Today on Summit Life, Pastor J.D.
Greer talks about spiritual maturity. You're here because we have good music. There's a lot of young, good-looking people around you. It seems like a cool place to be. It's like going to the church at the Gap or Abercrombie and Fitch, and it's just like, hey, you know, this is a great place to be. But what happens is that's not real. The circumstances change, and you don't have a lot of anchor to your faith. We've got a lot of people in here who are gullible. Welcome back to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.
I'm your host, Molly Vitovich. Believe me when I tell you, it takes a lot of work to keep a newborn healthy. Parents, am I right? From the midnight feedings to carefully buckled car seats, it all makes for a whole lot of craziness. And as cute as they are, it's a bit of relief when they get old enough to manage some of those tasks on their own. And believe it or not, that's a great analogy for our spiritual lives, too. We are called to spiritually grow up, but so many of us prefer staying a baby, having others deal with all of our spiritual needs. Today, Pastor J.D. shows us what it looks like to mature in our faith. It's part of our teaching series in 1 Peter called I Am an Alien.
And if you've missed any messages so far or would like a second listen, find all messages and transcripts at jdgreer.com. Let's join today's message called Grow Up, here's Pastor J.D. Peter is writing to a group of people that he's a little scared about because he wants them to grow up, spiritually speaking. You see, there are a lot of people who never really seem to get past the baby stage in Jesus. That's going to be a problem for anybody, of course, but Peter is especially concerned about it for these people because these people that he's writing to, his congregation, is undergoing a lot of persecution. A lot of things are going wrong.
There's a lot of hardship. And if they're spiritual infants, then they're not going to be able to survive. I mean, you know, a lot of times in the Bible, being childlike is a good thing, but not in the way that Peter's talking about here. There's a lot of things about life that children are totally unprepared to face, right?
I mean, parents, we know that, right? Kids, or kids, we love them, but kids are unstable in their emotions. You ever notice, especially if you have a toddler, kids that are toddlers are really unstable in their emotions. They go from the heights of exaltation one minute to the depths of despair, and then right back and forth between those two, just in a matter of seconds. Well, see, many, many, many baby Christians are like that. The slightest thing upsets them.
You go from being on top of the world one minute, you know, overflowing with love for God, feeling close to him, feeling full of the Spirit, then a little financial trouble, a spiritual setback, and you go into the depths of despair. Children are insecure. I'll tell my daughters that on the way home, we're going to stop and get ice cream.
They will ask me 100 times between the time we get in the car and the time we get home when we're stopping. Like, yeah, there's McDonald's. You know McDonald's has ice cream, and yeah, there's Chick-fil-A. You know, Chick-fil-A has ice cream. And I'm like, I know.
I haven't forgotten about that. You don't have to ask me all the time. They're insecure. Baby Christians are like that. They're insecure about the goodness and the promises of God.
They're unstable. Something bad happens to a baby Christian, and they're like, God, why? God, where are you? God, don't you care about me?
God, do you even exist anymore? Toddlers have short attention spans. They need constant affirmation. New believers need constant affirmations of faith. They need miracles. They need these clear answers to prayer. Things can't go wrong with them, or they go into despair, and they're wailing about where God is because he left the room for a minute. Children are possessive. They have a short view of possessions. They need something in their hands to feel like it is theirs. So as a dad, I encountered this one-word argument between my kids frequently.
Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine. That's all it's saying back and forth. They're just pulling and yelling and shoving. So I get in there involved, and I'm like, hey, stop it. Share.
Right? And you parents know this. My kids look up at me with this bewildered look like, no, Dad, you don't understand. The entire quality of the future of my life depends on whether or not I have this particular Lego piece right now. I know there are 217 others just like it here on the floor, but I need that one. That's because children have a very short attention span.
They need possessions in their hand. This past week, I was flying back from Dallas. We're on a Delta flight. We're in row 21. In row 20, there are two grown men sitting next to each other that about halfway through the flight get in an elbow arm wrestling match over this arm rest.
Right? So Andrew and I are watching this go down, and then the guys, I kid you not, start yelling at each other. And one of them goes, you better back off. You better back off. Not your arms been in the whole time.
You're not sure now. They're pushing and shoving. The flight attendant has to come back to this row and break them up and then says, you know, guys, what's wrong?
Eventually, the way this resolves is she turns to me and said, you know, to me, would you mind switching with one of these guys? And I said to him, I'm like, sure. And I sat down next to this guy, and I put my arm on the elbow rest, by the way, real quick, just so we'd set that boundary clear. But, you know, I'm thinking, I'm like, seriously, like, you know, I realize the elbow rest is significant, but you would think that getting that elbow rest is not as significant as avoiding the public humiliation of having a flight attendant come back and break you up.
Right? I mean, these guys are acting like children. Children have a short view of possessions, things have got to be in their hands for them to feel like they're theirs. They don't grasp, right, the larger picture. That's the way new Christians are. They got to have, they got to have stuff in their hands now.
I need healing now, prosperity now, blessing now. They don't grasp the greater promises that are theirs. Kids are gullible. I mean, kids believe anything. When I was four years old, my dad convinced me that he could change the green lights on command of his voice. What he would do, I figured this out later when I was like 17, what he would do is he would look at the red light going the other way, and he would notice, because, you know, when that one turns red, you got like three seconds before this one turns green, and so he would always look at it, he'd go, I'm sick of this, three, two, one, green, bam, it'd be green. I was like, my dad is the most powerful man in the universe.
You know, I remember, seriously, I kid you not, I can't remember how old, it was like a year or two this went on, I went around and I dug around in the car because I figured out he couldn't do it with his voice, but he must have like a button that he presses that sends out like a radar, a bat signal of some kind. Kids are gullible. Kids believe all those kind of things. New Christians are gullible. Paul says, Ephesians 4.14 to the Ephesians, he's like, you're like children, blown about by every wind of doctrine that comes along. A lot of Christians are suckers for a powerful speaker. They're suckers for a miracle story, suckers for the latest bestseller.
If it builds a crowd, if it has good music with it, if the guy's got a good smile, it's got to be true. Every once in a while, y'all, not often, but every once in a while, I get really depressed because I'll talk to somebody who used to be a part of our church, who's moved to another city that starts going to a church that has a completely different emphasis than our church. They're not centered on the gospel. It's run by an egomaniac and they'll say, I found a church just like the Summit Church.
That's what's really depressing. And what they mean is they say, what they mean by that is I found a church where the music is good, there's a lot of young, good-looking people, and the pastor every once in a while tells funny stories because that is about how deep that their Christianity goes. They're gullible, right?
They're just blown about by every wind of doctrine that's going on. I don't mean to be hard on you, but some of you are gullible. You're here because we have good music. There's a lot of young, good-looking people around you. This seems like a cool place to be. It's like going to the church at The Gap or Abercrombie and Fitch and it's just like, hey, you know, this is a great place to be. But what happens is that's not real.
You know, the circumstances change and you don't have a lot of anchor to your faith. We've got a lot of people in here who are gullible, gullible, right? I mean, by the way, to drive this point home, I had our media team paint the word gullible right there on the ceiling, right? That's what I'm talking about. There's like 10 of you. They're like, what? No way.
I can't see it. The point is you need to grow up. You need to grow up. Paul says to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 3.1, he says, you're jealous.
You're selfish. You're demanding. When something goes wrong in your life, you're screaming about where God is.
You demand miracles to prove your faith. You're addicted to charismatic personality. Some of you are like, oh, I love the preaching of Apollos. He's such an orator. Oh, no, I love Paul. He's so deep. I'm a Paul.
I'm Apollos. He's like, you're just, you're kids. I can't speak to you like mature people because mature people aren't moved by who can raise the hair on the back of their neck and make them have warm fuzzies. Mature people are beyond that, but you're infants. You're moved by every wind of doctrine that comes along.
Again, I would just say that where some of you are, and by the way, some of you, it's okay because you are new Christians, but some of you have been supposedly walking with Jesus for 30 years, and you're still like that. It's like you're 30 years old, still wearing diapers. If you don't constantly pay attention to a baby, the baby dies.
Parents know that. You don't just say, leave your baby in the room, be like, take care of yourself, come back in a week, hope everything's all right. You constantly have to pay attention to a baby. There's a lot of you that we have to constantly pay attention to. You've always got to have people around you speaking into your life, and I know that's good for everybody, but you're like, you just depend on that. The moment that you're not around an environment like this one, you're going to die. Some of you high school students.
Some of you college students. It just all depends on whoever you're around. What's going to happen, like Peter's saying here, hardship, persecution comes, and all of a sudden you get isolated, and you are not going to make it because you're an infant in Christ. You need to grow up. You need to grow up. That's the first thing Peter tells us in this passage.
You've got to grow up. Number two, he says, this is what it looks like to grow up. You see, here he describes being grown up. Verse 22 is having sincere brotherly love.
Right here, see? Sincere brotherly love. Then he says, love one another earnestly from a pure heart. Sincere is, in English, comes from two Latin words, sin, which means without, and then seer, which means wax. In those days, when the word, I guess, had its genesis, what would happen is you would have a piece of pottery that would be broken, and so to hold it together, they would, you know, mend it with wax. Obviously, you don't want a piece of pottery that's been broken, so you would want something that was sincere without wax.
It was not sullied through all these whatever, the fact that it had been broken. When we're talking about sincere, what we're talking about is love that is not corrupted by selfish agendas, love that is not need-driven, love that is not manipulative, love like Christ's love, love that poured itself out, love that gave itself away. Notice chapter 2, verse 1, he says, you know, I'm talking about a love that is without malice. Malice, by the way, is a word that means a deep kind of soul anger.
We're not talking about irritation of the person that cuts you off in traffic. That's a different kind of sin. Malice is this kind of deep soul kind of anger that you have towards somebody that's really wounded you.
You know, like an ex-husband or an ex-boyfriend or an ex-wife or a co-worker or a father. Without malice, without all deceit, you know what that is? Without hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is a Greek word that literally means two different faces. When Jesus uses the word hypocrite, he's talking about people who wear two different masks because ultimately their faith has nothing to do with God.
It has to do with whoever they're around, so they wear different masks for different audiences. Without hypocrisy, you get it without envy, without all slander. Right? This is what it looks like to be a spiritual infant, he says. And I want you to grow up beyond this because these are all signs that you're a kid. This is like crying and pooping in your diaper.
That's how you would substitute words for those things. You're listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. We hope you've been enjoying today's teaching and that it's been an encouragement in your daily walk with God. Before we continue, I wanted to remind you about a daily resource that can also help you stay connected to God's Word throughout the week. Our daily email devotionals written by Pastor J.D. offer insightful reflections on the Bible and practical applications for your life. Each day's devotional corresponds to our current teaching series here on the program, so you can stay plugged into the themes and ideas we explore here even if you miss a day.
And best of all, it is completely free. To sign up, simply visit jdgreer.com slash resources and enter your email address. Thank you so much for your financial support that makes this resource and the rest of Summit Life possible. It's because of friends like you that we're able to proclaim the gospel each day to a dying world. Now let's get back to today's teaching with Pastor J.D.
Greer here on Summit Life. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but if you go down to verse four in chapter two, you'll notice that Peter says that Jesus is to be your cornerstone. Okay, now I don't know a lot about building. I'm not a construction guy, but I do know this, that especially in those days, the cornerstone was the most important element of the entire building. It was the foundation.
It was the rock that ultimately determined the shape of all the other rocks and all the other building elements ultimately tied back down into that one. He says you've got to make Jesus your cornerstone so that all of your life ultimately anchors in and is rooted in Jesus. Martin Luther, the great reformer, Martin Luther said that what Peter means there, for Jesus to be your cornerstone, he said your cornerstone is whatever you fall back on when everything goes wrong. Okay, so for example, when things are going wrong in your life, what do you fall back into is your refuge. Some of you say, well, yeah, things are going wrong, but you know what, I'm going to make a lot of money, or I have made a lot of money.
Money is your refuge. That's your cornerstone. Some of you are like, well, yeah, at least I got a good marriage. Some of you are like, well, I'm a good person, though.
Some of you are like, well, I'm really religious. Whatever that is becomes your refuge. That's your cornerstone. And what Peter is telling you is that anything besides Jesus that you make your cornerstone will lead you to these things right here.
I know. I know because I've told you before that for a long time in my life, the affirmation of people was my cornerstone. So life was okay as long as everybody approved of me properly. But what happened is because that was my cornerstone, it led me to all these things. Malice. I had deep hatred toward those people that I thought got more attention than I did or stole the limelight that I thought belonged to me.
Or somebody that I felt like took away the future that I would have. I just had this deep mouth. Deceit. I've told you that my temptations to lie are always built on the idea that I need you to like me and I need you to think that I'm cooler than I am. So I will exaggerate my accomplishments and minimize my failures. That's because the affirmation of people has been my cornerstone. If money is your cornerstone, then you start financially deceiving people because at all costs you've got to have money.
Right? Okay. Hypocrisy. It's caused me throughout my life to live one way in front of people who love God and talk one way and then in front of others, it's not as important because ultimately it's Jesus is not my cornerstone. The affirmation of people is envy and slander. Being so envious of certain people who were better than me at something or greater than me that what I do, my way of getting back at them is I tear them down to other people. So in high school when a guy's more athletic than I am, I'm tearing him down to everybody else because, well, he's a schmuck. And then when you become a pastor, then you're like, oh, this other pastor who's more successful than me, here's all his theological problems and I bet you he's probably cheating on his wife on the side and just slander.
Right? Because ultimately it all goes back to the fact that something else is my cornerstone and that leads me to all this immaturity. So Peter says, grow up. And when you grow up, you're going to have all these things that just disappear in your life because Jesus is the cornerstone that obliterates all of those. Now, before I go on to our next point there, let me show you how another Bible writer talks about this because all of them do it. All the Bible writers, all the New Testament writers talk about this.
There's a fascinating one that I've never understood before until this week. It's in 1 John. If you're super fast with your Bible, you can flip over to 1 John. I'll be honest with you guys, I've never understood this passage. I've read it a hundred times until this week.
Somebody turned me onto it and I started to study it and I was like, oh, that's pretty fascinating. Okay, 1 John 2, look at this. Here's how the apostle John talks about growing up. 1 John 2, he says, I'm writing to you little children because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake. I'm writing to you, fathers, because you know him who's from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you're strong and the word of God abides in you and you have overcome the evil one. John Newton, the guy who wrote Amazing Grace, said that what the apostle John is giving you here is he's giving you three distinct stages of spiritual growth and the rite of passage that moves you between one and the other.
Now, be careful. We can't draw too clear lines here, but I think it's helpful to think through this. He said the first stage, obviously, verse 12, is going to be when you're a spiritual infant, right? You're a spiritual infant. He says what marks your passage out of spiritual infancy, get this, is the knowledge that your sins are forgiven.
Now, you're like, oh, well, easy, check, 101. It's Christianity 101. We all know our sins are forgiven not so fast. I've told you that while that is Christianity 101, many of you struggle to actually believe that, because you still think that God's approval of you goes up or down based on how well you've done this week. That's why some of you right now feel so far from God, so distant, because you've struggled so much. You feel like God's not able to hear your prayers. You come in this morning resolved to do better, and maybe if you do better, maybe God will pay attention to you, and that's because you don't really understand the gospel. The gospel is that Christ's approval of you, his closeness to you, has nothing to do with how well you've lived.
It's a gift that he's given you in Christ, which is why I've told you to think of it like this, the gospel prayer that I've told you you ought to pray in some form every day. It goes like this. It says, in Christ, there's nothing I can do that makes you love me anymore. There's nothing I have done that would make you love me any less.
There's nothing I've done that makes you love me anymore, nothing I've done that makes you love me any less. Forgiveness is mine, closeness to yours is mine. I am as close to you when I'm doing well as I am when I'm doing bad, because it has nothing to do with how I've done it. It has to do with what Christ did and gave me as a gift. Second thing I've told you is, when you say to God, you're all I need for everlasting joy, when it comes to the point that you say, you know, because I have God's approval, because I have his forgiveness, I can have joy in the midst of anything. I've told you that your spiritual maturity is measured by your ability to be joyful in all things. Your understanding of the gospel is measured by your ability to be joyful in all things, because that shows you how much Christ's approval matters to you. Because if it matters the world to you, then even when things are going wrong, you still have joy, because you still got Christ. Here's the way John Newton said it.
John Newton said it this way. He says, you know that somebody is still a baby in Christ, because he or she is sensitive to criticism. They find the admission of their weaknesses difficult and humiliating. They're still fairly insecure in how he or she is being perceived.
Why? It's because they do not know that they're forgiven and loved. They do not know that they're forgiven and accepted, and there's still a lot of works righteousness that is clinging to them. How are you with criticism? How do you do with admitting your weaknesses? How are you with letting people see the real you?
How do you do with all that? See, for some of you, that just indicates you're just a baby, because you don't know that in Christ you have the absolute approval of the only one whose opinion really matters. That's the mark from spiritual infancy to where you become the next category, verse 14, a young man, a teenager. Now, teenagers, right, teenagers no longer need as much focused care from their parents, right?
I mean, kids can, you know, your teenage son or daughter can walk across the street by themselves. Newton said that what happens in this stage is you, watch this, develop the ability to obey God without feeling him, where you don't always need these warm fuzzies where you feel like God is holding your hand when you walk across the street. Every time that, you know, heaven seems a little silent, you're not throwing up your arms wailing because God left the room for a minute and he's probably never coming back. Newton said that in this stage, the baby stage was marked by a lot of feelings and little truth. This stage is marked by a lot of truth and little feelings, sometimes little feelings, but you just don't depend on those feelings in order to stay and walk with Christ. So you become a young man.
Now, rite of passage out of this one. Teenagers still have a lot of issues. Every parent in high school in here say amen, right? Teenagers tend to make stupid decisions of ultimate consequence, which is why you don't, like, let them have open access to your bank account or give them a credit card, because they will make a rash decision. Well, in the same way, he says spiritual young men are those who have not yet learned to overcome the evil one, spiritual young men are those who the Word of God has not abided in them yet. Somebody who has matured out of this stage is somebody who realizes that as enticing as the lust of the flesh are, they're not as good as the Word of God that is within us, they're not as valuable as God is, they're not as glorious as God is, and so the Word of God is in me. I can overcome the evil one when he presents temptations to me because I know that God is better, even if my flesh in this moment wants to follow the evil one. So just like a teenager has to get to where they think more broadly and don't throw away their life on stupid decisions, spiritually, you grow up out of this stage when you can think long term and you can leverage your life for the Word of God and overcome the evil one. Which brings you to the last stage, verse 13, where he talks about being a father.
That's your level where it says because you've known him who is from the beginning. He's referring, John Newton says, to a profound trust in God, a profound trust in God that recognizes how much way higher his ways are than yours. So you trust God even when things don't make sense.
You know how valuable he is so you trust him and you obey him and you leverage your life for him. Have you moved on from crawling as a baby Christian to walking, walking, maybe even running, fully trusting God even when it doesn't make sense? This is Summit Life with Pastor J.D.
Greer. Earlier in this series, Pastor J.D. unpacked what our listeners may not know as the last three words that we hear at the Summit Church every single weekend. So, J.D., tell us, why do you close each Sunday with the phrase, You are sent? We close our services that way really because that's Jesus's last words to his disciples.
In one of the last conversations he had with him, he said, As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you. So we want every week at the Summit Church, we want people to feel that commissioning. They've gathered for just a little bit of time, an hour or so, to be sent out as missionaries into the community.
We've got a great resource we want to recommend. It's a book called Sent Living a Life That Invites Others to Jesus. It comes with very practical instructions about what to do and how you can discover the unique gifting that God has given you and how you can be a person who fulfills your role in being sent. We'd love for you to grab a copy today. As always, if you will just head over to jdgreer.com, you can grab your copy today. We always want to provide content that we know will help you, our listeners, not only grow in your faith, but grow in the calling that we all share to be disciple-making disciples.
And this book is an incredible way to learn what it means to live sent, because it'll teach you practical ways to have gospel conversations, even in the midst of a crazy everyday life. To get your copy, give us a call right now at 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.
Or you can always give online at jdgreer.com. I'm Molly Vidovich. Be sure to join us tomorrow as we dive right back into First Peter to learn more about our identity as outsiders and aliens. Friday, right here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-08 11:29:30 / 2023-06-08 11:41:14 / 12