Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
(Psalm 119:105)


Volume 02, Number 40

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker HWY

Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship..10:30AM; 6:00PM

Bible Classes.........7:00 PM

Web site: Mt. Baker church
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Editor......John Bass


In this issue:

T. Sean Sullivan


What does it mean to grow up; to be mature? In today's world, it seems that "growing up" is a dreadful thing. To avoid the aging process, things like, "50 is the new 30" are said. There is nothing amiss with enjoying life and staying youthful in our vibrancy and zeal. However, immaturity leads to weakness in adult life, a weakness that is noticeable in all areas of our life. There must be a better way not to lose the zeal for life, we desire, but then also "grow up".

Paul, in the first Corinthian letter, speaks of the necessity of the maturity of the church at the end of the thirteenth chapter. Paul was teaching about the end of temporary things in the church-spiritual gifts (vs. 8-12)-and the necessity of the permanent things (v. 13). In our individual lives we also have temporary things-immaturity, and we are supposed to grow toward permanent things. Coincidentally, the things that Paul speaks of in regard to the church are also marks of maturity in our personal lives. Let's open the Scriptures to further examine the necessity of faith, hope, and love; and how they grow as we grow.
Growing in Faith

Faith begins small but grows to full strength over time, with determination. The beginning of faith is knowledge-very basic understandings. No one starts out knowing everything about God's will or being a Christian. We discover we are sinners (Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12-"all sinned"). Because of our own sins, we are separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23a). We begin to understand that we need rescue, and it is available (Romans 6:23). The reason to use the word "rescue" is because we cannot find our way, without help-the help that only God can offer (Romans 5:6-8). We learn that our hope is found in Jesus (1 Peter 1:18-19). God sent His Son to be our sacrifice (Hebrews
9:22-28). We need this His hope, we need to be in Jesus (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27). The undeniable scriptural conclusion is made, "I must be baptized in Jesus". We conform our lives to the pathway of righteousness (Matthew 7:13-14; Romans 12:1-2). We work through the growing pains of our new life (Acts 8:20-23; 1 John 1:9). Then we grow, and these primary understandings grow stronger in our life.

What does it mean to transition from first faith to a mature level of faith? We increase our knowledge of "right" and "wrong" (Hebrews 5:12-14). A diligence of study-seeking to know (Romans 10:17). We walk in God's help, with daily purpose (James 4:8-10). Acknowledging God's help more every day (Romans 10:5-10). We seek to live up to our calling-knowing better the price of our redemption (Ephesians 4:1-3; Romans 5:6-11). We have a better grasp on the big picture of sin's cost and redemption's price. We conduct ourselves in careful steps of righteousness (Ephesians 5:6-10, 15-16). Christians do all things with purpose an d focus  (Colossians 3:17).

Growing in Hope

Our level of hope is an indication of maturity-in the youth of our faith we may hope for things like feeling better about our life (Matthew 19:16). Like the rich young ruler, who was looking for validation; perhaps more than direction-he hoped to feel better about his life. For some it is being relieved from guilt (Acts 2:37). The Jews were confronted with wrongdoing and were cut to the heart, their primary goal was relief from the burden of guilt. Maybe it is being part of something greater than ourselves (John 6:66). Perhaps those described in John 6:66 we only along for the hope of being involved in something big-when the pressure mounted, they ran off.

These basic hopes are to be temporary and they are to be replaced with far greater and deeper hope. We grow and take on a true desire for a better life in Heaven (2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 22:20). It is often difficult for a mature Christian to be satisfied with earthly life (2 Peter 3:12). We look ahead and long for our welcome home (Philippians 3:12-15). We grow beyond the simple need of relief from guilt we come to understand the beauty of God's will and His direction (Ephesians 5:8-10; Philippians 4:4-9). We understand the beauties of righteousness-honor, integrity, and worthiness. We grow to seek more than just being part of something else, we engage in being an effective part of the greatest institution ever given to mankind (Matthew 16:18; 1 Peter 2:5-10). The mature Christian is a participator (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Growing in Love

There are also elemental principles and mature understandings of love. Love for God can be much like any other love in this life. We can start to love God first with those big sparkly eyes of infatuation. Much like the rocky soil-that enthusiastically received the word (Matthew 13:20). If this is our love's only depth, it will fail. We can love God, with only a desire for what He can do for us (John 6:25-40). Like those who had been given food, and they were only seeking more.     

If this is the only motivation for our love, it will fail. If we remain immature, our love for God will be easily extinguished. The winds of doctrine will unsettle us and take us away (Ephesians 4:14). The pressures of life will distract us away (John 6:66; 2 Timothy 2:1-7).

Mature love has a more proper understanding. We love God and keep His commandments (John 14:15). He has done so much for us (Romans 5:6-10). We choose to love God no matter what we have to go through (1 Peter 1:6-9). True love is a choice, more than a feeling-it is an enduring decision – it is a commitment (Revelation 2:10).


Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love". After faith is sight, and hope is realized, love will continue throughout eternity. Also, without love there is no faith and no hope. By combining these two, we will begin to realize the significance of Paul's inspired words.

The time to be more grown-up is now-as the world trends away from growing up we need to "grow up in all things into Christ" (Ephesians 4:15). From the beginning principles to a grounded understanding, we can mature and become the servants that God desires.

One sign of maturity is accepting responsibility for one's own soul. We must know that we are lost without God and we need to be mature enough to do something about our salvation. We need to seek God in faith. We need to pursue His offer of hope. We need to embrace what His love affords us.  We will then be in the right place to grow in faith, hope, and love, as we should.   The opportunity to begin is yours, right now.


Dennis C. Abernathy

There was an amusing little story about a Vermont restaurant near an Interstate highway that had a large sign saying “STEAK.” But when the restaurant was sold, and became a Chinese restaurant, it no longer served steaks. The new owner, however, didn’t change the sign until people began to pressure him to stop advertising what he didn’t sell. Finally he solved the problem by removing the letters “S” and “K” so the sign read “TEA.”

God’s original message in the Bible can also be changed by removing parts of the message. For example, God tells us to believe in Christ, (Mk. 16:16; Jn. 3:16), repent of our sins (Lk. 13:3; Acts 2:38), confess our faith in Jesus (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:37), and be baptized in water for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38). But many have removed baptism from the message. True, many still practice something called baptism, but in many churches real (scriptural) baptism has been replaced with mere sprinkling, and baptism of believers has been replaced with infant baptism, and baptism for the remission of sins has been replaced with being baptized because one already has remission of sins, and to qualify for membership in a denomination.

However, in the Bible, baptism was immersion, and it was for people who believe, and it was never administered to join a denomination. Thus, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Gal. 3:27, 1 Pet. 3:21, and other places in the Bible teach that baptism is a part of what God requires of people who want to be saved and become Christians.

Like the restaurant sign that was changed from “STEAK” to “TEA” by removing some of the original letters, preachers who have tried to remove baptism from God’s plan of salvation have changed the original message. For example, 1 Pet. 3:21 says “even baptism doth also now save us.” Thus, preachers change the “w” to a “t” making the apostle Peter say “even baptism doth also not save us!” Better think on these things.


Created by John Bass, last updated.  10/01/2023

The Mount Baker Beacon is a weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA.
Send all questions, comments to the editor, John Bass at (360) 325-5149 or johnbass2468@gmail.com