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Time to Grow Up

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
September 5, 2021 8:00 am

Time to Grow Up

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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September 5, 2021 8:00 am

The birth of a baby is amazing, but it's just the beginning of the story. Join Dr. Tony Evans as he explains that the same is true with spiritual "newborns" in this lesson on what it takes to move a Christian from maternity to maturity.

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Far too many of God's children are still in the crib. Dr. Tony Evans says the Lord wants to move you beyond where you were when you first accepted His gift. God's goal is your spiritual maturity.

It's time to grow up. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. We don't expect much from newborn babies, but as they grow toward adulthood, they increasingly demonstrate more responsibility. Likewise, Dr. Evans says God expects us as Christians to become spiritually mature, using our growth and wisdom to influence those around us.

Let's join him as he explains. First Corinthians chapter 3, the first three verses, this is what it says, And our brethren could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, for you were not able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not able, for you are fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly?

And are you not walking like mere men? Most of you will remember the sitcom, Different Strokes. It brought a lot of laughter into our lives and into our homes, as Arnold and Willis were adopted by Mr. Drummond. And they moved from the projects to the penthouse. They started living large. Their environment was totally shifted to another realm. What created the comedy in Different Strokes was these young boys learning to grow up and live in an environment they weren't used to. They brought the thinking, the language, the perspective, the interface of their background into their new environment.

Mr. Drummond spent time trying to reacclimate and reorient them to the more sophisticated style of living that was part of their penthouse reality as they transitioned from their project history. Even so, if you have come to Christ, you've shifted locations. The Bible is clear that you are no longer part of the kingdom of darkness.

You are now part of the kingdom of light. We have entered in, the Bible says, to the kingdom of his dear son. The problem is when we transferred out of hell to heaven, when we transferred out of the dark kingdom into the kingdom of Christ, we brought our own thinking with us, our own perspective with us, our own values with us. But in this new arrangement, in this new environment, our head, Jesus Christ, is seeking to bring us to a new way of thinking, functioning, and living based on our new location.

But the challenge is you can be so used to where you came from, you don't know how to adjust the way you are. The Bible calls this process spiritual maturity, growing up spiritually, becoming a spiritual adult and no longer functioning as a carnal kid. Suffice it to say that what God wants his people to do, who are his children, is to grow up. It's time to grow up. The divine reset that is needed today are adult Christians because far too many of God's children are still in the crib.

Let me ask you a question. If a magic wand was waved over you so that your physical age would reflect your spiritual age, how many of you would still be in diapers? How many of us how many of us would still be in diapers because we've not grown up spiritually and we're still spiritual babies much longer than we should be? This is a perpetual problem in the Bible, and that is Christians unwilling to grow up. So God can't reset their lives or our context in the church and our families culturally because they refuse to grow up. This refusal is called carnality in the Bible.

It's called flesh. And I want to challenge us today to grow up. The goal of the church, according to Paul, in Colossians chapter 1, in verse 28 and 29, we proclaim Him, Christ, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

For this purpose I labor. He says, my goal in ministry for the church at Colossae, the church at Colossae, the church here, the church everywhere, is to present every person complete. The word complete means mature. God's goal is your spiritual maturity, not your church attendance. If maturity is not being emphasized, if spiritual growth is being marginalized, if we become satisfied with how many folks are in the seat regardless of their spiritual age, we have failed as a church, as a ministry, both locally and as the body of Christ. God measures the success of a ministry by the maturing process of the folks who are in that ministry. He says, I labor for maturity. The biblical word discipleship, that process of maturation, that process of bringing you to maturity. And any parent knows that if their baby is not growing, something is wrong. And they don't say, well, as long as you show up every day, it doesn't matter that you aren't growing.

Because the idea is to go from infancy to maturity, not just make you comfortable being an infant day after day, month after month, year after year. God is after a divine reset, but he needs some mature people. He needs mature Christians, not just church attenders.

Paul complains to the church at Corinth. He says, brethren. So these are Christians. He's not talking about sinners. He says, brethren, I can't speak to you as spiritual, but as men of flesh, as infants in Christ.

You're still babies. They don't have this spiritual perspective on life. They have a human perspective on life. That's carnality because of a refusal to grow. So let me say it again. If you've been saved five years or more and you are not spiritual, where you look at life through God's lens as a normal way you operate, then you are a spiritual infant, a fleshly believer who is missing out on spiritual experience. He said, I wish I could speak to you as spiritual men, but I can't because you're stagnant. You reject a spiritual perspective.

Well, let's take this a little deeper, shall we? Hebrews chapter 5. He says in verse 11, concerning him, we have much to say. It is hard to explain since you have become dull of hearing.

Let me pause right there. The book of Hebrews was written some 30 years after Jesus died and rose. Some of these Christians have been saved for 30 years.

In Corinth, that's five years. In Hebrews, some of these Christians have been saved 30 years. And he says, y'all still dull of hearing. The Greek word dull of hearing means mule-headed, mule-headed, stubborn. In other words, you reject the spiritual, so you can't hear the spiritual.

And some of y'all been saved for 30 years. And I want to tell you some deep stuff. I want to tell you some stuff that will blow your mind concerning him, Melchizedek.

He says, I really want to go into that. Not only can I not tell you, most of y'all don't even know who Melchizedek is because you're dull of hearing. I want to show you some stuff that will blow your mind. You've been saved 30 years and you're still a refusing spiritual development. I'd love to go deeper with you.

I'd love to show you some stuff that will bring heaven's perspective into your historical personhood, into your family, into your work, into your finances, into your interface with the culture. I want to give you some stuff that can reshape you, but you refuse because you're mules. You're dull of hearing.

The receptivity isn't there. So he makes a complaint. He can't do what he wants to do because there's still, as you'll see in a moment, babies.

Let's go a little deeper. He says, for though by this time, somebody say time, you get the point? You've been saved long enough for us not to have to go through all this.

By this time, some of y'all 30 years, you ought to be teachers. So you've been saved long enough to help somebody else. You can't even help yourself. You know one thing you'll find out about a baby? Somebody else got to feed them. You got a baby. One of the ways you know the baby is developing, it can pick up a spoon now. Before then, it can't pick up a spoon because it's too immature. Since by this time, you ought to be a teacher. You ought to be able to bring spiritual impact in the life of somebody else.

Been saved 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, some of y'all up to 30 years in the book of Hebrews. He says, but you have need again for somebody to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. Now who gets milk all the time?

A baby? A baby feeds on milk because it's an emphasis. He says, not only can you not teach, we need to take you back to the ABCs. He calls them elementary principles. C, spot, run.

And B is for boy. We need to take you back to spiritual kindergarten, because you've refused to grow spiritually. He goes on and he says, everyone who protects only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness.

He is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. There's a lot to unpack here. And Dr. Evans will do just that when he returns with more of our message in a moment. But first, today's lesson comes from Tony's brand new series, Divine Reset. It's a look at how God gets our attention and helps us refocus our lives, helping us overcome the mistakes, pain, and problems of our past, moving forward with greater clarity and purpose in our future. You'll learn how to turn confusion into confidence, despair into determination, and defeat into victory.

They're all covered in the set of 10 full-length lessons that includes material we won't have time to bring you on the air. We'd like to send you a copy of Divine Reset as our gift when you make a donation to help support our work here on the air and around the world. This special offer is only available for a few more days, but if we hear from you right away, we'll also include a special bonus, Tony's powerful booklet, Winning Your Spiritual Battles, a handy pocket reference that'll help you push past barriers the enemy places in your life. Just visit us today at tonyevans.org for details, or call our resource request line at 1-800-800-3222.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Well, Tony will come back with more of today's lesson right after this. Coming to theaters this November. We're at the Church of the Nativity here in Bethlehem, where it is believed that the birth of Jesus Christ occurred. Travel with Dr. Tony Evans as he retraces the life and human journey of the greatest being to ever walk this earth. Well, we're here in Capernaum, a place where Jesus did most of His miracles, and it is in this place that He demonstrated He truly is the Son of God. You'll travel the streets, fields, and synagogues that Jesus walked, and visit the locations where some of the most powerful events recorded in the Bible took place. It is highly likely that much of what we read about Jesus' ministry in Galilee happened right here. Journey with Jesus in theaters November 15th, 16th, and 17th with Dr. Tony Evans.

Visit tonyevans.org for locations, showtimes, and to learn more. These spiritual Christians had not used the time to grow spiritually. When our kids get five years old, we send them to school to grow academically. We want them to learn their ABCs.

We want them to learn their vowels. We want them to learn what they will need in order to become an adult and be responsible. One of the tragedies we have are kids graduating from school who can't read. That doesn't just affect reading. That affects the rest of their life, because if you can't read, you're not going nowhere. So their academic growth is critical to the rest of their life well-being. It's not a waste of time.

It's using the time. That's why you ought to be involved in your kids' education to make sure they're getting the right education with the right value system because you want their life to pan out a certain direction because the time for those twelve grades were used for their adult maturity and their ability to live responsibly. The problem with infants, the immature, the folks that God can't use so he can't reset what he wants to do in history, he says, everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness. He says, here's what keeps you a baby. You haven't gotten used to use the Word of God to address the issues of life.

This will keep you in a crib. You're not accustomed, he says, to the word of righteousness. You're not used to using God's Word to make life's decisions. Because remember, you're fleshly, so you're still operating on what folk think, what your mama said, what your daddy said, what's on the television, what your friends say, and what you think. So you're not used to using the Word of God. No matter how much comes, how much word you may hear in church, you're not used to using it, not hearing it. You will not become mature by just hearing the Bible preached, taught, and explained.

That will not produce maturity. The proof of maturity, here it is, here it is, here it is, is your ability to discern, he says. Your ability to discern.

That is, your ability to look at things through spiritual eyes, not just through physical eyes. We live in a world of glitz and glitter. We live in a world of shininess, and we've been duped, tricked, because it looks shiny. It looked good, but it was human.

It wasn't divine. But unless you have spiritual eyes, you won't discern that. You'll just look at the external and be drawn to it, because, he says, the mature don't just look at things physically. They look at things spiritually.

They look at things through God's eyes. Your spiritual reality has senses. It can pick up signals, okay? You can pick up things spiritually, like you can pick up things physically. But senses need to be trained. They don't just happen, they need to be developed.

So God wants to help you. A football team goes to the training room, and when a football team goes to the training room, they go through the playbook. They go to the playbook to learn the plays.

They're in this room, classroom. There's a defensive room. There's an offensive room. There's sub breaks out of that to learn the particular plays. Right now, you're in the training room to learn the plays, but then they go to the practice field. On the practice field, they practice the plays they learned in class.

That's where they're hitting and tackling. You can talk about hitting and tackling when you're not being hit or tackled. But once you're being hit or tackled, now we know whether you know to play. In other words, we don't know you know to play because you said amen. We don't know you know to play because you shook your head. We don't know that you know to play because you waved your hand in the air like you just don't care. We don't know that you know to play because you said hallelujah, praise the Lord. Ain't God good all the time?

All the time God is good. It sounds like you know to play. You got your Bible, so it looks like you know to play.

But the only way we know that you know to play is on the field. So what God does for you to see whether you really understand the play you were saying amen to, is put you on the field of life where you have to make decisions. And when He puts you on the field of life through trials and troubles and difficulties and challenges, do you run to God's Word? Do you run to God's perspective? Do you act on what He says, or do you go to the human way of doing it, the secular way of doing it, the non-christian way of doing it? Then God says you didn't learn to play because you're not accustomed to using the word of righteousness. You talk it, you agree with it, but until you do it on the practice field, you don't know it yet.

See, that's what God does with spiritual people. He brings—see, we have the national news and local news. Right now, I'm preaching the national news. You know, the national news, you get things that are happening all over the place. But for your daily decision-making, you need local channels. You need local news.

You need stuff that's talking to you about the thing you're facing and what you're going through. The national news don't deal with you. It deals with national. But the local news is where you live, where you work, where you—okay. So when you come to church, you get national news, but when you are mature, you get local news. God can now talk to you, bring thoughts to your mind, ideas to your mind, let you see things behind the scene that you couldn't see with your physical eyes, but He'll let you in on some secret stuff, because He can now speak to your mind, because you can now pick up signals you couldn't pick up before, because you're growing spiritually.

You'll be able to distinguish between legit and illegitimate. Back up in verse 5, He says, So also Christ did not glorify himself so as to become a high priest. But he who said to him, You are my son, today I have begotten you, just as he says also in another passage, you are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Verse 10, being designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. So who is Melchizedek and why does it matter? In Genesis chapter 14, Abraham has been involved in a battle, in a fight. He comes back from this battle and verse 18 says, And Melchizedek king of Salem blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram of God Most High.

Okay, what did Melchizedek do? He blessed Abraham. So Melchizedek is the priest who brings blessing to Abraham. Now guess what the Bible says? You and I are the seed of Abraham. He says, Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth. Jesus Christ, all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.

Okay? And blessed be the God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. He, that is Abraham, gave him a tenth of all, a tithe of all. Abraham has been in a fight. He's been in a battle.

You can read it in the preceding verses. And the God Most High has given him victory. But he's been in a fight. When he comes back, he meets Melchizedek, a high priest, coming out of a fight. Melchizedek blesses him, gives him bread and wine, because he's been in a fight. You will see in the following verse, he's getting ready to go into another fight with the king of Sodom. So he left one fight. He's going to another fight. Between the two fights, he runs into Melchizedek, the high priest.

Melchizedek blesses him, gives him bread and wine to strengthen him, because he's getting ready to go into another fight. If you're a serious Christian, I mean, last week you were in a fight. See, if you're not a serious Christian, you ain't in no fight, because nobody's rejecting you. Nobody's against you.

You're just going along with the crowd. But if you're going to stand up for Jesus Christ, you're going to run into some fights. Sometimes in your family, sometimes in your neighbor, you're going to run into some stuff. Sometimes that can make you weary.

That was last week. But now this week, you've got a fight coming up you don't even know about yet. It's not because you're looking for a fight, trying to find the fight, trying to be in a fight. It's just because the world is against you. So between last week's fight and this week's fight, you need some bread and wine.

You need to be refreshed, empowered, strengthened with the blessing of God to help you deal with what it looks like when you're a mature Christian. He says, I want to tell you about Melchizedek. Why? Because Jesus is after the order of Melchizedek.

How? Because He brings to us the strength for spiritual living in the fight of a secular society by the bread and wine of His communion with us, so that we can go and fight and watch Him overrule. Watch El Elyon make the final decision. The reason why you want to be a mature saint is because that means your circumstances don't have the final decision.

Your boss doesn't have the final decision. The situation in the culture doesn't have the final decision, because you belong to the mature saints of God under the priesthood of Christ, who's after the order of Melchizedek, who can meet you in the battles of life. Somebody ought to be wanting to be a mature Christian so that all that God can give and wants to give, you're able to receive.

So you're gonna battle if you're gonna be a mature Christian, because you're gonna be living by divine insight and not secular perspective. that'll help you grow past your current spiritual and emotional challenges, resetting your focus and attention on God and His priorities. As I mentioned earlier, it's yours with our thanks when you make a donation toward Tony's ministry, and we'll also include a copy of his practical booklet, Winning Your Spiritual Battles. Visit us today at tonyevans.org to get all the details before time runs out. You can make your contribution and your request online. Again, that's tonyevans.org. Or call our 24-hour resource request line at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our team members help you.

Again, dial 1-800-800-3222. When the road gets tough, it helps to know how others have successfully navigated the trip. Next time, Dr. Evans offers us encouragement as he tells us about people who've gone before us on their faith journey. Be sure to join us. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-03 13:19:42 / 2023-09-03 13:29:14 / 10

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