GET ACQUAINTED: What area of your life have you grown the most this past year? What do you attribute it to?
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 5:11-6:12
REVIEW: Often, in fun, I state that I wished I had a magic pill I could give everyone who attended our 101 Class (Discovering Sierra Vista) and “poof” they were spiritually mature. Wouldn’t it be nice if spiritual maturity came that easy? But the truth of the matter is that spiritual maturity is achieved through becoming more like Jesus Christ; and that takes work! After salvation, every Christian begins the process of spiritual growth, with the intent to become spiritually mature. According to the apostle Paul, it’s an ongoing process that will never end in this life. In Philippians 3:12-14 , speaking of full knowledge of Christ, he tells his readers that he, himself, has not “already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Like Paul, we have to press continually toward deeper knowledge of God in Christ.
Christian maturity requires a radical reordering of our priorities, changing over from pleasing self to pleasing God and learning to obey God. The key to maturity is consistency; perseverance in doing those things we know will bring us closer to God. These practices are referred to as the spiritual disciplines and include things such as Bible reading/study, prayer, fellowship, service, and stewardship (the very things Pastor Ruben has been speaking about in this series). No matter how hard we might work on those things, however, none of this is possible without the enabling of the Holy Spirit within us. Galatians 5:16 tells us that we’re to “walk by the Spirit.” The Greek word used here for “walk” actually means “to walk with a purpose in view.” Later in the same chapter, Paul tells us again that we’re to “walk by the Spirit.” Here, the word translated “walk” has the idea of taking things “step by step, one step at a time.” It is learning to walk under the instruction of another—the Holy Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit means we walk under the Spirit’s control. As we submit more and more to the Spirit’s control, we will also see an increase in the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23 ). This is characteristic of spiritual maturity. Remember what I often say, “A Spirit-filled life is a word-filled life!”
When we become Christians, we are given all we need for spiritual maturity. Peter tells us that “[God’s] divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3 ).
God alone is our resource, and all growth comes by grace through Him, but we are responsible to make the choice to obey.
Peter again helps us in this area: “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8 ). Being effective, faithful, and fruitful in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus is the essence of spiritual maturity.
Used by permission and some excerpts from gotquestions.org
How does solid food help us mature in Christ? “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14 )
What is wrong with this “prolonged maturity” that the writer mentions: “4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.” (Hebrews 6:4-6 ) Do you think the writer is talking about losing their salvation here? Why or why not?
What does the agricultural analogy suggest? “7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.” (Hebrews 6:7-8 )
Who are these people? Were they true believers gone bad? Were they those who hung around true believers, but ultimately turned away (look at Hebrews 3:16 )? Were they borderline believers who need to examine themselves?
How and why does the author encourage his readers to do “better”? “9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:9-12 )
When have you been spiritually lazy? What motivated you again?