The Purpose Of The Church Part 5 STABILITY
D) That Maturity is seen in 3 things / 1st That we would become more like Christ - 2nd More stable in our walks more Grounded - less Childish
1) 3rd That we would be functioning as a unit and fulfilling our role w/ in the body of Christ. A Godly Cooperation
Begin with More Stable grounded / less Childish
V.14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
A) The life of a child - Baby first born - carried & breast fed / then crawling & being spoon fed - then toddler - eating solids / walking - eating meat
B) Good description of Christian growth - Baby in the Lord 1st born again - need to feed on the milk - get down the basic - carried & supported a while
C) Next comes - crawling stage - spoon fed - going to studies
1) Toddler - good description - unsteady - falling down getting up
D) Good description of early days in the Lord - widespread emotions - highs & lows ups & downs –
Desperate need to get grounded - to get solid - to begin to eat meat / begin to really walk - stand on solid ground
A solid Christian is one who eats meat and applies it –
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a baby.14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
But unfortunately there are many Christians who forever remain toddlers - being tossed to & fro chasing - stumbling after winds of Doc.
I’m sorry to say that in many churches, sermons cannot be longer than 25 minutes. And during those 25 minutes, the preacher better have lots of stories and jokes because people choke on meat. But once you start studying Scripture seriously, you start gaining strength, your spiritual muscles start bulging, and you hunger for more than pabulum week after week.
I had a big chunk of prime rib last night on the Rogue River. When I finished it, I thought I would never have prime rib again. But you know, a day has passed, and I could go for another piece right now! So too, you might leave here tonight, saying, ‘That was sure a long study,’ — but if you’re walking, exercising, growing in the Lord, you’ll be back for more on Sunday, saying, ‘Serve it up again. I’m hungry!’
ii. Being dull of hearing is not a problem with the ears, but a
problem with the heart - you just aren’t really interested in
what God has to say to you. Not wanting to hear the Word
of God points to a genuine spiritual problem!
b. These Christians who felt like giving up with Jesus were also
dull of hearing. The dullness usually comes first, then the desire
to give up. Watch out when the Word of God starts seeming dull to
c. They have become dull of hearing. Become is an important
word. It indicates that they didn’t start out that dull of hearing, but
became that way.
2. (12a) Their failure to mature is exposed.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone
to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God;
a. By this time: According to the time they had been followers of
Jesus, they should have been much more mature than they were.
b. You ought to be teachers: It wasn’t that these were unique
people who would hold a unique role of teaching. Instead, they
ought to be teachers in the sense that all Christians should be
i. There is an important sense in which every Christian must
be a teacher, because we can all help disciple others. We
really only master something after we have effectively taught
it to someone else. Teaching is the final step of learning.
c. You need someone to teach you again the first principles of
the oracles of God: This isn’t to their credit. It isn’t that the first
principles are “beneath” the mature Christian. Rather, the sense
is that one should be able to teach one’s self, and remind one’s self
of these first principles of the oracles of God.
3. (12b-14) A contrast between milk and solid food.
And you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone
who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness,
for he is a baby. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age,
that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to
discern both good and evil.
a. And you have come to need milk: Milk corresponds to the first
principles of Hebrews 6:12. Solid food is the “meatier” material
such as understanding the connection between Jesus and
Melchizedek. It isn’t that milk is bad; but these Christians should
have added solid food to their diet. Peter reminds us all as
newborn babys, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may
grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2).
b. In the original language, the sense of for he is a baby is for he
has become a baby. There is nothing more delightful than a true
baby in Jesus. But there is nothing more irritating and depressing
than someone who should be mature but who has become a baby!
i. Have you become a baby? Perhaps your Christian life is
unstable. Babies are handed from one person to another;
babies are tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine
ii. Have you become a baby? Perhaps you are divisive in
your Christian life. Babies each have their own crib that they
stick to; babies have their particular denomination or church
that they think of as “my church.”
iii. Have you become a baby? Perhaps you are star-struck
by Christian celebrities of one kind or another. Babies are
focused on one particular person (mommy); babies glory in
men (I am of Paul, I am of Apollos).
v. Have you become a baby? Perhaps you are fussy and
cranky with others. Babies can be cranky; babies will fuss
over any little thing.
c. Is unskilled in the word of righteousness: Those who have
become babies reveal themselves because they are unskilled in
the word of righteousness. We don’t expect brand new
Christians to be skilled in the word of righteousness, but those
who have been Christians for a time should be.
d. Who by reason of use have their senses exercised to
discern both good and evil: Our senses are exercised (trained
by practice and habit) to discern both good and evil (doctrinally,
not morally). How are our senses exercised? Plainly, by reason
of use. When we decide to use discernment, we mature.
i. These Christians demonstrated immaturity by both their
lack of discernment between good and evil and in their
contemplation of giving up with Jesus. The mature Christian
is marked by their discernment and by their unshakable
commitment to Jesus Christ.
ii. The ability to discern is a critical measure of spiritual
maturity. Babies will put anything in their mouths! Babies
are weak in discernment, and will accept any kind of spiritual
e. Have their senses exercised: It can be said that all five human
senses have their spiritual counterparts.
i. We have a spiritual sense of taste: If indeed you have
tasted that the Lord is gracious (1 Peter 2:3). Taste and see
that the LORD is good! (Psalm 34:8)
ii. We have a spiritual sense of hearing: Hear and your soul
shall live (Isaiah 55:3). He who has an ear, let him hear
what the Spirit says to the churches (Revelation 2:7).
iii. We have a spiritual sense of sight: Open my eyes, that I
may see wondrous things from Your law (Psalm 119:18).
The eyes of your understanding (heart) being enlightened
iv. We have a spiritual sense of smell: He shall be of quick
scent in the fear of the LORD (Isaiah 11:3, RV margin). I am
full, having received from . . . you, a sweet-smelling aroma
v. We have a spiritual sense of touch or feeling: Because
your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before the
LORD (2 Kings 22:19). The hardening of their heart; who
being past feeling, have given themselves over to
licentiousness (Ephesians 4:18-19).
But unfortunately there are many Christians who forever remain toddlers - being tossed to & fro chasing - stumbling after winds of Doc.
A) Did you know there are fads in the Church that come and go like fashions in clothes?
B) Immature Christians are always riding the crest of a new fad, forever picking up the newest thing that has hit.
D) One such new fad - Holy laughter - Toronto blessing - Pensacola revival Laughing uncontrollably for hrs / barking oinking / flapping /
1) No Scriptural basis - getting people’s eyes off of Jesus & onto experience ! H.S. will testify of Me - Glorify me - focus me
D) Marks of Childishness / - Emotional - fickle / undiscerning / chasing fads
Paul uses some pretty descriptive words in describing this spiritual immaturity - and instability
A) Tossed to & fro describe a boat - lost at sea w/ no anchor - just tossed about by the wind & the waves
B) Sadly that is the description of many people today w/ in the Christian Church. - Tossed to & fro - one false teaching to the next
1) Never growing never stabilizing - but only obtaining a false sense a spirituality.
C) Shouldn’t really be surprised ! 2 Tim. 4: 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears,( Lit. an itch for novelty - that which is new ) they will heap up for themselves teachers;
4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
Kubeia (trickery) is the term from which we get cube, and was used of dice-playing. Just as today, the dice were often "loaded" or otherwise manipulated by professional gamblers to their own advantage. The term for dice therefore became synonymous with dishonest trickery of any sort. Craftiness (panourgia; see Luke 20:23; 1 Cor 3:19; 2 Cor 12:16) is a similar term, carrying the idea of clever manipulation of error made to look like truth. Methodeia (scheming) is used later in the letter to refer to "the schemes of the devil" (6:11). No doubt it has reference to planned, subtle, systematized error. Paul's point is that neither the trickery of men nor the deceitful scheming of the devil will mislead the spiritually equipped and mature believer.
It is spiritual children TRANSLITERATED pios, lit., one who does not talk), such as were many of the Corinthian believers (1 Cor 3:1; 14:20), who are in constant danger of falling prey to every new religious fad or novel interpretation of Scripture that comes along. Having no thorough knowledge of God's Word, they are tossed here and there by waves of popular sentiment and are carried about by every wind of new doctrine that seems appealing. Because they are not anchored in God's truth, they are subject to every sort of counterfeit truth--humanistic, cultic, pagan, demonic, or whatever. The New Testament is replete with warnings against this danger (see Acts 20:30-31; Rom 16:17-18; 2 Cor 11:3-4; Gal 1:6-7; 3:1; Col 2:4-8; 1 Tim 4:1,6-7; 2 Tim 2:15-18; 3:6-9; 4:3; Heb 13:9; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 2:19,26).
The immature Christian is gullible; and in the history of the church no group of believers has fallen into more foolishness in the name of Christianity than has much of the church today. Despite our unprecedented education, sophistication, freedom, and access to God's Word and sound Christian teaching, it seems that every religious huckster (cf. 2 Cor 2:17; 4:2; 11:13-15) can find a ready hearing and financial support from among God's people. The number of foolish, misdirected, corrupt, and even heretical leaders to whom many church members willingly give their money and allegiance is astounding and heartbreaking.
The cause of this spiritual plight is not hard to find. A great many evangelists have presented an easy-to believe gospel and a great many pastors have taught an almost contentless message. In many places the Body of Christ has not been built up in sound doctrine or in faithful obedience. Consequently there is little doctrinal solidarity ("unity of faith") and little spiritual maturity ("knowledge of the Son of God... to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ").
Just as many families today are dominated by their children, so are many churches. It is tragic when the church's children--spiritually immature believers (cf. 1 John 2:13-14) who change their views with every wind of doctrine and continually fall prey to men's trickery and Satan's craftiness and deceitful scheming--are found among its most influential teachers and leaders.
And notice, “by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.” Now, it is a fact that there are men today, and there always have been throughout the long history of the Church, men whose motives are self-centered, men who are not really serving the Lord Jesus Christ, but who are impostors. Now no one likes to hear that. And whenever you make those kinds of statements, people will accuse you of being harsh, or divisive, or something like that. But the fact of the matter is, there always have been, and there still are presently, people who are self-proclaimed servants of God, but they are not serving the Lord at all. They’re really just serving themselves. And we’ve got to be aware of that. And we can’t just pretend like that sort of thing doesn’t happen. It does happen. And we’ve got to be on our guard lest we be carried about with every wind of doctrine, and come under some sort of deception. It’s out there.
Many, many churches have suffered as a result of false teaching. Many churches that had a glorious beginning have not survived. Many have divided, and split, and been torn apart over false teaching. And yet you look at a ministry like this one for example, and you see that in the more than thirty years of the existence of this fellowship that sort of thing has not occurred, and I attribute that to the fact that the Word of God has been faithfully taught. And as the Word of God is being faithfully proclaimed and received, it builds up, in a sense, an immunity to false teaching.
Now when it comes to false doctrine there are times when it’s important to maybe point out various doctrines that are aberrant, and maybe even at times make reference to those who are promoting them. And there are occasions when I would do something like that. I tended to do it a lot more in the past than I do now days. And there is a place to do that, but the best way to really protect ourselves against that is just to have a firm foundation in the Word itself. Rather than going out and trying to understand all of the bizarre teaching out there, and all of the intricacies of weird doctrinal ideas, if we just saturate ourselves in the truth, if we just immerse ourselves in the Word of God we will be immune, we’ll be protected.
You know it is a fact that when they are training a person to detect counterfeit currency, they train them by allowing them to only handle real currency. And they become so familiar with the real currency, the very instant they touch a counterfeit bill they know it’s counterfeit, because they’ve become so familiar with the way the true currency feels. And our best defense really is a good offence. Our best way to defend against false teaching is to know the truth. And so when you’re rooted and grounded in the truth, when something that is not true comes along, you just know it. You might not even know all of the details why, but it just doesn’t have that ring of truth to it.
And so let’s talk for a few minutes about the things that lend themselves to developing us spiritually, the things that we need to be involved in as Christians to be growing and to be becoming the people that God wants us to be. They’re simple things. You know God has made it really simple. He hasn’t made it complicated. There are just a few things that we need to be doing. And if we’re doing those things then we’re going to be growing. In the second chapter of Acts we find there that the early Christians continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, in fellowship, in breaking of bread, and in prayer. And as you look at those things, those are really the foundational things that as Christian people we need to be involved in. And if we’re immersing ourselves in those things then we’re going to be growing up in all things in Christ.
So he said first of all that, “they continued in the apostles’ doctrine.”
You know there was a time when all over Orange County you would find people carrying their Bibles everywhere they went. You couldn’t go to a restaurant without finding a bunch of people with their Bibles there. And it was one of the marks of the revival that was taking place in this area twenty years ago or so, twenty-five years ago. One of the features of that revival was such a commitment to the Word that people just took their Bibles with them wherever they went, and would frequently open the Bible, and be sharing the Word with one another and with anybody else that happened to come by, and be curious about what was going on. And I look around today. And I see that things have changed as time has passed. And you know there are churches now today in the Orange County area, big churches, lots of people coming, but if you brought your Bible even to church they would look at you like [you are] a weirdo. You know in a lot of churches today you don’t need to bring your Bible because they do it all for you. They have a large screen T.V. sort of a set up, and they just flash the Scriptures up on the screen, or they give you a little handout when you come in that has the verses that the pastor is going to be talking about. And don’t bother to bring your Bible. These churches they want to make it [as] easy as possible. They realize the Bible can be a little bit heavy to lug around, so, hey, you don’t even have to bring a Bible. We’ll do it for you. We’ll hand you a little handout. And you can just tear it up and throw it away afterward if you want to.
And I think we’ve lost something. We’ve lost that fervency for the Word that once existed, that fervency for the Word that was manifest by the fact that people had the Word with them all the time. They just were so into the Word that they didn’t want to be without it, because at any given moment they knew that they could maybe have an opportunity to open it and share it with somebody else, and that sort of a thing. And I pray to God that we could have a reoccurrence of that kind of an attitude, and that sort of a thing happen. I think that would be a great thing if we could see that happen again, people just taking their Bibles wherever they went, not like a bunch of Pharisees walking around Bible thumping people, and that sort of a thing. That wasn’t going on back then, but just because we’re committed to the Word—we love the Word of God, and so we just want to have it with us wherever we are.
One guy, I just, I greatly admire him, in so many different areas of his life, is Jon Courson
3rd Mark of maturity found in v.16 - Functioning as a unit - Godly co-operation - 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
A) Again Paul’s imagery here is powerful - joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share,
B) Joints & Ligaments - knit together - perfect fit !
C) Bones w/ out Ligaments tendons - painful - bone on bone -
D) Almost machine like - every part doing it share - causing the body to grow
1) Growth that is seen in love !
So maturity is seen in coming into that place where you know your role - you know your place - you know where you fit .
A) And you are functioning in that capacity to cause those around you to be built up & grow in love !
B) Doing away w/ petty divisions - of selfishness - of competition and garbage like that -
1) Healthy team work - moving & functioning to build up one another !
A man broke his left arm. One night when he couldn't sleep, he imagined a dialogue between his right and left hands. Right Hand said, "Left Hand, you are not missed. Everybody's glad it was you that was broken and not me. You are not very important." Left Hand asked, "How are you superior?"
Right Hand replied, "Why, my owner cannot write a letter without me."
Left Hand: "But who holds the paper on which he writes?"
Right Hand: Who swings the hammer?” Left Hand: "Who holds the nail?"
Right Hand: "Who guides the plane when the carpenter smoothes a board?"
Left Hand: "Who steadies the board?"
Right Hand: "When our owner walks down the street and lifts his hat to greet someone, which of us does it?"
Left Hand: "Who holds the briefcase while he does it?" Then he continued, "Let me ask you a question. When our owner shaved yesterday, you held the razor, but his face is cut because I wasn't there to help. Also, our owner's watch has stopped. Why? You may do the winding, but if I'm not there to hold it, the watch won't get wound. You can't take money out of his wallet to pay for something because I'm not there to hold it. The master can do very few things without me."
So, too, does each of us have a place of service for the Lord. None is greater just different.
Now in order for that type of Unity to take place there are two attitudes that need to be avoided
A) The first is feeling like we are insignificant - I don’t have a place & I don’t fit in God can’t use me / no abilities
B) - notice what Paul says in light of that attitude
14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.
19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
A) Paul says that if your foot should say, "Well I can't do all the things a hand does. It's so flexible. It is hooked onto that long arm, & it is used all the time.
B) I can't wiggle my toes like the hand can wiggle the fingers; I just can't do what the hand can do, therefore I really don't belong in this body,"
1) That would be ridiculous!
C) Paul says Just because the foot can’t do what the hand does doesn’t make it any less part of the body !
D) Or If the ear says, "Because I can't see like an eye, I am not part of the body," the ear is deceiving itself. It is part of the body.
1) Now as humorous as this is - this type of thinking does go on in the Church !
E) So & so is so gifted - or so & so is always up front - I wish I could do that - but the question is where has God placed you / how gifted you .
1) Listen John Randle sing - I wish I could sing like that - Plus he plays
he can preach & he surfs - why he get all gifts
F) Fantasy - Rock star - God knew I couldn’t handle it ! - So gave me zero musically abilities
Point is God has gifted each one of us & desires us to use those gifts & develop our gifts / realizing we are all different ! we seek to
A) The Apostle is saying that if you think of yourself as a member of the church, the Body of Christ, and you say to yourself,
B) "Well, because I can't stand up and sing or preach or teach or lead a meeting, there is really nothing I can do in the Body of Christ,"
1) you are deceiving yourself! And You have not changed reality any.
You are still a part of the body. You have a part to play
b) And if you are not using your gift or not really being a part of the body / just showing up - listen & go - you are robbing the body - thumb
C) Part of the reason why we struggle w/ things like this is because we have forgotten what the purpose of the Church is !
1) We have the tendency to think the main work of the Church is to have a great meeting on Sunday mornings
D) When in reality the soul purpose of meetings like this is to build up equip & strengthen the Church to go out & affects its world
1) And to equip the body to minister to each other & build one another up to stir up love & good works
E) If the only ministry that ever take place thru the Body of CC Vista is what goes on in this building - we are falling way short of our purpose & calling!
F) what we do here is merely part of the training program. We do not come to church to fulfill the work of the church.
1) We come here to get ready to be used out there in the world
G) We are the body of Christ & He is seeking to live His life through us today as the members of His body - to reach this world ! ( Incarnation lives on)
Quote Stedman : We have been so brainwashed with the conventional idea of the church that we need to be dynamited out of that concept, to capture again the glorious excitement of Jesus Christ walking through the hurt of this world and touching with a healing hand, by the instruments of his people, the blind eyes, the lame legs, the hurting & destroyed lives all
That is what the work of the church is: Christ in us at work in the world.
Now if you have that kind of mindset you realize that - every part of the body is important & vital ! And Diversity is Necessary & Important
A) Paul says "If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?"
A) Youth Pastor Football - eye ball - like my baby - date - w/ the eye !
B) What a ridiculous body it would be if we all did the same thing & the work of the Church only consisted of what takes place on Sunday mornings
C) So I hope that is clear, & forever settles the question of feeling insignificant as part of the body. You cannot say to yourself,
1) "There is no place for me," for there definitely is.
Now let us take the next problem that surfaces in a church, an independent spirit:
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.
21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."
22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.
23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,
24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,
25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
A) It is amazing that in many congregations people get the idea that they do not need the rest of the body; they can function on their own;
1) they have their own abilities, their own ministry, and they can do things quite apart from others.
B) This always creates a sense of competitiveness, of rivalry.
C) I have played on some Basketball teams that were this way - whoever got the rebound would dribble the length of the court & shoot .
1) Wouldn’t pass if life depended on it !
D) Great rebounding teams -fighting w/ your own players for rebounds - only way you would have a chance to shoot.
E) Now Paul’s says that if that type of independent spirit manifested itself in your physical body it would cause some major problems
1) What would happen if the eye said, "I don't need the rest of the body. I'll just roll around seeing things and let the rest of the body go."
F) That eye ball would instantly go blind & the body would go around bumping into everything !
1) That type of independent spirit is equally as damaging in the body of Christ !
G) The instant any part of the body says to any other part, “I don’t need you!” it begins to weaken & die & creates problems for the body as a whole
But Diversity in the body is an evidence of the wisdom of God.
A) All these different members doing their part to fulfill the function of the body as a whole !
C) Now When Paul speaks of the weaker parts of the body - he isn’t talking about strength - or significance - but of Visibility
1) There are the parts of our body - that are visible - hands feet
D) But there are the parts which are unseen - but are not less - in fact those unseen parts are vital - Heart & Brain ! Blood etc.
E) So too there are those in the body of Christ who may not ever be seen yet they are the Life & the blood of the Church
1) Example those who pray !
So one thing that is vitally important to maintaining our unity is realizing our diversity - Many members diff. Functions And No one is insignificant
But the most important thing in maintaining our unity is to keep our eyes on the Head !