What is the definition of maturity? One of Webster’s definitions says that maturity is “a being, perfect, complete or ready”. Does that describe you spiritually? What is our level of spiritual maturity? Are we spiritually perfect, complete and ready? What will our spiritual maturity be at Christ’s return? Will it be any different than it is now? How dangerous or wrong is it to be spiritually immature?

The Mind Of God

To be a mature Christian is to continue to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Many who picture themselves as Christian put up a good front but have little or no substance according to the criteria found in the Bible. They would like others to see them as good Christians, maybe they even look at themselves as good Christians, but behind the front is a person sadly lacking Christian substance.

The word “perfect” as used in the King James Version means “mature” and comes from the Greek word “Teleios” in 1 Cor 2:6.

The KJV reads: Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are perfect…

while the NIV reads: Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature….

1 Cor 2:6-16 6We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”l&– 10bzu God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?

In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.fi-11 14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: 16″For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ

Rulers today would water down God’s rules for Christian living, break God’s laws, question God’s existence, and persecute Christians for their values. No one can even imagine the reward for those whom God will choose to be in His Kingdom. Man cannot rule wisely with only his own spirit to guide him. Man needs God’s Spirit to see things from God’s perspective. Those who have God’s Spirit, are able to rationally see and understand what others can’t. At the same time, others can’t understand what gives God’s people that insight.

Paul is saying that the wisdom he speaks is understood by mature or perfect Christians but not by others. He points out here very specifically that the rulers of this world do not have the same wisdom as those in the Church: partly because worldly rulers. without God’s Holy Spirit. cannot understand that man can even become members of God’s family. They thereby make decisions reflecting only viewpoints from their perspectives and their perspectives are gravely limited.

We must see things as it pertains to our potential in the Kingdom of God: Phi 3:13-16 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Servants In The Kingdom Of God

What is your potential in the Kingdom of God? How are you any better or different than those outside the church?

In Colossians, Paul assigns to his ministering servants the responsibility of giving the Church the vision of the Kingdom and the teachings of Christ:

Col 1:23-29 : You will be presented to the Father if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast,

Psalm 18:20. The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the. cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.

Col 1:23-29 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. 24Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 251 have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness– 26the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28PVe proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

It is Paul’s intention to teach everyone sufficiently that they will mature to a level acceptable to Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 3:10-17. Paul encourages us all to continue to build on the examples of Christ; to never slack off. 10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, I3his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 141f what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. 16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

Continual Testing

In actuality, we are all being tested by fire. If we find that our faith is being eroded each time trials or troubles come along, perhaps we, like weak Servants, are not building with gold or silver or precious stones. Perhaps we are building with destructible materials because we are not mature enough to use the food that our pastors and teachers give us.

Why does God give us pastors and teachers? What is their purpose? What are Church leader’s responsibilities to us and to God’? Is it not, as Paul said, to be able to present every man complete or mature in Christ?

Eph 4:11-16 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to he pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work

How many of us are still spiritual babes? And as spiritual babes are influenced by every doctrine we hear coming from the TV, friends, relatives, pamphlets, books, our own watered down rationale or whatever. 1 John 2:4-6 The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love1 is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Do we allow ourselves to be influenced by the winds of doctrine coming from all kind of ministers or teachers who are liars – who do not keep the commandments? Do we sway with everything we hear on TV preacher? If they do not even keep the commandments of God, how much of His Holy Spirit can they have? If they are deceived, they can deceive us. What spirit might they have? But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Can we discern good and evil? If not, we have not grown enough; we are not mature Christians.

Press On To Maturity

Hebrews 6 lists seven doctrines of the Church of God. Notice that the first verse and first doctrine admonishes us to press on to maturity. Heb 6:1-2 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Messiah, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, {2} of instruction about washings, and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

Why does verse 2 refer to washings or baptisms plural? Let’s turn to Mat 3 to see where John the baptizer describes three types of baptisms: Mat 3:11 “As for me, I baptize you with water for (1) repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove [i.e. carry] His sandals; He will baptize you with (2) the Holy Spirit and (3) fire. [We just talked about how fire is used to test our works.]

How dose are we to spiritual maturity? It was a lack of maturity that plagued the church in Sardis. Would we be classified like a member of that church?

Rev 3:1-6 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. (2) ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. [They were not mature Christians] (3) ‘Remember therefore what you have received and heard; and keep ,and repent. If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you. (4) ‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white; for they are worthy. (5) ‘He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life [so it must have been written there at one time, but notice that the name can be erased], and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels. (6) ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

But, as verse 5 points out, even the church of Sardis was admonished to overcome…and a reward was promised for them if they did: Christ would represent them before the heavenly court of the heavenly angels and God the Father if they’d overcome. Isn’t this incentive enough to overcome the sins that ensnare us day after day, month after month, year after year?

God makes the same offer to the church in Laodicea: Rev 3:14-20 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: {I5) ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would [prefed that you were cold or hot. (16) 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. (17) 'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," ["I've got the truth and belong to the right church so what else matters?" Know any church members who say that?] and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, (18) I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. (19) ‘Those whom I love, 1 reprove and discipline; he zealous therefore, and repent. (20) ‘Behold , I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.

Here again, God encourages people to do things His way and be saved at their death – or to continue on as they are and be lost.

Perhaps the correct degree of maturity can best be described by: 1Cor 14:20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature [be grown up].

Marks Off Maturity

Look at these 12 marks of Spiritual Maturity to assist you in measuring your maturity:

  • We must base our lives and decisions on our personal relationship with God, Christ, and His Word.
  • We must listen to and seriously consider the suggestions and admonishment of our church leaders.
  • We must not adopt a self-righteous attitude toward others with a “you shall” and “you shall not “. 4. We should assist the Church with acts of love and concern toward everyone. Love includes patience and understanding.
  • We should not become spiritually dependent. We should make an attempt to solve our own problems before seeking guidance from our church leaders, but at the same time do not avoid seeking council when we need it.
  • We should strive to implant the intent of God’s law from the heart – “eating of God’s Word”.
  • We should learn to discern between good and evil and conduct ourselves accordingly. We must not allow ourselves to be swayed by the evil and deceptive influences of the society around us. If our surroundings contradict or violate our Christian values, remove yourself from . those surroundings.
  • We should not blame others for every problem. Most problems come from ourselves.
  • We should respect all authority. We should not sever human relationships just because there is a conflict with our leaders or those in civil authority.
  • We should remember that church leaders cannot get us to Heaven. We are dependent upon God’s mercy for that. Many seemingly good people will be turned away at the gate. Be sure you’re not one of them.
  • We need to make good decisions by exercising wisdom and balance. A multitude of counselors will help (Prov 11:14 Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death; Prov 12:15 The way of a fool seems right to hint, but a wise man listens to advice).
  • We should press for the good while not evaluating life solely on present conditions. Many standards, both modem day and ancient, are not God’s standards. This is increasingly true as these last days wind down.

Also pray with: