How do you quantify spiritual maturity? What does a healthy Christian look like? These are the questions the EBC elders have been exploring for the last few months.
The desire of your elders is the same as the Apostle Paul’s–that EBC would “attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). The longing of your elders is that each and every one of you would be unified in the faith, mature in Christ, and healthy in your Christian walk.
And so the elders have scoured the Scriptures and drawn out nine marks of a healthy Christian. These are the marks we pray would be developed in each of your lives. These are the characteristics we are committed to instilling in you. This is the grid through which our decisions for your spiritual health be made–from the resources recommended, to the classes offered, to the music sung, to the Word preached.
In the coming months, we will expand on each of these marks of maturity, but know from the start that our commitment to you is to disciple, teach, and provide that which will grow you into a “mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
Expository Listener – Understands that God’s Word is inerrant, infallible, sufficient, and absolutely authoritative (2 Tim 3:16-17). Thus, comes to Sunday morning ready to actively listen to the preaching and expecting the Holy Spirit to sanctify him through God’s truth (Jn 17:17). He comes to the Scriptures committed to being a doer of the Word (Jas 1:23).
Possesses Biblical Discernment – He is a Berean (Acts 17:10-11). He is able to evaluate life through the grid of God’s Word (Jas 1:22). He is separate from the thinking of the world (2 Cor 5:5). As an example, unlike the worldly thinking of the day, he possesses a high view of the family and cherishes the sanctity of life. He lives his life under the sovereign control of a good and wise God.
Understands the Gospel – He knows the Gospel. He understands Gospel theology, such as justification, sanctification, glorification, etc. He does not only know the Romans road, but has a full orbed understanding of the perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection of Jesus. He loves the Gospel to the point of guarding its purity (Gal 1:8-9; 2 Tim 1:12). He also realizes that the Gospel is a part of one’s everyday life, not merely a message from which we move on.
Biblical Evangelist – Gospel talk is a part of his everyday life. He does not think evangelism is limited to a program, but is active in sharing the Gospel (2 Cor 5:20-21). He understands the Gospel, is trained in giving the Gospel, and trusts the power of God to the point of talking about the Gospel with others (Rom 1:16).
Committed Member – He loves the local church (1 Jn 2:10) and regularly worships with his local church family (Acts 2:42). He gives financially (2 Cor 9:7), selflessly uses his gifts for the benefit of the body and the glory of Christ (1 Pet 4:11), and is actively encouraging one another in their faith (1 Thess 5:11; Heb 3:13).
Growing Disciple – His time in the Word of God is not limited to corporate gatherings. He reads and studies the Scriptures on his own (2 Tim 2:15) and participates in other Christian growth opportunities, such as Equipping Hour and EBC’s small group ministry. He actively looks to disciple others (2 Tim 2:2).
Submits to Biblical Leadership – He trusts the qualified leadership of the church (1 Tim 3:17; Titus 1:5-9). With joy he submits to their guidance and follows their lead (Heb 13:7). He honors them with his words and actions (1 Tim 5:17) and prays for their faithfulness (Col 4:2-4).
Lives in light of the Sovereignty of God – He is steadfast in his commitment to the Lord and unmovable through the difficulties of life (Ps 1:2-3). His dependence upon the sovereign Lord shows itself in prayer (1 Thess 5:17) and fortitude (Ps 7:10). He models faithfulness in the midst of trial (Jas 1:2-12).
Exhibits the Fruit of the Spirit – He is controlled by the Spirit of God (Eph 5:18) and is marked by the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control” (Gal 5:22-23).