Tuesday, March 7, 2017

HEBREWS 5:11-14

"Concerning him we have much to say,
and it is hard to explain,
since you have become dull of hearing.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers,
you have need again for someone to teach you
the elementary principles of the oracles of God,
and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed
to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
But solid food is for the mature,
who because of practice have their senses trained 
to discern good and evil."

 Got milk?

My, my, my, this is quite a way to wake up  this morning.  "Mama, so and so called me a baby!"  Yep, heard that plenty when my kids were underfoot.  Well, here the author of Hebrews is doing just that.  He's trying to explain it, but someone's not listening, they are dull, dull of hearing, sluggish.  So he comes right out with it and calls them babies.  They are not being called a baby because they are cutsies, but because they are developmentally delayed, developmentally disabled, still on a bottle when they need to grow up!  Are you being bottle fed or would you rather sit down to a nice steak dinner?

Elliot says, "The apostle compares these Hebrews to babes, not on account of their innocent simplicity and teachableness, qualities which Christ recommended to all his disciples; but on account of their weakness and ignorance."

They were negligent, idle, ignorant babies.

John Wesley said, "'Every one that useth milk--
That neither desires, nor can digest any thing else."
Whereas, 'But strong meat'--
Those sublime truths relating to perfection
belong to them of full age who by habit
-Habit here signifies strength of spiritual understanding,
arising from maturity of spiritual age:
by, or in consequence of this habit,
they exercise themselves in these things
with ease, readiness, cheerfulness, and profit."

Jesus said,
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be filled."
(Matthew 5:6)

It comes down to, what you are hungry for?

Andrew Murray has a lot to say: "He feels it needful first to arouse them by words of earnest reproof and exhortation, because no teaching can profit where the heart is not wakened up to hunger for it as its necessary food...They are content with the thought of pardon and the hope of heaven...But as to any strong desire for the deeper truths of God's word--they have no conception of what is meant, or why they should be needed....Spiritual truth can only be received by the spiritual mind, by a heart that thirsts for God...It is possible for a Christian to remain in a sickly infancy all his life, always needing help, instead of being a help.  The cause of this is sloth...unwillingness to forsake all and follow Jesus."

He goes on to say, "In the Christian life every one who makes real progress feels himself constrained to teach others.  Christ's love in the heart must overflow to those around...This does not, as in nature, come with years, but consists in the whole-heartedness with which the believer yields himself to be all for God.  It is even a young Christian can be...with a heart all athirst for the deeper and more spiritual truth it is to teach, and a will that has indeed finally broken with sin, and counted all things for loss for the perfect knowledge of Christ Jesus."

"The contrast is expressed in the words: the babe is without experience of the word of righteousness.  He has not yielded himself to the discipline which the word demands and brings; he has not, in the struggle of practical obedience, had experience of what the word can do to search and cleanse, to strengthen and bless.  His religious life has been, as with a babe, the enjoyment of being fed."

"The teaching in the word is open and free to all, but only those who have given themselves to be perfect, feel the need and hunger for it--only they are capable of receiving and assimilating it; because it is only they who have in very deed determined to rest content with nothing less than all Christ can do for them, to count all things loss for the possession of this pearl of great price."

Gill says that it is "now thirty years  from the day of Pentecost, in which the gifts of the Holy Ghost were bestowed in such an extraordinary manner, and a large number were converted...therefore considering the length of time, the opportunities and advantages they had enjoyed, it might have been expected, and indeed it is what should have been that they would have been teachers of others."

To become teachers is to invite others to the table.

Adam Clarke says of strong meat, "The high and sublime doctrines of Christianity; the atonement, justification by faith, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the fullness of Christ dwelling in the souls of men, triumph in and over death, the resurrection of the body...This is the strong food the genuine Christian understands, receives, digests, and by which he grows."

"'Have their senses exercised.'  The word signifies the different organs of sense, as the eyes, ears, tongue, and palate, nose, and finger ends...through which we gain the sensations called seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling.  These organs of sense, being frequently exercised or employed...acquire the power to discern the various objects of sense... and thus, being able to discern good from evil, they are in little danger of being imposed on by false doctrine, or by the pretensions of hypocrites; or of being deceived by the subtleties of Satan."

Matthew Henry said, "Christian experience is a spiritual sense, taste, or relish of the goodness, sweetness, and excellence of the truths of the gospel.  And no tongue can express the satisfaction which the soul receives from a sense of Divine goodness, grace and love of it in Christ."

Oh, our society is full of baby Christians.  Our churches are full of baby Christians who have remained babies for years and years.  They do not have discernment and are vulnerable to many false teachers who wave something pretty and say, "Look over here!"  They are gullible.  The are unable to discern good and evil.  It is because they are not willing to take up the word of God themselves and grow. 

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