We all have milestones in out lives. Today I want to focus on the milestones that we work toward ,primarily education and the expected results.
We all have some common background of being in school and had to work toward a grade. Elementary school leads to middle and High school, then for some collage.
Before that, when we are born we automatically have the ability to learn. We quickly learn how to get things from our parents, by crying. It is not long before we reach point and make faces that show how we feel. We automatically learn, we don’t have to be taught how to adapt.
Now our world has become more complex. Long ago people learned that verbal communication was not enough and writing, then math, Now computers. School has been around a long time to aid children and adults in keeping up with the vast amounts of information and knowledge.
When we started school everything, well most everything, we learned became a building block for the next week, month and year. An example: I still use the same alphabet that kindergarten and first grade teachers taught me. The alphabet is used to day to make 10’s of thousand of new words and absolute truths that we did not realize 30 or 100 years ago.
We are students all our lives, but in formal education for at least a time in our lives. Now for our first piece of scripture.
Hebrews 5: 12-14
12 You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things a beginner must learn about the Scriptures. You are like babies who drink only milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 And a person who is living on milk isn’t very far along in the Christian life and doesn’t know much about doing what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who have trained themselves to recognize the difference between right and wrong and then do what is right.
The Bible is the basic building block of our Christianity. It is the starting point of our Christian faith. Your initial faith was probably based on another person’s description of their understanding of a Bible truth. It might have been a parent, a friend, teacher, preacher but someone that had heard the good news shared it with you. Someone explained what it meant to them and invited you to share in the understanding of the Word.
No matter what you age when you heard it you were able to learn from what you heard and saw. You probably did not understand everything that you were exposed to but you found some comfort that you accepted as true.
We really don’t know the author of Hebrews. I personally suspect Paul. Something about the style of writing. How would I make a guess like that?
As a maturing Christian you read and study the Word of God for yourself. You go from having someone just tell you and you accept, to reading and understanding for yourself.
Well there is something else at work, Scripture tells us that the helper entered our lives, the Holy Spirit is involved. It helps us to accept the verbal teachings when we are new and later as we mature we find meaning, we find meat, something that sustains us and improves us..
I only remember tiny faded snapshots of elementary school. I guess I trusted my teachers would tell me the truth and not teach me the wrong alphabet. Now I know, that they were living under rules to teach us certain things, basic truths. They were under an obligation to help us get to the next level.
My school teachers already knew all the things they were teaching because they already had learned it. They already went through all the grades then collage and then additional steps to become teachers.
So at some point in their lives, they went from being a formal student in the class room to being a teacher. They took all the knowledge that accumulated over the years, added the things that life taught them along the way and came back into that 1st grade class to bring another group along.
Give us the building blocks to make us ready to go into the world. The scripture from Hebrews, is a letter to people who were confused about the basic truths. They were unable to advance to having their own understanding. They took whatever snack or meal someone offered and accepted it as truth.
Enough time had passed and the lessons taught that they themselves should have become the teachers to the next generation. And not been totally dependant on someone else. Something happened in their education. Some how they had either not received the gift of the Holy Spirit that would help their understanding of right and wrong, truth and lies or they ignored it’s prompting
They plateau and stopped advancing, their faith was not mature enough to stand on their own. They were not willing to go the next level because it is easy to have it all figured out and handed to you.
As you pastor, I have the potential to serve God here with different gifts. Many Preachers are evangelist; they are to preach to the ones that need to be saved.
Share the Good News, teach salvation, repentance and baptism every week.
Every week new people are exposed to that message and God changes their lives.
The second role is to be a teacher of the word. To interpret ancient passages written by peoples and cultures that are alien to our normal thinking. And with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit relate to our lives and situations to day.
In case you have not figured it out, I am the second type. If I taught you salvation and repentance every Sunday. You would be an expert and be very board; in fact most of you already are experts.
If that is all I taught you I am teaching you the alphabet every week, I am giving you milk and no meat. I would not be leading you to a new pasture where the grass is tender and sweet. I would not be preparing you for the reality and dangers of the world. You would never know that the meat of the Word of God is full of flavor.
There are a lot of people out here that get out of school and don’t have everything they need to get the high paying job. Some drop out, the outside world either lets them leave without the tools or they send them out, ready or not.
There are some people that really do have problems that keep them from learning and they can’t help it. But more often the people choose not to try to do better. They found they can survive on bottled milk and an few animal crackers, they can take the handout and feed themselves just what they are given.
As a church we are kinder, and for the right reasons, we will allow people to stay right were they are. In the name of Christ we keep feeding people and never push them out of the nest, we never make them stress their comfort zone and make them choose to move to something new, better, more filling.
1 Corinthians 12: 27-28
27 Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. 28 Here is a list of some of the members that God has placed in the body of Christ: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who can get others to work together, those who speak in unknown languages.
According to scripture, we are the Body of Christ. The people in the congregation are gifted by God with abilities for survival. Some are given the ability to evangelize – invite people to church others to teach, heal, love. And some are to be sent out but he body for God’s purposes.
So what road has Tom been taking you down today, What’s my point?
Each of us is called to be something more than a student. We are called to grow up and reach the milestone that marks our graduation, to get out of the high chair and look for ourselves at what is in the frig.
Once you are able to choose the meal and prepare the sandwich you move to the next step. When a baby starts to eat solid food they start to really grow, not baby fat, but muscles and bones that give real strength.
After some period of time, you come to graduation. You have enough strength to stand on your own. You have the skills to get a job and start putting food of all kinds in the fridge for yourself and others.
***** (Two congregations only one received the info between * )
This congregation is changing; last year our health as a church started improving. We got a shot in the arm with some new members. New young people with Energy and Ideas and children of their own. And needs of their own.
This is a shot in the arm that God has provided that we all need to respond to. Some need to realize that it is time to graduate. To take a job to support what the body needs now. We have been pretty comfortable.
We did not need to have modern safe nursery equipment. We did not need children’s Sunday school books. We did not need teachers for Kindergarten through Young married adults.
So far someone in the congregation has else has take care of our every need. We have been content, happy and satisfied. But it is not good for the body in general to be comfortable all the time.
It is not about us any more, God is changing things. Now it is about realizing that you are here for a reason. Our basic education is over, we need to be providers to become breadwinners. Accept the Job the gifts that God offers and feed, invite and teach.
Let’s think about how Jesus demonstrated this model of ministry. When it came time to start his ministry, he went out and invited men to join him. For 3 and a half years he taught them. He tested them, and corrected them.
It came time for him to perform his main task, to accept our punishment for mankind. It came time for him to pay the complete price for the ministry and all of mankind. And he did it.
The disciples were left behind. School was over. It was time for them to take on the job. It was time for them to accept their places as the teachers, and administrators and healers.
That is the way it works, Jesus did the preparations, trained the staff and turned over the ministry. If you asked them they would have said, I can’t do this. They could have gone back to their previous lives.
Except for one thing.
They tasted the meat of the gospel. They experienced a personal living relationship with God. They found truth that felt so good and they had to graduate, they had to try and share it. When they did they found they were not alone. They had received the Gift that gave them strength and real power.
The same gift that every Christian is offered even today. The gift that empowers you to teach the ABCs and share them. The power to know the truth. The interest to look up My teaching and hold me and anyone else accountable to the Word of God!
It’s time for you to reach out for meat, Take a risk and go for stake, prime rib, maybe even fleit meion. The only way to get the real meal is to pick up God’s word and slice off a few pages a day or a few chapters a week.
Let the Holy Spirit be the added flavor, let it help in the digestion. Let it lead you to a new diet that a grown up wants.
All Glory be to God!