The audio version the same but different
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2. of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. Hebrews 6: 1-2 NASB
Proverbs tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue, and we see that through words, God created the heavens and the earth. He created light out of the darkness. God uses words to create. And because we are made in His image and in His likeness, our words also have creative power. The reason why we must choose carefully what we speak is because our words, like God’s, have creative power. Being Word-confident is crucial. We want to speak life! Word at Work Ministries 4/10/2016
It seems that everywhere we turn, we hear of a scandal being dragged into the light. We all gather around to hear the juicy details, salivating over what comes next, wondering what is the final outcome. Every act of personal destruction comes with a cliff hanger enticing us into the next episode. Will they lose their job, marriage, go to jail or will they be driven to the point of no return. Then, as the next unrelated scandal is reported by grapevine central, we move to the next cannibalized morsel and everyone forgets the last incident; Like ravenous packs moving from victim to victim.
We are encouraged to embrace behaviors contrary to our moral fiber as instilled by God. There is an infatuation with watching people squirm. If you are on the politically wrong side of a God-centered issue, many wring their hands ready to watch you burn at the stake. Today they yell “Christian“ instead of “witch“.
Living in this world, one is easily, as Paul describes in Corinthians, pulled back into, carnal behavior, relenting to the pressure instead of standing firm in Truth; but what does it take to stand firm?
As immature Christians:
Are we eager to punish and chastise those who, in our opinion, fall short of God’s grace?
Do we judge the stranger, as they walk through the door looking for help?
Do we withhold speaking the Truth with dignity and grace to those who are clearly not walking within God’s covenants?
ARE WE EAGER TO TELL OUR CLOSE CHRISTIAN FRIENDS WHAT OUR REAL OPINION OF THAT PERSON IS?
DO WE FORM UNHOLY ALLIANCES WITH OUR CLOSEST CONFIDANTS TO GAIN FAVOR?
How different are we if the end result is exclusion? A mature Christian practices the art of inclusion.
If we are more focused on what we get from Christ or our church; Who is there, to help pick up the pieces and protect the spiritually vulnerable while they are down, if we are busy talking about them? Do we resist being helpful because we assume that they are desperate to merely get themselves out of a jam? Do we see an opportunity to share God’s love or do we sit on the sidelines to see what travails they fall prey to? Waiting for a cry for help with a hypocritical sincerity, as you voice your analysis as a concerned brother in Christ.
What sort of fruit is produced from this type of Christian?
As a mature Christian, as Oswald Chamber says, our work as His disciples is to disciple lives until they are wholly yielded to God. One life wholly devoted to God is of more value to God than one hundred lives simply awakened by His Spirit.
Principles 1, 2 and 3 in Hebrews 6:1-2 work almost in unison to draw in Holy Spirit to recreate us from the inside out and prepare us to become a disciple, guiding converts to discipleship. At this point in our journey, a joint effort is required where the new and aged (very aged like some of my close friends) must support each other.
Jesus said we shouldn’t put new wine in an old skin, but he never said to throw the old wine away. They each have a place at the table.
We need to drink each other’s wine, but what happens if the old wine is sour? Again Oswald Chambers said concerning this topic on April 24, “Unless the worker (mature Christian) lives a life hidden with Christ in God, he is apt to become an irritating dictator instead of an indwelling disciple. Many of us are dictators, we dictate to people and to meetings. ” It comes does to our relationship with Christ again and how we relate to Him, in public or from within the closet.
There are brands of Christianity that focus on the benefits of a Christian lifestyle as a means to an end. Others speak materially as a member of the Christianity club or the “I am a prophet, listen to me club”. Each has a preaches a message that captures the attention of a new and old believer alike, that itches the ears in areas they would likely need deliverance from. In other words, we can be drawn to desert instead of being drawn to the actual meal, as a child would.
Each of these groups is chasing or dictating something that continually tries to prove that God really exists. YOU can get more if you do this or that. In the any context it paints a skewed view of the Way, as a means to an end on this physical or spiritual plan. Everything is done with a result in mind.
Without maturity in our ranks to bring balance, chasing the next new thing of God, we become lazy and will only reach into the cookie jar of our new idol: the prosperous life of a Christian who promotes things we can be amazed in.
26Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
28They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
29Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
30They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do?” John 6:26-30 NLT
They wanted a magician who they could believe in. IF YOU WANT US TO FOLLOW YOU PROVE TO US WHY WE SHOULD.
God IS amazing!!!!!! Look around, but look in the mirror and ask yourself if your words paint a picture of a walk rooted in seeking or promoting great things? Or are you seeking to be closer to God and used to enlarge/promote His Kingdom?
If your walk looks like the former, you childishly, (Child-LIKE is how he wants us, childish is the shadow position) run into God’s arms over and over again wanting to feel the rush of being of being loved and forgiven on a never-ending forgiveness merry-go-round.
And when things get a little dull, we need to create a little excitement. If this is the basis of your relationship with God, tangible objects or feelings proving that you are still in God’s grace, you are not then willing to work through the maturing taught by God through abandonment, solitude and reflection. If your brand of Christianity serves yourself, when an amazing work of God takes place in someone else, jealously rears up and “Let the games begin”.
What sort of fruit is produced from this type of Christian?
God’s love has no bounds; when we place it in a box, the marketing campaign begins, attempting to convince people to turn from their wicked ways and embrace a doctrine of feelings. Which at the heart of it, is rooted in carnal desires. We have the best message of our time, listen to me?
New believers are told to repent for the Kingdom is near. After a while, if they hunger for Truth they will ask, “Now what?”
Here is a new term we should get familiar with; ADULT CHILD OF GOD- Know what it means? A child in an adult body. You may look like an adult but all your actions tell a different story.
If you are an adult child of God, instead of listening and understanding that new believers need healing and guidance, you will tell what they should “do” in their lives. Come here, do this, go there, do that. You will always talk about what God did, never what God is doing.
How about this? Oh my God, if you want to experience God, you need to go to this conference.
Then there’s the guilt trip. You want to experience God right? That speaker has an anointing, you don’t want to miss it.
Then everyone will compare their feelings after and may not realize if doctrine was distorted, they only know they feel awesome.
Motivational speakers and conferences on parade always provide a great time and inspiration. BUT were we inspired or matured. Were we given new information we are trying to wrap our minds around, which sounds like the truth.
It is like eating a whole bag of Hershey kisses in order to get that rush. What happens after the rush is gone? Need more candy!! As an adult child of God we have been programmed by the secular world to do what it right for us, even in our religious circles. The statistics prove that we resemble the world in divorces, adultery etc….
As an adult child of God we want to (WAIT FOR IT) …….become Rock Stars in the Christian world. Our status symbol is being recognized for who we are in Christ.
We need to be Servants of the Most High NOT ROCK STARS. If God wants you to be a rock star you will be a rock star on His terms. Christian maturity is growing as a new creation not one you created in service to God.
Now if you are a Rock Star for Christ you will probably have groupies too. What do Groupies say; Everything you want to hear.
If you don’t believe me, Oswald Chambers said on May 1st’s reading, “Can we do our duty when God has shut up heaven? Some of us always want to be illuminated saints with golden babes and the flush of inspiration, and to have the saints of God dealing with us all the time”. This was what I read after coining the phrase rock stars from a song I heard instead of superheroes. The song Not Rock Stars by Disciple placed the final bow on this teaching for me:
A mature Christian invests time with people and helps mature the ranks. At some point the we need to stop acting like an Adult child of God and become a Son of God (disciple). We must live in the faith that God will not forget us and He will impart His blessing like a father to son. Does the prodigal son’s brother ring a bell. Luke 15:25-32.
28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’
31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’” NLT
The Father must tell us to stop behaving the way we are behaving. Join the party and don’t run away.
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity Hebrews 6: 1 NASB
Jesus lovingly tells us through that parable, for those who have been around a while: suck it up, stop complaining, get back to work and understand that it is not always about you. It is about those we need to bring into the kingdom or welcome back.
When you grasp this phase of our journey, you will be placed in service for the kingdom where God wants to you to be.
As any type of addict, new to recovery, it takes new believers a while for things to settle in, once you are on the path of repentance (go sin no more). At first you must hang around people so you are encouraged to staying addiction or secular life free. You are surrounded people who have gone through a re-creation process. After a while the new creation will slowly emerge. In recovery newcomers are scooped up to get them out of harm’s way. Everyone is hurting and without guidance many will find other means to stop feeling, but when you guide them into the arms of Christ they will be able to see that God will support them.
Everyone who drags themselves through the door, will agree to anything on the first day. Everyone will surrender and say, “I will never do that again” and dance around singing Amazing Grace. If that was all we needed, then Alcoholism would only effect new people and our world would be one big church and no one would fall off the wagon. (Think about that……)
The third principle, instruction about washings, is a catechism (a basic teaching) presented before you take the plunge of discipleship. There were things you need understand on a variety of issues that Jesus taught the disciples and the disciples taught new Christians, which they wrote it down in a document called the Didache. Everything we are talking about leads up to baptism. Say what you want about Catholicism, but if you are an aspiring nun, you need to live as a nun for a year before you take your vows. At the time of your vows, you know what’s required of you, there are no surprises.
For comparison, the third step of recovery : Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, is a baptism of sorts. You take this vow in the presence of a mature member who guided you through the first two steps and was sure you were ready. (Sound familiar). But once you come up from the water, a person who has traveled this road before after being baptized won’t throw you a towel and leave to baptize another: He will dry you off and proceed with you. Same as in recovery, the real work begins in the next step and very few make it further without support.
We must understand, that to be mature, we must be a living breathing Son of God. When Jesus said Go make disciples of all nations, that message was not a repent or go to hell message or just go to church with a Bible, saying, “I am praying for you brother!!”
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 29:19).
At this point Jesus imparted His blessing on them after he taught them and they were to do the same.
“Therefore” means something happened prior to this. In recovery, you are asked to find a person to be your sponsor. A sponsor is a person, you can count on to assist you through the tough times and mentor you into alternate ways to handle situations differently. Obviously you would need to seek out an experienced member, who has been around the block a couple of times, not a newbie. The blind cannot lead the blind. Or, if you desire to learn something new, wouldn’t you seek out the most experienced teacher as possible.
As a sponsor, we commit ourselves to guide and support the one who gave us the privilege to impart God’s love. We are told, in searching for a sponsor, to look for traits you aspire to, someone who has traveled the road before. It should be no different here, we need to guidance from those who have made tough choices for Christ on the road less traveled.
As mature Christians we need to be the kingdom example for those who are entrusted to us. WE CANNOT DROP CONVERTS AT THE DOOR OF THE CHURCH AND HOPE FOR THE BEST.
The mission of the early church was to bridge the gap on how to live apart from the literal law and embrace the life governed by the law of grace through Jesus Christ that encapsulated the law. A new believer knows something is missing in their life. They know a change is needed but they need a helping hand to hold them steady. The world is only too eager to kill that spirit with a flick of a tongue, but we can also do the same.
The Acts of the Apostles Church, demonstrated how to love and still administer justice.
Each of us must sit down and reflect on what is being said. However if we are not hidden in Christ as we work with and mold our brothers in Christ, we need to be able to only give correction but receive correction where needed. It is a two way street, iron sharpens iron. A lot of people can tell others what they need to do but many cannot hear it directed to themselves without getting their feelings hurt.
That is what a mature Christian should be demonstrating on a daily basis, teaching, correcting and instilling a sense of maturity into the lives you come in contact with. The life of Christian is kinetic not static. A person that talks a good talk waivers when their faith is tested. If the early church wasn’t mentored properly the Way would have died when the Romans and Jews wanted nothing to do with them after the fall of Jerusalem.
If you were not properly instructed, a wine before its time, the kingdom suffers. To make a disciple means you are wholly devoted to God. If you only pontificate, the message you impart will confuse or dishearten a new Christian, during their first challenge.
The Word should be attraction walked out. Until then we are a traveling Good Works show, worshiping Will Power.
Jesus spoke of this, in His parable of the Sower, as a warning when a new seed is not nurtured properly. Matthew 13:3-13,17
3 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.7 Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. 8 And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”
10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
The mysteries of the kingdom are not revealed to just anyone. The Trinity is responsible for the increased revelation(s) in our lives, not the actions of a religious movement that seeks to gain material influence and derive gain from a larger following.
Only those that have a heart for God, and knows what it means to be a disciple, have access to kingdom principles. A kingdom message isn’t spoken; it is lived and more importantly granted.
To you it has been GRANTED to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Matthew 13:11-12
Who is charge of GRANTING the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, certainly not anyone in this room, only the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ.
So if you wondering why your walk seems at a standstill and it is not producing fruit, and you seem to be forcing and searching for a blessing, ask Holy Spirit to reveal why. Holy Spirit might just send a disciples to show you where you need maturing. It might even be a new believer that brings it to light.
Many Christians seem to know nothing about this maturing process and want an instant anointing. Many think, we need to receive some kind of “magical” charge that will immediately begin to operate through them. Just say the magic word, Lord and I will be healed!!!
I used to believe like that, looking for the one phrase that brought clarity of purpose. I needed to touch it, feel it, comprehend it, see it, before I would agree with it. I thought God would anoint me as I was because I was filled with good intentions for the Kingdom. Little did I know that He wanted all of me not just the parts I wanted to sacrifice myself in front of everyone. He wanted a new creation and I had to know what that meant.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. -1 CORINTHIANS 13:11
Since September, I have had an anointing with money. I find it everywhere, side of the road, at stoplights, walking, running, outside of stores. I am up to $77.99 and a half cents. It is never a questions of if I will find money only how much. I do no use a metal detecting devices. I walk with anticipation.
But I have learned so much about people through this. I have learned that every coin should be kept. Every coin, no matter if it is broken, should be rescued. I pull coins out of tar strips on the road if I see. I bring a screwdriver in my truck to pull them out.
If you are a Wanna-Be Rock Start for Christ, you will miss the joy of finding one penny lost on the side of the road even a half penny. No matter how road weary they are, they still have value. If all you want is the spotlight as a Christian, you will not see past the first row. When you are done you will be ushered away right past a believer in need, because, to you, they have no value.
If everyone would look for opportunities to find a child of God, jump out of the car to save it, go back and rescue it from tar strips they have been stuck in for years, let them know that they are worth the time even with the road rash. How big would the kingdom be?
It’s time to place the mantel of maturity on our shoulders, for the Fields of Harvest are plentiful. Some need to be gathered, some need to picked and others need to be pruned. Let Holy Spirit guide you, and most importantly stop listening to WIFM, what’s in it for me and listen to WIFG, what’s in it for God.
I love you all and there is nothing you can do about.