Lesson 8 - Spiritual Maturity

Lesson 8 - Spiritual Maturity

Lesson for December 22, 2013

Spiritual Dynamics

Spiritual Maturity

Spiritual maturity is the maximum expression of the grace of God utilized in the Protocol Plan of God. In eternity past, God provided everything necessary for a believer’s advance to spiritual maturity. The Protocol Plan of God is the only plan for the Church Age.

Spiritual maturity is characterized by maximum cognitive independence, which results from additional metabolization of doctrine plus passing four momentum testings: people, system, thought, and disaster testing. This means spiritual maturity can face every problem in life with a maximum amount of inner happiness. There is no tragedy, disaster, difficulty, or heartache that can overcome the cognitive self-confidence of a mature believer. Cognitive independence is maximum perception, maximum metabolization, and maximum accurate application of doctrine to life. A mature believer is totally independent. However, this does not imply that a mature believer or any believer will ever be independent of accurate Bible teaching. A mature believer is an invisible hero.

Personal love for God is invisible and the motivational virtue of spiritual adulthood. Since God is invisible, we cannot love God apart from knowing God’s Word – the place He has revealed Himself. We must know Bible doctrine in order to love God!

Impersonal love for all mankind is the functional virtue of spiritual adulthood. With impersonal love you can handle the unfairness of life, the criticism and the adversities that come from others judging, maligning, and hurting you, and all the problems from human relationships. Impersonal love gives capacity for personal love for individuals.

Sharing the happiness of God is also invisible. God shares His happiness with you through your perception of Bible doctrine. It is happiness in the soul, the ultimate in problem-solving devices. A mature believer has mental stability, which is the ability to think metabolized doctrine and apply it to every circumstance in life. (Romans 12:2-3)

Mental stability is the ability to put doctrine before experience. Mental stability also includes maximum courage toward others, plus the ability to make the correct and accurate application of metabolized doctrine to testing. Remember that testing often comes without any warning. But a mature believer is ready for it, having a phenomenal mental stability far greater than that in spiritual self-esteem and in spiritual autonomy.

A mature believer functions under maximum effectiveness in life. Maximum effectiveness means maximum contentment. (Philippians 4:11-13; Hebrews 13:5; I Timothy 6:6-8) Maximum grace orientation to life is another function of a mature believer. Grace orientation of a mature believer literally removes the “rough edges of life” into smooth grace thinking, along with grace motivation, grace decisions, and consistent grace functions and actions. Each stage of spiritual adulthood advances and perfects grace orientation in the life. In spiritual self-esteem, the process begins. In spiritual autonomy, the process continues. In spiritual maturity, the process is perfected and completed.

Maximum control of your own life also accompanies spiritual maturity. This means maximum utilization of the privacy of your royal priesthood, used properly before God as a part of your personal love for God. This means maximum use of impersonal love toward all mankind. This means the elimination of false applications in your life, such as comparing yourself with others. In spiritual maturity, a believer lives his own life as unto the Lord rather than as unto another. Therefore, he is able to control his life. Since the Lord really has all the control and a mature believer’s volition is subordinate to the Lord, he is in a state of maximum happiness.

A believer in spiritual maturity takes responsibility for his own decisions (good or bad). He also takes responsibility for others if they are under his authority, but does so without seeking to control and interfere in their lives. Therefore, a spiritually mature believer is motivated without being possessive or lusting for power. A believer in spiritual maturity is not possessive of those whom he loves, thus avoiding the pitfall of jealousy.

A mature believer concentrates on the #1 priority: relationship with God over relationship with people, God emphasis over people emphasis. Concentration produces a mental attitude of hope. Intense concentration on Bible doctrine results in intense application of doctrine, and intense application results in spiritual maturity. A mature believer has a dynamic mental attitude from accumulated metabolized doctrine plus maximum utilization of the Problem-Solving Devices of spiritual adulthood. (Philippians 3:15-16)

A mature believer has a maximum personal sense of destiny. No matter what happens in his life, he relates all the good and the bad to the fact that God has a purpose for his life. He understands that purpose, applies it to situations, maintains his happiness and passes testing. Therefore, a mature believer recognizes that he has fulfilled his purpose and destiny in life; he is executing the Protocol Plan of God. He can face any testing and solve any problem. A believer in spiritual maturity has increased his personal love for God. He has become aware that in fulfilling the plan of God for his life, he is fulfilling his own destiny to God. By relating to God instead of to people and circumstances, spiritual maturity increases one’s personal sense of destiny. Destiny must always be related to God rather than to people, circumstances, or human success standards.

Maximum production in Christian service is a characteristic of a mature believer. Maximum production means maximum exploitation of your spiritual gift, whatever it is. It means maximum effectiveness in Christian service so that you will have gold, silver, and precious stones at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Maximum production means understanding your human limitations and never allowing human ambition to exceed your human limitations. Instead of living your life by standards that people have developed for you (by flattery, encouragement, persuasion), spiritual maturity develops fantastic common sense, and a marvelous sense of humor. You are never envious of those whose abilities are greater than yours, whose success (by human standards) is greater than yours. Therefore, spiritual maturity wipes out all of the frustrations of life that could be caused by not succeeding as you or others thought you should. You have a destiny far greater than that of any person who’s ever been successful or great in this life!

The environment for attaining spiritual maturity is spiritual freedom. In the Protocol Plan of God a new type of freedom exists, which has never existed before in any other dispensation - spiritual freedom provided by residence in God’s power system. So this spiritual freedom provided inside God’s power system is a very important factor. Spiritual freedom can exist with or without human freedom. Spiritual freedom is the divine provision of logistical grace to execute the Protocol Plan of God through residence, function, and momentum inside God’s power system.

When you are functioning within God’s power system (filled with the Holy Spirit) you have spiritual freedom. The Holy Spirit in God’s power system is the enabling power for the execution of the Protocol Plan of God. We glorify Christ by living inside God’s power system, the place of the enabling power of the Spirit, the place of metabolization of doctrine, the place of advancing to spiritual self-esteem, spiritual autonomy, and spiritual maturity.

There’s fantastic distribution of escrow blessing for mature believers in the eternal state. The Crown of Righteousness is for believers who attain spiritual maturity. The Crown of Life is for spiritually mature believers who pass advanced testing. The Crown of Glory is given to a pastor who is faithful in teaching the Word of God and bringing believers to maturity.

Eternal rewards for believers are in many ways similar to the blessings of this life, but there are some differences. Eternal rewards are represented in the Bible by crowns (actually wreaths, “Greek: stephanos”) and the reward of rulership over cities in the Millennium.

  1. Rulership over cities - Luke 19:17; II Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:10
  2. The Crown of Righteousness - II Timothy 4:7-8
  3. The Crown of Life - James 1:12; Revelation 2:10
  4. The Crown of Joy - Philippians 4:1; I Thessalonians 2:19-20
  5. The Crown of Glory - I Peter 5:4
  6. The Winner’s Crown - II Timothy 2:5; I Corinthians 9:24-27

Eternal rewards are blessings and are based on the grace of God. God in His grace gives a believer the tools he needs in order to attain these rewards. However, these rewards are given as a result of compliance with the terms of an agreement between the believer and God (something given as a result of something done).

The writers of Scripture were very familiar with the Roman system of rewards for both the military and for athletic competition. These are primarily the illustrations used throughout the New Testament to represent our eternal rewards as believers. For example, the crowns of the King James English are actually wreaths. Some wreaths were worn on the head like a crown. Some were battle medals or medals for winners in athletic competition worn on the uniform. Both were for accomplishments at the maximum level. Both carried with them immense honor and wealth. Some were given land, some were made rulers over cities or estates, some received cash, but all were exempt from paying income taxes for life. So, I believe it is easy to see why the writers used these wreaths to represent our eternal rewards.

Let’s take a look at each reward:

  1. Rulership of cities - This reward is given to all believers who faithfully fulfill their spiritual lives before God. It is given to those who are advancing in their Christian lives and to those who are consistently learning God’s Word from accurately taught Bible doctrine and making correct application of it to their lives.
  2. Crown of Righteousness - This reward is for all believers who attain spiritual maturity, thus fulfilling the potential established by the imputed righteousness of Christ in their souls. In other words, they are making their experience align with their position in Christ.
  3. Crown of Life - This reward is reserved for all believers who pass the test of undeserved suffering or divine testing. This crown is attained by applying Bible doctrine to your experience while in the midst of suffering. Remember that all suffering is not divine discipline. Some suffering is designed for our growth.
  4. Crown of Joy - This is a reward reserved for all believers who consistently share the gospel with others.
  5. Crown of Glory - This reward is reserved for those with the gift of pastor-teacher. It is given for faithfully fulfilling the gift by using it to teach accurate Bible doctrine. The primary job of the pastor-teacher is to study and teach.
  6. The Winner’s Crown - This reward is given to all believers who advance according to the rules. In other words, doing a right thing in a right way. This reward is for those who exercise self-discipline, diligence and persistence over a long period of time to inculcate a system of doctrinal truth and accurately apply this truth.

“And everyone that strives for the mastery (to win) is temperate (self-disciplined) in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible (perishable) crown; but we an incorruptible (imperishable).” (I Corinthians 9:25)

A mature believer is classified as a winner because of his tactical victory. A mature believer is classified as an invisible hero because of his impact on human history. The greatest impact in the last 2000 years and an impact that will continue until the Rapture of the Church will come from the mature believer. God has designed a system whereby invisible impact from an invisible hero is far, far greater than that of any visible hero. A mature believer glorifies God in two stages: 1) the attainment of spiritual maturity. 2) a mature believer’s passing of advanced testing and becoming a witness for the Prosecution in the Angelic Conflict. This is the ultimate in glorifying God.