Summary: A look at the foundational truths of the Christian faith which must be wholly understood before believers can move on to maturity in Christ. This one focuses on "repentance from dead works" and "faith in God".
Dakota Community Church
October 19, 2008
Foundational Truth 1
Introduction & Review:
While evangelicals are over 50% more likely to give "ideal" answers to the questions about what churchgoers believe on 12 historical doctrines, one out of three of their responses differ from what Protestants historically have believed. According to a LifeWay survey, only 54% of churchgoers have what B&H Publishing Group President Brad Waggoner considers a "high view" of Scripture. Another 18% somewhat agree the Bible "is the written Word of God and is totally accurate in all that it teaches." 58% strongly agree "eternal salvation is possible through God’s grace alone; nothing we can do can earn salvation." Waggoner observes, "The fact that so few regular churchgoers have an accurate biblical understanding and conviction about salvation says we are a long way from where we need to be. We diminish our emphasis on doctrinal truth to our own harm. We are like the captain who is unconcerned about the leak in his ship. While it may not seem like a big deal at the time, eventually it will sink the ship." The study also showed a majority of Protestant churchgoers believe a person can find eternal life in religions other than Christianity. One in three churchgoers disagree strongly with this, while another 8% somewhat disagree. Close to a third of churchgoers cannot strongly affirm the Trinity or the resurrection.
- The Shape of Faith to Come, Brad J. Waggoner, B&H Publishing Group, 2008
Let’s begin our study of foundational truth by reading Hebrews 5:11 – 6:3
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.
So the question is why are we teaching on these foundational truths the author says to leave behind and go on to maturity?
1. Christians are to grow up spiritually.
The author is frustrated with his audience because they have refused to grow up. A significant amount of time has passed, they should be teaching others but instead they need him to teach again the “elementary truths”; the stoicheia in the Greek, which literally means the A, B, C’s.
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Now that we are saved by faith we are to feed on spiritual milk and grow up in our salvation.
Many people refuse to do that.
Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?
Here we see a refusal to mature in Christian behavior. They are “brothers” but they are behaving like mere men being jealous and quarrelsome and “worldly”.
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
This time we see a need for maturity in “knowledge of the Son of God”.
There is no threat of a loss of salvation; there is no hint of an earning of heaven, there is the expectation of growth like any father expects of his son or daughter.
My sons have of course grown up wearing the PK label. I have certain expectations of them because they have grown up with my input in a loving home environment. They have not known abuse, they have never been called stupid or inferior, Kathy and I have tried to guide them lovingly in the way.