Tuesday, September 20, 2011

THE INFANTILE CHURCHES DEMAND MILK, NOT SOLID FOOD.

THE INFANTILE CHURCHES
A. Brother

            “We have much to say about this, but…you are slow to learn.  In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you all over again.  You need milk, not solid food!  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish between good and evil.”
                                                                                                         --Hebrews 5:11-14

            True prophets of the Word of God do not abridge or water down God’s Word to His People.  Listen to this, modern churches who claim to serve Christ.
            We have ignored the commands of the Lord Jesus in order to play around in the spiritual nursery.  We are slow to learn about the true righteousness that Jesus requires of His disciples because we are busy slopping about in the milk on our
high-chair tray.
            We would rather stay babies in Christ, letting our Father watch over us as we splash safely around in our wading pool at the park, then to “go on to maturity.” –Heb. 6:1
          Not content with the solid food He places before us, we demand the milk bottle instead, wanting to hear over and over again about the basics. 
            “Tell us again,” we cry, “about Jesus dying for my sins, and about His wonderful sacrifice for me, and how He loves me, and tell me again, Daddy, the stories from the Bible about David and Goliath, and Joshua, and let’s sing another song about faith, and about joy.  And let’s have cookies with our milk, today!”

            The Father is waiting impatiently for us to embark on the journey of spiritual maturity.  We have played around long enough.
            Brothers, God is not pleased.  Our Father is weary of our infantile demands for milk, and our spiritual “Peter Pan” complex.
            He has called us out from the world to obey Him, not to play church. 
            As our own children grow up in this world, we expect them to become more serious students, understanding that an education is meant to help them live competent, useful lives in the world.  When they reach adulthood, we hope they will then use all that education to go out and live, having been trained to function within society, and to bear their own burdens and be able to help others, also.
            How much more, in the Kingdom of God, is it of eternal importance that we become mature and serious about living as our Father commands us?  Our example is Jesus, who at the age of 12 was already discussing the deep things of God with the rabbis and teachers in Jerusalem, while the other children played in the dusty road with the caravan on its way home.  He was getting ready for God’s Kingdom.
            Are you still playing church?
            Does your heart still demand milk from God, and are you refusing to move on to maturity by your constant need for “the elementary truths of God’s Word?” (5:12)

          And how about our pastors, preachers, teachers, leaders?  Are you still coddling your flock?  Are you enabling and permitting their infancy to continue by catering to their whims?  Or are you truly called and chosen to lead by Jesus Christ, who has given you the responsibility to speak the truth in love to His Sheep?
            Are you leading your flock to maturity in Christ by treading the narrow road with them, teaching them to obey the Lord God in everything, and to give up all to follow Him?  Or are you content to play in the shallows, avoiding the deep end with all its difficulties, trials, opposition, and hardships?

            You, the ones who claim to lead God’s people, are most responsible.  You have claimed the head of the table, and have the platform, and the position.  You are the ones who are looked up to, and seated in the place of honor.  Do you follow the Pharisees and their ilk, who love those seats, and the position of prominence, and so heap on yourselves judgment by refusing to lead your flock as your Good Shepherd did—on the road to self-denial and sacrifice—the narrow road upon which He carried His cross and laid down His life for His friends?

            “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and you do not understand these things?”  --John 3:10

          If you don’t understand true discipleship, how can you teach it to others?
            If you haven’t moved on into maturity, learning to distinguish between good and evil by experience in the trenches of life, how can you lead anyone else into maturity?

            We have ignored the basic commands of Scripture, and so do not lead lives of obedience and power.  We do not obey, and thus we do not have righteous lives.  We do not have righteous people in our churches, and so our churches have been weak and ineffectual in the world.  Our leaders play around, trying to find ways to make the hard gospel truth seem more friendly and palatable to their followers, instead of preaching Truth and the Way that has never changed.
            Like irresponsible parents we continue to blend up the food into creamy pablum for our children, instead of encouraging them to eat solid food and become mature. 
            Maybe we like it that way, because we don’t want to go to the trouble of fixing and feeding them full meals, and sitting down together and working out adult ways of living.  Being a family is a messy business, full of trial and error, and the working out of many tough things. 
            Being the ekklesia, the “called out to be together” people of God, the Family of God, is also a messy business.  It requires tough men who will lead like Jesus did, out and among His disciples every day, imparting that toughness and spiritual maturity to them that He possessed.
            And notice what Jesus made the prime focus of His ministry.  To train and teach His Sheep to lead others.  He prepared them to serve others, to lay down their lives for each other, and to teach each other His Ways.  He encouraged them, and strengthened them toward becoming leaders themselves. 
            The Lord Jesus taught us what was important, yet we choose to ignore the simple truths He gave us, in order to follow our man-made rules and traditions of the churches.

            It is our responsibility, as followers of Jesus, whether we are lowly and without position or power within the current churches, or whether we are highly placed and have a pulpit, to obey and follow the Lord, not men.

            Jesus Christ is Head of His Chosen People.  He is our Lord, and no religious institution, no denomination, no organization made by men, is to circumvent His authority over us by demanding we disobey Him.  Yet we allow this every day, and we compromise the very heart of the gospel to man-made tradition.

            We cannot rest on our claims of religious leadership.  They mean nothing.  We cannot rest on the fact that we have built signs outside our buildings that say we are Christian churches.  We cannot rest on our busy schedules, and our fancy services.  We cannot rest on our participation in the life of the temples we have built.  We cannot rest on any of our own worship times and good music.

            “Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord.  This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says:  Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place.  Do not trust in deceptive words and say, ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!’
          “While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you but you did not answer.  Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the house that bears My Name, the temple you trust in…”  --Jeremiah 7:2-4,12-14

            As God used the Philistines to destroy the temple in which His people had put their false hopes, so He will use the destructive forces of the world to destroy our disobedient churches.  He will not put up with our childish desires to stay infants, but will force us to go out into the world and live dependent on Him only.
            We will not be allowed to hold to our delusions that God will protect us because we have built for ourselves fancy and comfortable temples in which to worship.  God disciplines those He loves, and because He loves those He calls, we will be disciplined, severely if necessary, in order to become mature.

            “For we are the temple of the living God.”  --2 Cor. 6:16

          We are the temple, the ekklesia, those called by God in Jesus Christ.  We are to live out the life of Jesus, and not hide in our temples made with hands. 
            Sell your buildings and give the money to the poor people in your own neighborhoods, and share it with your Christian brothers who are in need.  Become like the New Testament believers, who gave all they had, and shared all God gave them, and loved each other, devoting themselves to the Kingdom of God as Jesus had taught them.  Take care of each other and protect each other and love your brothers, above all.  Begin the process of going on to maturity, along with all those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  Leave behind the elementary milk, and move into the hard, tough life of being a true disciple of Jesus Christ.  If you lead, then lead with faith, and love and perseverance, and be willing to face opposition when you give out the Truth.  You will become like your Teacher, like your Master, and you Friend, the Lord Jesus, who faced such opposition from sinful men.

            “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lost heart.”  --Heb. 12:2,3

          Are you willing, dear brother or sister, to endure opposition, and be shamed for Jesus Christ?  Or are you so comfortable in your pew or your position that you will not stand up for the truth you know?

            Stand up today, and begin standing for the real gospel, and going on to maturity in Christ, before sin hardens your heart to the point you are lost along with the religious multitude.

            “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received a knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.  Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know Him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’, and again, ‘The Lord will judge His people’.  It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  --Heb. 10:26-31

           
           

1 comment:

  1. Right! I'm all revved up now! I'm going to convert the guy who's worked on my car yesterday!

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