This a sermon transcript preached by Timothy Williams. These were preached many years back, some decades ago. Preacher Timothy Williams is not associated with any church, denomination, or ministry. Blessed are those who love the honey of God’s Word!

How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
(Psalm 119:103)

This sermons transcript is located at www.luke1425.org


Sermon Area Basic Introduction

Not Even Death

Not even death can keep a preacher from preaching. A godly preachers words come from fire in the bones. But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. (Jeremiah 20:9)



On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.

There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.

Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted. (Acts 20:7-12)

The sermons normally lasted 45 to 60 but do not grumble that my sermons were long. True by today’s milk toast entertain me Christian standards they are lengthy. But not long when one considers the days are evil and that ignorance floods the church. …making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:16)


Preach The Word
www.luke1425.org


I never preached about the Word of God. Rather I was led by the Holy Spirit to preach the Word.

What I Mean By Sound Doctrine

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season;
correct, rebuke and encourage
with great patience and careful instruction.
(2 Timothy 4:2)

Audio Sermon Files


 

Maturity

Luke 8:11-12- This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.

This parable shows that many “seeds” are believers, but only one “seed” goes onto maturity.

Luke 8:13- Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.

It’s always amazing to me when people believe in “once saved, always saved” because Jesus Christ very clearly said that they “believe,” so they are believers, but in the time of testing they fall away. It can’t get much clearer than this.

Luke 8:14-15- The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

The second reference to seeds discusses believers who fall away. The third reference talks about seeds that remain in church and look mature. They have roots and stalks, everything except the fruit. They refuse to go on to maturity. They possess everything but the maturity that would seal their relationship in Jesus Christ and make their salvation firm. Notice that two-third of those who become Christians do not make it to heaven, according to this parable. One-third, or the remnant, are those who love God with all their heart, all their mind, and all their soul.

Let’s examine the good soil and what makes a good and noble heart. We will see that people grow by hearing and retaining the word of God. We will look at how we mature, what maturity means, and what shows whether or not we are growing in Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 6:1- Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God. . .

If we don’t go on to maturity, we just keep sinning over and over again. If we don’t repent and go onto maturity, then we sin against the blood that sanctified us. We sin against him who has forgiven us, and we are in danger of being cursed.

Hebrews 6:2-6-…instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

As we saw in Luke 8:13, Jesus Christ says they believed for a while but in the time of testing they fell away. Hebrews repeats the same thing. They don’t go onto maturity, but continue to sin over and over again. No real growth occurs. They keep falling back in the

Lord and sinning against the blood that sanctified them. Verse six says they crucify the Son of God all over again and subject him to public disgrace. They cannot be brought back to repentance again. You only get one chance at this.

Hebrews 6:4-6- It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

You only get one chance. If you don’t go on to maturity, all you will only produce thorns and thistles and you will be burned up.

Hebrews 6:7- Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.

God gives us all kinds of blessings. He pours forth answered prayer, gives us his Spirit, gives us encouragement in the word and answers our prayers. Yet how many people receive all these things but only produce thorns and thistles?

Hebrews 6:8- But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

It will be burned. You will be burned, because you do not have any fruit. The “fruit” you produced was thorns and thistles. A lot of people read this passage and say, “This doesn’t mean that you fall away. It means you lose some of your reward. You lose some of the work and things you did for the Lord.” How can that be when your works were thorns and thistles? You will be burned. You don’t really have any works left to be burned up.

Hebrews 6:9- Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your casethings that accompany salvation.

The writer of Hebrews considered this a salvation issue. He says that unless we go onto maturity and produce fruit in Jesus Christ, we are in danger of being burned.

Hebrews 6:10-12- God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

We must go on to maturity. We cannot continually lay a foundation over and over again for the same sins in our life. Self must go. We have to die. We must overcome the sins in our lives.

John 15:1-2- I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Again, this shows people can fall away because at one time they were hooked into Jesus Christ. Verse two says God cuts off every branch in Jesus that bears no fruit. They were in Jesus Christ. If you do not produce fruit and grow unto maturity, you will be cut off. Sadly, I know some people who have been cut off, and they just slowly wither away. When you cut a branch off it doesn’t die immediately. It is a slow process. Some sap and some life still exist. Some green leaves still hang from it. It looks okay, but it slowly withers and dies because it’s not hooked into the vine anymore. In the same way, a lot of people have already been cut off in Jesus Christ. They have some life, and a few green eaves. There may even be some fruit still connected. There may be something that looks like life, but they slowly wither away in Jesus Christ. By the time they finish their life, you will see that they are totally dried up and there’s nothing left.

John 15:6- If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

It cannot be repeated enough that if we refuse to go on to maturity, if we refuse to give up self, if we refuse to come before the Lord and surrender, we will be picked up and burned. We will be cut off because we really only produce thorns and thistles. We might serve, pray, give, and participate in all the things our church does, but we are not maturing in Jesus Christ. We are not bearing his fruit or his likeness. Oh, we are mocking some things in Jesus Christ, but we are not alive in him. So we will be picked up and burned. The prayer of this whole series is Colossians 4:12.

Colossians 4:12- Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.

Do you want to be fully assured of your salvation in Jesus Christ? Then you must go on to maturity. There is no other way. We must wrestle in prayer for one another so that we go on to maturity because so many are just slowly withering away in Jesus Christ. “He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.”

First, we need to admit the truth about ourselves.

Galatians 6:3-If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

How many people think they are mature when they are not even close to maturity? They continue to commit the same sins and they walk in the same ignorance and stupidity as when they first came to Jesus Christ. They are not pressing on to maturity. They are in danger of slowly withering away and being cut off from Jesus Christ. We can’t go on to the mature things in Jesus Christ unless we have permission from the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 6:3- and God permitting, we will do so.

If we want to grow in Jesus Christ and be full assured of our salvation in him, we must press on to maturity. But we can’t go on to maturity unless God gives us permission to do so. How many people learn a few concepts in Jesus Christ and they stay right there? They come to Jesus and receive his blessings and victories and but remain in the same place. They refuse to go on to maturity. They love self too much. The same things always impress them. They learn the same things over and over. They always commit the same stupid sins over and over again. They are still as stupid and ignorant as they were 20 years ago when they came to Jesus Christ. How many people think they are so qualified to discuss all sorts of things in Jesus? They think they are so mature and have something important to say, when God has not given them permission to go on to maturity. They refuse to be taught as babes and so cause all manner of divisions within the body of Jesus Christ. If you put a group of babies in one room, what will happen? Total chaos and destruction. They cause all kinds of troubles for the cause of Jesus Christ. The mature people around them have to make up for their deficiencies. They require constant babysitting, which diverts the mature from what they need to do. The mature hindered because the baby’s prayers are not getting through to Jesus Christ.

Philippians 3:15- All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

God gives true unity among mature Christians. Babies have to be taught. Babies have to be burped, taken care of, watched, and constantly told what to do. They have to be told what is right and wrong, what words to say, and what is proper and improper in Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:15 says those who are mature can be brought to unity because God will make clear to them all things. One of the first signs of maturity is the very fact that God brings together people in fellowship. Babies can’t fellowship. They are only concerned about themselves and their little bit of fun. The mature lay down their lives for one another, and they are naturally drawn together to fellowship. The problem is most people think they are mature in Jesus Christ when they are still babies. That’s why you see so little unity within the body of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 6:3- If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Teenagers are definitely deceived. Don’t teenagers always think of themselves as more mature than they really are? In the same way, many in Jesus Christ are nothing more than teenagers, yet think are so mature. One thing is missing that would show their maturity, true unity and fellowship with those who are mature in Jesus Christ. They get all puffed up and have nowhere to go.

1 Corinthians 8:1-3- Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.

We all have knowledge and understanding. When people come to Jesus Christ, they immediately receive all kinds of new teachings. They get all puffed up in that knowledge, but that doesn’t mean they are mature. They read all kinds of commentaries, listen to sermons, and go to seminars, but they are still just a bunch of babies in Jesus Christ. Now they are all puffed up with nowhere to go. Their ignorance about the ways of God still exists. Their Bible study deceives them. The man who is a baby or a teenager in Jesus Christ is deceived about where he is. That’s why you’d better judge yourself carefully before the Lord to find out if he has allowed you to go on to maturity. Let’s look at the five elements of true growth before we talk about how to go on to maturity. This is how you can know whether or not you are really growing in Jesus Christ. You may not be mature, but these five elements show if you are growing in a way that is really of Jesus Christ.

  1. There must be more death to self in everything that you do. Every time God convicts you of sin, every time you go out in the world, with everything that you do, there must be some small degree of actual death to self. I don’t mean just a continual wrestling all the time with the same sin, but rather actually dying to sin. Remember the passage in Hebrews; “Let us not lay again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death.” Don’t continue over and over again to do the same stupid things. You must stop repenting of the same sins over and over again but instead actually die to those sins.

Philippians 3:10-11- I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

You have to become like Jesus Christ in his death. The question you have to ask yourself is, “Am I dying to some of the sins in my life a little bit more each day?”

  1. Having victory over your sin. We all want to sin, but do you stop yourself before you commit the sin, or do you always comes back later and confess the same sins over and over again?

Galatians 5:16- So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Those who surrender to the Holy Spirit do not satisfy the desires of the sinful nature. I want to sin. I can think of all kinds of things that I want to do right now that would be sin. But do not do what I want to do. I stop the sin before I commit it. That means I am gaining some victory and dying to that sin. It means I am putting it to death. I am denying myself. How many people come back to me and say, “I was just sharing what was on my heart but it was just sin.” Yet they never overcome it. They never stop it before the action takes place. For instance, you may want to grumble at work. Do you stop yourself before the words come out of your mouth or do you always come back to the Lord and say, “I’m sorry that I grumbled. I’m sorry I was in sin”? If so, you are not living by the Holy Spirit, because He gives us power to stop the sin before it takes place.

Galatians 5:17- For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

You want to sin, but the Holy Spirit keeps you from sinning. You are going on to maturity, if you are stopping the sins in your life before you commit them.

  1. You grow to hate your life more. The following passage is very clear.

John 12:25- The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

We don’t have time to look at all that this means, but are you growing more each hour of each day to hate your own life?

  1. You started with surrendering everything and continue to do so.

Luke 14:33- In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

How many people give God everything at one time, but then they slowly take back a little bit more for themselves. You can’t learn a single thing in Jesus Christ until you give up everything and remain in the position of surrendering everything.

Jesus said if you don’t give up everything you couldn’t be his disciple. A disciple is teachable. You can’t even get into 1st grade in Jesus Christ until you first surrender everything. So in the same way, if we expect to be taught each day by the Holy Spirit, if we expect to overcome and go onto maturity, then every single hour of every single day we must make sure we surrender everything. All aspects of our lives whether it be thought or actions must be surrendered to Jesus Christ. Again, this is the starting point. If you are not at this point you cannot be taught anything in Jesus Christ, and don’t even begin to think that you can go on to maturity.

How many people want the peace of Jesus but they do not agree to his terms.

Luke 14:31-33- Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

If you want the peace of Jesus Christ, and his holiness, if you don’t want a cheap gospel, if you don’t want to buy into the false empty whitewash that’s being preached at your church, then you must ask Jesus for his terms of peace. Ask him how to go on to maturity.

Luke 14:33- In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

Start at the place of surrendering all and then remain there. Until that surrender of all is in place, you cannot be taught by Jesus Christ and you certainly cannot go onto maturity.

  1. There must be a full acceptance of all the Word of God.

Matthew 4:1-4- Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

The quality of a man’s Christianity is tested by his acceptance of scriptures he does not agree with and does not like. Anybody else is a Pharisee who seeks to please his flesh. You must accept all the Word of God, not just what your flesh likes, or what you find useful, not just godly principles, or what your opinion agrees with, and especially not those few concepts you first learned when you were a baby in Jesus Christ. You must accept all the Word of God to go onto maturity. If you have these five things then you are growing in Jesus Christ. If any one of them is missing, you’re in danger of being burned. Unless the five things we just looked at are in your life, you are not maturing in Jesus Christ. Don’t be deceived by your Bible study and the sermon tapes you listen to.

James 1:22- Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Bible studies or reading Christian books can be a source of deception. We can think that we are maturing because we are gaining more knowledge. Again, unless the five things that we discussed above are present, you are not maturing in Jesus Christ. Let us begin now to discover how we can mature in the Lord. The first thing that needs to change is our attitude.

  1. Crave pure spiritual milk. I cannot believe the attitudes that float around within the body of Jesus Christ. How many people say, “Well, I don’t agree with everything my pastor says in the sermon. I just go in and pick out the good and reject the bad.” That’s not an attitude that craves pure, spiritual milk. You may crave milk, maybe, but it’s not pure milk. You can survive off milk that has some impurities in it. However, that will not make you strong and healthy. You will just barely survive.

1 Peter 2:1- Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

Again, notice the emphasis on the action of dying to and getting rid of sin. Don’t just continually confess your sin all the time; make sure it’s out of your life.

1 Peter 2:2-3- Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Crave pure, spiritual milk, not the ink in your Bible, not your opinion, not the self-effort Bible study you attend; don’t crave commentaries or sermon tapes, but pure, spiritual milk. Desire that which will make you holy and healthy in the Lord. Crave sermons that preach the Word, not sermons that are full of stories and all kinds of high wisdom, jokes, and entertainment. Do not desire sermons that mock back what is being preached like when the preacher quotes a scripture and has you say it back to him. Crave pure, spiritual sermons which let you drink in the word of life.

2 Timothy 4:2- Preach the Word. . .

It doesn’t say preach about the Word. It says preach the Word. Why do we put up with so much foolishness from the pulpit and from our Christian bookstores?

Ezekiel 34:17-22- As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?” Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says to them: “See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another.”

How muddied the waters are! So many unholy things go on within the body of Jesus Christ. The first thing you need to do is get an attitude that says, “I want pure, spiritual milk.” Like a baby you need to cry for it and demand to have it in your life. If you don’t have it and are not getting pure, spiritual milk, then throw a fit just like any child would. Make sure you are getting the pure Word of God, not storytelling, jokes, or entertainment, but the Word of God.

  1. This is one of the most important. Be wrong! The more willing you are to be wrong, the quicker you will mature and the more holy you will become.

Luke 8:13- Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.

Matthew 13:21- But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.

When you begin to follow Jesus Christ, much trouble will come your way. But the source of that trouble often surprises us, because the first place it comes from is Jesus Christ. Go back and read through the gospels sometime and notice how often Jesus Christ rebuked the disciples. For over three years he constantly showed the disciples how stupid they were, and how they didn’t understand anything about him. He even called Peter “Satan.” How often Jesus turned to them and said, “Are you still so dull? How long must I put up with you? How long must I stay with you?” It evens says in scripture that he sighed. The more you are willing to be wrong, the more quickly you will become holy and the more quickly God will give you his heart of wisdom.

Mark 6:37-44- But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Fiveand two fish.” Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

The disciples see a tremendous miracle, and Jesus Christ teaches them some wonderful things.

Mark 6:45-46- Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

He’s praying for them and he loves them. He’s going to show them just how weak and stupid they are.

Mark 6:47-49- When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost.

They had just been taught a tremendous lesson, yet when Jesus Christ came to them in a new way they thought he was a ghost. They will soon to be taught how little they understand the ways of God. We mature by allowing ourselves to be rebuked. We are used to Jesus doing miracles and dealing with us in a certain way. But if we go out in the middle of the lake and see Jesus come to us in a different way, we think he’s a ghost. If we willingly accept rebukes and learn from them, we will change. The problem is, most people refuse to be taught. Jesus Christ comes to them in a new way and shows them new things, but people are so doctrinally locked into their church, and so hooked into their opinions of God, that when he comes in a new way, they just let him walk by. Verse 48 said he was about to pass them by. Because people are unwilling to be corrected and rebuked by God, Jesus Christ just walks on by. They never mature. They never change. They all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

How many young Christians are taught things in Jesus Christ that they think they understand but they don’t really understand. The minute that Jesus Christ tries to apply things in their lives, they cannot understand what he is doing or what he’s about. So they falter and become afraid. How sad to see people in the church give them answers that are not of Jesus Christ, and they are happy with that. Their peace returns and they never grow. Self is never crucified. Their confusion never leads to the weakness that Jesus Christ wants it to produce. Whenever we don’t understand something in Jesus Christ, we don’t need to run to the Greek and Hebrew, we need to run to our hearts. The only reason that a man doesn’t understand something about scripture is because his heart is hard.

Mark 6:50- They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

If we all had perfectly soft hearts, God would be able to pour out his wisdom and understanding in our lives. We would thoroughly and perfectly understand the Word of God. But God has to break our hearts and that’s what keeps us from understanding the Word of God. Are you willing to be rebuked and to be shown your heart? In Mark 8:14-21 we read the same thing.

Mark 8:14-17- The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.” Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread?”

Again he’s rebuking them and saying, “What is your problem? Why are you talking about physical bread? I have been with you all this time and you are still talking worldly.”

Mark 8:17- Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?”

We do not understand Scripture, and will not go onto maturity because our hearts are hard. Yet how many people struggle to read the Word of God, plant it in their lives, and force it into their hearts, yet they refuse to let go of their hard heart. He goes on to rebuke them even more.

Mark 8:18- Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?

He’s rebuking them, and they are learning from that.

Mark 8:19-21- When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they replied. “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” They answered, “Seven.” He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

He’s making them feel small, insignificant, and stupid. That’s how we gain wisdom. Until you are willing to be wrong for years, not just here and there, but every day, maybe every hour of every day for a couple of years, you will not become holy. The more willing you are to be rebuked constantly by Jesus Christ the more holy you will become.

Proverbs 1:22- How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?

Sadly, so many people in the church just learn a few basic concepts, get some principles down, and then remain in the same position the rest of their lives. They think they are fine. They think they are mature in Jesus Christ. They never had Jesus walk toward them on the water or if they did let him pass by because they wouldn’t give up self. They think they understand the loaves. They have read the Scriptures. They have been Christians for so many years, but they refuse to soften their hearts. So they just do their happy little simple things in the Lord. They have their way of praying, and their way of serving other people. Their life is a nice little happy routine. They have no real wisdom about what they are doing and no depth to their understanding. They have simple answers for the very complicated problems of sin around us. The whole structure of their life is just simply laid out. This is wrong, this is right, this is wrong. They have all these principles and laws set down. They conduct their lives in this manner. Just simple ones who love their simple ways. Let’s face it, to be simple means you don’t have to think much. It means someone else will constantly tell you, “This is right. This is wrong.” You can read it in a book and apply it but you don’t really have to go to the cross and die. You don’t have to wrestle to the point that you can hear from the Holy Spirit. If the problem is a hard heart, then the only way to hear from God is to get a soft heart. That requires much surrender. Jesus Christ had to pray to the point that he shed drops of blood. How much more will we have to wrestle and struggle in order to hear from God ourselves. It’s a lot easier to receive our teaching from all kinds of things other than the cross of Jesus Christ in our lives.

Proverbs 1:22- How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?

Think about it. Congregations love pastors who baby them. Think of a baby in a high chair. As you feed the baby you say words to the baby like, “OK, now say ‘Yum’. Isn’t that good?” You want the baby to mock it back to you. This is the same way pastors preach the Word of God. They hand feed it to the babies and then say to the congregation, “OK, now, quote the scripture back to me. Be joyful always.” They just teach the people to be mockers. The pastor is not mature and the congregation will never mature. “How long will mockers delight in mockery.” It’s a happy thing for them. “And fools hate knowledge.”

Proverbs 1:23- If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you.

It doesn’t say, “If you had memorized all these Scriptures, if you mocked them back to me and if you had applied these very simple little principles then your life would have been holy.” No, it says, “If you had responded to my rebuke.” If you had learned from it. If you had stood up and said, “I was rebuked today praise God. He showed me I was wrong here. Praise the Lord! He showed me more things that I didn’t understand, and he showed me how my heart was hard.” Then you would have received this promise: “I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you.” The reason people really don’t know the Word of God and they don’t mature because they will not respond to the rebukes given to them. They are happy they get rebuked. After all, they get attention from God. It’s like a spoiled brat who wants attention from somebody so he does all kinds of things in order to get attention, but he’s not really growing from the rebuke. If we would grow from the rebukes then God would pour out his thoughts. He would pour out his heart into your life.

Proverbs 1:24-31- But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke,

I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes If you will not pay attention to the rebukes of God in your life, then you will live your own schemes, your own plans, and your own applications of Scripture. You will obey your own logic and so you will eat that fruit. God says, “Fine. If you don’t want to be corrected, and you don’t want to be rebuked that’s your choice.” But don’t think for a moment that these types of people will say they don’t want to follow Jesus Christ. Instead they just begin to apply Scripture as they see fit. So God says, “OK, fine, then you will eat the fruit of your schemes.”

Proverbs 1:32- For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them;

To be a fool is easy as we just saw. You can just lay back, and take life easy. You don’t have to discern much. You don’t have to wrestle too many things out. It’s a very comfortable way to live.

Proverbs 1:33- but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.

Do you want the blessing to live in safety, really be at ease, and live without fear of harm? Then respond to the rebukes of God. That’s the only way that you begin to mature. The more you willingly accept a rebuke and let it train you, the more you are willingly to fellowship with people who love to be rebuked, the more holy you will become.

  1. You have to go into strict training with some serious denying of self. All of self, bit not just parts.

1 Corinthians 9:25- Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.

Do you want to grow up in Jesus Christ? Do you want to become mature? Do you want your salvation to be sure and solid? Then go into strict training.

1 Corinthians 9:25- Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

You must begin to organize your life and deny yourself many things in order to be made holy.

Luke 8:14- The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.

You have to discipline yourself and deny yourself to say, “I will not worry about the cares of life. I will not be attracted to the riches of life. I will deny myself money and certain things that I enjoy.” Jesus says, “They are choked out by life’s pleasures and they do not mature.” The only way to avoid the pleasures of the world is to deny yourself. There’s no other way. You have to go into strict training that says, “I will not have this certain pleasure. I will not worry about this thing. I will not go after these riches.”

Matthew 13:22- The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

Mark 4:19- but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

In short, all of this group is choked “the worries of this life”: The seed is choked out by their job, concerns for safety, worry about food, health insurance, all the necessities of life, the deceitfulness of wealth, paychecks, overtime, savings, coupons, all the pleasures of this world from TV to radio (even Christian radio), sports, computers, a little sleep, books, even Christians novels, holidays and friends. If we do not deny ourselves those things and go into strict training, then we will be choked out and never mature. The desire for other things besides Jesusan education, a husband or wife, hobbies, re-doing the house, collections, even ministry goalsall choke out our maturity in the Lord. Think about athletes who are involved in training for a particular event. Look at how they structure their lives. They say no to all kinds of things. They can’t go visit relatives because their training. They constantly rearrange their entire lives. They can’t eat this, they can’t do that, they have to eat at a certain time, and they have to exercise. They have to say no to a lot of people and things because they are busy doing what’s important for their athletic event. How much more we should do that for Jesus Christ. Think of it like boot camp for the Army. It’s especially like boot camp when you first come to the Lord. Sometimes when people come to the Lord here they come at a time when they are down, unemployed or whatever the situation. We tell them, “There’s no rush for you to get a job. Just use this time to seek the Lord. We will provide for your needs. We will give you food and a place to live. You just take this time to seek after God.” I am not telling you everybody is excited about that possibility. The desire for things other than Jesus Christ comes in. They should consider it a privilege and say, “You mean you’re going to let me live here and pay for my food and everything else? And I can just pray and study the Bible and seek God so he can deal with my flesh?” The answer is “Yes!”

When I first came to the Lord there were a lot of things I got rid of right away. I had all kinds of backpacking equipment, and I can’t tell you the number of TVs that I threw out. A lot of things were just scattered out of my life. Then the Lord was able to bring back those things slowly as my flesh was dealt with so I could handle them in a holy and mature way. Some things I never went back to.

Luke 10:38-42- As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.

Whenever we do something, whether it is at work, home, or school, we have to ask ourselves, “Is this the better thing that I could be doing? Is this the best thing?” Are we worried and concerned by everything that appears to be important? After all, Martha was out making preparations for dinner. She looked like she was serving Jesus Christ. It looked like she was doing something noble. Are you deceiving yourself into thinking that what you are doing is something noble or right in the Lord, but it is really not the best thing? We have to be a people discerning what is best, not what looks noble to us.

Philippians 1:9- And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,

Notice the emphasis on maturity. He wants our love for Jesus Christ to abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.

Philippians 1:10-11- so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christto the glory and praise of God.

How many people just limp along in Jesus Christ with a little bit of righteousness or a little bit of holiness? We are talking about being filled with all kinds of fruit from the righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ. We only get that by discerning what is best. We can only discern what is best by growing in love. The only way to get that love is to be rebuked for all the things that we are worry about, the deceitfulness of wealth, pleasure, and all the things that choke us and make us unfruitful. Are you discerning what is best or what is right and wrong? You see Martha chose what was right and wrong. She figured it was right to prepare Jesus’ lunch. She figured it was right to take care of the household. She figured she was being a good servant in Jesus Christ. She didn’t discern what was best. It’s best to sit at the feet of Jesus Christ and listen to him teach us, correct us, encourage us and show us the way of righteousness. Then we will know when to prepare lunch and when not to. I have to remind you of John 15:2.

John 15:2- He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Things naturally come into our lives that easily begin to cloud out our growth and maturity. We begin to worry. It might even be about ministry things or things we consider holy. But they begin to choke out the Holy Spirit. Our worries, concerns, pleasures, the routine of life, our money, paychecks, prayer time, study time, ministry work, and possessions begin to choke us. God says he will prune and trim us back so we can get back to the basics of the cross. So that we can get back to being rebuked and being made holy. We want to get back to doing things that are best, not just what appears to be good for us to do for God.

John 15:2- He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

When pruning branch you cut it back to the point that there’s no fruit left on the branch at all. There will be times in your life as you grow and mature in the Lord when you will say, “There’s no fruit in my life.” Well, let me put it this way, if you are holy and righteous, you will humble yourself before the Lord and say, “There’s nothing good that I have done,” because He’s pruning you back. More self has to go. He wants you to go onto maturity. How do we go onto maturity? By being rebuked. When the pruning shears appear and we begin to shrink back and become afraid, let us run to him and say, “Yes, Lord. Trim me back. Show me everything that needs to change. Take me back down so there’s no fruit in my life and it’s just me and you.” The more he’s able to empty you of self, the more he’s able to crucify your flesh, the more fruit you will bear for him. Are you willing to be trimmed back and rebuked? Are you willing to go into strict training? If you are then there’s good news because he will pour into your life his thoughts and his heart. You will indeed have rich fellowship with the living God.

Now we get to the most important part, the good seed.

  1. By persevering.

Luke 8:15- But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

If you have a good heart and are not one of the other seeds we looked at then you can begin to persevere. I know a lot of people who persevere in the Lord that don’t have noble and good hearts. They think that perseverance alone somehow qualifies them for the kingdom of heaven. You have to persevere by holiness and righteousness, by a good heart, by holding onto the word of God and retaining it. If you have a good heart then you must start with the surrender of all. Are you listening to pure spiritual milk? Are you rejoicing in what you hear? Are you holding at arms length those who desire righteousness and holiness? Is your fellowship with them shallow or are you in love with them? Do you fellowship with them deeply in the Lord? Are you coming to unity with those who know the power of the cross and is your fellowship increasing with them? If you don’t have this then you are not maturing.

1 John 1:3- We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ Whomever a man rejoices in fellowshipping with tells me everything about his Christian walk. The more you have a noble and pure heart, the deeper your fellowship will be with those who know how to carry a cross.

Again, the key point is perseverance.

Hebrews 5:7- During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

So much for quiet times, huh? It doesn’t say Jesus Christ went out and prayed with his coffee cup and note pad. It says with loud cries, petitions, prayers, and tears he cried out to the one who could save him from death. But there was another quality. He was heard because of his holy, reverent submission to God. Again, I know a lot of people who persevere, cry, and plead for the Lord to make them holy, but they will not submit to righteousness. They will not be obedient to the things of God and so their prayers are not heard.

Hebrews 5:8- Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Over and over again Scripture emphasizes obedience. We are made perfect out of holiness and righteousness, by persevering, by taking the Word of God and saying, “OK, I am going to be obedient to it today. I am going to be righteous to it today. I am going to conform to the Word, not to my opinions.”

Hebrews 5:7- During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

Hebrews 5:9- and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him

Perseverance by itself is not enough. Perseverance in holiness and righteousness means that Jesus Christ becomes the source of salvation for us, if we are willing to be obedient to the Word of God.

Hebrews 5:11-14- We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Remember what Jesus Christ said about the good seed? He said they hear the Word of God, they retain it, and then by persevering day in and day out, hour after hour, second after second, they produce a crop.

Hebrews 5:14- But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

They are not simple ones who love their simple ways of, “This is right, this is wrong.” These are people who have a deep understanding of the ways of God. They pray the Psalms, they quote Proverbs and Ecclesiastes during every day life. Most of their conversation is salted with Scripture. Every action and thought has the ring of Scripture in it. They live a new Scripture everyday. They are saturated by the word of God. They take the word, hear it, retain it, and then everyday they persevere. They get up and say, “I’m going to deny myself more. I am going to be more holy in this area.” They become more and more righteous each day.

Remember what verse 13 says, “Anyone who lives on milk…”? How many congregations and people love milk! Being still infants they are not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. They are not holy or righteous. They will not be saved in Jesus Christ. Only the mature experience salvation because Scripture says that without holiness no one will see the Lord. Verse 13 says if you are still a baby and can’t get on with the deep things in God, if you don’t fellowship with mature people in the Lord, then you are not familiar with the teaching about righteousness. How do you know whether a man is maturing? You can watch his life conform more and more and more to the word of God. He quotes it more, he lives it more, you see it more, and he never stops. He perseveres when he stumbles and gets up. He keeps growing more and more. He doesn’t keep holding onto his same spot. He doesn’t slip 10 steps and then go up 5. He just continues to press on and become more and more holy. It takes perseverance. The cross is not a comfortable place to be. To have nails in your hands and feet, to be flogged, to have a crown of thorns, and to die to self is not comfortable. I had one person tell me that they just endure the disciplines of God. The goal isn’t to endure. The goal is to die to yourself. Those who just endure the discipline of God will wind up in a quick destruction because God demands fruit and death to self. He demands that we grow in righteousness.

1 Peter 4:1- Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.

Get the attitude of Jesus Christ. Get out of the church that you are in and find a church that understands the sufferings of Jesus Christ and what it means to be crucified to one’s flesh. Only those who have suffered in their body, and who feel the effect of the cross in their life, are done with sin.

1 Peter 4:1- Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.

This is the pure, spiritual milk you should crave.

1 Peter 4:2- As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

Only people who have suffered unto the point of death can hear the Holy Spirit tell them God’s will for their lives, and can begin to hunger for it. That’s why James 1:2-5 says, Consider it pure joy.” There we see that word “pure” again. Pure spiritual milk and pure joy. What should we as Christians consider pure joy? After all if you took a poll and asked all the Christians you know, “What do you consider to be pure joy?” They would say this of course:

James 1:2-3- Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

How did the good seed produce a crop for God? By perseverance.

James 1:4- Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

When the trials come our way, when we experience discipline and rebukes, when things face us squarely that deal with our flesh, we should say, “OK, Lord what are you trying to deal with? What do you want me to die to? What sin should I never repeat again? What about my flesh that you want to disappear so that I am not that way anymore? What way do you want me to be transformed? I consider this pure joy to face these trials.” Then we begin to persevere, we go into strict training, and we deny ourselves. We begin by day in and day out to bear fruit for God.

James 1:5- If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

People who have gone through this are full of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding about the ways of God. Yet how many people even in ministry work are not full of all kinds of wisdom. They will have wisdom about certain things or some topics, but they are not full of wisdom in all kinds of things.

James 1:4- Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

We must be faithful in all of God’s house. In every aspect of the Lord. It’s so sad that most people are just babies or at best teenagers. They have roots and a stalk, but no real fruit in terms of death to self. They are not faithful in God’s entire house and lack much.

James 1:12- Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. We obtain a crown by persevering, holding onto the Word of God, retaining it and bearing fruit according to the Word of the Lord. As 1 Corinthians 13:7 says, “Love always perseveres.” God watches to find out who loves him enough to die to himself, persevere, and bear a crop for Him. Ask yourself, “Do I really want to go onto maturity? Do I want to die to self enough to glorify God?”

What does maturity look like? Five things show whether we are going onto maturity or whether we are mature.

  1. Faithfulness.

Proverbs 20:6- Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?

A lot of individuals profess to have an unfailing love for Jesus Christ and for his servants. A lot of people tell me they love me in Jesus Christ, but a faithful man, a consistent man, who can find? Maturity is being faithful in every single aspect of Jesus Christ. This includes all the Word of God, every action, and every deed, and the richness of Christ.

James 1:4- Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Maturity means not lacking anything. You are complete in everything that God has you do. So many people in their Christian walk have certain scriptures they live. They faithfully obey those Scriptures but anything that deviates from what they want to obey, or what they have been taught, they will not do. They cannot accept what the Word of God has to say and you can’t trust them to be obedient to other aspects of Jesus Christ, and so they are not complete. They lack many things in the Lord. They profess to have an unfailing love but they are not faithful in all the things of God.

Mark 7:37- People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

When your neighbors look at your Christian walk, when your brothers and sisters look at your life in Jesus Christ, are they overwhelmed with all the obedience that’s in your life? Are they filled with amazement at how obedient you are to everything in Jesus Christ?

Mark 7:37- People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

From the serving of your neighbor to the largest prayer meeting, and in everything you do, you demonstrate trustworthiness in every single matter. That is maturity.

Hebrews 3:2- He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.

Are you faithful in all of God’s house? In prayer, Bible study, surrender to self, serving of others, washing of other people’s feet, from the smallest detail to the largest thing in Jesus Christ can it be said that you do everything well? Or are you like most people who just claim to have an unfailing love? Are you faithful in some things in Jesus Christ? Are you known for only doing one particular thing well in the Lord? Or when individuals look at your life can they say, “He does everything in the best way possible.”

  1. Your church must be one that has grown beyond a one-issue church. 99.9% of all the churches I know are well known for one particular issue. That’s where they remain and their doctrine centers around it. They base their lives and goals around it. That’s where their lives are at, that’s what their goals are centered around. They are not involved in the one thing they should be, the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross is the only one thing every church should be involved in. When you look their ministry work, it usually only centers around one issue.

Hebrews 6:1-2- Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

Your church constantly, Sunday after Sunday, preaches nothing but a salvation level message to babies and infants, then your church is not mature in the cross of Jesus Christ or the things of God’s house. We must move beyond these elementary teachings and basic things from a one issue ministry. We must be faithful in God’s entire house and all aspects of the Lord. So ask yourself a question. What is your church known for? What is your life known for? Some very elementary things in God, or a focus on one issue? Or do people have a hard time pinning down exactly who you are and what you do because you are involved in so many things in Jesus Christ?

  1. You may not be called to be a teacher, but you have to grow to be qualified to teach others about the cross of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 5:12-13- In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.

If somebody has been in Jesus Christ over a long period of time and you have to give them milk over and over again to build them up and tell them, “This is what the cross means. This is what it means to deny self. This is what is means to walk the narrow road and surrender all,” then they are not acquainted with righteousness and holiness in God. As we have seen before, they are in danger of being burned.

You ought to be able to share from your own life. You ought to be in other people’s lives to say, “This is what the cross will mean in your life. This is the power and how it works. This is how it changed me.” You should be able to say, “This is what I was but this is what I am.” I don’t mean just the gross exaggerations. In other words, when everybody first comes to the Lord they were terrible people and God cleaned up their lives. But I mean down to the smallest of details we should be able to say, “The Lord has transformed me. I am growing, and I am different.” You should be able to teach someone about the majesty, glory, and power of the cross to crucify the sinful nature in his life. That should be good news to you and to others. You should be able to live and have within your heart Philippians 3:18.

Philippians 3:18- For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.

The cross was Paul’s central focus. That’s why he said, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Do you often speak about the power of the cross to transform you? Can you show by your life how different and faithful you are in all of God’s house? Do you plead with other people with tears in your eyes and your heart to know why they reject the cross of Jesus Christ and stubbornly refuse to allow it to transform them in every single aspect of their whole life? You must speak to them Philippians 3:18 that says many live as the enemies of cross of Christ. A lot of people say they are faithful in Jesus Christ but remember the Proverb” They profess to have an unfailing love, yet their actions and what they do in terms of ministry work and the quality of their work shows they are enemies of the cross of Jesus Christ. How little they are being transformed day after day shows that they are enemies of the cross of Christ. What do your actions declare? What do your church’s actions declare?

  1. Someone who is mature will have a Scripture for every occasion and situation. They will say, “I did this because scripture says. . .I said this because Scripture says. . .” In every single aspect of their life they have a scripture. “I made this judgment about this individual or situation in my life because Scripture says. . .”

Luke 8:15- But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

They hold onto the Word of God and apply it. It effects every single situation they are in. No matter what they do it’s all by God’s power and according to the Word of God. I don’t mean that we become Pharisees where we go around quoting Scripture because then we just justify everything we want to do. We are talking about the cross being in its place and the Holy Spirit guiding us in terms of Scripture so that in everything we do the Holy Spirit, by way of the cross of Jesus Christ, is saying, “This is why you are to do things this way.”

1 Peter 4:11- If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.

We should all be speaking and quoting the actual words of God. The Holy Spirit puts the words in our life and that’s why we speak. This is our goal.

1 Peter 4:11- If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

Do you want to glorify God? Do you want to say “Hallelujah!” and “Amen!” with some real power? Then quit using your strength to apply Scripture and let God’s Spirit apply Scripture in your life. So in everything you do and in every situation by God’s power you proclaim the word of God. Let’s read it again because it’s so important.

1 Peter 4:11- If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him are the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

  1. Maturity will bring about a loss of self and love for others. You must become so unaware of self that you don’t even know that you are denying yourself. You must become in tune with other individuals, loving them and meeting their needs.

Matthew 6:3- But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

Basically, you are unaware that you are doing holy things. Your right hand doesn’t even know that your left hand is doing something righteous in God. That’s how unaware of self we need to be.

Romans 12:15- Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

You must deny your emotions and what you want to feel at any given moment. This is “losing your life.” If someone is happy, you rejoice with them, and mourn with those who mourn. Be in tune constantly with the needs and attitudes of somebody else’s life. Completely lose all identity and concern for yourself and love somebody else.

John 4:6- Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

Jesus Christ is extremely tired and thirsty. He’s had a hard day of serving the Lord.

John 4:7- When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The disciples are taking care of their needs. They are tired, hungry, worn out and figure they are entitled to go get something to eat. It would look like on the surface that Jesus is trying to meet his own needs. How quickly those who are unholy condemn those who carry the cross. The ungodly accuse the righteous of being selfish without first removing the plank from their own eye. Here Jesus Christ comes in and sits down. He’s tired and asks for a drink of water. But he has something else in mind. He uses that need to deny himself and glorify God in order to meet this woman’s needs.

John 4:9-10- The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Jesus Christ used this opportunity of being thirsty and tired to preach the gospel. In this story, he never gets the drink of water. She never gives it to him, but the whole town receives the gospel. She runs back into town and brings everyone out to meet him. Jesus preaches the gospel and they welcome him. He denies himself to meet their needs. There must be a complete loss of self and loving others. This is what it means to be mature. This is the fruit that Jesus Christ looks for. “By this you will know that you belong to me, that you love one another and hold onto the truth.” This is the fruit of maturity. This is what makes us ready for heaven. Everybody who is allowed to go to heaven is there because they willingly deny themselves and love others. So when people sit down together in heaven they are there to meet the needs of one another with all loss of self. What a grand place it will be! No one there with mixed motives. No one there trying to secretly have their needs met. They lay down their lives for one another just as Jesus Christ did, and they are worthy of heaven. This is why the good seed, the mature seed goes to heaven. They are indeed most worthy. They love deeply.

So what should we do and how should we conclude?

2 Peter 1:5-10- For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and o goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make our calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall. The following is the grandest promise you will ever receive in Jesus Christ:

2 Peter 1:11- and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.

 


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Because Jesus said “sit down.”

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Everything here concerns repentance and living a holy life.
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