- The church faces many challenges. There is the challenge of restoring New Testament Christianity in a religiously pluralistic society – John 14:6. There is the challenge of making our homes what God wants them to be – Psalm 127:1. There is the challenge to remain holy – 1 Peter 15-16. But the supreme challenge we have as Christians is to take Jesus Christ to the world – Mark 16:15-16.
- To meet the challenge of evangelism every Christian must be serious about doing their part to assure everybody hears the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must have the zeal to teach the world the Word of God as the first century church did – Acts 19:8-10; Acts 8:3-4.
- If you had a medical emergency, your loved ones would feel a great urgency to get medical attention immediately to help. The world today has a great spiritual emergency and needs Christians to respond to keep them from spiritual death through the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
All Accountable Men and Women are Lost and Need Forgiveness
- Christians must see the urgency and the need to save lost souls that are dying everyday. Every soul that has transgressed God’s commandment is lost and separated from God – Isaiah 59:1-2. And anyone separated from God needs forgiveness – Romans 3:23; 6:23. Your soul and everyone else’s soul is valuable and worth all the effort to save!
- At the Day of Judgment, all accountable men & women that do not know God or have not obeyed the gospel of Christ will be eternally punished night & day forever – 2 Thessalonians 1:-7-9. In 2 Peter 3:9, you learn that God does not want us to perish, but wants all to come to repentance. Which should encourage each of us to reach out to lost soul and plant the seed of the Word of God that they might obey Jesus to be saved?
- If you are not committed to the teaching and preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and feel you are not accountable to do your part to teach Christ to the lost, it is not likely you will be evangelistic. May we all have the spirit of the Apostle Paul, “…woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!”– 1 Corinthians 9:16
God Has Only One Plan of Redemption to Save Man
- God has a plan for the redemption of man; God has one plan, one way, and one church to save men & women from their sins – Matthew 7:13-14. That one way is Jesus Christ, and His church that was purchased with His own blood – John 14:6. Salvation is only in Jesus Christ and not through other men or churches – Acts 4:12.
- It is important for all the world to know the truth because error and false doctrine fills the world, and the only thing that can liberated those in the bondage of sin is the truth – John 8:31-32. Did you know many people’s worship to God is in vain because they do not have a proper relationship with God and they’re practicing false doctrines of men – Matthew 15:8-9.
- If you have neglected your Christian responsibility of teach the Word of God, why not come today and rededicate yourself to His service – James 5:19-20. If you’re lost, Christ died for yours sins, and God raised Him from the Dead. Why not come today.
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Text: James 3:1-12
1. In our study of “The Epistle Of James”, we now come to the third chapter
2. In James 3:1-12, we find:
a. A WARNING against too many becoming teachers – James 3:1-2
b. A DISCUSION of the untamable tongue – James 3:3-12
3. In a time where “verbal abuse” is often epidemic, and where “self- proclaimed teachers” engage in all sorts of heated religious discussions, there is much we can learn from this passage
I. THE “WARNING” (James 3:1-2)
A. “LET NOT MANY OF YOU BECOME TEACHERS”
1. Note carefully:
a. James does not say, “Let not many of you BE teachers”
b. But rather, “Let not many of you BECOME teachers”
2. This passage is not just a rebuke of those who try to BE teachers before they are ready, but a warning that many should not ever BECOME teachers in the future!
3. It is a mistake to believe that EVERYONE should become a teacher at some point in their service to Christ!
a. Paul illustrated time and again that the body of Christ has many members, and not all members do not have the same function!
1) To the saints at Rome – Romans 12:3-8
2) To the church at Corinth – 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (Note esp. verse 29, where Paul with a rhetorical question implies that not all are to be teachers)
b. Peter likewise taught that God’s grace toward is “manifold” and that we should exercise our respective abilities accordingly – 1 Peter 4:10-11
4. In view of what Paul, Peter, and James wrote, we should be careful before we apply Hebrews 5:12-14 to mean that EVERYONE should one day be teachers (The author of Hebrews may have been writing to a select audience, whom he knew ought to have been teachers)
B. WHY MANY SHOULD NOT BECOME TEACHERS
1. Teachers shall receive “a stricter judgment”
a. There is a grave responsibility involved in teaching others
b. We can lead people to TRUTH – but we just as easily lead them to ERROR!
c. Just as with elders (Hebrews 13:17), those who teach will be held accountable if they mislead others!
2. Because we all “stumble in many things” – James 3:2
a. Everyone has faults, and with many people the improper use of the tongue is a major one
b. But it takes spiritual maturity (“a perfect man”) not to stumble in word!
II. THE “DISCOURSE” ON THE UNTAMABLE TONGUE (James 3:3-12)
A. THE ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE BIT AND RUDDER (James 3:3-4)
1. Both illustrations are used to demonstrate that a small member (Like the tongue) can control the body
a. A bit controls a horse – James 3:3
b. A rudder controls the ship – James 3:4
2. So our tongue controls the body
a. If you speak a lie, it won’t be long before you find yourself living a lie
b. If you speak suggestively in an immoral manner, it won’t be long before you begin acting immorally!
3. The power of the tongue to direct is easily applied to the dangers of teaching
a. The teacher’s speech can easily set the mood of the class or congregation
b. He can easily direct the congregation in an uplifting way, or just as easily direct the congregation in a discouraging way
4. Should not this power to direct via the tongue humble those who teach, and caution the spiritually immature?
B. THE ILLUSTRATION OF A LITTLE FIRE (James 3:5-6)
1. A small fire can easily cause great destruction (Remember the Great Chicago Fire?)
2. So it is with the tongue!
a. A loose tongue can ruin one’s reputation
b. It can also destroy churches, families, friendships
3. In describing an uncontrolled tongue, James uses very vivid terms to make his point: The tongue is:
a. A fire
b. A world of iniquity
c. So set among our bodies that it defiles the whole body
d. That which sets on fire the course of nature
e. That which is itself set on fire by hell!
4. Should not this power to destroy and defile both ourselves and others caution us in becoming teachers?
C. THE DIFFICULTY OF TAMING THE TONGUE (James 3:7-12)
1. Despite being able to tame wild animals, man is unable to tame the tongue!
a. It is an unruly evil!
b. It is full of deadly poison!
2. I understand James to be somewhat hyperbolic here for the sake of emphasis
a. It is true that no MAN (By himself) can tame the tongue
b. But with GOD’S help, we can tame it (As David prayed in Psalm 141:3)
c. And with GOD’S help, we MUST tame it – Ephesians 4:29-30; Colossians 4:6
3. As a further example of how difficult it is to tame the tongue, James uses a very common (And relevant) problem
a. Blessing God and cursing men – James 3:9
b. Something we are very likely to do, especially on Sundays
1) We spend time in worship, blessing God
2) But in driving home, we might curse men (Other drivers who pull out in front of us)
c. Racists and bigots are often guilty of “blessing God and cursing men”!
4. But with the illustrations of a spring, a fig tree and a grapevine, James shows the inconsistency of this!
a. What comes forth is a true indication of what is inside
b. Just as Jesus taught in Mark 7:20-23
c. Despite all the praises we offer God, it is the curses against man that reveals the true person inside!
1. Again, these examples of the misuse of the tongue should humble and caution all those who would become teachers
2. But they should also serve as a warning for us all, whether we teach or not, that we need to seek God’s help in controlling the tongue!
3. May David’s prayer be our own: Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer – Psalms 19:14
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Text: Matthew 28:19-20
Thursday night, my family and I returned from Sevierville, TN where we attended Polishing the Pulpit.
- The elders, starting back with Tom and Eddie and not with John and Dan have graciously allowed me and my family to go for several years now.
- They do so at considerable expense to the congregation.
Brian Lawson just recently returned from a mission trip to Guyana, South America.
- He took two weeks away from his wonderful wife.
- It cost a considerable amount of money.
- He put himself physically in harm’s way.
- Why would he do this?
Why do people devote their lives to saving the lost?
More than that, why should each of us strive to save the lost?
REASON ONE – BECAUSE I LOVE THE LORD.
Isn’t He worthy of our love?
- John 3:16. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
- Romans 5:8. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- 1 John 3:1. Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
- Ephesians 3:19. To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
His love for us leads us to love Him. 1 John 4:19. We love Him because He first loved us.
Many will say, “Yes, I love the Lord.”
- Do you really?
- That statement has some consequences.
If I love Him, I will obey Him.
- John 14:15. If you love Me, keep my commandments.
- 1 John 5:3. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
- One of His commandments for us is to teach the lost. Matthew 28:19-20. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
- 1 John 3:18. My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
REASON TWO – BECAUSE I WANT TO GLORIFY GOD.
And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. 19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.
Think of this man’s condition before he met Jesus.
- He lived among the tombs.
He was alone.
- He had no contact with family or friends.
- People undoubtedly avoided him at all costs.
- He was forced to do physical harm to himself.
- He probably felt as if he had no hope.
- Of all the different afflictions that tormented people during this time period, surely demon possession had to be the worse.
- Jesus had healed him. Mark 5:8. For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!”
- Mark 5:20 is key. He departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him.
If you had a horrible disease, and someone came along and took that disease away when no one else could…
- Wouldn’t you be incredibly grateful?
- Would you keep that to yourself or would you tell anyone who would listen?
- If you would do that for someone who cured a physical illness, why wouldn’t you do it for the One who saved you from spiritual death? Romans 6:23. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Kings 7:8-9
And when these lepers came to the outskirts of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank, and carried from it silver and gold and clothing, and went and hid them; then they came back and entered another tent, and carried some from there also, and went and hid it. Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king’s household.”
- Sometimes, I fear that we act like these four lepers acted initially.
- They found a great bounty (Silver, gold, and clothing).
- Initially, they went and hid it for themselves.
Sometimes, we are guilty of doing this with the gospel.
- We’ve received the forgiveness of our sins and, therefore, eternal life.
- We have all spiritual blessings in Christ.
- We have a wonderful extended family…
- And we want to keep it for ourselves.
- We need to realize, like the lepers, “This is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us.”
Matthew 5:16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
- Any good that we do, and that includes winning the lost to Christ, brings glory to God!
Sometimes, especially with preachers, you find that they preach Christ to bring glory to their selves.
- Not so with Paul and Barnabas. Acts 14:14-15.But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them
- Jeremiah 45:1-5.
The word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the instruction of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch: ‘You said, “Woe is me now! For the Lord has added grief to my sorrow. I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.”‘ “Thus you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, what I have built I will break down, and what I have planted I will pluck up, that is, this whole land. And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,” says the Lord. “But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.”‘”
Let us be like Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 20:7-9. O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me. For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, “Violence and plunder!” Because the word of the Lord was made to me a reproach and a derision daily. Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.
REASON THREE – BECAUSE I LOVE THE LOST.
If we love the Lord, we must learn to love what He loves.
- We have already demonstrated that He loves us more than we can fathom and that we, in turn, should love Him.
In turn, we must love all men as He does.
- Matthew 22:39. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
- We don’t have to approve of everyone’s actions, but we must love them.
- We can’t love God if we don’t love our brother. 1 John 4:20-21. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
- If we love men as God does, then we will want them to be saved as God does.
Matthew 16:26. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Jesus says that one soul is worth more than the whole world!
- Zechariah 12:1. The burden of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him:
- Ecclesiastes 12:7. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
- Think about it… when I, or you, bring one person to Christ, we have helped to save that which is more valuable than the earth itself!
We need to see people as God does! Each soul is priceless.
(Delivered on August 26, 2012 in Streetsboro)
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(Getting More Out of the Singing)
Text: Psalm 100:1-5
1. An important part of our assemblies the act of singing praises
a. We spend nearly a third of our assemblies engaged in this activity
b. Rightly so, for it has the potential of reaping great spiritual benefits
2. Singing is an important element of our worship
a. It is mentioned in the text upon which our title is based – Psalm 100:2
b. There were those in Old Testament times who delighted in singing – Psalm 63:3-5
c. Christians were taught to respond to the goodness of God in a similar way – James 5:13
3. But I often wonder if some have lost the joy of singing
a. Many Christians sing with virtually no emotion, some do not sing at all!
b. I have personally known Christians, who
1) Complained because time available for classes was taken up by the singing of a few hymns
2) Will not attend a worship service if they know it will be devoted primarily to singing
c. In contrast, it was common in the past for people to travel some distance to attend a service devoted to praising God in song
4. Why do such conditions exist? I suspect it may be a failure to appreciate:
a. The true purpose of singing
b. How we can get more out of singing?
I. THE PURPOSE OF SINGING
A. TO PRAISE THE LORD
1. This is the most common concept of the purpose of singing
a. Indeed, this is certainly the idea inherent in the word ‘hymn’
b. Which comes from the Greek word humnos, “a song in praise of”
2. Praising God should be a natural for Christians !
a. David reacted this way to the blessings God gave him – Psalm 28:6-7
b. Paul and Silas even reacted to persecution with singing praises – Acts 16:25
3. Singing is one of the spiritual sacrifices that we are to offer to God – Hebrews 13:15
a. As spiritual priests we offer up “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God” – 1 Peter 2:5
b. If we are not careful, we might be guilty of offering defiled service to God as was the case in Malachi’s day! – cf. Malachi 1:7-8, 12-13
4. Is not God worthy of our best praise?
B. TO TEACH AND ADMONISH ONE ANOTHER
1. Our singing is not just directed toward God
a. Certainly, many songs are
b. But many songs are rightly directed to each other – cf. Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19
2. That’s because many songs are designed to teach one another
a. Teaching and admonishing us to live properly, to enjoy the blessings of the Christian life
b. It might even be said that ‘congregational singing’ is actually ‘congregational teaching’!
3. Do not our brethren deserve the best encouragement we can offer?
C. TO BE FILLED AND ENRICHED
1. Singing can be a means to being filled with the Spirit
a. Paul charged the Ephesians to be filled with the Spirit – Ephesians 5:18
b. He explained how: by singing and making melody in one’s heart to the Lord – Ephesians 5:19
2. Singing can be a means to being enriched by the Word of Christ
a. Paul charged the Colossians to let the Word of Christ dwell in them richly – Colossians 3:16a
b. Again he explains: by singing with grace in one’s heart to the Lord – Colossians 3:16b
3. For a truly Spirit-filled life enriched by the Word of Christ, singing is essential!
II. GETTING MORE OUT OF OUR SINGING
A. ENGAGE THE ‘MIND’ AS YOU SING
1. Remember, singing is teaching and admonishing one another
2. This assumes that we understand what we sing – cf. 1 Corinthians 14:15
3. We must be careful that our enjoyment of singing is not like how many people enjoy their popular music (i.e., liking the music without necessarily understanding the words)
4. Give careful attention to the words of the songs
B. ENGAGE THE ‘HEART’ AS YOU SING
1. When we sing, we must do so
a. “with grace in your hearts” – Colossians 3:16
b. “making melody in your heart” – Ephesians 5:19
2. This assumes that we involve our ‘heart strings’ (emotions) as we sing!
3. To sing without emotion (without grace in our hearts)
a. Is hypocritical, and condemned by Jesus! – Matthew 15:7-8
b. Will be evident in our countenances! – cf. Proverbs 15:13
4. Put your heart into your singing
C. EXPAND THE SPHERE OF YOUR SINGING
1. Is your singing limited just to the public assemblies, on the first day of the week?
2. Singing, like prayer, ought to be spontaneous, arising whenever the circumstances call for it – cf. Acts 16:25; Psalm 34:1-3
3. Sing while you work, travel, or while alone in your private meditations
4. Make use of hymns on tapes or CDs when traveling or meditating
5. Take advantage of special opportunities to sing, such as monthly and annual singings
6. Increase your opportunities to sing at other times with others, and when alone
D. UTILIZE OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN TO SING
1. Singing is more enjoyable when we are able to read musical notes, sing different parts
2. Churches often provide singing classes; every opportunity to sing is an opportunity to learn
3. Take advantage of any opportunity to learn how to sing
1. Singing is like any other activity…the more you put into it, the more you get out of it
2. Increase your joy of singing, and you will get much more out of your worship times.
3. Have we lost the joy of singing…?
a. If we could see ourselves as song leaders do, we might be constrained to say yes
b. If so, rekindle this act of worship which can do so much toward “Serving The Lord With Gladness”
4. May David’s attitude, truly describe our own when it comes to singing:
“I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” – Psalm 104:33
“Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.” – Psalm 147:1
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Text: Hebrews 5:11-14
1. Just because one has been a Christian for many years, does not mean they are mature
a. They may be like the person who had been teacher for twenty-five years
1) When she heard about a job that would mean a promotion, she applied for the position. However, someone who had been teaching for only one year was hired instead.
2) She went to the principal and asked why. The principal responded, I’m sorry, but you haven’t had 25 years of experience as you claim; you’ve had only one year’s experience 25 times.
3) During that whole time the teacher had not improved!
b. So it may be with many Christians; they have not grown, but simply repeated their first year of spiritual life many times!
2. The lack of spiritual growth (i.e., spiritual immaturity) is a dangerous thing
a. For there may be blessings to be enjoyed in Christ that only the mature Christian can truly understand and appropriate
b. If one remains spiritually immature, they do not come to fully appreciate their standing and blessings that they have in Christ!
c. Deprived of a greater understanding, they are more susceptible to the wiles of the devil
3. The author of the book of Hebrews found himself faced with this problem
a. He had much to say about Christ as our High Priest
b. But the spiritual immaturity of his readers made it difficult and so he thought it necessary to temporarily digress – Hebrews 5:11-14
4. How about you?
a. Are you growing as a Christian?
b. Or are you repeating your first year over and over again, remaining spiritual immature?
c. Do you know how to determine whether you are spiritually mature?
5. In our text we find some of the identifying marks of spiritual immaturity, indicators that reveal when one is in need of growing up spiritually
I. DULLNESS OF HEARING (Hebrews 5:11)
A. THE HEBREWS HAD BECOME DULL OF HEARING
1. This prevented the writer from continuing with his argument at the moment
2. While the material he had to share was hard to explain
a. It wasn’t so much the difficulty of the material itself
b. As it was their own inability to receive it!
3. That they had become dull of hearing may imply a regression
a. At one time they were not dull of hearing
b. They may have been like the Bereans at one time, who received the word with all readiness – Acts 17:11
c. Indeed, most converts are truly sharp in their listening at the first
1) They are excited about what they are learning
2) They listen with great readiness, and spiritual growth occurs
d. But it is not uncommon for apathy to set in, making one dull of hearing
e. When one becomes dull of hearing, they begin to regress to a state of spiritual immaturity
B. ARE YOU DULL OF HEARING?
1. Ask yourself these questions:
a. Is the Bible dull?
b. Are the Bible classes dull?
c. Are the sermons dull?
d. Is anything that is spiritual in nature (like singing, praying) dull?
2. If so, then you have become dull of hearing!
a. If you listen at all, it will be to those who are willing to tickle your ears
b. And you will be susceptible to being mislead – 2 Timothy 4:3-4
II. THE INABILITY TO TEACH OTHERS (Hebrews 5:12a)
A. THE HEBREWS SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TEACH OTHERS
1. They had been Christians for some time (by this time you ought to be teachers)
a. They had time to learn, to grow
b. A natural response to growth is to bear fruit
c. One way we bear fruit is by teaching others
2. In one way or another, they should have been able to teach others
a. Perhaps not in a formal sense, for not all are gifted in that way – 1 Corinthians 12:29; Ephesians 4:11; James 3:1
b. But all can share the good news and hope they have with others – Acts 8:4; 1 Peter 3:15
3. Their need for someone to teach them again the first principles demonstrated their spiritual immaturity
B. ARE YOU ABLE TO TEACH OTHERS?
1. Assuming that sufficient time has passed, are you teaching others?
a. Either formally as a teacher instructing others in the faith?
b. Or informally by sharing your faith with others?
2. Do you find yourself saying I don’t know what to say?
a. Then it sounds like you have forgotten the first principles
b. And you need to have someone teach you again!
3. If one has not progressed to the point where they are somehow teaching others about Christ, then they are still spiritually immature!
III. A DIET OF MILK (Hebrews 5:12-13)
A. NOW, A DIET OF MILK IS OFTEN NECESSARY
1. Certainly it is needed for those who are babes in Christ – 1 Corinthians 3:1-2
2. Also for those who have regressed (as with the Hebrews) – Hebrews 5:12b
3. Such a diet includes what is described as the first principles of the oracles of God (later called the elementary principles of Christ in Hebrews 6:1-3)
B. BUT OUR DIET MUST ONE DAY INCLUDE SOLID FOOD
1. Just as a physical baby must graduate to solid foods in order to grow to maturity
2. So a babe in Christ cannot mature unless the diet goes beyond the first principles
3. One commentator offers an interesting explanation as to what may be the difference
a. milk refers to what Jesus did on earth: His birth, life, teaching, miracles, death, burial and resurrection
b. solid food refers to what Jesus is now doing in heaven: His priesthood
4. If our diet remains milk only
a. Then we will be unskilled (lit., without experience) in the word of God
b. We will remain babes in Christ – Hebrews 5:13
C. WHAT HAS YOUR DIET BEEN LATELY?
1. Has it been limited to milk?
a. Has it even included milk?
b. Some Christians may not even be getting the milk of the Word!
2. Are you getting any meat?
a. Studying portions of God’s Word that challenges your understanding?
b. Stay with us in this study in Hebrews, and you will be sure to get some!
3. A milk only diet leaves one immature, and by default one who is unskilled in the word of righteousness
IV. THE INABILITY TO DISCERN (Hebrews 5:14)
A. NORMAL SPIRITUAL GROWTH EXERCISES THE SENSES
1. Even the milk of the word is designed to train one’s faculties
a. By exposing us to the difference between right and wrong
b. In this way our spiritual sense is exercised
2. Then by reason of use we learn to discern both good and evil
a. With clear examples set before us in the Scriptures, we learn right from wrong
b. We thereby develop the ability to distinguish between good and evil
c. We become able to apply general principles to specific situations
1) Specific condemnation of a practice is not always necessary
2) We can discern when something is more like the good, or more like the bad
B. SPIRITUAL IMMATURITY LACKS THIS ABILITY TO DISCERN
1. A babe in Christ often has difficulty discerning the difference between:
a. Good teaching (truth) and bad teaching (error)
b. Good conduct (righteousness) and bad conduct (wickedness)
2. Inability to discern leaves them open to being
a. tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine – Ephesians 4:14
b. Like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind…a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways – James 1:6-8
C. DO YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO DISCERN?
1. Can you apply general principles to a specific situation, or do you require a clear Thou shalt not to determine if something is wrong?
2. Are you able to recognize when a doctrine is true to God’s word?
3. Or are you dependent upon someone else
a. To spoon feed you?
b. To take you by the hand and lead you?
c. To tell you what is right and wrong, what is truth and what is error
1. There are certainly other indicators of spiritual immaturity
a. Behaving in a carnal way
b. Possessing strife, envy, and jealousy – 1 Corinthians 3:1-4
2. But in our present text we have focused our attention on the four presented here
a. Dullness of hearing
b. The inability to teach others
c. A diet of milk
d. The inability to discern
e. All of these should serve as warning signs that something is amiss in our lives as Christians, for they are truly marks of spiritual Immaturity
3. In our next lesson, we shall see why it is so important to grow spiritually. As Peter warned, growth is the antidote to falling away:
You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. – 2 Peter 3:18
4. Are you growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord?