Today, in the final message of our New to Faith series, we are considering how we can STEP up to spiritual maturity. The Christian faith has been likened to a race and we have thought about the starting line, getting up to speed, endurance, and teamwork. Spiritual maturity requires time, effort and a willingness to allow God to bring spiritual growth,
The S in STEP is for Saving Grace. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9) Grace is the word we use to encompass all God provides to us through the death of Jesus, including His love, kindness and mercy. It is his salvation of us, our redemption, forgiveness and spiritual birth.
T is for the Truth of God’s word. Jesus prayed to his heavenly Father for his disciples saying, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17) The bible reveals the truth about God, the truth about humanity and the truth about the world in which we live. It is not one truth among many, but the Truth, both in the written word and in the person of Jesus.
E is for the Empowering Presence of the Holy Spirit. In all we do as Christians the Holy Spirit is our guide as God himself leads us. “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13) The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth who He leads us into truth.
P is for Prayer. Jesus modelled prayer for his disciples, taught the how to pray, told them to pray in his name and encouraged them to pray. Prayer is as essential to spiritual life as breathing is to physical life. When you are new to faith it is helpful to recognise you are not the first to run this race. You do not have to wander out into uncharted spiritual territory and you certainly don’t have to go alone. It may be new to you, but others have experience of the Christian life that can help you. For over two thousand years Christians have been delving into God’s grace, exploring God’s truth, walking with the Holy Spirit and connecting to God in prayer.
God is willing to bring spiritual growth in our lives as we step up in faith. He has placed us in our spiritual family at Greyfriars so we can help each other run the race well. We have growth groups to help you grow in fellowship with God’s people and to explore the bible and to pray. We have prayer meetings where you can join with others to pray. We have teams working together to serve the Lord. Of course, we have our Sunday services at both Epsom and Mt Eden – you are most welcome at either or both these services. The best way to grow to Christian maturity is to engage with others in these things. The people of the church meet our responsibility to help you by providing all these opportunities to grow and mature. You also must exercise your responsibility by taking part. As a church we want everyone, those new to the faith and those who are spiritually mature, to do well so that at the end of their lives, like Paul, they may say “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
How will you STEP up to Christian maturity?
What is the best way you have of exercising your faith?
What spiritual nourishment do you need in order to grow?
Who do you link with for spiritual support?
Rev John Malcolm