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Christian Maturity

A. God has given us the privilege of growing, maturing as Christians.
  Hebrews 5:12-6:1 talks of "pressing on to maturity"
  Ephesians 4:11-16 states that we have been given gifts of leaders in the church to train us to become "a mature man."
We know what the signs are of a mature plant or a mature person; what does a mature Christian look like?
  Ephesians 4:13 says we are to become "the fullness of Christ"
  Colossians 1:28-29, we are to be "complete in Christ."
We are to become Christ-like as we mature in our faith.
 
B. What value is it to gain Christian maturity? Why not stay a baby in Christ?
  Ephesians 4:14, no longer tossed back and forth
  James1:2-4, when you are mature you are lacking in nothing
  There is peace and joy to be found when we grow up in Christ.
 
C. Mistaken Signs of Maturity
  Colossians 2:18-23, self-punishment, false spirituality, unqualified restrictiveness
  Matthew 23:13-28, self-imposed restrictions, misplaced importance/false spiritual values
    emphasize minute items and lack justice, mercy, and faith, outward apperance valued
  Luke 18:9-14, viewing others with contempt, list of achievements vs. humility
  1 Corinthians 8:1-3, puffed up knowledge used for power rather than encouragement
  1 Corinthians 13:1-3, empty actions, good deeds with wrong motivations
  3 John 1:9-11, control
These false signs of maturity turn people away and harm the faith of others.
 
D. True Signs of Maturity
  1. Contentment, Philippians 4:11-13
     Something learned-V.11
       knowledge obtained from the word of God
       experience- blessings from doing God's will, consequences of going own way
  2. Sacrifice/humbleness, Philippians 2:2-11
       putting the interest of others first
       counting others as more important
What has to happen for this to be possible? We need to know what those interests and needs are. For this to happen, we need to be involved in eachother's lives. We need to be willing to share our needs and challenges with one another. We need to care for one another and make those sacrifices in order to meet the needs of one another.
To put the interest of others first will mean changing priorities, schedules. This stretching and changing helps us to grow. One of the wonderful things about God is that when He asks us to do something, He leads the way. Philippians 2:5 says "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus" Because He put our interest first, He emptied Himself and sacrificed Himself so that we could be saved!
As we mature and follow in the footsteps of Jesus; putting the interest of others first. We learn more the sacrifice of Jesus and love Him all the more. Just as God exulted Jesus for His sacrifice, so will God exult us as we humble ourselves. Finally, this attribute of maturity allows God the opportunity to have a positive impact on those around us.
The alternative to a sacrificial life is a selfish, me first, empty life. The sacrificial life is not being a "yes man", an "enabler", or a "doormat" to others. Jesus purpose for humbleness was for our betterment. Jesus refused to do certain things because they did not achieve God's will. Some wanted Jesus to become their earthly king; he refused. Some asked for signs and miracles; he refused. We too need to think about the impact on others. Sometimes the be



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