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ChristianMaturityby Rick C. HowardAN INDEPENDENT-STUDY TEXTBOOKDeveloped in Cooperation withthe Global University Staff


Address of the Global University office in your area:Developed in cooperation with Global University staffSchool for Evangelism and DiscipleshipGlobal University1211 South GlenstoneSpringfield, MO 65804USA© 1978, 1996, 2007 Global UniversityAll rights reserved. First edition 1996.Fourth edition 2007.Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture is taken from the Holy Bible, NEWINTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 InternationalBible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission ofInternational Bible Society.PN 04.11ISBN 978-0-7617-1217-6www.globaluniversity.eduwww.globalreach.orgPrinted in the United States of America


Table of ContentsPageCOURSE INTRODUCTION ..................................................... 5UNIT ONE:LessonPICTURES OF CHRISTIANMATURITY1 Godly Desires for Growth ............................................................. 142 Jesus Christ: An Illustration of Growth ......................................... 323 Further Illustrations of Growth ...................................................... 464 Hindrance and Help to Christian Growth ...................................... 62UNIT TWO:PROGRESS IN CHRISTIANMATURITY5 Motivations Toward Growth .......................................................... 846 Elements That Build Christian Maturity ........................................1047 Foundational Truths and Beyond .................................................126UNIT THREE: PROOFS OF CHRISTIANMATURITY8 Evidence of Christian Character ..................................................1489 Evidence of Useful Ministry ..........................................................16410 Evidence of Spiritual Transformation ...........................................176Glossary ..............................................................................................190Answers to Self-Tests .........................................................................194Unit Student Reports ...........................................................................198Answer Sheets ....................................................................................209


4 C h r i s t i a n M a t u r i t yTHE GU CHRISTIAN SERVICEPROGRAMU N I TI1C O U R S EThis independent study textbook is one of 18 courses(subjects) that make up the GU Christian ServiceProgram. The symbol at the Left is a guide forsequenced study. The Christian Service Program isdivided into three units of six courses each. Christian Maturity isCourse One in Unit One.You may study this course by itself or study the entire seriesin proper sequence.Study materials in the Christian Service Program aredesigned in a self-teaching format for Christian workers.This program will provide a student with the necessary Bibleknowledge and skills for practical Christian service. Thesecourses have been especially prepared for Christian workers inall nations and cultures.ATTENTIONPlease read the preliminary instructions for this course verycarefully. By following the instructions you should be able toachieve your goals for the course, and you should not havedifficulty preparing for your unit student reports.


C o u r s e I n t r o d u c t i o n 5Course IntroductionChristian maturity is an ever-present goal for believers inChrist. This goal is to reach “the very height of Christ’s fullstature” (Ephesians 4:13). Although no believer can reach totalChristlikeness during earthly life, the Bible places it as thegoal for every Christian. It is better to reach for a goal that istoo high and gain much than to actually reach a goal that is toolow and gain little. The very nature of the subject demands thatthis course be solidly based on the Bible. Constant reference toScripture is made throughout the course.The first part of the course presents illustrations of growth,emphasizing the growth of Jesus. Included also are descriptionsof natural growth to illustrate spiritual growth. There is commenton hindrances and helps to spiritual advancement. Then, thecourse centers on progress in spiritual growth. Since maturing inChrist is a lengthy process, an effort is made to separate presentgoals for the believer from the more difficult goals for his future.It is emphasized that our progress includes cooperation withthe Holy Spirit and sharing faith with others. Finally, proofs ofChristian maturity are stressed. Increasing Christlikeness of thebeliever’s character and ministry are presented as evidences ofspiritual growth, and the course ends with an emphasis on thetransformation of the believer by the Holy Spirit.The main purpose of the course is to help the student becomemore like Christ, and to encourage him or her to help others dothe same. May the Lord bless you and help you to make progresstoward maturity in Christ through the study of this course.


6 C h r i s t i a n M a t u r i t yCourse DescriptionChristian Maturity is an introductory study to the subject ofthe Christian’s growth. The study gives attention to the role ofChristian service in the believer’s growth.A biblical approach to the subject makes the courseacceptable for use in an international audience. The course leadsthe student to constantly interact with the Word of God, which isthe foundation for the study.The course is practical in nature, pointing out how the studentmay progress toward Christlikeness in daily Christian living andservice. Biblical illustrations of Christian growth and the Biblecenteredlessons provide the student with material for use in hisown Christian service.Course ObjectivesWhen you finish this course you should be able to:1. Explain the tendency toward growth inherent in spiritual life,and allow it to help you grow in Christ.2. Relate spiritual maturity to daily life in such matters asdiscrimination between good and evil, and application ofbiblical messages.3. Explain why a Christian cannot mature without fellowshipwith God.4. Explain spiritual maturity in terms of completion andfinishing as opposed to flawless perfection.5. Describe the Holy Spirit’s role in our Christian maturity.6. Explain personal experiences to analyze progress in the useof your will to improve yourself spiritually.7. Experience greater Christian maturity through increasedgeneral usefulness in ministry in the church and in helpingothers.TextbooksYou will use Christian Maturity: An Independent-StudyTextbook by Rick Howard as both the textbook and study guidefor the course. The Bible is the only other requirement.


C o u r s e I n t r o d u c t i o n 7Study TimeHow much time you actually need to study each lessondepends in part on your knowledge of the subject and thestrength of your study skills before you begin the course. Thetime you spend also depends on the extent to which you followdirections and develop skills necessary for independent study.Plan your study schedule so that you spend enough time toreach the objectives stated by the author of the course and yourpersonal objectives as well.Lesson Organization and Study PatternEach lesson includes: 1) lesson title, 2) opening statement,3) lesson outline, 4) lesson objectives, 5) learning activities, 6)key words, 7) lesson development including study questions, 8)self-test (at the end of the lesson development), 9) answers to thestudy questions. Answers to each self-test are at the back of yourtextbook before the unit student reports.The lesson outline and objectives will give you an overviewof the subject, help you to focus your attention on the mostimportant points as you study, and tell you what you shouldlearn.Most of the study questions in the lesson development can beanswered in spaces provided in this study guide. Longer answersshould be written in a notebook. As you write the answers inyour notebook, be sure to record the number and title of thelesson. This will help you in your review for the unit studentreport.Do not look ahead at the answers until you have given youranswer. If you give your own answers, you will rememberwhat you study much better. After you have answered the studyquestions, check your answers with those given at the end ofthe lesson. Then correct those you did not answer correctly. Theanswers are not given in the usual numerical order so that youwill not accidentally see the answer to the next question.


8 C h r i s t i a n M a t u r i t yThese study questions are very important. They will help youto remember the main ideas presented in the lesson and to applythe principles you have learned.How to Answer QuestionsThere are different kinds of study questions and self-testquestions in this study guide. Below are samples of several typesand how to answer them. Specific instructions will be given forother types of questions that may occur.A MULTIPLE-CHOICE question or item asks you to choosean answer from the ones that are given.1 The Bible has a total ofa) 100 books.b) 66 books.c) 27 books.The correct answer is b) 66 books. In your study guide, makea circle around b) as shown here:1 The Bible has a total ofa) 100 books.b) 66 books.c) 27 books.d) 2 books.(For some multiple-choice items, more than one answer willbe correct. In that case, you would circle the letter in front ofeach correct answer.)A TRUE-FALSE question or item asks you to choose which ofseveral statements are TRUE.Example2 Which statements below are TRUE?a) The Bible has a total of 120 books.b) The Bible is a message for believers today.c) All of the Bible authors wrote in the Hebrew language.d) The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the Bible.


C o u r s e I n t r o d u c t i o n 9Statements b and d are true. You would make a circle aroundthese two letters to show your choices, as you see above.A MATCHING question or item asks you to match thingsthat go together, such as names with descriptions, or Bible bookswith their authors.Example3 Write the number for the leader’s name in front of eachphrase that describes something he did.1. . . a Received the Law at Mt. Sinai 1) Moses. 2. . b Led the Israelites across Jordan2) Joshua21. . . c Marched around Jericho. . . d Lived in Pharaoh’s courtPhrases a and d refer to Moses, and phrases b and c refer toJoshua. You would write 1 beside a and d, and 2 beside b andc, as you see above.Ways to Study This CourseIf you study this GU course by yourself, all of your workcan be completed by mail. Although GU has designed thiscourse for you to study on your own, you may also study it in agroup or class. If you do this, the instructor may give you addedinstructions besides those in the course. If so, be sure to followhis instructions.Possibly you are interested in using the course in a homeBible study group, in a class at church, or in a Bible school. Youwill find both the subject content and study methods excellent forthese purposesUnit Student ReportsIn the back of your study guide are located the unit studentreports and answer sheets. These are to be completed according


10 C h r i s t i a n M a t u r i t yto the instructions included in the course and in the unit studentreports. You should complete and send each unit answer sheet toyour instructor for his grading and suggestions regarding yourwork. Send one when you complete each unit.CertificateUpon the successful completion of the course and the finalgrading of the unit answer sheets by your GU instructor, you willreceive your Certificate of Award.About the AuthorRick C. Howard pastored at Peninsula Christian Center inRedwood City, California. He was ordained by the Assembliesof God in 1961. He served on the faculty of NortheasternUniversity, Boston, Massachusetts, Evangel College, Springfield,Missouri, and Bethany College of the Assemblies of God inScotts Valley, California. He also served as National CollegeYouth Representative for the General Council of the Assembliesof God, Springfield, Missouri.In addition to his teaching and preaching experience, Mr.Howard authored several books, such as: The Judgment Seat ofChrist, Strategy For Triumph, The Lost Formula of the EarlyChurch, and Songs From Life.Mr. Howard earned his B.A. degree at Grove City College inPennsylvania and his M.A. degree in history at Memphis StateUniversity, Memphis, Tennessee.Your GU instructorYour instructor will be happy to help you in any waypossible. If you have any questions about the course or theunit student reports, please feel free to ask him. If severalpeople want to study this course together, ask about specialarrangements for group study.God bless you as you study Christian Maturity. May itenrich your life and Christian service and help you fulfill moreeffectively your part in the body of Christ.


C o u r s e I n t r o d u c t i o n 11


1Unit


Pictures of ChristianMaturityLessons1 Godly Desires for Growth2 Jesus Christ: An Illustration of Growth3 Further Illustrations of Growth4 Hindrance and Help to Christian Growth

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