Friday, December 24, 2010

Christian Maturity Stage Two: Jesus

This year's Series covered The Gospel According to Matthew. This month, we completed the final chapter of Matthew's gospel account. For the rest of this year, we are going to summarize this year's Series from the PERSPECTIVE of Happiness and Maturity.

We will look at the HOW and WHY of Happiness according to God's Word. We will see Jesus was the Ultimate example as we summarize this year's Series on The Gospel According to Matthew.

We have looked at three new Happiness studies. Next, we will look at the four stages of Maturity that leads to Happiness, health, and increased intelligence. We will see what psychology will eventually realize.

In the previous post, we introduced the second Stage of Christian Maturity. Here is the summary:

Christian Maturity Stage Two is "Growing in Doctrine".

Biblical Grace is the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life. It is God flowing through us.

Grace (along with faith) is a cause of Salvation and results in Righteousness. WE are Profitable because of God's Righteousness flowing through us, not our own righteousness.

God constantly speaks into our lives. He is doing and saying EVERYTHING possible to ALWAYS be helping us. There is NOTHING more God can do or say.

Not only is it our responsibility to allow God to flow through us; it is our responsibility whether we have the Doctrine for God to access within us.

Whether we are willing to allow and able to hear God are BOTH our responsibilities.

Today, we will look at the Ultimate example of completing Stage Two...

Jesus was the ultimate example in each of the four Stages. This means, Jesus not only completed each Stage; He did each Stage to Perfection.

Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7 document Jesus Premiere Teaching. EVERYTHING Jesus taught throughout the rest of The Gospel According to Matthew was presented directly in His Premiere Teaching...also known as "The Sermon on The Mount".

Since, Jesus did the Ultimate of each Stage of Maturity, the Ultimate example of Growing in Doctrine is to expand Doctrine for others. Let's look at some of the things Jesus stated during His Premiere Teaching.

In Matthew chapter 5, Jesus stated:
"17 Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil." Matthew 5:17

His goal was NOT to do away with the previous Doctrine. His purpose was to expand Doctrine. After this statement, Jesus repeatedly expanded Doctrine with phrasing that went like this: You have heard (current Doctrine), but I say (expanded Doctrine).

For example:
"38 Ye have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 but I say unto you, resist not him that is evil: but whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." Matthew 5:38-39

In Matthew chapter 7, at the conclusion of Jesus' Premiere Teaching, this is what Matthew stated:
"28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these words, the multitudes were astonished at his teaching:
29 for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes." Matthew 7:28-29

The scribes (Torah Teachers) taught the current Doctrine. Jesus taught as one who had the authority to expand Doctrine.

Remember, the reason we need to Grow in Doctrine is to take more direction from God, which is Biblical Grace: "the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life". When God flows through us, it is His Righteousness...which leads to Salvation.

We also saw, Jesus began His Premiere Teaching with a "ladder of Christian Maturity". People know this section of Jesus' Premiere Teaching as "The Beattitudes". We saw each verse required the person to be more mature than the previous level. We've looked at HOW/WHY the first three Beattitudes fit Christian Maturity Stage One. Let's look at the next three Beattitudes:

"6 Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Matthew 5:6-8

Verse 6 alluded to grace...God's Righteousness filling up the individual and flowing through him.

Verse 7 alluded to grace...NOT judging people in our own flesh, but allowing God to extend mercy through us.

Verse 8 could ONLY be due to Grace.

"Growing in Doctrine" results in growing in Biblical Grace...which allows us to be Profitable because it is God flowing through us.

These first two Stages of Christian Maturity brought us from being Unprofitable to the ability to be Profitable. Both of these Stages can be done entirely within the individual and does NOT involve other people. Jesus did not need to interact with other people in order to be tempted in His points and increase Doctrine.

A lot of churches think getting Doctrine is Stage One. They begin by educating people. However, regardless of how much Doctrine a person has, if they aren't aware of their Damage, they will continue to be Unprofitable.

Have you ever heard anyone ask this about a famous pastor? "Why would someone with so much Bible knowledge do something so sinful and stupid?" Why do YOU think extremely knowledgeable pastors and teachers do incredibly sinful and stupid things?

If we were to look at this process like school (like college), then we would graduate after Stage Two and the next two Stages would cover our "real world" encounters.

Tomorrow, we will look at Stage Three of Christian Maturity with a special Saturday post.

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