Summary: This sermon stresses the importance of spiritual growth.
One of my favorite old country songs was written by the Oak Ridge Boys years ago and it was written specifically about children and just how precious they are. The title of the song was Thank God for Kids. In its refrain, were these words, “the nearest thing to heaven is a child.” And when you think about it, that’s really a pretty accurate statement isn’t it? When we were newborns, we were as close to innocent and pure as we will ever be. Though we were born into sinful flesh, as babies we haven’t yet learned to consciously sin. Maybe that’s what makes babies so appealing—their innocence.
I can so fondly remember when Meagan was just a little infant, she was such a precious baby. I don’t know if many of you fathers had the pleasure of actually being in the delivery room when you children were born but I highly recommend it. Talking about a milestone in your life… being there when your child takes her first breath! The best way I can think of to describe it is that it is nothing less than a spiritual experience—in fact I hear that the delivery room is where many people are so moved by the miracle of birth that then and there they give their heart to God. What a blessing that would be to share our spiritual birthday with our child’s physical birthday!
It’s been seventeen years since I was fortunate enough to witness the birth of my child. Over those seventeen years, Tammy and I have watched her go through and amazing sequence of transformations. She began her life as a cute little infant that was totally and utterly helpless to do anything on her own. Over time, she grew strong enough to hold her head up, roll over, then there was that “inch worm phase.” Before long she was sitting up, and then came crawling, walking, talking (by the way, her first real word was “daddy”!)
Now, she’s a senior in high school and we only have one more year before she moves to Collegedale, Tennessee to attend Southern Adventist University. Our baby is growing up.
What can we do? Babies grow up don’t they? They have to, it’s the natural cycle of life. You see, God, in His infinite wisdom wired us so that we would grow and mature literally every day of our lives. Obviously, different children mature at differing rates but I’ve seen some children that simply refuse to grow up.. Six year-old still breastfeeding….The mother complained that the child simply refused to grow up.
Have you noticed that many of us Christians today, are content being “baby Christians” –What I mean by this is that a very large percentage of Christians simply refuse to grow up spiritually.
I. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3 that in order for us to enter the kingdom of God we must be born of the water and of the Spirit. And naturally, for a short period of time after our “new birth experience” we are “baby Christians.” But in much the same way as babies grow physically, mentally and emotionally, new Christians must grow in their newfound relationship with the Lord.
II. Hebrews 5:11-6:7
III. The writer is being very blunt with the Hebrew converts to Christianity! He calls them on their desire to remain “spiritual babies.”
A. “slow to learn” or as the KJ version puts it “dull of hearing”
B. by now they should be teachers but they still need someone to teach them.
C. They refuse to mature and would rather continue to nurse on milk (repentance and salvation) instead of growing in their relationship and knowledge of Christ. Solid food enables us to distinguish between good and evil—between God’s will for our lives and sin. Isaiah 30:9-11
IV. Why not remain spiritual babies? There is a clear and present danger in not growing up
A. In the animal kingdom, being a baby is obviously the most vulnerable time in any animal’s life because of the threat of predators. That’s why so many of them are born ready to run and if they can’t find their feet quickly enough, they don’t survive.
B. Being a baby Christian is also the most critical time in our spiritual lives, because we are so vulnerable to the Satan who the bible tells us prowls around like a lion waiting for someone to devour.
V. If your knowledge of Jesus is limited to the fact that He performed many miracles and died to cleanse you from your sins, if you don’t know the difference between the Gospel of John and 1 John, if the extent of your prayer life is a quick rendition of “now I lay me down to sleep” every night….then you are no doubt a baby Christian still nursing on the milk of repentance and salvation. The question is, how long have you been a baby?