Text: 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 October 10, 2010.
1) Words in a card: While browsing through some birthday cards in a gift shop, I found one that made me laugh. Its message read: “You are only young once, but you can be immature all life.” That sentence tickled my funny bone. It is something winsome to stay young, but it will be a real problem to stay immature forever. But we know that perpetual immaturity is not only inappropriate, it is also unacceptable except to the children book character Peter Pan who never had to grow up.
Words in the Bible: For Christians, it is vital
that we continue to grow and mature. After we are born again and become followers
of Christ, we are not supposed to stay as spiritual babies. When he wrote to
the church at
SIGNS OF A BABY: Just list a few as example.
1) Babies are weak: All babies are born weak in all areas such as physical, emotional and spiritual. That is why God designed for babies to be born to mature adult parents so they may receive the kind of nurturing, feeding, care and support to help them grow. All adult parents are given the responsibility to love, care, supply and support to their babies so their babies can grow.
2) Babies are consumers All babies and their needs are provided by others: parents, family and others related. They can’t and don’t produce or contribute anything to meet their needs. They totally depend on others to provide, protect and support so they may survive and grow. All they may give in return is the joy they bring to their family the signs of their growing.
3) Babies are self-centered: All of us have big hearts to forgive babies of being selfish: they never worry about how busy others may be or how inconvenient with other things, when they want something, they will call, or cry until their lungs burst out. They don’t care what you are doing or if you are able, when they need you, they want you right there. Babies can only think of who they are and what they want. If you do not meet their needs on their schedule and in their way, they will continue to give you hard time until you do all things their way.
4) Babies need to grow: Except in rare and abnormal cases, all babies will grow with proper care, supplies and support. This is a very important incentive for parents and others who work and give and love their babies, in some cases, more than their own life. The growth of a baby offsets all the costs, energy, resources and time spent. A movement, a smile, a response, the first word or first step of a baby are all paybacks for all the sacrifices and resources invested in his/her. It is in this hope, babies are born, raised and grow to adults generation after generation.
SIGNS OF AN ADULT: Here are only a few for reference.
1) Adults are stronger: This is not just in physical, it also includes emotional and hopefully spiritual. Adults are expected to take pressure, setbacks, failures and criticism with strength to over- come and to move forward. Adults are supposed to see things and to make better decisions for their life and that of others associated with them.
2) Adults are more giving: This is in comparison with babies who only know to receive. Adults also receive but will give to make contribution to others and community where they exist. Adults are expected to be more resourceful and to shoulder the share on the needs of others instead of just their own. Giving is more than material, it can be emotional and spiritual. To love, to care and to forgive are good gifts we never have to worry giving too much. It is always better to give than to receive.
3) Adults are responsible: I am talking in general sense. Usually we see adults are more responsible than children. We see adults are more responsible to themselves, to people around them and to the community at large. Most adults make decision more responsibly than children do. Being responsible is a sign of maturity. We need to be responsible on our decisions and the consequence of our choices.
4) Adults are more matured. Again, this is also in general terms. I am sure we all agree that in most cases adults are more matured than children. Maturity means capable of making good decision and wise choices. Adults are supposed to be able to handle bad things, difficult times and not crumbled. Adults are more able to understand their surrounding and find the best way to get though them without losing their guts.
These and others are signs of personality and ability traits of babies and adults. We all need to check on ourselves periodically to see if we are more like adults or are still babies. Now, let us see the text today to find out some characteristics of spiritual maturity.
SIGNS OF SPIRITUAL MATURITY: (1 Corinthians 3:1-9)
1) Able to shun worldly: “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but worldly, infants in Christ.” (3:1) “Worldly” in NIV is “carnal” in KJV, which mean “acting according to the fresh.” Worldly is on the outside while carnal is on the inside. When a Christian is carnal on the inside, he will act, talk and pursue his life according to the worldly value, method and approach. This is a very obvious sign of spiritual maturity level.
2) Able to take solid food: “I give you milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. Indeed you are still not ready.” (3:2)Giving milk and giving solid food to babies are steps of growing in babies that related to their growth stages. When babies grow, they will take more solid food than taking milk. This is also about a healthy appetite for spiritual food, the Bible. We can check our maturity level by checking our appetite of spiritual hunger for the word of God. Are we hungry for God’s word? Do you love to read and listen to the word of God? Do we believe and apply spiritual principles in our life from the word of God?
3) Able to unite with Christ: “For since there is jealousy and quarrel among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?” (3:3)With two spiritual leaders in the early church, Paul and Apollo, the Corinthian Christians were fighting and divided in their loyalty to one or the other. It is a blessing to have good and spiritual leaders in a church, but carnal Christians can fight and get divided on spiritual matters. One good sign of spiritual maturity is the ability to work together in the spirit of humility and acceptance to each other and the good of God’s church.
4) Able to work with God and man: “For we are God’s fellow workers and you are God’s field, God’s building.” (3:9)This is a very important sign of spiritual maturity: we are serving God in His mission fields through His house, the church. All matured men and women of God must get busy in God’s field through God’s house, his church. Engaging in missions through the church is the plan God gave us though His son, Jesus Christ both in Matt. 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8. No matured Christian could be idle or inactive in God’s church and missions. This is a very accurate measurement to check our level of maturity.
1) Realize your honor: In all our lifetime, serving is a big part, be it at home, at work, in the community or the nation. We serve our loved ones at home, serve our company boss, serve in community work and serve the country. The most honorable service is when we serve God in His house. Never forget this: God doesn’t need us. He allows us to serve him is our honor.
2) Realize our duty: We are to be diligent, humble and obedient when we serve God. He is always the Master and we all are just humble servants.