Reference: Philippians 1:9-11
We are going to come in our Word to Philippians 1:9-11. This is number 7 in our series “Mature in Christ”. One of the things out of the previous series on the life of Joseph that really struck us was the contrast between the spiritual maturity of Joseph, and the immaturity of his brothers – even at the later stages of life when they feared that he would have retribution on them; they had not understood that all the way along the principles upon which Joseph’s life was operating. It’s deeply concerned me that often in church life we see an inconsistency between the length of time folk have been in Christ, been in the church, and some very irreconcilable behaviours. It lay on me as a burden that we look at the issue of Maturity in Christ.
Now the first six have been in Colossians 1, 2 and 3. We started with Colossians 1:28 – Paul’s goal is to present every man complete, perfect, mature in Christ. In his letters he strives with great energy towards that goal – not in his own strength, but enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. You’ll see that repeated in his prayers, and that’s what we’re going to look at this morning in Philippians 1:9-11. This is one of many passages that you could title “Marks of Maturity”, he highlights these things in various places.
There are three simple things that he brings out for us: that mark a growth towards maturity. The first is abounding love; the second is approving excellence; and the third is bearing the fruit of righteousness. There are many things that could be “sub-componented” into that but let’s have a look and read our passage this morning.
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11, NASB)
Three relatively simple verses. One writer has said this:
“Spiritual life has often been compared to walking upstream. If you are not progressing forward, then you are going backwards. The waves of the world are too powerful; the ungodly TV shows, the ungodly music, the depraved culture of this world are always seeking to push a believer backwards. Therefore, we must always seek to progress in our spiritual lives; otherwise, we will be spiritually declining.” (“Marks of Spiritual Maturity”, Gregory Brown)
What are the marks of a person who is growing in spiritual maturity? How do you know if you are growing in spiritual maturity? …
Listen to the rest of this sermon here:
Neil Ward, Foothills Church of Christ, Sunday 24 September 2017