Maturity is having the faith to acquire wisdom. The mature have faith and get wisdom. This is a matter of degree, not an either or situation. The mature have a degree of faith and have received a degree of wisdom.
Heb. 5: 12-14 is a key passage for understanding the notion of maturity.
Heb. 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
We see that those who have been in ministry and should be capable teachers are spoken of as those who need teaching. This is the condition of the church today. This passage contrasts the mature, those of full age, with the babes in terms of consuming meat or milk, in relation to the oracles of God. The word oracle is related to oration or speaking. So Hebrews here is talking about God speaking. As we get farther along, we will be able to see exactly what are the first principles of the oracles of God.
Now here is the context of the phrase the Lord spoke to me that I mentioned above.
I Cor. 13: 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
II When I was a child, I spake 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 through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
In general this whole passage speaks of a great transition. It's the transition from a child to a man; from the immature to the mature. We change from being those who know in part, and prophesy in part to those who know even as we are known. We go from seeing things very dimly, to seeing things quite plainly.
We start as babes in Christ, who are nourished by the milk of the word. We must mature to become like those of full age who are nourished by strong meat.
This passage from Ephesians 4 covers much of the same ideas. It speaks of the 5 fold ministry and its purpose, to help in the perfecting of the saints. That is another way of saying to help lead them out of the childish ways into maturity.
Eph. 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Notice how it talks about growing up and being children no longer; leaving behind childish things and childish ways. The children are pictured as being tossed about, and carried away with constantly changing doctrines and differing opinions. They are easy marks for trickery, craftiness and deception. They are contrasted with the mature that come into unity of the faith, and achieve a level of perfection as they grow up into a likeness of Christ.
Those teachers - you have 10,000 instructors in Christ - whom you notice are immature in the word are to be avoided, except in the very basics.
Proverbs 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
They are essentially and automatically disqualified as teachers or expositors of the word. They will of course have some truth and accuracy in what they have to share, but you will find it thoroughly mixed with error and man's opinion. This of course includes all Christian denominations and camps, to a greater or lesser degree. We should not be bothered to argue or dispute with them, as with any who are weak in faith. From God's point of view, the differences between denominations are often nothing more than children arguing on the playground that really have no idea what they are talking about. .
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