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A Call to Spiritual Maturity (Ephesians 4:13-16)

Pastor Travis Burkett

In today’s reading, we see that we in the church are called to be spiritually mature. Let’s read Ephesians 4:13-16, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” I love the result of followers of Jesus that have a desire to follow Jesus while living in Biblical unity. The result is people with spiritual maturity.

In this life, we often link maturity to age. In high school, you’re mature with a license, diploma, lengthened curfews, etc. We think maturity happens when one goes through life or a challenge. We mark maturity by a few things: (1) keep long-term commitments, (2) be unshaken by flattery or criticism, (3) have a spirit of humility, (4) make decisions based on character, not feelings, (5) express gratitude, (6) prioritize needs above desires, (7) think before one acts. These may all be steps to maturity, but Biblical maturity is striving to learn, listen, and live more like Jesus. It’s a shift from inward to outward, but we can’t live properly outward until there has been a real change inward.

In Ephesians 1-3, Paul shows us who we are in Christ, and now he shows us how we are to live. We are called to be spiritually mature. So, how is this possible?

Spiritual Maturity Involves Christlikeness (4:13)

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” When we grow in unity and in the knowledge of Jesus, we mature. The ultimate picture of spiritual maturity is Jesus: “a stature of the fulness of Christ.” That’s the goal, for us to be like Jesus!

Growing up, I loved to attend Indiana Pacer games. My favorite player was Jermaine O'Neal. Let me tell you, I wanted to be like him. I watched how he played, imitated his moves, bought his shoes, and I even wrapped my elbow like he did. I wanted to be like him! Spiritually speaking, why is there not a greater obsession with being like Jesus? We live in a world that is spiritually immature because the reality is, followers of Jesus don’t care to be like Jesus.

2. Spiritual Maturity Involves Knowing Doctrine (4:14)

Paul says that we need to be like Jesus, but in order to be like Jesus, we must know what the Bible says! The Bible says we shouldn’t be little children anymore. If you know anything about kids, they are gullible and easily deceived. (I mean, kids actually think their parents are superheroes.) Spiritually speaking, If you stay as a spiritual child, you will not know the Bible as you should, and you’ll be deceived.

Spiritually mature Christians know (1) The Bible: The verbal, plenary inspired Word of God. That it is inerrant, infallible, God-breathed, and our final authority for life and faith. (2) The Godhead: The 3 in 1. They’re ONE in essence, power, and glory but each possessing all attributes to deity. (3) The Person of Jesus: That He came without ceasing to be God that He might reveal God and redeem sinful man. (4) Salvation: It’s a gift of God, by His grace it is received not by works but by a personal faith in Jesus’ blood on the cross and the defeat of death. (5) The Church: The bride of Jesus, in union with Jesus, and exists to equip and bring people to Jesus. God doesn't just call us to be saved and attend church but literally calls us to know His Word.

3. Spiritual Maturity Involves Engagement (4:16)

Paul gives a body metaphor again. This is a reminder that we are all essential workers. We are one in Christ while playing different roles for the same mission. Isn’t it amazing that God calls us? God didn’t just want you to know that you matter (you do matter). God didn’t just want you to know who you are in Christ (although He shows you). We find that God wants you to engage and be a part of something bigger than yourself! He calls us to contribute.

I want to encourage you that God’s mission is too big for you to go through the motions. Why? Because “every joint supplieth.” When we both do our part to be connected and engage, the body functions. Yet, the opposite of this is true. When I reject my purpose to the body, the rest of the body of Christ suffers.

Friend, be encouraged that God has called us to follow Him, to know His Word, and to be engaged. So, how are you doing?

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