Weekly Devotional | "Maturity in Community"
This devotional is based on Brian Chesemore's sermon, Maturity in Community, given on June 26th, 2016.
Day 1: The Call to Maturity
- “Paul is warning that the alternative to a glorious, Christ-exalting, maturing church, is to remain as a child-like church, an immature church. It is to remain in the vulnerability of the newborn state; it is to be left vulnerable to the winds and waves of false doctrine, which are all around us. If we avoid growth, we remain spiritually vulnerable.” Brian Chesemore
- “What can at first glance feel like an impossible call, to grow up in every way, is actually meant to bring tremendous hope . . . There is not an area of your life that Christ cannot transform by his grace. There is not an area of your life that is to remain untouched by the reign of the risen Christ, by the transforming power of the risen Savior. Christ’s saving grace carries with it this great news: there is hope for change to take place in every area of my life, and in every area of your life. He changes us personally and transforms us corporately.” Brian Chesemore
- “Your growth, my growth, is in view for sure. But listen, you are part of a call, a mission designed not to make much of you, but in the slow but steady transformation of your life, in the maturing of your character, in the stabilizing effects of living upon Christ and all his benefits, the whole body is helped . . . a mission of corporate maturity is furthered and that brings Christ greater glory!” Brian Chesemore
Questions and Reflections:
- Reflect on your walk as a Christian. In what area of your life has God grown you the most? Based on verse 14, had you not grown, what would you now be more vulnerable to?
- What spiritual dangers do you presently feel vulnerable to? Anxiety? Anger? Escapism? Recalling verse 15, how can you focus your efforts to both privately and communally grow into Christ?
- If we do not grow, our only alternative is to remain vulnerable to the dangers of immaturity. Ask God to give you a greater awareness of the dangers that beset you on a daily basis. Reread Ephesians 4:14-15 and ask him to give you a Godly sense of urgency regarding your growth.
Day 2: The Means of Maturity
- “Speaking the truth in love is not simply . . . quoting a Scripture to a friend. It’s helping that friend to see life through the lens of Scripture, to see life rightly… where God really does reign over all things, where God can be trusted, where God is in control . . . It’s helping others to find comfort in a suffering Savior, to find purpose in the mission of Christ’s kingdom. It’s helping them to remember that God is truly working all things together for the good in their lives . . . He will one day make all things right.” Brian Chesemore
- “Speaking the truth in love, this kind of personal ministry, assumes we are along the way also learning to listen, to ask good questions of those around us. We are walking together, learning about others’ joys, trials, and challenges. We’re asking helpful questions, and as we do, the Scripture is having its way changing us, and we are positioned to speak it carefully and helpfully into the lives of those around us.” Brian Chesemore
Questions and Reflections:
- Though other kinds of service are vital, why does Paul emphasize speaking the truth in love as the means of building each other up in Christ?
- Explain how your growth towards speaking truth in love could be used to build up others in our church? If you are not confident in your ability to speak truth in love, whom in our church is gifted in this command and could foster your growth towards maturity.
- Is someone in your community group struggling to grow in a particular area of their life? What promise, encouragement, or instruction from God’s Word could you share with them this month?
- Reread and pray through Ephesians 4:15-16. Ask God to grant you even more grace to grow up into Christ, not only for your benefit, but also for the benefit of our church family. Ask him to reveal how you can best use your grace-given growth to continue blessing our church.
Day 3: The Proof of Maturity
- “Our growth is aimed gloriously high…Paul calls us to grow up into the One who reigns over all things. Our very goal is to be like him.” Brian Chesemore
- “The ministry of the word reproduces itself in the ministry of the people…This is what happens when the word of God as it were jumps from the pulpit and starts running around our lives.” Sinclair Ferguson
- “We will know that we see each part working properly as we see Christ-exalting, truth-testifying love between members. The undeniable quality of Christ-honoring growth . . . is ever-increasing love.“ Brian Chesemore
Questions and Reflections:
- How would you evaluate your attention to ministering the Word to our church? Why does Paul (in verse 16) have us focus on love as the motivation? Why is a heart of love so important in regards to our service?
- How does our church’s loves, burdens, and concerns compare with those of Jesus himself? Explain how “speaking the truth in love” encourages Christ-like growth in these areas.
- What would our church look like if, every Sunday, each member of our church spoke just one word of truth in love to another member? What word of encouragement could you give next Sunday to a member of our church in order to foster growth in them?
- Read John 15:5 and Ephesians 4:15. Ask God to make our church more aware of our deep dependence on Jesus as both the source and goal of our growth.
Group Discussion Questions:
Was it a new thought for anyone to consider the preaching hour the most important hour of your week? If that is the most important hour of our week, how can we best steward what God is offering us from that time?
How does the preaching hour make us more effective in our personal ministry?
How can we grow as a community group in speaking the truth in love?
Brian mentioned six ways we can “go truthing in love with those around you”:
- Stay amazed by the grace that transformed you
- Point others to the grace in their lives
- Think of the ways Christ has used others in your life to mature you
- Draw near to others in friendship
- Speak the truths of Scriptures into the specifics of others’ lives.
- Memorize and meditate on Ephesians 4:15
Which of these do you most want to prioritize in the coming days and why?