Grow Up

Grow Up! (Hebrews 5:11-6:3) *Verses in NLT*

– The Book of Hebrews is written to, among others, the Christians in Rome, about the early 60s.

– The Christian community and house churches began there when those who were at Pentecost returned home around the 30s. That means 30 years of the gospel being preached in that area.

– Apostle Paul has be preaching and teaching for two decades by this time, and the word about Jesus has travelled all over the area, but those in Rome have been there from the beginning.

– After all this time, some witnessing the move of the Holy Spirit, or possibly even hearing firsthand accounts of meeting Jesus himself, what would you expect their spiritual maturity to be?

– So far in Hebrews, the author has been talking about:

– Jesus is superior to all things. Hebrews 1:3, The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.

– How important it is to know and understand the truth. Hebrews 2:1, So we must listen carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. 

– Hebrews has talked about:

– All things were created through Jesus… He brings us eternal life… The concept of Jesus being 100% God and 100% man…

– Jesus being the perfect sacrifice for sin, fulfilling the old testament sacrificial system…

– Many connections were made between Old Testament events and people, and how it relates to Jesus and today…

– Jesus is our perfect high priest, in the order of Melchizedek, deserving even more glory than Moses…

– This is the stuff that many of them have been taught about for years, week in and week out. It is complex, but the believers should have gained some mature understanding by now.

Hebrews 5:11-6:3 (NLT), There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. 

So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.

grow up

Point #1. Babies eat milk. Adults eat meat.

– Food is a fun and easy spiritual metaphor. We all have a lifetime of experience with food. 

– Many of us also have a solid base knowledge of nutrition: (These are not trick questions!)

– What foods are bad for you? (Sugar). …and why?

Sugar example: According to Florida, the average sugar cane stalk (6’ by 2” and 3lbs) is 85% juice, of which is 11% sugar by weight. One stock produces 132g or refined sugar.

– a 20oz bottle of Coke has 65g of sugar in it. The same as eating a 3ft stalk sugar cane!

– When you strip out all the fibrous, hard to chew stuff, and are left with only the sweet stuff, it actually makes you sickly and weak. Same applies to the word of God! 

– What foods are good for you? (Vegetables.) …and why?

Example: The Gorilla Diet. A 400lb gorilla can eat 40lbs of plant life a day. That is the human equivalent of 18lbs of fruits and vegetables a day. I don’t think anyone could do it!

– A Costco bag of spinach is 2.5lbs, 104 cal per lb, 260 calories per bag. I need about 2600 cal per day to maintain weight, which would be 10 bags, or basically 25lbs of spinach per day!

– When someone says, “I’ve tried everything to lose weight, and nothing works.” I guarantee you they haven’t tried the Gorilla Diet!

Spiritual application: You can never consume too much of the goodness of God. The supply of nutrition will never run out, and you will always end up healthier that you began.

– What is the basic principle behind losing weight? (Burn more calories than you eat.) 

Example from my life: First I counted calories and ended up starving. The next time I focused on quality and became the healthiest I had ever been in my life.

– To be spiritually healthy, it takes more than a philosophy that can fit on a bumper sticker.

Hebrews 5:11, 13, and 14, “There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen…. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.”

– “Spiritually dull”: The Greek term means “sluggish, dimwitted, negligent, lazy.” Spiritually lethargic.

– The author of Hebrews wants to go deeper in teaching about Jesus, but can’t because the people “don’t seem to listen” or understand these deeper things.

– Not that they can’t understand it, but that they are being negligent and lazy about spiritual growth.

– Paul says the same thing to the church in Corinth, but elaborates why this is the case…

1 Cor. 3:1-3, Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?

– We live in a quick-n-easy, entertainment-focused, spoon-fed, participation-award, “do what you feel is right” kind of society. This doesn’t cut in for our spiritual lives.

– Even the “milk” that baby Christians need is nutritious and complex, not just simple formulas.

Example: Baby formula, 1860 German scientist tried to create a healthy replacement for mother’s milk, but only understood macros, not micros or vitamins, so it failed. 

– In the 1970s scientists knew all about the various nutritional components but could still not create a formula that kids could thrive on. The sum of the parts is not greater than the whole.

– in 2006, they discovered something in breast milk that only exists to feed gut bacteria, which in turn protects a baby from diseases. You can’t create a formula to replace what God created.

– Just like you can’t design a better milk, you can’t engineer a better broccoli.

Example: vitamins, supplements, protein shakes, etc… can’t replace real whole foods.

1 Cor. 14:20, Dear brothers and sisters, don’t be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in understanding matters of this kind.

– You can’t live off of formulas and supplements alone: YouTube sermons, books, blogs, podcasts, devotionals, etc… even bible studies. Every time you “process food”, it loses nutrients.

– If you find yourself stuck on “easy meal replacements”, now is the time to graduate to steak.

grow up

Point #2. How to move from milk to meat.

Hebrews 5:12 and 6:1, “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word…. So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamentals…”

– You have to have a foundation first, before you try to build something.

Every believer should know, and be able to explain, these 3 things:

1. Your own testimony. (What has Jesus done for you? How has your life changed?)

2. What is the gospel. (We are sinners who need a savior, Jesus is that Savior, accept, believe, confess, repent… Saved by grace through faith in Jesus)

3. The non-negotiables of the faith. (The trinity, Jesus in our only hope for salvation, Jesus death and resurrection, Jesus will return, the Bible is the infallible, inspired word of God…)

– I could tell you where to find all those supporting verses, but you have heard them all before. That would defeat the purpose of pressing you to grow in maturity. (Go look them up!)

2 Timothy 4:2, Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

– You can’t simply rely on others for your own growth.

– A huge problem with our society is the lack of accountability, and it shows up in the church too.

– When it comes to your own spiritual growth, you can’t say, “My pastor never talked about that.” Or, “My bible study never covered that.” Because you have the whole bible sitting right in front of you!

– Sermons are not enough. It is a lazy Christian that only listens to what someone else thinks about the scriptures, and never read them for themselves. (Like a baby bird eating a regurgitated worm.)

– Bible study groups are not enough. Do YOU prepare before you go, or just show up?

Example: My dad leading “bible study”. He would study it out for weeks before coming to lead the group. Others would just want to read a verse and ask, “What does that mean to you?” But my dad would have nothing to do with that! (That’s not really studying the bible.)

– These can be a leaping off point, but the Lord wants a relationship with you personally. He doesn’t want you to just be “a friend of a friend”.

Proverbs 2:1-6, My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

James 1:5, If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

Hebrews 6:1-2, Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

– You have heard, and been taught about topics like these before, from this pulpit. If asked about it, would you have some measure of an answer, or at least know where to find it? 

– All the sermons and sermon notes are online for your benefit, to use in your own understanding and as a way to “jump start” to what the bible says about these subjects.

– Maybe you should be teaching your friends about this stuff by now?

Eph 4:11-15,  Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 

– The pastors are responsible to equip you to do the work of the ministry, not to make you comfortable in your seats.

– The better you know God’s Word, the harder it will be for someone to trick you with a lie.

grow up

Point #3. It’s time to grow up.

Hebrews 6:3, And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.

– This is a call to grow up and become mature in all areas of our Christian walk.

Grown-ups stop making excuses. You know the truth and where to find it. There is no excuse.

1 Cor. 13:11, When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

Grown-ups take responsibility. Its not someone else’s job to “fix it”.

2 Cor. 5:10, For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

– This is a journey, not a destination. It’s a lifestyle change, not a diet.

Hebrews 2:1, So we must listen carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. 

James, the brother of Jesus, wrote in James 1:22, But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 

*You can’t DO what it says, if you don’t KNOW what it says.*

– prayer –

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