The Weekend Word
Thinking back to where we left last week, the writer begins a dissertation on Melchizedek and interrupts himself abruptly, to discuss the maturity level of these believers.
12 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,
- By now they should be teachers – (not like pastors for you need calling on top of maturity- or formal teachers), but They should be able to help others – answer questions – to share their faith.
- Milk vs Solid food – what do you think of when you hear this?
- Where are you?
13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.
- Discerning between right & wrong – you will see this lack of discernment in many liberal churches
- Milk = “well, it’s up to everyone to decide” – I have heard people who say, “well that’s pastor’s job to tell people if they are doing wrong – not me.”
- Solid Food = coming back with “as a Christian, right and wrong is already laid out.”
- But solid food is also our recognition of our own standing and the realization that as Luther said to repent daily.
14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
- Do you have your powers of discernment trained?
- How do you practice? Where do you practice? I don’t think you can plan to practice or prepare to practice – your practice is really on the job training, in your everyday life … and one day you wake up prepared.
- Discipleship = Growth – which by many is confused with sanctification.
- What happens is that many people do not get past the Jesus stuff – they are not allowed to grow before being asked to perform.
- So they fall into the rut of “OK, enough of this Jesus stuff – let’s talk about me and what I can do in this Christian venture.
What do the immature do when trouble sets in?
- Curse God and Give up
What do the mature do?
- They share – They trust and pray
- Crying out to God is the faithful thing to do – “Lord have mercy”
- “Lord here are your promises – I am depending on you to deliver.”
So the writer is telling them – in the midst of this hardship, you are acting immature.
Chapter 6: 1-3
The chapter division here is odd. The change in thought came in 5:11 – I wonder why they did not break there?
The word of God is truly inspired, right and truthful – not the chapters and verses.
1Therefore 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,
- So what is the solution to the problem of immaturity? To keep moving on.
- The writer is saying, You know all of this stuff – I don’t need to repeat it.
- We are going to move ahead and leave the basics and build on the foundation that has already been laid.
- So many Christians want to reinvent the wheel – the elementary doctrines are set, move on.
2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
- Dead Works (9:14 we will see = sin) – Forsaking sin and having faith towards God. Baptism – washings & laying on of hands – Resurrection of the dead & eternal judgment
- Where the Jewish converts were having a problem was that all of these teachings also had a Jewish basis and context and they were now looking to how they could carry on with these, and still return to Temple lifestyle.
- In the Christian context, these are foundational – so let’s move on.
3 And this we will do if God permits.
- Always – if God permits.
- Remember, when Christianity was stepping out, they were considered no more than another Jewish sect.
- So, a Jewish convert to Christianity could easily leave Christ behind and still live on those foundations.
- Americans are no different. Some of us may have the same attitudes as these Jewish converts towards pressure. Most of us, say over 50 know what it’s like to live in a place that is 100% culturally Christian… comfortable. You know, where everyone has some kind of experience with Christianity without really being involved in it.
- And when you find out it may cost you – “well, I’ll go back to the level I was comfortable in.”