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Children of God

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Children of God

MP3 Audio (37.43 MB)


Children of God

MP3 Audio (37.43 MB)

As is our tradition we try to have the Blessing of Children on the second Sabbath after the Feast of Tabernacles, in imitation of Christ lifting up the children into His arms and blessing them, as seen in the Gospels. This blessing is not only for the the children but also for the families, and is an example of God's blessing on His Royal Family, His Children that we may grow up int all things unto Him.


Today is a special day in the United Church of God.  We have a tradition that the second Sabbath after the 8th day is when we ask God for special blessings on little children born in the past year as well as any children of families who God has been calling to His Truth. 

We do this in imitation of what we read from three of the Gospel accounts.  We find parallel accounts in Luke 18, Mark 10, and Matthew 19.  Just as Jesus asked the Father for His blessings on the little children, we do the same.  We ask God for His protection in their lives as they grow, that they would hear His call for them to personally understand His Word, and to ask God that He would guide the parents and other family members.  It’s a very heart touching ritual that many of us look forward to every year. 

But this day, and this tradition should remind us not only of the blessing that little children are for families, and a blessing for the Church as well, it should also remind us of something for us to consider---- Let’s begin today by turning over to 1 John 3.  We see in the first verse one of the most marvelous statements about our destiny—it’s something that so much of the world either does not understand, or they think it is some sort of allegory or symbol.  Let’s go ahead and read it together:

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of [a]God!

What an incredible thing—God the Father loves us so much that He wants us to be part of His Family!  I will tell you that many faiths don’t really take this to be a literal thing.  They have a fuzzy picture of people being up in Heaven, doing what, I don’t know!  But John is telling us that we are called “children of God”.  We are called into His Family for a special purpose- to be priests and kings in the Kingdom of God- where?  Not in Heaven.  That’s NOT where the Kingdom of God will be when Christ returns to earth.  It will be here on EARTH.  We will be helping Christ to restore the earth- the “times of refreshing” that Peter spoke of in his sermon on Pentecost.  We will be part of the ROYAL FAMILY OF GOD.  That is the destiny for those whom God has called in this time, who have been chosen, who have been faithful, and who, with His Holy Spirit, have overcome in this life. 

Now, let’s look at another Scripture about children—we see it in Isaiah 3:4.  In this section of Scripture, God is warning Judah what is going to happen to them if they stay on the path they are on.  Military protection will break down, those who are wealthy and powerful will be removed- those who are the leaders at all levels- and then we see this in verse 4:

“I will give children[cto be their princes,
And [d]babes shall rule over them.
The people will be oppressed,
Every one by another and every one by his neighbor;

This isn’t a pretty picture, is it?  Is God talking about giving the nation LITERAL children and babes to rule over them, or is He speaking in terms of behavior and mindset?  Children tend to be very headstrong- and they have very little, if any, experience.  Whether this is meant to be literal, or figurative, it’s not a great combo for leading nations.  Verse 5 tells us directly what happens- OPPRESSION- and we see that the patterns set by leaders of nations are reflected in the actions of the people of that nation.

Let’s turn over to Revelation 5 now— we see Jesus Christ taking the scroll from the hand of the Father.  And then we read in Revelation 5:9 --- a statement about our future:

 And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made [d]us kings[e] and priests to our God;
And [f]we shall reign on the earth.”

Now let’s start putting this together-  we have seen that we are called to be children of God.  We see that we have a destiny to be kings and priests in the Kingdom of God- to rule on earth with Jesus Christ.  We also see that children in leadership is not a good thing.  So, there MUST be a process by which a child grows up, matures, and becomes able to rule wisely.  That is a very common-sense thing, isn’t it?  We know that this is the case in our human lives.  Who knows?  Perhaps a future leader in the Church of God has been blessed today as a tiny baby!

So we know what the physical and mental maturation process of a human being look like:  from infant, to toddler, to adolescent, and eventually to adulthood.  I’m sure a social sciences expert would add in several other stages, but that would be overkill for our purposes today.  But WHAT ABOUT OUR SPIRITUAL MATURATION PROCESS?  What does the Bible tell us about what it means to be a child of God, and what is expected from us in this life, if we are expected to rule in the Kingdom of God?

We can learn a lot from looking at the words that are used in the Bible.  We’re going to do some of that today to see what we learn—let’s first turn to 1 Corinthians 13.  We commonly will call this section of Paul’s writings “The Love Chapter” and it’s a favorite series of verses that you’ll often hear at weddings and such.  What is really interesting about that section is that it comes directly after Paul talking about all the different gifts that we have from God- and how we are to use them to support each other, to build each other up.  There were divisions that were cropping up over who had the “best gifts”.  You also had issues of leadership cropping up- and then Paul says right at the end of chapter 12 that he would show a more excellent way—a better way to lead, a better way to share our gifts with each other—and that, of course, is through love. 

Now, at the end of that passage in 1 Corinthians 13- we pick up in verse 11:

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

Let’s take a look at the word that Paul uses here in verse 11 that is translated as child.  It’s Strong’s 3516- nēpios.  It is the word that was used for the smallest and most helpless of children.  It would be the word for an infant or a very small child.  It was also a word that was used as a description of someone who was acting childish- or for someone who was untaught or unskilled.

Now, if we are following the train of Paul’s thoughts, here, we see that Paul is telling the Corinthians that they have been behaving like children.  They’ve been squabbling over who has the best gift, they’re not playing nice together!  Paul is telling them that they need to grow up.  Verse 12 points us to our destiny—we understand some of what it is- We understand that, like what we already ready, that we are being called to be LITERAL Children of God, members of His Royal Family, and that we will be ruling in the Kingdom of God.  That’s what we know in part.  We know what we need to know right now, and the rest will be made clear in God’s own time.

This word, nepios, carries the meaning of one whose ability to reason is simple, unsophisticated.  We see Jesus use this word if we turn over to Matthew 11- we see Christ talking about the cities of Judah not repenting after seeing what He had done- and comparing them with Gentile cities that would have repented if the same had been done in them.  The hardness of their heart was the problem- the Jews, especially the leaders, rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah because they were so convinced of their own views—and this prompts Jesus to say this-  Matthew 11:25 -

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 

Paul, of course, echoes this idea later in 1 Corinthians 1:27 where he wrote: 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 

If we look at our spiritual journey, it parallels in many ways the physical journey that we take in this life.  We start out as an infant- helpless, completely dependent upon our parents, knowing nothing.  We do much the same, spiritually speaking.  For most of us, when we come to understand the truth of God’s Word, we are convicted—we see ourselves for what we are—and we realize how poor we really are.  We see that we need to live a new life, one in which we will begin as a babe.

If you watch a baby, you will note something- an insatiable curiosity.  Babies are fascinated by everything around them.  They watch everything- they take it in- they are constantly learning.  We must be the same way with God’s Word- and when someone first responds to God’s call, it is not uncommon to see the same fire, the same zeal to learn.  To learn about God’s Way of Life, the Holy Days, the doctrines that are found in the Bible. 

Babies, especially as they are able to move around better, and they begin to crawl, and then to walk, will also tend to stick everything in their mouth.  And, of course, there are the parent-approved things—and then there are the things they find on the floor that belong in the garbage, NOT the baby’s mouth!  There is a spiritual parallel to this, as well. 

One of the things that is frustrating to see is someone who starts attending with us because they have recognized that what we believe is backed up by the Bible—but the way that they found us is through non-stop searching.  Rather than pausing to start digging into what we believe as revealed by the Bible, they continue their search and pretty soon they’re gone because they’ve gone on to the next group, the next idea, the next article written in a convincing way.  They are like the baby that can’t tell the difference between a good Cheerio and one that has spent a week under the couch and is covered in dog hair.

God has provided a ministry to help shepherd the growth of a new believer.  When everything is new, a person doesn’t have a large and deep enough foundation to be able to properly filter the concepts and ideas that they may see in the world around them, on the internet, etc.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t read books and articles from people who are outside the church.  Not at all!  What I AM saying is that taking the time to compare those things to the Word of God FIRST and FOREMOST, and then seeing what the Church teaches on that subject is a good practice.  That practice adheres to what we find in Proverbs 18:17:  “The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him.”  That is how you build up that foundation.

Let’s look at one more use of the word “nepios” before we move on- another aspect that we can consider about infants is their diet.  Babies have very simple diets- you don’t give them a lot of flavor.  The focus is less on taste and more on nutrients to help jump start growth- and that is precisely what a baby needs.  But as the child grows, milk won’t support the growth needed for the next stage of development.  We have the same challenge before us with God’s Word and our spiritual development—and Paul speaks to this in 1 Corinthians 3:1 -

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and [a]behaving like mere men? 

You can feel the frustration that Paul had as he wrote these words—he had given them the basics, what they needed to build that foundation, but they had not developed further!  They hadn’t spiritually gone from milk to baby food, to finger food, to full solid meals.  We are expected to grow in our understanding so that we can understand and implement the higher applications of God’s Word in our lives.

Solomon understood this principle- let’s turn over to 1 Kings 3 – The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream-- let’s start in 1 Kings 3:4 –

Now the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place: Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”

And Solomon said: “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an [b]understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”

The Hebrew word that is used in this verse for “little child” is nah'-ar, from Strong’s H5287.  It is used primarily to describe a child from infancy to adolescence.  Solomon understood that a child is not equipped to rule, and is usually  It’s interesting to note that surely Solomon had plenty of training to prepare him for ruling Israel, but he had the self-awareness to realize that he needed wisdom that could only come from God.  If Solomon didn’t feel equipped to lead the physical people of Israel- that he felt like a little child, it is very clear that we can’t expect to lead people in the Millennium when we are ruling alongside Christ in the Kingdom of God on this earth if we are still children in our development.

Now, as babies grow up, they become toddlers. This is a time of continued focus on learning and increasing of little bits of responsibility, the development of ability, and perhaps most importantly, character.  This is the time when self-discipline is beginning to be learned, the basics of how to treat others, and when the most basic understandings of how the world works is starting to be comprehended.  The same holds true for our spiritual development.  We see that in the next word that is often translated as “child” in the New Testament Greek—“paidion”, Strongs G3813.

Although it is a word that can also be used to refer to an infant, it is more common that it would refer to very small children like toddlers.  It is also used in a spiritual sense.  Jesus used the word “paidion” in Matthew 19:14, Luke 18:16, and Mark 10:14.  These are parallel accounts that inspired the tradition that we are observing today- let’s go ahead and turn to Matthew 19:13 - 

13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.

While we often think about this passage in terms of the type of faith that we are to have in God, we must also understand that this is speaking even more about the DEPENDENCE that we have on God.  Just as a little child is helpless to take care of himself, and is completely dependent upon his parents to feed him, clothe him, shelter him, and to teach and love him—we have that same dependence upon Our Father. 

Christ, in verse 14 says that those who recognize that dependence, and have that childlike faith that we WILL have our needs seen to—that “of such” is the kingdom of heaven.  We see that this recognition of dependence is supported in Matthew 5:3 – during the section called the Beatitudes, Christ tells us —“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Who are the “poor in spirit”?  Those who recognize their lowly state before God, their complete dependence upon Him.

Now let’s turn over to 1 John 2 – John uses some poetic language to describe the spiritual state of the members of the Church at that time- verse 12,

I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.

The word that John uses in verse 12 that is translated as “little children” is “tekneon” G5043 – it is usually used to refer to infants in the plural, but it carries the sense of affection.  We’ll revisit that word in a little bit.

13 I write to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
Because you have known the Father.

Here is where John uses the word “paidion” – again, let’s notice that in verse 12 we also had “little children” used as a term of affection with a different word.  Here we see John using a word that is used for toddlers. Very young, with very little understanding- but John points out that these little children in the faith have known the Father—and that is a very important thing.  If we know the Father, we will be attuned to the things that He would have us learn, and we will not be little children forever.  We will grow.

14 I have written to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one.

Let’s turn back over to 1 Corinthians 14.  Paul also uses this word “paidion” and it gives us more understanding-  in Chapter 14, Paul talks about spiritual gifts that are given to those whom God is calling, particularly around the subject of prophecy and speaking in tongues.  Unlike what most people think today, this is simply talking about teaching about the word of God (prophecy), and the ability to speak in different languages- not the nonsensical babbling that most people think of when they hear the term “speaking in tongues”.

In any case, Paul is addressing some issues that have been cropping up, and when we get to verse 20, he is basically calling out the Corinthian church members for behaving like little kids- If you think that we have problems in our society and in the church today—keep in mind that Paul excoriates the Corinthians for suing each other!  These were brothers and sisters in Christ, sharing God’s Holy Spirit, but not being able to work out their problems with each other.  It reminds me of when my kids were little- and even when they weren’t so little, and I would have to tell them to figure it out between the two of them, because if I had to step in, nobody would be happy!  So, here we are in 1 Corinthians 14:20-

20 Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.

Brethren, we need to grow up!  We can’t stay that the very early stages of spiritual development.  We would worry about a baby that wasn’t physically or mentally growing, wouldn’t we?  God is likewise concerned with us growing spiritually, as Paul says here- to grow so that our understanding of God’s principles is mature.

Fortunately, God gives us His Word to help us to grow, to provide direction, instruction, wisdom- let’s take a look at a cultural analogy from Paul’s writings to see more about this expectations for us to grow—not for us to stay as little children forever…. Let’s go to Galatians 3.  We will start to read in Galatians 3:23 – where Paul begins to introduce two interrelated analogies:

23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, [f]kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our [g]tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.  26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 

Then, let’s skip ahead to the beginning of chapter 4 to continue—

 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born[a] of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, [b]“Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir [c]of God [d]through Christ.

As a modern reader, there is a lot being said here that flies right by us—in our society, we do not have slaves, and a tutor is someone who helps you to study in classes you may be struggling in, and a guardian is someone who steps in when your parents have either died or are incapable of raising you as parents.  For us to clearly understand this passage, we need to dig into some history, to look back at the society in which Paul and the early church operated, the customs around them that made this a powerful analogy for Paul to express the idea he was explaining.


Let’s go back to Chapter 3, verse 24—

24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

-- the word that Paul used, translated as "tutor" here is the Greek word  “paidagogue”

—the Paidagogue  was a trustworthy slave who was charged with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys belonging to the better class. The boys were not allowed so much as to step out of the house without them before arriving at the age of manhood.  Their main duty was to escort the boy to and from school, to be a chaperone- to make sure he made it to school and that the lessons got taught.

Childhood, that time before reaching adulthood is a time of learning, and a time where you are guided--  There are many things that you do as you grow up because your parents told you to do it - "Why?"- "Because I'm the Dad, that's why!" - sometimes that's the only reason the child will understand. As a child matures, they can come to understand the reasons why. They may have felt that the parent was being too restrictive when they were a child. Now, as they get older and have more understanding, they see that the parent was correct. 

So the years go by for the child, they have the pedagogue as a custodian watching over him, guiding him, making sure that he is learning, and eventually he is closing in on adulthood.

Let’s go back to Galatians, beginning in Gal 4:1:

1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.

The word Paul uses here is, again, “nepios” – a small child.  Now, if you are an "heir"- everything that your parents have belongs to you (eventually), BUT when you're a child- an infant or a toddler-- it isn't yours yet. The promise is there- it's in the will. But you don't have the authority to do as you want.  When a boy was an infant in the eyes of the law of the land, he might be the owner of a vast property but he could make no legal decision; he was not in control of his own life; everything was done and directed for him; and, therefore, for all practical purposes he had no more freedom than if he were a slave.  We just talked about how the son would be under the direction and protection of the pedagogue, the tutor- even though he was the master of the slave, as the heir, he himself was being guided by the slave!  This would be during the time that he was growing and learning- 


-- The moment of maturity was a definite time in Paul’s day- it was surrounded by religious ceremony. In our society today, you go from child to adolescent, to teen, and sometimes, people even make it to adult!  In the Greek world, it was around the age of 18. Roman law allowed for some discretion by the father as to when the child would be made adult, usually between 14 and 17.  This was made official at the feast of the Liberalia (March 17). As part of the ceremony, the father would officially adopt and acknowledge the son as his heir.

(i) In the Jewish world, on the first Sabbath after a boy had passed his twelfth birthday, his father took him to the Synagogue, where he became A Son of the Law.  In both Jewish and Roman societies-- There was a clear dividing line in the boy's life; almost overnight he became a man.

Now the boy is a man, and has come into the promise of the inheritance- he has been judged as qualified by his father.  He hasn’t inherited yet—just received the promise.

Now that we understand the analogies that Paul used, let’s draw some understanding of what Paul is saying in regards to the law.  First, we must identify WHAT law Paul is speaking of with his analogy.  Let’s flip back to Galatians 3:19:  this passage is specifically speaking of the sacrificial system:

19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made

So again, we read clearly that this was a law that was ADDED- a law that would last UNTIL the Seed- Jesus Christ should come.  So clearly we are talking about a TEMPORARY law that would serve a specific purpose!  What was that purpose?  To act as a custodian, a pedagogue for Israel!

The people of Israel were potential heirs of the promises made by God, just as the son of a Roman citizen was a POTENTIAL heir to his father’s estate.  But Israel’s transgressions had put them in a state of bondage to sin—they were under the death penalty so that they could NOT inherit the promises.  What God did was to institute the sacrificial system so that they had a custodian, a pedagogue.  It was to point to their need for a Savior—until that time when Christ would come and offer His life for their sins.  Along with the moral law, the 10 commandments, it brought Israel to where they could be taught, it watched over them, established moral principles, showed them the way they were to be living.   However, keep in mind that even with the sacrificial system, they were not free from the penalty of death—there was no means of FORGIVENESS of sin until Christ’s sacrifice.  Even though there was no forgiveness possible, they were to learn from the law- it was like being in school.  You look forward to the day when you will be able to graduate and move to another phase of life and begin using the knowledge that you have gained through your schooling.  You don’t get the benefits immediately- those are years down the road.

The sacrificial system looked forward to Christ and His sacrifice- and once He came and fulfilled the prophecies and opened the door to salvation, the purpose of the sacrificial system was fulfilled as well.  Now, the way was open for God the Father to name His heirs!

So let us ask one final question regarding this passage:  Does the sacrificial law serve a purpose for us today?  YES, it does.  You see, in Paul’s time, the pedagogue, once he had served his purpose of tutoring and shepherding the boy through his childhood years, did not get kicked out of the household!  He maintained an honored place among the servants having proved his worth even though he was no longer needed as a custodian.  We should also see that the sacrificial law, although it is no longer in force, DOES serve the purpose of helping us to understand Christ and His sacrifice better!  In this way, the law certainly has been a tutor for us.  It helps us to learn our lessons so that we can apply them rightly in our daily actions in FAITH that we are following God and His Will, just like the boy in Paul’s day would learn his lessons to grow up to be adopted by his father and to be the heir of all his father’s possessions.

As we start wrapping up our message today, let’s look at one more Greek word that is translated as child, or children.  That would be “Teknon”, Strongs G5043.  You’ll sometimes see it as “son”, but most often it will be “child” as it is what is known as a “neuter” pronoun.  We’ve already looked at “nepios” and “paidion”- so what is the deal with “teknon”?  Why so many words for “child”?

Let’s turn to 1 John 3:1 again—we read this in the beginning, but we’ll look a little deeper-  as we will see what makes this word different from the others…

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of [a]God! Therefore the world does not know [b]us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 

“Teknon” carries a sense of affection, an intimate connection that you don’t find in the other words.  It is the word that describes the loving relationship between the parent and the child.  John writes to us that as children of God- as “teknons” of God- that we have a special relationship with Him.  This is a word that could be translated as “darling”.  He loves us so much, He has called us to Him, and we are so precious to Him that He calls us His darlings!  Further, we see in verse 2 that, as God’s “darlings”, our destiny is that we shall be like Him!

This is also the word that a teacher would use with students as a term of affection.  Let’s turn to John 13.  We read this passage as part of Passover every spring as we commemorate the death of Jesus Christ.  In some of the last teaching that He gave to the disciples, He said this, in verse 33:

33 Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you. 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The key understanding for this word, “teknon” is that THIS is the word that we must be doing everything we can to make sure that it applies to us!  This is not only the word that indicates a family relationship, but it is also the term used by a teacher for his students.  Students, by their very nature, are learning- they are growing- they are becoming more and more like their teacher.  Paul, John, and other writers use the word “teknon” in their writings as well.  It is a word that helps us to understand that we are to progress to where we are more mature, more discerning, more teachable. 

We know that we will always be children in this life- but by committing ourselves to developing spiritually, we will be fulfilling a very important command that we find in Ephesians 4.  We’ll break in at verse 13-- 

13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, --- To be “nepios” – helpless spiritual infants….

tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up --- the word for grow up is the same one that you would use to describe the growth and development of an infant into an older child—and it’s a word that speaks to INCREASE- increase in knowledge, increase in wisdom, increase in discernment, increase in obedience, and increase in LOVE----

….. speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 

Our teacher, our elder brother, and soon-coming king!