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Listen to the episode here: https://gospelofeverything.com/podcast/from-milk-to-maturity-are-you-still-stuck-on-the-basics-of-christianity/
Welcome to The Gospel of Everything Podcast where we consider everything in the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am your host, Jon Davis. On this show, we do not obsess over the end of the world, but rather we are looking to see the glory of God show up in every area of our lives. We are not waiting to go down in glorious defeat. We are expecting to win.
Welcome to the Gospel of Everything podcast where we consider anything and everything in the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am Jon Davis, your host, and I am looking to be united with and to work with and to inspire and be inspired by fellow victorious Kingdom ambassadors.
I am talking about a group of people who are not looking for and obsessed with the end of the world, but rather are looking to bring God's Kingdom more and more into every area of the world.
They're not looking to change the world by humanistic ideas, but rather are embracing God's revelation and everything that flows from it in changing the world from those ideas.
They're not looking to be saved by another political government scheme, but they're looking to be saved by Christ and then expecting to live out Christ in every area of life.
If that is you and I believe it is. Welcome home. Welcome to the place where you belong. The Gospel of Everything Podcast!
Why do I call the Gospel of Everything? Because I believe and teach that the good news about Jesus Christ applies to all of life. It isn't just about you getting some fire insurance so you can escape the fires of hell.
It is about you and me being transformed in our lives in every area of our being and becoming these Victorious Kingdom Ambassadors, the representatives of God on Earth that are bringing Jesus into everything.
So today I want to talk to you about what does it mean to be a mature Christian?
So what is the goal of Church and Bible and discipleship and all of these kinds of things? Why do we have these things? Why do we do these things? Is the purpose to create Tithers? Attendees? Participants in our programs?
This is kind of the businessy side of Church Incorporated, isn't it? We need people to be paying money. We need people to be sitting there to listen to the pastor's sermons. We need people to sign up for all the stuff that we're trying to do with our Church programs.
But is that what it means to grow as a Christian, to become a man or a woman of God? Is that what it's all about?
I want to talk to you about a passage in the Bible, Hebrews, chapter five versus twelve through 14.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the Oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food for everyone who lives on milk, Being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
So what can we learn from this passage?
Well, first of all, by this time, you ought to be teachers. So I don't know how long you've been a believer in Christ, but are you a teacher now?
Are you able to teach others the teachings of the Bible? If you're not, why not? What has happened? I think we've created a world where we have these kind of professional, expert teachers that stand up in front of us. Or maybe they even do good quality podcasts. And then everyone else is supposed to listen and go out to lunch after Church and say that was a great sermon, wasn't it?
But is that really what should be going on, or should you be becoming the teacher?
We can also learn from this passage that there is something beyond the basics, and it talks about what some of those basics are at other parts of that passage. But there's something beyond the basics. Getting born again, getting filled with the Holy Spirit, these basic things.
Sometimes like we emphasize those like that's the only thing Christianity is. You'll even hear people say "we don't preach about how to change the world. We just preach the gospel."
Well, that would be not understanding what the gospel is, first of all, but it would also be creating big fat babies, people that are Christians for decades, but they're still babies. Is that you?
I don't believe so because you are a Victorious Kingdom Ambassador who you yourself are a teacher and you yourself are someone who knows the word of God, both the basics and the advanced things in the word of God.
Now, I want to make it very clear that the point of this is not to devalue the basics or say that you should never talk about the basics again.
I have been a Christian since I was four, which is a very long time.
You know, sometimes I still in a child hearted way need to go back to God for the very basic things about Christianity. Forgiveness. Knowing I'm loved. Just getting re-established. I don't think the point here is that those things become less valuable or even unimportant.
That's not what we're talking about here. The point is there's more in the Bible and in Christianity than just the basics. Our goal is not to create perma-babies.
I suspect that our model of Church, which maybe I'll talk about model of Church someday, but we've literally created a Church business that requires dependents in order to function. Because of the tithing, because you need people to tithe. You need people to attend, you need the people to sign up for the programs and volunteer for the things you need volunteer for.
I'm not saying any of that's bad by the way. I'm not criticizing volunteering, attending gathering of believers. I'm not criticizing those things.
What I'm saying is if those things become the main goal, you create perma-babies, people that are babies forever. The point is to create warriors who are not dependent on a pastor or a man up front forever.
So if there are any pastors listening to this, is your goal to launch Kingdom Warriors out from your Church into the world, or is your goal to have your own Kingdom where everybody's looking at you?
I'm not accusing you or anybody of anything, but this is worth some introspection and thought. If you're insecure, if you're afraid, you're going to try and hold on to everyone, you're going to try and control everyone and keep them in your orbit so that your ministry can grow. But that is not what this is about. If you really want to grow the Kingdom, you are a launch pad equipping the Saints for good works and launching them out from the Church into the world.
And all of your people should be more and more becoming basically teachers themselves, people who know the basics and people who know the advanced.
So what is this maturity? What is this advanced stuff?
Well, part of what it talks about here in Hebrews is how solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
I have some ideas about what this is talking about here distinguishing good from evil. But you know, I went to my fellow believers and fellow teachers and did some research to make sure I'm not only on my own because we're all in this together. Because I believe that this is talking at the very least about ethics, right and wrong. Distinguishing good from evil.
I found that many people commenting on this passage, some of them with some wisdom, felt the need to also point out that this is definitely about discerning truth from falsehood, and the context of this passage makes that pretty clearly true.
So discerning good from evil is, amongst other things, discerning which teachings are true and which things are false, which teachings are biblical, and which teachings are not. So we cannot ignore that part... knowing the truth.
But I would submit that it's also about understanding what is right and what is wrong. To be trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
How many of you who are listening know someone or have been that someone yourself who is distinguishing good from evil based on what you've been taught by a pagan fallen world? There are some very common things out there nowadays where people will be aghast at the horrible crime or sin you've just committed. Only the whole source and ideology that is even describing that as sin isn't from the Bible.
I remember telling a young man once something about God's vision for human sexuality and about being men and women joining together in Covenant And somewhere in there he was aghast because he felt like I was criticizing homosexuals, which I wasn't really. But I was teaching what the Bible says and homosexuality is not consistent with the Bible.
So where are you getting your training about right and wrong? The culture around you has some training for you. It's in the movies. It's in the books you read. It's in the people around you. It's in the things that are considered, "oh, I can't believe you said that!" But are you reworking your ethical beliefs from the Bible and being changed?
Second Timothy 3, 16 through 17 says all Scripture is inspired by God - some versions say God-breathed. I really like that - and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient equipped for every good work.
What is Paul referring to here as the Scriptures? Now, I would submit to you that at the time Second Timothy was written, many of the books of the New Testament were probably already circulating, although not all of them, were circulating amongst the body and around the Christian world. But Paul is probably referring here to the Scriptures that they started with the Scriptures that they had at that time. He's probably primarily referring to the Old Testament.
So wait a minute. I thought we were New New Testament believers? This is a New Covenant. We're not under the law, right?
Well, there's much to be said about that. And the principle of the Scriptures being God-breathed does apply also to the New Testament.
But I believe Paul is telling Timothy here these Scriptures, the ones Jesus taught from the ones the Apostles basically taught from the Old Covenant or the original Covenant. I like to call it. This is what Paul is instructing Timothy to be mature in.
So I want to submit to you that a part of being a mature Christian is understanding the whole Bible, not just the New Testament.
I don't really. I'm not sure what the phrase New Testament believer means or why somebody ever invented that phrase. I am a Old and New Testament believer.
I understand that I am not under the law and I cannot be saved by the law. But I believe the entire book is there for teaching and reproof and correction and training in righteousness and being equipped for good works.
The New Covenant - you can read it in Jeremiah. What? The Old Covenant talking about the New Covenant? Yah it's in the Book of Jeremiah. The Book of Jeremiah talks about how God is going to make a new Covenant with Judah. This is in Jeremiah 31, 31 through 34.
The days are surely coming, says the Lord. When I will make a new Covenant with the House of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the Covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. A Covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord, I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer shall they say one to another or say to each other, know the Lord, for they shall all know me from the least of them till the greatest, says the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more.
This is describing something pretty amazing here where God's law is written on our hearts.
Now it's interesting to me that we, as New Testament believers, seem to somehow apply that we're not under the law to mean that the teachings of the Old Testament aren't relevant or the only point of them is to kind of get you born again.
That is definitely a point of them. But we also know from Second Timothy here that the Old Covenant is useful for teaching, reproof, correction, training, in righteousness, being equipped for good works.
So the law hasn't gone away. It's just been transformed from a list of rules that tells you how sinful and messed up you are to something that the Holy Spirit is writing on your heart. It's a description of love.
Jesus Himself said that the whole of the law is about loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and loving your neighbor as yourself.
So the whole Bible, including the Old Covenant, is useful for understanding that practical love in Christianity ethics is practical love lived out. That's where we get our right and wrong.
Now it doesn't mean... I've met people who have basically said, I don't need the Old Testament because I have the Holy Spirit and I have love. But how do you know what love is? How do you know what is an accurate description of love? If you just go out into the world to love everybody based on the definitions of love in this world, you'll sometimes come to the conclusion that it is the opposite of love that the world is teaching.
Like right now, if you go out and explain to somebody that their behavior or their life choices, are contrary to their own good, as taught by the Bible, you will be told that you hate them. You will be told, "Stop hating me. Stop hating people."
Well, no, I'm not hating you. I'm not hating people. I'm telling you what the Bible says is true about right and wrong.
So a part of being a mature believer is setting aside the teachings and doctrines of this world, this fallen world, common cultural ideas about right and wrong and replacing in your mind and in your Spirit with God's standard of right and wrong, and you will find that in some cases the things that the world is teaching is love is actually hatred, because if you tell someone who is living in horrible bondage that I love you the way you are and by that you mean "it's okay what you're doing it's okay how you're living," you're hating them practically.
Whatever your motive is, the practical outflow is hatred because it's going to destroy them. They're on a path to walk over a cliff and fall to their death and your hugging on 'em and saying everything's all right.
Well, everything's not alright.
"Blessed are the wounds of a friend" is the Christian idea right out of the Bible. Blessed are the wounds of a friend. True love is to tell someone the truth about their destructive life, right?
So another verse that comes to mind in this context is Ephesians chapter two, verse ten that we are created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
Sometimes when you say good works, people freak out and say no, no, no, no. Salvation does not come by good works. So no. I didn't say Salvation comes by good works. I didn't say you can get into heaven by good works. I didn't say you can be acceptable to God by your good works.
But Ephesians two says that you were created in Christ Jesus. You were born again. You were reborn to do for the purpose of good works!
Well, how are you going to know what those good works are?
Part of becoming a mature Christian, a Christian that not only enjoys a good glass of milk once in a while, but also knows about the meat of the Word, someone who knows from the Bible, what are good works, what is a good thing to do, what are right and wrong?
What are they? I want you to imagine a world full of teachers living out good works based on God's view of everything.
Hebrews Eight, chapter Eleven they will not teach one another or say to each other know the Lord, for they shall all know me from the least of them to the greatest. That's a quote of what I read from you earlier in Jeremiah 31 that's in the book of Hebrews.
A world of mature believers is one where in a sense everybody is a teacher. Like I said in Hebrews, you should all be teachers by now.
And there's a sense in which nobody is a teacher because everybody already knows. Everybody already knows the Lord. Everybody already knows good and evil and knows right from wrong. And knows what God wants in the world.
I really believe that I have observed that Christianity in our culture right now is really focused on getting you born again and getting you to Church and getting you to tithe and getting you to participate in the Church programs. This is like kind of a central focus, and once again I'm not saying any of those things are in and of themselves bad.
But Christianity is so much more than that. Your relationship with Jesus is so much more than that. I want you to grow into a mature believer, which, among other things, is going to include understanding the wholeness of what the Bible says.
So what are the implications of this? That no one's going to be your teacher? You will all know the Lord? If the whole point of your Church and your Church life is to talk about how good the pastor's sermon is, (there's nothing wrong with that, by the way), but if that's the central point...
What's your sermon? That's my question for you. What is your sermon? And I don't mean you need to literally be a person who stands up in front of the Church and teaches a sermon. But what is your sermon in your daily life? What is your sermon in your actions? What is your view of the world? What is your view of what God wants you to be doing in the world?
That's what we're talking about in this podcast, by the way, that's why it is The Gospel Of Everything, because we want to learn what the Bible says about all of life.
What does it say about work? What does it say about right and wrong? What does it say about government? What does it say about family? What does it say about everything? You need to know what God thinks, are good works. You need to know what He thinks is right and wrong. You, me and I need to rework our world views. We need to cast aside the baggage of this world's teachings and stop being a baby and learn to eat meat. A whole view of God and how He feels about everything.
And just a little side note from history... Is what I'm saying why, when the Bible got generally translated into the common language and made generally available through the printing press, that this led to revolutionary changes in society? Yeah. This is what's going on when people are actually learning for themselves what the Bible says and trying to live it out. It's not held in the hands of some kind of elite. We sometimes have our own version of that today where someone called the pastor is the one that has all the wisdom.
I cannot emphasize too much. This is not what Church is about. How great the pastor is.
A great pastor is someone who is launching people out as Victorious Kingdom Ambassadors into every area of life, not only someone who everyone thinks. "Wow, what a great sermon," right? I hope you will take the time to think through the implications of this.
Just a summary of what I've been talking about is if you want to be a mature believer, you have to move on from which doesn't mean never consuming it again. All of the basics of the gospel, you know, being born again, being a part of the Church. All of those things.
Read the passage in Hebrews and it literally lists out some of those basic things of the gospel. But to move on into learning the higher things of Christianity, which includes right and wrong and a Christian view of every area of life. This is what you are for. You were created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand to be your way of life.
But if you don't develop your mind and your spirit through studying the Word and moving beyond the basics of Salvation of your individual Salvation into the Salvation of everything, you're going to be a big baby for the rest of your life. You don't want that, do you?
You, my fellow Victorious Kingdom Ambassador, are called by God to do good works as a person knowing what good works means. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to another episode of the Gospel of Everything podcast.
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God bless you, Victorious Kingdom Ambassador.
Remember, we're not here to take cover. We're here to take over.
Thank you, friend, for taking your valuable time to listen to the Gospel of Everything podcast today. I hope you have been blessed and encouraged and have more hope for the future. Make sure right now to take a moment to subscribe in your favorite app. If you don't ever want to miss a thing, please visit GospelofEverything.Com and subscribe to be notified by email as well. See you again next week for the next episode of the Gospel of Everything podcast. Be blessed.
Listen to the episode here: https://gospelofeverything.com/podcast/from-milk-to-maturity-are-you-still-stuck-on-the-basics-of-christianity/