What is a Mature Christian? (2 Peter 1:5-11)

Introduction:  Every Christian needs spiritual growth.

  1. Spiritual maturity does not mean sinless perfection.
  1. It does not mean one never makes a mistake, but rather is more capable of coping with his or her problems.
  1. The Greek word te la os mean “mature, complete.
  1. Maturity cannot be determined by seniority in Christ.  It may or may not be developed with age.

Discussion:  

I.                   MATURE CHRISTIANS ARE ABLE TO EAT SOLID FOOD.

Heb. 5:12-14, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness:  for he is a babe.  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

A.    Babes need milk!

1 Pet. 2:1-2, “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”

B.    Brethren at Corinth displayed by their conduct a lack of maturity.

1 Cor. 3:1-3, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat:  for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.  For ye are yet carnal:  for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”

C.    We need to learn first principles, but we must also go on unto maturity.

       Heb. 6:1-3, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.  And this will we do, if God permit.”

D.    We need to develop spiritually in being able to discern good and evil.

Heb. 5:14, “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

1.      It is essential for our spiritual welfare to be able to distinguish between good and evil.

Isa. 5:20, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

2.      We certainly must know the difference between true and false doctrine.

       2 John 9-11, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.  He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the son.  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:  For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

II.                MATURE CHRISTIANS ARE ABLE TO CONFRONT FALSE TEACHERS WITHOUT BEING INFLUENCED BY THEM.  

Eph. 4:11-16, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Til we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:  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:  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”   

A.   That we henceforth be no more children” (Vs. 14).

B.    The truth spoken in love helps us to grow (Vs. 15).

C.     Elijah confronted the children of Israel:

“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions?  If the Lord be God follow him:  but if Baal, then follow him.  And the people answered him not a word.”(1 Kings 18:21).

III.             MATURE CHRISTIANS WALK IN BROTHERLY LOVE.

Heb. 13:1, “Let brotherly love continue.”

A.    We are to take off the old man and put on the new man in Christ.

      Col. 3:8-9, 12-14, “But now ye also put off all these, anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

      Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any:  even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  And above all these things, put on charity [love], which is the bond of perfectness.”

IV.              MATURE CHRISTIANS GUARD THEIR INFLUENCE (Rom. 14:13-21).

A.    We must conduct our selves in a manner that none will rightly have a reason to question our reputation.

1 Cor. 10:32-33, “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:  Even as I please all men in all things, nor seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”

1 Cor. 9:19-23, “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.  And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.” 

V.                 MATURE CHRISTIANS PRACTICE PURE RELIGION (James 1:21-27).

A.    We are to lay aside that which is wrong and seek to do right (vs. 21).

B.    We are to do more than to just hear God’s inspired Word. (vs. 22).

C.    Our visitation should include the needy, the sick, and the lonely (vs. 27).

D.    To possess pure religion we must “put a bridle on our tongue” (vs. 26).

VI.              MATURE CHRISTIANS SHOULD STRIVE TO OVERCOME:

A.    We are to overcome the world.

1 John 5:4-5, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world:  and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” 

      Rom. 12:19-21, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath:  for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink:  for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

VII.           MATURE CHRISTIANS BEAR THEIR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES.

Gal. 6:1-5, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.  But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  For every man shall bear his own burden.”

VIII.        MATURE CHRISTIANS ARE CONSCIOUS OF PERSONAL IMPERFECTIONS.

Phil. 3:13-14, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:  but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Matt. 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit:  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matt. 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:  for they shall be filled.”

IX.              MATURE CHRISTIANS DO NOT ALWAYS DEMAND THEIR OWN WAY.

A.    Remember how Abraham avoided a continual strife between his herdsman and the herdsman of Lord?  (Gen. 13).

Phil. 2:2-4, “Fulfill ye my joy that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

X.                 MATURE CHRISTIANS ARE THOUGHTFUL OF OTHERS.

Matt. 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:  for this is the law and the prophets.”

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