That We May Grow Up
Eph. 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Intro: There are two serious problems within the church today – unsaved people and unstable people. The will of God is for every person in the church to be born again obviously. But more than that – they need to grow, become mature, stable saints.
This year, our theme is “Growing In Grace”. This morning we want to take a few minutes and see what it means to “grow up”. Paul’s greatest burden besides evangelizing the lost was to see God’s people grow up.
Growth is not a figment of someone’s imagination. It is real, and it’s evident. It is INNER workings that result in OUTWARD manifestations.
I. The Prerequisite for Growing Up – vs. 1-6 …ye are called; one body, one Spirit, even as ye are called…
A. Answering the Call to Salvation – vs. 1-4
- Verse 1 says to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are CALLED.
- Verse 4 says ye are CALLED in one hope of your CALLING.
I believe it was R.G. Smith that said back nearly 60 years ago that he believed 75% of Baptist church members were unsaved
One of the major problems with churches today is we are trying to get goats to act like sheep!
- Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
The great songwriter, Fanny Crosby wrote these words in the early 1900’s and they are still true today!
Vs. 1 – Jesus is tenderly calling thee home—
Calling today, calling today!
Why from the sunshine of love wilt thou roam,
Farther and farther away?
Vs. 2 – Jesus is calling the weary to rest,
Calling today! calling today!
Bring Him thy burden and thou shalt be blest:
He will not turn thee away.
Vs. 3 – Jesus is waiting, O come to Him now!
Waiting today! waiting today!
Come with thy sins, at His feet lowly bow;
Come, and no longer delay.
(Chorus) Calling today! calling today!
Jesus is calling, is tenderly calling today!
I want to beg you this morning – if Jesus is calling you – answer His call to salvation!
B. Allowing the Control of the Spirit – vs. 4-6
- Verse 3 – the unity of the Spirit
- Verse 4 – one Spirit
- Verse 6 – One God and Father…who is IN YOU all. (the indwelling of the Spirit)
- Verse 30 – and grieve not the holy Spirit of God…
I am 100% confident that if we walked in the fullness of the Spirit, we would see a NOTICABLE improvement and NOTICABLE changes in our spiritual life – MEASURABLE GROWTH!!!
A person that does not walk in the Spirit will NOT GROW IN GRACE! They will grow in worldliness and carnality.
II. The Potential for Growing Up – vs. 7
A. We have been given Grace
NOTE: Unto EVERY ONE OF US!
It is not God’s will for a SINGLE ONE OF US to miss out on reaching our full potential for Him.
B. We have been given Gifts
God has given us EXACTLY what we need in order to live a life pleasing unto Him.
III. The Perfecting of Growing Up – vs. 11, 12
A. Notice the Equipping – “perfecting” means to equip; to enable; to supply; to furnish and to complete
NOTE: You can forget growing in grace if you have a bad relationship with God’s man!
It is IMPERATIVE that you understand the role of the Pastor in assisting you with your growth in Christ.
To try to grow and mature as a Christian without taking advantage of God’s Man is like…
- Running a farm without ever going to the local Feed and Seed
- Operating a restaurant without ever going to the grocery store
- Building a house without ever going to the lumber yard
You might can – but who in their right mind would want to????
B. Notice the Endeavoring – for the work of the ministry
C. Notice the Edifying – for the edifying of the body of Christ – means ‘BUILDING UP’
LET ME SHOW YOU SOMETHING VERY PROFOUND ABOUT THE MAN OF GOD.
- Verse 7 says that God hath given to EVERY MAN GRACE according the gift of Christ.
- Verse 11 tells us what the gift is – it is the man of God.
- Verse 29 tells us that the grace is the communication that edifies.
- Verse 12 tells us that the man of God’s job is to edify.
SO – if God’s man is the gift, and his message is the grace, then your growth should be ACCORDING TO THE MEASURE OF THE GIFT.
Meaning – if you have a pastor that prays, and studies, and preaches, and teaches, and edifies – you should be growing in direct proportion to the communication that proceeds from his mouth – grace to the hearer!
You may say, “But the pastor down the road doesn’t expect his people to do this or that, or live this way, or get involved in this ministry, etc…” That’s right – he isn’t your gift! YOUR Pastor is your gift!
IV. The Pattern for Growing Up – vs. 13 “…unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
I love this key word – MEASURE.
NOTICE IT IS MENTIONED 3 TIMES:
- Vs. 7 – according to the measure of the gift of Christ
- Vs. 13 – unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
- Vs. 16 – according to the effectual working in the measure of every part
GROWTH is MEASUREABLE and it should BE MEASURED.
- Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. – Benjamin Franklin
Jesus Christ is the PATTERN by which we measure our growth.
Compared to him; how do you measure up in the areas of…
- Interest in spiritual things?
- Involvement in the ministry?
- Insight into scriptural doctrines and truth?
- Interacting with other people that mistreat us?
- Investing in the kingdom of God?
- Influencing the lives of other people for the better?
- Incompatibility with the world?
- Indifference to the desires of the flesh and mind?
- Indignation at the worldliness in the church?
- Inspiring other believers to walk with God?
- Intimacy with God in prayer?
- Intolerance at the sin and wickedness around us?
- Inviting sinners to come to Christ?
A. Reaching UP – this means spending time with God
Keep reaching for Him. Keep talking to Him, meditating on Him, thinking about Him.
The more you grow, the closer you get to Him.
- Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
B. Reaching OUT – this means spending time with people
Mature Christians in the Bible spent time with others; investing; improving; equipping.
I find it fascinating that even when Paul and John were in prison and in exile – they were still helping people!
A sure sign of immaturity is a Christian that stays all alone and never fellowships, never encourages, never mentors a young person and never invests their time and effort into helping someone else grow in grace!
- “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” John Bunyan
- “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” Booker T. Washington
C. Reaching DOWN – spending time in the Word; GROW UP IN ALL THINGS – VERSE 15
Those roots should continue to grow ever deeper in the soil.
Spending quality time in the Word of God; drawing the nutrients of the Word into your soul.
NOTE: When a root is growing DOWN, it doesn’t stop when it hits a rock; it goes around it!
If you discover something you can’t grasp or understand, don’t let that stop you.
Unanswered questions or concepts you can’t comprehend is no excuse for lack of growth.
If you are one of those people that get snagged up over a question or “something I just don’t understand” you won’t grow much!!
You say, “But there are just some things that I don’t understand!” Join the club! The just walk by faith!!!
V. The Perception of Growing Up – vs. 14
A. Perception to Doctrinal Error – vs. 14, That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine…
B. Perception to Deceptive Enticement – vs. 14b, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive
VI. The Partnership of Growing Up – vs. 16
Notice the emphasis on the GROUP GROWING TOGETHER
- whole body
- every joint
- every part
- increase of the body
- edifying of itself
Imagine what your body would look like if a few parts didn’t grow.
What if one of your ears didn’t grow from the time you were 3 months old. Would it be FITLY JOINED?
It would look bad; be awkward; throw your whole face off balance.
What if one hand was only 6 months old? How would that affect your work?
ILLUSTRATION: I’ve had people come to my office and say they felt “led” to leave the church because they didn’t fit in anymore. They didn’t come to church faithfully, they didn’t give faithfully, they didn’t show up for work day or soul winning or ever do anything to contribute, yet they wonder why they are not FITLY JOINED?
VII. The Practices of Growing Up – vs. 17-32
A. An Example of those that are NOT Growing Up – vs. 17-22
1. They were Ignorant – vs. 18 – through the ignorance that is in them
2. They were Insensitive – vs. 19a – who being past feeling…
3. They were Immoral – vs. 19b – lasciviousness; all uncleanness; greediness
B. An Exhortation to those that ARE Growing Up – vs. 23-32
- It will affect your THINKING – vs. 23 be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
- It will affect your TESTIMONY – vs. 24 put on the new man…righteousness and true holiness
- It will affect your TRUTHFULNESS – vs. 25 putting away lying, speak every man truth…
- It will affect your TEMPER – vs. 26 be ye angry and sin not…
- It will affect your TEMPTATIONS – vs. 27 neither give place to the devil…
- It will affect your TOILING – vs. 28 let him labour, working with his own hands…
- It will affect your TALKING – vs. 29 let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth
- It will affect your TENDERNESS to the Holy Spirit – vs. 30 grieve not the holy Spirit of God
- It will affect your TREATMENT of others – vs. 31, 32