Creflo Dollar - It's Time To Grow Up - Part 2
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If you have your Bibles this morning, go with me to the Book of Colossians the New Living Translation. In fact, I want to put this on the screen, guys. I want to... this is a long text, but we need to spend some time in it. We're going to pick up where we left off last week. It's time to grow up from the series of "Maturing through Pressure". Colossians chapter 1 and verse 24 out of the NLT. Now, I want you to follow this. I want you to check this out. This is going to be a message right in front of your face today. We got to get this. We got to get this. It's time to grow up. Say out loud, "It's time to grow up". I don't know about right now. It'll take a little time to get there, but I get it. I get that faith that's... I understand that. I agree with you in Jesus's name. Boy, I wish that it could be like right now, right now, you know, amen.
All right, look at this now. We're going to read it out of the NLT. Follow along. This is Paul's work for the church, and Paul starts off in verse 24. He says, "I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church". Now, the fellowship of his suffering, we're not doing the same suffering he did. He died. He went to hell for us. He got crucified on the cross. Our part of his fellowship of the suffering is maintaining the victory that he went through to obtain. So for all of us, our job is to maintain the victory. We are the healed already. We're not going to be healed. Jesus got the healing. So our job is to maintain it. Jesus got the victory. Our job is to maintain it. Paul says, "I'm participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. God has given me the responsibility of serving his church," how? "By proclaiming his entire message to you".
Now, he's referring to the message of grace. He says I am... his service to the body is to proclaim this entire message to you. "This message," this grace message about Jesus, "was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God's people". He's talking about the message of grace that is now being revealed to God's people. "For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles". In other words, he says it's no longer just for Jewish people but now Gentiles. It's for everybody who's not a Jewish person. He says, "And this is the secret", here it is, "Christ lives in you". That's the secret. Christ lives in you. Say that. Say, "Christ lives in me". That's big. Because now you got to get to the place where you really believe that Christ lives in me. Things change when you start believing that Christ lives in me.
All of a sudden, things that are threatening in your life, you remind yourself, "Wait a minute. Christ lives in me". Bad news, "Christ lives in me". Threatening situations, "Christ lives in me". He said, "Here's the secret. Christ lives in me". All right, now watch this. "This gives you assurance of sharing his glory". I'm assured that I can be healed because Christ lives in me. I'm assured that my provisions will be all right 'cause Christ lives in me. I'm assured that I can walk in forgiveness 'cause Christ lives in me. I'm assured because Christ lives in me. That's a big deal right there. Christ lives in me. Not all of the, you know, fancy talking and the little deep stuff, it's real simple. Christ lives in me. It gives me an assurance that things can work 'cause he lives in me. "So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom of God has given us".
Do you tell others about Christ? "We want to present them to God". How do we want to present others to God? "We want to present them to God, perfect," or mature, "in their relationship to Christ". Big time. Underline that. We want to present them to God, perfect and mature in their relationship with Christ. He wants to present us. We need to be presented before God mature in our relationship with Christ. Are you mature in your relationship with Christ, or do you still think that you're mature because you've been a member of the church for a long time? Mature in your relationship with Christ. Mature in your relationship with Christ. Perfect or mature, this word perfect here doesn't mean flawless, it means mature, or growing, in your relationship with Christ.
How is your relationship with Christ today? Is it maturing? Because Paul says this message and all that I'm preaching is to try to get you to a place where you can be presented mature and perfect in your relationship with Christ. That's what this is about. This is about your relation... let me calm down a little bit. I'm screaming too early. I'm excited. This is about your relationship with Christ. This is not about, you know, the principles you can use to get more money. It's not about, "O God, do something for me. Do something for me". It's not about, "O God, open up doors for me, for me, for me". You know, God will do that, but we've made...you've got to be careful 'cause you've, you know, since made it all about you. Have you matured in your relationship with Christ?
"That's why," Paul says, "I work and I struggle so hard, depending on Christ's mighty power that works within me". He says, "I'm working hard to depend on Christ's mighty power working in me". He didn't say he was working so hard. He says, "I'm working hard to depend on Christ. I'm working hard to depend on Christ. I'm working hard to depend on Christ's mighty power within me". Now Colossians 2:1 says, "I want you to know how much I have agonized", that's mental anguish. When you agonize, that's mental anguish. "How much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, for many other believers who have never met me personally. I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love".
I want them to be encouraged, and I want these believers to be knit together because of the love of God. Strong ties of love, the love of God. Strong ties of love. I'm a Christian. I should have this relationship of love with somebody else. I'm a Christian. I'm a Christian. There's something about the nature and the love of God that should be in me, and then when it's in somebody else we got a strong tie there. We're tied together because of the love that we have and the maturity that we have in this love. "I want them to have complete", that's maturity. "I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God's mysterious plan, which is Christ himself".
Christ himself is God's mysterious plan. Christ himself, it's all about Jesus. Everything about this mysterious plan is just all wrapped up into Jesus. It's Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. It's all wrapped up into Jesus, man. We're trying to learn everything else but Jesus. "Give me the five ways to have a successful marriage". I got something better: Jesus. "In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge". Wisdom and knowledge in him. In him all of the treasures. You want wisdom? In him, in him you'll find wisdom. You want all of the treasures of knowledge? In him you'll find it. It's in him. It's in him. It's that's mature, perfected relationship, complete relationship in Christ.
"I'm telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ, your faith in Christ is strong". Your faith in Christ is strong, not your faith to get more money, not your faith to be successful, not your faith even to be healed. All of that's in Christ. I pray your faith in Christ is strong. "And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him". You must continue to follow him. "Let your roots grow down into him". Oh, glory. "Let your roots grow down into him". Rooted and grounded. Let your roots grow down into Jesus, and let your lives be built on Jesus.
"Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thanksgiving. Don't let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that comes from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ". They come from the doctrines, philosophies that come from the powers of this world and they don't come from Christ. What are you living by that doesn't come from Christ? What did you get off the social media that didn't come from Christ? What norms and values have you picked up because everybody else talking about it but it didn't come from Christ? What excuse do...have you taken on that says you don't have to love people, you don't have to forgive people and it didn't come from Christ?
"For in Christ lives all the fullness of God, in Christ lives all the fullness of God in human body. So you are complete," mature, "through your union with Christ". You're complete and mature through your union with Christ. We're talking about spiritual maturity. Ain't no spiritual maturity if you're not maturing in your union with Christ. We're not talking about maturing based on how the world says you should mature, we're talking about your spiritual maturity that comes as a result of your union with Christ. "Who is the head over every ruler and authority".
Now, that's the text. That's a long one, but in it, it captures all of the elements that we need to understand spiritual maturity. So now once again let's break that down because this Scripture did, this text did an excellent job of breaking down spiritual maturity. Christ is the standard for our maturity. I don't know, you know, some people think, "Well, you know, you've matured in this. You've matured in that. You've matured in this". But if you've not matured in Christ, you have not experienced spiritual maturity. It's in him. All right? So here's how we've defined spiritual maturity. Basically, this is what it means to mature. It means to be complete. It means to be ready, prepared. It means to be ripe like a fruit is ripe on the tree, ready to be picked and eaten. Maturity, it means to be brought to perfection in your growth, to be in your best state, to be fit for use.
Maturity means to be fully qualified by improvement. How's your improvement in your union with Christ? How's the improvement in your relationship with Christ? Where is the improvement? "Yeah, but I go to church every Sunday". I know this, but has that produced any improvement in your relationship with Christ? My goodness, if we get to heaven and you came to church and I was your pastor and there's no improvement with you in your relationship with Jesus Christ, I have failed royally. If I can talk to you about the Greek and Hebrew, you improved in that. You improved in your articulation of the Scriptures. You improved in your revelation-knowledge, but it's not anything, because revelation in the New Testament is revelation of Christ. It's not some rink and dink revelation. "Oh, I got a revelation of that principle".
Where's Jesus in it? We got to start asking ourselves, where is Jesus in it? Jesus will teach you excellence. Jesus will teach you how to walk in wisdom. Jesus will teach you how to run that business. If you really get to know Jesus, you'll get everything you need to run a business in a level of excellence that the world can't even touch. Honey, forget first class. When you enter into Jesus class, where's the improvement? Where's the growth? Are you ripe and spiritually mature enough for God to say some stuff and to show you some things? Somebody says, "Well, it ain't work for me". 'Cause you're immature in him. You don't know him. If you're walking in hate today, you don't know him. If you still got some 20-year unforgiveness in your life, you don't know him. If you're still acting funny with your neighbor and you're not walking in love, you don't know him. You don't know him.
Somebody says, "Why you keep talking about love"? Because that's who he is. That's his real nature. His real nature is love, and you can tell me everything I need to know about your relationship with Christ by checking your love nature. Where's the improvement? How long do we stay on milk? How long do we act like spiritual children? We come to church and we're mature in knowing how to do church. "I've been coming to church for 30 years", you're mature in knowing how to do church. That's not the maturity he's concerned about. The maturity he's concerned about is that one day when he sees you, you will be like him. In fact, go to 1 John chapter 2:6 in the New Living Translation. John chapter 2...excuse me. I think it's 1 John chapter 2. Look at this. I have got to, I have the wonderful opportunity of trying to convince you of this thing here.
1 John chapter 2:6 he says, "Those who say they live in God," those who say they live in God... how many of you this morning would say that you live in God? Yeah, go ahead. You can raise your hands up. Don't feel like I'm setting you up. No. Okay. I say I live in God. How about you? Okay. "So those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did". They should live their lives as Jesus did. I often go back and I reevaluate things in this 41 years of ministry and ask, wow, the majority of my time teaching, all those things, they're good, but now it's time to get focused on the major issue. Jesus, the major issue. Those that say they live for God, they should live their lives as Jesus did, and that is the objective we've got to fulfill in order to achieve spiritual maturity.
Let me say this. The most important reason for spiritual maturity, I need to know that. I'm looking for why, why. The most important reason for spiritual maturity is for our lives to reflect the nature of Jesus Christ. And when you see that that's not happening, you clearly identify that's a spiritually immature person. That's a spiritually immature person, and I don't want our church to be just a bunch of spiritual immature people that we don't demonstrate Christ when we're not in this building. That's the biggest, biggest, most important part of spiritual maturity, is to live our lives to reflect the nature of Christ. And what is the nature of Christ? The love of God. His nature is love. His nature is unconditional love, and it's thanksgiving. You still got a problem with this relative or that relative and stuff. Okay, they're different. They're special. But the nature of Jesus Christ, that's who you are. You can rise above all that. Now, before you got saved, "They get on my nerves. I walk to bed, and I say nothing". You start rehearsing your fight.
Oh, church, please listen to me. Most important series I've ever preached before in my life. The purpose of spiritual maturity is to live a life that is a reflection of the nature of Jesus Christ. That's it. I'm trying to bring everything down to its simplest form right now. What if you were going to go see Jesus in the next 2 days? You don't have to go before Jesus and say, "Jesus, I got five principles on how to get rich, thank you". What? Are you serious? That's the sum total of your Christian life? The sum total of your Christian life was what you could get, and there's no reflection of the nature of Jesus Christ. And I've had to look at myself in the mirror over and over and over and over again and get beat up and agonized mentally just like Paul agonized so I can get this message to you. Listen to me, child of God. The big issue is when heaven sees you, are you a reflection of the nature of Jesus Christ or are you just a talking head?
All you want to do is let everybody know that you know stuff, and as soon as something happens that you're in disagreement with, you know what happens? Then we see if you have the nature of Jesus Christ. As soon as somebody don't vote the way you think they ought to vote, then all of a sudden you see whether or not they have the nature of Jesus Christ. See, a lot of people say, "I'm a Christian," but the real issue is... I'm going to hold that. Let me hold that. See, I'm growing. Let me hold that. Spiritual maturity should be a priority for every Christian. Spiritual maturity is important in our lives for how we serve God, it's important for how we interact with other people, and it's important in how we take care of our families, 'cause if you are spiritually mature, as a man, you don't pack up and run. Spiritual maturity.
Now, according to the Bible, we need to see according to the Bible what is spiritual maturity. And I know I approached it the last 4 weeks looking at this definition 'cause I want you to see it from different perspectives, but I do want you to think about this. Many people claim to be Christians. Many people claim to be Christians, but there's a difference between being a fan of Jesus and a follower of Jesus. So maybe in reality you're just a fan. I don't want to be a fan of Jesus. If somebody mentions Christianity, "Oh, yes, yes, I'm a Christian," and then you look at their maturity level and you realize, "Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. You're a fan". I don't want to be accused of being a fan. "Oh, yes, I like Jesus. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Oh, hallelujah". Somebody do something wrong with you? What a blank, blank, blank. You're a fan. You're a fan. There's a difference between being a fan of Jesus and a follower of Jesus. Christians are followers of Jesus.