Mature in Christ #7: “Marks of Maturity”

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. Continue reading


Mature in Christ #6: “Let Christ Rule”

Reference: Colossians 3:15-17

Our series title is “Mature in Christ”, this is the sixth in the series. We are reflecting on what it takes to grow into the image of Jesus – the process that’s involved, and so on. Our passage is Colossians 3:15-17. We’ve been looking these last three messages at chapter 3, looking at what Paul was saying, countering the false teachers that were affecting the Colossian believers. This is the summation of his argument; and he goes on in the next part to application in the home, in the workplace, and so on. Continue reading


Mature in Christ #5: “Putting on the New”

Reference: Colossians 3:5-14

Well, in case you hadn’t noticed, today is Father’s Day (we’ll get to the headlines in a minute) and I think it’s a somewhat unprecedented Father’s Day – Father’s Day is not, of course, a Biblical celebration, it’s one that came about after Mother’s Day was intended just as an appreciation of mothers, some years later it was suggested also to have a Father’s Day. Who would have thought that Father’s Day would become controversial? Have you heard during this week, some people are thinking about changing it to “Significant Person’s Day”? “Do away with Mother’s and Father’s Day” 🙂 – because we want to do away with the image – it’s a very serious and important issue, of course. And then, FreeTV Australia, the lawyers for that industry group, pulled the ad for Dads4Kids which they’ve been running for 15 years – although they have made reference to opposition to gay marriage in the past, this ad had nothing to do with that – but it’s seen as being a “political statement”. Continue reading


Mature in Christ #4: “Living Above”

Reference: Colossians 3:1-4

If you would like to turn in your Bibles to Colossians 3 verses 1 to 4. As you know, in this series we highlighted in Colossians 1:28, 29 that Paul’s goal, as he expressed to the Colossian people was to present them mature, perfect or complete (as the word teleos means) unto Christ. That is the challenge of which he’s countering the false teachers that have started troubling the Colossians and teaching them that they needed something other than Jesus. It might have been from the Jewish perspective – it was likely legalism, going back to Old Testament law; from the Greek side, it was a sort of Gnostic teaching that they needed more than Jesus – they needed “special” knowledge, the needed to have special “keys”.

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Mature in Christ #3: “Walk In Him”

Reference: Colossians 2:6-7

This is number #3 in our series “Mature in Christ”, and as you’ve seen in the theme our focus this morning is “Walking in Him”; or, “Walk in Him”.

Some people go to the gym to get fit; personally, I’ve felt that like that was self-torture (although I have been to the gym, myself)! But walking is one of those things most lacking, today. We’re too busy; it’s too easy to hop in the car. We lack the exertion of physical effort. We’re too often seated, rather than active. Slowly we become passive – with all the negative health consequences that come with it.

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Mature in Christ #2: “Growing Up in Christ”

Reference: Colossians 1:9-12

We started last week a new series, entitled “Mature in Christ”. We are looking at the goal and the objective of our Christian living. We looked last week and we found that Paul’s comments to the end of chapter 1 is that his goal is to present every man mature, teleos is the word: perfect, or completed in Christ. And as we looked at that, the issue was that the standard is not relative human maturity, the standard is Jesus himself. Just as Peter tells us, God said “Be holy as I am holy”. The goal of maturity is to be like Christ, and to be presented before Christ complete, lacking in nothing. Continue reading


Mature in Christ #1: “Pursuing the Right Goal”

Reference: Colossians 1:28-29

It is a great joy when a child is born. Whether as parents, grandparents, or extended family, there is nothing sweeter than having a new little life. But can you imagine if that little baby, stayed a little baby forever? It’s kind of cute for a time, but parents soon find out that the baby stage isn’t all cute. It has its challenges: sleepless nights, changing nappies… because a baby is just the beginning. A baby is meant to grow into an adult who begins to act and function in a mature and responsible way. Continue reading

Spiritual Health

“Until Christ is formed in you” Galatians 4:19

When a baby is born the expectation is that the baby will grow to be a toddler, a child, a teenager and to adulthood. This growth is not just physical but also mental, emotional and social. We all recognise that something is wrong if any of these things do not occur simultaneously with the others and at appropriate times.

Learning and maturing take place through parental and other teaching processes and the numerous experiences that a person endures from birth. All this is just head knowledge unless translated by life’s experiences. How many times have we had to learn the hard way? We may forget or disregard instruction and that has led to painful consequences. The wise person will make the most of these opportunities and learn from them.

When a person is “born from above” Jesus Christ is “born” in them by the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and the natural expectation is that the spiritually newly born will grow to spiritual maturity. We call it “new birth” and “born again” in recognition of the fact that God has created something new that did not exist before.

Spiritual learning and maturity come through instruction that originates in God and application in and through life experiences. When we forget or disregard instruction we may suffer painful consequences and hopefully be the wiser in future.

In Galatians 4:8-20 Paul expresses his fear that the Christians in Galatia were not growing or maturing in the way that would normally be expected. Something was wrong and he knew what it was.

He had called them “foolish” (3:1) because they had turned back to following religious ritual and works as a means of trying to please God instead of enjoying a relationship with Him. This had never pleased God before so why would it please Him now? That is why he called them foolish. They had been justified by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and they should remain true to that by continuing to live by faith (3:11).

The object of faith for Christians is Jesus Christ. The Word of God is the source of knowledge of Jesus Christ. Christ will be formed in us as we grow to maturity spiritually and for that we need the nourishment of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit teaching us through the experiences of life in conjunction with that word. The Lord engineers our experiences with a view to bringing us to maturity. How well we enjoy that journey will depend on our willingness to trust in His sovereign leading and submit to His headship.

When a child does not develop in all areas, physical, mental, emotional and social, we recognise that something is wrong. When a Christian does not go on to spiritual maturity we know that something is wrong as well. Let us all press on to maturity. This will require spiritual food, spiritual exercises, development of godly attributes and service to others. If we allow any of these to fall away we will fall short of spiritual maturity.

On to Maturity

“How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.” Hebrews 2:3

When I was a child my thoughts at Christmas centred on what I might receive as gifts. This is generally the mindset of a child in the early years in regard to most things. As I grew into my teen and early adult years my mind was more concerned with what I could do with the holiday break. Later when I became a father the thought was more on what I would give to my children. This is part of the nature of maturity and taking responsibility in life.

This outline is also true of our walk with our Saviour. We came to Him because of what He is able to give us, eternal life, and take from us, the consequences of sin. As we progressed in our faith we began to look for things to do for Him. In Christian maturity however, we are concerned more with Him and what we can give Him – not get from Him.

In relation to other Christians and family this is also a sign of maturity. No relationship will last if it is based on what we can get out of it. This is why we have so many breakups in marriages and other relationships. They are often based on what one get out of it and not what can put into it.

Just as we want to come to maturity ourselves we also desire this for our children and grandchildren. None of us appreciate a grown person who still thinks only of their own wants and what they can get out of a relationship. The same is true for Christians. Let us go on to maturity and do all we can to ensure others do likewise.

What do you give to someone who has everything? Fortunately, in the Bible God lets us know what He desires of us. What He describes is not a list of projects or even a description of how we must live. He does give us a description of godliness in the Bible which is seen most notably in Jesus Christ. The description is not a requirement for acceptance but rather a guide for us so that we know when we are going astray, or remaining true to the nature of the Jesus Christ who lives in us.

We may give ourselves to programs and on special occasions do things for Him but in reality it is each day when we set aside time to be alone with Jesus and His Word that we please Him. It is then that we surrender ourselves afresh to Jesus and give Him the gift He desires. The gift He desires is our heart. When He has our heart He has our all.

Paul writes his expression of this concept in terms of surrendering ourselves to Jesus as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1, 2). That is, we live to please Him and not just to please ourselves.