The Spiritual Man Series
“We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect (mature) in Christ. To this end I also labor, striving with all His energy working powerfully within me.” Col. 1.28-29
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom…” 2 Tim. 4.1
“Encourage” refers to believers offering up evidence that stands up in God’s court.
“For you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children— 12encouraging you, comforting you, and urging you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls (is calling) you into His own (Ms) kingdom and glory.” 1 Thes. 2.12
In the Beginning: Maturity
God created man (Adam) mature. God did not begin with a fertilized egg, or a baby, but as a complete whole man. He intended to have a created being that could oversee the works of His hands. Someone that can gain understanding, to undertake responsibility, to make wise choices, and one physically strong enough to continue His work by planting and harvesting. This first man understood the fundamental principles of life, of a mate that complements him making him whole, and of the seed, which is essential for producing subsequent generations whether human, plant, or animal.
Adam was created as such: first with a soul to define who he was, the seat of his mind with which he could think, store information, and feel emotions; secondly, he was given a body with which he could interact with the world about him being able to see, hear, smell, touch and to taste; and one final element was necessary, he needed a spirit with which to commune with Him, for God never intended for man to be isolated and be left alone. This interaction was necessary for man’s remaining character development yet needed an infusion from God. What Adam was to become morally, in character and understanding, could not be left to man’s own sense of logic and reasoning (as from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) but needed the tutoring and discipline of God Himself (as from the Tree of Life.) “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that crawls upon the earth.’” Gn. 1.28
Even the seed-bearing animal and plant life on the earth was created mature, complete, ready to fulfill its ultimate purpose, which is, to bear fruit and to reproduce others after their kind. Is it not safe to assume that God’s ultimate purpose in all creation is maturity? –to be of full age, fully developed, and, having begun from simple grace or favor of God, to bear the fruit of maturity satisfying to God and others. Without maturity beautiful flower plants will never come to bloom, acorns will never fall from the oak tree, fields of grain will remain as high grass, and there will be no animal litters or sons and daughters. Without maturity human beings would remain immature, child-like in thought and character. Today, everyone on this planet is a judge of the maturity of fruit, either the fruit in the lives of others human beings, or the fruit from seed-bearing animals and plant life. The greater the quality of fruit the higher the price will be paid for it. It is desirable. Poorer quality fruit, whether an apple, a sack of wheat, or a calf, is worth less. Children are precious and desired to have, but immature as they are they make little contribution society. Rather children make more demands on society to feed, educate, protect, and provide for their well-being. That is the nature of a child.
A Time of Judgment
So man expects fruit from all creation, and desires the highest quality. But even more so, God expects and judges fruit from His creation. Jesus taught,
“By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’” Mt. 7.16-23
This is a very sobering scripture regarding becoming mature and bearing fruit acceptable to God. The word good used in the above verse, “every good tree bears good fruit,” means inherently good, good in its nature, whether seen or not. It means its character is good and acceptable to God.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive his due for the things done in the body, whether good [fruit] or bad [fruit].”
2 Cor. 5.10
All mankind will pass before God at the Great White Throne judgment and be judged according to their deeds [works]. Rev. 20.11-15 But the promise of judgment made here in Corinthians pertains to the Judgment seat of Christ, “Bema Seat,” This factual statement was made regarding believers, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,” and again, the “good” in this verse also means intrinsically good, regarding the character of the heart and not just good deeds.
God is interested in the intrinsically good fruit produced in maturity whether a fig tree (see parable of the barren fig tree, Lk. 13.6-8) or a believer. An oak tree must become inherently good, with deep roots to withstand storms, broad branches to house nests and bring shade, thick trunk for good lumber, and abundant acorns for animal feed and the generation of new oak saplings. Only then does it fulfill its Godly ordained purposes. So also the believer must become inherently good, that intrinsic goodness issuing forth from the heart, of Godly moral judgment, kindness, humility, love of the brethren and of God, and being led of Spirit in the work of the Kingdom and the building up of the Church. To this degree testing and judgment will surely come.
The Marks of Maturity.
The Marks of Maturity, Psychology Today, Tim Elmore
Even a casual glance of the Church as a whole today one cannot help but notice a high degree of religiosity has set in in which, on the one hand the people have become satisfied with the routine of Sunday services, Sunday school, sermons, rituals, holy days, etc., and on the other hand though seemingly active “in the church activities,” they are without depth of spiritual substance being caught up with the busyness of the world, lack of empathy for the well-being of the Body of Christ, often toss about or confused about fundament doctrine, having character issues, and little understanding of God’s purposes. They are missing the marks of spiritual maturity, by this time, they should possess.
- A spiritually mature believer is patient and perseveres in difficult times. He should not become doubtful or lose focus. The commitments he has dedicated his life to remain strong. James has much to say about this: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Jam. 1.2-4
In the natural, take the soldier in the midst of a ferrous battle. Few others are placed in such dire straits. Yet he presses on towards his objective never losing sight of its goal and his commitment to his fellow soldiers endures, even strengthens. James contines, “Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer awaits the precious fruit of the soil—how patient he is for the fall and spring rains. You, too, be patient and strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near. Do not complain about one another, brothers, so that you will not be judged. Look, the Judge is standing at the door!” Jam. 5.7-9
- A spiritually mature believer see his or her particular calling into the Body of Christ as function of service, that is, what he or she does and not as an office or title and therefore duties of that office. Nothing is done for self-gain or glory but is simply led on by the indwelling Spirit of Christ. Take the common word pastor for example. If one assumes it as an office or title they are confused and that can lead to error in function and in heart. That one would see their position or calling in the Body of Christ as a hierarchy placement with oversight (of a congregation.) This can lead to a incorrect relationship in the Body, the Church, and can also bring pride and delusions of authority. However, if one assumes pastor to mean function, as one who shepherds within a flock, it is no longer a matter of position, title, authority, or any particular responsibility to do, rather it is an outflow of spirit, from within, to rise up and minister to the souls of the Church.
“As a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings, and a partaker of the glory to be revealed, I appeal to the elders among you: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is among you, watching over them not out of compulsion, but because it is God’s will; not out of greed, but out of eagerness; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” 1 Pet. 5.1-4
The elder spoken of in the preceding verse means someone who is mature and has assumed the ministry of caring for the flock. This same principle should be applied to teachers, evangelists or missionaries, worship leaders and psalmists, prayer warriors, administrators, ministry of helps, and so many more. Remaining faithful to your calling to the Church is a mark of maturity.
- A spiritually mature has undergone, and is continuing to undergo, character modification. Maturity means the (slow but inevitable) acquisition of each fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Gal. 5.22-23 Each and every one reading this must admit to the need for furthering of each of these character traits in their lives. I do so with deep yearning in my heart.
If we were to take these nine spiritual character qualities and condense them down into one and only one over-riding character quality, I submit it would be humility. Humility is a Godly trait. It executes His righteousness. It is a low view of one’s own importance and abilities. It is becoming “selfless,” one whose concern is empathetic and concerned with the welfare of others. It is an inner lowliness of one who depends upon thje Lord rather than self.
“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” 1 Pet. 5.5
Jesus declared, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Let us not fail to meditate upon the scripture, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Gal. 2.20 Amen.
- A Spiritually mature believer reacts according to FAITH CHARACTER RATHER THAN EMOTIONS.
- A mature person is able to keep long-term commitments. (persistence, endurance)
- 2. A mature person is unshaken by flattery or criticism. Peter denying,
- 3. A mature person possesses a spirit of humility.
- 4. A mature person’s decisions are based on character, not feelings. Faith invisable
- 5. A mature person expresses gratitude consistently. Thanksgiving (1 lepor returned., giving thanks
- 6. A mature person knows how to prioritize others before themselves. Empathy no lonwho liveger I
- 7. A mature person seeks wisdom before acting. Rash judgment Led of the spirit
- Holiness sancgtification
Here we have the whole law of Christian conduct in a nutshell. There may be many detailed commandments, but they can all be deduced from this one.
The word that says, ‘Walk worthy of God,’ is a royal law, the perfect law of perfect freedom.
when we say, ‘Walk worthy of God,’ we mean two things–one, ‘Do after His example,’ and the other, ‘Render back to Him what He deserves for what He has done to you.’
A child “walks worthy of a parent” when he lives in such way as to reflect honor on that parent for the method in which he has trained him; when he so lives as to bring no disgrace on him, so as not to pain his heart by misconduct, or so as to give no occasion to any to speak reproachfully of him.
(1) he keeps all his commands;
(2) when he leads a life of purity and virtue;
(3) when he carries out the principles of the family into his own life;
(4) when he honors a father by evincing a profound respect for his opinions; and,
(5) when he endeavors to provide for his comfort and to promote his welfare.
Inconsistency would cause God’s name to be “blasphemed among the Gentiles” (Ro 2:24).
In a manner similar to this, a true Christian honors God. He lives so as not to bring a reproach upon him or his cause, and so as to teach the world to honor him who has bestowed such grace upon him.
The Thessalonians at that time, though already by baptism members of the kingdom (Colossians 1:13), were not yet so assured in their new allegiance as to be certain of reaching the full-developed glory of that kingdom. Note again the thought of the Advent.
They are these: we are told in our text to ‘walk worthy of God.’ Then again, we are enjoined, in other places, to ‘walk worthy of the Lord,’ who is Christ. Or again, ‘of the Gospel of Christ.’ Or again, ‘of the calling wherewith we were called.’ Or again, of the name of ‘saints.’ And if you put all these together, you will get many sides of one thought, the rule of Christian life as gathered into a single expression–correspondence with, and conformity to, a certain standard.
nd He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly concerning you hypocrites, as it has been written: ‘This people honors Me with the lips, but their heart is kept far away from Me; Mark 7.6
The glory is God’s glory—the splendour of His future revelation as He will at last, on the return of Christ, be manifested to His saints. In this glory they will share. “The kingdom and glory of God” are one, ???? the latter being the full display and consummation of the former. And in the Apostle’s view, “the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2) is bound up with the “hope in our Lord Jesus Christ,” which the Thessalonians so earnestly cherished.
“Walking worthily of God” corresponds to “serving a living and true God;” and the “call to His kingdom and glory” invites them to “wait for His Son from the heavens.”
who calleth you. To his kingdom and glory. Not to be weakened as if it were a Hebraism for “his glorious kingdom,” or “the kingdom of his glory;” but the kingdom and glory are to be viewed as two different objects. “God called you to Ms kingdom,” namely, the Messianic kingdom which he has established on earth; and which will be completely realized at the advent. And “God called you to his glory,” namely, the glory which is in reserve for all the members of his kingdom.
Glory is the future consummation of that kingdom.