Summary: We are expected to progress in spiritual growth just as a person is expected to progress in natural growth.

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From Bottles of Formula to Formulated Battles: The Progress of Spiritual Growth

Where Are You At on the Spiritual Growth Chart?

Sermon by Thomas A. Gaskill

August 14, 2011

Scripture Text:

Hebrews 5:11-6:3 NIV

(11) We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.

(12) 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!

(13) Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.

(14) But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

(1) 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,

(2) instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

(3) And God permitting, we will do so.

Main Points:

1. Infant: Me Want – God Is Centered On Me – Believe and Receive – Desire Blessings from God

2. Child: Me Do – Look At Me – See What I Can Do For God – Obey God – Duty to God

3. Adolescent: Mold Me – Becoming Like Christ – See What God’s Grace Can Do – Trust God - Dependent on God

4. Adult: Search Me – Love Walk With God and others – Centered On God – Delight in God

Sermon Body:

1. The Scripture tells us “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.”

a. I want to begin by saying that this stage is not bad in and of itself; it is the first step in progressing in spiritual growth. When a person is born again, it necessarily follows that they are infants in Christ. This person is at the “Me Want” stage of life. They have believed and received Christ as their personal Savior. This is the stage of spiritual life characterized by desiring God’s blessings. Just as a baby cries until it is fed, cries until somebody changes the dirty diaper, cries until somebody holds them, cries until rocked to sleep, cries until a ride in the swing happens, etc…; so the new believer is at a self-centered stage of their spiritual life. They came to Christ to escape the torments of hell. They came to Christ in hopes of obtaining God’s blessings. They came to Christ to feel better about themselves and life in general. They came to Christ to be comforted. They came to Christ to be assured a trip to heaven.

Again, I repeat, this is a perfectly normal first stage in spiritual growth. Nothing wrong as far as this is concerned. However, it is not normal or good for a person to remain as infants. The born again Christian must be weaned from their bottles of formula and progress into childhood.

2. We can see Childhood referred to when our Scripture text mentions the elementary teachings about Christ. Elementary school is for children. Here the child learns the alphabet, how to count, tie their shoes, read, and write. Spiritual children are in spiritual elementary school. Again, I want to emphasize that this is a good and necessary level. All children should have the opportunity of an elementary school education. However, it is not good for a child to remain in elementary school for an extended period of time beyond what is good and necessary. Churches need to implement “No Child Left Behind” and seek the advancement of all of God’s children. Nevertheless, even with “No Child Left Behind”, there are still some who are determined not to advance regardless of what opportunities come their way.

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