Build and Encourage Maturity

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

From Ephesians:

Each one of us, however, has been given grace to be measured by the Messiah’s bounty.  This is why it says:

“After he went up into the heights, he led captivity captive, and he gave gifts to mankind. “

Now this phrase, “he went up,” what can it mean if not that he first went down into the lower parts, that is, the earth?  The one who went down is himself the one who also went up, far above all of heaven, in order to fill all things.  Furthermore, he gave some people as emissaries, some as prophets, some as proclaimers of the Good News, and some as shepherds and teachers.  Their task is to equip God’s people for the work of service that builds the body of the Messiah, until we all arrive at the unity implied by trusting and knowing the Son of God, at full manhood, at the standard of maturity set by the Messiah’s perfection.

Grace is given to do.  Each one receives an assignment to accomplish.  Those assignments are to benefit the whole body not just the individual.  They are given with gifts that enable us to fulfill the assigned tasks.  They are meant to “equip God’s people” for “work  of service;” actions that build up the body of believers with goals of unity and maturity.

It could be said that even as we work at maturing physically, we have work to do to mature spiritually. We provide food for growth from infancy to adulthood.  We provide instruction to enable youth to navigate the adult world and its requirements.  In the same way, believers are required to assist one another in their spiritual growth.

As we are obedient to our assigned tasks the members of the kingdom of God are able to encourage the maturing of its individual members.  Instructions are given in God’s Word.  Food is provided in God’s Word.  If there is a famine of hearing God’s Word, there will be a subsequent lack of maturity and weakness among the body of believers.

Pray – Deal generously with your servant; then I will live and observe your word.  Open my eyes, so that I will see…

Repent – I repent for the time I did not pick up my cross; did not fulfill my assignment as I should.

Ask – Teach me, Adonai, the way of your laws; keeping them will be its own reward for me.

Yes – Turn my eyes away from worthless things; with your ways give me life.

Source: Ephesians and Psalms

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The foundation is Christ and Christ alone…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

I Corinthians 3:1-23

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,

for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?

For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.

For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.

For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.

If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.

If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.

 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,”

and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”

So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours,  whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

Sermons have been written, presented and given on individual verses and statements drawn from this  text.  Overall, it seems we can only give credit to God and his work.  We do what we are given to do by the Spirit within us but it is not our doing–the outcome is his doing.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

…So let no one boast in men. …you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s….

We can rejoice that we have understanding given to us by the Spirit.  We can rejoice that we have Christ and that we are Christ’s.    Let us grow up in the Lord, in our relationship with Him.  Then it can be said of us that we have moved beyond the need for milk and have come to a place where we can grow on the meat of the gospel; we demonstrate maturity and avoid strife, squabbling and division.  When we argue and fight is it not out of personal pride?  If our focus is on Christ then Christ alone is what matters.

…fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it…. you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?…

Let go of self and take hold of Christ.

…Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise….