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Pathway to Spiritual Maturity

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Below is a suggested discipleship plan using articles on our site (and other sites) covering the foundational areas of the Christian Faith. You might want to download the assessment pdf and answer the questions in order to see in what areas you might be weak.

Preface: Motivation to Grow

Commitment to follow Christ, Intentionality to Grow, Dependence on God’s Grace: this is Discipleship. The Christian life requires commitment to Jesus Christ by the disciple. Spiritual growth requires commitment.

  • Commitment to Christ requires pursuing Christ and what is good above all else: Matthew 6:33; 2 Timothy 2:22
  • Commitment to Christ requires pursuing Christ over all accomplishments and possessions: Philippians 3:8-10
  • Commitment to Christ requires pursuing Christ over life itself: Matthew 16:24; Philippians 1:21
  • Commitment to Christ requires persevering in tough times which will come: 2 Timothy 3:12
  • Commitment to Christ requires resisting sin, maybe even to death: Hebrews 12:3-4; Romans 6:11-14

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ and growing in spiritual maturity is not easy. It does bring the greatest joy and peace in the world (Philippians 4:7-10), and it does bring the fulfillment of the only life purpose that is worthwhile (Matthew 16:24-26).

So where does this commitment, this internal motivation come from? It is the work of the Holy Spirit as we learn, remember, and meditate on -- who Christ is and what He has done for us personally. Titus 3:3-8, and 2 Timothy 1:5-12 declare this clearly and succinctly. (This is why communion is also so important and commanded-- because we are corporately reminding each other of these things.) Selah.

Will you commit to pursuing true discipleship? Or waste your life doing things that will not matter in eternity-- the wood, hay, or straw that will burn on judgment day? (1 Corinthians 3:10-17)

This path to Spiritual Maturity requires commitment because we want to aid you in truly knowing and obeying Jesus Christ as His disciple. Will you decide now to ask God to help you throw off the sin and the distractions which may be so easily entangling your life? (Hebrews 12:1-2) And will you pursue knowing Him and walking with Him by His grace?

My Time With God

A. My Time with God Media:

1. Video: Time with God: Why and How (Outside video; well done, but not a blanket endorsement of all that might be taught there.)

2. Downloadable PDF: Sample Scripture/Prayer Journal (Usable)

B. My Time with God Notepad:

As you journal consider including four main components: Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer (SOAP). See above video for further guidance.

C. My Time with God Further Resources:

D. Share and Discuss:

  • Start a local Path to Spiritual Maturity Bible Study Group with people you know.
  • Write your thoughts or questions in your Lumina Notes
  • Share your progress or thoughts on Facebook, or Twitter.

Links to aid reading the books of the Bible: (Do not substitute for the real thing!)

Concise Book Introductions:

Concise Bible Survey:

Technical Book Introductions:

Maps and Pictures:

1. Salvation

1.A. Salvation Media:

1. Article: God's Plan of Salvation (Hampton Keathley III, Gospel)

2. Article: Sin and Salvation (Vickie Kraft, Gospel)

3. Article: The Gospel for Us and through Us (Greg Herrick, short nice recap, good application)

4. Audio: The Plan of Salvation (Romans 3:21-31) (Jeff Miller)

5. Video: Soteriology (Salvation) in the Theology Program (Michael Patton, 10 videos)

6. Additional Media: Bible.org "Salvation" Topic Category Or Bible.org "Salvation" Search Engine

1.B. Salvation Application:

1. Do I understand and believe that I am a sinner by nature and action who deserves the just punishment of God in hell forever for my rebellion against Him?

2. Do I understand and believe that I cannot earn God’s forgiveness in any way? That it is only received as a free gift of grace from God through Jesus Christ that disallows any kind of boasting on my part?

3. Having received that free gift, what have I done in thankfulness to God for that salvation? Shared it with others?

4. Briefly write out the story of how you came to believe in Jesus and what you came to believe about Him.

5. Try to think through those two above things (#4) and share it with someone in a five minute or less version.

6. Other. 

2. Assurance of Salvation

2.A. Assurance (of Salvation) Media:

1. Article: Can People Really Be Sure of Their Salvation? (Boa, list of verses)

2. Article: Assurance of Eternal Security (Hampton Keathley III, quite in depth)

3. Article: Meditating on Scriptural Assurances (Greg Herrick, practical assurances)

4. Video: The Doctrine of Perseverance (Eternal Security) in the Theology Program (Michael Patton, 1 video)

5. Additional Media: Bible.org "Assurance" Topic Category Or Bible.org "Assurance of Salvation" Search Engine

2.B. Assurance (of Salvation) Application:

1. Am I confident that I have trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of my sins, and that He is able and will bring me to be with Him when I die?

2. Have I memorized any verses to remind myself of these truths? Try quoting it to yourself at least once a day for two or three weeks in order to get it more cemented in your long term memory. (Look in the articles to find a good verse that is encouraging to you.)

3. Could I explain to someone why I am confident in my salvation?

4. Other. 

3. God

3.A. God (Trinity) Media:

1. Article: The Trinity (Charles Buntin, Good)

2. Article: Three in One (Richard Strauss, decent, not too long)

3. Article: The Trinity (Triunity) of God (Hampton Keathley III, longer, more complex)

4. Audio: Truth of the Trinity Audio Series (suggested by Hampton Keathley IV)

5. Video: Trinitarianism in the Theology Program (Michael Patton, 10 videos)

6. InfoGraphic: Tim Challies Infographic on the Trinity (Very Good, freely downloadable)

7. Additional Media: Bible.org "Trinity" Topic Category Or Bible.org "Trinity" Search Engine

3.B. God (Trinity) Application:

1. Do I believe that Jesus is 100% man and 100% God even if I cannot fully understand it? Do I believe the three members of the Godhead are distinct in person but one in essence? Do I believe in only one God? Am I ok with not being able to fully comprehend the infinite God with my finite mind?

2. Can I immediately point to a Scripture that speaks of all three members of the Godhead equally?

3. Am I using the perfectness, oneness, and harmony of the concept of the Trinity as a pattern for my marriage (if I am married)? What one concrete thing am I doing to make your marriage the accurate reflection of God that it should be?

4. Other. 

4. Prayer

4.A. Prayer Media:

1. Article: Spiritual Growth Study Guide: Prayer (John Underhill, good)

2. Article: Spiritual Growth Study Guide: Confession (John Underhill, good)

3. Article: The Paternoster - A Model Prayer (Matthew 6:9-15) (Chip Bell, good, on the Lord's prayer, Audio, Powerpoint available)

4. Article: Paul's Four Life-Changing Prayers (Ken Boa, short list of Scripture prayers to pray)

5. Article: Topical Prayer: Misc (Robert Hill, very long, but a good skim, informative, thought provoking)

6. Article: The Prayer-Filled Life (Part 1) (Hampton Keathley III, good/exhaustive)

7. Audio: Prayer (Jeff Miller, four part series on prayer, ACTS prayer)

8. Additional Media: Bible.org "Prayer" Topic Category Or Bible.org "Prayer" Search Engine

4.B. Prayer Application:

1. Do I have times each day that I pray to God?

2. Am I praising God in my prayer? Confessing sin? Sharing my prayer requests? Praying for salvation of others?

3. Do I pray with my family? With a group of believers from church?

4. Go for a walk this week and just talk to God about everything going on in your life.

5. Other. 

5. Bible Study Methods

5.A. Bible Study Methods Media:

1. Article: What Does It Take To Grow? (John Underhill, pretty good)

2. Article: How to Study the Bible: For Beginners (Greg Herrick, whole series)

3. Article: Appendix 6: Key Verses on the “Daily” Emphasis of Scripture (Hampton Keathley III, good scriptures to meditate on the need of daily time in the Bible)

4. Article: Studying the Scriptures (Ken Boa, pretty good)

5. Article: Interpreting the Bible (Ken Boa, good)

6. Video: Bibliology and Hermeneutics in the Theology Program (Michael Patton, 10 videos)

7. Additional Media: Bible.org "Bible Study Methods" Topic Category Or Bible.org "Bible Study Methods " Search Engine

5.B. Bible Study Methods Applications:

1. Do I have time set aside each day to read and think about God’s Word? Am I looking for what it tells me about God, what it tells me about man, what it tells me I should believe and do?

2. Am I taking notes of the things which I do not understand as I study? Have I found trusted people I can discuss these with?

3. Am I taking any classes at church or reading any books that help me grow in how to study the Bible? Have I used the techniques they taught me in studying a book of the Bible?

4. Read a chapter of the Bible out loud each night or morning together with your family.

5. Other. 

6. Baptism

6.A. Baptism Media:

1. Article: Believer's Baptism (William McRae, good article)

2. Article: Baptism: A Flood of Confusion (Jeff Miller, broad article, his church view, Audio available)

3. Audio: Baptism (Bob Deffinbaugh, broad overview)

4. Video: Ministries of the Church: Ordinances/Sacraments? in the Theology Program (Michael Patton, 1 video)

5. Additional Media: Bible.org "Baptism" Topic Category Or Bible.org "Baptism" Search Engine

6.B. Baptism Applications:

1. Do I understand why Baptism is important, and how it identifies one with Christ in His death, Burial, and resurrection, but does not bring salvation?

2. Have I been baptized? If not, get baptized.

3. Have I explained the meaning and purpose of Baptism to another believer to make sure I understand it correctly?

4. Other. 

7. Communion

7.A. Communion Media:

1. Article: Communion: There’s More to Prepare Than the Meal (Jeff Miller, Pretty good, explanation of their church’s understanding of communion, Audio Available)

2. Article: Communion and Christmas (Bob Deffinbaugh, decent)

3. Article: A Feeding Frenzy (1 Corinthians 11:17-34) (Kieth Krell, decent, Audio available)

4. Article: The Lord’s Supper and the Competing Agendas of Luke 22 (Hampton Keathley III, decent)

5. Video: Ministries of the Church: Ordinances/Sacraments? in the Theology Program (Michael Patton, 1 video)

6. Additional Media: Bible.org "Communion" Topic Category Or Bible.org "Communion" Search Engine

7.B. Communion Applications:

1. Do I understand the importance of Communion for believers, that we do not take it to make us right with God, but to remind us of what Jesus did as we fellowship with Him?

2. Before I take communion do I make sure that I am not walking with any un-confessed sin in my life? Do I rejoice in taking communion with other believers?

3. Do I regularly take communion with other believers?

4. Other. 

8. The Church

8.A. The Church Media:

1. Article: The Church (Vickie Kraft, good overview)

2. Article: Introduction to the New Testament Church (Bob Deffinbaugh, good, more in-depth, overview)

3. Article: Ecclesiology: The Church (Greg Herrick, nice good, nice and succinct)

4. Video: Ecclesiology and Eschatology in the Theology Program (Michael Patton, 10 videos)

5. Additional Media: Bible.org "Ecclesiology (Church)" Topic Category Or Bible.org "Church" Search Engine

8.B. The Church Applications:

1. Have I found a bible believing church and become a regular part of it?

2. Am I seeking and letting other believers help me grow in understanding and in living out my new life in Christ? Have I been challenged, encouraged, or helped this week?

3. Have I encouraged or helped another believer this week?

4. Invite one person/family a week for a meal in order to get to know them better and let them get to know you better so that you can better be family to each other in your congregation.

5. Other. 

9. Sexual Purity

9.A. Sexual Purity Media:

1. Article: Sanctification, Sex, and Love (1 Thessalonians 4:1-12) (Bob Deffinbaugh, good, broad on sexual purity, Audio, PowerPoint available)

2. Article: Flames of Desire (Matthew 5:27-30) (Chip Bell, good, purity, thought, action, Audio, PowerPoint available)

3. Article: Sex and the Spiritual Christian (1 Cor. 7:1-7) (Bob Deffinbaugh, good, mostly about marriage and celibacy)

4. Additional Media: Bible.org "Sexual Purity" Topic Category Or Bible.org "Sexual Purity" Search Engine

9.B. Sexual Purity Applications:

1. Do I understand, believe, and obey the Bible’s commands for sexual purity and expression in my life (i.e. to be enjoyed within the covenant of marriage exclusively)?

2. Am I free from addiction to pornographic material, or making myself appropriately accountable to others to prevent me from accessing such material?

3. Am I being considerate of others and myself sexually in my speech, choice of entertainments, choice of clothing, and the kinds of activities I encourage? (i.e. am I treating fellow believers as if they were my brother or sister in all purity?)

4. Write out a list of the movies you watched this last month, a number of the songs you listened to, and the activities that you were a part of. Think and pray about them carefully, did they encourage you and others towards sexual purity, or away from it? Are there any changes that you can or should make?

5. Other. 

10. Evangelism

10.A. Evangelism Media:

1. Article: Evangelize or Fossilize (Strauch, very practical, motivational,).

2. Article: Mastering A Plan for Formal Time Together—Evangelism (Greg Herrick, very good with texts of Scripture)

3. Article: Readings on Discipleship (Session 1) (Emery Nester, Lorne Sanny, Dawson Trotman, on discipleship/evangelism.{born to reproduce} Very good, engaging stories, lots to think about)

4. Article: The Six Main Points of the Gospel (Session 2) (Emery Nester, aspects to mention in full Gospel presentations)

5. Article: The Bridge (Session 3) (Emery Nester, one method of sharing the Gospel)

6. Audio: It’s Harvest Time! (1 Corinthians 3:5-9) (Keith Krell, good message on evangelism)

7. Additional Media: Bible.org "Evangelism" Topic Category Or Bible.org "Evangelism" Search Engine

10.B. Evangelism Applications:

1. Do I understand the need for sharing the gospel with all people? Try to write out 4 or 5 reasons (or more).

2. Can I clearly share the gospel without missing anything important? Try it with another believer.

3. Have I shared the gospel with anyone this week?

4. Share with one non-believer the story of how and what you came to believe when you became a Christian.

5. Other. 

11. Discipleship

11.A. Discipleship Media:

1. Article: Process of Discipleship (Miles Stanford, need for discipleship)

2. Article: Jesus Christ Disciple Maker @ twenty (Bill Hull, what and how? Very good)

3. Article: Discipleship Overview (Hampton Keathley III, good overview)

4. Video: Choose The Life Journey (Bill Hull series on discipleship)

5. Additional Media: Bible.org "Discipleship" Topic Category Or Bible.org "Discipleship" Search Engine

11.B. Discipleship Applications:

1. Do I understand the need for being taught and helped by other believers so that I can mature in my walk with God?

2. Do I have someone in my life that I am being taught by, whose example I can learn from on a more individual level?

3. Do I have someone in my life that is helping to challenge me and hold me accountable in a good way?

4. Find a person to pray with once a week about growing in your relationship with God.

5. Other.

12. Spiritual Gifts

12.A. Spiritual Gifts Media:

1. Article: The Gifts of the Spirit (Ken Boa, good comprehensive overview)

2. Article: The Stewardship of Talents (Hampton Keathley III, good comprehensive introduction)

3. Article: The Pursuit of Christian Character (2 Peter 1:5-7) (Bob Deffinbaugh, moving to maturity)

4. Article: Mastering A Plan for Formal Time Together—Serving and Spiritual Giftedness (Greg Herrick, good listing of verses with questions and guidance)

5. Audio: No Nobodies! (1 Corinthians 12:12-31) (Keith Krell, audio/article on the body/gifts)

6. Additional Media: Bible.org "Spiritual Gifts" Topic Category Or Bible.org "Spiritual Gifts" Search Engine

12.B. Spiritual Gifts Applications:

1. Do I understand that all believers have been given gifts by God to minister to fellow believers?

2. Am I serving other believers regularly in some way, and looking for new ways to serve so that I can meet the needs of the body that God has designed me to meet?

3. Have I used my skills/gifts/abilities this week to minister to other believers or share my faith?

4. Volunteer for helping out in a ministry in your church that you have not yet been a part of. Try it for a while. Then try another one. This might help you see where you are gifted to best serve, and will stretch you in areas you might not automatically have though to try serving in.

5. Other. 

13. Giving

13.A. Giving (Tithing) Media:

1. Article: Financial Faithfulness (Hampton Keathley III, Good article)

2. Article: Stewards, Not Owners (Sid Litke, good stewardship overview, audio available)

3. Article: Mastering A Plan for Formal Time Together—Giving (Greg Herrick, good listing of verses with questions and guidance)

4. Audio: Give-and-Go (1 Corinthians 16:1-12) (Keith Krell, audio/article, good)

5. Audio: Biblical Financial Stewardship (Sid Litke, good series on giving. Audio/articles)

6. Additional Media: Bible.org "Tithing" Topic Category Or Bible.org "Giving" Search Engine

13.B. Giving (Tithing) Applications:

1. Do I understand that we are to give with a joyful attitude to help believers in need and enable each other to carry on ministry?

2. Do I give 10% or more of your income (not out of requirement from the New Testament, but out of generosity and example from the Old Testament) to support my local church and other ministries?

3. Have I been generous with my time and other possessions for serving God and fellow believers this month?

4. Look for and find one faithful ministry outside of your church (AFTER giving to them!) that is a worthwhile cause and that you would be excited to support and begin praying about being able to help them. As soon as you are able (or see if there is something in your budget you could eliminate) begin supporting them.

5. Other.

Related Topics: Assurance, Baptism, Communion, Sexual Purity, Soteriology (Salvation), Spiritual Gifts

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