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You've Got to Grow Up
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Just as we want our children to grow and mature into adulthood, so our heavenly Father wants us to move beyond childish things and mature spiritually into adult disciples.

Text: Ephesians 4:1-16

Introduction
  1. The birth of our children. Our babies were special, but we wanted them to grow up.
  2. Every spiritual babe is special to the heavenly Father, but He wants them to grow up.
  3. Message of Ephesians 4:1-16 – You gotta grow up on three levels.
 
Growing in our Attitudes (2-6)
  1. Dr. Victor Frankl – the only thing the Nazis could not take away from him was the power to choose his attitude.
  2. Four attitudes particularly essential for spiritual growth:
    a. Humility
      1) Fiddler on the Roof’s Tevye introduces us to the folks in town and the traditions that hold them together. When he asks why they have these traditions, he answers, “Because they help us to know who we are and what God expects of us.”
      2) A spirit of humility enables us to know who we are and what God expects of us.
      3) We are sinners in the process of growing up in Christ
    b. Gentleness
      1) Gentle people are more than mere door mats.
      2) They are strong, well-balanced people.
    c. Patience
      1) Patience involves faithful endurance.
      2) Christian growth takes time. AA 560, 561
      3) Churchill speech: Never give up.
    d. Unity
      1) When we accept Jesus, He puts us in a church.
      2) There is to be a unity in our diversity.
      3) Melancthon: In the essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.
Growing in Our Service for Christ (9-13)
  1. When you think of all Jesus has done for you, sheer gratitude moves you to serve Him.
  2. Military victories in Bible times where celebrated with a parade in which the conquering general threw the prizes of battle to the spectators.
  3. The ascension/victory parade of Jesus and the spiritual gifts He gives us.
    a. Every believer has at least one spiritual gift.
    b. The Holy Spirit is the source of spiritual gifts.
    c. There are many different spiritual gifts.
    d. Spiritual gifts are exercised in the context of the church.
  4. Story of two stroke victims in the nursing home. One had lost the use of her left hand and the other had lost the use of her right hand. Together they made beautiful music on the piano.
  5. Four spiritual gifts Paul mentions in this passage:
    a. The gift of apostleship.
    b. The gift of  prophecy.
    c. The gift of evangelist.
    d. The gift of pastor-teacher.
  6. The purpose of spiritual gifts: 
    a. To move us out of isolation into the full fellowship and ministry of the church.
    b. To help us grow in spiritual maturity in thriving congregations.
Growing in Spiritual Maturity (14-17)
  1. Story of man who looked forward to attending his 40th high school reunion, only to discover his friends had never changed. They had never grown up. So he asked a friend back home to give him a good swift kick in the seat of the pants if he ever became stagnant in his life. Verses 14-16 give us such a kick.
  2. Two childish characteristics we need to outgrow:
    a. Naiveté – being tossed back and forth by doctrinal waves that appear to be the teaching of Christ, but are nothing more than masterful deceptions. (See 1T 417, 418 for a list of characteristics that identify such movements)
    b. Fickleness – Always chasing after religious fads.
  3. We need to grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
The nature of that growth is:
    a. Progressive.
    b. Substantive.
    c. Relational.
Appeal
  1. Story of boy who fell out of bed and told his mother that he had stayed too close to where he got in.
  2. God doesn’t want us to stay too close to where we got in.  He wants us to grow up.
  3. Ask yourself, “Where am I in the journey?  What is the next step I need to take?”

Submitted by Dan Martella. Better Sermons © 2005-2007. Click here for usage guidelines.



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