MCCC - Grow Up in Jesus
April 16, 2018 | Didi Bacon
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 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.
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16 (NASB)
The family is God’s institution for rearing children. The church is God’s institution for rearing Jesus followers. Paul says that the leaders of the church are called and gifted by the Holy Spirit. Gifted for what? To help the church "grow up". To help the babies become children. To help children become teens. To help teens become adult parents. The work of the church is to be a family of faith that produces grown-up Jesus followers.
There is nothing like seeing your children grow up, especially when it comes to their faith. 3 John 1:4 says - “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” God’s desire is for us to grow up in the faith. When God enters into our lives, He does not come in to control and smother and possess. He comes into grow and release and delight. It is a fellowship thing. It is a walk together, live together thing. And how do we grow in Jesus? We grow because God walks with us by His Spirit. We grow because we live in a family of faith. We grow because we commit ourselves to what it takes to follow Jesus. We make the total life commitment that is meant by taking up our cross.
If you are new in the faith, then seek to be fed. Babies do not apologize for being hungry. No, they demand to feed because that is what they need to live. If you are new in the faith, pursue being fed. Ask God to bring “spiritual parents” in your life who will feed you the basics. If you are a child in the faith, you need to learn how to apply the basics. Children naturally ask questions and experiment to learn. If you are a child in Christ, learn from those who walk in Jesus ahead of you. If you are a teen in the faith, then learn to love. Love is giving yourself to others for their best. Service is love in action. Babies and children are self-centered. That’s how you can identify a young Christian; it is all about their preferences and their story and their needs. Maturity comes from being others focused. If you want to grow up, you do it through service. That is why we hear over and over again, that our mission trips do more for those who serve than those who were served. They are growing up in Jesus. And finally grow to be a spiritual parent. How do you know you are a parent? You have kids! In the context of faith, it means you have someone looking to you as a model or example of how to follow Jesus.
Every one of us has circles of influence. God places people in our relationship network. Those in your circle of friends there are those who are most likely to be your mentors in the faith. In the same way, there are those in your circle of relationship may be your spiritual children in the faith. This how it works. God is doing His part. Those leading the church have to to do their part. We who the church have to do our part.