Grow into Maturity

Brothers & Sisters

Pastor Jerry Gillis - February 12, 2023

Community Group Study Notes

  1. Have someone in your group give a brief recap of Sunday’s message, highlighting the primary Scripture passages and main idea of the message.
  2. How did this message strengthen, confirm and/or correct your previous ideas about spiritual maturity? 
  3. Define maturity. What does it mean to be spiritually mature? 
  4. On a scale of 0 (immature) – 10 (very mature), how would you rate your spiritual maturity? What is limiting your spiritual development? 
  5. Who do you seek your spiritual teaching from? (ie: what teachers, books, podcasts, commentaries, etc.) Are they building on a foundation of Jesus, or are they building on “wood, hay, and straw”? 
    • Has there ever been a time you had to stop seeking spiritual teaching from a source? Describe your evaluation process in determining the foundation of the truth being taught. 
  6. Interact with this statement: “Only the fools for God are wise.” What does it mean to be a fool for God? 
  7. In what ways have you been seeking acceptance from the world, rather than bending your will to God’s?


Sermon Transcript

Well, hey everyone, and thanks so much for joining us here for the weekly broadcast of The Chapel's worship gathering. My name is Jonathan Drake and I'm one of the pastors here. The Chapel is a church that's in Western New York and we're on mission to ensure that every man, woman, and child have repeated opportunities to hear and see the gospel of Jesus Christ. And it's our hope and our prayer and our intention with this broadcast to be one of those repeated opportunities in your life as well. We believe that God has something to say to each one of us and, therefore, it's no accident that you're even watching this channel at this time because if you listen in and you lean close, I believe that God has something to say to you today. In just a few moments, you're gonna hear a sermon from our church. And our lead pastor, Jerry Gillis, is preaching in today's sermon. We're in a series called, "Brothers and Sisters." We are journeying through the Book of 1 Corinthians in the New Testament. And some 22 times in that letter to these believers in the ancient city of Corinth, the Apostle Paul says, "Brothers and sisters." Some 22 times in this letter. And so as we're looking at various episodes from this letter where he addresses this group, "Brothers and sisters," he's speaking to them as family. And in today's message, Paul wants to tell these Corinthian believers, "It's time to grow into maturity." So we're gonna be in the early part of 1 Corinthians, starting out in chapter one and then making our way into chapter three. And so if you wanna turn there in advance, you'll be able to follow along. But again, here's what I believe. I believe that God has something to say to you and that He wants to use this message in your life just like He's already used it in mine. So we're really glad that you've joined us here today at The Chapel.

- Maybe you have heard of this phrase, maybe you haven't. But there was a phrase that was coined in 1983 by a psychologist named Dr. Dan Kiley, and it was this phrase, "Peter Pan Syndrome." You may or may not have ever heard of that before, but what Dr. Kiley was describing in his book that he wrote in 1983 about this idea, Peter Pan Syndrome, was he was studying why there are some men that never grow up. Now there's obviously, this is inclusive of some women as well, but he was predominantly talking about men that actually never grow up. And he called it Peter Pan Syndrome after Peter Pan, the the boy who never grew up, right? And it's an interesting way to phrase it certainly and it caught everyone's attention, no doubt. And even now, there are some researchers that they don't use the same term, they don't talk about Peter Pan Syndrome, but they do use some terms. Some call it artificial maturity, others call it, some researchers call it, expanded adolescence. What they're talking about is this, is that actually on the continuum of age is that there is now an expanded adolescence. It used to be right here in this range. Whatever that range would be, right? But now it's actually adolescence has grown earlier because of the exposure to the internet and social media and all of that stuff. And so kids are actually getting a lot more information and hearing about things that they don't normally hear about at younger ages, so adolescence is actually moving backwards. But it's also moving forwards. Because what happens is, is that those that get into certain age ranges think that they're actually mature because they have all this access to all of this information, but they really don't have experience in life. And so some of the researchers who are calling this artificial maturity or expanded adolescence, are actually arguing that we ought to define adulthood in a different place than where we define it now. Back in the day, adulthood was designed to be like when you're 18 or older, right? And then it was when you're 21 or older, like that's kind of like how we talk about it now. There's researchers that are arguing that it at least should be 24, and there's a bunch of them that are arguing, "Let's not even call them adults until they're 30." Because you've got an expanded kind of adolescence or what they've called an artificial immaturity. Now, the difficulty in this is that it's difficult to change this social phenomenon in our culture for this primary reason. Is that that group of people that are in that world think that they're mature. And so to try and convince someone who's not actually mature, that they need to be mature, when they already think that they're mature. Some of you are having flashbacks to raising kids, right? You're going, "Yeah, I remember these conversations when they were 17." And it was going like, "You don't know some of these things." And they're going, "I know everything!" Right? We all lived in that spot. But to convince somebody that they're immature who thinks that they are mature, but they're really not mature, that's a difficult scenario, right? That's an uphill push. Well, in effect, that's what Paul was doing in the Corinthian church. When he was writing a letter to them, what he was doing is this: Is that he was trying to convince spiritually immature people who thought that they were spiritually mature, that they actually weren't, and that they needed to spiritually mature. And Paul feels like he's probably pushing a rock up a hill at this point because he's talking to them about these ideas. And you can imagine how that is even in our context, right? When we're trying to talk to people that we know are not mature, that they need to mature, but they already think that they're mature. They think that they're mature because they use mature language, right? They cuss and they use language that adults use, and so they think they're mature. Or they think that they can do whatever they want sexually, and so they think that they're mature. Or they think that they're taking the next step because they're cohabitating now with the person that they're hanging out with that they're actually not committed to, but they're just living with and they think that they're mature as a result of that, right? Or whatever. Like you can pick your spot. But we can see that in our cultural context. But Paul is trying to say spiritually that was the case in Corinth. That he was trying to help them understand. Here's the thing, they thought they were wise. In fact, they thought they were wise or many of them thought they were wiser than Paul because they felt like they were wise in the ways of the world. Remember, there's a Greek influence here that talks about this idea of sophia, this idea of wisdom, that is permeating them and they keep tying themselves into the wisdom of the world. Paul's saying, "I don't wanna talk about the wisdom of the world. I wanna talk about the wisdom of the Spirit. You think that you're wise, but you're not." And we're going to be in a moment in 1 Corinthians 3 but I wanna show you what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1, when he talks about this idea of wisdom. He says this. He says, "Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom, did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. But to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." You see, Paul is trying to help them understand there is a massive difference between worldly wisdom and the wisdom of the Spirit. And he's helping them to understand that their immaturity comes because they are grasping to the wisdom of the world and not embracing the wisdom of the Spirit. And so what Paul does is he makes this argument. In kinda the second half of chapter one, all through chapter two, he's contrasting the wisdom of the Spirit versus the wisdom of the world. Right before he gets to chapter three, and when we look in chapter three, and we're gonna look in that chapter today, I would simply summarize what Paul is getting at in chapter three is this: Brothers and sisters, grow into maturity. There it is. Brothers and sisters, grow into maturity. This is what Paul is trying to communicate because spiritual maturity only comes by Spirit given means. You cannot! Listen to this. You cannot spiritually mature using worldly means. You can only spiritually mature by the work of the Spirit in your life. And the work of the Spirit comes through our yieldedness, our responsiveness and our obedience to the Word of God, which is the Sword of the Spirit. That when we find ourselves in that place, we can begin to grow and to mature in the things of the Spirit. But that's the only way that that will occur. And Paul is saying, "Brothers and sisters, grow into maturity." Now I want you to see how he begins to make that argument beginning in chapter three. In the first two verses, he says this, "Brothers and sisters." Remember, Paul uses this phrase over and over and over again. 22 times in 1 Corinthians. "Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit, but as people who are still worldly, mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you are not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready." That's a remarkable statement that Paul makes here. And we're reminded when we begin to read this that Paul is actually talking to believers. He says, "Brothers and sisters," right? That's how he begins. He's actually talking to believers, but he's talking to believers who are still infant in their formation, and they shouldn't be. And he said, "Because you are infants, I gave you milk, not solid food." Well, let me brighten your day here, all right? Here's a picture.

- [Congregation] Aww! This is a precious little infant who happens to be Edie and I's granddaughter.

- [Congregation] Aww!

- This is Josie Marie. Josie Marie Gillis. Look at those cheeks. You just wanna gobble those up, don't ya? So she is right about three months old. She... You ready for this? She doesn't eat solid food. You know why? She doesn't have teeth. No teeth, no solid food. Do you know that all that her infant body needs right now is milk? That's all her infant body needs right now. But there's coming a time that as she continues on that milk, that her body is going to begin to grow and continue to grow and mature, right? Those little cheeks, she's not missing any milk right now, right? She's loving it. She's gonna continue to grow and to mature to the point where the body is going to need additional sustenance. And the body begins to mature by growing teeth such that she now could be in a place where she can eat solid food, right? Wouldn't it be super weird if she's not three months but three years old and all she has is milk? That would be indicative of a problem, right? Milk still stays in the diet. I still like it. When I go to Starbucks with my wife, which is almost never, almost never. Maybe we've gone out on a date night or whatever, and we'll go by because she likes coffee and I will go in there and she'll order coffee and I will get milk and cookies. I'm a 53-year-old man who orders milk and cookies and I don't care because I don't drink coffee, right? So milk stays in the diet. It doesn't go away. It's always there, right? But you have the opportunity for more. I just kinda wanna leave her up there. It makes everybody happy. No one can ever be mad at you when you just got a picture of your granddaughter up there. Everybody's like, "Oh, we love her. We love you no matter what." But the Corinthians, they weren't ready. They were not ready. Paul says to them, "I gave you milk when I was with you, not solid food, 'cause you're infants in Christ." And he says, "By the way, now I've been gone for a while and I'm writing to you and you're still not ready for solid food. You're still infants!" It's like having a three-year-old or a 13-year-old who still is taking nothing but milk! This is not what they are supposed to be. This is not where they are supposed to be. And why is that? Why is it now? Why is it in Western Christianity that we see that all the time? Spiritual immaturity, pervasive among the church of Jesus Christ? Why do we see that continually? Well, in some cases I think that it's a responsibility of people like me because there are people like me that sometimes stand up in places like this and they don't feed very much. They're giving the people of God airy cheese puffs every week and there's no nutritional value whatsoever. And that is to be rebuked because that should not be. But there's also people who do what I do and they are faithful to God to teach the whole council of the Word of God and they open up the Word and they teach from the Word. It's not just like, "Seven ways to have a better Tuesday," right? You get a lot of that preaching. "Seven ways to have a better Tuesday." And they might, might, throw in some out of context verse for you in the middle of that to make it look like it's Christian instead of opening the Word of God and letting the Spirit of God take His Word and speak deeply into the souls and hearts of people to shape them into the image of Jesus. So that could be one reason, right? But there's another reason and it's because that people so often are either too lazy, read Hebrews 6 and you'll find out that idea, too lazy spiritually, too busy in their lives, too distracted by everything else, too willing to listen to the narrative of the world instead of the voice of God that they stay infants. And infancy in the Body of Christ, I think, is an epidemic in the Western church and I'm concerned by it and I'm concerned for us. And I wanna make sure that we hear that this is not how it should be. In fact, when the gentleman, the psychologist that referenced Peter Pan, if you go back to the very opening words of J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" that he wrote, you find one of the most popular, certainly in Europe, you find one of the most popular opening lines of all of literature, "All children, except one, grow up." That's how "Peter Pan" begins. "All children, except one, grow up." Even J. M. Barrie, the author, is building within that the inference that we are not to stay in a perpetual state of childishness, but instead we are to grow into maturity. So Paul begins that way talking. But then in the next couple of verses, here's what he says. He says, "You are still worldly. For since there's jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, 'I follow Paul,' and another, 'I follow Apollos,' are you not mere human beings?" See, Paul is coming now back to what he started, what we talked about last week in chapter one, when we saw these people that were attaching themselves to various teachers and maybe thinking that they were spiritual as a result, right? "I follow Paul and that makes me special." Or, "I follow Apollos and that makes me special." Or, "I follow Peter and that makes me special." Right? And so they were attaching themselves that way and Paul's saying, "Do you realize what you're doing? You're doing the same thing that like Greek culture does." There's this Greek culture and they would always attach themselves to various sages and various teachers, right? It's kinda what they did. And they would feel special as a result of being attached to this particular person. Paul's saying, "You're thinking just like the rest of the world at this point. Why don't you think like the Spirit?" "And by the way, your behavior," he says to them, "Your behavior is a giveaway for your immaturity." You notice that in verse three he says, "There's quarreling and jealousy." And then he says, "Are you not acting like mere humans?" See how they're acting? Paul says, "I can correlate your immaturity simply to your behavior." It's real simple to be able to see. And I think for us, we ought to pay attention to that as well. Oftentimes, we're not paying attention to our own behavior because it's always somebody else's fault. Oh, it's always somebody else who's done something, right? It's never us. We never look at it that way. But our behavior is oftentimes a giveaway. If you're spending time around somebody in the Body of Christ who likes to gossip, quick note, spiritually immature. If you're spending time around somebody in the Body of Christ who likes to jump to judgment upon the first hearing of something, as opposed to understanding everything before they hear something, spiritually immature. If you're hanging around somebody in the Body of Christ who doesn't have control over their tongue or their thumbs or their keyboard, spiritually immature. Or that may be you. Instead of thinking of someone else, you might be going, "Well, the shoe fits." You see, Paul is trying to tell the Corinthians he wants them to grow in spiritual maturity and he's trying to help them understand that, and he's illustrating it by their very behaviors in terms of what they're doing. What they're doing is they're aligning themselves, causing division, with particular teachers and leaders like we talked about. And Paul says, "I want you to have a mature view of a couple of things," in chapter three that he talks about. There's more he's going to talk about later in this letter, but in chapter three, there are two primary areas that he wants them to have a mature view of. The first has to do with a mature view of what spiritual leaders are, what their role is, who they are in their very nature. And the second is who the people of God are. That he says, "I want you to have a mature view of these things." Let's start with the first that I just mentioned. We need a mature view of the nature and role of spiritual leaders. We need a mature view of that. The nature and the role of spiritual leaders. Look what he says in verse number five. He says, "What, after all?" Notice that. What, not who. "What after all is Apollos? And what is Paul?" Notice that he's gonna answer that question really specifically because they have an elevated view of who Apollos and Paul and Peter are. They've got a wrong-sized view. And he says, "What is Apollos? What is Paul?" Only what? "Servants." That's the phrase that he used. It's in the Greek language, it's where we get the word, it's diakonos, it's where we get the word deacon. He doesn't mean that as an office here, he means it as a servant. It literally, the term diakonos, means table waiter, right? Server. He says, "What after all is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord has assigned to each his task." So they have too elevated a view, maybe for selfish reasons, about these leaders that are among them. Now Paul's not arguing, you know, "Treat them poorly." He's not arguing any of that. He talks about in various other places to honor those who teach the Word among you, right? And to listen to them and to bring joy to them, so it's not a hard job for them to be able to do this, but it's a joy for them. He talks about honoring those who spiritually lead. So he's not saying that, but he's saying, "The problem is right now you have an inflated and over exaggerated view of who they are." And he's having to correct that for them. And he says, "What, after all, what's Apollos? What's Paul? Servants." Servants, that's what they are. Not celebrities, not rock stars. Servants! That's the job. That's what their intent is. And then he gives us two pictures of what that servanthood looks like. The first is he gives us a picture as a servant farmhand. He literally goes to kind of crops at this point and he makes an illustration. It's really an interesting one to look at. Verse six through nine, he says, Paul says, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants, nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are coworkers in God's service. You are God's field, God's building." You see, what Paul is trying to convince them of and help them understand is this: You have an overinflated view and you're dividing yourselves about Paul and Apollos and Peter. And he says, "This is just immaturity. This is just worldly wisdom at its finest." He said, "But what you fail to understand is that I, Paul, I've just been watering. I mean, I've just been planting in the field. Apollos, he's been watering in the field. But guess what? It's God's field and He's the one who makes things grow." In fact, if you were looking at this in the Greek language, Paul says, "I planted, Apollos watered." Both of those are in the Aorist tense. Now, not because you want a Greek lesson. You're like, "I didn't come for this." I get it, but I want you to understand something. What that means is it's a past action that has occurred and it's final. But then he says, "Okay, these past actions that have occurred and are final, Paul planted, Apollos watered." And then he uses, he changes from the Aorist to the imperfect tense and says, "God, He's still in the process of making things grow." God's the one who's in charge of all this. God's the one to be thanked. God's the one to be praised. It's His field. He's the one doing all of this. You do remember that when Jesus was telling a story about the Kingdom of God, in that story itself, He implied that very truth. It's in Mark 4. Here's what it says. Jesus said, "This is what the Kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain. First the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head." And He goes on to talk more. But He's even implying it in the parables that He told. Yeah, we may sow the seed, we may break up the soil, we may water, we may do all of those things. God's the only one who makes things grow! And see, what we have to understand is this: Sometimes we are trying to attain spiritual maturity by worldly ends. We cannot do it. Only God can do that! Only the Spirit of God in us can cause us to be shaped into the image of Jesus. Paul says, "Me and Apollos? We're just servants in the field. We're farmhands. We're just out here working. It's God's field and we have one purpose. We're doing different tasks but we have one purpose. So it seems weird that you would just be all about the guy who plants when there's somebody who also has to water. It'd be weird that you're all about the guy who's watering if there weren't any seed in the ground!" We're working for one purpose and what is that purpose? The harvest of the field of God. And Paul says, "You are that field! That's you and we are together working in that direction." You've been to restaurants before? The kind where you sit down and a server comes and takes your order, and you know all of that. You want that server to be gracious and to listen and to, you know, all of that, right? You don't wanna order something that they bring you something back different, right? So that's a good thing. So the server comes, they get your order, they go back to the kitchen, they put your order in and sometimes somebody different brings out your food. It's not even the person that you ordered with, right? They're just somebody different. But sometimes it's your server. They bring out your food and they give it to you. It would seem weird though, wouldn't it, to just go absolutely bonkers after you've had a great meal and just lavish unbelievable praise on the server. Now hopefully they did a good job and you tipped them well and you didn't rip them off, right? But it'd be weird because they don't own the restaurant, they didn't buy the food, they didn't make the food. They just brought it! They took your order and they brought it. It'd be weird. Like, you wanna honor that, but you don't wanna have an overinflated view of that 'cause they didn't have anything to do with making the food, right? That would be weird. That's why it's super weird when people make pastors into celebrities and rock stars. They're mailmen! By the way, a perfectly noble job. That's what my job is. Perfectly noble job delivering the mail. I wanna do it well, I wanna do it accurately. I wanna make sure it gets to the right address, you. But I didn't write it! I'm just giving it to you.

- This is the role that we have. And Paul gives us that idea of a servant farmhand, but he also gives a secondary piece and that's a servant builder. So he says, "You gotta have a mature view of the nature and the role of spiritual leaders. They are servant farmhands and they are servant builders." Look in verse number 10. Paul now changes the metaphor a bit. He says, "By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care for no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is because the day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire and the fire will test the quality of each person's work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it's burned up, the builder will suffer loss, but yet will be saved even though only as one escaping through the flames." You see, now Paul is talking about the way in which he should be a builder as a servant. So he's a servant farmhand. He's giving you that picture. Now he's saying, "I'm a servant builder." And he says, "Here's the deal. I laid the foundation and then Apollos began to build on the foundation." Right? And now by inference he's talking to the Corinthians and saying, "And now you, the people among you that are teachers among you, now you're building on that foundation." But see at the end of the day what Paul is making the argument for is this. The key is the foundation has already been laid and that foundation is Jesus. It is Jesus. One of the things that I'm grateful for, this church, which was founded in 1961, is they determined to build on the foundation of Jesus. I'm grateful for that. The church has, you know, we've been around for a bunch of years now at this point, but the church's foundation hasn't shifted. The foundation is Jesus. That means everything that Jesus is, everything that Jesus taught, everything that Jesus was about, all the implications of what it means to follow Jesus, it means all of that to build on the foundation of Jesus. And I wanna make sure that we understand here, we don't need a different foundation. The foundation doesn't need repair, the foundation doesn't need improvement. And anyone and everyone who steps up to this place, talking to this group of people, better be building on the same foundation and that is Jesus Christ. That is what we are called to do. But what we use to build is important. The materials, right? Because Paul says, "If someone uses gold, silver, and precious stone, or if someone uses wood, hay, straw." Right? He says, "Depending on what you use, it's going to be shown when the fire comes on that great day." And what's Paul referring to? He's referring to the Day of the Lord where the Lord is going to make clear everything about everything, and the fire of His gaze and the fire of His holiness and the fire of His life is going to purify and it will stand as a testimony to His own judgment. And that fire will demonstrate what stood and what did not. And so if we build with a bunch of fluffy nothingness that's just temporary but looks maybe good. "Man, I built this straw fort and it looks super cool. It's like a tiki hut. It's like you're in Bora Bora. Come to church, you'll feel like you're on vacation." Except for when the fire comes, pfft, it's gone. Because the difference that Paul is talking about in the materials that he used to build is the difference. Here's the difference. Imperishable: Gold, silver, precious stone. And perishable: Wood, hay, straw. That's the difference Paul's getting at. One is imperishable and will be refined by fire, the other will just burn up. So he says the responsibility of those in Corinth is that they better build with the right materials because the day is going to bring this all to light. Now those of you that are in the building field, right? Or you're in the real estate world, you know your way around this stuff better than I do. But here's what I do know. Builders who don't build with the right materials and don't do things as they're supposed to do, they face some consequences, right? Get fined, all of that kind of stuff. And we're reminded right here that those who are in the process of building the church, they better build it on the one singular foundation that has already been laid, and that is the foundation of Jesus Christ. But how they build it really matters and they better build with eternal things, things that are imperishable, as opposed to just things that are temporary and things that can be burned up. So Paul says we need to have a mature view of the nature and role of spiritual leaders. They're servant farmhands and they're servant builders. But he also tells us that we need to have a mature view of the nature and role of God's people. The nature and role of God's people. Let me explain because Paul, as we continue on in chapter three, is going to use a series of a few different pictures to show us that. And the first is this, is that we are a temple. We need to have a mature view of who we are and we need to understand that we are a temple. Look in verse number 16. Again, we're just literally walking through this verse by verse. Paul says, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person. For God's temple is sacred and you together are that temple." Watch this at the very end. You what? Together. See, what that does is it frames for us that Paul's not here just talking about individuals, he's talking about the corporate body. Because some have wrongly taken that passage of scripture where it talked about, you know, "If you destroy God's temple, then God will destroy," and have applied that to the idea of suicide, taking one's own life. That's not what that passage is about. This isn't talking about individuals, this is talking about the corporate body, that God's presence dwells in our midst together. It's true that we individually are temples of the Holy Spirit, but together we are the temple of God where God's presence dwells among us. That means that where we go, God goes, that where we are, God is, because His Spirit dwells in us. No longer is God's presence relegated, kind of specific presence, relegated to a building temple in Jerusalem where you would go and experience the manifest glory of God. No, now because of what Jesus has done, now the Spirit of God dwells within the people of God and we are His temple. And where we go, God goes. Where we are, God is. And that's a beautiful reminder for us, that as the people of God, God dwells in us and dwells in our midst. And God considers, listen to this, God considers that sacred and precious. So much so that He says those who intend to destroy it, He will deal with. He will deal with. There are plenty of forces in the world that we live in that are intent on endeavoring to destroy God's people. I don't have to outline them all. We see them emerge more and more, in fact. But at the end of the day, here's what we know. We have a Savior who's seeing all of that. He is caretaking His people and He will deal with those who try to destroy His temple. He has taken that very seriously. We need to take that very seriously and those who are endeavoring to be teachers and leaders better make sure that they understand that, and those who make up this body better understand that. We better be really careful before we start doing things that are hurtful, destructive, and divisive to the people of Jesus. We better be really, really careful. It doesn't mean that the church of Jesus is not and should not be subject to critique or criticism. We should be, right? And there's plenty that we could self-critique, right? That's not saying that at all. We're not saying the church is above critique or criticism. No. Nobody is in that space. What we are saying is we have to be careful of those people who are endeavoring to destroy, who are endeavoring to divide, who are endeavoring to cause people who love Jesus to be hurt. That God sees and He cares deeply about. We, brothers and sisters, are a temple and a temple is sacred. But secondly, we're also fools for God. This is what Paul says, "We are fools for God." Now, nobody likes being called a fool, but you do when it's in this context. Listen to how Paul says it in verse number 18. He says, "Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written, 'He catches the wise in their craftiness.' And again, 'The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.'" Now, understand what Paul's not saying. Paul is not arguing for anti-intellectualism. He's not saying that we can't learn from other fields of study, even if those people aren't believers in Jesus. We can understand that. Because listen, if what's being studied is true, then that means it's a part of God's true world, right? So sometimes there are scientists who don't know Jesus who are coming to conclusions because it's simply what God's world is. There's others by the way, that have an agenda and they're decidedly not doing science, they're doing worldview, right? And they're trying to force that upon us and we have to be able to discern the difference in those things. But here it's a good reminder that Paul is saying to us, "We can try and be as wise in the ways of the world as we want to, but we're not going to be spiritually mature as a result of that. Instead, we must become fools for God." Not fools who are just acting the fool, but fools as in the way that the world looks at us, is they think to themselves, "What are these people doing? They are embracing things that I can't even begin to think about." Because the world is saying something very, very different. See, more and more, brothers and sisters, more and more in the world that we lived in, that we live in now, we're going to be more and more viewed as fools by the world that we live in. It already occurs now, but that is not going to change and it is probably going to increase. The world thinks that we are fools because we embrace the God ordained picture of marriage as man and woman, that pictures Christ, the bridegroom and the church as the bride, and that this picture was actually designed by God before anything. And the world looks at us like we're foolish for embracing such a thing. The world looks at us as if we're foolish when we contend that the Bible has really beautiful and good and true and admirable ends for human sexuality, and that's what God has actually determined. But that we choose. You know the world says, "Well, you can do whatever you want whenever you want because it's just how we're wired." But yet we embrace this and we are looked at oftentimes as foolish. Or we are looked at as foolish because we contend that God has made objective reality in male and female, and we cannot just choose whatever we want. Because God has made objective reality and to go against God's good design is not something that I consider wise. But the world looks at us and thinks we're foolish for embracing something like that. Now, the church too many times has, because they wanted to hold tightly to those things, has acted foolishly and unlovingly in those scenarios. That's not who we wanna be. Because the relentless pressure of the narrative of the world that's being pressed in on people all the time, including our kids, it is relentless in the world that we live in, isn't it? Relentless! So there's no doubt there's going to be confusion and heartache and all of those kinds of things. That's going to occur. Our response cannot be a hammer. Our response needs to be one of love while at the same time not letting go of the truth of God. Because the truth of God is the truth of God that we are often being called fools for embracing. There's so many other pieces that we could probably talk about. But the one that I think may be the most prominent ultimately is that we're going to continue to be called fools because we embrace the offense of the cross. Because everything that the cross of Jesus Christ signals to us is this: Is that we are sinful and cannot save ourselves, and that Jesus is the only hope of our salvation to satisfy the justice of a holy God. And that it is only through Him, not through good works, not through working our way to God, not through a million different kind of rivers that lead to the same ocean, none of that's true. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through me." This is the words of the Son of God. And we're often called fools because we embrace the exclusivity of what Jesus has defined. But God so loved the world that His desire is that all should come to know Him. And He's done that through the gift of His Son. And we should be people who share that message with other people with humility and grace and love and joy. But we have to remember that the offensive of the cross is still going to be offensive to so many because they're going to think we're fools for embracing there's only one way to Jesus, we're fools for saying that there is an eternity to be gained or lost. And too often we're just called fools. But we, as fools for God, will be wise. This is what Paul has said. Do you wanna know Spirit-given wisdom? The world may look at us and say that we are fools, but know this: What you've been told is true and to grow and mature in the Spirit by the revelation that God has given by His Spirit through His apostles to you, these things you build on that foundation, this is true and you embrace it and you become spiritually wise. But he gives us a third picture, and it's this: We have an inheritance. Let me explain that very quickly by reading verses 21 and following. Paul says, "So then," as he finishes this chapter. "So then no more boasting about human leaders!" Exclamation point. Knock it off! He says, "All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, that's Peter, or the world or life or death or the present or the future. All are yours and you are of Christ and Christ is of God." See, what he's saying to them is this, "You're trying to align yourselves with these leaders so that you'll be theirs." Paul says, "They're already yours. Paul, Apollos, Peter, they're yours." And then he gets fired up and he's like, "Oh, and by the way, the world is yours, life is yours, death is yours, the present is yours, the future is yours." Why? Because we're in Christ and Christ is of God! That's why! This is the beautiful reminder to each of us. Part of the reason that we don't mature, brothers and sisters, part of the reason that we don't mature is because we don't recognize where maturity is headed. It's headed to the realization of our inheritance and our ruling and reigning with Jesus. Listen to how Paul said it when he wrote to Timothy. He said, "Here's a trustworthy saying. If we died with Him, we'll also live with Him. If we endure, we will also reign with Him." Listen to John in the Book of Revelation. "They sang a new song saying, 'You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were slain, and with your blood, you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth.'" Our destiny, brothers and sisters, is to rule and reign with the Lord Jesus. He is the King, but He is going to entrust to us an opportunity to rule and to reign alongside of Him. What does that mean? I don't know, but I wanna be a part of it! I don't fully understand it, but I want some of that action. But how are we being prepared for that? Spiritual maturity. Life in the Spirit. This is how we are growing and maturing and moving toward the very role we'll be taking in eternity. We are prepping, we are training, for the role that God has intended for us with Jesus. So brothers and sisters, grow in maturity as Paul said. And if you aren't, know this. It is probably because you want something more than Him. You want something more than Him. And if that's the case, it means pride and self have become the culprits that they are in your world, and it will require repentance and surrender of will completely to Jesus. We need to mature and we need to spiritually mature as believers because we are training for what's to come and we are showing the world around us who Jesus is. Let's bow our heads together for a moment to pray. We'll be dismissed in just a moment. And two-pronged challenge for you. One, for those of you who are believers in Jesus Christ, ask yourself the question, "Am I still living somewhat of a spiritual infancy?" I mean, do you spend time in the Word of God? Do you spend time listening to God and talking to God in prayer? Do you spend time serving God in wherever that looks like, whatever that looks like? Or are you still being spoonfed? Being given a bottle spiritually? But you should at this point be maturing. None of us has ever arrived, but we're maturing. And if that's your need, I would ask you to ask the Holy Spirit to speak deeply to your heart about what it is that is causing your spiritual infancy. Is it laziness? Is it busyness? Is it distraction? Is it unbelief? What is it? Let the Lord do that work in your heart. And for those of you who maybe have yet to put your faith in Jesus, I wanna say to you that our only salvation is in Him and until we turn from our sin and recognize our sinfulness and put our faith in what He has done through His death on the cross for our sins and His resurrection from the grave overcoming sin, hell and death on our behalf, until we've done that by faith, we cannot be saved, we cannot discern things spiritually. And if that's your need, then when I say amen to this prayer, there's gonna be some folks that'll be standing right here down front, men and women, and I'd ask you to just come and take one of them by the hand and say, "I'd like to receive Jesus." And they'd love to pray with you and send you home with something that's gonna help you in your journey of faith. So Father, thank you for the gift of life that you have given to us, the opportunity to hear your Word on this day. And I pray, Father, that in the name of Jesus, your Spirit would speak deeply to each of our souls, that you would give us the wisdom that we need, that you would mature us, that you would grow us. That God, those areas where we have not yielded ourselves completely and totally to you, I pray God that you would receive those as we repent of that and we surrender ourselves to your will so that people could see the growing maturity of the Spirit in our lives and see a new world at work in us, the Kingdom. And that we would be preparing ourselves for that which we're destined for, to serve alongside of you Lord Jesus in the age to come. So we trust you to do that among your people, for your glory and for the good of a world that needs to see a true witness and a beautiful and true witness of Jesus. I pray this in Christ's name, amen.

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