One of the things that will make you steady is to realize that God doesn’t change and He isn’t going to drop you.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Well, I’ve been praying that God might take what we say today to each other and might specially fit it for some special need in your life. I trust that that might be so.
The wonderful thing about the word of God is that it always fits, doesn’t it? And I rejoice, grateful for the privilege of being back with you. Once again, we’re looking at the book of Ephesians chapter 4 verse 14. Now, this is all part of a process. God gave gifts for a purpose. What purpose? For the perfecting of the saints, the work of the ministry, the building up of the body of Christ. What happens? “Till we come in the unity the faith and the knowledge,” that means personal experience of the Son of God, “unto a perfect,” that means growing up according to God’s blueprint, “unto the measure of the stature.” That means you’ve grown up enough, so you can take it in, “of the fullness of Christ”, and that fullness is the very expression of what God is, who and what He is.
Now, what else then is part of the process of growing up? This is verse 14. “That we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the slight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby the lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, He who 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.”
It’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it? Now, let’s go back then to the beginning of Verse 14. “That we henceforth be no more children.” Now, you have different words for children, or Jesus spoke of his disciples, sometimes as little children, a diminutive affectionate term for those who are near and dear. John, the beloved apostle, does the same thing in his epistle. But here you have a word that means infants or very young children, infants or very young children. No more infants or very young children. The growing up process is important. Paul, the apostle, said, when I spoke to you, I couldn’t really speak to you as grown-ups but as infants. “I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, even as unto babes In Christ. I’ve fed you with milk and not with meat, for hitherto, you’re not able to bear it, neither now yet are you able.” So on.
The marks of immaturity are there. You’ll see carnality, envying, strife, divisions. One says, “I’m following Paul,” another says “I’m following Apollos.” Said, “Isn’t that carnal?” Why, he said, Even Paul and Apollos, they’re just ministers by whom you believed. And so, he says, I have to deal with you as infants. One of the marks of spiritual immaturity is envying, that means I am upset because he has something I don’t have, either position or property; strife, that means that I disagree so violently that I’m going to insist on having my way; divisions, that means I’m going to found my own group and I’ve got a following and I’ll show them. Divisions. See, there are some of the marks of spiritual immaturity, and it all of course boils down to the idea of “me first.” Remember the old Pennsylvania Dutch proverb…
“First me, then me, after that, you, but not for a long time.”
That’s the real problem that we face, isn’t it? The problem of immaturity and growing up and we have to work on that. Interestingly enough, spiritual growth is something in which you have a part, you have a part in it. As you walk with your Lord, you listen to His voice in the Word of God, the infallible Word of God, the Bible, He and you working together, produce this matter of spiritual growth and you’re no longer a little infant or a toddler, little child, but you begin to grow up into Christ. The marks of immaturity. The disciples showed their immaturity oftentimes, because they… I’m looking now at Luke chapter 9. “There arose a reasoning, among them, which of them should be the greatest. They were arguing about who was the greatest in their group.” And it was a very gated kind of a setup. You had fisherman, you had a tax collector, you had a physician, you had a zealot, an activist, a political activist, Simon, the zealot, you had a money person who turned out to be a villain, Judas Iscariot, and you had some other people who never really distinguished themselves very much by anything. It was sort of a varied group. And so they’re arguing about who should be chairman of the committee. Sound familiar?
Well, Jesus perceiving the thought of their heart to the little child, then said, “Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me and he that is least among you all the same shall be great.” Another place, He said, “Whoever would be chief among you, let him be the slave of all.” Service and humility are God’s measure of greatness. See, one of the things that characterizes spiritual immaturity is the desire to be the most, to be the chief, to be the chairman, to be recognized, to have somebody say, “You did it.” That’s spiritual immaturity and some people never get over it, but there you are. Then he said, John said, “We saw somebody casting out demons in your name and we forbade him because he followeth not us.” Spiritually maturity shows up when you insist on people doing things your way, and joining your group. Jesus, “Don’t forbid him. He that is not against us is for us.”
Make room in your thinking for people whose methods may be different, but whose love for Christ is genuine. Make room in your thinking for people whose personality may be different, maybe they grate on you. I used to have a… Deacon John Houtcamp years ago in Philadelphia, precious brother and a dear, dear friend, now with the Lord a good many years, but he used to have a saying, “Some people are born great, some have greatness thrust upon them, and some people just grate on you.” [chuckle] Well, make room in your thinking for believers whose methods may be different or whose personality may be abrasive and, as we say, grates on you. Make room for them. You’ll be in heaven with them. And so, trust God for them in these days and he’ll give you grace and love.
That’s a mark of immaturity if you insist on other people doing it your way and joining your group. And then this idea of getting back at people. They went to a village of the Samaritans, and they did not receive him. And when his disciples, James and John, saw this, they said, “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as the Elias did?” But he turned and rebuked them. He said, “You don’t know what kind of spirit you are, why the Son of Man has not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” See, the desire to get back at people. You want us to burn him up like Elijah did? Small thought here. If you want to be mean, you can always find a scripture verse somewhere to give you an excuse. Quoting scripture is not always an indication of spirituality. If you wanna be mean, you wanna be selfish, you wanna be carnal, you can probably find some portion of scripture on which to hang your action. They did here, didn’t they? “You want us to burn them up just like Elijah did?” [chuckle]
Elijah, you see how, we’re quoting scripture? [chuckle] He said, “You don’t know what kind of a spirit you are. That’s not the Holy Spirit.” The desire to get back at people is never actuated by the Holy Spirit of God. He’s the spirit of love, the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, so on…
Spiritual immaturity is marked by the desire to take care of your own matters first at the expense of the will of God. A certain man said unto him, “Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.” Jim Mallis told me that in the Tamil language, that is translated “I’ll follow you to the place where there are no fences.” Interesting, isn’t it? Jesus said, “the foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man doesn’t have any place to lay his head.” That the man evidently was changed in his devotion at that point, he said to another “Follow me,” but he said, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.” Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead.” Me first, that’s the key to that phrase. Me first, let me do something first before I yield to Your will. Spiritual immaturity. And another said, “Lord, I’ll follow you, but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home in my house.” Me first, people first, my relationship with others first before you, Lord, doesn’t work, spiritual immaturity.
Well, I’ve run down some of the things there in Luke 9. Just as a little commentary on this matter of “no longer little children.” Stop being an infant. Put the Lord Jesus Christ first in every relationship of life. Let’s stop giving excuses for our selfishness. Let’s give up the luxury of getting back at people. Let’s grow up. Alright. Henceforth, be no more children.
What is another mark then in this verse 14? “Tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.” Changeableness, tossed to and fro. Now, that has to do then with the circumstances that buff at every one of us. When troubles come and the winds of trouble or sorrow blow fiercely about your life, do they toss you? That’s what you’re talking about here. Do they toss you or are you securely rooted and grounded in love? Achieve being rooted and grounded in love, Paul said in Ephesians earlier on, may know the length and breadth and depth and height, and the love of Christ which passes knowledge. Alright.
Tossed to and fro. What happens? You wanted to get that job, and you went and had the job interview and it went so well, and you went out walking on air. You felt you had done well. A day or so later, you called because nothing had happened and you called to find out what happened, and they said, “Well, we’re looking at other people as well.” Your heart sank a bit, but they said, “Well, we’ll let you know. Don’t you call us, we’ll call you.” A week goes by and again you called and they say, “Oh we filled that position. We had someone else that we filled it with.” And your heart sinks and you say, “Oh I prayed so hard for that, and now I wonder if God has forgotten me, or if he’s punishing me or what… ” And doubt begins to fill your heart. Tossed to and fro. That’s what he’s talking about.
One of the things that will make you steady is to realize that God doesn’t change, and He isn’t going to drop you. “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee, said He.” You’re held in Almighty hands. He’s not gonna drop you. “Being confident of this very thing that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Keep steady in Christ. Don’t get tossed around. I’ll come back to this the next time we get together.
Dear Heavenly Father, today, help us to grow up spiritually and stay solid in Thee. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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