Summary: This is the third message in the series on Faith. There are rules that govern how we are to live in the kingdom of God and they should be – no, must be – the foundation for how we think and how we make decisions.
Growing in faith is a process. Sometimes I think we forget that. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are born into a kingdom that we know very little about. That’s why we must grow in our knowledge and understanding of “kingdom rules” if we are to properly live and function in our new home.
No parent, for example, gives the car keys to a new born baby. The same is true for the “keys” to the kingdom of God. Our Heavenly Father will not give us the keys if we are still in spiritual diapers, which is what the Apostle Paul is saying to the church at Corinth in I Corinthians 3:1, 2
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat, for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
The writer of Hebrews says the same thing to the Jewish Christians in chapter five, verse 12 through the first part of verse 14.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God, and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age...
Babies don’t realize they are babies.
I remember learning this truth with Ephraim, my first born. When he learned to crawl, my wife and I took off our shoes at the front door. If something was on the floor, Ephraim would find it and into his mouth it would go. He was a baby. He didn’t know that eating off of the floor was a no-no. (We taught him the five seconds rule later.?) Often when we stopped him, he would scream and cry “bloody murder”. He was a baby.
Ephraim had no discernment about what to eat and what not to eat. It was something he had to learn. His mom and I had to teach him, his younger sister and brother the “Johnson Rules” for not only eating but for living. As they grew and matured, the “Johnson Rules” became the foundation for how they thought and made decisions.
The same is true for Christians. There are rules that govern how we are to live in the kingdom of God and they should be – no, must be – the foundation for how we think and how we make decisions.
One of the biggest missteps I’ve seen in the Church during my years in ministry has been the willingness of the Church to promote people into leadership because of talent and charisma and not because of spiritual maturity and doctrinal purity.
The Apostle Paul and the writer of Hebrews are describing many of the men and women who are in leadership today. They are babies who don’t realize or believe they are babies.
This has led to beliefs and teachings about God that are not supported by Scripture. We have become so captivated with the melodic and smooth sounding voices that pump up our emotions that we fail to realize that we leave our churches the same way we came in: spiritually malnourished.
When we are spiritually malnourished it is impossible – impossible – for us to have faith, yet alone live by faith.
When we are spiritually malnourished, we believe we have the faith we need when the truth of the matter is we really don’t.
What happens when faith is not evident in our lives? Is God able to move on our behalf? Is He able to override our unbelief? Mark 6:1-6a provides the answer.
(1) And He (Jesus) went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.
(2) And when the Sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue; and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
(3) Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judah, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended in him.
(4) But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.