Summary: Growing in the Faith of the Bible requires many things, and one of the most important of them is a growing familiarity with God’s Word.
Faith Engaged in Learning
1. Paul Henning — nonsense comedy: Burns & Allen, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, and, of course, the Beverly Hillbillies.
2. Jethro Bodine (still in 6th grade). Instead of being embarrassed — a grown man and just graduated from the 6th grade, he thought he was highly educated. He didn’t know that he didn’t know. He thought he could be a brain surgeon.
3. The fact that the other students were children never seemed to impress him that something was wrong. Many believers in Jesus feel the same way. They are Jethros. New believers quickly pass them up, and they have no idea that something is wrong.
They don’t even notice; they think others are remarkable, but issue is motivation.
4. And, frankly, in a day when many are abandoning the faith or caving into the culture, many Christians do not stand a chance unless they have taken their role as students — as learners (disciples) of God’s Word.
Main Idea: Growing in the Faith of the Bible requires many things, and one of the most important of them is a growing familiarity with God’s Word.
I. What CHARACTERIZES An Immature Christian? (11-13)
Apollos is taking a break in the midst of a difficult subject to challenge his readers to pay attention and not let their minds wander. The issue is not intelligence, but a fear of lazy brains or an unwilling to focus and think deeply because the subject is complex. They might be tempted to say, “What do we need this for? Just tell us how to live.”
Apollos is trying to shame his readers into a higher level of understanding (according to Ben Witherington III).
A. DULL of hearing (11)
• Lost hearing in ear/thought sinuses, earwax/pants rustling
• People who are dull of hearing don’t know they are dull of hearing
B. Instead of MENTORING others, a need to be mentored (12a)
1. A friend who influenced me for Christ in HS; still hopping from church to church… still a spiritual consumer
2. There comes a time when we have to become the trustees of our faith and of our community; we have to become the pillars and cease being nomads.
C. An immature spiritual DIET (12b)
Many concerned about healthy food, but what about what we feed our minds, souls, and hearts? Diet greatly affects physical health, but more so spiritual health.
D. Lack of SKILL in using the Word (13)
1. KNOWING the Scriptures thoroughly
2. OBEYING the Scriptures (doing)
3. You can’t follow the DIRECTIONS without reading the directions.
II. How Does A Christian Become Mature? Training and PRACTICE (14)
A. Able to partake of SOLID food
• We have enjoyed Jack. At 19 months, you can hold a peach for him…chopped
• He is transitioning from milk to solid food
B. Mental study to learn SPIRITUAL truth
“Just as we say that it is possible to have faith without being literate, so we assert that it is not possible to understand the statements contained in the faith without study . To assimilate the right affirmations and reject the rest is not the product of simple faith but of faith engaged in learning…those with learning ‘with their faculties trained by practice’ have an advantage.” Clement of Alexandria, 2nd Century
C. The Hallmark: DISCERNMENT
• Take the example of Jephtah /daughter…Jephthah was ignorant of Torah
D. USING what we learn and sharing it with others
• We are the proud owners of a canary… moult… need extra protein.
• Take in the Word for nourishment so that we have the strength and spiritual muscle to follow Jesus.
III. What Attitude Must We Embraced to Mature? We Must Become EAGER to Move On (1-3).
• Like pushing a cart up a hill, we either go forward in our faith or we begin losing ground.
A. We should never FORSAKE the basics, but we should master them and move on.
• You have to learn the alphabet before you can read well. You have to count numbers before you can do mathematics.
• But you don’t go over the alphabet in 5th grade.
B. Basics include entry-level DOCTRINES and basic RITUAL practices.
C. We have to advance and perhaps sadly leave others BEHIND (3).
1. Are you driving in the slow lane with your blinkers on, going 35?
2. Are other people others pass and leave behind while you never arrive?
3. It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s not a competition between us, but we are each called to run the race.
Growing in the Faith of the Bible requires many things, and one of the most important of them is a growing familiarity with God’s Word.