Title: Desiring Deeper Faith
Text: Hebrews 5:9 -6:1
Date: October 8-9, 2016
We all love the book of Hebrews. This is one of the most important books because it reveals Jesus to us like no other book in the Bible, and like the title suggests it is written to Jews, Hebrews, and of course Jews who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and they are in Jerusalem.
Now, when you think about Jerusalem. That’s the birthplace of Christianity. That means that church has got to be the oldest of all the churches. Therefore, I think a lot of people, we can make the assumption, since it’s the oldest church. Well, it ought to be the most mature church, right? That’s actually not the case at all. It’s actually a church in trouble, and the reason it’s in trouble there in Jerusalem, they have all this pressure from the Jews to go back. Back to Judaism, back to the ways of the Old Testament. Back to the laws of Moses, back to the shadow of the thing. The reality, the substance is in Christ, and so there’s that call out. He writes to them. He wants them to hold strong to their faith. Hold firm, do not drift away from this.
Do you realize what great salvation we have in Jesus Christ? And so, he writes to reveal Christ beautifully, powerfully to them. In fact, he writes from the very, very beginning. He just knocks it out of the park starting in verse one of chapter one where he says, “In the former days, God spoke to the fathers through the prophets in many portions, and in many ways, but in these last days God speaks to us through His Son.” He speaks His heart. He is the radiance of God’s glory. He is the exact representation of His nature, but see this is so important. God sent His Son not just to give us an education. God sent His Son to reconcile the world to Himself to seek and to save that which was lost. God sent His Son to go and get you, and to bring you home that you might have a relationship to God as your Father.
It’s very, very personal when you see that this is so much more than an education. God wants to get ahold of our lives, so he’s writing here to challenge them. To grow in their faith. To grow deeper. See, he says, “Hey, by this time you ought to be teachers of spiritual things” but no you need someone to teach you. Again, the elementary literally the alpha, beta, gamma. The A, B, Cs of spiritual things. In another words, you come to need milk and not solid food. Now, he challenges them and we need to see it as a challenge to us as well.
What is it that some people don’t grow in their faith? Why is it that some people don’t increase in spiritual maturity? Well, Jesus gives a parable that I think gives some insight. He said, “The Word of God that is sewn is like a farmer that is sewing seed.” And like there are different types of soil that the seed may fall upon. There are different kinds of hearts, and one of those He describes where somebody hears the word, and they receive the word, and then at first you begin to see some sprouting forth, but then the worries of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and desires for other things. They come in and they choke the word, and it bears no fruit. It produces nothing in their lives.
So, he writes to them and tells them you need to go stronger in your faith. Do you realize what great salvation that we have? Do not neglect, so great a salvation. God has poured out His heart to reconcile the world. It gives us a relationship. We must be careful not to neglect so great a salvation. God sent His Son, and we need to receive Him, and we need to receive everything He has for us in Christ. God’s heart is to bless us. God’s heart is to bring us deeper faith, greater maturity, and you really see this in these verses that we’re looking at today.
Chapter five, we begin in verse nine, “And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,” speaking of Christ, “being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.” Did you know that Jesus was a high priest and that he’s a high priest according to Melchizedek? What does this mean? This is really very fascinating. He goes on in verse 11, now “Concerning him we have much to say, but it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.” What’s the opposite of dull of hearing? Sharp of hearing, eager to hear. Ears that are in tune and longing to hear. He says verse 12, Hey, “by this time you ought to be teachers,” but “you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles,” the a, b, c’s “of the oracles of God, and you 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.” Chapter 6:1, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the” Messiah, “the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.”
I. Desire Spiritual Maturity
All right, these are a call out. These are really great verses and the point that he’s making from the very beginning there is that we should desire spiritual maturity. He’s showing us Jesus. He’s showing us Jesus like in no other place. Oh, what a great salvation we have. He gives us some of the richest, deepest understandings and he says, “Jesus is our high priest, according to the order of Melchizedek.” Now, what in the world does that mean, and why is it important?
See, this is an example of deeper truths. In fact, he says, “Concerning him we have much to say, but it’s hard to explain because they’ve become dull of hearing.” And it’s a call out for us to become eager to hear. Too long for some deeper things because what he’s telling us here is very significant.
See, when he brings up Melchizedek, it brings us back to the days of Abraham. In days of Abraham, there was a man who was king and priest. Very rare that someone would be king and priest, and the point, of course, is that Jesus is, in fact, the King, and he is the Priest. The high priest, this man Melchizedek was king and priest of Salem. The city that we know today as Jerusalem, and he was greater than Abraham.
Let’s see, the Jewish understanding was Abraham is our father. Abraham was the great one. Great father Abraham. Now, all of the major religions of the world today trace their roots to Abraham. Christianity does, Judaism does, and Islam all trace their history and their roots to Abraham. The great father Abraham, and the point that he’s making is yeah, you’ll look back to your great father Abraham, and he was a great father, but Jesus is greater than Abraham because Melchizedek in those days he says, “Abraham paid tithes unto Melchizedek and as a priest he prayed over and blessed Abraham. And therefore Melchizedek, Jesus is in the order of the Melchizedek, is greater than Abraham and all of the livical priests that came after him. In fact, Jesus is greater than Jonah, Jesus is greater than Solomon, Jesus is greater than Abraham, Jesus is greater than the temple itself.
You say, “Well, how do you know that pastor?” From the words of Jesus Himself. Notice, for example, in John 8:57-58, Jesus is having a conversation. Well, actually it was a confrontation with the Jewish leaders, and at one point he says “Abraham saw My day, and he rejoiced in it.” And so, they respond, “You are not yet fifty years old, and You have seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” This was a shocking statement. Yeah, the wave of shock went right through them.
What is the name of God? The name of God is Jehovah or Yahweh, what does it mean? It means “I am”. So, when Jesus said, “I’ve told you truly before Abraham was born, I am.” Whoosh, a big wave of shock, so shocking they took up rocks to stone him. Jesus is greater than Abraham. Jesus is greater than the temple.
Notice in Matthew 12:6, “I say to you.” Jesus says, “something greater than the temple is here.” And then in Matthew 12:41, He’s correcting them. He says, No, these are the men of Nineveh. They “repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”
Mathew 12:42, correcting them. “The Queen of the South,”… she “came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” So, there’s the great salvation because God has sent forth the only begotten Son.
A. God expects you to grow in your faith
See, there’s much to say, but we must be careful to hear, long for it because this is the point. God expects you to grow in your faith. See verse 12, Hey, “by this time you ought to be teachers,” he said, “but you have come to need milk and not solid food.” Now, let’s not criticize the milk because milk is really a very important thing for a new believer, a younger person. In their faith, milk is essential, milk is great. The elementary things. You would never go up to the first-grade class upstairs, and teach them about being a high priest according to the order Melchizedek. You teach them the elementary things, the basics, the a, b, c’s. Just like the baby is nourished on the milk of the Word. See, like 1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babies” he says, “long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” See, notice that emphasis on longing. Like a baby, they want their milk, they cry for the milk.
They long for it, there’s a hunger. There’s a thirst. See, that’s right. When a Christian is longing for it, you love to see young Christians that are excited. They’re longing, they want to grow, they want to understand this, and it’s a wonderful thing to see younger believers growing. God is delighted to see it. Now, we understand how important it is to really receive that which is nourishing to the soul that we might grow.
See, now that we have adopted our granddaughter we are emphasizing the importance of school. I wish that when I was young someone would just really convince me how important school is. Now that I’m older I know how important it is. So, we speak to our granddaughter, “Oh, you need to get that school. You need to press it because it’s going help you, you’re going to grow.” See, we expect all fathers, all mothers. They want their children to grow. God’s the same way, and when you see them growing. Oh, what a delight it is to the soul. Aviah, when she first came to live with us. Many of you know our story. Our daughter was tragically killed two summers ago, and so we brought in our granddaughter and adopted her. When she first came to live with us she was seven, and she was into dolls. That was the stage of her life, and she was into these dolls, particularly Barbie dolls. So, one day she said, “Grandpa would you play dolls with me?”
I said being, the strong selfless person that I am. “Yes, I’ll play dolls with you” and so I sat down and I say, “Here’s the rules, first of all, I will not be a girl doll, okay? And secondly, there will be no boy-girl drama in this game that we play, okay?” She said, “Okay, well if you’re going to be a guy doll then I will be a guy doll.” I said, “Well great.” So, I picked a guy doll. Someone young and dashing, and so she picked a guy doll, right? So, we’re here, we’re having our guy doll conversation.
So, I start the conversation. “Hey dude, dude listen. I heard something amazing today.” Her doll says, “Really, what did you hear?” “I heard that if we do really, really great at our school that we can get a scholarship to college.” “Really, what is that?” “Oh, that’s where you get really good grades, and they pay your way to go to college. Isn’t that amazing?” Now, about this time our youngest daughter happens to come into the room and saw me there on the floor. She says, “Dad are you playing Barbie dolls?” To which I said, “Yes I am.” You have to say it very confidently. Well, a couple days later I come into Aviah’s room, and she’s playing with her dolls, and she’s got these two girl dolls, right?
And I said, “Oh, what are you doing?” She goes, “Oh, we’re having a conversation.” I said, “Really, what about?” “Oh, we’re talking about getting scholarships.” Yeah, that’s great! She says, “Yeah, we’re going to get all the scholarships so the boys don’t get any.” I go, “Yeah, that’s my girl right there.”
See, and now two years later she’s not into the dolls anymore. Now she’s into do it yourself projects and making YouTube videos, you know? But you see her growing. She’s memorizing efficient text. You see her increasing in spiritual things, growing, what a delight to see. God delights in it. If she just continues to grow, then you just imagine.
See, I love 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; but when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” And there’s that expectation that God has for us. He’s calling us to grow.
B. Age alone does not produce maturity
It’s very, very important, but here’s something we need to see. Age alone does not produce maturity. See, when you think of maturity we commonly think of age, assuming that people as they grow older they are also growing in maturity, but that is not always the case. For example, time alone does not heal a person of a hot temper. It’s going to take something else besides time. Time alone does not heal a catty tongue or an unforgiving heart. It’s going to take something else. Time alone does not heal a bossy attitude or a bitter spirit. Something else has to happen. However, it’s quite possible to be young, and quite mature in your life.
Timothy is a great example, very young. Paul took him under his wing, mentored him, taught him, and he was entrusted with great responsibility even though he was young. See, he writes to Timothy. 1Timothy 4:11-12, he writes, “Prescribe and teach these things. Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in your speech, your conduct, your love, your faith, and your purity, show yourself to be an example of those who believe.”
What does it take to grow spiritually? How does a person move from immaturity to maturity; and it has everything to do with your desire to grow? That you hunger for it. You thirst for it. You want the things of God, and that makes you teachable. So, you soak in, you have ears that are sharp. You are turned to the things because you want to know them, but it’s not just an education that you want. You don’t want just to learn. you want the changes of life that come from it. Spiritual maturity brings transformation in the character, in the living, and that’s what you want because it’s much better. See by education we can say, “Hey, a forgiving heart is better than a bitter heart.” We can check that off on our knowledge base. Well, which one is better? Let’s see, a forgiving heart, or a bitter heart. Well, I would assess and discern that a forgiving heart is better. I know that now, check. No, I want to have it. If a forgiving heart is better than a bitter heart than I want it. I want that heart. Oh, that’s a whole other level.
That’s a whole different thing. Being gentle and kind is better than being cantankerous and rude. Oh, then I want to be gentle and kind, I don't’ want to just check that off my knowledge base. Faith is better than fear. I don’t want to be a prisoner held in bondage by fear. I want the freedom that comes, the strength that comes from a faith that’s growing in depth. Trusting in God is better than becoming easily offended. Then I want to trust God and his perspective for my life. Having a thankful heart is better than having a complaining heart. Well, I want that then. That’s the kind of heart that I want.
II. Press on to Maturity
See, he’s telling us something very key. Notice in chapter 6:1 he says, “Press onto maturity.” Press, move on. He says, “Leave the elementary things.” Press on, move into deeper things. Deeper faith brings deeper living. Confidence in Christ, strength of faith, but you must press on to obtain it.
How does that happen? Well, I think the picture of food is a good one. A baby longing for the pure milk takes in that milk, and that milk strengthens the baby. And then as that baby grows. Then that baby can start to handle soft foods or complicated softer foods, but that’s softer food strengthens the baby, and then that baby continues to grow, and then they go moving into vegetables, and the meat of things and they become strong and vibrant, and they’re growing, and they’re healthy. It’s a great picture, good analogy.
Have you ever met anyone that refuses to eat vegetables? Over the years I’ve known several people who absolutely will not eat vegetables. Their diet consists of Doritos, Cheetos, French fries, and to balance it out Diet Pepsi, and this is their diet. Ever met someone like this? And of course, we know the implications, of course, of what that does to the body. When I was young I used to not eat so well back in those days, and I used to be addicted to Ding Dongs. You know what Ding Dongs are? Ding Dongs are amazing. I think they still have them. They look like hockey pucks but they are chocolate cake, and they got some kind of ooey-gooey something white in the middle and is covered with a firm chocolate frosting. Oh, they are addicting. Ding Dongs, anybody know what Ding Dongs are? Yeah, they are awesome. By the way, a few years ago I mentioned Ding Dongs, and someone went out and bought me some. I am not addicted to Ding Dongs, do not buy me Ding Dongs, okay? But they – when I was young I did. They were awesome, but see the spiritual application is really, really relevant because we know you put those kinds of things in your body. We know the end result is not good.
The same is true spiritually. There are a lot of spiritual Ding Dongs out there. Is that not true? A lot of spiritual Ding Dongs. There’s a lot of spiritual things that are so bad for the soul, so when you bring in things for the soul that are strengthening, healthy, vibrant, they add to you. That’s how you grow.
A. Become accustomed to the Word
See? That’s what he says in chapter 5:13. He’s telling us become accustomed to the Word. He says, “Everyone who partakes only in milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness.” He’s a babe. The Word he’s not accustomed is unskilled, inexperienced. See, God uses the Word of God. The Word of God is used of the Lord in our lives. It’s very, very important to understand that.
2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired” that means breathed by God, “and it is profitable for teaching, for reproof” in our lives, “for correction, for training and righteousness so that the man of God may be adequately equipped for every good work.” It’s very, very important. God uses the Word, is breathed by God, it’s living in active sharper than any two-edged sword. It’s sent with power, it’s anointed by the Lord, and He wants us to become skilled, and experienced, and accustomed to the Word.
A few years ago, my wife for Father’s Day gave me a gift. It was a book, and it was called The Complete Gentleman. I’m sure she wasn’t hinting. It was a history book, and she knows I like history, and it traces back the history of being a gentleman of all the way back from days of knights, and knighthood, and valor, and all that. All through the modern age, and I’m reading this book. It’s really interesting, but one concept.
One idea just grabbed me. It said, “A gentleman masters whatever he does.” I thought, “Oh, that’s intriguing.” A gentleman masters whatever he does, and he goes on to explain that in those days a gentleman would have to carry a sword with him at all times, very dangerous times. You never know when you would be called upon to defend your family, defend your wife or whatever. So, you always have this sword. Now, if you’re going to carry a sword you better know how to use a sword, and so they would practice in the evening. The men would get together, and they would start to refine their skills and hone their ability to swordfight. Because if you’re going to carry a sword you better know how to use a sword. You better become accustomed to the sword. You better become skilled in the sword.
Now, right away I saw the spiritual implications. The Word of God. The Word of the Lord is the sword of the Spirit, and so he’s telling us to become accustomed to become skilled, experienced. 2 Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved by God as to work who doesn’t not need to be ashamed accurately handling the word of truth.” Maybe I suggest to you if you wanted to become accustomed to the Word, one of the places to do that is at our Wednesday service. I think Wednesday service is one of the most important things that we do. Because it’s that verse by verse by verse getting into the meat, the vegetables you might say of the good Word that we can become accustomed, and skilled at living it, and applying it to our lives. Because we’re living in days where that’s becoming a necessity.
You look at what’s happening in the world today. We need to become experienced, and accustomed especially to the prophetic Word that we might discern the signs of the times. Jesus told us it’s essential, it’s important. For example, look at Matthew 16:2-3, “Jesus” just “replied to them, ‘When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather for the sky is red,’ and then in the morning you say, ‘There will be a storm today for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times?’” Which is to say you must – it’s important, especially as we get nearer, and nearer those last days. It’s critical that we can discern what’s happening in the world seem.
Jesus gave us the signs of the time in Matthew 24 and 25 that we might be on the alert. We might be watchful, we might prepare our lives spiritually, and be ready. He brought out Daniel, the prophecies there. There’s of course, Revelation, Zechariah, Ezekiel, these are critical in our understanding because we are seeing the landscape of the world nations changing before our eyes. There is a new world order that is unfolding now. It’s very, very critical and important to understand.
This last week Matthew and I had the privilege and honor of hosting the Georgine Rice radio program on KPDQ, and I used the opportunity to bring current events that we’re seeing around the world and the news to lace them with these Scriptures that apply because there is so much that we have to understand when you’re looking at what’s happening in the world.
It’s very important. Look at this election. This is the most messed up election I have ever seen in my life. You have to say, “Well, why? Why is this such a messed up election?” I suggest to you it’s a messed up election because we’re living in messed up country in a messed up world, and it’s a reflection of what’s going on in this nation, and its reflection of what’s going on in this world, and I suggest to you that this has prophetic significance. And then you look at what’s happening in Europe, the landscape, and the fabric of Europe is changing before our eyes, and you look at Russia’s growing presence in Syria, and the insistence that they have to take control of that area of the world. Then you look at the growing alliance between Russia and China. Can you just imagine the size of the army when those two massive armies are combined together? See, the Scripture tells us that there will be a massive army such that this world has never seen that will come from the north through Syria, and will attack Israel in the valley of Megiddo. The famous battle of Armageddon.
You see what’s happening now. You see these things are the unfolding of prophecy before our eyes, and then you see what’s happening in Europe right now. For the first time in the history of the world, there is a mayor of a major European city who is also a Muslim, and it is the beginning of a tremendous trend because we’re seeing now as the millions of refugees from Syria are now moving into the greater part of Europe. You can see now a growing influence as the fabric of Europe, mainland Europe, is begin changed. The influence of Islam growing in intensity.
In fact, the Scripture tells us that the Antichrist will come out of a ten-nation alliance out of Europe, and very likely because this, Antichrist will be able to bring the Arab nations into a peace treaty with Israel that he will very likely be Muslim in his faith. You say, “Well how can you have a Muslim leader come out of Europe?” Well, now we begin to see, and so the fabric of Europe is changing, and prophecy is unfolding. You see Iran getting nearer and nearer to having the capability of a nuclear weapon, and then there’s Brexit and you see all of these things that are changing on the world landscape, and you see that it is a necessity. The world order is changing.
B. Train your senses to discern
Prophetic significance to what is happening creates a sense of urgency that we must discern the signs of the times, and then he moves on to tell us that we must train our senses to discern. Notice verse 14, “Solid food is for the mature who”, notice this phrase, “because of practice have thou senses trained to discern.”
See, because they’re growing accustomed to the Word, because solid food of God’s Word is being put into practice. Their senses are being trained to discern. Like Job 34:3, “The ear tests words like the palate tastes food.” Scripture tells us that spiritual maturity brings the response where the ear is testing the words.
See, instead of becoming dull of hearing, you listen carefully to discern. The biblical Word applies to what’s happening in the world. What’s happening in life. You’re discerning that which is false because the more you know of the truth, the more you will be able to discern. Know the truth, know the truth, understand, get accustomed to the word because as you know the truth you can discern that which is false.
Here’s a funny illustration that I’m telling on myself a bit. When a few years ago my wife and I we got a gift. It was some tickets to the Singing Christmas Tree downtown. So, we went, and it was a great concert, and it was very dark in there. And at one point, there was some big dynamic thing going on. Everybody stood on their feet. So, I took the opportunity to put my arm around my wife, and I took hold of the back of her arm, which is okay. I’m married, it’s all right. So, I put my arm, and I’m holding on to the back of her arm, and all of a sudden, I say to myself, “Wow, she has a very muscular arm. What triceps, wow!” And then deep spiritual discerning kicked in right away. It’s like, “Oh, that’s not her arm, that’s the arm of the guy standing next to her.” Who then looked at me like hmm.
See, but notice this phrase. It is because of practice they have their sense of strain. They apply, they live. Jesus says it’s he who hears My Word and lives according to them. He is the wise man who is building his life on a rock, a foundation, and then the storms when that destroy it. You’re growing, you’re grasping because you’re putting it into life.
Then I suggest to you also that spiritual maturity is not just for you. It’s not just for you. It’s to bless those that are around you. It’s to help those that are broken. There’s so many broken people today. There are so many hurting, broken people, and there’s a necessity of those who are growing in spiritual things so they can help. They can minister, you got something to say.
You know, it reminds me of that when you go on an airplane, you fly, they give you that little pre-flight speech. Should there be any emergency and loss of cabin pressure? These oxygen masks will fall, make sure you put it on yourself first before you help anyone else. That’s a great spiritual application. Make sure you take the Word of God, and you put it on yourself. Make sure you take the Word of God, and you put it on your life, and you grow in it, and you grow in strength from it, but then it’s not just for you. Strengthen your brother. Strengthen, encourage if you’ve been through it. If you’ve been through a storm, and you know God is faithful. You’ve seen his faithfulness, you got something to say.
It’s often times we ask believers who’ve had alcoholism in their life, but they know the victory of Christ. They got something to say to those who are still in it. It’s often times those who are struggling with drugs, and drug addiction, but who have seen the victory that comes through the spiritual life of God within them that can help other people. They got something to say. It’s like we lost our daughter tragically two summers ago. We have something to say to those who have lost a child.
We understand the pain; we know the faithfulness of God. It’s not just for you. God wants us to move beyond the elementary things, and grow in spiritual things. Immaturity is very costly. It brings great harm, great destruction, but there is great treasure in the wisdom, and the knowledge of godly things. Desire it, want it, it’s what you thirst for, it’s what you long for. Want the changes of my life that comes from it.