Hope from Hebrews #10 - Time to Grow Up
Text: Hebrews 5:11-6:3
Thesis: To stress the need for spiritual growth.
(1) Do you know adults who still act like children?
(2) What about Christians who haven’t grown spiritually?
(3) Here, the author rebukes such people.
I. The Marks of Spiritual Immaturity:
A. Dullness toward the Word
1. “Dullness of hearing is a metaphor for mental sluggishness and spiritual apathy” (Lightfoot 112).
2. Note: The Greek indicates that the original readers “had become that way by their inattention to teachings that had been available to them” (Girdwood and Verkruyse 183).
B. Inability to teach
1. ‘Teaching’ refers to both public and private/formal and informal, but the emphasis here is more upon the informal (cf. Matt. 28:19).
2. Obviously, one cannot teach what he/she doesn’t know.
C. A “baby-food” diet
1. The ‘milk’ and ‘meat’ has more to do with one’s understanding than with various passages.
2. Thus, they were not truly “digging” into the riches of the Word.
D. Unskillful in using the Word
1. Without a proper diet, one cannot properly exercise spiritual discernment.
2. Instead, one would more likely be “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14).
II. The Cure for Spiritual Immaturity:
A. Leave the elementary teachings about Christ
1. ‘Leave’ is best understood as “leave standing” or “let remain” (Lane).
2. These teachings are the foundation to be built upon; thus, the implication is clearly to build upon it with proper spiritual growth.
3. The author enumerates six elementary teachings:
a. Repentance from acts that lead to death
(1) ‘Repentance’ “represents a reorientation of one’s whole life and personality, which includes the adoption of a new ethical line of conduct, a forsaking of sin and a turning to righteousness” (Lightfoot 121).
(2) ‘Dead works’ – ineffective sacrifices of the Jewish law? More likely, a reference to the works of sin (cf. Rom. 6:23)
b. Faith in God
- Without it, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6)
(1) Isn’t there now just one baptism (cf. Eph. 4:5)?
(2) The Greek word here (baptismon) is the plural form of the word (baptismos) that is generally used to describe the ceremonial washings of the Jews (e.g., Heb. 9:10; Mark 7:4).
(3) Thus, “although the term baptismos does not usually denote Christian baptism, here it is the appropriate term since other washings as well as baptism are in view” (Lightfoot 122).
d. Laying on of hands
- Endowment of the Spirit (cf. Acts 8:17)? Healing (cf. Acts 9:12, 17)? Confirmation (cf. Acts 6:6)?
e. Resurrection of the dead
- Cf. 1 Cor. 15
f. Eternal judgment
- Cf. Heb. 9:27; 2 Cor. 5:10
B. Go on to maturity
1. Passive or middle voice?
a. If passive, then the author is conveying the idea of yielding oneself to God and allowing Him to work within the person.
b. If middle, then the author is conveying the idea of one’s accepting the responsibility to do something to grow.
c. Possibly, both elements are being considered here.
(1) E.g., God is at work with us (cf. Phil. 2:13) as the Spirit is transforming us (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18).
(2) While at the same time, we must do our part (cf. 2 Pet. 3:18).
2. Also, this phrase “is in the present tense which suggests that we are to continually put forth an effort” (Girdwood and Verkruyse 191).
(1) God expects His people to mature (e.g., 1 Cor. 13:11).
(2) Have you matured and are you still maturing?
(3) If not, then the author is calling upon you to change immediately.