Christians Must Grow Up!

Ephesians 4:14-16: "As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves,
and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
but speaking the truth in love, and we are to grow up in all aspects into Him,
who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being held together
by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part,
causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love."

We all begin life as babies – children.
But we immediately begin growing, and eventually, we become adults.
We mature.
This is obvious, yet when it comes to the Christian life, we seem to forget it.

The Christian life is a totally, new life.
It is a birth.
We are not born as adults.
We are born as babies – no matter what 'earth age' we may be when our new birth occurs.

The Christian life is not an addition to, or continuation, of a former life.
And it is not some kind of spiritual evolution.
We don't gradually move from being a non-Christian to being a Christian.
We don't began as a non-Christian, and just keep getting better and better
until we finally evolved into a Christian.

So we are spiritual babies, and this is unavoidable.
The day we become a Christian we may be extremely knowledgeable.
We may be a capable professional.
We may be a strong leader.
But we enter the Christian life as a spiritual infant.

Many times young Christians are frustrated for they want to be more mature than they are.
And they learned that no matter what they did, they could not speed up the process significantly.
Everyone starts out as a child, and we must accept that.
However, everyone must also grow out of childhood.

When it comes to spiritual maturity, we can start growing wherever we are.
It could be that you have been a Christian for a while but have been rebellious or lazy,
or maybe you haven't had anyone to teach and discipline you.
So, you are still immature.
So you just start where you are and begin growing.
This is the right place, and now is the right time.

How do you know if you are immature?

The characteristics of spiritual childhood are fairly predictable.
As we see in Ephesians 4:14: "children [are] tossed here and there by waves,
and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming
For this read -- unstable, fickle, changeable, gullible, susceptible, indiscriminate and undiscerning.

Children are unstable – fickle – changeable.
Have you ever tried to reason with an enraged, two-year-old?
You might as well reason with a tree.

Children are tossed about by their emotions and by their circumstances.
Children tend to believe whatever they are told, and therefore, are susceptible to unscrupulous persons.
Children are ignorant, and have a limited, reasoning ability.
They need someone older and wiser to teach them and protect them.

Children are impatient.
They want everything right now.
They don't want to practice for hours to learn to play a piano – they just want to play a song
they like -- immediately.

Children dislike repetition and discipline.
Children overestimate their own ability and knowledge.
This is understandable.
They are children.

But if they are to become mature, functioning adults, they must grow out of these and other characteristics.
This is also true for us as newborn Christians.
We must grow up!

We can and we will, if we just continue feeding on the Word of God.
We can and we will, if we keep taking our prayers to our heavenly Father.
We can and we will, if we exercise faith and we will rest in Christ.
We can and we will, if we avoid running into the street of carelessness or rebellion.

Many years ago a host of an unscrupulous radio and television program ravaged the reputation of the church
and wrecked havoc on the lives of their followers.
This puzzled many, and they asked, "Why?"
Why would anyone let these electronic hucksters pick their pockets and tamper with their theology.

Why – the reason is obvious.
Immature Christians are susceptible.
They have no discrimination – and no discernment.
And many remain that way because they do not immerse themselves in the Scripture.
They do not memorize it.
They do not meditate upon it.
They do not study under reputable teachers so that they their doctrine will become stable.

If it takes at least 12 years of primary and secondary schooling to be fully educated,
why should we think our spiritual education would happen overnight?
Yet in the average church, the education for the new believer is hit and miss.
The average ninety-day wonder from one of the cults can take apart the average Christian
because the cultist has been trained with a purpose and a strategy.

Christian education with strategy and purpose will equip us and ground us
with the foundation of knowledge that we need to grow to maturity.
And as individual Christians grow up in Christ – becoming more and more like Him
– the local congregation gains balance and has spiritual growth and doctrinal stability.

Then, committed and mobilized, the people of God – the entire body – with each individual
making a contribution – use their spiritual gifts as God intended, building up the body in love.

I read somewhere about a group who were touring California's giant's sequoias.
The guide pointed out that the roots of the sequoia tree has roots
that are just barely below the surface of the ground.
It was then that one man spoke up, and said that he grew up in the country,
and he knew that if the roots don't grow deep into the earth that strong winds would blow the trees over.

The guide replied, "That is not true with sequoias.
They grow only in groves and their roots intertwine under the surface of the earth.
So, when the strong winds come, they hold each other up

God's people are to be like the giant sequoias.
We grow up in groves, our roots are intertwined in Christ.
And when the strong winds of life blow, we stand up right against them, reaching towards the Son.

This sermon was adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White