VFC Bible Study worksheet 29-Mar-2015

Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – March 29, 2015
Theme: Christian Maturity

Topic: Review and Summary

Key Verse: Hebrews 6:1a – “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity…”

Standards for Maturity {Text: Hebrews 6:1-12}

1. Jesus Christ is the standard for measuring our maturity, not our environment

2. The basic teachings concerning repentance, salvation, judgement and eternity in heaven or hell constitute what the Bible refers to as “milk” or “the elementary teachings”

3. The “meat” of the Word comprises teachings that address our practical living

4. A Christian cannot grow in maturity if only fed on milk or on just one aspect of the faith. This raises a concern about churches that are built on just one doctrine or aspect of the Scripture or where all messages are from the same preacher and they all tend to be on his or her favourite subject

5. Participation in Bible Study groups is a proven way to grow in maturity.

Christ-Centred Maturity {Text: Hebrews 1:1-14}

1. Any claim to acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as “Great Teacher”, “Great Example”,
“Illuminator”, etc., but not as Lord and Saviour is incompatible with the Christian faith and cannot lead to Biblical maturity.

2. Having people with such view of maturity in Church leadership portends great danger to the Church as the congregation may never know what salvation means.

3. Stay away from mysticism and cults such as the Rosicrucian, AMORC, Grail Movement, etc., all of which claim to be non-religious but which deny the lordship of Jesus Christ.

4. True maturity must be focused on Jesus Christ.

Marks of Christian Maturity:

1) Accepting responsibility {Main text: Deuteronomy 30:11-20}. Accept responsibility for:

a) What we are in life; we may have no control over what life throws at us but we have control over our response to it
b) The mistakes we make in life, and our sins no matter the logic of the circumstance.

2) Dependent trust {Main texts: Galatians 3:1-14; Philippians 2:12-18}:

a) We must see our sustenance as due entirely to God’s grace and mercy, not a compensation for what we do for Him.

b) The good things we do – having a regular Quiet Time, being active in Church, giving generously, avoiding evil, and so on, should not be driven by an objective of having “deposits in the bank of God’s favour”, even though these do attract His favour.

c) When God shows us favour, we should not see it as a reward for our good activities, but as an expression of His love, grace and mercy; to see His favour as His reward for our efforts would make us no different from the ancient Pharisees.

3) An obedient heart {Main text: Luke 6:37-46}:

a) It is possible to obey for the wrong reasons such as:

– Fear of the consequence of disobedience
– As a duty, just because it is the right thing to do
– As a way of, hopefully, building up favour with God from which we hope to “draw” to support our expectations of answers to our prayers

b) Some acts that we take for obedience may in fact be acts of rebellion, such as one who bribed his way into getting a contract, or took up a dubious job, and later gives a testimony and a big offering to the Church.

c) Our obedience should be out of our love for God, the same way a man in love seeks to do what pleases his spouse, not out of fear, sense of duty, or by way of bribery, but out of genuine love.

4) Admitting our feelings {Main text: Psalm 74:1-23}:

a) Refusal to acknowledge what we feel and what is, could lead to complications in our lives, sometimes even leading to severe health issues – neurosis and depression. Some reasons a Christian deny his or her feelings:

Pride – when we want to put up an air of spirituality and admitting to a negative feeling could deflate that air

Fear that God may not be able to handle our situation

b) God expects us to acknowledge our feelings and trust Him to handle them, and that failure to admit to challenging feelings eventually robs God of the glory due Him in resolving our challenges.

5) Perennial joy {Main text: 1 Peter 1:1-12}:

a) We must debunk the notion that submitting our lives to Jesus Christ implies a life of misery

b) This joy is independent of happenings around or to us as it derives from our position in Christ.

c) The Christian’s joy is part of his or her armour against sin, since sin more easily finds its way into downcast lives

d) Whenever our relationship with God is strained through sin, we suffer an inner conflict which deprives us of the joy

6) Ability to relate to others {Main text: John 17:1-26}:

a) The relationship between the early Christians was one of their identities, which also attracted those around them to the faith

b) There is no such thing as a Christian who only thinks of “doing my own thing” without relating to other people

c) Fear of getting hurt is one of the reasons some avoid relationships

d) Some are so taken up with pride that they have difficulty building relationships

e) A key biblical requirement for building relationships is to put others’ interests above ours

7) Strong sense of morality {Main text: 1 John 1:1-10}

a) God’s standard of morality is absolute: To walk in His standard is to walk in the light, to walk against His standard is darkness

b) God has built morality into the fabric of the universe such that whatever does not conform to His standard creates inner conflict

c) The Prodigal Son’s statement “I have sinned against heaven” was his attestation to the fact that his behaviour ran contrary to God’s universe, in addition to being an offence to his earthly father

d) The society’s standard of morality is subjective and changes by the day; this is why the Christian cannot measure morality by the world’s standard

e) The mature Christian upholds God’s standard even when he personally fails to measure up to it; he does not try to lower God’s standard to match his failure.

8) Healthy sense of self-worth {Main text: Romans 8:1-17}

a) A sense of self-worth is the inner confidence one feels, that he or she exists for a purpose, and is worth something. The key points from that study are:

b) Although there is a sense of self-worth we acquire by our upbringing – good parenting and nurturing – there is a far greater sense of self-worth that derives from our consciousness of our position in Christ.

c) It is not an ego trip – thinking of ourselves more highly that we ought. It also does not depend on our pedigree, such as being born into a noble family.

d) This enduring sense of self-worth does not depend on compliments from those around us; it is due only to our relationship with God

e) One of the evidences of a good sense of self-worth is humility, manifested in taking positions that would perhaps be expected of someone of a lower status; this was aptly demonstrated by Jesus Christ when He washed the disciples’ feet

9) Continued thirsting after God {Main text: Psalm 143:1-12}

a) The thirst that God has put in every human being leads a sinner to finding rest in Christ. After coming to Christ, there is need for a continued thirst after God.

b) There is a real danger of Christian leaders posturing to have “arrived” at where God wants them to be spiritually, and all they now need to do is tell others how to get there. To this end, their lives are full of activities, all focused on “getting others to where they are” – doing the work of the Lord without thirsting for the Lord of the work.

c) If we frequently take stock of what our lives would have been without Christ, we would refresh our consciousness of the need to constantly thirst after Him and live for Him

10) An outflowing love {Main text: Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-37}

a) In the context of showing love, while the Old Testament defined “neighbour” as a fellow tribes – person (“one of your people”), the New Testament redefines “neighbour” to mean just any one that can benefit from our love.

b) The love God calls us to show is one that does not depend on anything good the object of that love may have done; it is a love shown because God is love.

c) The mature love is persistent in the same way that God did not give up on us when we resisted Him for years, before we eventually submitted to Him. This love does not depend on the response of its object to the love we may have shown in the past!

Review Question

1. Let 3 participants share one aspect of Christian maturity that they find particularly
challenging and what practical steps they are taking to grow in that aspect.

{Adapted from May/June 1998 edition of Every Day With Jesus by Selwyn Hughes, used by permission of CWR}