THE MARKS OF A MATURE CHURCH
Today's lesson aim is to help anchor your faith in a consistent walk for the Lord.
Do you ever feel stagnant in your Christian faith? Like you are going nowhere? Just going through the same motions day after day, week after week, year after year? Everyone probably has felt like this at some point, even the strongest believer. But this should not be a way of life. Scripture tells us that there are certain things we must do to be mature as individuals and as a church body.
Every church needs mature believers, people who are consistently growing in the Lord. The word consistent is key: a mature people are consistent in all they do. They are consistently growing in the Lord. One of the great tragedies of today's society is the lack of consistency. Few people are consistent in their daily walk with the Lord. This is the subject of Colossians 2:1-7: the marks of a mature church.
1. A mature church has a pastor who wrestles in prayer and concern for the church - vs. 1
People and their spiritual well being should be the focus of every pastor. Having a genuine concern for others, and taking time to pray for them is the best way to help people through their trials so they can continue to grow in their walk with the Lord.
2. A mature church has confidence and assurance - vs. 2-3.
Confidence and knowledge are the result of a relationship with the Lord. Confidence comes from God, and assurance is something we develop as we get to know the Lord to a greater degree.
3. A mature church will resist and reject seductive teaching - vs. 4.
To beguile means to mislead or deceive. There are many who seek to mislead people with unbiblical teaching. Make sure and study to show yourself approved unto God, rightly dividing the Word of truth.
4. A mature church maintains a type of military discipline - that of order and steadfastness - vs. 5.
The word "order" means to maintain a military discipline, to be arranged in such a manner as to hold the line unbroken and intact. Satan wants to break through the ranks of a church to cause havoc.
The other need is for steadfastness. To persevere, to continue without quitting you and I need to have this type of resolve.
5. A mature church is one walking in the Lord - vs. 6-7.
This means at least two things. First, believers walk just as they have received Christ—by faith. They received Christ by faith, so they are to walk and continue with Christ by faith. When they received Christ, they trusted His righteousness and death to cover their sins and to make them acceptable to God. Therefore, they are to walk continuing to trust His righteousness and death. It is His righteousness and death that continue to cover their sins, making them acceptable to God. They have nothing within themselves to earn, merit, deserve, or make God accept them. They can do nothing and they can possess nothing that will secure the approval of God. The believer's only acceptance before God is Christ, trusting the righteousness and death of Christ.
Second, believers received Christ as Christ Jesus the Lord. That is, when believers received Him, they accepted Him as the true Messiah and Lord from heaven; they accepted Him as the Lord of their lives. Therefore, believers are to walk before Him as Lord; they are to continue walking and serving Him as the Lord of their lives.
Are you walking as you should by faith and in obedience?
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
1. What emotions fill your heart when you are confident that God will see you through a crisis?
2. What difference does it make when you know that God loves you unconditionally, even when you fail?
3. What are some of the natural results when a person has no assurance of God's love?
4. Where do worldly people search for wisdom? What tempts a believer to follow after their example?
5. According to verses 2 & 3, where are true wisdom and understanding found?
6. What is your role in finding the wisdom and understanding that is hid in Christ?
7. Are you comfortable with your knowledge of the Bible? Are you able to resist being seduced by false teaching? In what areas do you need to become stronger?
8. If someone asked your friends if you were a believer, what would they say? Would they give a favorable response?
Your Friend and HIS,