This week, I want to share the study notes from the third lesson of In Christ Vol 1, “Growing Up in Christ.” The audio file and the video link are included so you can follow along and learn about who you are as a believer in Christ Jesus.
When we are born again, we are placed in Christ. That position is the “entry-level” position, but we are supposed to grow and mature in Him. There is a process of spiritual growth required for every believer.
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
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:
14 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;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
God wants us to obtain:
- Spiritual maturity or “perfecting” (verse 12).
- Spiritual stability or “edifying” (verse 12).
- A complete spiritual growth, indicated by the phrase, “…grow up into Him” (verse 15).
- Maturity is the purpose of the ministry gifts in the church. This is God’s method of providing for our spiritual growth.
The Milk Stage
1 Peter 2:1-2
1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
These people were born again, but they needed to lay aside their fleshly behavior and begin their spiritual growth with the milk of the Word.
An example of this is found in the Corinthian church.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3
1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
Notice that the word carnal is defined as “babes in Christ.” Their carnality limited the spiritual revelation they were able to receive.
The Strong Meat Stage
Milk is for those who have not mastered the teachings to the point that they can crucify the flesh and walk in line with God’s Word.
Hebrews 5:11-14 (AMPC)
11 Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in your [spiritual] hearing and sluggish [even slothful in achieving spiritual insight].
12 For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others, you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God’s Word. You have come to need milk, not solid food.
13 For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]!
14 But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law.
The Need to Develop and Mature
In verse 11,he people stopped desiring to hear and grow spiritually. As believers, we need to desire to grow continually.
In verse 12, the Word of God says that they should have been teaching others and bringing them to a place of spiritual maturity.
Verse 13 indicates that we cannot know the will of God for our purpose, our thoughts or our actions without growing up spiritually.
Hebrews 6:1-2 (AMPC)
1 Therefore let us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity.
2 Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God, teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago.]
There are people who never experience the deeper depths of God because they never get past the elementary stage.
There are things elementary to our growth, the which are things we learn first. Like addition and subtraction, we should not have to relearn the elementary things.
Remember our foundational text in Ephesians 4:14, which says, “That we henceforth be no more children….”
- Using Ephesians 4, describe the growth God wants us to obtain.
- Describe the “milk stage” of spiritual growth. What are the attributes of this stage?
- What is the definition of carnal given in 1 Corinthians 3:1? What limit was indicated in that verse?
- Describe the “strong meat stage” of spiritual growth. What are the attributes of this stage?
- Using your own experiences, give examples of spiritual advantages and abilites that are only accessible as we develop and mature.
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