Summary: #10 in a series on Hebrews. This sermond gives three marks of spiritual immaturity.
A Study of the Book of Hebrews
Jesus is Better
Sermon # 10
“You Need To Grow Up!!!”
Tim Hansel tells the story in his book “Holy Sweat” that a close friend of his was asked back to his forty-year high school reunion. “For months he saved to take his wife back to the place and the people he’d left four decades before. The closer the time came for the reunion, the more excited he became, thinking of all the wonderful stories he would hear about the changes and the accomplishments these old friends would tell him... He wondered if any others had encountered this Christ who had changed him so profoundly. He even tried to guess what some of his friends would look like, and what kind of jobs and families some of these special friends had.
The day came to leave and I drove them to the airport. Their energy was almost contagious. “I’ll pick you up on Sunday evening, and you can tell me all about it,” I said. “Have a great time.”
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—… I hope you’ll love me enough to challenge me to keep growing.” [Tim Hansel. Holy Sweat. (Chicago: Word Books, 1987) pp. 54-55]
So if you need a swift kick in the pants this one is for you. Hebrews 5:11 reads, “of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. (12) For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. (13) For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. (14) But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (6:1) Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from
dead works and of faith toward God, (2) of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”
The author having begun a discussion of Christ as our “great” High Priest in the fourteenth verse of Chapter four, suddenly breaks off the topic to confront his listeners with the problem of their spiritual immaturity.
Growth is so important to us that arrested development is universally regarded as a tragedy, whether it is physical or mental or emotional. Yet arrested spiritual develop-ment is a tragedy that few are aware of and even fewer concerned enough to take action about. In the passage that we will consider today we are going to look at the three Marks of Spiritual Immaturity.
The first mark of spiritual immaturity is Dullness Toward the Word of God. (v. 11) “of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. (12) For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.”
The opening statement of verse eleven says in effect, “I have much too say about this!” This refers to the author’s statement in verse ten concerning the priesthood of Melchizedek. And indeed he does have a great deal to say about the priesthood of Melchizedek which we will examine when the author returns to this subject in Chapter seven.
In last portion of verse eleven he begins to address there spiritual problem. The word translated “dull” in verse eleven is used only here and in 6:12 in the entire New Testament. The word (nothros) is derived from two words “no” and “push.” A dull speaker for example would be said to have “no push.” Or we in the south would say, “Their get up and go as got up and went.” But seldom is this word used to describe the listeners. Seldom do we accuse an audience of being dull listeners but that is exactly what the writer of Hebrews is doing.