Summary: Exposition of Hebrews 5:11-6:1 about spiritual immaturity in the church
Text: Hebrews 5:11-6:1, Title: Let’s Eat Steak, Date/Place: NRBC, 2/4/06, AM
A. Opening illustration: the movie Outbreak was the story of an epidemic of the Motoba bacteria that came over from a foreign country and began to be spread through the air to people in an entire town, so much so that the computer models generated the spread of the disease to the entire nation within a matter of weeks. It had a 100% mortality rate in humans within days of infection. They were going to bomb the whole city. The church today is in an outbreak of immaturity and weakness in deep truth. Literature, sermons, ministries…
B. Background to passage: the writer here is in the middle of an extended argument that takes up most of the rest of the book about Jesus be superior to the Old Covenant priesthood, sacrifices, laws, ceremonies, etc. He is speaking to a congregation of Jewish Christians that are wavering in faith. Some of which are truly saved, and some of which are simply part of the church. And he is about to talk about the link between the person of Jesus and the office and function of Melchizedek from the OT. But he stops to give a well thought out warning and admonition to his readers about their sliding state of immaturity in the faith. Think of this as a loving pastoral rebuke as opposed to a blazing, stinging, piercing comment. It is done to get their attention, and rattle their sense of self-sufficiency. Context is key.
C. Main thought: Our text give us four truths about spiritual sluggishness and immaturity.
A. It is blameworthy and dangerous (v. 11-13)
1. The writer tells us that the reason that the things that he has to say about Melchizedek are literally difficult to interpret is because the readers have become (perfect tense) spiritually sluggish. It was used of slaves who “stopped their ears” with laziness, and didn’t do what their master said. This word is only used one other time in the NT—read it. The opposite of it is to be diligent or earnest about hearing a message. In v. 12 he says that they ought to be teachers. “Ought” is a word that communicated duty. And he is not talking about being formal teachers, but being people who can instruct others in the faith personally because they themselves are well-taught. It seems that they were not always this way. It is not that they never grew, because they became dull. But after some growth, they got content and seemed to settle in at a particular level. And once they settled and began to coast, they began to lose that which they had been taught. Not only did they lose knowledge, but they began to lose their taste for the deep things of God. The word in v. 13 translated “unskilled” really means “inexperienced” because of a lack or knowledge or capacity.
3. Illustration: A man, after 25 years with one company, was still doing the same old job and drawing the same salary. Finally he went to his boss and told him he felt he had been neglected. “After all,” he said, “I’ve had a quarter of a century of experience.” “My dear fellow,” sighed the boss, “you haven’t had a quarter of a century of experience, you’ve had one experience for a quarter of a century.” The farmer who was not making much progress, but was established, as he sat on the wagon full of logs that was stuck in the mud, Sunday evening arrived. As I watched them get off the plane, my friend seemed almost despondent. I almost didn’t want to ask, but finally I said, “Well, how was the reunion?” “Tim,” the man said, “it was one of the saddest experiences of my life.” “Good grief,” I said, more than a little surprised. “What happened?” “It wasn’t what happened but what didn’t happen. It has been forty years; forty years—and they haven’t changed. They had simply gained weight, changed clothes, gotten jobs…but they hadn’t really changed. And what I experienced was maybe one of the most tragic things I could ever imagine about life. For reasons I can’t fully understand, it seems as though some people choose not to change.” There was a long silence as we walked back to the car. On the drive home, he turned to me and said, “I never, never want that to be said of me, Tim.” Life is too precious, too sacred, too important. If you ever see me go stagnant like that, I hope you give me a quick, swift kick where I need it—for Christ’s sake. I hope you’ll love me enough to challenge me to keep growing.” “Passivity produces perpetual babies, who may discover that they are doll-Christians and not living Christians at all.”