Spiritual Maturity


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Spiritual Maturity

  2. 2. Index • About growth & its types • Where are we heading? • Which Spirit is in you? • Test your stand • Spiritual growth & its importance • Difference between immature & mature believers • Steps to spiritual maturity • Facts about spiritual maturity • How can I become a disciple? • Poem - I‟m a common clay pot • Growth Formula
  3. 3. Growth In general, growth is important in every area of life. It is a continuous process till our life ends on this earth. There are various kinds of growth that take place in our life: • Physical Growth • Mental Growth • Social Growth • Career Growth • Spiritual Growth
  4. 4. Is growth automatic? No – It is not automatic. It depends on what you do for growing. E.g. physical & mental growth of child; If a mother feeds her baby with nutritious food, the baby will grow. But if the baby is not getting proper nutrition the baby will suffer from malnourishment & could even die.
  5. 5. Similarly, are you growing spiritually? OR Are you heading towards a malnourished spiritual life?
  6. 6. Find out currently in which category you are  The Categories are – 1. Before knowing or accepting Christ 2. True believers in Christ 3. Defeated Christians 4. The living dead The ideal state of course, is being Christ like. Christ Like – the ideal state.  According to 1 John 4 there are 4 spirits, we could have in our heart. 1. Spirit of God 2. Spirit of Truth 3. Spirit of Anti-Christ 4. Spirit of Falsehood Spirit of God : God’s seed living in the believer Spirit of Truth : Obedience to the word and teachings of the apostles Spirit of Antichrist: Satan in control of the spirit Spirit of Falsehood: Follow worldly principles
  7. 7. Sp. of Falsehood Anti Chris t Spirit of Truth and love Spirit of Truth Sp of Falsehood Spirit of God Anti Chri st Sp. of Truth HELL Sp. of Falsehoo d Spirit of God Before Christ/ Defeated /legalistic Christians Believers The living dead (resist spirit of God) Christ-like (the perfect state) HEAVEN
  8. 8. Why do we need to check our stand? Acc to Matthew 15: 8,9 8 “„These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules. Questions which arrived in front of me after reading this verse.  Am I really following him & his ways?  Am I really a believer and heading towards the Christ like category ? Or am I heading towards being a defeated Christian?  Am I worshipping in vain?  Is it that I have really overcome temptation? And many more .. Examine your hearts and evaluate your real position with respect to following Jesus.
  9. 9. Spiritual Growth • What is spiritual growth? Growth is development or improvement towards a goal called "maturity" i.e acc. to the Bible, "perfection”. Why growth is important? 1. When one is "born again" as a child of God, he is spiritually immature. 2. As time passes, she/he should develop the qualities or abilities which the Bible says characterize the mature. 3. A congregation matures as individual members mature.
  10. 10. Biblical Scriptures on Growth. Ephesians 4:14,15 - Be no longer children, but grow up in Christ. 2 Peter 3:18 - but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 - The Thessalonians grew exceedingly in faith. Philippians 1:9 - Paul prayed for their love to abound more and more.
  11. 11. Spiritual Ladder ORAre you climbing up in LIGHT Are you moving down in darkness
  12. 12. The Immature Believer Verse The Mature Believer Dull of Hearing Heb5:11 Paying close attention to what God says Not able to teach others. Needs to be taught. Hebrews 5:12 Able to teach others Still learning the ABC's of God's truth Hebrews 5:12 Has learned the ABC's of God's truth and moved on to the deeper things of God(1Cor. 2:10) Needs milk - Not ready for meat. Hebs 5:12 Feeding on strong meat A spiritual baby Hebrews 5:13-14 Spiritually advanced and discerning Great difficulty in discerning between good and evil, & often makes wrong moral choices. Hebrews 5:14 Able to discern between good and evil (compare 1 Cor. 2:15), guided by God's Word (compare 1 Thess. 5:21) Ignorant of God's will and ways due to neglect of the Bible 1 John 2:14 Knowing God and living in His Word (compare 2 Pet. 3:18) "Do as I say but not as I do" Philippian s 4:9 "Follow me as I follow Christ." Able to be a model for others (compare 1 Cor. 11:1)
  13. 13. Carnal (fleshly) 1Corinthians 2:15-3:4 Spiritual Still feeding on the baby bottle (milk) & not able to handle solid food 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 Feeding on milk and solid food Carnality, walking in flesh, works of flesh (envy, strife, divisions, etc.) 1 Corinthians 3:3 Walking in the Spirit (compare Galatians 5:16) Following men 1 Corinthians 3:4-5 Following Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1) In need of personal help with faults Galatians 6:1 Able to help a brother/ sister who is overcome by a fault Children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine Ephesians 4:13-14 Rooted and grounded in the knowledge of Christ Vulnerable to the enemy Ephesians 6:10-17 Protected by God's armour Self absorbed, proud Philippians 3:3-5 Absorbed with Christ and with the needs of others, humble Satisfied and, content with sub-par spiritual state. [Remember, when swimming upstream, to do nothing is to actually go backwards]. Philippians 3:12-13 Regardless of the level of maturity reached, presses on to higher ground, never content with present level of attainment or spiritual accomplishment.
  14. 14. Steps to Spiritual Maturity I. A DESIRE TO GROW A) We Will Never Grow Unless We Want to Grow. B) We Must Maintain This Desire to Grow. II. NOURISHMENT A) We Need Spiritual Food from God's Word. B) To Get This, We Must Study the Bible in depth & meditate on word. III. EXERCISE AND PRACTICE A. Exercise and Practice Are Essential to Physical Development. B. Exercise and Practice Are Essential to Spiritual Development. IV. TIME AND PATIENCE A. Don't Expect to Reach Your Goal Overnight. B. Don't Become Discouraged by Mistakes and Rebukes.
  15. 15. I. A DESIRE TO GROW A) We will Never Grow unless We Want to Grow. • Parents and kids become so excited when kids learn something new - the first step, first word, draw picture, etc. Everyone wants them to develop new abilities. Some seem to like being spiritual babies. They don't want to grow. But being a baby is not the goal of life. We are born babies so we can grow up and be productive and useful. • E.g In our education, we complete 10th std then move towards 12th std. then desire to pursue degree. • Likewise, in spiritual matters, WE must WANT to grow. - We need to have desire to grow. - We need to have spiritual appetite. - We need to have passion for it. - We need to have hunger & thirst for God. - We need to seek him first.
  16. 16. The Lord Jesus Christ invites us to come: • “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living waters.” (John 7:37-38) -There is no other way to quench your thirst but to come to the Lord Jesus and drink. • Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” • “1 Peter 2:2 - Desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” Spiritual appetite gives a believer the staying power in the LORD, the power to pursue His righteousness.
  17. 17. Condition - Repentance - One of the conditions for becoming a child of God is REPENTANCE. - One must determine to turn from sin and GO TO WORK in God's vineyard. Then one must bring forth the FRUITS of repentance. - This will lead us to grow and improve in God's work. Otherwise, we have not accomplished our purpose for becoming children of God. We should ask ourselves, "Don't I want to grow up to be spiritually strong like Jesus?”
  18. 18. B. We Must Maintain This Desire to Grow. • Some members who once wanted to grow, may lose that desire. They may start off on fire for the Lord, but lose their zeal. They develop a spirit of indifference or negligence. Others develop a level of maturity and stagnate. They are satisfied, thinking no more growth is needed. • The Scriptures teach that growth is always needed.  Philippians 3:12-14 - Even Paul, as mature as he was, did not consider himself to have achieved perfection (maturity) such that he could cease striving to improve. He forgot past achievements (and failures) and pressed on to greater accomplishments.  Matthew 26:31-35 - Peter thought he had reached a level where he would never deny Jesus. But that very night he denied Him three times.  1 Corinthians 10:12 - Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
  19. 19.  Main reasons Christians do not grow: 1. They do not see the NEED for growing. 2. They think they are mature enough not to fall. 3. They have no desire to serve to the full extent of their ability. 4. They do not have that burning desire to accomplish more for the Lord. 5. They take God‟s love for granted.  How to overcome these – 1. People should develop a burning hunger and thirst to work for the Lord, then only they will develop the other steps they need to grow. 2. You need to set specific goals of work you want to accomplish for God, improvements to make, new levels to reach. 3. Don‟t Stop keep planning.
  20. 20. II. NOURISHMENT A. We Need Spiritual Food from God's Word. A child cannot grow physically without proper food. Good parents are concerned about proper nutrition. They want children to eat what is good, not bad for them. We are touched by pictures of children starving due to poverty.  Most children WANT nourishment. We want it every day, regularly, several times a day. Likewise spiritually we cannot grow without feeding on God's Word.  Matthew 4:4 - Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. & [Eph. 4:15; Matt. 5:6]  1 Peter 2:2 - As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.  2 Peter 3:18 - Grow in the grace and KNOWLEDGE of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  21. 21. Scriptures show the need for regular nourishment.  Hebrews 5:11-14 - Christians were rebuked for not growing as they should have, because they had not studied. Time and again members fall away or are spiritual midgets because they do not eat properly.  Acts 17:11 - Bereans were able to determine whether truth was taught because they searched the Scriptures DAILY.  Psalm 1:1,2 - Meditate on God's word day and night. B. Study and Meditation on the Bible Children and adults need physical food regularly, and get very upset without it. But are we content to go for days at a time without feeding on God's word [119:47,95-99; Josh 1:8] Do we make use of the opportunities the church provides for nourishment? How often do we miss the regular meals provided for our bellies?
  22. 22. Take this Test to check your spiritual nourishment. 1. How much time did you spend this week watching TV? 2. How much time watching sports or entertainment, or reading the paper, magazines, etc.? 3. How much time did you spend on some hobby or outside interest, that may not be immoral but is not necessary? 4. How many hours did you spend studying your Bible? 5. How many services of the church did you attend? 6. How many did you miss that you could have attended?
  23. 23. III. EXERCISE AND PRACTICE A. Essentials to Physical Development. • Athletes & musicians know they must exercise and practice to improve. Developing skills requires continual repetition: playing a song, throwing pitches, shooting baskets. Athletes run, lift weights, and practice hour after hour in order to grow strong and develop endurance. • Parents encourage children to repeat what they must learn: drill, math, facts, spelling, reading, piano. They get tired, but we encourage them because that's how they learn. "Practice makes perfect" - or at least it promotes improvement.
  24. 24. B. Exercise and Practice Are Essential to Spiritual Growth.  Hebrews 5:14 - Those who are of full age, by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Growth requires exercise as well as nourishment.  1 Timothy 4:7 - Exercise yourself toward godliness. Like children, athletes, and musicians, we must work again and again at applying Bible principles to become effective in the Lord's work.
  25. 25. Applications 1. To learn to TEACH, we must do it repeatedly: teach your children, home studies, Bible classes, preach sermons, again and again. 2. To learn to LEAD SINGING, practice songs at home, sing with your family, lead during church meetings over and over. 3. To understand the BIBLE, study it again and again, talk to others, drill yourself, memorize. Get in and dig. 4. To learn to PRAY, do it over and over. Kids may not be good at activities at first, but parents encourage them to do it over and over. Likewise, older members must encourage the newer ones to use their talents. They may not be skilled at first, but they learn by doing. We need to encourage teachers, preachers, song leaders and every believer, They need the practice!
  26. 26. IV. TIME AND PATIENCE A. Don't Expect to Reach Your Goal Overnight. • By definition, growth requires TIME. It is progress and development as time passes. Several important lessons follow: A. Don't Expect to Reach Your Goal Overnight. • Children do not become full- grown instantaneously. At birth they are so small you can hold them in a little basket. Soon they are outgrowing new clothes every month. Eventually they can wear their parents' clothes or even larger. • But it takes time.
  27. 27. Likewise spiritually, do not expect maturity overnight. James 1:4 - To become perfect and mature(entire), lacking nothing, we must have patience. • Some new-born Christians want to know everything and do everything right away. They may not be willing to take the TIME to STUDY and DEVELOP ability. Yet they want to be just like the mature members - and want other members to treat them with the same respect that they do mature members - before they have taken time to grow. • Sometimes older members are impatient with new members. We don't understand why new believers have trouble with basic concepts. • Remember that people who may be mature today did not get that way overnight. It took years of study and practice. • And new believers will not become mature overnight. It will take time. New members should not get discouraged and give up. • Older members should not be impatient or overly demanding. • Remember how our children took time to grow, and how we had to show patience with their immature ways as they grew. • But growth will come as long as people are trying and we give them time.
  28. 28. B. Don't Become Discouraged by Mistakes and Rebukes. - Children make many mistakes and must often be told they are wrong. - How often does a child fall while learning to walk? They fall again and again, gathering bumps and bruises. - They spill their milk, don't hold their spoon properly, fall off their bikes. - Growing up is tough! If kids are going to become mature, they have to keep going in spite of mistakes and rebukes.
  29. 29. Likewise, new believers will make many mistakes and must often be told they are wrong. Some of the greatest Bible characters committed terrible errors and had to be rebuked. – * Moses made excuses when God called him to lead Israel out of bondage. * David committed adultery with Bathsheba and was rebuked by Nathan. * Peter denied Jesus three times. * Paul persecuted Christians before his conversion. * Thomas doubted Jesus' resurrection. * Even the disciples forsook Jesus when He was arrested and crucified.
  30. 30. • Matthew 16:21-23 - Shortly after he had confessed Jesus and been highly praised (v15-18), Peter contradicted Jesus and was severely rebuked. Yet all of these are remembered as some of God's greatest servants. • Great servants are not people who live without ever sinning, but people who learn from their mistakes and go on to serve God faithfully. • Judas betrayed Jesus and is remembered as a traitor. Peter denied Jesus three times and is remembered as a great apostle. What is the difference? Judas, after betraying Jesus, hung himself. Peter, after denying Jesus, repented and went to work preaching the gospel. BUT – • Proverbs 29:1 - A person is destroyed, not simply because he errs, but because he becomes stubborn when he is rebuked and will not repent. What is needed is repentance and patience to learn to do right.
  31. 31. Conclusion  It is no shame to be a baby, if you were born a few months ago. But if a person has been a child of God for several years and has not grown, there is a problem.  Everyone needs to grow as a Christian, and everyone can grow, if he/she simply applies the Bible principles of growth.
  32. 32. FACTS ABOUT SPIRITUAL MATURITY 1. IT'S NOT AUTOMATIC “you have been Christians for a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others, but instead ... you need someone to teach you ... When a person is still living on milk, it shows he isn't very far along in the Christian life ... He's still a baby Christian!" Heb. 5:12-13 2. IT IS A PROCESS "Learn to be mature." Prov. 8:5 "Continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our savior Jesus Christ.“ 2 Peter 3:18 3. IT TAKES DISCIPLINE "Take the time and the trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit." 1Tim. 4:7b "Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.”
  33. 33. HOW CAN I BECOME A DISCIPLE? "... You have put off the old self with its HABITS, and have put on the new self ... which God is continually renewing in his own image, to bring you to a full knowledge of himself." Col. 3:9-10 1. TIME WITH GOD'S WORD - "If you continue in my Word, then you are my disciples indeed. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.“John 8:31-32 2. PRAYER -"If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, then you will ask for anything you wish, and you shall have it ... in this way you become my disciples.“ John 15:7-8 3. TITHING -"The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God first in your lives."Deut. 14:23 4. FELLOWSHIP -"Love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35
  34. 34. Education wise we climb the ladder from 1st std till Graduation and more. Likewise Climb the ladder from Spiritually immature to Spiritually mature.
  35. 35. I‟m a common clay pot I‟m a common clay pot and perfect I am not But the Lord is moulding me. In his perfect plan and under his mighty hand He is changing me constantly I used to tell the potter how to mold the clay Now I‟m resting on the wheel just to TRUST & OBEY. In this earthen vessel there‟s a treasure better than gold, It‟s perfectly free for you & me & can‟t be bought nor sold Natalie Berglund
  36. 36. It is time to foster spiritual maturity. Growth Formula. G – Go to God in prayer daily with/without petitions. John15:7 R – Read God‟s Word Daily. Acts 17:11 O – Obey God every moment. John 14:21 W – Witness for Christ by your life and words. Mt4:19, Jn15:8 T – Trust God for every detail of your life. 1Peter 5:7. H – Holy Spirit, allow him to control & empower your daily life and witness. Gal 5: 16-17, Acts 1:8.
  37. 37. Keep Growing- Swati Bonawate