Grown Up Christians

Originally preached by Rev. Johnathan Laye, March 3, 2013

Be keeping a watchful eye ever open.  Be standing fast in the faith.  Be showing yourselves to be men.  Be mighty in strength.   I Corinthians 16: 13 (Wuest Expanded Translation)

Introduction:

AdobeIconPaul wrote this first letter to the Corinthian Church for three reasons:

  1. To draw the church back together in a spirit of unity as one body in Christ.  The church was severely divided and split, feuding and arguing and forming cliques.
  2. To deal with moral laxity in the church.
  3. To answer certain questions the church had requested Paul to answer: questions concerning marriage, Christian liberty and rights, public worship, spiritual gifts, and the resurrection from the dead.” (The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible)

In the closing of his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul addressed several concerns:

  1. How to reach and nurture everyone.
  2. The young Pastor, Timothy’s welfare and treatment by the Corinthian Church when he came to minister there.
  3. The concern about rivalry in the congregation over different preachers.
  4. A concern as to immature believers.
  5. The fifth concern was about setting forth shining examples of believers, in the church, for others to follow.
  6. His last concern was that everything in the church be accomplished through love and not division. (The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible)

I want to address that fourth concern about immature believers.

Four Charges Paul Gives To Immature Believers:

I.  Watchfulness

Be keeping a watchful eye ever open.” (vs. 13 a)

1. The word for watching (gregoreite) means:

– To be awake
– To be alert
– To be constantly on guard
– Never to be sleepy-eyed or sluggish
– Never to let one’s guard down

2. “Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” Matthew 26: 41 KJV

3. “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4: 2KJV

II. Steadfastness In The Faith

A. “Be standing fast in the faith.” (vs. 13)

  1. Do not listen or give heed to false teachers and their false doctrine.
  2. Stand firm in the gospel that Paul had delivered unto them, the gospel that brought them salvation.

B. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” I Peter 5: 8 KJV

III. Be Mature

“Be showing yourselves to be men.” (vs. 13)

  1. Be courageous as real men of God.
  2. Quit living like immature men:
    1. Put Away Childish Things: by Norman P. Spotts, D.D.

      “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:   but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (I Corinthians 13:11).

  1. The apostle Paul’s admonition to believers is to put away childish things. Childish speaking, childish thinking, and childish reasonings are to be put away.
  2. Children are basically selfish. They develop a “me first” attitude and can even become quite greedy. These traits are carried over into adulthood. “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous” (II Timothy 3:2).
  3. Children are capable of having temper tantrums in which they scream and kick and fight; becoming quite aggressive when not getting their way. Christians have been known to act this way as well. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31). “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” (James 4:1).
  4. Due to a lack of discernment, children are not always aware of danger. Even so with adults, “know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?” (v.4). “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. . . . Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15,17).
  5. God’s will for the believer is spiritual maturity. “Brethren, be not children in understanding . . . but in understanding be men” (I Corinthians 14:20).
  6. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect [mature] man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children. . . . But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:13-15). NPS

IV. Be Strong

“Be mighty in strength.” (vs. 13)

  1. Don’t be a pushover (Dr. Fisher & sons illustration about little dogs).
  2. Exercise the spiritual man till you are spiritually strong.
  3. “A final word: be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” Ephesians 6: 11 NLT
  4. How can we be made strong? Paul prayed for the Ephesian Christians, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.”  Ephesians 3: 16 KJV
  5. Jesus told His disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” Acts 1: 8 NLT
  6. “Have you not known? Have you not heard?  The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40: 28 – 31 NKJV

Conclusion:

Are you ready to grow up and be a real Christian?  Is so, open your spiritual eyes and be watchful, be on alert for temptation by the enemy.  If so, stand firm for the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, don’t cave in to the untruths of false teachings.  If so, put away childish attitudes and actions and be filled with discernment and understanding in Christian love.  Are you ready to grow up and be a real Christian?  If so, stop being a pushover for the devil, but wait in prayer for God to fill you with the power of the Holy Spirit, to be a mighty warrior for Jesus Christ.

Rev. Johnathan Laye