The Basic Steps of Spiritual Maturity | TBN

The Basic Steps of Spiritual Maturity

Watch The Basic Steps of Spiritual Maturity
February 14, 2021
27:29

Dr. Jack Graham's mission is to glorify God by introducing Jesus Christ to as Lord to all people.

Closed captions

The Basic Steps of Spiritual Maturity

Show timecode
Hide timecode
  • [Music]
  • 00:00:00.356 --> 00:00:22.545
  • This is our series"GOING THE DISTANCE" from the
  • 00:00:10.400 --> 00:00:25.248
  • book of Hebrews, "Developing amuscular faith." Spiritual
  • 00:00:25.248 --> 00:00:31.588
  • health, of course, is so veryvital because spiritual health
  • 00:00:31.588 --> 00:00:35.425
  • produces spiritual growth inyour life. This past week...
  • 00:00:35.425 --> 00:00:40.964
  • about two weeks ago I did myannual physical, and for the
  • 00:00:40.964 --> 00:00:45.902
  • past thirty years I've beengoing to the Cooper Clinic-Dr.
  • 00:00:45.902 --> 00:00:48.938
  • Ken Cooper who founded thatworld renowned medical clinic.
  • 00:00:48.938 --> 00:00:52.308
  • He is the father of aerobics andhas made great strides in
  • 00:00:52.308 --> 00:00:55.912
  • preventative medicine. It's sovery important that you get
  • 00:00:55.912 --> 00:00:59.149
  • things checked out before somebad things can happen. We can't
  • 00:00:59.149 --> 00:01:02.085
  • always explain the health crisisthat we have... it's always
  • 00:01:02.085 --> 00:01:06.422
  • good. And one of the signs of...One of the signatures really of
  • 00:01:06.422 --> 00:01:09.425
  • having a long and healthierlife... a longer and healthier
  • 00:01:09.425 --> 00:01:12.695
  • life is that you get annualregular medical checkups.
  • 00:01:12.695 --> 00:01:16.533
  • However you choose to do that,but for thirty years I've been
  • 00:01:16.533 --> 00:01:20.003
  • going and getting a checkup. Nowa checkup at the Cooper Clinic
  • 00:01:20.003 --> 00:01:22.038
  • is more than just a checkup. Imean they check you tip to toe
  • 00:01:22.038 --> 00:01:28.111
  • and everything in between. Andthey're testing your blood,
  • 00:01:28.111 --> 00:01:32.315
  • they're measuring your blood.Now that's always... I found
  • 00:01:32.315 --> 00:01:36.119
  • that always very interesting andvery inspiring frankly, because
  • 00:01:36.119 --> 00:01:39.722
  • the Bible says way back in thebook of Leviticus at the very
  • 00:01:39.722 --> 00:01:42.992
  • beginning that [Leviticus 17:11]"Life is in the blood." Now
  • 00:01:42.992 --> 00:01:48.631
  • before the understanding camealong of the circulatory
  • 00:01:48.631 --> 00:01:53.836
  • system... William Harvey in1513... people didn't know that
  • 00:01:53.836 --> 00:01:57.974
  • really. But in God's divinerevelation [He] said life is in
  • 00:01:57.974 --> 00:02:03.112
  • the blood. And that's truespiritually... life is in the
  • 00:02:03.112 --> 00:02:05.882
  • blood. [Hebrews 9:22] "Withoutthe shedding of blood (the blood
  • 00:02:05.882 --> 00:02:08.651
  • of the Lord Jesus Christ)there's no forgiveness of sin."
  • 00:02:08.651 --> 00:02:12.689
  • So the blood cleanses, the bloodstays. But physically it's true;
  • 00:02:12.689 --> 00:02:15.592
  • life is in the blood. So oftendoctors, of course, pick up with
  • 00:02:15.592 --> 00:02:18.928
  • our cholesterol counts or ourblood levels... our blood sugars
  • 00:02:18.928 --> 00:02:23.833
  • and a lot of different thingsthey measure in your system;
  • 00:02:23.833 --> 00:02:26.936
  • they can do it through theblood, because healthy blood
  • 00:02:26.936 --> 00:02:29.606
  • means healthy body. So theymeasure that. And there's all
  • 00:02:29.606 --> 00:02:34.510
  • kinds of scans at the CooperClinic, from, you know, heart
  • 00:02:34.510 --> 00:02:39.182
  • scans to bone scans. And theyhave a new thing and it's a fat
  • 00:02:39.182 --> 00:02:45.588
  • scan! [laughter] But you justlay down and it scans your body,
  • 00:02:45.588 --> 00:02:54.230
  • and it spits out this grotesquephotograph [laughter] (ha) of
  • 00:02:54.230 --> 00:03:02.739
  • your body with the white partbeing muscle and dark part being
  • 00:03:02.739 --> 00:03:10.046
  • fat. Now there's a lot easierway to do this really. I mean, I
  • 00:03:10.046 --> 00:03:15.251
  • may have told you before, if youwant to measure... know how fat
  • 00:03:15.251 --> 00:03:18.054
  • you are, just strip down all theway, get in front of a mirror,
  • 00:03:18.054 --> 00:03:24.427
  • get a cell phone ready or timeron your cell phone, and jump up
  • 00:03:24.427 --> 00:03:28.164
  • and down about ten times as hardas you can, and then start your
  • 00:03:28.164 --> 00:03:31.634
  • clock and see how longeverything... it takes to stop
  • 00:03:31.634 --> 00:03:34.137
  • jiggling and jangling[laughter]. I mean, I really
  • 00:03:34.137 --> 00:03:39.208
  • don't need a scan to know I'mfat! But this scan shows it.
  • 00:03:39.208 --> 00:03:44.547
  • It's actually inspiring becauseit gives you your ideal weight
  • 00:03:44.547 --> 00:03:47.850
  • and what you need to weigh totake care of this. But you do
  • 00:03:47.850 --> 00:03:51.287
  • this in order to preventproblems and you want a big
  • 00:03:51.287 --> 00:03:55.058
  • picture... you want a check upon your body. How much muscle is
  • 00:03:55.058 --> 00:03:58.661
  • there as compared to not muscle.Now I wonder if they scanned our
  • 00:03:58.661 --> 00:04:05.802
  • souls, what that would look likein terms of our spiritual
  • 00:04:05.802 --> 00:04:09.706
  • maturity and muscle... ourspiritual growth. You know,
  • 00:04:09.706 --> 00:04:15.244
  • there's a verse in the Bible...3 John 2... It says [3 John
  • 00:04:15.244 --> 00:04:19.248
  • 1:2], "I would that you would beprosperous, or prosper and be in
  • 00:04:19.248 --> 00:04:21.951
  • health (I think it says in ESV)I pray that all may go well with
  • 00:04:21.951 --> 00:04:25.254
  • you... (that means prosper withyou) and that you may be in good
  • 00:04:25.254 --> 00:04:28.491
  • health as it goes well with yoursoul." Hey, how healthy would
  • 00:04:28.491 --> 00:04:33.730
  • you be physically if your bodywas the same health as your
  • 00:04:33.730 --> 00:04:37.400
  • soul? Some of you might be inthe hospital right now. "...that
  • 00:04:37.400 --> 00:04:43.306
  • you would prosper and be inhealth even as your soul
  • 00:04:43.306 --> 00:04:46.609
  • prospers." So just as we need tobe healthy physically and work
  • 00:04:46.609 --> 00:04:51.848
  • to that end, and do everythingthat we can... because, you
  • 00:04:51.848 --> 00:04:56.219
  • know... you know, if you'redoing preventative work and you
  • 00:04:56.219 --> 00:04:59.322
  • can correct some things, you canchange your diet, your exercise
  • 00:04:59.322 --> 00:05:02.425
  • program, you can be inspired andmotivated to do better in your
  • 00:05:02.425 --> 00:05:06.229
  • eating, and all the rest inorder to get to tip top shape to
  • 00:05:06.229 --> 00:05:11.200
  • be physically healthy. Well, Iwant to talk about a check up of
  • 00:05:11.200 --> 00:05:18.107
  • your soul, your spirit. Andthat's what Hebrews chapter 6 is
  • 00:05:18.107 --> 00:05:23.079
  • talking about... chapters 5 and6. We're going to start at verse
  • 00:05:23.079 --> 00:05:27.150
  • 11: 11) About this we have muchto say (So do I, so get ready!
  • 00:05:27.150 --> 00:05:33.423
  • Ha!), and it is hard to explain,since you have become dull of
  • 00:05:33.423 --> 00:05:36.993
  • hearing. Another thing you getchecked when you get a checkup
  • 00:05:36.993 --> 00:05:41.164
  • is your hearing. [Shouts] How'sit going? [laughter] [Whispers]
  • 00:05:41.164 --> 00:05:46.736
  • How's it going? Verse 12: 12)For though by this time you
  • 00:05:46.736 --> 00:05:51.607
  • ought to be teachers, you needsomeone to teach you again the
  • 00:05:51.607 --> 00:05:54.777
  • basic principles of the oraclesof God. You need milk, not solid
  • 00:05:54.777 --> 00:06:00.116
  • food, 13) for everyone who liveson milk is unskilled in the word
  • 00:06:00.116 --> 00:06:04.120
  • of righteousness, since he is achild. 14) But solid food...
  • 00:06:04.120 --> 00:06:08.191
  • (meat) is for the mature, forthose who have their powers of
  • 00:06:08.191 --> 00:06:11.928
  • discernments trained by constantpractice to distinguish between
  • 00:06:11.928 --> 00:06:16.833
  • good from evil. Underscore thatword discernment... circle it
  • 00:06:16.833 --> 00:06:20.770
  • and then also train.Discernment... we are trained to
  • 00:06:20.770 --> 00:06:25.141
  • discernment and discipleship.And then just right on to
  • 00:06:25.141 --> 00:06:27.710
  • chapter 6, verse 1: 1) Thereforelet us leave the elementary
  • 00:06:27.710 --> 00:06:32.048
  • doctrine of Christ (that is, thebasics that new believers
  • 00:06:32.048 --> 00:06:36.219
  • understand) and let us go on tomaturity... That's what Hebrews
  • 00:06:36.219 --> 00:06:40.223
  • is about; that's what the Bibleis about. It is moving on...
  • 00:06:40.223 --> 00:06:44.293
  • onward and upward in ourChristian life into full stature
  • 00:06:44.293 --> 00:06:48.965
  • in Christ. Every Christian is tobe a growing, maturing
  • 00:06:48.965 --> 00:06:54.904
  • Christian. We're not there yet,but we ought to be on the way.
  • 00:06:54.904 --> 00:07:03.446
  • C. S. Lewis said this: "All whoare called to salvation, are
  • 00:07:03.446 --> 00:07:08.217
  • called to discipleship. Noexceptions, no excuses." A
  • 00:07:08.217 --> 00:07:17.193
  • disciple... what is a disciple?A disciple is a growing
  • 00:07:17.193 --> 00:07:20.863
  • Christian. A Christian growingin faith. And it's time for some
  • 00:07:20.863 --> 00:07:27.603
  • of us to take our faith to thenext level, to grow up! When I
  • 00:07:27.603 --> 00:07:35.144
  • was a boy, my dad one day tookme out in the garage and we
  • 00:07:35.144 --> 00:07:39.348
  • started measuring my height inthe garage of our house, and it
  • 00:07:39.348 --> 00:07:45.254
  • was fun every now and then whenI felt like I was growing, and I
  • 00:07:45.254 --> 00:07:49.325
  • was wanting to grow... growtall... We would go out, he'd
  • 00:07:49.325 --> 00:07:52.895
  • put a ruler on my head, we'dmeasure my height. And over the
  • 00:07:52.895 --> 00:07:55.731
  • years, you know, I went, youknow, four feet, five feet, got
  • 00:07:55.731 --> 00:07:58.734
  • up to six feet... six, one. Onething I did find out this year
  • 00:07:58.734 --> 00:08:03.172
  • at the Cooper Clinic is that I'mshrinking. [laughter] I used to
  • 00:08:03.172 --> 00:08:08.644
  • be six, one. Now I'm barely oversix feet tall. I don't know what
  • 00:08:08.644 --> 00:08:11.747
  • that is. They say somethingabout your spinal column and,
  • 00:08:11.747 --> 00:08:14.884
  • you know, things shrink. I knowthings sink; that's for sure!
  • 00:08:14.884 --> 00:08:18.454
  • And so here I am all these yearslater, I'm shorter, but I'm
  • 00:08:18.454 --> 00:08:23.960
  • fatter... and (ha) wider, aswell as shorter! And such is
  • 00:08:23.960 --> 00:08:28.531
  • life! So you have to beconstantly resisting that and...
  • 00:08:28.531 --> 00:08:33.069
  • And growing in the right way;not just growing wider, but
  • 00:08:33.069 --> 00:08:39.976
  • growing up in the Lord. So growup! How many times did you hear
  • 00:08:39.976 --> 00:08:44.447
  • your mama say that to you, "Growup!" Or maybe how many times
  • 00:08:44.447 --> 00:08:48.584
  • this week did you hear your wifesay to you, [chuckles] "Grow
  • 00:08:48.584 --> 00:08:51.654
  • up!" But we need to grow upspiritually, because what he's
  • 00:08:51.654 --> 00:08:55.958
  • saying here is that some of youare still acting like children.
  • 00:08:55.958 --> 00:08:59.929
  • You've been a Christian 5 years,10 years, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50...
  • 00:08:59.929 --> 00:09:03.933
  • many more, some, and you're notwiser, better, stronger. You
  • 00:09:03.933 --> 00:09:07.837
  • haven't been growing, you're notmaturing. Now in contrast, some
  • 00:09:07.837 --> 00:09:14.310
  • of you are old Christians andyou're tired, and you've kind of
  • 00:09:14.310 --> 00:09:19.649
  • given up with the attitude, youknow, "Been there, done that;
  • 00:09:19.649 --> 00:09:23.185
  • heard all this before. I'veheard hundreds if not thousands
  • 00:09:23.185 --> 00:09:26.355
  • of sermons. I know the Bible; Iknow the stories; I know the
  • 00:09:26.355 --> 00:09:30.526
  • routine; I know church." Andyou're just kind of stuck. You
  • 00:09:30.526 --> 00:09:37.166
  • kinda quit growing. You know,you never stop growing in the
  • 00:09:37.166 --> 00:09:41.404
  • Christian life, no matter howold you get. I'm still learning
  • 00:09:41.404 --> 00:09:44.273
  • things every day from God's Wordand God's Spirit teaching me.
  • 00:09:44.273 --> 00:09:49.078
  • You never, never... Even theApostle Paul, who was the
  • 00:09:49.078 --> 00:09:51.547
  • greatest Christian in history,in my view... He said in the
  • 00:09:51.547 --> 00:09:55.785
  • book of Philippians, he said[Philippians 3:12]: "Not that
  • 00:09:55.785 --> 00:09:58.254
  • I've attained this already, notthat I've achieved this! I
  • 00:09:58.254 --> 00:10:00.556
  • haven't arrived!" We don'tarrive until He arrives when He
  • 00:10:00.556 --> 00:10:04.660
  • comes for us. But the fact iseven Paul said, "I'm not there
  • 00:10:04.660 --> 00:10:09.131
  • yet, but I'm getting there! I'mgrowing there! [Philippians
  • 00:10:09.131 --> 00:10:13.369
  • 3:14], "I press on to the markfor the prize of the high
  • 00:10:13.369 --> 00:10:16.205
  • calling of God in Jesus Christ."And some of you, unfortunately
  • 00:10:16.205 --> 00:10:21.110
  • are like that, you know, anolder person. You know, you have
  • 00:10:21.110 --> 00:10:23.412
  • to get older but you don't haveto get colder! (ha!) You have to
  • 00:10:23.412 --> 00:10:27.750
  • get older, but you don't have toget old! You can be young in
  • 00:10:27.750 --> 00:10:33.756
  • heart and young in spirit andfilled with life! And if that's
  • 00:10:33.756 --> 00:10:40.329
  • true physically and emotionally,how true it is [clap]
  • 00:10:40.329 --> 00:10:42.765
  • spiritually! You never stop. Oneof the signs of maturity and
  • 00:10:42.765 --> 00:10:51.006
  • humility is you know what youdon't know. Right? Arrogance is
  • 00:10:51.006 --> 00:11:03.052
  • you think you know everything!You've heard it all! But
  • 00:11:03.052 --> 00:11:07.957
  • humility is to know what youdon't know. And there's so much
  • 00:11:07.957 --> 00:11:11.827
  • more that I need to know that Idon't know. If you're the
  • 00:11:11.827 --> 00:11:16.031
  • smartest guy in the room or galin the room, you're in the wrong
  • 00:11:16.031 --> 00:11:18.868
  • room! And you need to stayhungry and stay humbled, growing
  • 00:11:18.868 --> 00:11:25.307
  • in the Word of God. Just like anathlete... a team needs to stay
  • 00:11:25.307 --> 00:11:28.644
  • hungry and humble, as growingChristians we need to stay
  • 00:11:28.644 --> 00:11:32.014
  • hungry and humble; keep pressingon. To the degree that you not
  • 00:11:32.014 --> 00:11:39.455
  • only are getting strongeryourself, you're knowing some
  • 00:11:39.455 --> 00:11:42.591
  • things now, you're growing insome things now that you want to
  • 00:11:42.591 --> 00:11:45.928
  • give it away to others! That'swhy the writer says to us here,
  • 00:11:45.928 --> 00:11:49.698
  • "You ought to be teaching othersby now. You ought not to be that
  • 00:11:49.698 --> 00:11:55.171
  • baby who's just taking, taking,taking, taking... But if you're
  • 00:11:55.171 --> 00:11:59.208
  • growing up in your faith andinto the full stature of knowing
  • 00:11:59.208 --> 00:12:03.779
  • Christ... And that's the goal.The goal is Christ-likeness, the
  • 00:12:03.779 --> 00:12:06.849
  • goal is character, the goal isgodliness. And if you're growing
  • 00:12:06.849 --> 00:12:16.192
  • in that direction then therecomes a time when you're going
  • 00:12:16.192 --> 00:12:19.895
  • to share that with others andwhen you become... when you are
  • 00:12:19.895 --> 00:12:25.201
  • trained in discernment...Remember, I asked you to mark
  • 00:12:25.201 --> 00:12:28.304
  • that in verse 14? "Trained byconstant practice to distinguish
  • 00:12:28.304 --> 00:12:32.474
  • between good and evil" Thatmeans that you ought to be able
  • 00:12:32.474 --> 00:12:37.947
  • to... to teach others.
  • 00:12:37.947 --> 00:12:41.584
  • [Music]
  • 00:12:41.584 --> 00:12:49.091
  • [Dr. Graham] Thanks again for
  • 00:12:49.091 --> 00:12:50.359
  • tuning into PowerPoint today andwe just want to take a little
  • 00:12:50.359 --> 00:12:52.494
  • break because we want you tohave something very important.
  • 00:12:52.494 --> 00:12:55.998
  • At PowerPoint we like to putresources in people's hands that
  • 00:12:55.998 --> 00:12:59.835
  • encourage you to know Christ andto know him more and more in
  • 00:12:59.835 --> 00:13:03.038
  • your life and of course that'salways God's word, the scripture
  • 00:13:03.038 --> 00:13:06.275
  • and my friend O.S. Hawkins, Dr.O.S. Hawkins has written a
  • 00:13:06.275 --> 00:13:10.512
  • devotional book that we areoffering, in fact, this is one
  • 00:13:10.512 --> 00:13:14.283
  • of many devotional books thatDr. Hawkins has written, there
  • 00:13:14.283 --> 00:13:17.686
  • are over 2 million in print andsold and more to come but this
  • 00:13:17.686 --> 00:13:21.891
  • one is called THE JESUS CODE andit is a companion to your
  • 00:13:21.891 --> 00:13:26.462
  • personal Bible study and foryour gift of any amount we want
  • 00:13:26.462 --> 00:13:30.232
  • you to have it. But, O.S. ishere with me in the studio
  • 00:13:30.232 --> 00:13:32.868
  • today, tell us, O.S. what THEJESUS CODE is all about. [Dr.
  • 00:13:32.868 --> 00:13:36.405
  • Hawkins] Well, it's just adevotional book, Jack, that...
  • 00:13:36.405 --> 00:13:38.774
  • reading devotionally through theNew Testament some years ago I
  • 00:13:38.774 --> 00:13:42.945
  • was astounded at how many timesJesus asked questions in the
  • 00:13:42.945 --> 00:13:48.284
  • Bible. He was always askingquestions, 150 of them escaped
  • 00:13:48.284 --> 00:13:52.788
  • his lips that are recorded inJohn and we know the Bible says
  • 00:13:52.788 --> 00:13:56.392
  • at the end of the Book of Johnthat if everything Jesus said
  • 00:13:56.392 --> 00:13:58.928
  • and did had been recorded allthe books couldn't contain them
  • 00:13:58.928 --> 00:14:01.497
  • but we have 150. So, I picked 52questions, one per week of
  • 00:14:01.497 --> 00:14:06.669
  • devotional throughout the year.52 questions that I think every
  • 00:14:06.669 --> 00:14:11.073
  • believer ought to be able toanswer before they get to
  • 00:14:11.073 --> 00:14:16.145
  • heaven, for example Job asks ifa man dies will he live again.
  • 00:14:16.145 --> 00:14:20.149
  • In the Gospel of Matthew, who doyou say that I am? There are
  • 00:14:20.149 --> 00:14:25.988
  • just 52 questions that all of usshould be able to answer before
  • 00:14:25.988 --> 00:14:29.992
  • we get to heaven. [Dr. Graham]Yeah, questions like what are
  • 00:14:29.992 --> 00:14:32.328
  • you doing here to Elijah? And,in the beginning in Genesis, has
  • 00:14:32.328 --> 00:14:35.497
  • God said? And on and on, so manyquestions that people have are
  • 00:14:35.497 --> 00:14:40.936
  • answered in the Bible, in fact,all of our questions are
  • 00:14:40.936 --> 00:14:44.039
  • answered in God's word, that'swhat this book is about, right
  • 00:14:44.039 --> 00:14:47.609
  • out of scripture, it's full ofGod's word, it's not just nice
  • 00:14:47.609 --> 00:14:50.312
  • thoughts or good ideas, this isGod's word, the questions of the
  • 00:14:50.312 --> 00:14:54.950
  • Bible, for a gift of any amountwe will send you right away THE
  • 00:14:54.950 --> 00:14:58.387
  • JESUS CODE 52 scripturequestions every believer should
  • 00:14:58.387 --> 00:15:03.125
  • answer.
  • 00:15:03.125 --> 00:15:09.498
  • Now why do someChristians succeed in the
  • 00:15:09.498 --> 00:15:12.134
  • Christian life and others fail?Why is it that some start out
  • 00:15:12.134 --> 00:15:21.010
  • the Christian life and they runso well, but they collapse at
  • 00:15:21.010 --> 00:15:25.414
  • some point, they fail, theyfall. Some arrested
  • 00:15:25.414 --> 00:15:29.218
  • development... they don't getout of the starting blocks, and
  • 00:15:29.218 --> 00:15:35.357
  • yet others will run the race oflife and finish with a
  • 00:15:35.357 --> 00:15:37.926
  • flourish... finish well! Handsheld high, breaking the tape,
  • 00:15:37.926 --> 00:15:44.666
  • bursting onto the streets ofglory. What's the difference?
  • 00:15:44.666 --> 00:15:52.908
  • [I] Thought about that a lot.What's the difference? You know
  • 00:15:52.908 --> 00:15:59.915
  • what it is? Right here: choices.Choosing between good and evil,
  • 00:15:59.915 --> 00:16:09.591
  • having discernment. Maturepeople... maturing believers
  • 00:16:09.591 --> 00:16:14.663
  • have discernment about right andwrong, good and better, good and
  • 00:16:14.663 --> 00:16:20.302
  • bad... and they make goodchoices in their lives. Because
  • 00:16:20.302 --> 00:16:28.677
  • our choices make our character.Our choices make or break our
  • 00:16:28.677 --> 00:16:36.118
  • character. What is character?Someone said character is who
  • 00:16:36.118 --> 00:16:43.058
  • are when no one is watching. Orcharacter is what you are... who
  • 00:16:43.058 --> 00:16:50.599
  • you are in the dark. But I likethis on character. Character is
  • 00:16:50.599 --> 00:16:55.337
  • the sum total of the choices youmake in life... Character is the
  • 00:16:55.337 --> 00:17:01.677
  • sum total of the choices youmake in life. And you add it all
  • 00:17:01.677 --> 00:17:06.949
  • up and whether it is good orevil, whether it is right or
  • 00:17:06.949 --> 00:17:10.619
  • wrong, that's what enables youto grow inwardly, grow in your
  • 00:17:10.619 --> 00:17:16.391
  • character. And that's what we'retalking about. First, we make
  • 00:17:16.391 --> 00:17:20.496
  • our choices, then our choicesmake us. There are choices that
  • 00:17:20.496 --> 00:17:26.602
  • mean life or death, there arechoices that mean usefulness or
  • 00:17:26.602 --> 00:17:31.306
  • nonusefulness in the kingdom ofGod. Again, discernment is the
  • 00:17:31.306 --> 00:17:33.675
  • mark of maturity. That's makingwise choices. Discernment is
  • 00:17:33.675 --> 00:17:38.247
  • making wise choices in life. Andthe biggest choice you make is
  • 00:17:38.247 --> 00:17:45.387
  • to follow Jesus Christ to beginwith, and then to choose to grow
  • 00:17:45.387 --> 00:17:52.161
  • in your faith. Moving beyondcurious and convinced, to
  • 00:17:52.161 --> 00:17:57.499
  • committed! And growing andmaturing. Don't be careless,
  • 00:17:57.499 --> 00:18:07.342
  • don't be casual or noncommittal. A growing Christian
  • 00:18:07.342 --> 00:18:11.280
  • seeks [Matthew 6:33] "first thekingdom of God and His
  • 00:18:11.280 --> 00:18:14.750
  • righteousness!" And you willeither go forward as a
  • 00:18:14.750 --> 00:18:17.686
  • Christian, or backwards! There'sno in-between really. You will
  • 00:18:17.686 --> 00:18:24.259
  • either be progressing orregressing! You will either be
  • 00:18:24.259 --> 00:18:29.164
  • taking ground for the kingdom ofGod or losing it. And so much of
  • 00:18:29.164 --> 00:18:38.540
  • this is on us, it's on you! Yousay, "Well, what about God?
  • 00:18:38.540 --> 00:18:48.183
  • Isn't He supposed to take careof me?" Well, He will. You have
  • 00:18:48.183 --> 00:18:51.386
  • the Holy Spirit to enable youand help you. But the fact is
  • 00:18:51.386 --> 00:18:58.894
  • your Christian growth is onyou... what you choose to do or
  • 00:18:58.894 --> 00:19:05.100
  • not to do. It's like riding abicycle; riding a bicycle...
  • 00:19:05.100 --> 00:19:10.339
  • really there's only onedirection and that's forward. To
  • 00:19:10.339 --> 00:19:15.978
  • stall is to fall. Can't gobackwards... peddle backwards on
  • 00:19:15.978 --> 00:19:21.250
  • a real bike. Go forward. I'm nottalking about a stationary bike
  • 00:19:21.250 --> 00:19:28.657
  • where you stand in the sameplace. (Hate those things!) But
  • 00:19:28.657 --> 00:19:36.965
  • the Christian life is alwaysmoving forward. Are you
  • 00:19:36.965 --> 00:19:39.234
  • learning? Are you gettingbetter? Are you getting
  • 00:19:39.234 --> 00:19:40.702
  • stronger? Are you getting wiser?Are you getting better? Are you
  • 00:19:40.702 --> 00:19:42.871
  • moving forward? Is it onward andupward or downward and backwards
  • 00:19:42.871 --> 00:19:46.975
  • in your life? That's what thisis about! And the secret... Now
  • 00:19:46.975 --> 00:19:55.350
  • there are many secrets...opensecrets really as to the basics
  • 00:19:55.350 --> 00:20:00.589
  • of spiritual maturity and howyou get there. I could talk a
  • 00:20:00.589 --> 00:20:05.427
  • lot about prayer and thepriority of prayer. I could talk
  • 00:20:05.427 --> 00:20:07.963
  • about spiritual disciplines inyour life of various kinds,
  • 00:20:07.963 --> 00:20:11.166
  • fasting, giving, worship... andmaybe that's the series that
  • 00:20:11.166 --> 00:20:16.772
  • ought to follow. But the mainthing is loving and listening,
  • 00:20:16.772 --> 00:20:22.944
  • learning, living God's Word...God's Word. Understanding God's
  • 00:20:22.944 --> 00:20:35.757
  • Word. That's where discernmentcomes, that's where maturity
  • 00:20:35.757 --> 00:20:38.493
  • grows in your life, it's God'sWord. Joshua 1:8, listen to it:
  • 00:20:38.493 --> 00:20:45.200
  • "The book of the law shall notdepart from your mouth, but you
  • 00:20:45.200 --> 00:20:49.137
  • shall meditate on it day andnight, so that you may be able
  • 00:20:49.137 --> 00:20:52.307
  • to... be careful to do accordingto all that is written in it.
  • 00:20:52.307 --> 00:20:56.845
  • For then you will make your wayprosperous and then you will
  • 00:20:56.845 --> 00:21:01.183
  • have good success." There it is!
  • 00:21:01.183 --> 00:21:07.489
  • There is power in God's Word inyour life! The Bible is alive!
  • 00:21:07.489 --> 00:21:11.693
  • Martin Luther said, "It hashands that take hold of me, feet
  • 00:21:11.693 --> 00:21:18.400
  • that chase me down, eyes thatsearch after me!" It's the Word
  • 00:21:18.400 --> 00:21:24.940
  • of God. But here's the key-whenyou're hearing God's Word like
  • 00:21:24.940 --> 00:21:31.113
  • you are right now or whetheryou're reading for yourself and
  • 00:21:31.113 --> 00:21:36.985
  • reflecting-is that you not onlyhear it, but that you receive
  • 00:21:36.985 --> 00:21:42.657
  • it. What I'm doing is throwingthe Word out. Now the question
  • 00:21:42.657 --> 00:21:49.398
  • is: Are you going to catch it?Now you know I love baseball.
  • 00:21:49.398 --> 00:21:53.001
  • So, I brought a couple ofbaseballs here today, and we're
  • 00:21:53.001 --> 00:21:56.805
  • going to play a little catch. Sowhat's the most important
  • 00:21:56.805 --> 00:22:02.511
  • position on a baseball field?Somebody says the pitcher. Well,
  • 00:22:02.511 --> 00:22:06.548
  • seventy percent of winningbaseball probably is pitching.
  • 00:22:06.548 --> 00:22:11.420
  • (God help us to get pitchingwith the Texas Rangers!) It's
  • 00:22:11.420 --> 00:22:16.425
  • about 70 percent. Well,... but,there's an unsung, unheralded
  • 00:22:16.425 --> 00:22:21.596
  • player on field that's reallythe quarterback of the defense,
  • 00:22:21.596 --> 00:22:24.599
  • and that's the catcher. Catchertypically has to be a smart guy.
  • 00:22:24.599 --> 00:22:28.537
  • They talk about the catcherwearing the tools of ignorance
  • 00:22:28.537 --> 00:22:31.873
  • (ha), but a catcher has to besmart... call the signals, run
  • 00:22:31.873 --> 00:22:35.610
  • the plays from home plate, a lotof different things; has to have
  • 00:22:35.610 --> 00:22:38.613
  • chemistry between the pitcher.But the main thing he has to do,
  • 00:22:38.613 --> 00:22:41.316
  • of course, is catch the ball.You can have the greatest
  • 00:22:41.316 --> 00:22:45.020
  • pitcher on the planet pitching,but if the catcher doesn't catch
  • 00:22:45.020 --> 00:22:51.593
  • it, that's a recipe for losingbaseball. You can lose, no
  • 00:22:51.593 --> 00:22:57.065
  • matter how good the pitch is.Now we do our best to pitch
  • 00:22:57.065 --> 00:23:03.004
  • well, as well as can. We getprepared and, you know, I
  • 00:23:03.004 --> 00:23:09.010
  • typically want to throw fastballs right down the middle. Not
  • 00:23:09.010 --> 00:23:14.015
  • too many curve balls, no changeups, no squirrelly screwballs,
  • 00:23:14.015 --> 00:23:18.620
  • things like that because, youknow... I had one guy say to me,
  • 00:23:18.620 --> 00:23:21.356
  • "Graham, I like your preaching;you throw fast balls." And so
  • 00:23:21.356 --> 00:23:25.861
  • I've always tried to, you know,because my goal is not for you
  • 00:23:25.861 --> 00:23:29.798
  • to miss it, but to hit it, toget it or if you're a catcher,
  • 00:23:29.798 --> 00:23:33.502
  • to catch it! So it's critical ifI throw you the ball that you
  • 00:23:33.502 --> 00:23:39.941
  • catch it. [tosses to someone inthe front row] Oh, he almost
  • 00:23:39.941 --> 00:23:43.011
  • caught it. Alright, now throw itback. [pastor makes no attempt
  • 00:23:43.011 --> 00:23:45.981
  • to catch ball.] [laughter] Nowthat's what happens a lot of
  • 00:23:45.981 --> 00:23:54.089
  • times when I throw it to you.[tosses to someone else] Oh,
  • 00:23:54.089 --> 00:23:56.658
  • good job. Let me have it.[pastor catches ball.] I mean I
  • 00:23:56.658 --> 00:24:00.362
  • have the responsibility to throwit out there, but you have the
  • 00:24:00.362 --> 00:24:02.998
  • responsibility to catch it! Areyou receiving? What kind of
  • 00:24:02.998 --> 00:24:08.904
  • receiver are you? Same thing istrue... I mean, name any
  • 00:24:08.904 --> 00:24:13.408
  • sport... football. I mean,quarterback's got a big job but
  • 00:24:13.408 --> 00:24:15.744
  • he better have good receivers.So receive the Word of God when
  • 00:24:15.744 --> 00:24:25.153
  • it comes your way! Couple moreScriptures and then we're done.
  • 00:24:25.153 --> 00:24:29.157
  • Look at Proverbs 8:34. I'm goingto put it on the screen. It's in
  • 00:24:29.157 --> 00:24:32.127
  • the New Living "Joyful are thosewho listen to Me! Watching for
  • 00:24:32.127 --> 00:24:35.897
  • me daily at My gates, waitingfor Me outside My home!" What a
  • 00:24:35.897 --> 00:24:40.969
  • beautiful word picture that is!Happy are those who are outside
  • 00:24:40.969 --> 00:24:47.309
  • the gates of God and waitingjust for a word from Him. That
  • 00:24:47.309 --> 00:24:53.815
  • very first psalm says [Psalm1:1-2]"Blessed is the man who
  • 00:24:53.815 --> 00:24:57.285
  • doesn't take counsel in theworld... the things of this
  • 00:24:57.285 --> 00:25:00.689
  • world or stands in the way ofsinners, seated scoffers." But
  • 00:25:00.689 --> 00:25:04.225
  • look at this, verse 2: "But hisdelight is in the Law of God,
  • 00:25:04.225 --> 00:25:06.828
  • the law of the Lord and on Hislaw he meditates day and night."
  • 00:25:06.828 --> 00:25:11.933
  • Meditate upon God's Word.Memorize God's Word. The most
  • 00:25:11.933 --> 00:25:16.304
  • important spiritual developmentand discipline of my life has
  • 00:25:16.304 --> 00:25:19.574
  • been memorizing scripture.Meditating on scripture. I was
  • 00:25:19.574 --> 00:25:26.715
  • in a situation this week... Ineeded just to be able to
  • 00:25:26.715 --> 00:25:30.185
  • remember and rehearse somescriptures that I had memorized
  • 00:25:30.185 --> 00:25:33.855
  • long ago. God will bring thatup; it'll just bubble up in your
  • 00:25:33.855 --> 00:25:38.159
  • soul. But you got to get in theWord and get the Word in you.
  • 00:25:38.159 --> 00:25:42.597
  • The habitual habit of memorizingscripture will help you to grow.
  • 00:25:42.597 --> 00:25:49.070
  • It will... it will force you togrow. Now just listening to me
  • 00:25:49.070 --> 00:25:53.274
  • or someone else preach everyweek... that's kind of processed
  • 00:25:53.274 --> 00:25:55.577
  • food. I mean, I hope it's notlight-weight but you know, it is
  • 00:25:55.577 --> 00:26:01.282
  • processed. I'm breaking it down.I'm cutting your meat for you...
  • 00:26:01.282 --> 00:26:06.187
  • where you cut the little kid'smeat. Not you but I mean I'm
  • 00:26:06.187 --> 00:26:10.859
  • just saying sometimes you haveto cut the meat up for a child
  • 00:26:10.859 --> 00:26:13.862
  • in bite sized portions. But whenyou're a growing, developing
  • 00:26:13.862 --> 00:26:17.032
  • disciple then you start eatingsolid food and you want more.
  • 00:26:17.032 --> 00:26:22.137
  • You want meat, and not justmilk. We were having lunch
  • 00:26:22.137 --> 00:26:31.079
  • yesterday with one of mygrandsons... couple of my
  • 00:26:31.079 --> 00:26:33.314
  • grandsons and we were havingChick-fil-A, the great
  • 00:26:33.314 --> 00:26:35.817
  • Chick-fil-A. And we had... he...the little guy had some
  • 00:26:35.817 --> 00:26:40.255
  • potatoes, he had chickennuggets. And he was eating the
  • 00:26:40.255 --> 00:26:43.224
  • potatoes. And his dad says tohim, "Eat the meat; the meat
  • 00:26:43.224 --> 00:26:48.596
  • makes the muscles.... the meatmakes the muscles." Feed
  • 00:26:48.596 --> 00:26:59.240
  • yourself. Eat the meat and growthe muscles for your faith, and
  • 00:26:59.240 --> 00:27:07.849
  • grow up your character intoChrist-likeness so that one day
  • 00:27:07.849 --> 00:27:13.955
  • you'll burst the tape,celebrating your victory in
  • 00:27:13.955 --> 00:27:18.660
  • Jesus. Amen.
  • 00:27:18.660 --> 00:27:18.660