Sermons

Summary: We must grow from an immature disciple into a mature apostle by feeding on the meat of God’s Word.

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AS A NEW PARENT IT WAS AN INDESCRIBABLE JOY TO WITNESS OUR SON’S BIRTH. IT HAS ALSO STRENGTHENED MY FAITH WATCHING HIS PROGRESS FROM HIS WEEK-LONG STAY IN NEO-NATAL INTENSIVE CARE TO WHERE HE IS TODAY WITH LEARNING TO STAND UP, MAINTAIN HIS BALANCE, AND WALK.

I AM AMAZED AT THE WONDERS OF HIS PROGRESS AS HE WENT FROM MILK TO JUICE AND BABY FOOD TO TABLE FOOD. WE ALSO ANTICIPATE HIS GROWTH OF BEING ABLE TO GO FROM HIS EAGER BABBLING TO LEARNING HIS "ABC’S" AND TALKING UP A STORM.

THE SAME IS TRUE FOR ALL CHRISTIANS. JUST LIKE A PARENT WATCHES THEIR BABY GROW UP INTO AN ADULT, GOD WATCHES US AS HIS CHILDREN GROW FROM AN IMMATURE DISCIPLE INTO A SPIRITUALLY MATURE APOSTLE OF HIS HOLY WORD. I’M SURE GOD RECEIVES JOY AS WE GROW AND MATURE IN THE FAITH.

ALTHOUGH IT IS A NECESSITY FOR US THE QUESTION STILL REMAINS: ARE WE MATURING? IF THE ANSWER IS DEPENDENT UPON THE OBVIOUS CONDITION OF THE CHURCH TODAY, THEN WE WOULD HAVE TO ANSWER "NO."

EVEN THOUGH A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF CHURCH MEMBERS ARE ACTIVELY INVOLVED THE MAJORITY STILL REMAIN DEATHLY STILL AND SILENT.

PRAYER MEETING, BIBLE STUDY, AND SUNDAY SCHOOL CONTINUE TO BE THE LEAST SUPPORTED MINISTRIES OF THE CHURCH. IN MOST CHURCH’S TODAY THIS IS ALL THAT THEY HAVE TO OFFER EACH WEEK ON A REGULAR BASIS.

THE THREE GREATEST ASSETS OF THE CHURCH TO HELP YOU GROW AND YET HARDLY ANYONE WILL MAKE TIME TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITIES.

THIS IS A FRIGHTENING STATISTIC WHEN CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT 2 CORINTHIANS 5:20, TELLS US "WE ARE CHRIST’S AMBASSADORS, AND GOD IS MAKING HIS APPEAL THROUGH US…."

IF WE ARE TASKED WITH SPEAKING ON GOD’S BEHALF AND THE MAJORITY OF US ARE NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF LEARNING WHAT IT IS WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE SAYING, THEN WHAT IS BEING SAID? I AM AFRAID NOTHING IS BEING SAID BECAUSE MOST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY.

THE WRITER OF HEBREWS WAS FACING THIS DILEMMA. THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH HAD BECOME SLUGGISH IN THEIR FAITH AND UNRECEPTIVE TO WAYS OF LEARNING THE GOSPEL.

THEY HAD BECOME UNWILLING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WAYS

THAT WOULD DEEPEN THEIR FAITH AND OBEDIENCE.

THE HEBREW WRITER USES IRONY AND SARCASM WHEN HE REFERS TO THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH AS INFANTS NEEDING MILK. THE PEOPLE HAD BEEN CHRISTIANS FOR SUCH A LONG TIME, BUT YOU WOULD NEVER HAVE KNOWN IT JUDGING BY THE FEW THINGS THEY KNEW ABOUT THEIR FAITH.

HE WRITES "IN FACT…YOU NEED SOMEONE TO TEACH YOU AGAIN THE ELEMENTARY TRUTHS OF GOD’S REVELATION…." HE WAS LITERALLY SAYING, "YOU HAVE BECOME SO SPIRITUALLY LAZY THAT YOU NEED TO GO BACK AND LEARN THE ’A-B-Cs’ OF YOUR FAITH ALL OVER AGAIN!"

THE PEOPLE HAD WASTED SO MUCH TIME LIVING ON THE MILK OF THE FAITH THAT THEY HAD NOT GROWN SPIRITUALLY DEEP. THEY REMAINED INEXPERIENCED AND UNSKILLED IN APPLYING THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD’S WORD TO THEIR LIVES. THEY HAD BECOME "VETERAN-ROOKIES" OF THE FAITH!

THEY HAD BEEN CHRISTIANS LONG ENOUGH TO HAVE ACQUIRED THE STATUS OF A VETERAN. A VETERAN WHO WAS SUFFICIENT IN THE BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF THE FAITH AND COULD PASS IT ON TO OTHERS.

BUT THEY COULDN’T DO IT. THEY WERE STILL "ROOKIES" OF THE FAITH. THEY HAD BECOME "UNSKILLED IN THE WORD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS."

THE GREEK WORD FOR "UNSKILLED" MEANS "UNTRIED." THE HEBREW WRITER WAS SAYING THEIR INEXPERIENCE AND INSUFFICIENT SKILLS WERE DUE TO A LACK OF PRACTICE. THEY WERE NOT PUTTING THEIR FAITH INTO ACTION!

THEY WERE STILL ACTING LIKE INFANTS, NOT MOVING AHEAD, NOT DIGGING DEEPER, NOT APPLYING WHAT THEY LEARNED TO ENHANCE THEIR LIVES. HE WAS BASICALLY SAYING TO THEM, "YOU THINK YOU ALREADY KNOW A LOT, BUT YOU ARE NO SMARTER THAN A BABY!" OUCH!

BABIES NATURALLY GROW AND LEARN MORE AND TRY NEW THINGS BUT THE ADULTS WEREN’T EVEN WILLING TO DO THAT MUCH! THEY HAD FAILED TO FULFIL WHAT WAS EXPECTED OF THEM AS BELIEVERS.

WHAT WAS EXPECTED WAS WORK AND DISCIPLINE TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE THE "SOLID FOOD" OF GOD’S WORD. GETTING TO THAT STAGE OF MATURITY WOULD COME ONLY FROM A WILLINGNESS TO GO THROUGH THE GROWTH PROCESS.

THIS PROCESS INVOLVES PRACTICE AND EXERCISE. IT IS A LIFE-LONG PROCESS OF TRAINING OUR CONSCIENCES, SENSES, AND MINDS TO DISTINGUISH GOOD FROM EVIL.

WE MUST WORK HARD TO INCORPORATE FROM THE WORD OF GOD PRINCIPLES OF RIGHT-THINKING AND UNDERSTANDING INTO OUR LIVES.

IN OTHER WORDS, MATURE CHRISTIANS CONSTANTLY EXAMINE THEMSELVES, TURN AWAY FROM SIN, AND LEARN WHAT ACTIONS, THOUGHTS, AND ATTITUDES WILL PLEASE GOD.

THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO "HAVE TRAINED THEMSELVES TO DISTINGUISH GOOD FROM EVIL." THE GREEK WORD FOR TRAINED IS "GUMNAZO" (GOOM-NAH-ZOE) WHICH IS THE SAME WORD WE USE FOR "GYMNASTICS."

A MATURE CHRISTIAN TRAINS THEMSELVES JUST LIKE A GYMNAST WOULD TRAIN FOR THE GOLD MEDAL IN THE OLYMPICS. THIS ATHLETIC IMAGERY GIVES US A SENSE OF TRAINING HARD THROUGH MUCH PRACTICE.

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