Ephesians 4:12, 13

 

It is good to be back home.

It was great being in Canada but I felt like a stranger. We rejoiced when we crossed back into America.

We couldn’t use our phones; the currency was different. It just wasn’t comfortable.

 

Which made me think that as Christians we are strangers in this world and we long (Philippians 3:20) to be home in Heaven.

Yet, a lot of the time Christians don’t long for Jesus to come back. Why?

Because we have become too comfortable on earth. We don’t long for heaven because we like it here.  We aren’t uncomfortable – we have conformed to this world and become comfortable with the way of life here.

 

Let’s get uncomfortable on earth, let’s start living like strangers, let’s not conform. (1 Peter 2:11; Romans 12:2).

That is what I mean by “Grow Up.” Be mature Christians – Be a stranger.

In the world but not of the world (John 17:14).

We will be hated and made fun of keep loving others anyway. We want them to have what we have in Jesus.

 

1 Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2  As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3  For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do–living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4  They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.

 

Grow up – have the same attitude as Christ. Be done with sin and evil, get rid of your selfish desires.

 

Our goal is to be mature.

Ephesians 4:12  to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

 

Be mature – Grow up!

 

We see how egocentric little kids are; me and mine attitude. When we call a teenager mature for their age we mean they are responsible and not so self-centered.  But we have known plenty of “adults” who are immature.  They only think about themselves, they aren’t responsible and they don’t act or react appropriately in situations.

 

Seven signs of Maturity

  1. A mature person is able to keep long-term commitments.
  2. A mature person is unshaken by flattery or criticism.
  3. A mature person possesses a spirit of humility.
  4. A mature person’s decisions are based on character not feelings.
  5. A mature person expresses gratitude consistently.
  6. A mature person knows how to prioritize others before themselves.
  7. A mature person seeks wisdom before acting.

 

Maturity is maturity, in life and in faith.

Immaturity shows up when the person is being selfish – they react on feelings without seeking wisdom. They only consider themselves and not others.

 

During the Rio Olympics we have seen wonderful sportsmanship and childish behavior.

 

35 year old, Hope Solo, goalkeeper for the USA women’s soccer team ridiculed the Swedish team by saying, “We played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today. I strongly, firmly believe that.”

 

I am sure you are disappointed because you are the best team in the world but today you were not the best team on the field. Be mature and compliment the other team.

 

Egyptian judo fighter Islam El Shehaby was loudly booed after his loss to Israel’s Or Sasson, when El Shehaby refused to shake Sasson’s hand, in a major breach of judo etiquette.

 

I was watching a little basketball on Saturday and the USA team got two technical fouls within a minute because of yelling at the refs. I was embarrassed.

 

Do you know what the common denominator in these displays of poor sportsmanship? Failure

Sports and losing do not build character, it reveals your character.

Winning is easy – Losing is hard.

How is your character when life is difficult, when things aren’t going your way?

 

These athletes are ambassadors for their country, the US athletes are our ambassadors to the world. They make all Americans look bad when they act so childish and can’t control their anger or their tongue.

 

99.9% of the athletes are representing us well – but it only takes a few.

The same is true in our faith.

I know Dustin talked about that last week. We need to make sure we are being a good ambassador for Christ.  How we act and react reflects on Jesus and the rest of us.

 

When we let selfishness rule instead of maturity we let ourselves down, our team down and we let Jesus down.

I really believe that the root of evil is selfishness.

 

James 3:16  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

 

Galatians 5:19  The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

Selfishness will keep us out of Heaven; where there is selfishness there is every evil practice.

 

How can we fix the selfishness problem?

Be united with Jesus, have His attitude of service and sacrifice; and consider others better than yourself.

 

Philippians 2:1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, … 3  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

 

When we practice the One Another passages that we have discussed over the last several weeks we will be well on our way to overcoming selfishness.

 

The sixth sign of maturity was – A mature person knows how to prioritize others before themselves.

It is the JOY acronym – Jesus, Others, Yourself

It is not ME, ME, ME – it is You, You, You!

 

Matthew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38  This is the first and greatest commandment. 39  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

 

Love God, Love your Neighbor

 

Let’s review and rate how we are doing living a selfless life.

Give yourself 1 to 5-star rating with each One Another command.

. The civil government is NOT the church, and does not have the same God-given purpose as the church. We are not electing a preacher for our church, or a president for a Bible college. A godly U.S. president is certainly to be preferred, but sometimes an ungodly person has a better grasp (whether by choice or by accident) of what God wants governments to do (e.g., Rom. 13:1-5; 1 Tim. 2:1-4) than a well-meaning but confused Christian candidate. The way things stand, we have a choice between two clunkers: Trump and Clinton. We may not like or approve of either one as a person. The issue, however, is NOT which one has the more godly character, but which one is more likely to fulfill the God-intended purpose for government–for whatever reason. Remember: the government is NOT the church, and candidates should not be disqualified simply because they do not measure up to standards of Christian faith and conduct.

GREET

2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet ONE ANOTHER with a holy kiss.

 

To greet others means you are not holding anything against them. You are not avoiding anyone; you greet them in love.

 

ACCEPT

Romans 15:7 Accept ONE ANOTHER, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

 

Christ accepted us just the way we were, when we were dirty and filthy. He accepted us when we did not deserve to be accepted.  Do you accept others?

 

HONOR

Romans 12:10 Honor ONE ANOTHER above yourselves.

 

We must treat one another with genuine respect and honor; we need to value one another. We are all equal in the eyes of God, no one is better than another – we all deserve honor and respect.  Are you respecting others?

 

KIND AND COMPASSIONATE

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to ONE ANOTHER, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

 

Be compassionate – tenderhearted, sympathetic toward one another.

Be Kind – Being kind is not just being polite but being useful and good.

We need to be kind to each other – our kindness is shown in how we help each other.

Are you being kind and compassionate to others?

 

SERVE

Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve ONE ANOTHER in love.

 

Quit being selfish and worrying about yourself and your needs. See what you can do to serve others.

Are you serving others?

 

AGREE

1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with ONE ANOTHER so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

 

Are you dividing yourself from others? Agree on Jesus.  How are you doing?

 

BEAR WITH

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with ONE ANOTHER in love.

 

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against ONE ANOTHER. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

 

Put up with one another, bearing with is explaining what it means to be patient. Bearing with means to forgive each other also.  Are you bearing with others?

 

LIVE IN HARMONY

Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with ONE ANOTHER. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

 

“Think the same way toward each other” is the idea here of the word translated harmony.

That is the context of the passage. But you cannot think the same way as others if you are proud, arrogant, and unwilling to be with others who you think are not worthy of you.

Are you living in harmony with others?

 

TEACH

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish ONE ANOTHER with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

 

Teaching is not an option. Are you teaching others about Jesus?

 

ENCOURAGE

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage ONE ANOTHER and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

 

Who do you see in need and encourage them? Are you encouraging others?

 

FELLOWSHIP

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with ONE ANOTHER, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

 

Are you sharing life with others?

 

BE HOSPITABLE

1 Peter 4:9 Offer hospitality to ONE ANOTHER without grumbling.

 

Are you inviting others into your home?

 

LOVE

Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love ONE ANOTHER, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

 

Are you loving others?

 

DON’T JUDGE

Don’t judge sinners who have not accepted Jesus.  Do judge sinners who have accepted Jesus.

Don’t judge Christians who practice differently in non-Essentials. Do judge yourself.

 

If you are not improving in these One Another passages, then you are choosing to remain selfish and refusing to grow in your faith in Christ.

Be honest with yourself, rate yourself honestly. Continue to do well in these but grow where you need to.

 

Jesus practiced all these One Another’s and more. He loved you and came to die on the cross for you.

The MercyMe song I played before worship, “Welcome to the New” talked about that.

You were worth it – the Good News is that Jesus purchased you, He adopted you

You don’t have to earn His love – just accept His love.

 

If you have not accepted the love and forgiveness of Jesus will you today.

Be immersed into Jesus so your sins are washed away and you will receive the indwelling gift of God the Holy Spirit.

 

If you have accepted Jesus, then make sure you are a good ambassador for Him. Put into practice all the One Another’s so people get a proper representation of who Jesus really is.

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