The Bible has just a vast list of benefits for the Christian we find just four of them right there just messages read for you is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, this is for examples boy find as we immerse ourselves in the Bible, as it were, to mature and grow up in for some Chris's time from the grow up and are not mature, even though they may have made a profession of faith. Many, many years ago than I mature now because are not immerse themselves in God's word. How can you expect to mature. If you're not reading God's word to you. The cool thing.
That is, the more you read, the more you realize just how great God is and there's a song. Psalm 119 is it's it's all dedicated to the beauty of God's law. The beauty of God's word and you get to verse 18, there is Psalm 119 verse 18, and here's what the psalmist says. He says open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. I love that prayer because that's that's a prayer that we should have when we approach the Bible God opened my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law was easier to find is that as you immerse yourself in God's word. He's going to do that he's going to reveal to you wondrous things about himself that you never knew before wondrous things about his plan for you that you never knew before arson number one and maturing as a Christian you read God's word number two maturing as a Christian find someone to be honest with find someone to be honest with and this fits with the idea of fellowship is with the idea of community of Aviva come together in this place. The way we do. If it fits with the idea of living life together with other Christians true, genuine community is only to come when you are honest with other people about life and whether it's good or bad or frustrating or exciting times of grief, times of joy. Whatever it is you're going through.
We were created to be honest with other people in his own doing. I'm doing well in this area, but I'm struggling in this area which come alongside me and help me in this society of of authentic community is what we do, how we describe here is our in our church is one of our core values authentic community, your relationship with other believers is a means of grace our fellowship in our unity are serving alongside of each other being with other believers is God's grace at work within us, how can we expect to see God's grace alive in us that were not spending time with other believers and were not living in community in close fellowship with other community with other believers recants when we spend time with other Christians.
God's grace is poured out on us is how this thing works. One of the ways we mature as Christians is when we spent time with other Christians, we are real with and we say hey you know what life is either really good right now. It's really bad you don't believe me you don't believe me this is how it works up spent some time with somebody when they lost a loved one and you as a Christian brother or sister come alongside them as a Christian brother, sister, and the bond that you have there. The grace is poured out the encouragement. Was it do it build you up is a difficult time to go through difficult times, but us joining together in this way and be honest with each other is one of the ways we mature as Christians number three. Develop the habit of daily prayer develop the habit of daily prayer, not the very beginning of Jesus ministry on earth, the Mark chapter 1 verse 35 what we find is that Jesus goes away to a quiet place and what is he doing a praise, but this is what he does all throughout his ministry he goes away he find a quiet place and he prays because he knows the importance that relationship between he and his father was obvious that prayer was important to him. He had to get away to pray.
It was a habit for him.
There's an article that came out several months ago that I came across that talked about the benefits of daily prayer. Some of those benefits include things like what we learn to rely on God we we pray daily. We train our mind to focus our minds are renewed.
We we learn consistency. We come to grips with our faults. We learn to speak truth confidently we figure out where we can find true contentment. Those are some of the tangible ways that that we find benefits, and daily prayer praying every single day does something absolutely incredible to the very core of who we are when we commit to.
We follow through with praying every single day.
Grow closer to God. We mature as believers if you're married or you're in a relationship. Or maybe you have maybe you have a close friend. When is it that you feel the closest to that person's we talk with right so when the married couple talks every single day and they communicate with each other day every day in the drawing closer to each other is the same way with God.
That's how we mature as Christians is the habit of daily prayer.
Here's the fourth habits or fourth way that we grow up as a Christian we serve somebody else. We serve somebody else of Philippians chapter 2 verse five through seven. Show us the mind that Jesus said that his recess have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, or thing to be held onto what he do, he emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. This is the son of God. This is deity who is doing that is humbling himself to this extent. Christians have a responsibility to put other people first and to serve them, just like Jesus serve other people. He was humble servant. He was even a servant to the point of dying for his creation.
People that he had created, Jesus told his disciples that whoever is first will be last, and whoever his last will be first is a complete shift from anything that we see here in our world today is here you everything you can to get to the front of the line you everything you can to climb the ladder you everything you can to be the one that the name the people mentioned the one that comes to mind once liked. But in Jesus kingdom, God's kingdom it works. The complete opposite their it's no use to down and you serve you be a servant, and God will lift you up. That is part of the goal of being mature Christians that we serve somebody else mature Christian can't help but serve other people is in their nature to do so is your take on the mind were taken on the lifestyle of Jesus. In this essay inevitably is good to turn into a serving other people and then here's the last characteristic of a maturing Christian. Five they will share personal testimonies.
There will share personal testimonies.
This is carries with it the idea of of of being evangelistic in nature, but it goes a whole lot deeper than that. Shearing testimonies is simply allowing the greatness of God at work in your life to come out through your mouth and maybe us with other Christians. Maybe us with family members. Maybe it's with somebody you've never met before. But when you share just a simple personal testimony. Here's what God is doing. It does incredible things it does great things. The mature Christian is one who wants to do everything he can to build his himself up will look good with mature Christian is the one who gives testimony to the fact that it is God at work within them. It is not themselves work what God is doing in my life. But what I see them doing in this person's life. Look at look at what God has done in saving me look at what God is doing in sustaining me look at what God is doing. That's what I'm talking about. Here's a maturing Christian is the one who shares a personal testimonies. Here's what God is doing it. It's on the inside can't help but come out through the mouth acceptor for Peter and John are standing for these religious leaders in their own trial for preaching the gospel, specifically their own trial because they had helped a man who honestly needed help badly as a robber for this, the Sanhedrin, the 700,000. Do not anymore share anything in Jesus name was Peter say in essence he says this he says how can I not do that I have to because some insight is that inevitably come out and these guys just let them go to the realization that we do about these guys that's were talking about here. Shirley's personal testimonies that something has taken place on the inside of that has to get out so share share what God's up to share where you see them working share.
When God shows up in a big way share when God is generous with his grace and with his mercy. What a Christian say they have no idea how to share the gospel with somebody but in reality if you are living by faith in Jesus.
All it takes is for you to share simple testimony to simply what's God doing sure that baffled me this past week. I just simply shared one little nugget of what God was doing and it open the floodgates for gospel conversation.
One little thing. Sometimes we don't take that little step that little thing when the marks of a true believers that they cannot help but share what God has done and what he is doing excellent work and answer the question of how I mature these five things another question that goes with that I can answer really simply.
That is why should I mature as a Christian, why was the purpose behind it.
Why would I want to go to the effort of of of doing this and and listen, there's really really two reasons that I got for you here with number one is simply because of what Jesus has done for us. That's why there is no denying the gospel change in a Christian and I response to what Jesus has done in our lives should prompt us to mature to grow close grow closer to God is the first reason and honestly this should be the greatest motivation of of our lives in maturing, do it because what Jesus has done for me the secondly because you play an important part in God's plan. As you as an individual believer, an individual Christian you play an important part in God's plan. Ephesians chapter 4. Look at verse 15 with me rather speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped with each part is working properly makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love don't you listen to me carefully.
Okay, you were saved from your sin.
Yes, you were saved from your sin but you were also saved into a plan that God had for you to build his church and it takes everyone's participation and involvement to build Jesus church. Everyone's yesterday I was out doing some work in my yard and and and and one of the things I was doing. I mashed the daylights out of my pinky finger. Okay like in my for my three brothers watching this right now. They're going Emily a call later because the pick on me about my pinky finger right Sears match the daylights editing it was sore. It was really sore.
I had other things that needed to be done there and in the yard but everything else that I did was affected because my finger was sore. Ever been there before.
Tell me I'm not the only one who stinky government sore. Okay, but everything else that I did after that was affected by that sore finger now you still do the work but the overall work was affected.
Did you know that you just might be the pinky finger of the body of Christ to know that you might be the pinky finger of the body of Christ and if you suffer than the whole body suffers those two ways to look at the suffering pinky finger guide. The first is that oftentimes things come into our lives and maybe biggest things we do to ourselves. Or maybe things were done to us where we are legitimately hurt. We are suffering and that's the time for the rest of the body to make up for the suffering of the pinky finger to come together and say were around you. We love you we care for you. We support you.
We can pick up the slack. There's another way to look at the suffering pinky finger though and that is in this light that oftentimes that pinky finger realizes you know what is not so bad being hurt by asking to take care of everything I have to worry about it. I discontinued it to be hurt over here the immature Christian, the ones who are not taking up the slack.
The laws are not fulfilling their role was to sit back and just say you know what I'll be just fine right back here will continue with the work not realizing maybe that they have a very very important part to play in God's plan. Every single Christian has a part to play and yet you might be the pinky finger. You might be the little toe you might be a joint that holds other things together but you have a part to play in. If you are not maturing as a Christian than the whole body is suffering.
Thus one day I wanted to buy just a very simple basics very simple basics of. Here's five ways that you mature as a Christian when you read God's word number two you you get honest. Find somebody to be honest with number three you develop that habit of daily prayer before you serve somebody else and number five you share personal testimonies. You will notice the nitty-gritty of how you can mature as a Christian. That's it. That's it spray together. Father, I know without a doubt that you want to do great things in reaching people with the good news that Jesus saves follower people who don't have a relationship with you and father. Maybe they know that there's a void in their lives. Maybe, maybe they don't know even where to begin looking father you want to use us to show people where they can find life and you a father because of what you have done in saving us, there's are some very basic things that we can do then not to earn your love because your love is Artie given to us. Father, thank you for the life that you do give us, and now may we commit to being mature Christians would come back to these five simple basic things and commit ourselves to being not a little kid anymore, but the growing up father. We love you in Jesus name I pray, amen