Posts tagged Church
How Do We Mature?

When we discover something for the first time and like what we’ve learned, we usually get excited about it. We can remember the excitement of skateboarding, fly fishing or putting on makeup for the first time. Similarly, many of us recall our excitement when we first came to Christ. We experienced His forgiveness and acceptance. We wanted to shout it from the rooftops.

Many new believers are on fire for evangelism and may impulsively walk into the coffee break room at work and declare the Gospel to every bleary-eyed coffee drinker in the room. Or we take the microphone at a family reunion and preach a ten-minute sermon when all they asked us to do was open with prayer. We buttonhole our team at the bowling league and drive them to distraction with our over-the-top testimonials about Jesus! Ugh! Even seasoned Christians might get tired of this type of over enthusiastic evangelism!

As admirable as this enthusiasm is, the Bible teaches us that we need to mature, allowing older Christians to counsel us. Just as sixteen-year-olds need driver’s training to go along with new driving privileges, newborn Christians need mentoring. Mature believers in our church have the responsibility to recognize that new Christians need help. In their passion for Jesus, new Christians may be judgmental. They may rightly identify sin but could harshly condemn it in others, without the love and gentleness more mature men and women of faith might exercise. Baby Christians can be quite demanding in their desire to be fed. Just as newborn babies demand feeding, baby Christians insist on getting attention. Full-grown believers must teach and offer loving suggestions for contemplation, personal Bible study, prayer, and corporate worship. Allow new believers to mature before electing them to positions of leadership (see 1 Timothy 3:6).

The body of Christ in our world today has many members, and each must nurture the other. New Christians must submit to the authority of the mature members, while the mature saints must not smother the ardor of the new ones. In unity, the work of Christ moves forward.

The Importance of Unity

Many church choirs are very good. They’re easy on the ears because there is a unified blending between the higher and lower voices. The choir members have common goal, mixing their voices together to create harmony. Sports teams that win championships aren’t always the ones with the most talented athletes. More often, they are the teams that have few superstars but really are united as a team.

Ever wonder why that is so? When people have common goals, like great harmony or winning a championship, they put aside their own agendas and work for that goal. However, if individual egos emerge, disunity destroys the harmony. This is why so many great teams fall apart after big wins. Too many egos want credit and demand bigger contracts. Without unity, the common goal is unreachable.

It is very much the same with the church. The most effective church is one that has the unified purpose of spreading the love of God. The goal is to preach the Good News and nurture those who hear and accept the Word. When new believers accept Christ, they may think that that is enough. But seasoned Christians know that the devil is prowling around, waiting to cause believers to stumble. It is absolutely necessary for new Christians to have a safe and harmonious refuge where they can be nurtured and taught. Then they can grow in Christ. We must commit ourselves to harmony in our churches so that each believer can be an effective servant of Christ.

Come and See

Welcome When Jesus was gathering His disciples, He would often say "Come and See" to them to encourage the men to investigate and observe something about which they were skeptical. As we enter into 2016, make a simple resolution to focus on one thing. That should be Jesus. Many of us are unsure about who Jesus really was...or is... In 2016 make it a point to Come and See Jesus.

You will know you have investigated Jesus thoroughly when you are left with two very difficult choices. One the one hand, your reading about Him will lead you to see that He claimed to be the Son of God, forgiver of sins, one with the Father and the ONLY way to salvation. Wow! That a tough resume to swallow. That's like an office co-worker standing up at the office Christmas party and declaring that he is a cheeseburger!!  Probably take him to the emergency room ourselves or at least take his punch glass away from him.

On the other hand, you will see that Jesus had a remarkable effect on His disciples. Those men didn't get mansions upon the death of Jesus.  None of them got a reality TV show, book deal or had Brad Pitt play them in the movie version of their lives. No! Every one of His followers went to difficult lives and violent deaths. Now, did they die for a lie? Or, most likely, did the disciples all go to their deaths because they saw the Risen Savior, believed in His Lordship and salvation and went willingly to their deaths because they knew Jesus...and knew He was the real deal? And, then, how does a person explain the 2000 years of Christianity around the world if Jesus was a lie?

The only thing that investigation of Jesus denies us is the cop-out where we say, "Jesus is a good man, lovely sayings, good ethics ". When we know the true historical Jesus, we must decide. He is either a liar, lunatic or Lord.

Come and See for yourself in 2016.