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Maturing As A Christian
.
Eph. 4:13

13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. NASU

Introduction
I remember the first time I ever heard someone say they did not know who they were. It was in a speech class at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and this young girl said "I am trying to discover who I am. I said to my self. "Who you are?" Why wouldn't a young girl like her know that? I then thought who am I. I said to my self, "I am Jim McCullen a child of God, and a minister of the gospel." I do not recall ever questioning who I am.

So as I have gotten an opportunity I have asked my grandchildren If they knew who they were. Recently I asked my 13 year old grandson if he knew who he was, and he quickly said, "I am a child of God."

Neil Anderson in his book The Bondage Breaker, makes this very interesting statement. He says on page 46 of his book "Every defeated Christian I have worked with has had one thing in common none of them have known who they were in Christ. Or have understood what it means to be a child of God."


1. If You Want To Mature: Believe!

  A. Believe We Became The Children Of God.
1. John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: NKJV

Illustration
When I was single and still at home I drove my mother to work on the way to my job. And one day she said "Jim, I read something very interesting last night." Well my mom was quite a reader so, I was not too impressed until she said "Do you know God doesn't have any grandchildren? Kathreen Marshall, Peter Marshall's wife has written several books and I was reading one of them last night. She said she woke up in the middle of the night with the thought... God doesn't have any grandchildren. She said that's such a curious thought that she got up and began searching the Bible. And she couldn't find an answer to what she was looking for so she just knelt by her bed and said 'Lord, I believe you've given me this thought, if you'll give me a nights rest, I will look it up in the morning.' She went to bed woke up and in the morning she turned to John the first chapter and the 12th verse which says "But as many has received him to them he gave the right to become the children of God. To those who believe in his name. Then Katherine Marshall said 'That's it no one comes to God as a grandchild, only as a child.'" What an excellent thought and yet some are trying to get to heaven on the skirts of their mother or the heels of their father. God only accepts children, not grandchildren.

        2. Gal 3:26 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. KJV

        3. Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God : KJV

Illustration
My Favorite Gospel Song "My God Is Real."

  B. Believe We Became A New Creation
      
1. 2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become
             new. NKJV            
            a. Anyone Creation. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,. . ."           
             b.    Artistic Creation.
". . . he is a new creation;. . ."

 
C. Believe We Received Kingdom Authority
      
1. Matt 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority , and not as the scribes. KJV


       2. Matt 8:9 For I am a man under authority , having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another,
             Come, and he cometh; and to
             my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. KJV

        3. Mark 13:34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to
             every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. KJV

        4. Luke 9:1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
             KJV

            
        5.    Titus 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
KJV
     
        6. James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. KJV               
                a. Resist Satan after submitting To God.

Illustration
I have been in many situations where there was a discussion of over coming the Devil, and temptation. It always boils down to "submitting to God and resisting the Devil." He will flee if we resist. Perhaps you will sign a favorite song about Jesus, or quote a favorite scripture.

One movie the man turned down the picture of Jesus. That is not submitting to God or resisting the Devil.

Application

If You want to mature, Believe the Word Of God,


2. If You Want To Mature: Obey The Commandments. 2 Thess 3:4-5
        4 We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. 5 May the Lord
         direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. NASU


    Matt 5:17 & 19 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 19
     hosoever therefore shall break one of these least
commandments , and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom
     of heaven:
but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. KJV

    Matt 22:36-40 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said untohim, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with
     all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto
     it, Thou shalt
love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. KJV

Illustration
God Said It. I Believe It, That Settles It.

            It Is Settled Because God Said It.

Some Commands Many Times Neglected.

  1. The Command To Tithe.
        Mal. 3:10 Bring the full 10 percent into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this way," says the Lord
         of Hosts. "See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure. (HCSB)

Illustration
As a new Christian I wanted to go out on visitation. That became even more of a concern when I surrendered to preach. I got two other preacher boys in the church, and we went out on visitation. We came to one address that was rather spooky because we had to walk through the basement to get to the back stairs to get to this apartment. The other two preacher boys said we can go there it's dangerous. I simply reminded them that the Lord promised to be with us, and I led the way. We went through the basement walkway and made the contact with the prospects.

Application

If we grow we must obey the commands of the Lord. We will be blessed as we do, and increase in our faith.


3. If You Want To Mature: Claim The Promises Of God.

  A. Promises Often Neglected.
        1. Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. KJV

         
        2. Phil. 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. KJV

        3. Heb. 13:5-6 5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will
             never leave thee, nor orsake thee.
6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do
             unto me. KJV

         
        4. 1 Cor 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to
             be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear
             it.
KJV

          5.  
1 Cor 15:57-58 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my
                 beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your
                 labour is not in vain in the Lord. KJV


            6. Rom 8:38-39 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present,
                 nor things to come, 39 Nor height,
nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which
                 is in Christ Jesus our Lord. KJV


Illustration
A young businessman was rushed to a hospital in serious condition. A doctor predicted that he might die. Not a religious man at the time, he did, however, turn on a radio and heard a Christian song being played: "God Will Take Care Of You." He said that he couldn't get that song out of his mind. I need someone like that in my life. He began to pray, and as he did, he reported a sense of energy flowing in. It was near Christmas, a Sunday morning. He heard a group of nurses having a brief worship service in a nearby room and struggled up out of bed and joined them.
While there, he committed his life to Jesus Christ. He claimed the promises of God. That man recovered. Thereafter, for the rest of his life, he remained faithful to his commitment. He referred every business and every personal decision to God, living by the teachings of Jesus.

You've heard of this man, who told all of this in a book about his life. His name was J. C. Penney. He too insisted throughout his life that Paul was quite right in promising divine help for those in whom Christ's Spirit lives. E. Carver McGriff, LECTIONARY PREACHING WORKBOOK: CYCLE B, Lima: CSS Publishing, 1999.

Do You Know Who You Are? Do You Want To Mature?

If You Want To Mature: Believe!

If You Want To Mature: Obey The Commandments.

If You Want To Mature: Claim The Promises Of God.