If you are not maturing spiritually, you may no longer be born-again!
Even if you're serving in church, teaching Sunday school (the same inefficient high-level messages), listening to Christian music, or singing hymns in church on Sundays. None of these are spiritual maturity; none are fruit!
Jesus said: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit
Paul said: ...if the root is holy, so are the branches... If some of the branches have been broken off...
Note: you could be a branch that became broken off!
Here's the order of our spiritual transformation:
1. Birth of the flesh, first birth.
2. Birth of the spirit, born-again.
3. Spiritual maturity
Many people lack the 3rd item, spiritual maturity
Because, most churches don't preach it. In fact most Protestant churches teach "you cannot possibly become unsaved". But the Bible clearly states otherwise. It is our eternity we're talking about; there will not be a 2nd chance if we miss it here! Herd mentality is not the way to God; "the narrow gate" is the way to God.
How do we mature spiritually?
Read the Bible always. God is in these Scriptures. This is how we "seek Him" and get to know Him. The more we read and understand, the more He reveals Himself to us. And this new knowledge we gain, is one form of fruit production. The other, and more advanced form, is perform miracles in Jesus' name.
Pray the Lord's Prayer daily, and mean it correctly - the "daily Bread" is the spiritual Bread of life, the body of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. So that we're always in perfect fellowship with God. This fulfils Jesus' desire for us to remain in Him, and Him in us. And thus equates to healthy branches.
Love - Wholeheartedly love and worship God. And genuinely love all people.
Are you a "Do Nothing" Believer?
Please stop the "do nothing"; you're becoming spiritually dead. A big difference between "Works" and "Spiritual Requirements":
Works: Is the works of the flesh, as in still trying to apply the Jewish law - Circumcision, sacrifices, do a lot of good deeds to offset the bad, etc..
Not works: Spiritual requirements that Jesus commanded: seek God, read the Bible, pray the Lord's Prayer daily, etc.. These are only some of Jesus' commands required for spiritual growth! Jesus' commands are in His parables, and in the Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus said: “If you love me, keep my commands."
Singing hymns in church on Sundays is admirable, but that's the icing on the cake. You've missed the cake altogether and focused on the icing!!
There are many references in the Bible about our need to mature spiritually in order to remain "saved". Many churches will tell you, you "cannot possibly become unsaved - once saved, always saved". The truth is, the Bible says otherwise. It says you can become unsaved:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Notes: After becoming a branch on the Vine, that is after becoming born-again, if no spiritual maturity over time, you may become "a branch cut off" or "wither and die" (spiritually). To remain saved we have to remain in Jesus, and Him in us (by, at a minimum, praying the Lord's Prayer daily and meaning it correctly).
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice. Become mature,...
Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
Notes: "Fruit" in this parable is spiritual maturity, as in seek God by reading the Bible and praying the Lord's Prayer daily. God is patient, and waits a long time before giving up on us. But He would give up on us eventually if no spiritual maturity. But careful, Jesus warns us in other parables about "how long God waits for us", example in the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13.
Here's another parable about the need to grow spiritually or else!
14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey. He called his own servants and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two talents, and to another one talent, depending on each one’s ability. Then he went on a journey. Immediately 16 the man who had received five talents went, put them to work, and earned five more. 17 In the same way the man with two earned two more. 18 But the man who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five talents approached, presented five more talents, and said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I’ve earned five more talents.’
21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’
22 “The man with two talents also approached. He said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I’ve earned two more talents.’
23 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’
24 “The man who had received one talent also approached and said, ‘Master, I know you. You’re a harsh man, reaping where you haven’t sown and gathering where you haven’t scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’
26 “His master replied to him, ‘You evil, lazy servant! If you knew that I reap where I haven’t sown and gather where I haven’t scattered, 27 then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and I would have received my money back with interest when I returned.
28 “‘So take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 30 And throw this good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Notes: "Talent" in this parable is knowledge of God / spiritual maturity. We are called to multiply the "talents" that God gives us - meaning increase our knowledge of God. The servant who did not multiply his talent in the parable, was called "evil & lazy", and was cast out - "became unsaved".
Both "fruits" and "talents" here mean the same: "spiritual maturity". Which is the basis for the true believer's miracle-performing abilities, as Jesus mentioned in Mark 16:17-18, and Matthew 7:20.
Obviously Jesus is alluding to something very important we need to do here to maintain our "saved" status. Definitely not "works of the flesh" but obedience to grow spiritually. Although He does clarify that God is very patient with us and does not quickly give up on us. The fact remains, we have a duty to produce fruit / multiply talents.
In today's 1st-world-countries, most people are living in luxury with plenty of resources and spare time available to them to multiply their "talents", and help their spiritual growth. There is no excuse, except laziness. Relying completely on the church for our spiritual needs is not the way to grow spiritually. In most churches today, human-nature have taken over, and they veered off the path of the original Christian church created by the disciples of Jesus when they were truly filled with the Holy Spirit.
Here are some verses from Paul that not many churches teach about:
...if the root is holy, so are the branches... If some of the branches have been broken off...
Notes: Clearly this is Paul's version of Jesus' "vine and branches" verses. So Paul too talks about "branches broken off", similar to branches that wither and die, in Jesus' version!! A further confirmation of the possibility of becoming unsaved. And this one is for those who like to hear it from Paul himself :)
And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
Notes: And look at this!! If those people who became unsaved, return later and truly seek God, then God will "graft them back in"!! God gives us a lifetime to truly seek Him and grow spiritually. As long as you're still alive you can fix it. But after death it's too late, even if you try blaming the church for it. Exactly as described in the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13.
Many people are lazy. They love the message of "do nothing". "If the church is saying it, and the church knows everything, then we're all set". Not! The reality is, many protestant churches only preached off of a few high-level verses that said that, and ignored thousands of pages in the bible that elaborated on those verses. While those verses are true at a high-level, crucial details are missing - which are in our daily commitment to God exhibited in us seeking God and His Righteousness. Otherwise, we’re not truthful about our claim of believing, and therefore not producing fruit!
Every verse in the Bible that says in one sentence something like "believe in Jesus and you're saved...", is meant as a high-level statement. Thousands of other verses and parables clearly elaborate on how to do that.
Another sad fact in today's world, many people equate earthly blessings to spiritual blessings - they drive up in their latest model SUVs to the biggest church in town… When it is the exact opposite. Having a lot of earthly riches actually equates to going to hell later, unless God is truly in the center of our lives, Matthew 19:24 "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.". I heard someone say, "I know we are true Christians here in the USA and God is with us, because it's the greatest and most prosperous nation on earth". And so was the Roman empire, the Greek civilization, and the ancient Egypt in the days of pharaohs, to give a few examples of ungodly prosperous nations that lasted some hundreds, and some thousands of years. Please don't misunderstand. I'm not saying the USA is ungodly. I'm saying it is not the right measure of Christian belief.
Accepting this biblical-fact of the need for spiritual maturity by seeking God through reading the Bible often, and the praying of the Lord’s Prayer daily, may seem strange at first. This is because most churches have brainwashed people for years into thinking, any doing = works; “do nothing, nothing at all, just mark the front of your Bible with the date you were saved”. And the Catholic church: "priests read the Bible; you don't need to", and "pray to other humans".
God will not excuse you for not knowing to do the right thing to multiply your "talents". Using the excuse of "...it's the church's fault they taught us wrong..." will not fly with God. Download any audio-enabled app to your device, and listen to the Bible always. It comes in many languages and versions. Then research difficult verses online. God will guide you to answers when you're truly seeking Him. And of course be careful with the fluff and misleading info on the internet.
Helpful app trick: I set the audio speed to 0.75. It gives me more time to absorb.