And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV)
When you think if immaturity what do you think of? Is it the adolescent boy who doesn’t brush his teeth and change his socks? Maybe it’s a girl you know that never stops talking and never listens to anyone else. Maybe it’s someone who has learning challenges or that smart alec acquaintance that doesn’t know when to stop. Immaturity is something we all strive to lose. We want people to think of us as mature, accomplished individuals. So, I have a question for you…
Would Scripture define you as mature?
If Scripture was the basis for your maturity(which by the way, it should be), what would your grade be? How does Scripture define maturity? I think there are multiple ways that Scripture teaches this topic. But one is found in Ephesians 4:11-16. One of my pastors summed it up like this. “Maturity in Christ occurs as Christians speak the truth in love to one another in the context of the body of Christ.” Basically if we want to grow up in Christ, if we want to be mature Christians, we must fellowship with other believers. We must live out our lives with the fellow Christians God has placed around us. This living takes on many forms, it is not just correction and accountability (though that is part of fellowship). Fellowship is an amazing gift! We get to:
- Remind on another of the gospel
- Converse about God and His word
- Discuss the Sunday message (I love doing this over a meal after church!)
- Encouraging another believer in how they heaven grown, reminding them of the promises of God, or encouraging a brother or sister to grow thought the Word.
- Pray together
- Study the Bible together
- Worship God together
- Sharing how God is working in your life and asking what God is doing in theirs. How are they learning from His Word as they read?
- Helping one another to achieve the goals you are setting through accountability
- Helper others cultivate conviction by sharing Scriptures that have served you
- Celebrating God’s grace with others or mourning with those who are mourning
- Serving others
- Helping a young believer grow
Wow! How exciting that God commands us to grow up into Christ in this way. Let me leave you with a quote and a question…How is your fellowship in your local church? Are you growing in Christ?
We should not, therefore, think of fellowship with other Christians as a spiritual luxury, an optional addition to the exercises of private devotion. We should recognize rather that such fellowship is a spiritual necessity; for God has made us in such a way that our fellowship with himself is fed by our fellowship with fellow-Christians, and requires to be fed constantly for its own deepening and enrichment. –J.I. Packer
(And I can’t take credit for these thoughts or the bullet points. They came from a message taught by Kenneth Maresco to the singles at my church.)