In Part 2 of this blog I hope to illustrate how maturity was the goal God had in mind for our role model for all life and ministry – Jesus the Christ – and how it is His goal for every blood bought believer in Jesus the Christ.
Part 1 ended on the importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
We must remember that God waited to announce who His Son was and how pleased He was with His Son until His Son was baptized in water and in the Holy Spirit in the river Jordan.
In Acts chapter 19 Luke writes that as Christianity was progressing away from Jerusalem, the place of its origin, the baptism in the Holy Spirit continued to be a major theme for the blood bought believers of Jesus the Christ. This happened approximately 20 years after Pentecost.
“1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”
Did you, dear reader, receive the Holy Spirit when you believed on Jesus the Christ?
This is not talking about the new birth where every person, upon receiving Jesus the Christ as their Lord, receives the Holy Spirit [Between John 20 & Acts 2 were 47 days]. These disciples were believers in Jesus the Christ. They were “disciples” and they had “believed.” They had just been baptized into John’s baptism. The text does not say they repented and accepted Christ. It says they were baptized in the name of the [their] Lord Jesus. Paul then laid hands on them and they were immediately baptized in the Holy Spirit and they spoke with [unknown, heavenly] tongues and prophesied.
Are you like the people in Ephesus who were confused at Paul’s question?
Are you interested in the truth about the importance of the baptism in the Holy Spirit?
Do you have anyone in your life that can clear up any confusion that you may have?
I can make myself available if you don’t have someone?
I believe your maturity in Christ depends on how you respond!
Let’s transition to an Old Testament text that reveals a tremendous amount of information about God’s purpose for the Christ Child.
Isaiah 9:6,7 GWT – “6 A child will be born for us. A son will be given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. He will be named: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His government and peace will have unlimited growth. He will establish David’s throne and kingdom. He will uphold it with justice and righteousness now and forever. The Lord of Armies is determined to do this!”
V6 – “A child will be born for us. A son will be given to us.”
This Child was born for us!
This Christ Child was born to be a role model. He was born “for us”. He is our example! We are to follow in His footsteps! He was born to carry something tremendous and tremendously important for the planet.
All children are born to become someone who can be given to a purpose that is much greater than themselves!
Children are born, not to remain children, or childish! The same goes for those who are born again by the Spirit of God.
The Son was given the government, not the Child!
The Son was given His government, not the Child!
Are you aware and do you care that God wants to give something tremendous to you so that He can give you as a tremendous gift to the planet? Our level of maturity will determine if we ever have access to it.
1 Corinthians 13:11 GWT – “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used [employed] childish ways [childishness].”
NAS – “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things [childishness].”
MSG – “When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.”
There is a huge difference between childlikeness and childishness!
We are to remain childlike even though we are to lose our childishness. Childishness on an adult is not cute, or appealing!
The word child is used 5x in the 1 Corinthian 13 text. All 5 are the Greek word nepios [nay-pee-os].
Nepios is the 2nd level of maturity in the childhood stage of maturity [Greek words for child are Brephos, Nepios, Paidion, Teknon].
Nepios means immature, unable to speak intelligently, self-centered, self-absorbed, selfish, carnal [living out of our old unsaved nature]. Paul uses this word in 1 Corinthians 3.
Included in this word for immaturity is the word negate.
Negate – To nullify or cause to be ineffective; to be negative; to bring or cause negative results [especially through pessimism].
Pessimism – The tendency to see, anticipate, or emphasize only bad or undesirable outcomes, results, conditions, problems, etc.
My wife Donna and I have been together 43 years. 39 of those years as a married couple. When we were teenagers I called her a pessimist one day. Her response was to hit me and say, “I am not a pest.” Of course we had a discussion about what I really said and did not say. As I have thought about that “event” in our history together I realized a pessimist is a pest. Pessimists bug positive people. Pessimists don’t like positive people and the feeling is mutual. Pessimists attract other pessimists so they can talk about all that is wrong in the world, or at least their world. Many times they deduce their problems are the positive people in their world who won’t agree with them.
What is negating our individual progress toward maturity and responsibility?
Is it possible that our individual issues of immaturity are impeding our personal growth and is hampering the overall growth of the corporate Body of Christ?
Paul said he made a decision to get rid of everything that was hindering his progress!
This Son was given to us!
Sonship is the second level of maturity in the Kingdom of God. This maturing process from childhood to sonship is critical to the person born being given by God to a greater purpose. It is in this “given to us” that defines the purpose for why they was born for us. Jesus was born to carry the weight of governing [ruling] the world. He had to successfully progress through the four stages of development as a child before He could reach the sonship level of maturity.
Have you ever thought why Jesus arrived as a Baby in a manger? By the way, everyone starts in a manger. A manger can represent the place of insignificance where we are unnoticed and unappreciated by those who do not really know and love us.
The manger was not the goal. It was the place of beginning. It was meager and it was messy. But it was the origin of the greatest thing God has ever done on the planet. Christmas began in a Mary, then a messy manger, but it continues in the masses of maturing blood bought believers in Jesus the Christ as they manifest the Son of Man through their own personal mission, ministry and mandate.
Jesus is called the last Adam. He is not the second Adam. There will not be another Adam.
The first Adam arrived on the planet as a man. He represents every human being that is lost, separated from God and without hope in this world. The last Adam arrived as a Baby and represents every blood bought son and daughter of God.
The first Adam was “born” in a Garden where everything was provided and perfect. The last Adam was born in a stall. The first Adam’s failure to fulfill his mission, mandate and ministry from God temporarily stalled God’s purposes for mankind. The last Adam’s obedience restored the relationship and reignited man’s role in stewarding heavenly realities that will ultimately transform God’s planet back into a Paradise.
The first Adam had no experience or history with God in spiritual warfare and therefore he had no idea how to fight off the serpent who attacked his identity [made in the image and likeness of God] and his mission, ministry and mandate to take Paradise to the rest of the planet [rule, reign, subdue, be fruitful, etc].
The last Adam was born a Baby. He had the advantage of a process of maturing where He had to endure all kinds of hardships and attacks against His identity [a bastard child, the son of a carpenter, etc], and against His mission, ministry and mandate [“By what authority are you doing these things”, etc]. This Man “learned obedience from the things He suffered.”
Those experiences were invaluable to Him to remain true to Who He was and what He was born to become and ultimately accomplish.
Let’s take a look at what Paul had to say to the blood bought believers in Galatia.
Galatians 4:1-7 CEV – 1 Children who are under age are no better off than slaves, even though everything their parents own will someday be theirs. 2 This is because children are placed in the care of guardians and teachers until the time their parents have set. 3 That is how it was with us. We were like children ruled by the powers of this world.4 But when the time was right, God sent his Son, and a woman gave birth to him. His Son obeyed the Law, 5 so he could set us free from the Law, and we could become God’s children. 6 Now that we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. And his Spirit tells us that God is our Father.7 You are no longer slaves. You are God’s children, and you will be given what he has promised.”
The word ‘children’ in verses 1 -3 is the word nepios we have studied above. As long as we are carnal, self-absorbed, self-centered, and selfish [stuck on ourselves] then the Father cannot release what He has reserved for us.
God wants us to grow up into sonship, just like His Son Jesus the Christ did. Remember, the government was the Babe’s in the manger but it was not given to Him until the river Jordan. It was there that He began to assault the enemy who had been assaulting Him His entire life up to that point.
There is another truth in this text that I missed until recently. Paul tells us that “when the fullness of time came God sent forth His Son, born of a woman.” I see this this way – God finally found a woman who was prepared [pure and open to God”s supernatural interventions in her life] to carry the responsibility to bring to term the greatest gift God would ever give to the planet.
Mary, who “knew” no man was open to trying something new. Her availability to the Creator created her opportunity to become “great” with Child.
In conjunction, it was important that Joseph was able to cover her during the most difficult time of the process. Their responsibility did not lessen, it only changed once the Babe was born.
Could it be that God is waiting again for the conceivers, carriers and coverers to become prepared so that at the right time He can release something again on the planet that the people on the planet desperately need?
God needs mature people, male and female, to become pregnant with His purposes and He needs mature leaders, male and female, who will cover the carriers of those purposes.
Are you ready?
What do you need to do to get ready?
What all does God want to give to you so that He can then give you to others?
To whom does God want to give you?
For what purpose does God want to give you to those He wants to receive you?
What if they don’t receive you?
How will their acceptance or rejection affect why you were born?
What is your history with God?
How is your history with God affecting your stance against the attacks of the enemy against your identity and life purpose?
Is the enemy attacking you?
If not, why not?
What if anything have your learned or are learning from the things you have suffered or are suffering as you stay true to who you are in Christ, and what God has called you to become and accomplish?
The process between our birth, new birth and our revealing to the world determines how much influence we will have in our world.
We are told in the Isaiah 9 text that His government and peace will have unlimited growth. Contrary to contemporary pop theology, Jesus inaugurated His kingdom 2000 years ago. It started small in a small geographical location with a small band of ragged disciples. It has grown and will continue to grow until the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of the glory of God.
Many “followers” drew near to Jesus and eventually left Him. Jesus remained Jesus! All of Jesus’ original followers deserted Him when He was the most vulnerable. Jesus remained Jesus!
Do not despise small beginnings
Zechariah 4:6-10 GNT – “6 The angel told me to give Zerubbabel this message from the Lord: “You will succeed, not by military might or by your own strength, but by My Spirit. 7 Obstacles as great as mountains will disappear before you. You will rebuild the Temple, and as you put the last stone in place, the people will shout, ‘Beautiful, beautiful!’ ” 8 Another message came to me from the Lord. 9 He said, “Zerubbabel has laid the foundation of the Temple, and he will finish the building. When this happens, my people will know that it is I who sent you to them. 10a They are disappointed because so little progress is being made. But they will see Zerubbabel continuing to build the Temple, and they will be glad.”
Zerubbabel did not allow the lack of help to deter him from working. Keep working friend even when you are not seeing the kind of results you desire.
Though your beginning is small yet great will your end be
Job 8:7 NCV – “Where you began will seem unimportant, because your future will be so successful.”
Christmas, among many other things, is about God coming in the flesh to model the lifestyle of a “producer”, lifting mankind out of the mindset of an ‘excuser’.
The excuser’s reality is – “I can’t do it”, “It won’t work”. To them “all things are impossible” therefore they are afraid to start anything or pay a price to work hard at something.
The ‘producer’s’ reality is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me [gives me His ability]”, and “This will work” or “I will work until it works”. To the producer “Nothing is impossible” so he or she is not afraid to go for it.
Here are 2 true statements that are worthy of your consideration:
Our beginning does not have to determine our end! If you don’t begin you are already at your end.
What we do between our beginning [born] and our end is determined not by where we began, but by what we do on the road to being given!
Why were you born?
Have you grown up to the point that you can now be given for a purpose bigger than yourself? Or are your still stuck on yourself?
If you are not growing up why are you not growing up?
What is stunting your growth?
Is the Christian culture you are in allowing you to grow beyond your wildest dreams?
Are your dreams being drowned out by those who want you to stay a child?
Do you want to stay a child? If so, why?
If you need help Donna and I are available to mentor you. Let us know if or how we can assist you.
If you would like to financially support Bethel Church we have a Paypal link on our website at http://www.bethelbythesea.org.
If you feel led to support our itinerate ministry you can send your financial gift to Hisstorymakers Ministries, Inc. at 164 Cypress Run Drive, Brunswick, GA 31520
For HIS Glory!
Dr. Kevin M.Drury
FYI, my first book is near completion. I am waiting on the graphic artwork for the cover to be completed. It is called CHRISTIANITY THE WAY JESUS LIVED IT, Releasing The Christ Within You.