I’m Not _____ Enough
I’m Not Deep Enough
October 14, 2012
The Christian life is a life of growth. Just like in our physical lives, there’s a progression in our spiritual lives from infancy to maturity. Yet, too many people end up stuck, unable or unwilling to move forward.
In this message, Pastor Ed Young challenges us to push past spiritual puberty. And he gives us practical handles on how to move on to maturity and discover the most out of the life God has given us.
INTRO: You know there are several stages of development that we all go through. Hopefully we go through. You’ve got the infancy stage, the adolescent stage, and you’ve got maturity. Have you ever met someone that you would say, hey, this guy or this girl, they’re paused on puberty? Have you ever met anyone who is a constant teenager? You’re like, I’m not sure. All you have to do is watch reality television because most of those folks are paused on puberty. Isn’t that true? Proverbial teenagers. Again, adolescence is great to go through. We want to go and move on to maturity but to get to it you’ve gotta go through it.
I think it’s stunning to see how the Bible compares spiritual maturity with physical maturity. The Bible uses all of these illustrations and examples of our physical maturity and parallels that to growing spiritually. Today the message is pretty much basic. It’s simple to understand. It’s challenging, though, to apply. I want to get you to think about taking the next step. Taking that next step spiritually. The Bible says in Hebrews 6:1, “Go on to maturity.” Go on to it. And in the literal language it means be carried into maturity. For some you’ve never, ever, ever taken the most important step, which is to give your life to Christ.
One day a very religious man came up to Jesus and said,
“Jesus, what’s the deal? I mean, what’s the net effect of what you’re saying?” Jesus said something odd. He said,
“You must be born again.” There’s a physical birthday, all of us have a physical birthday. Jesus said there must be a spiritual birthday as well. We’re born again into the family of God. That’s the next step I believe that many people need to take. And it’s my prayer that the Holy Spirit induces labor as many are born again.
Others here are in the infancy stage. You’re a stroller-crying, playpen-whining, Gerber-dining baby. And that’s good. We love babies. We have a lot of babies at Fellowship Church. When God looks for the best hospital to birth a bunch of babies he looks for the #1 place, the warmest incubator he can find. That’s why we’re so thankful so many babies are being born right here, spiritually, at Fellowship Church.
Others here would be teenagers. I’m talking about a pimple-popping, hip-hopping, H&M-online shopping person. And you’re a teenager, and that’s fine. We have a lot of teenagers at Fellowship Church, a bunch here, a bunch at all of our different locations, a bunch of spiritual teenagers. That’s cool.
Take the next step. The step into maturity. Once you’re mature you’re old enough to commit in marriage. You’re old enough to reproduce. We have a bunch of mature believers at Fellowship Church. I would argue we have the most mature church I have ever seen right here. I’m talking about people who go coast to coast. I’m talking about people who are committed, people who are mature, people who understand what intimacy is. People who understand once you’re intimate, the bridegroom, Jesus, with the bride, you’ve got reproduction. Someone who’s mature is thinking outside of himself or herself. They’re thinking for the betterment of the family. Let’s give a crazy round of applause for all the mature people! Yeah!
When we started Fellowship Church 21 years ago I had a great conversation with Dad. Dad pastors one of the largest churches in North America, he has for several decades. He’s a great, great leader. I moved up here with Lisa, one kid, one car, that was it. We didn’t even have a location. Everything was rented. He said,
“Son, I wanna tell you a couple things. Give you some advice.” I said,
“All right.” He said,
“Number one, Ed, this church plant, this church start that you’re involved in has a great chance to fail.” I’m thinking to myself, thanks for the encouraging words, Dad. He said,
“Ninety-five percent of all church starts don’t make it.” Wow. Then he said, “Son, if your church makes it, which I think it will (he did say that), people will say one thing to you because they’ve said it to you my entire life. They will say, they will say in a very condescending way, they will say, ‘It’s not deep enough.’” It’s not deep enough. It’s not deep enough.
And that phrase is rolled around on a punishing loop in so many people’s lives. I’m not deep enough. I’m not deep enough. I’m not deep enough. I’m not deep enough. I’m not deep enough. I’m not deep enough. I’m not deep enough.
Deep isn’t deep enough. God is God enough. Spiritual depth is not about growing deeper, it’s about going farther. Think of a map. Think of a road map. The Bible is always talking about a journey, it’s always talking about a destination. The first step we take is the step that breaks us into this journey. I don’t dig a hole. If I dig a hole and go deeper I’m gonna hit water and drown. I don’t dig a hole, I move out. I go farther. Spiritual depth is not growing deeper, it’s going farther. It’s going farther. So we have to grasp that and understand that. Yet the evil one, the enemy, whispers this in so many people’s minds, and he whispers this about the church.
Lisa and I travel a lot and we have a lot of opportunities to talk to a lot of leaders. If we’re in Sydney, Australia invariably they’ll ask, how do you handle people who say, “My church isn’t deep enough.”? A couple of months ago we were in London speaking to a bunch of church leaders in a pub. And sure enough, I knew it would happen.
“Hey, hey! How do you deal with people who say, ‘My church isn’t deep enough.’” We’re over in Sweden a couple summers ago. It came up again. South America, again. New York, again. We will travel to Las Vegas, Nevada Wednesday and talk to a bunch of leaders. They’ll ask me again, I know they will. And from there to Los Angeles, they’ll ask me that again. What do you do? What do you say when you think, “I’m not deep enough. I’m not deep enough. I’m not deep enough.” Then you have someone say, “Oh, that church is not deep enough.” Let’s answer that question. It’s a good one. It’s a great question.
T.S. What are the qualities of someone who would say such a thing? That’s a good place to start because it has to do with development. What are the qualities of someone who is paused on puberty? What are the qualities of someone who vacillates between the pacifier stage and the puberty stage?
Well, many of us here remember back to when we were teenagers. We have others in the house who are teenagers. I am not talking right now about chronological age. It has nothing to do with it. Some of the most mature people I know spiritually are in their late teens. Some of the most immature people I know spiritually are in their late 60’s and 70’s, so I’m not talking about chronological age. But think about the quality of a teenager.
First of all, a teenager says, “It’s all about me.” I still fight that battle today but when you’re a teenager, “I’m the man! I’m the woman! You can’t tell me jack! It’s about me! My look! My feelings! My deal! It’s about me. Me, me, me, me, me!” You remember when you went through puberty. One day you’re walking along and boom! You’re hit with an estrogen eruption. BOOM! A testosterone tidal wave! Whoa, yeah! Again, adolescence is great to go through.
As an adolescent we say (another quality), “I know it all. I got the deal. I know the 4-1-1 on life. Let me tell you about relationships. Let me tell you about money! You want to talk about pressure? I’ve got pressure on me! Teenagers!” We think we know more than we do. But the more I’ve grown in Christ, the more I know about the Bible, the more I realize I don’t know. I have a long way to go. That’s what I know. I’ve got a long way to go, we all do.
Teenagers also have a tough time listening to advice. You can’t tell them anything, you know?
“Son, are you listening to me?” yeah, yeah, whatever.
“Honey, listen to your mom! I know about boys!” Pfffth! Boom. Close the door.
Teenagers also have a tendency to bolt. Their emotions get the best of them. They put their emotions over reason. “Mom, Dad! I’m tired of it! All these rules! I have to do all these chores! Take out the trash. Make my bed. I’m gonna move in with them over there because I can stay with them. They understand me. They’ll feed me and give me all this stuff. I’m gonna, I’m gonna run away! Don’t stop me!” Isn’t that a fact? It’s hilarious how we do that!
Run quickly through the scenario I just painted for you spiritually. “It’s all about me! I’m not getting fed. I need more worship. I think the music is this or that. I want to.. I, I, I, me, me, me.” You’re a teenager. You’re an adolescent. We understand, that’s cool. I said a lot of stupid stuff as a teenager that I would love to take back. And so do you and we understand that. All right?
You think you know more than you do. You think you know more than you do about the Bible. “Oh, I read a couple of books. I’m in this Bible study…” you see what I’m saying to you? And I remember a Dallas Cowboys player told me this one time. He said,
“Ed, you know all the people that give their opinions about play calling, about this or that (and he was a quarterback for the Cowboys), trust me. Every player on the field, every coach on the sideline has thought about that scenario 300 times!” He said, “So, what people say, what they write about it, they’re absolutely clueless.” And spiritual teenagers want to come up to leaders in the church and go, “Oh, have you thought about so and so? Hey I saw this verse in the Bible, you probably never known about this…” <laughter> Man, you’re just a teenager. That’s great. I appreciate that, I’ve only heard that about a squillion times! I don’t say that but, hey, thank you though. It’s all right. Just hang in there. Don’t move out. Don’t run away.
And see, teenagers wanna run away. Why? At Fellowship Church we will talk about the chores of the Christian life. What does it mean to mature? What does it mean to grow in Christ? It’s the application of the basics over time. That’s spiritual maturity. It’s the application of the basics over time. Two things keep us from maturing. Two things keep us pauses on puberty. Commitment, obedience.
“Well, I don’t like this house because they are pressing me and up in my grill to serve, to share, and to sow. I want to move and run away and go to that house because that house I can just sit there and learn all this information and soak. It’s easy.” See, when people say, “You’re not deep enough,” they’re saying, “I’m lazy. I am just lazy.” Do you understand that? Teenagers, by and large, are lazy. That’s OK. Hang in there. Because if you bolt (we have an epidemic in our world today), if you bolt from the church… it’s happening everywhere from Sydney, Australia to London, England. If you bolt you will never, ever, ever achieve the spiritual maturity that God wants you to achieve where you are.
“I want to go there! They’re not gonna make me do chores! They’re not gonna say, ‘Hey you need to serve to get outside of yourself. You need to share your faith!’” And by the way, all water rescues happen in the deep. I thought I’d throw that in.
“Sowing? You mean my stuff is not my stuff? That is my computer! It’s my room! It’s… whoa!” I’ve said this a million times. Kids, are you crazy? Who bought you the clothing? Who bought you the computer? Whose money is it even to buy a birthday or Christmas gift for somebody? It’s your mom’s and my money. It’s our money! We’re mature, you’re not. Shut up.
Hey, spiritual teenagers, spiritual infants, take a panoramic view of all of this incredible stuff the mature have given over the years at Fellowship Church. Let’s give a crazy round of applause for that! It’s funny. Over the years we’ve had some people go, “Man, how much money did you spend on that technology?” and I’ll check their giving record and they haven’t given enough to pay for a doorknob in the men’s restroom. It’s a teenager. Just a teenager. Go to your room. It’s just a teenager. It’s all right. Oh you wanna go somewhere else? OK, go over there. You’ll have no chores, you’ll get spiritually fat. That’s like me going, “OK, I’m gonna run a triathlon but let me first gain 25 pounds.”
Go on to maturity. The Bible says take the next step. When someone says, “Hey, you’re not deep enough” or you say “I’m not deep enough. I’m not deep enough. I’m not deep enough.” The enemy uses that to keep you from going on to maturity.
Luke 14:28, Jesus said, “Count the cost.” We’re on the planes of puberty, we see the mountain of maturity and we’re like, whoa! I want to go onto maturity. But there’s a cost. Jesus said to count the cost.
There’s a relational cost. If you’re single you do what the Bible says to do. It says only date and ultimately mate with people who are Christ-followers. That means if you do what the Word says, two-thirds of the potential candidates, boom! Cut off. Whoa. It also says those people we know who are Hell-bound need to be people that we engage with and share with. Whoa. I’ve gotta really pray some high-risk prayers, then. Because there’s a relational cost.
How about a time cost? I gotta spend time talking to God. Time in God’s word. Time in the church. I’m not some chef making a pot of gumbo. I love gumbo. Sprinkle a little that in there, that in there, this in there, that in there. Oh yeah, OK. A dabble of God, a dash of God in there. Everything will be cool. I will just stir it up and everything will be A-OK. You’ll remain paused in puberty. There’s a time cost.
The most important entity, socially and relationally and emotionally in your life, outside of the Lord and your spouse and the family is the family of God.
There’s a financial cost. It’s expensive! It cost a lot. Wow. I mean, that means my stuff is not my stuff? No. That means the first 10% is the minimum worship requirement I bring to the house? You’ll never go on to maturity, never, ever, until you do those three basic things. And the Bible talks all about these things. Serving, not swerving. Jesus said if you want to become great become a servant. Get outside yourself and use your abilities in the context of the only thing Jesus built. It’s not a Christian school, not a hospital, not a parachurch organization, the church. Serve in the church. Commit to the church. Share your faith. Share your rescue story. We’re called to do that. Why doesn’t God zap us to Heaven the moment we’re born again? I’ll tell you why. He wants us to share and to bring as many people as we can to Heaven with us by his power and his grace. We’re not here to sin.
Again, it’s hard! This is not easy! And we’re the only church that I’ve ever, ever, ever seen that says with no holds barred, with a clear conscience, “If this ain’t for you go somewhere else. Go somewhere else.” We’ve told people to leave Fellowship Church for 21 years. I tell pastors this now around the world. They’re like,
“Oh my gosh! That is so freeing!” but sometimes you see teenagers. So long. Bye-bye. See ya. We don’t have time to waste on people who are paused on puberty.
We sow. Think about how unselfish your parents are or were. No one had a perfect family, I know that. You feel me. But parents, when we’re mature enough to get married in the covenant of marriage. And then we crank out a couple of kids suddenly it’s not all about me anymore. I’m like, whoa! I’ve gotta put my needs aside and my kids’ needs many times above my needs. I get into what they like. I take them to concerts I would never go to on my own. I watch stuff on YouTube with them that I would never watch, and you know all the junk. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars just to have a kid from birth until 18. Hundreds! It’s expensive!
Do you think everything we do at Fellowship Church is my favorite thing to do stylistically? No way! You think all this music is my favorite kind of music? I’m 51 years old! I mean, do you think I thought, “Oh yeah, it’d be great to start all these locations and use technology. That’s what I want.” No. NO! NO!! Why?
I’ve gone onto maturity. Why? I’m doing it and we have a bunch of us doing it for the betterment, for the growth of those who are yet to be born again, those who are infants, and those who are teenagers. That’s why we do it! It’s about being unselfish! It’s not what I want, what makes me feel good, what makes me look good. Because here’s the deal. As you get outside of yourself and serve, share, and sow, guess what happens? You move onto maturity while you’re doing it. It’s amazing. One of the biggest lies in the church today, one of the biggest lies the evil one hammers into our lives.
How about teenage runaways? Kids who are kidnapped? It happens spiritually. Someone is born again, they’re an infant, they’re a teenager. Someone preys on them, P-R-E-Y, preys on them, “Oh, come over here. This is where you really go deep. Come over here and we’ll show you this deal or that deal.” You stay planted in your house. Don’t bolt. Don’t run away. Most people run away and leave churches right before the breakthrough. They throw in the towel, they leave, they say, “I’m gonna mail it in.” As opposed to saying, “Come hell or high water, I’m here. I don’t care what happens I’m pledging myself to a position. I’m gonna be here because when you stay under the authority of God that’s when you go into maturity.
So again, Fellowship Church, thank you, thank you for your maturity. Whenever you hear someone say it, you’re talking to someone who’s a pimple-popping, hip-hopping, online-shopping teenager. That’s OK. Just say, yeah, it’s OK.
Hebrews 5:14 says that, “Solid food is for the mature who by constant use…” wait a minute. I thought it was just learning! I thought it was just knowledge! No. “Who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Again, it’s so simple to be in great shape. Eat clean. Do cardio and strength training, you’ll be in great shape.
“Yeah but I got a hot box yoga super set with jumping rope insanity P09X cross train do squats and hammer curls and then…” Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
That’s great. I’ve done that and I do that. I’m all about that. But it’s simple! Spiritual maturity is simple! It’s the application of the basics. If you just applied, teenager (I’m talking about a physical teenager) what you know right now your parents will give you more information and more freedom. If we just applied what we know right now we would have a greater freedom and greater information.
Augustine said it best, “I love truth that informs me. I hate truth that transforms me.” It’s tough. It’s not simple. It’s simple to explain but tough to commit. God, though, is God enough as we take the next step and climb the mountain of maturity. Are you ready church? Here. Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, Columbia, South Carolina, Midtown Miami, South Miami, online, and many, many other locations coming to a city or a hamlet near you.
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]