Monday, March 25, 2013


Just before the Valentines Day the sporting world was shocked to learn that Oscar Pistorius popularly known as the “blade runner” allegedly killed his girl friend Reeva Steenkamp a 29 year old South African Model. Another tragic loss of life! Following the tragedy Reeva’s uncle Mike Steenkamp made a refreshing statement saying, “I would like to meet Oscar Pistorius and forgive the man who killed my niece  “That way I can find more peace with the situation,” he told CNN’s Drew Griffin during an interview that he would forgive Pistorius whether the shooting was an accident or not. “Whatever, whatever the outcome. I feel with my belief and if Christ could forgive when he died on the cross, why can’t I?”[1]
What a courageous statement of forgiveness! When I hear such statements it makes me think that that this world we live in is not all that bad; there are some who still believe in the message of forgiveness. The world needs this message so desperately. While Jesus was hanging between life and death on the cross said. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Why should Jesus offer any forgiveness, especially towards those who ordered His execution?  Yet Jesus prayed for forgiveness because it was his mission to forgive, though it cost Him His life.  It is not easy to forgive, yet forgiveness is what the Cross is all about. God placed all our sins on Jesus on the cross so that you and I might be forgiven of our sins.

Let’s look at how Christ exhibited “Radical Forgiveness” in Luke 23: 33-43. According to the traditional church calendar we are entering the Holy week. The Holy week is the week preceding Easter and the final week of Lent. It begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday.

During the Holy Week, Christians commemorate the Passion of Christ, on Good Friday we remember his death for the sins of mankind. Before we delve into the message of the Cross let me point out some ironies. In fact the crucifixion itself is the great irony. It doesn’t make sense to the common mind. The scriptures say that, “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” I Cor 1:18 (NLT) Oh! How we thank God for the Cross without which we have no redemption.  


The whole act of crucifixion from beginning until its end is filled with one big Irony.  The innocent one who committed no violence was accused of subverting the nation and stirring up trouble. The king of the universe stands meek before Governor Pontius Pilate. There was no reasonable evidence to suggest that Jesus committed any of the allegations against him. In fact Pilate himself said three times, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” (Luke 23:4) Yet the crowds sought for the highest punishment according to the law; the death penalty. The crowds: some of them perhaps were healed by him; ate the bread and fish and blessed by his teachings now have turned against Him, shouting Crucify him! Crucify him! A man who knew no sin was cowardly handed over to be crucified while a rebel and a murderer was released.
The creator of the world now in the hands of those he created; mocked; beaten up; humiliated and finally hung on the cross like a criminal between two robbers. Has this humiliating situation changed his relationship with the father?  In no way it was jeopardized He still called God, “Father” How would you address God if you are to go through such pain? Do you curse him or still call him “Father? Jesus interceded for both Jews and Romans. Jesus not only asked God to extend forgiveness to his tormentors but he himself granted forgiveness to a repentant criminal in his final hours as the true Messiah.


The gospel writer Luke included more details of the crucifixion in his gospel where the other writers either have omitted or paid not much attention. Luke explains in detail about the mockery of the religious leaders, the Roman soldiers and the executed criminals. Though all these three groups mocked at Jesus the most dishonoring mockery came from the criminals whose place in the mainstream society has already been categorically dismissed.

Let me set the scene for you. Two men were crucified at the same time as Jesus, one on his right hand and one on his left. We read in Vs 39, “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us! This insult was loaded with sarcasm and aimed at undermining the very purpose of Christ’s coming into this world which is “to seek and save what was lost.” Luke 19:10, The first thief lacked the fear of God. He did not recognize Jesus as the true savior of the world. As always Christ refused to act on the demand of the first thief. Was Christ not really capable of saving himself and the thieves? No! Then what can we make of his refusal? We must realize here that Jesus’ unwillingness to act was not a sign of impotence instead it was a sign of absolute humility and the act of ultimate submission to God.
The Apostle Paul while writing to the Philippians explains this unparalleled obedience of Christ.  Philippians 2: 5-8, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross.” Coming back to the story! The second thief got a few things right. Firstly he rebuked his friend for his irreverence and sarcasm. Secondly, he accepted the fact that he was guilty of doing wrong and was justly being punished for it.

Thirdly; he affirmed Christ’s innocence by saying, “this man has done nothing wrong.” Fourthly; He recognized Christ as the true king and one day he was going to come back and establish His Kingdom on the earth. Fifthly; he repented and accepted Christ as his personal savior, by just calling him “Jesus” just how the sinners; tax collectors and the ordinary folk in the society used to call him just “Jesus” Unlike the first thief who was only concerned about his earthy rescue so that perhaps he could go back to his robbery and murderous life style; the second thief was concerned about his eternal destination. He just could not assume that he was going to get there because he knew how lost he was if anything was going to save him, it had to be the sheer mercy of God, so he said; “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus assured him and said, “I will tell you the truth today you will be with me in paradise.”
This statement has raised quite a few theological questions. What did he mean when he said; “today According to Randy Alcorn the author of “Heaven” when Jesus said today you will be with me in paradise he was referring to the intermediate Heaven.”[2]

As we approach Good Friday; let’s reflect on the events surrounding the cross and the conversation between Jesus and thieves. They remind us of a few simple truths. Firstly; in our sinful nature we too are like those two thieves who hurled insults at Jesus. Secondly; though both the thieves saw Jesus from a close proximity one hardened his heart and died in his unrepentant state while the other repented and was assured eternal life. The choice is ours. Even after seeing what Jesus has done in our lives and in the lives of others we can remain hard hearted or choose to repent. Thirdly; Christ not only forgives our sins but also expects us to forgive others when they sin against us.

In closing let’s pray the prayer our Lord has taught his disciples: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts (sins) as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever Amen.

[2] Randy Alcorn, “Heaven” page 55                                                                                      

Monday, March 18, 2013


Grudges and pride keep us from reconciling with each other. They destroy the thought of forgiveness. A pastor and his wife were going to give a mid-morning garden party. They invited everyone with engraved invitations. The delightful back yard of the parsonage was manicured, tables decorated the lawn, and the rose bushes elegantly bloomed their floral splendor! This was going to be THE EVENT of the year. The night before the party the pastor discovered (to his horror) that Mrs. Snoot, charter member, resident matriarch of the church had been left off the invitation list. The pastor immediately dialed Mrs. Snoot. “I’m sorry, it was a terrible oversight,” he pleaded, “Won’t you please come to the garden party anyway?” Mrs. Snoot replied, “It’s too late, Reverend….I’ve already prayed for rain!”

There is a story in the Bible where a rich man wanted to throw a banquet and sent out invitations. The guests were not as prayerful as Mrs. Snoot was in the illustration but they responded differently. We will find their responses in Luke 14:15-24.

Jesus was at the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees for a meal on a Sabbath day. He healed a man who had been suffering with dropsy (An old term for the swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess water) to the much annoyance of the guests; who were only concerned in getting the best seat at the dinner table. Jesus gave them a good lesson on “dinner etiquette.” That triggered a response from one of the guests who said, “Blessed is everyone who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.” Seizing the opportunity Jesus talked about a Heavenly Banquet. Let’s unpack it. This story contains three parts. 1. God’s generosity. 2 Guest’s excuses 3 God’s response.

Vs 16, “A certain man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many.” This tells us the position and the host and the intention of the feast.  In Matthew 22:1-14, we read Jesus compared the Kingdom of heaven to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.” Jesus used the choice of words such as “wedding feast, banquet or dinner which was clearly understood by the Jews of that time. For example we read in Isaiah 25:6; “And the LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all people on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine; choice pieces with marrow and refined aged wine.” Looking at these passages we conclude that this banquet is no ordinary one; but a heavenly one and the host is no one else but God himself. The banquet is for all people.

It was the custom then, as it is today, to send out invitations to such a special event quite a long time in advance. Then, as the actual day approached, a more personal invitation was extended. In Vs 17, “and at the dinner hour he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, “Come everything is ready.”

God, too, has sent a personal invitation of salvation to all people. Saying "Come, for everything is now ready." The question is this, "What are you going to do with your personal invitation? According to Vs 18 instead of receiving the invitation joyfully, all the invitees began to make excuses. Let’s hear the excuses of the guests.

“Then they all began to beg off, one after another making excuse. The first said, ‘I bought a piece of property and need to look it over. Send my regrets.’ “Another said, ‘I just bought five teams of oxen, and I really need to check them out. Send my regrets.’ “And yet another said, ‘I just got married and need to get home to my wife.” (The Message)

Excuses! Excuses! Excuses! Who is not familiar with them? We all are guilty of them at one time or the other. Here are some wise sayings:  “There aren’t nearly enough crutches in the world for all the lame excuses.”  “Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” “Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” And here is one from George Washington “It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”

The invited guests in the story gave bad excuses. They represent three categories of people even today who give bad excuses when it comes to coming to God. The First one said: ‘I bought a piece of property and need to look it over.” This category represents of people who are overly concerned about their possessions or material things they use possessions as an excuse to reject the Holy Spirit’s invitation of salvation.
The second one said, ‘I just bought five teams of oxen, and I really need to check them out. This category gets caught up in the trap of making money. They get so busy with their job or business that they have not time for the Lord. No matter who you are one day you are going to die, and you will discover that business will go on as usual without you; but you will die without salvation eternally in Hell. The third one said, ‘I just got married and need to get home to my wife.” This is the most weakest of all excuses; he could have extended the invitation to his wife too. For this category natural affections keep them away from coming to Christ.
Similarly; many give excuses saying I can’t go to Church on Sunday because it is my only day off; I got to take kids to a soccer game. It is the only time I can spend time with my family…( going shopping; fishing; working around the house etc). These things: possessions, business (work) and natural affections… keep more people from the Lord than anything else.

What excuses are keeping you away from the Lord; from the Church and the fellowship of other believers? How did the host of the banquet respond to the lame excuses of the invitees?

In the parable we note that none of the guests said “I will not come” They overtly did not refuse the invitation but made excuses to simply cover up the fact that they did not want to come. How did their refusal to attend the banquet make the host feel? He was outraged and told the servant to get out into the streets and alleys. Collect all who look like they need a square meal. Bring in all the misfits; the homeless; the lame. The servant comes back with a report saying; “I did what you commanded and there is still room. The master responded then go to the country roads wherever you find people drag them in so that my house will be filled.” He further said not one of those originally invited guests will get a bite at my dinner party.

I see five truths tucked in this passage. Firstly; the originally invited guests in this parable represents the Children of Israel. The Prophet Isaiah poignantly depicts the state of the house of Israel. Isaiah 53:6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Secondly; when the children of Israel rejected Jesus as their messiah the gospel was extended to the gentiles that is you and me. John 1:11-12 says, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name he gave the right to become children of God.” Thirdly; The servant in the parable represents the Holy Spirit who goes into the streets; the high ways and the by ways and compels or gently forces people to come to the table. Fourthly; there is plenty of room at the banqueting table. In other words there is room for all of us at the Lord’s Table. God does not want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.(2 Pet 3:9). Fifthly; those who reject God’s invitation will be separated from God forever.

What does this all mean to us today? Just like in the Parable; God has sent an invitation that says, “You are cordially invited to come and enjoy the delicious banquet of my salvation. Serving will begin at My House and will continue for eternity. I’d love for you to come and get to know Me personally–and join my Family.  This feast is free to you because the cost has already been paid by My precious Son, Jesus. You are receiving this invitation simply because I love you. Please join me...and you may come just as you are. Sincerely, God Almighty (RSVP) Engraved with the Blood of Jesus,”

How would you respond to this invitation? You can either accept it and enjoy the eternal benefits or reject it at your own peril. The Holy Spirit is saying; “Come now everything is ready at my table” Come to the table. Come back to the Lord, it is time for you to wake up from your slumber. You may have become caught up in all sorts of other pursuits but today is the day to return with words of repentance: “Lord I am sorry for all my sins” and you will receive forgiveness of your sins.

We want to worship and bow down and kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God, and we are the people of His Pasture, and the sheep of His hands. The Spirit of God is warning us if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts and become the objects of God’s anger and wrath. Instead come back to the Lord in obedience and by faith to receive His grace and mercy. Will you continue to offer lame excuses; or will you accept Jesus' invitation of salvation? Amen

Monday, March 11, 2013


Richard Foster, in his best selling book Celebration of Discipline begins by noting, “The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.” This is so very true in a culture where things are “superficial” and “artificial”. Unfortunately this is the picture of the Church today in our country; Christianity is becoming shallower “since the beginning of the “Contemporary Church movement” a couple of decades ago. The so called seeker friendly churches preach a gospel which does not look like the gospel any more. They talk about wealth and health while avoiding suffering and persecution. They highlight comfort at the expense of the cross. They emphasize grace and love but never talk about sin and its devastating effects. They promise heaven but never take a peek into hell.
Is this the kind of Church Christ envisioned when he laid its foundations by his blood?
Last week we looked at a few traits of immature Christians or shallow Christians. We also learned that God’s goal for us is that we all reach, “unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13) In other words God wants us to pass from immaturity to maturity; he wants us to grow from our spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity; from a shallow walk with Christ to a deeper walk with Christ.
If spiritually maturity is the goal then why are our churches filled with spiritual infants? Why are we not seeing spiritual maturity? As I was praying early this year that God was telling me that he wants me and our Church to go deeper with Him and walk towards spiritual maturity in 2013. I know this would be a hard journey; it can become uncomfortable along the way but if we persevere the rewards are far reaching. We become emotionally and spiritually healthy and matured individuals and the Church as a whole.
I would like to begin with addressing a few misconceptions or myths surrounding spiritual maturity first and then give us a few pointers that would guide us in our journey.
  1. Knowledge makes us spiritually mature.
Since the age of the enlightenment movement which advanced knowledge through the scientific method, we have been made to believe that knowledge makes people mature.  How about going to an Ivy League college does it make some one mature? In 2010 an Ivy League student was sentenced to life for killing his wife who was also an Ivy League student.[1]  
How about attending more conferences and listening to the best of the best teaching does that make some one mature? Not necessarily so, though all these things are helpful and can aid you towards maturity but they in themselves can’t make you spiritually mature. Then what makes some one mature? I believe it boils down to a surrendered life were one identifies with Christ in his death and resurrection. The Apostle Paul’s life exemplifies this surrendered life. Listen to his determination, I Cor 2:2, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” That is what makes someone spiritually mature. A spiritually matured man is no longer concerned about his rights and opinions but makes knowing Christ is his chief goal in life.
2. Attending Church makes you spiritually mature.
As much as going to a McDonald doesn’t make you a hamburger that much going to a church doesn’t make you spiritually mature. It doesn’t mean that we don’t go to church but some how we believe a notion that just by attending church regularly; giving tithes and offerings; attending a small group bible study; women’s meetings, men’s group can make us spiritually mature. For exampleAnnanias and Sapphira were part of the early church they must have attended Peter’s Bibles study regularly yet they acted immaturely by lying to the Holy Spirit.
How about Simon the sorcerer who got saved through Philips ministry; was baptized and even moved very close with Philip yet he immaturely thought that he could buy the power of the Holy Spirit with money. You can attend church all you want and be involved in church activities that doesn’t necessarily make you spiritually mature. That brings me to the third myth.
3. Being busy for God makes you spiritually mature:
Almost every one is busy. Whether a teenager pushing books under a heavy course load or a soccer mom driving kids to sports while managing a demanding job or a stay at home mom with small children, a corporate executive, a cab driver, teacher, a pastor, a self employed, rich or poor, Christian or not, we are over scheduled, preoccupied, fatigued and at the verge of being burnout. I wonder why such a mad rush. Peter Scazzero the Pastor of one of the most thriving Churches in New York in his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality explains what has contributed to the busyness among the Evangelical Christians, “Activism is the key explanation for how evangelicals came to dominate the English- Speaking world from 1850-1900. Working hard for God, “in season and out of season,” was expected for church members.”
Somehow we have believed a notion that the more I publicly do for God the more spiritual I become. So we get ourselves busy in Church at the expense of spending time with our spouses and children at home. We may end up busy but barren without finding personal time in His presence in prayer and quite reflection. So far we talked about various myths surrounding spiritual maturity. Let me share with you three Biblical principals for Spiritual Maturity.
I Cultivating a life of prayer:

You ask any spiritual saints what was key to their success in life and ministry they would say it was prayer. Prayer is like oxygen without it we will spiritually die. I can not over emphasize the need and importance of pray for anyone who wants to grow spiritually.
Psalm 145: 18, “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” This scripture affirms that God is near when we pray; he hears our cry for salvation and he fulfills the desires of those who fear him. Cultivating a life of prayer changes your perspective on life. Whatever happens to you first you will go before the Lord in prayer. You will talk to God first about your problems before you share them with others.
My prayer for each of us is that we humble ourselves, turn away from our wicked ways, pray and seek God’s face with all sincerity then we will receive forgiveness, healing and become mature. If one thing I wish for our Church more than any thing else it would be that we become a people who would know how to call on our God. No matter what you are going through today I encourage you to start praying to God and you will notice a change in your life.
2. Cultivating a life of obedience:
We know that through man’s disobedience we all inherited God’s wrath and punishment; but we also know that through one man’s obedience we all can receive forgiveness of sins and inherit eternal life. Salvation is a free gift from God for which you don’t have to do anything except receive it by faith but everything comes after that largely depends on obedience. The other day I received an e-mail about a conference saying that “The conference will be a great benefit to your staff, board members, ministry directors, and key influencers in your church.” My natural response to that was Yeah right! Here comes another promotional e-mail.
Don’t get me wrong! I am not against attending conferences there is place for it, but I believe the need of the hour for our church is not another conference but “obedience” When we think of obedience unfortunately we associate this with weakness or letting ourselves down before some body.
But actually it is a sign of a true disciple of Christ. It is the sign of a spiritually matured person.The truth is that few of us have learned obedience growing up, partial obedience and respect at best I guess.  By nature we all were born sinners as a result we are bent more to disobedience than to obedience both to our parents and as adults towards God and authority figures.  When we were saved and born again into God’s family. God has become our father, we are His children.  As we get to know Him better we are thrilled to discover that God is the perfect parent and that He loves us without limit. Wow!  What is your response to the amazing love of God for you?  We want to respond by saying I love you God and in turn God says if you love me obey my commandments.
We have learned so much over the years what are we doing with what we have received? It is about time we start putting those teachings into practice before we look for more. How are we practicing the principles of forgiveness; esteeming one another; “not gossiping” humility; loving God and loving his people; generosity; grace; and servanthood?
3. Embracing Suffering.
The road to Spiritual maturity is not filled with roses; there will be thorns underneath the roses. It is a path of suffering; heartache and struggles. When you go through suffering either you can resent it and get mad at God; yourself and every one else or you can embrace it and learn from it and that will lead you to spiritual maturity. When it comes to embracing suffering Jesus is our model; “Though he was God’s Son, he learned trusting-obedience by what he suffered, just as we do. Then, having arrived at the full stature of his maturity and having been announced by God as high priest in the order of Melchizedek, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who believingly obey him.” Hebrew 5:8 (The Message)
If Jesus, who is altogether above us in every way, had to learn obedience through suffering on the earth, it is no wonder we who are sinful human beings are chastened continually. When we see suffering coming on our way let’s remember our Father in Heaven is disciplining us because he loves us. He is teaching us obedience to Himself through all that we suffer.
In conclusion! As with everything else in life “if we don’t aim high we won’t reach high.”  As Paul would say in Hebrews in 6:1-2, “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity.” So let’s make “Spiritual Maturity” a goal for 2013 I know this is a life long process it can’t be done over night however we want to take some proactive and intentional steps which will move us closer every day towards spiritual maturity. My prayer is that all of us would grow up and go deeper with Christ so that our Church will become more emotionally healthy and spiritually matured. Next week we will learn more about “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.” Until then let’s put into practice what we have learned today. Amen



Sunday, March 3, 2013

GROWING UP: Ephesians 4:11-16

Early this year I was asking the Lord in prayer for his guidance for me and for the Church in 2013; I felt the Lord speaking to me one word; “Maturity” as I read Ephesians 4:11-16. I shared this in our Wednesday prayer meeting since then our prayer has been that we all both individually and collectively would grow up and become mature in all aspects.
Let me illustrate; as a parent if you want your young children to grow up physically strong and healthy, what would you feed them on a daily basis? Would you feed them junk food; soda and energy drinks? No! They may look and taste good but in the long run are harmful to their over all growth. On the other hand giving them a well balanced diet of vegetables, fruit, milk and meat makes them grow strong and healthy and become matured.
Similarly; if you want to grow up spiritually and become mature in your faith you can not simply hear sermons prepared for TV and You Tube audience or keep attending specialized conferences. No doubt that they are exciting; encouraging and challenging. They may give you a needed boost for some time like the “Five Hour Energy drink” does; but sooner than later that excitement wanes and you look for the next exciting thing.
On the contrary if you learn to feed yourselves on a balanced diet of the whole truth of God’s word, apply and act according to it you will grow up in all aspects of life. You will have a well balanced; fulfilling and productive life. As your pastor I am also in one way your spiritual father. Therefore I have a moral obligation to this church. Let me make one thing very clear I am committed to bring you nothing but the whole truth of God’s word. I am not interested in “quick fixes neither do I tolerate extreme theology. I try my best to give you a well balanced spiritual diet but it is up to you to feed on it.
Let’s turn to Eph 4:11-16 which talks about Growing Up or becoming matured. How do we define maturity? The dictionary definition of maturity is:  “The state of being mature; full development; perfected condition.” In Greek the word for maturity is “teleios” it occurs 19 times in the NT which means an adult, full grown, of full age as opposite to children. Paul was presenting here the image of fully competed growth as contrast to infancy and childhood.
As Christians our goal is not perfection but maturity, God’s perfection is absolute; man’s is relative; we can never attain 100% perfection of God. Therefore our aim should be godliness so that our lives clearly reflect the nature and character of God. How do we differentiate immaturity from maturity?
The Apostle Paul gives us a few pointers to help us identify immaturity and work towards maturity. Ephesians 4:14-15, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead speaking the truth in love; we will in all things grow up into him who is the head; that is Christ.”
In Vs 14 we read about infants; false teachers and cunning and crafty men.
Paul exhorts the Ephesians no longer to be infants; but to grow up. Could it be that at the time of writing this epistle some of the Ephesian believers must have been acting like kids and adolescents instead of behaving like grown up adults?  What are children like?  Those of us who have raised children know that children are so cute; we love and adore them but they are also highly manipulative and at times messy. It is our job as parents to care for them and train them in the way they should go.
If we train them well they grow up to be matured adults; but if we pamper them and fail to discipline them when necessary; they may grow up physically yet remain like infants and immature. Even in the Church we find spiritual infants, Pete Scazzero in his book “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” shares how to identify spiritual infants and children: “They look for others to take care of them. Have great difficulty entering into the world of others. They are driven by need for instant gratification. Use others as objects to meet their needs. Are happy as long as they get what they want, but complain, withdraw, manipulate, take revenge, and become sarcastic when they don’t get their way.”[1]
How does the bible address this spiritual infancy? 1 Cor 3:1 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ.”  I Cor 14:20, “Brothers and sisters stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants but in you thinking be adults. Peter said, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” I Peter 2:2.
Spiritual infancy is only encouraged and tolerated in two areas: “in avoiding evil” and craving more for spiritual milk (God’s word), but in every other way we are expected to grow up. II Peter 3:18 "Grow in the grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ." I Cor 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” The second pointer to identify immaturity is false teachers, as well as those who gullibly take in anything that comes on their way.  These days many false teachers are confusing believers with wrong and extreme theologies.  
False teachings are being flooded through TV, Radio; literature; the internet and even through the pulpit. Many Christians without discerning are being tossed back and forth by every wind of doctrine. The Bible warns us about false teachers.
How do we identify them? 2 Peter 2:1-3, “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring they way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up.”
When it comes to listening to the faith stories of others we got to be very careful. However genuine those stories may be, what worked for them may not necessarily work for you; just like a prescription drug. Each of us are at different levels in our faith. Moreover we can not make doctrines out of our personal experiences. If you shape your theology only by watching TV preachers and You tube videos there is a potential danger that you may get it wrong. It is your responsibility to test every spirit and interpret scripture in light of other scriptures then you will get the whole truth on any subject.
The third pointer that Paul mentions to identify immaturity is the cunning, crafty and scheming. They are skilful manipulators; through their craftiness and scheming deceives the innocent and new believers. They may look overly spiritual and humble on the outside but on the inside they are like ravenous wolves. We all may have at one point or the other become victims to such people or we ourselves have been cunning and crafty. Either way that is a sure sign of immaturity. Manipulators are also very divisive. In Titus 3:10, “if people are causing divisions among you give a first and second warning. After that have nothing more to do with them.”
We have talked enough about immaturity, let’s focus on maturity. God used Paul to give us a different measure for maturity of the church. Paul says that the church is mature when it functions like one body, where Jesus Christ is the Head. 
When our kids were a few months old, we could see their eyes wanting to reach for a toy, but their hands and arms were not yet able to cooperate. As they grew up, their body parts began to do what their “head" wanted them to do. Likewise, when we mature or grow up as a church, we individually obey what our "head," Jesus Christ, wants us to do. The Church is not obedient to a set of rules. We are obedient to the Person of Jesus Christ through a trusting relationship and to the truths He has spoken. And our obedience is not just in our head, but in the way we live and serve one another. That is what pleases God more than just having head knowledge.
What does a matured Christian look like? Matured Christians are a joy to be around with. They don’t use manipulation and control in order to get their way instead they have learned to speak the truth in love. They will make sure that they are growing up in all aspects; personal; marital; family; work; and spiritual life. They don’t find the need to correct and put every body in place instead they will have a sober judgment of themselves and work on their own faults rather than picking the faults in others. They recognize that Christ is the head of the Church and they are merely members of his body. They learn to obey the teachings of Christ found in the Scriptures. They respect the views of other members of the body without superimposing their own. They learn to work together as a team instead of competing with one another. They are committed to the building up of the Church rather than tearing it down.
In closing let’s ask ourselves am I a mature Christian or an Immature Christian? Let’s also ask the Lord to show us areas where we have some growing up to do. My prayer is that “we all would reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, so that our work is produced by faith and our labor is prompted by love and our endurance is inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ and that is the true sign of a truly matured Church. (I Thes 1:3) Amen

[1] Peter Scazzero, “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” page 178