Summary: "But solid food is for the mature who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."
On Another Level: Hebrews 5:14
Introduction: As a pastor, teacher, or influencer, we need to teach on the level of understanding that our learners have. For example…I have a close friend who already has a doctorate degree and is working on her second. She is very intellectual and has spoken to some of the most scholarly level individuals and groups. She is asked to speak at pastor conferences all over the country and teaches graduate level college courses.
She has a passion for those who have messed up their life early on and are seeking to walk with God. She volunteers as a life teacher at a 2-year institute for men who are trying to get their life together. If she went in there and taught on a scholarly level, she would get nowhere. The guys have to be taught with street language that they can relate to and understand. My dear friend has been teaching at this institute for 8 years and loves it.
The point of this story is that we all must realize that everyone doesn’t have the same background as you, the same knowledge as you, or the same experience as you. When teaching, you must access the situation and teach accordingly.
1. Jesus knew that new believers needed a different diet of spiritual food and exercise than the more mature believer. The Lord Jesus knew the wisdom of Heb 5:14 before it was ever written, which says, "But solid food is for the mature who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."
Application: Ask the Lord to give you the discernment to feed people according to the level of their spiritual, emotional, social, attitude, mental, and ministry maturity. You cannot feed an infant a filet mignon. They could not eat it if they tried and if you tried to force them to eat it, they would choke. Just the same, a new believer cannot be taught heavy theological matters when they have yet to understand the basic Christian principals. Paul also had the knowledge of this principle when he wrote, “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it…” 1 Corinthians 3:2.
2. Jesus knew that when He spoke to a crowd there would be various levels of spiritual maturity represented that needed different types of challenges.
a. The non-Christians needed the gospel.
b. The come level believers needed to learn how to feed themselves from God’s word.
c. The growers needed to learn how to discover and utilize their gifts and callings in some kind of service.
d. The developers needed to find a way to utilize their gifts to bring about the making of disciples.
e. The disciple-makers needed to find ways they could organize their flock for the best ways of leading and feeding them through a church fellowship.
f. The leaders needed to find a way to help their fellowships grow in quality and quantity so they could reproduce themselves through converts and a daughter church.
g. The reproducers needed to find ways that they could multiply their converts and the number of churches planted in areas beyond their local community.
h. The multipliers needed to find ways they could become more Christ-like in all facets of their personal lives and ministries (Eph. 4:12-15).
3. Jesus knew that every audience contains not only different levels of maturity but also readiness to learn. The Lord was able to provide something for the unfavorable to help them overcome their opposition to His teaching.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you persuade the unsure through love, wisdom, and tact. He will help you speak the truth in love.
4. Jesus knew that people would be at various levels of need satisfaction. The Lord knew the best way to assure the fearful that God was able to provide them with safety and security. He knew the most effective ways to teach the poor is to show the Lord would supply some of the physiological needs if they sought first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The great Teacher excelled in ways of instructing people how to gain a satisfying way of gaining, belonging, and acceptance.
Application: Ask the Lord for the wisdom to know how to minister to people at the point of their greatest needs (felt needs, perceived needs, real physical, emotional and mental needs, and spiritual needs).
5. Jesus knew how to minister to people according to the level of their moral development. The Lord knew how to confront immature people with clear-cut choices between obeying God and being chastised. Jesus also knew how to exhort the person who will do what is right whenever they see it will bring them benefits.
6. Jesus knew how to teach people on progressively higher levels of cognitive development.