Spiritual Maturity: It’s Time to Grow Up

God is looking to get married! Do you think He is going to marry an immature or mature bride? Let’s take a look at the spiritual maturity of the Church today

Key verse:
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. – 1 Corinthians 13:11 NKJV

Introduction

When a baby is born into this world, what does that baby know?  Nothing.  The baby eventually grows into being a child – it has learned a little bit.  When that baby becomes a teenager, suddenly he/she knows everything!  The whole time, the parents (the adult) is thinking, “you don’t know anything – wait until you actually grow up”.  Long story short, the baby must develop – it must mature.  We must mature.  Did you know that God is looking for a bride?

Maturity – Immaturity

The bridegroom needs a bride!  God is looking to get married – keep this thought in mind as we begin to dive into today’s sermon.

Mature: physically fully developed in body; fully developed in mind, as a person.  The Apostle Paul said that when he was a child, he spoke as a child and understood as a child.  In other words, Paul was immature – being childish.  Paul, when he was called Saul, was a man that spent his days persecuting the church (early Christians).  Paul could not understand how early Christians could turn to Jesus Christ and, in his mind, abandon the Law; Paul was ignorant to the way of Jesus Christ.

Children are immature (not fully developed in mind).  Our children are ignorant of this world, and their innocence is something we all love.  We can accept and understand the immaturity of our children; after all we were once young and immature as well.  Adults, on the other hand, should know better!  We do not accept grown folks acting/being immature!

Women may have to tell a man ever now and then to grow up, but she is not going to tell that man that for too long.  Women don’t want to be with an immature man.  No woman wants to marry an immature man!  Men don’t want to be with an immature woman.  No man wants to marry an immature woman.  Nobody wants to be with a child, right?  Why do we think God would want to be with an immature child?  Did you know that God is looking for a bride?  Do you really think God is looking to be with a child?

Our Immature Ways

Today’s message is for both Christians and nonbelievers – I’m especially looking at Christians.  I don’t know if there will ever be a day that I live and am not disappointed with Christians – I have to be honest.  I am always watching how Christians carry themselves; I guess this began to happen when I became a preacher.  I watch how other Christians act, how other Christians treat people, and it is not right – not right at all.

There has been a common theme in some of my most recent sermons – Christians attitude is not up to par.  Recently I have preached about Christian superiority, arrogance, judgment, and today I take a look at spiritual ignorance.  God is not going to marry an immature (not fully developed) bride – know that the bride is the Church.  So, God is not going to marry an immature Church!

My responsive reading today was out of Matthew 25:1-13 (read this).  I want to take a look at the parable of the 10 virgins – they represent us, the Church.  In Matthew 25:1, we’re told that the kingdom of heaven will be like these ten virgins that went out to meet the bridegroom.  You will want to note that the bridegroom is Jesus, God in the flesh. 

We are then told that 5 of the virgins were foolish.  When these 5 virgins went out to meet the groom, they took their lamps but they didn’t bring any oil with them to burn their lamps.  The other 5 virgins were wise and brought oil for their lamps with them.  In other words, 50% of the virgins were foolish, let’s say they were immature.  The other 50% were mature, they were smart and took oil with their lamps just in case the wait was long.

Turns out the wait was a bit longer than expected, as the groom was delayed.  The immature virgins had to go back to get their oil and while they were gone, the groom arrived.  The groom took the mature virgins with him into the wedding while the immature virgins were left behind.  Are you ready for the groom to come?

Be ready – The groom is coming

Jesus ended this parable by saying (Matthew 25:13), “watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”  Are you ready?  You see, I cannot and I will not have you ignorant of the groom’s coming.  We must be ready for Jesus to come; we must be ready for our wedding.  Jesus could come the very next minute – how would He judge the Church with the way we act today?  Boastful, arrogant, hypocrites in our way – we’ve got to grow up, we need to let go of being immature fools.  The question is, how do we get ourselves ready for this wedding?

We have to get clean – this is done by genuine faith in Jesus Christ.  Jesus washes us clean of sin.  We must next look into the mirror and get ourselves ready.  We must grow up – we have to change and turn from worldly ways.  As this world changes, we should not look to adapt to this world, but look more towards how Jesus Christ carried himself in this world.

Some will say, “preacher wants us to change and accept what is going on in the world”.  It is not that I want us to accept what this world is, I want us to change, and truly walk in the way of Jesus Christ.  Yes, I want us to change and truly live in the way of Jesus Christ.  Strive to be like Christ! Strive to live like Christ! Mature!  What did Jesus do?

Jesus taught us to have mercy towards others (Matthew 18:23-33).  It was James that asked the question (James 2:13), how can we expect judgment with without mercy if we choose not to show mercy?  We grow in our faith when we have mercy in our hearts.

Jesus also taught us to have forgiveness in our heart (Matthew 18:21-22).  Peter thought it would be enough to forgive a man 7 times in a day.  Jesus looked at Peter and said, “seventy times seven.”  In other words, Jesus teaches us that forgiveness is something that we should give out liberally.  Jesus then told us that we should love all people as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31).

It is childish to do the opposite of Jesus’ teachings, but what are we doing?  Do you really think we’re all mature enough to be the Lord’s bride?  We can no longer claim ignorance, like a child, and say that we “didn’t know”.  We have heard the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Because we know and choose to ignore, or choose to do otherwise, is not a sign of endearment.  There are so many people saying they are “woke” but they’re actually fast asleep.  There are so many people who believe they are righteous, but they’re like 5 virgins that chose to leave their oil behind.  To ignore, to choose to do otherwise, is a sign of immaturity.

Paul said he had to put away childish things.  Have you put away childish things, spiritually speaking?  We, Christians, say that we are followers of the way of Jesus Christ but we refuse to put away childish things – the world.  God is not going to marry a child still playing with toys, would you?  We must put away the childish mindset of worldly ways.

God is expecting to marry a mature Church (fully developed in mind).  You don’t want to be one of those virgins that forgot oil (forgot His way).  We absolutely do not want to be one of the 5 virgins that thought they knew everything, chose not to bring their oil, and ended up missing out because they were being immature.  Those 5 virgins, when they thought they would still get into the wedding heard the groom say to them (Matthew 25:12), “I do not know you.”  Do you really want to hear Jesus say, “I do not know you”?  It’s time to grow up.

Bible Cross References:

Matthew 18:21-22 – No limits on forgiveness
Mark 12:31 – The great commandment to love others
James 2:13 – Judgment without mercy

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About Pastor Leo H. McCrary II

Rev. Leo H. McCrary II

Rev. Leo H. McCrary II was licensed to preach August 12, 2012, and ordained April 28, 2013. Currently pastors at Christian Unity in Douglasville, GA and online through New Found Faith.

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