Moving on to Maturity
By Bruce W. Robida
Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. HEB 6:7
But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. HEB 6:8
What are these two passages of Scripture trying to make us understand? It is that each of us who make up the Church are the land that drinks in the rain, often falling on it, and the rain is the Word of God. Week after week, we hear God’s Word preached and taught on Saturday night, or Sunday morning. We go to Sunday school, Bible study, Wednesday night prayer meetings, and many more Church activities designed to teach us the ways of God. We often hear preaching on the radio, television, and even on audio and videocassettes. We listen to Christian music, and read Christian literature, and combined, our lives are flooded with God’s message in one form or another. His Word often rains down on us. Hebrews 6:7 says that the rain often falling on the land produces a useful crop to those for whom it is farmed, and that land receives the blessing of God. The crop that is useful to those for whom it is farmed is our deeds. Speaking about false prophets, Jesus says, “By their fruit you will recognize them...”MT 7:16 The crop of the false prophet is thorns and thistles. According to Hebrews 6:8, their crop is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. Why is it then, that even though we receive abundant rain, or often hear the Word of God, that some of us produce a good crop, while others do not? It is a simple matter to understand. First, we must listen carefully, to what is being preached. Daydreaming in Church often causes the daydreamer to miss the message. The Word of God often falling on our ears always produces a good crop. However, there is only one true Word of God. Only His Words will produce good fruit. But when His Word is combined with the words of men, it becomes diluted. When the Word of God becomes contaminated, the result is a crop that is useless, and in the end it will be burned. So God’s Word must pass through a filter, one that will remove all of the contaminates so that it remains pure. The pure Word of God is the only thing that will produce a good crop. So what is this filter? It is the Bible of course. Every word preached or taught concerning God must pass through the filter of what He has already said. If anything contradicts what He has already said, it must be rejected. If anything is added to or taken away from what He has already said, it too must be rejected. The apostle Paul commended the Bereans for having more noble character than the Thessalonians because they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what he told them was true (Acts 17:11). The Bereans compared the Scriptures against the teachings of one of the greatest apostles, yet he commended them for it.
But a great many Christians today are unwilling to make that kind of commitment for their faith. It is a tremendous task to consider carefully, every word that is preached and taught, especially since there are so many different sources to have to check out. What makes us think that a certain preacher is correct in his doctrine, while another is not, even though we have not checked out either of them? How do we know which one is the right one, unless we pass their words through the filter of the Bible? Sadly, many people think that one church is like any other, and it makes no difference where they are taught, just as long as they are taught something. Many people are spoon-fed not only the pure Word of God, but lies or distortions right along with it. They are confused and cannot move past the fundamentals of the faith simply because they are still trying to figure them out. They live on milk when the apostle says, “...by this time you ought to be teachers...” (Heb. 5:12). They are confused because of just enough truth mixed in with just enough error. So the apostle says, “...you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” (Heb. 5:12). This is the answer to the problem. Learn the elementary truths of God’s Word all over again, but this time, reject those things that do not pass through the filter. After learning the fundamentals of the faith, all Christians must move on to maturity, leaving behind the milk, taking the solid food. It is the solid food, which acquaints us with Christ’s teaching about righteousness. Until the Christian is weaned from the milk, he will not know about true righteousness.
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. Heb 5:13
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. Heb 6:1-2
So, moving on to maturity means leaving behind the elementary truths so that the righteousness of Christ can be learned and then lived. This brings us back to producing crops that are useful. When we really hear the true Word of God, good works will result. If we only hear what we want to hear, or if we hear things that are not really the Word of God, thorns and thistles will result, and maturity will never take place.
So brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s not be so easily led by every preacher that comes along, but test what he has to say that it is in agreement with what God has already said. Move past the fundamentals of the faith, and move on to mature truths, the solid food, that you may begin to do the work, which God has prepared in advance, for us to do (EPH 2:10). Christianity is not about just hearing the Word, but it is about doing the Word as well.
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