A Test of Spiritual Maturity

Paul’s test for spiritually immaturity: Do you argue? Do you compare yourself to others? Are you jealous? Answer “yes” to any of these, then you are spiritually immature. Let’s look closer at this today, for the sake of the Gospel, and for the sake of Christian growth and maturity – so that the world may be saved.

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-04-29
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 Corinthians 3:1-3
TRANSLATION: The Voice (VOICE)

BIBLE TEXT: My brothers and sisters, I cannot address you as people who walk by the Spirit; I have to speak to you as people who tend to think in merely human terms, as spiritual infants in the Anointed One. I nursed you with milk, as a mother would feed her baby, because you were not, and still are not, developed enough to digest complex spiritual food. And here’s why: you are still living in the flesh, not in the SpiritHow do I know? Are you fighting with one another? Are you comparing yourselves to others and becoming consumed with jealousy? Then it sounds like you are living in the flesh, no different from the rest who live by the standards of this rebellious and broken world.

OBSERVATION: Paul’s test for spiritually immaturity: Do you argue? Do you compare yourself to others? Are you jealous? Answer “yes” to any of these, then you are spiritually immature. Let’s look closer at this today, for the sake of the Gospel, and for the sake of Christian growth and maturity – so that the world may be saved.

APPLICATION: I believe that the downfall for most pastors is not for neglecting to dedicate themselves fully to the preaching of the Word, nor attending to the needs of their flock, but rather when spiritually immaturity rears its ugly head. This is no different to the secular world, for during my years of supervising and managing staff, it was always the most challenging part of my job – to deal with the ups and downs of my staff. Yes, we could get the work done, but there always came times when an employee saw the need to show their immaturity and they would become fixated on pulling a coworker down. As a supervisor wanting to make sure that all staff are happy workers, one might make the mistake of trying to ‘fix’ these problems. But often, it is just a matter of trying to help mature the employee who has the issue. Like Paul, many pastors become so burdened with these acts of immaturity that it pulls them down, through discouragement, anger and resentment. It can also destroy a church, for as word gets around, good, mature Christians will leave a church to avoid confrontation. This also serves to keep the unsaved from knowing Christ, for they look at the church and have no desire to gain the kind of disharmony that they hear about at their local church. Ministering to immature Christians is a persistent challenge for a teacher or pastor as they are forced to always teach or preach from an elementary level, or from the basics of the Bible, even if others in the class or church long for the depths of truth from the Word. So I believe that the reason God had Paul share this lesson with us in two different areas: 1). For the parishioner: work towards an intimate, learning, experience with your Maker. This means developing a personal relationship with the Master and getting to know Him better each and every day by studying His Word and conversing with God (praying) on a regular basis. If you only met with your spouse once per year, you would have to reignite the love relationship you once shared. In studying the Word of God, you learn more about Him and long to spend more time with Him, and this becomes a key reason for you to meet together with other believers; and 2). For the teacher and/or preacher: Patience is a virtue, and I believe that we will always need the love and grace of God to work with folk who refuse to fully develop their relationship with the Creator of the World. It gives us reason for seeking God’s help and understanding on why He brings certain circumstances into our lives and ministry. Often these folk are needy people who will always want our attention and our love to help them move on to greater heights in their relationship with God. Will it keep others back, perhaps. However, let’s use this as good reason to seek the help of the Master and follow what He tells us to do. It may be a growing experience for us as we deal with this each situation. There may eventually be another leader who will look to us for advice on how to handle these delicate matters. God may be preparing us and placing us in the right situations at the right time, for His ultimate glory. So let us learn to be content in whatever situation we may find ourselves, so that we may learn to praise God in our storms, in our growth opportunities and in our times of celebration – all glory goes to the Lord!

PRAYER: We probably use the word ‘WHY’ way too much Lord, and almost every time we realize that we are sadly questioning You. I believe that You created us to worship You, with absolutely no reason to question You. Please forgive us for placing ourselves in a bad position with You. To question You is just as immature as in the case of those we just pondered over in the above thoughts. As long as we are alive, please remind us that we are the clay and You are the Potter. You will provide situations that will mold us and shape us in the way that is pleasing to You. Please touch the hearts of those that will read this devotional. May they find total peace in knowing You as Lord, and as their personal Savior, regardless of the storm we may face while still here on earth. Please teach us and lead us to grow in You daily. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to visit my home church, Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Your Purpose in the local Church

The apostles were working hard in the ministry of the Word – teaching and preaching, but they heard rumblings that the poor were not being attended to. Instead of them distracting themselves from their convictions about the ministry they were responsible for, they set out to choose seven additional men for that purpose. I want us to think about the purpose that God has placed us in His church? We are about to start a New Year, Lord willing. What does God have in store for you to do in His ministry next year?

Post Date:

Saturday, 2017-12-30
SCRIPTURE

From:

Acts 6:2-4 (AMP)

Text:

So the Twelve called the disciples together and said, “It is not appropriate for us to neglect [teaching] the word of God in order to serve tables and manage the distribution of food. Therefore, brothers, choose from among you seven men with good reputations [men of godly character and moral integrity], full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will [continue to] devote ourselves [steadfastly] to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
OBSERVATION:
The apostles were working hard in the ministry of the Word – teaching and preaching, but they heard rumblings that the poor were not being attended to. Instead of them distracting themselves from their convictions about the ministry they were responsible for, they set out to choose seven additional men for that purpose. I want us to think about the purpose that God has placed us in His church? We are about to start a New Year, Lord willing. What does God have in store for you to do in His ministry next year?
APPLICATION:
In just the first few verses of this chapter in Acts we see a few different categories of church attendees. I believe that it would behoove us to examine ourselves before God and identify which group we belong to – or should be striving to achieve. Here are the groups I see, and I will call them what most churches seem to use today:

  1. Pastors and Elders: I believe that these are what this Scripture referred to as ‘Apostles’. It was clear from the Scripture that these men took the serious responsibility of prayer and ministry of the word – teaching and preaching.
  2. Deacons: I believe that our deacons today are the equivalent of the servants chosen and ordained to help with the serving and administering of the church affairs. These men had to fit the parameters outlined by the apostles. I believe this is important for the church today also, because these men are not just representing the church as they go out to help the poor, but they are also representing God.
  3. The Support Team: This would be the congregation who is a part of the church with a very warm and sincere heart. A heart that is in constant prayer for the ministry, and supports the decisions made by their leaders, knowing that those godly men serve as a result of their faithful, personal prayers. As in the case of Moses’ arms being lifted up as he led the battle, so are these folk lifting up their Pastors, Elders and Deacons. These great folk consists of the men and women who will serve as lay leaders and a group from whom the next set of ordained leaders will be chosen.
  4. The whiners and complainers: You might say that this group is good for the church as they alert Pastors, Elders and Deacons to things that others may not see. While this could be true, I want you to remember what it feels like to have a thorn stuck in your side all day! Where this group could become helpful, is if they become Positively Critical. This happens when they pray for the success of their leaders and the strength, maturity and growth of the church body. You will always be very positive for those you pray favorably for, and your whining and complaints will become concerns that you want to help resolve and/or pray for!
  5. The uncommitted: Unfortunately there are many who are uncommitted in their marriage, their workplace and in their church.  Some are known in church circles as Christmas and Easter Christians, because that’s the only time they make an effort to attend church. Some are hit and miss on attending church at all, but since they were raised and baptized in that church, they consider that their church home. Unfortunately these folk tend to be undependable about attending classes or learning more about God, because they are uncommitted to Him and His church.

Friends, I believe that you will fit into one of the above groups. But I hope that you are always striving to grow and mature into the next group up. Jesus was perfect, and I believe it would thrill His heart to see us grow and mature into a perfect church under His leadership and development.

PRAYER:
Lord You are faithful to us, even when we are sometimes unworthy and unusable in Your ministry here on earth. Thank You for reaching into our hearts and awakening us from the grip of Satan, and the evil so prevalent in this world. As in any army battling evil and wrong doing, we continually need a few more good men and women to work in Your ministry to try and reach the lost and needy of our community. Please touch us Lord, help us to be Your arms extended and outreached to show the love of Jesus in every way and in everything we do. May our commitment and willingness to serve reach way beyond the four walls of our churches, and wherever man is found. I am so looking forward to the day that we will all look full into the eyes of our blessed Savior and sing Your praises throughout all eternity. Come Lord Jesus, come! AMEN
FOOTNOTE:
There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’.  If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Biblical Qualities of a Growing Church

May I encourage you to get your spiritual ‘Nuggets’ to start your day off right? Pretty amazing that our awesome God would consider feeding even us with His Word! May I encourage you to read the whole devotional, and look for a blessing, friend!………

Today’s Bible Reference: Acts 2:42-47
Today’s Bible Text: 42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper*), and to prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity*—47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
The Bible Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

My Take Away: Without giving the appearance of being too repetitive, I wanted to highlight some of the things that made the very early church a very successful one. This is in hopes that we may see something that might help us to do the same today. Friends, let me say at the very outset that I am not referring to the BIG church down the road who seems to be flourishing already, or the small to medium church that seems to be catching the BIG church up pretty quickly. I’m talking about the church of our Almighty God, for I believe that it should always be our objective to see His church added to daily (evidence of the unsaved world being reached with the gospel). So here are some things worth taking note of:

  • Those that were saved, devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings. What beautiful choice of words! Being ‘devoted to my wife’ means that I will do everything to be with her, listen to her, try to please her and will go with her even when a good football game is on or the fish are biting good! Therefore attending church, or Bible teaching, would have similar priorities to those things just mentioned, or as mentioned in Acts 2. There would be nothing with greater priority;
  • Fellowship – I believe that when these Acts 2 believers spent tIme together under the teaching of God’s Word, they learned some things that helped them really get along with each other, so they enjoyed times of fellowship together. I bet they learned to overlook one another’s faults, and also their individual peculiarities!!
  • Sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper) – The mention of ‘food’ will normally bring folk out to church, but what a challenge to get those same folk to join you for a Bible Study that follows, or the Lord’s Supper that may only occur once per month or quarter. Knowing that God sees the heart, I wonder what He must see as the ‘devotion’ of these folk?
  • Prayer – Similar to the last item, this is probably one of the least attended services at a church. Analyzing this from a human perspective, means that folk either struggle with talking to their Father, fellowshipping with other believers while they talk with their Father, or simply sees no importance in publicly talking with their Father with hopes that others might be encouraged or blessed to hear of your answered prayer. I wonder which!
  • Shared everything they had with those in need – In other scripture, God shows where the church was designed to handle this through tithes and gift giving, or through handing out food and clothing to those in need. Oh that we would be done with the excuses of assuming that the church abuses this privilege, therefore we will not give to the church as God directs. These folk sold everything they had so that others might be blessed. May I suggest that the giver was probably more blessed than the receiver?

You may be asking why God would have all this included in His Word for us. I believe that it was very intentional in mentioning that the church grew daily. Again, this refers to God’s church – regardless of what denomination tag may have been placed on it on earth. Friends, our churches are dying rapidly today, so may I encourage you to not worry about inviting the church growth division of your state to discuss and help you analyze your church problems, but rather look inside your own heart and see how well you are doing in the above items? God will add to His church when he sees people who are serious about Him. Let’s take care of these things personally, and I believe that God will take care of the rest!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, in appreciation for all that You have blessed us with, we want to recommit ourselves to the proven qualities of this early church. I believe that You placed things like this in Your Word so that we might be best equipped to help grow Your kingdom in and through the many churches that we are involved in. Please help us to cut through the church politics, and the conclusions we tend to jump to about how our churches are run, and just do our part, knowing that You will add to Your church daily when Your children follow Your prescription for church growth. Thank You oh Lord for loving us enough to point us in the right direction. May we now be obedient, so that Your work might be accomplished before it’s a day too late. For I ask these things in the precious name of Jesus, AMEN!

Footnote: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to http://www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!
2016