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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Our Goal is to Press on to Maturity by Zac Poonen

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Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 38011
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 Our Goal is to Press on to Maturity by Zac Poonen

Romans 8 speaks about life in the Spirit. When we come into this life of submission to the Holy Spirit, then our Father begins to work in all the circumstances of our life to make everything work for our eternal good. Even if other people try to harm us, God makes it work for our good and we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Rom.8:28). For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters (Rom.8:29). This is a wonderful gospel indeed! Romans 8:28 is one of the most wonderful promises in the New Testament and it covers every single circumstance we can ever face – absolutely and totally. So, tell the Lord, “Lord, I don’t have any ambition on earth, except to do Your will on earth as You Yourself lived. I do not desire to pursue after money, or honour, or fame or comfort. I don’t want a single thing on earth for myself. I only want to please You every day. And I will judge myself in these matters constantly.” Then all things WILL work together for your good. And that “good” is mentioned in the next verse – Romans 8:29 – you will be made more like Jesus Himself. There is no greater good that Almighty God can do for you than that.

We read in Ephesians 1:4,5 “In love God predestined us”. “Predestined” is another word which is greatly misunderstood. What did God predestine us for? Was it to go to heaven or hell? No. He doesn’t predestine anyone to go to heaven or hell. It says here, “He predestined us to be placed as sons in Christ according to the kind intention of His will”. He predestined us to be mature sons in Christ and not baby-Christians. You are to be a responsible son who is interested in your heavenly Father’s business. So, conduct yourself like a son who has a sense of responsibility about his Father’s business.

In Colossians 1:28, Paul says “we proclaim Christ, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ”. This is both prophecy and teaching – with all wisdom. Paul’s ultimate goal was to “present every man perfect in Christ.” If Paul had a church of 100 people, he was going to do everything possible to make sure that all those 100 people – every brother and sister – would become perfect in Christ. He was going to exhort them, admonish them, and teach them with all wisdom, because one day he would have to present them to God. There are very few pastors and shepherds who have such a burden. They just preach. That’s all. But Paul had a burden to lead every single person to spiritual maturity. You cannot take the responsibility of being an elder in a church lightly. When I was an elder in our church at Bangalore for 25 years, I sought to know the spiritual condition of every single adult in my church, so that I could correct them, rebuke them, give them wisdom, speak encouraging words and strong words to them, so that I could present them perfect in Christ one day. I never wanted anything from them for myself. For their sake, for the sake of the Body of Christ, I had to go through a lot of crushing in my private life. God dealt with me in so many ways so that the aroma of Christ could come forth from me so that others would be blessed. This is true Christian ministry. In Colossians 1:29, Paul goes on to say, “For this purpose I labour, I work hard, striving”. How does he strive? “With the mighty power of the Holy Spirit – which first of all God works mightily inside of me”. God always has to work inside us by His Holy Spirit first and only then can He work through us to bless others. Those of you who serve in the church, make these two verses your goal, to present every man perfect in Christ (Col.1:28) and to have the fullness of the Holy Spirit by which you reach that goal (Col.1:29).

In Ephesians 4:13, Apostle Paul says that we are to grow up gradually “to a mature man, to the fullness of the stature of Christ”. Our aim must be to grow ourselves and to help others to grow to this fullness. We must not remain babies “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14).
In Ephesians 4:15, we are urged to “speak the truth in love in order to grow up”. Notice there the balance between truth and love. Should we speak the truth? Yes. Always. But are we permitted to speak it in any way we like? No. We must speak the truth in love. If you cannot speak the truth in love, then you should wait until you have enough love for people to speak the truth to them. Love is the board on which you can use the pen of truth. If you try to write the truth without a board to write it on, you will be writing in thin air. No-one will be able to understand what you are writing. It is by speaking the truth in love always - in the pulpit and in private conversation - that we can “grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Eph.4:15).

In Hebrews 6:1, there is an exhortation to press on to maturity. In Hebrews 5, we have the illustration of drinking milk and eating meat. There are two more illustrations. First, the example of elementary teaching and advanced teaching; and then the example of the foundation of a building and its superstructure. All these word-pictures are meant to contrast babies with mature Christians. The difference between the two is seen in times of temptation. The mature saint has a Christlike response to temptation, while babies have a human response. To use another illustration: Think of pressing on to maturity like climbing a mountain (of say, 10,000 metres). Jesus has already reached the top. When we are born again, we start at the foot of this mountain. Our goal is to follow Jesus and to press on towards the top, no matter how long it may take. Then we can say to our younger brothers and sisters, “Follow me as I follow Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1), even if we have climbed only 100 metres.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2021/8/20 19:25Profile

Joined: 2017/2/12
Posts: 552

 Re: Our Goal is to Press on to Maturity by Zac Poonen

such a good good teaching. simple and completely truthful. this is how to build a church of disciple makers.


 2021/8/20 20:39Profile

Joined: 2007/2/8
Posts: 1942

 Re: Our Goal is to Press on to Maturity by Zac Poonen

Hi all
I find that Zac Poonen leaves out important scriptures in his teaching.

Look how he explains Ephesians 4:13

The actual verse is explaining the role of the gifts of the Church in the body ending with Maturity .Its saying we cannot do without them.
The order is :
1 Gifts(all of them,not some)for the equipping of saints
2 For the work of service
3 The building up of the body
4 To Attain to the unity of the faith
5 And the knowledge of the son of God,To A Mature Man

11And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ

We cant become mature by ourselves ,the full working of all the gifts in proper order is required within the body for us to reach the end result of Maturity in Christ.We cant be edified,built up or unified without ALL THE GIFTS working within the body.
Unfortunately Zac did not mention the real way we become Mature ,its not by goal setting as if it were a sport ,its by proper Church structure operating in Love.I cannot make it my goal to be mature ,I will become more and more Mature when the Church is functioning properly .We cannot grow ourselves as Zac prescribes without the Body.Its not an aims and goals thing its a desire thing,a desire to be Christ like,
urs staff

 2021/8/20 21:29Profile

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