Today, the message is brought to you by Pastor Greg Surratt from Seacoast Church.
Greg begins the message by asking, "What does a mature Christian look like?" Is it the way you lift your hands when you praise God? Is it what they wear? Is it what they know Biblically? Is it when someone speaks in tongues? Is it possible for a pastor or a good speaker to be immature? How do you know when you've arrived into spiritual maturity? What is the indicator?
It is important that you become mature in the Lord and that you KNOW how to distinguish maturity. Don't forget that God has a plan for you. From the moment you were born until the time you die, God has a plan for your life. We have to figure out our plan and how to mature in the Lord.
How do you figure that out? Greg asks. Pastor Surratt believes he found the answer in a small town called Rush Springs, OK. It has about 1,000 people and about an hour south of Oklahoma City.
Rush Springs is also known as the Watermelon Capital, which is clearly posted on their local water tower. The town has fully adopted that title and celebrate their identity through an annual celebration. Each year, they have watermelon seed spitting contests and also crown a Watermelon Queen. It was from that visit that he learned about being a mature Christian.
POINT 1: It is really hard to spot a mature watermelon just by looking at it
Similarly, as we tie this truth about watermelons to people, Greg makes this point: "Most assumptions you make about other people based on their outer appearance is wrong." Simply looking at the way people drive, what people wear, how people greet you, how people's hair are styled, and how they sound are poor factors to base opinions on.
Greg talks about a time he was grocery shopping. A lady jumped line while he waited to buy groceries. If SHE was a Christian then she wasn't a good one, he described. He based his entire opinion of her on our outer appearance.
He continued to explain that maybe she didn't see him. Maybe she was thinking about something else. Maybe she had a stomach bug that she was saving the entire store from. We just don't know.
Greg continues to explain how basing our opinions solely on the external is wrong. He switched subjects and started talking about how people use "X-Mas" vs. "Christmas". Someone once said that people that use X-Mas are lazy Christians. How do you KNOW that to be true? He asked.
Another example, from the Bible, comes from the Old Testament. Israel wanted a king, so they selected Saul. They realized he wasn't on God's wavelength. So, they they went to Samuel, who was their spiritual leader, for guidance. Samuel went to Jessie and asked for a king. Jessie said that his oldest son looks like a king. He would have blown it had they not chosen David.
God doesn't look at the outside to choose people, he looks at the heart.
Remember: Almost every judgement based on what you see is wrong.
As believers, God has placed us where we need to be. Immature believers, like an immature watermelon, can leave a bad taste in non-believers mouths. Therefore, we need to help Christians mature so that non-believers don't get a bad experience.
Greg tells another story about a cruise in the Mediterranean. They are eating breakfast and a couple asked to sit down. The wife was an IT Technician and the husband was a lawyer. Greg responded that he was a pastor.
As soon as Pastor Surratt shared his job (a pastor), the husband turned completely off. The lawyer explained that the most corrupt lawyers in his town are "Christians." The lawyer goes on and on about how "those Christians" should have a special place in hell for those kinds of people.
In Greg's quiet time that morning, God received a pertinent message (Second Peter Chapter 2). Greg, to the lawyer, "I've got some good and bad news." Pastor Surratt said that there is a Hell and you're probably going there. The good news is that God has a special place those Christians that you describe.
POINT 2: The only way to judge the maturity of a melon is to thump it
The resonance of a melon will tell you its maturity. An immature melon has a tingy or whiny sound while a mature melon has a more full sound. As Christians, you can tell its maturity level by thumping it. An immature Christian is whiny ("Oh God, things aren't going well...."), but a mature Christian is more full.
In Christianity, our faith has to be thumped.
So, what are examples of thumping our faith? One example is a challenging situation. Another way to measure maturity in faith is how long it takes realize that God uses challenges to help us grow. The more mature a Christian, the shorter amount of time it takes to realized the challenge as an opportunity to grow. We don't have to be thankful for sickness, for example, but rather thankful for the opportunity to thump our faith.
Two examples of things that thump our faith:
- Unexpected delays is another example of a thump. Nothing is unexpected to God.
- Difficult people is a third example of a thump.
Ways to stay attached. When you wake up, say that "God loves me and God is for me."
Another thought, say that "God has good things in store for me today."
Even if bad things happen to you today, nothing can derail the plans for your life.
God will use challenging moments for our good. All things work togther for good for those that love the Lord.
Need A Fresh Start?
If you would like to make a fresh start in your life and receive God's love, pray this prayer:
Dear God, I realize I've sinned and I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross and rising from the grave. Come in to my heart and save me. Thank you for giving me eternal and abundant life. Help me to live for you, for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name. Amen.To share your story, want more information about next steps, or just in need of prayer, please contact Pastor Matt Fry.