Introduction: One of the most remarkable and impressive elements in human life is the velocity and extent of biological growth. But impressive as biological growth is, personal spiritual growth and church-wide spiritual growth are even more important. Like pencil marks on the doorpost that measure our children’s increasing height, Paul gives us four marks by which to measure spiritual growth. These four concrete evidences show that we are growing spiritually, just as Paul told the Corinthians that we have left off the milk of spiritual babes and have begun to eat the solid meat of God’s Word as mature believers. The “pencil marks” Paul gives us are:
I. STEADFAST CONVICTIONS (v. 14)
a. One sure sign of spiritual immaturity is to be susceptible to the latest religious fad.
b. The apostle James described such people as a cork bobbing up and down. (James 1:6-8)
c. We must all be convicted that:
i. Life is short – James 4:14; Luke 12:20
ii. Death is sure – Hebrews 9:27; Ezekiel 18:4
iii. Sin is the curse – Psalm 14:3; Romans 3:23
iv. Christ is the cure – John 14:6; Acts 4:12
II. SENSITIVE COMPASSION (v. 15)
a. Conviction can become cold, rigid rules and regulations.
b. True spiritual maturity balances strong convictions with forgiving compassion, humility, and love toward others.
c. Jesus, as always, is our model to follow at this point.
III. SELFLESS CONTRIBUTIONS (v. 12)
a. This means contributions made to Christ, His church, His servants, and their families.
b. Spiritual maturity is always characterized by unselfish service which contributes time, talents, and treasure to the building up of the body of Christ.
c. Matthew 10:39
IV. SINGULAR CONSISTENCY
a. We must commit to the Bible just as it is written.
b. We must commit to persons just as they are.
c. We must commit to the church just as she is.
d. We must commit to Christ just as He commands.