Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Continually Praising, Doing Good and Following Well

Today is the final post in a series of post on Hebrews 13 based on a post from 2013 entitled, "10 Signs of a Mature Christian."  Let's finish looking at what the 13th chapter of Hebrews has to say about being a maturing Christian.

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise... the fruit of lips that confess His name.  And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifice God is pleased.

Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.  They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.  Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Pray for us.  We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.  I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon.

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen." Hebrews 13:15-21

Mature Christians are:

Continually offering a sacrifice of praise.

Are you fearless in confessing the name of Jesus?  Do you hide your praise in some situations?

Mature Christians, Hebrews 13 says, continually offer a sacrifice of praise.  Now what is that?  Well, here it is lips that confess His name.  Confessing is stating the truth; therefore, mature Christians are ones that state the truth about God.  They confess His name, which is who He is.  Do you spend time rehearsing the character and attributes of God?  Do you sing them?  Do you pray them?  Do you write them?  Do you tell others about them?

“Aslan" said Lucy "you're bigger".
"That is because you are older, little one" answered he.
"Not because you are?"
"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger".” C. S. Lewis Prince Caspian

Maturing Christians are increasing in awe of God and are compelled to praise Him.  Maturing Christians are increasing compelled to share with others the great things they know about the Lord.  Until we are bold in confessing His name in any situation we have room to mature.

Good followers.

Are you a joy to lead?  Or do you make leading you a burden for the leaders of your local church?

Mature Christians realize that the leaders of a church must give an account for the souls they lead.  This is a big deal.  I am blessed to be an elder at my local church and I can tell you that this verse turns my stomach.  I must give an account to God on how I lead, I'm not worthy of that but I'm called to that.  I can tell you that most of the time it is a joy to be in that role, but there are times when it is hard.

Do you follow your leaders, not blindly, but in a way that you are a joy to lead?  The writer of Hebrews would say, and did say, that being a burden to lead is of no benefit to you.

Often we think every mature Christian is someone in a leadership role and that simply isn't true.  Some of the most mature Christians I know are not leaders, but they do bring joy to those who lead them.

Doers of good.

What do you do that is a good deed?  Does your local church provide ways for you to do good?

James wrote that faith without works is dead.  Mature Christians will be people who do good.  The good the maturing Christian does may not be the same good that another Christian might do, but they do good deeds nonetheless.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

Mature Christians do good, not to earn salvation because salvation is a gift, but because of salvation.  When God enters your life you will do good deeds.  Hebrews 13 says that God can equip with everything good to do His will.  In fact, it says that the same God who raised Jesus from the dead equips us to do His will.  How amazing is that!  We have no excuse not to do good deeds, because the God who raised Christ from the dead uses that same source of power to do good through us.

As I've written the last several days about being a mature Christian I've been convicted of the many ways I don't act like one.  I don't think anyone who has read the Hebrews 13 or the original post I wrote in 2013 or the ones from the last few days walks away from it feeling like they've achieved complete Christian maturity.  But I hope these post have encouraged you to pursue it, not discouraged you.  If you're convicted, that's great, but don't lose heart because you've not hit the finish line while running the race.  Friends, we're running a marathon; we simply need to keep pressing on and we will achieve Christian maturity in this life perhaps and certainly in the next.

Grace be with you all today.

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