Putting Away Childish Things

January 2, 2013

If I were to mention 1
Corinthians 13 to most of you, it would be recognized as the “Love
Chapter”  and that is true.  The main part of the chapter is about love
and we hear it preached on and read at weddings, in particular the section
between  1
Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own
way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not
rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never
gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every
circumstance.
And that is a great passage of
Scripture, I have preached on it numerous times, referenced it countless times
have read it at every wedding I have performed over the past thirty some
years. 
However that is not the passage
we are going to look at today, instead we are looking at one verse toward the
very end of the passage and that is 1 Corinthians
13:11
When I was a child, I spoke and
thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish
things.
So what are the childish things
that Paul is talking about here?  He’s
not talking about his physical life, he is in the midst of a spiritual
discussion and he’s talking about the natural progression of our spiritual
life.  Time and time again the analogy is
used of a new life, a new birth a new beginning in regards to our relationship
with God.  But it doesn’t stop there; the
New Testament teaches us that our relationship with God may start with a new
Birth but it doesn’t end there.  Just
like our natural birth is followed by a maturing process, that is growing up,
should be the same with our spiritual life.
Let’s see what the Bible says
about the process,  Hebrews 6:1-2 So let us
stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on
instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start
again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing
our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying
on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
Paul
is telling us that there are basic teachings each one of us needs in our
life.  And he’s telling us that we
shouldn’t get stuck at that point in our spiritual lives.  I was going to say that sometimes as
Christians we are like a stuck record, playing the same thing over and over
again, and then I realized that analogy would be lost on most people
today.    
And we
need to know the basics before we move on, but once we do know the basics then
we are supposed to move on.  So what are
those basic teachings?
1)
Repentance From deeds That Lead To Death
So
the first thing that we need to learn about new beginnings is repentance.  But the question is, what is repentance?  Well it literally means “a reversal”.  Peter defined it best in Acts 3:19 Now repent of
your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.
 Do you see it? 
Repent then, and turn to God.  The
changing of direction.  You see all too
often we confuse repentance with remorse, that is being sorry.  And well remorse is a part of repentance it
is certainly not all of repentance. 
Because we can be sorry that we did something but continue to do it,
right.  Repentance though is being so
sorry that you’ve done something that we stop doing.
Friend
of mine has a sister who had a son who liked to play in the toilet when he was
about 18 months old.  It was kind of
neat, a bucket of water that was always full. 
And so on various occasions she would discover him elbow deep in the
loo.  Well you know the story she would
slap his hand, tell him that he was naughty and he would say “sorry mommy”.  End of story, not quite.  Because he still liked playing in the
toilet.  So even though there was
remorse, there wasn’t repentance because the next time he got a chance he was
back doing it again.
It’s
amazing how many toilets we as grown and supposedly mature adults can find to
play in.  And when we get caught we say, “I’m
sorry” and we are, right up to the point that we can find another toilet to
play in.
And
so we need to repent.  But what do we need
to repent of; well the bible says we need to Repent of Acts that lead to
death.
  Ok what are they,
things like jumping off tall buildings, stepping out in front of speeding
trucks, teasing pit bulls.  Nope because
Paul’s not talking about a physical death as much as he’s talking about a
spiritual death.
Paul
tells us in Romans 6:16  that sin
leads to death, and James tells us in James 1:15 that sin gives birth to
death, and of course we can’t forget the scripture that everybody knows and
that is Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death.
And
what is sin, well theologically speaking 
sin is a “transgression of the known law of God.”  So basically sin is disobedience to God.
Well
preacher I don’t have to worry about that because I’m not a sinner, oh yes you
are, the bible, God’s word says in Romans
3:23
For everyone has sinned; we all fall
short of God’s glorious standard.
And
all means all, so all means you.  So we
repent, we turn away from sin, and we turn to God, and turning to God means
that we seek to be obedient to those things that he wants us to do.
Well
you say how do I know what God wants? 
Well sometimes God speaks to our heart and through the Holy Spirit
convicts us of something in our life and we know that it is wrong.  Those are areas that usually aren’t spoken
directly to in the scriptures.  But
realize that there are many areas of our lives that the Holy Spirit doesn’t
have to convict us personally because he’s already given us the book.
The
Holy Spirit shouldn’t have to tell you that you shouldn’t kill somebody because
the book says “thou shalt not kill.”  You
shouldn’t need personal convictions about witchcraft or astrology because the
book says that those things are of the devil.
Shouldn’t
need God tapping you on the shoulder about sexual sin because the book says
that the beauty of the sexual act is reserved for members of the opposite sex who
are married, to one another.  Hatred
discord, jealousy, drunkenness, idolatry, adultery, covetousness, lust.  All of those things are covered in the
book. 
When
you repent of deeds that lead to death you are saying “I am going to endeavour
by the power given to me by God to no longer do those things that displease
him.”  So instead of doing things which
are contrary to the will of God we turn and seek to do things which are of the
will of God.  And if we spend our time
doing what God wants us to do that should keep us out of trouble.
So
then we’ve repented  as a beginning to
our new life, so what next?  Well the
next thing the book says in 2) Faith in God,
It
was 1978 and I was fishing with dad on the Ralli 2, a 132 foot fishing boat out
of Québec city.   We had put into Paspébiac
Québec for a few days to do some painting and general repairs  on the boat and I was put in charge of
repainting the name on the stern.  Well
we had finished one side of the boat and we let the lines go, went out in the
middle of the harbour turned around and came back alongside the wharf.  We had left one of the fellows on the wharf to
take the lines and make us secure when we came back and John ran from rope to
rope making them secure to the bollards on the wharf. 
After
we had shut the engines down we all got back to our assigned tasks.  I collected my small brushes and my tin of blue
paint and sauntered on back to the stern. 
And as I had done countless other times I placed my can of paint and my
brush on the rail, and then to get in a better position to perform my artistic
endeavours I vaulted over the rail and landed on the rope which held the stern
to the wharf, I was younger, thinner and much more agile.  Do you remember I said that John went from
rope to rope making sure that they were secure? 
Right, he missed one.  It was like
a road runner and coyote cartoon because I distinctly remember hearing the rope
hit the water before I became aware of the fact that it was no longer under my
feet.  And so I dropped and caught the
rail by my fingertips.  There I hung, by
my fingertips, the stern swept in low and so I had nothing to put my feet
against to pull myself up and so there I hung. 
I
didn’t want to yell because I was afraid that if I yelled I would panic, and I
knew that if I yelled and I panicked then I would let go.  Now normally that’s not a problem, I can swim
and it was only a four foot drop into the harbour, but I was wearing work
boots, and coveralls, and the harbour was home to a fish processing plant which
wasn’t all that environmentally sensitive. 
I knew that if I fell into that mess that dad would probably find it easier
to let me drown then to clean me up and so there I hung.  And very quietly and very calmly I said “help”
and so there I hung. 
It
was then that I heard the conversation between my father and his twin brother “Where’d
Denny go?” Clint asked, “Oh he’s squatting down on the stern line” replied my
father and very quietly and very calmly I said “help” and so there I hung.
Then
I heard words that restored my faith in my blood relatives because my uncle
said, “I wonder how he’s making out, let’s check” and they began walking to
where I was. And I said “help” very calmly and very quietly and there I
hung.  It was only a fifty foot walk back
to where I was but Clint and dad stopped every so often to look at and comment
upon various pieces of equipment, and there I hung.  Finally after several eternities they arrived
and I can still hear my father’s voice as he leaned over, looked at me and
asked, “what are you doing down there?” 
and without thinking I replied, “oh, just hanging around.”  And then dad & Clint reached over and
took a wrist each and said very plainly “let go”.  Right! 
But before they could help me I had to believe that they could hold me
and lift me.
Before
your repentance will do any good you have to believe that God truly has the
power to forgive sin.  Remember that
scripture in the book of Acts when Peter was preaching, he said Acts 3:19 Now repent of
your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.
When
you repent, God wipes out your sins but you have to be willing to believe
that.  You have to let go of everything
else and place your faith in the forgiving grace of Jesus Christ. 
Paul
says it best in Hebrews 11:6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who
wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who
sincerely seek him.
Repentance
is the first beginning of our new life, but you will need to have faith in God
to believe that repentance will actually work, and that your sins will be
forgiven. 
Ephesians
2:8
God saved you by his grace when you
believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
Did  you catch that?  It is by grace that you have been saved, the
grace of God.  But it is through faith
that grace is able to save you.  God can
only save you when you are willing to pull your fingers away from the rail.
And
so we have started down the path of our new life, we have repented from our
sins, we have had the faith to believe that with that repentance comes
forgiveness and that is given by God’s grace. 
So what is the next step?  What is
the next component in this foundation we are laying.
Well.  Paul tells us in this verse that the next
step is 3) Instructions About Baptism.  We
really don’t put enough emphasis on baptism; I am as guilty of that as
anyone.  But we have to remember that when
Jesus gave us his last command,  we weren’t
just supposed to tell people about Him.  Matthew 28:19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.   So, after we
had told them about Jesus and after they became Christians then we were
supposed to baptise them.
Now I
know that we can get into great long discussion about how a person is
baptised.  The Anglican pastor and the Wesleyan
pastor were discussing that very thing. The Anglican pastor asked “is knee deep
enough”  and the Wesleyan  said “no it has to be all the way”  and so the Anglican said “well is waist deep
enough”  “no” said the Wesleyan  “all the way” 
“well” said the Anglican, “how about just above the eyebrows.”  “No, no, no it has to be all of them, all of
them do you understand” yelled his exasperated companion.  “See” said the Anglican “all that really
matters is that little bit on top.”
Sometimes
we waste so much time arguing over how we should baptise them when they get
saved that we never get around to helping people get saved.
Not
only am I a Wesleyan but I come from a Baptist background so I believe in
baptism by immersion.  They were good and
bad, they ought to get good and wet.  But
listen up, really when it comes right down to it, we can argue the “how to” of baptism
day and night and I’m not going to change your mind and you are not going to
change mine.  It’s kind of like golf,
gives you something to do but really isn’t world changing right? 
On
the other hand I am unmovable on the issue of believer’s baptism.  In the New Testament when somebody got saved
they got baptised.  And they didn’t get
baptised before they believed.  Baptism
by itself won’t do anything but get you wet. 
You go down a sinner and come up a wet sinner.
There
is no saving grace in baptism; baptism is simply an outward demonstration of an
inward decision.  And so even though
baptism won’t save you, Jesus has said that once you are saved then you need to
be baptised.
So
here is the question:  if you are a
Christ follower and you have never been baptized, why not?  And there is no good answer.
And
Paul goes go, after baptism he mentions 4) The
Laying On Of Hands
.  “I don’t know
pastor sounds faintly charismatic to me.” 
In the context of the New Testament there were various reasons for the
laying on of hands. 1) for healing 2) the Apostles used it for the bestowing the
Holy Spirit  3) for ordaining for
ministry and 4) the giving of gifts.  “Boy
that all sound faintly charismatic doesn’t it.”    Well actually it’s biblical.  You see the bible talks a lot about gifts,
and not just gifts like tongues and healing and prophecy.    Paul tells us in Romans 12 that there are
the gifts of serving, teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership, and
mercy. 
And
in 1 Corinthians 12 Paul tells us about some more gifts like, healings,
prophecy, and yes tongues (although me might differ on what those tongues are
with some you can’t deny that they are in the bible.)  The gift of helps, administration and
hospitality.  Do you see where we are
going, every one of us is gifted in some area for the good of the body.  The concept of laying on hands is simply the
fact that we need to acknowledge that every one of us needs to recognise their
gift and be willing to use it for the good of the kingdom.
The
last two things mentioned are the 5) Resurrection
of the Dead, And Eternal Judgement

In the long term we are all going to die.  Every one of us is eventually going to die,
and the last part of the foundation of our faith is simply an acknowledgment of
why we need the first parts. 
From
the very beginning Christianity has been a religion of immortality.   Not only is there a life to be lived on this
earth but there is another life when this one is through.  People say “Praise God, I have been born
again I’m going to live forever.”  Got
news for you, you are going to live forever whether you have been born again or
not.  The only difference will be the
address. 
It is
your choice whether you will spend eternity with God, or without God.  And that is the last point, eternal
judgement.  Regardless of what you hear
about reincarnation there is only one trip around and then we face God.  Hebrews
9:27
And just as each person is destined to
die once and after that comes judgment.   die once, not twice,
not three times, but once.  And that
judgment will be based on whether or not you have laid the foundation properly.
So
where are you at this morning?  Have you
got the basics down?   Is there anything missing?  Repentance, Faith, Baptism?   And are you ready to leave childish ways
behind you?