Series: Other Speakers
Sun am 9th January 2011 – Shane Egypt
Phil. 3:12, 14; Gal. 4:19; 1 John 2:1, 12-14; Heb. 5:12-14; Eph. 4:13-16; John 17:20-21; Luke 1:31-38
I want to speak to you about the phrase, “press on to maturity.” I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:12, 14). This is not to say that we are infants or immature, but I want us to reflect on the process and the growth path that we all need to live in and aspire to. We know that when we come to God and we give our lives to Him, we are newly born, we are babes; we are infants. If you have been living with God for a while and you hear His Word everyday, and you still remain an infant, there is a problem. Is it a problem with the Holy Spirit? Is there a problem with God?
The cry of every authentic father ministry is for us to grow up and mature. My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you— (Gal. 4:19). If it says “again” it means there is another travail. The first travail was to see those in darkness translated to light, those who are out of the Kingdom to be born into the Kingdom of God. But this is not the travail he is talking about, because he says “I am in travail again for a process to happen in your life.”
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1). This is the infant stage. What you need at this stage is milk. You can’t give a baby solid food. I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake (1 John 2:12). This is reflecting on the fact that our sins are forgiven. But we cannot remain there; we need to move on.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil (Heb. 5:12-14). There has been a growing process. The key verse is that the Word of God needs to abide in us.
In a congregation like Bizweni there needs to be different levels, but if you have been here for years, by now you should be a teacher of the Word, not going back to the elementary stages of sin consciousness. We need to upgrade.
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 (Eph. 4:13). If we speak about “measure” then it means you are being weighed. We know that God weighs us. There’s a plumb line which is the stature that 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 (Eph. 4:14-15).
The world is waiting for us. We are seeking maturity, but not for ourselves. We are seeking to be in this process and move forward not for ourselves, but for the world. So Paul says, “Press on, attain.”
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:31 & 35). There’s a role that the Holy Spirit plays in this process. The Holy Spirit takes of Christ and discloses it to us. We have to give Him room. And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her (vs. 38). We are coming back to the living Word that needs to abide within us so we can grow up.
You cannot remain a member on a database; you need to become sons of God. We again reflect on a process of growth that needs to happen.
We experience this transitional frustration where we need to move from one level to another, and there’s a tension there. We know what we need to take hold of, but it seems like if we reach out, we cannot get there. It seems impossible, but there’s a growth process and we need to allow the Holy Spirit to be part of that process.
Lord, continually transform us, re-construct us. The grain of wheat must first die and then it will reproduce. Self-denial and death to self is part of this process. Where will we see Him? God has a suitable administration, He has chosen the Body. Let us grow up and not remain infants.
Lord; may it be done to me according to your word