Scripture: All of us how are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that, too, God will make clear to you. (Philippians 3:15)
Introduction: Many of today’s ills care caused by immaturity. Many of our marriage problems are maturity problems. Ditto our money problems. Many of our relational and vocational problems result from our immaturity. As Christians, we should be growing ever more mature in our personalities, perspectives, and spiritual progress. Philippians 3 gives us seven marks of maturity. As you read through Philippians 3, underline the following seven phrases.
1. Rejoice in the Lord (v. 1): Mature people learn to work their way through difficulties and arrive at the joy of the Lord, which is our strength. We can’t always rejoice in our circumstances, but we can always rejoice in the Lord. In this prison letter of Philippians, Paul uses the words “joy,” “rejoice,” “glad,” and “cheer” a total of 18 times.
2. Watch out for the Dogs (v. 2): Paul’s blunt language was targeting the Judaizers, who wanted to add Jewish ceremonialism to the doctrine of justification by grace. Right living never comes from wrong thinking. Mature people maintain the integrity of their doctrines and beliefs.
3. Worship by the Spirit (v. 3a): Mature people worship publically, personally, privately, and perpetually.
4. Glory in Christ Jesus (v. 3b): Borrowing from the last verses of Jeremiah 9, Paul tells us to be proud of our relationship with Christ. We should boast only of Him.
5. Put No Confidence in the Flesh (v. 3c-11). We can never establish or maintain a relationship with God based on our own accomplishments or merits. Maturity rests in Christ alone for its spiritual and eternal security.
6. Press on Toward the Goal (v. 12-16). Mature people don’t give up when discouraged. They don’t give in when tempted. And if they do, they quickly get back on their feet. See Proverbs 24:16. We may lose a few battles, but the war it already won on our behalf. He who has begun a good work in us will carry it on to completion (Phil. 1:6), and so we press on the upward way.
7. Eagerly Await the Savior (v. 17-21): Spiritual maturity brings with it daily anticipation. We’re not citizens of earth going to heaven; we’re citizens of heaven traveling through earth, waiting the glorious transformation of our bodies to be like His. The resurrection body of Christ is the proof, provision, pattern, and prototype of our own future resurrection bodies.
Conclusion: “I’m pressing on the upward way; / New heights I’m gaining every day; / Still praying as I’m onward bound, / Lord plant my feet on higher ground.”