THE DELIVERANCE MINISTRY
MATURITY VS. INFANCY
1 Corinthians 3:1 “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.”
The difference between a mature person and a childish person can be ascertained by their ability to engage in substantive communication.
Paul made the statement to the Corinthian church that
he was unable to communicate with them due to their lack of understanding spiritually mature subjects, he simply said to them, trying to talk with you about spiritual issues is like speaking to little children about things that they are unable to comprehend.
In the natural all children grow up, that is, eventually they all mature into an adult understanding of the realities of everyday life. However, not all baby Christians mature into an adult understanding of spiritual life, and that is sad. Imagine living your entire adult life with a child’s mindset.
The ministry of deliverance is a great tool that the Lord uses to bring baby or carnal Christians into spiritual maturity, for the word deliverance also means liberation, and a person matures as his/her mind is liberated from childish thinking, or foolish thinking, that unfortunately keep many Christians from ever coming into the maturity of the faith.
1 Corinthians 3:2 “I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able.”
What is it that keeps so many Christians from growing up spiritually?
There are several elements to this problem, the first and the most basic one in my opinion, is the tendency of the church to hold on to its converts, instead of seeing them as seed that they are to scatter abroad.
If we look at the church from a business model perspective, the first question that we must ask is this: what is the product that the church was created to produce?
Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
The goal of the church is to duplicate itself wherever it goes, that means that those who are converted are to be raised up in the expectation that they themselves will grow up to become servants of the call of Jesus for all to go and to make disciples.
In the business model some have to stay in the churches that are planted, to mind the store if you will, but always with the expectation that they might be called to convert others and to make disciples out of them, even outside of the realm of influence of their local church. Like in their workplace, or family members that are not part of their local community.
The ideal church is one that is raising up mature believers that hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, and since the end goal is the same for those who stay as for those who are called to leave, there is no acrimony, for their aim is to go and to make disciples, here or there, or everywhere, it matters not, as long as our goal remains the same; to fulfill the call of Jesus to go and to make disciples of every nation.
1 Corinthians 3:3 “For you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?”
Envy is always the result of selfishness, and it always brings with it strife and division. The devastating result of selfishness within the church is that it changes the goal for which Jesus established the church.
1 Corinthians 3:4 “For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal?”
Once the goal is changed, the product changes as well.
If the farmer decides that he is going to keep and eat most of the corn that he harvested, and greatly reduces the amount of seed that he is suppose to scattered abroad, not only the quality of the product is vastly reduced, but the amount that he produces suffers greatly as well.
How does that principle of selfishness applies to the church today?
Hebrews 5:13 “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.”
Imagine going to a church where they do not want you to ever leave.
How many sermons on maturing spiritually so that you can go out and make disciples are you going to hear? Not many, I venture to say, for it would contradict their goal of keeping you there.
How many sermons on how your spiritual walk is so totally dependent on them and what they offer you will you hear, that you wouldn’t dare think of ever leaving them? You see, if they want to keep you they have to create a need of them in your life.
Hebrews 5:12 “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.”
If I can paraphrase You have come to need milk, You are a babe and you are hooked and in need of milk not solid food. Can you see the deviation from the original call? As long as you stay with their milk you will never mature and move on to your higher calling, and that is their aim if they are acting selfishly, for in their mind is the thought of why would we make faithful disciples to go out and plow in somebody else’s field?
There is just one field for those of us who believe, the Lord’s field, and it does not matter who on this earth seems to get the credit as long as the great commission is proclaimed to the entire world, as we believers come into the maturity of the faith as one body, under one Lord, Jesus Christ!
If I am one of those infants who is hooked to their baby formula, how do I get out of it?
Hebrews 6:1-2 “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection (maturity), not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrines of baptism, of laying on hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”
Everything enumerated in the verses above are doctrinal foundations of Christianity, that is why on verse three he states that: And this we will do if God permits, in other words, that is the message that we are to proclaim to the new converts.
But those of you who have already learned the foundational principles need to move on, he said leave that discussion, and move up.
If every time you go to church you find that you have to repent all over again every time that you hear a call to repentance, something is wrong, chances are you are hooked to babe’s milk and in need of somebody to lay hands on you and feed you some more formula, or change your spiritual diaper.
How do I move up?
Hebrews 5:14 “But solid food belongs to those who are full of age (mature), that is, those who by reason of use (practice) have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
There is an Old Testament Scripture where God compels those to whom He is speaking to come up higher and to reason together with Him.
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
Why don’t we do that right now.
Think back to when you were first saved, did God know every sin that you had ever committed and still saved you? He not only knew every sin that we had ever committed and forgave us when we first got saved, but even all those sins that we did not even know we had committed or remembered, He forgave them all as well.
As you probably know, God is all knowing; so on that basis let me ask you again, did not God know all your future sins as well and still forgave you when you first got saved?
He forgave us of all of our future sins when we first got saved through a mechanism He put in place where we could in the future bring to Him those sins that were yet to be committed by us?
1 John 2:1 “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
So that as Christians when we sin, we do not lose our salvation, we do not have to get saved all over again, we simply confess and acknowledge our sins before Him and He is faithful and just not only to forgive us of the sins that we have perpetrated since our salvation, but He also cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
Knowledge and an understanding of this fact will mature you faster than anything that I know, for knowingly or unknowingly those whose aim is to keep you hooked to their baby bottle will always go after the inconsistencies of the flesh in their sermons, to get you back to the basic principles of salvation all over again, to where you will never leave them even if you knew that the Lord had called you, for you would feel so inadequate in your infant mentality.
Hebrews 6:4-6 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”
After the Lord calls us to leave the elementary things behind, things that can be perverted and used by the enemy to stunt our growth, He places the above and very important Scripture to illuminate us into the revelation of the eternity of our salvation that He calls the heavenly gift.
Although the above Scripture can be difficult to understand, especially for baby Christians, if you want to grow into maturity you will have to deal with it, that is why the Lord put it there right in the midst of the discussion about immaturity, for it deals with the subject of whether a true believer can lose his/her salvation.
Listen carefully, if a born-again believer could lose his/her salvation, that is, if it were possible for a true believer to fall away, then Jesus our Advocate before the Father would be the one that loses the case, and that is contrary to Scripture.
John 17:12 “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”
One cannot be born again unless he/she is a partaker of the Holy Spirit, and it is during salvation that we first taste of the heavenly gift, it might be milk, but is heavenly milk, the sincere milk of the Word of God, so that we are babes at first, but still babes in Christ the unmovable rock of our salvation.
Although we are called to maturity, our salvation does not depend on our maturity for it is a heavenly gift from God.
Romans 11:29 “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
It is fear that keeps many from maturing in the faith, but God’s perfect love casts out all fear.
Fear of losing the gift of our salvation has been used against many to keep them bound, and it is still used today to keep many from leaving the herd and fulfilling their call.
God did not call us to sit on our blessed assurance, but to become fruitful workers in the kingdom of God, do not let any human control you or your actions, Jesus is the head of the church, and He speaks to us His children daily, all we have to do is to read His Word with a sincere heart and meditate on the truths that the Holy Spirit reveals to us in His Word.