Putting God's Word into Practice…

Hebrews 5:11-6:3 ~ Training for Maturity

on March 11, 2013

“About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.” (Hebrews 5:11)

Since it starts with the phrase, “About this,” let’s look back at 5:10 to see to what the writer is referring…Jesus, “being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.”  What does that mean?  The author doesn’t explain because it’s difficult to be understood by those who have dull hearing.  People with dull hearing have a lack of desire to understand.  We don’t start out dull of hearing, but the danger is in BECOMING dull of hearing.  That is probably why the author wrote in Hebrews 2:1, “We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”  Has my desire to seek the Lord and know Him deeply become dull?

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:12-14 

We have this illustration given of babies verses grown-ups in the faith.  Babies can only have milk.  They are unskilled in the Word and need to be fed by others because they cannot feed themselves.  How silly is it to picture a grown man walking around with a bottle?  Or packing milk bottles in his lunch?  The mature in faith need solid food.  They have a discerning palette.  They are trained by constant practice.  Picking up the spoon and feeding themselves, they don’t give up and go back to the bottle.  They learn the power of the Word to help them distinguish what is pleasing to the Lord (good) and what is displeasing to Him (evil).  Mature Christians have sensitized ears to listen to deep truths and teach them.  Teaching others about God’s truth is a sign of maturity.  Has my spiritual diet become bland?  Am I relying too much on others to teach me what I can dig into for myself?  Have I settled for milk when God has offered me steak?  Am I taking in enough to be sharing with others?

In Hebrews 6:1-2, the writer moves on to a new illustration.  “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about (baptism), the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”  The foundation for an elementary and a mature believer are the same: 1. Turning from sin and putting faith in God, 2. Understanding baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit, 3. Believing in the future judgment and eternal life.  If we drew the line there, the Christian life would become stagnant and dull!  People would be in danger of falling away (which I’ll look at more closely tomorrow).

A good builder lays a strong foundation then builds a building.  It would be ridiculous to keep laying foundation, relaying foundation, or stopping after the foundation.  The building would have no use or purpose.  What good is a foundation with nothing to support?  So it is with the Christian life.  We must have a strong foundation that grows into maturity.  We must become stable, useful and beneficial to others.  What is being built on my foundation?  Has construction stopped or been held up in any way?

Hebrews 6:1 says, “Let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity.  How foolish would it be to stay in elementary school and never reach graduation?  (I picture Adam Sandler sitting in Kindergarten circle time in the movie “Billy Madison.”)  We are in school together.  Let’s grow together!  Let’s be useful and strengthened together!  Let’s teach each other!  Let’s build on the foundation of truth that has already been laid!

“And this we WILL do, IF God permits.” Hebrews 6:3  We must have a resolute desire to change and grow yet be fully dependent on God’s strength and grace to make it happen.  It starts by taking the bottle and holding it yourself; then picking up a spoon and feeding bite-sized morsels; then grabbing the steak knife and digging in to some choice bites.  Next  we start school–learn, grow, read, write, pass tests, graduate, move on to something new.  Finally we start the powerful labor of building and teaching others to build.  This is maturity–never stagnant, never dull, being filled and emptied to be filled again. 


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