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Hebrews - Part 5 - Spiritual Immaturity

Study of Hebrews  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:51
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Today's message shows how Jesus became our Supreme High Priest. We will also look at a warning given to believers regarding spiritual immaturity and the danger of falling away

HEBREW SERIES – HEBREWS 5 WARNING AGAINST IMMATURITY GIVEN IN SURREY BY CRAIG MAY 2, 2020 Today I will be covering Hebrew chapter 5. This chapter is broken up into basically 3 sections. 1) Qualifications for an Old Covenant high priest 2) Coming of Jesus to be our Supreme Great High Priest 3) A Warning to Believers about the Danger of Immaturity and Falling Away In the Old Covenant the giving of the law at Mt Sinai introduced the need of a high priest to intercede for the sins of the nation of Israel. HEB 5:1-4 1 Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3 This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. 4 And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was. Notice a few things about the qualifications of the High Priest • The high priest was appointed by God to represent men before God. • The high priest had to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins of the people and his own sins. • The high priest must be able to deal with men with compassion. • The high priest must offer sacrifices for his own sins. He is just as guilty of sin and short of God’s glory as the people are. • The high priest must be God-appointed and not self-appointed. • Scriptures records the disaster of men who took the honor upon themselves: (Korah, Saul, Uzziah) THAN 2000 YEARS AGO – SOMETHING CHANGED JESUS CHRIST (THE LAMB OF GOD) CAME TO THE EARTH AND BECAME OUR HIGH PRIEST. • No more animal sacrifices were needed, Christ on the cross paid the ultimate sacrifice for all the sins of mankind. • We know the law was only a foreshadow of the coming of Christ. HEBREWS 5:5-6 5 In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.” 6 And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”  A FEW POINTS ABOUT CHRIST BEING OUR SUPREME HIGH PRIEST 1. JESUS CHRIST NOW IS OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST • Hundreds of years before Christ ever came into the world, God foretold that He was going to send His Son into the world. (even as far back as Genesis) • God was going to beget, that is, cause His Son to be born into the world. • He was to enter the world as man so that He could perfectly identify with man and go through all the experiences of man; therefore, God had to send Him into the world as a man. • Christ perfectly fulfilled all the requirement of the high priest, he did not have to offer sacrifices for his own sins as the OT high priest had to. 2. IT IS GOD’S IRREVOCABLE OATH THAT HIS SON WAS TO BE A PRIEST ◦ Jesus Christ was not to be priest like Aaron’s priesthood; He was to be a priest after the order of Melchisedec. ◦ What does this mean? Melchisedec’s priesthood is said to have been without human descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life. ◦ Johannes will be covering some of this when we get to chapter 7 ◦ God appointed Jesus to be our high priest forever, He would be the eternal representative of man before Godl 3. CHRIST SACRIFICED HIMSELF, HE SUFFERED BITTERLY AS A MAN. • No high priest has ever suffered or been aware of the trials and sufferings that Jesus Christ bore and knew. • He suffered beyond what any person ever has to suffer. • He suffered every human trial and experience that men can suffer—and He suffered them so that He can comfort us and have compassion on us through all the trials of this world • What a wonderful God we serve A God who ◦ understands when we are hurting, ◦ comforts us when we are sick, ◦ Cares for us when we are abused ◦ Supports us when we are falsely slandered or gossiped about. HEB 5:7 7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. • This is probably a reference Jesus’ last night at Gethsemane. • Because of the terrible trials Christ bore, He is bound to have offered up prayers and wept bitterly throughout His life—often. • Any normal person would be crushed under the weight of what He bore. • However, there was one experience that Jesus went through that far supersedes all others. That was the experience of death for the sins of the world. ◦ Christ experienced death even as men experience death, since he was fully man and fully God. ◦ God saved Jesus from death - meaning that ▪ God raised Him up from the dead ▪ He is seated at the right hand of God ▪ He has become our great High Priest our mediator. ▪ He is able to save us from death and to escort us into the eternal presence of God to live forever and ever. ◦ Jesus knew he had been sent to die, ▪ but in his humanity, ▪ he faced great agony and sorrow over what he knew would happen. ◦ In the garden, Jesus prayed LK 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  ◦ In his humanity, ▪ he did not want to die (no human being likes pain) ▪ but he submitted himself to the Father’s will and he was heard because of his reverent submission and obedience. ◦ Did God hear Jesus? Yes. ◦ Did God change the plan? No. ▪ Is that any different than us. Does God hear us when we cry out for healing, or strength, or deliverance – THE ANSWER IS YES. ▪ Does God always answer us or change his plan for us. THE ANSWER IS NO. (God know what is best and when it is best) ◦ Jesus suffered extreme agony and death in submission to God. ◦ But his prayer was answered in that he was saved from the power of death. He overcame death through his resurrection. ◦ Let’s look at the next verse in Hebrews HEBREWS 5:8 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered • Jesus Christ was the Son of God; therefore, He did not have to come to earth to save man. ◦ But it was God’s will, and the only way Christ could obey God was to humble Himself and come and suffer as Man. ◦ He obeyed God—experienced obedience—by suffering as Man. ▪ He learned what it is to obey God as a Man; ▪ He learned it by becoming Man and by suffering as Man. • The point is this: ◦ Christ willingly came to earth to suffer for man. ◦ He did it because it was God’s will, and He loves His Father. I JN 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” • Jesus is a model for us in our suffering, a life he freely chose • In his humanity, Jesus continuously made the choice to follow the will of God. JESUS CHOSE TO OBEY. ◦ There is a lesson for us also in the midst of our suffering ▪ do we obey God or ▪ do we get upset with him and abandon him if we feel he is not answering our prayers. • Because Jesus obeyed perfectly, even under great trial, He can help us obey no matter how difficult the trial. • Notice next verse in Hebrews HEBREWS 5:9 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 4. CHRIST WAS MADE PERFECT: HE BECAME THE SOURCE OF ETERNAL SALVATION. • Christ suffered as a Man in order to secure perfect obedience to God. • Christ was “without sin” ◦ It means that Jesus Christ Himself became the perfect and ideal righteousness for man. ◦ Therefore, His righteousness can cover man. • As our supreme high priest Jesus intercedes or mediates between God and us for our sins. ◦ (No human priest could ever do justice as a mediator) ◦ If man was ever to become acceptable to God, some perfect Person has to stand between God and man. ▪ Why? ▪ Because the ideal perfection of that Person must cover man, and man must believe and trust in the Person’s ideal perfection for it to cover him. ▪ Jesus Christ met all the qualifications of the that perfect Person. ▪ That is why when God looks upon believers (even though we still fall short and sin) He sees us as his children, perfect and pure. Because he sees us through the lens of Christ who is our mediator. • When we accept Christ as our personal Savior and we believe and follow Him, Christ’s righteousness covers our imperfections and flaws, and God sees Christ perfection when he looks at us. • Because Christ lived, died, and rose again, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. ◦ Christ alone is the only source of salvation, there is no other way ◦ Salvation comes only to those who obey as Christ obeyed ◦ The world does not like this statement. WHAT ABOUT US PERSONALLY • In the Bible, it tells us • to obey Christ means to believe Christ, and • to believe Christ means to obey Christ. No person will obey Christ unless he believes Christ, truly believes Him. ◦ A person is going to live like he wants, not like Christ says, unless he truly believes in Christ. ◦ Therefore, the person who obeys Christ is the person who believes Christ. THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE: No person believes in Christ unless he obeys Christ. ◦ The person who truly believes in Christ will obey Christ. ◦ If he truly believes that Christ is the Savior of the world, then he will follow Christ. ◦ He does what Christ says: he obeys Christ. • The point is this: believing Christ and obeying Christ mean the same thing. ◦ To obey and to believe are the same act. ◦ To obey and to believe are the same act. As followers of Christ, as followers of the way: • We need to accept the wonderful salvation offered to us by believing and obeying his promises. HEB 5:10 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek 5. CHRIST WAS APPOINTED HIGH PRIEST BY GOD. ◦ The High Priesthood of Christ with all that it means is of God. ◦ God is the One who appointed and sent Christ into the world. ◦ Now we move into the last section of the chapter. VERSE 11 OF HEBREWS 5 BEGINS WITH ANOTHER WARNING GIVEN TO THE RECIPIENTS OF THE BOOK: ABOUT THE DANGER OF IMMATURITY OR OF FALLING AWAY HEB 5:11-14 11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. • This section begins a warning to every believer and church member. It is as applicable to the first century as is it to us today. • That includes you and me sitting here today. • Today millions of professing believers and thousands of churches are guilty of this very failing: immaturity or falling away. • In this day and time there is the danger of immaturity, of falling from Christ. HEB 5:1111 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.  ◦ Vs 11 is a reference to believers who remain immature, and don’t grow ◦ Some translations use the term “dull of hearing” ◦ He is dull of hearing. ▪ The word “dull” (nothroi) means sluggish, slow, lazy, lethargic, forgetful. ▪ The writer of Hebrews had much that he wanted to teach, but the people were incapable of learning. ▪ Why? One cannot grow in the knowledge of God by reading 1-2 Bible verses a day. ◦ As a follower of Christ ▪ we must study, ▪ meditate, ponder it and apply it to our lives and ▪ practice the Word of God in order to understand it. ▪ We must be like the Bereans who searched the scriptures daily ▪ Have we lost some of our first passion for God and his word. The Hebrew believers had become mentally lazy and sluggish and spiritually complacent and slothful. ◦ They may have been sitting and listening to the preachers and teachers, ◦ They may have been reading the Scriptures, but ▪ They were not listening or paying attention. ▪ Their minds were wandering about and ▪ They were unwilling to exert energy to concentrate and study. ▪ The Hebrew Christians here were choosing the easy road. ◦ Some of the Hebrew believers were already dull of hearing. ◦ Some had already become immature; they had already fallen and were no longer growing spiritually. As believers we must be maturing and growing COL 1:10 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,  • We can’t bear fruit and grow in the knowledge of God without studying the word; II TIM 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.  • We can’t serve God properly if we do not study to see what he is telling us PS 1:1-2 1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. • What made King David a man after God’s own heart. He studied the word of God – His delight was in God’s word and mediated on God’s word day and night. • Are we as followers of Jesus deeply studying and desiring to learn from the word of God • Or would we sooner spend our time on the internet or watching TV. ACTS 28:27 27 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. • Does this sound like the culture of the world we live in today. Is that not what we see around us today. • The culture of blab blab blab saying I can’t hear you. • People don’t want to hear the word of God and if they do there is only non-commital. (Has this rubbed off on us today) • Now back to Hebrews. HEB 5:12 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!  • Vs 12 is a reference to people who remain immature because they refuse to grow up spiritually • The Hebrew believers refused to move even learn the basic principles of God’s word, the ABC’s of God’s word. Maybe some of the basics ◦ What must I do to be saved ◦ How to grow spiritually ◦ How to life righteously ◦ The need for a relationship with God ◦ Need to repent • Such basic truths as these are the milk of God’s Word. ◦ These truths are to be learned as a believer when God calls them, they are basics, milk, baby food. But that is not where it ends. ◦ They are to be learned quickly by believers, and then the believer is to move on to maturity. ◦ A young believer is likened to a baby and needs to feed upon the milk of the Word, the first principles, but he is expected to grow until he is feeding upon the meat of the Word—studying and growing in a mature understanding of the Christian life. ◦ But every so often you hear of a person leaving the church their excuse is ▪ I was not getting feed ▪ Not realizing as they mature they must begin to feed themselves from the meat of the word. • The situation among the Hebrew believers was tragic, and just as tragic for us in our day: ◦ they were spiritual dwarfs, deformed and undeveloped. ◦ Many of the Jewish Christians to whom this letter was written were immature. ▪ Sufficient time has elapsed for the believers to have been grounded in God’s word. ▪ They should have been teaching others and passing on their faith ▪ They should have begun using their gifts to serve and help others ▪ They should have already been sharing their faith and sharing the gospel but this was not happening ▪ But tragically they were still feeding on the bottle 20-30 years later. • How many people have professed Christ and never grown? ◦ Maybe they participated in an altar call ◦ They professed Christ years 10, 20, 30 years ago and have remained spiritual babes still looking for milk. ◦ Yet, tragically this is the spiritual life of some in the churches even today. ▪ Maybe some did not want to cut their Jewish ties. ▪ Maybe some were trying to blend in with the culture. (sound familiar) ◦ Commitment to Christ moves people out of their comfort zones into roles where they can teach others, serve others and use our gifts. I COR 3:1-2 1Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. • As believers in the body of Christ we need to ask where we are at. • We need to take inventory of where we are at. EPH 4:14 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  • Let’s get back to Hebrew 5 HEB 5:13-14 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. • Young parents become excited to see the development of their first child. • Jars of baby food quickly augment milk, and garbled “mama-dada” soon gives way to counting to ten, repeating some of the alphabet, and uttering a few emphatic nos. • Parents would feel devastated if the child never progressed beyond one-syllable words or if the child remained on a milk diet until puberty. • Mature Christians move from the elementary teachings of the gospel (milk) to the substantial biblical teaching of righteous living (solid food). • A child learns to walk by falling down, then getting up and trying again. • Mature believers learn to know the difference between good and evil by prayerfully examining the word of God and putting it into practice in their lives • TODAY: Is this not a warning also in our day, ◦ Are we daily studying the word or God and applying it to our lives. ◦ Do we value the LIVING GOD BREATED WORDS in his Bible ◦ Do we desire to grow in understanding and communion with our triune God? ◦ Do we seek it as buried treasure? ◦ If someone told you from a very legitimate source there was 5 million dollars of gold coins buried in you back yard would you look for it? • AND YET ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD DOES NOT COMPARE TO WHAT CHRIST OFFERS US IN SCRIPTURE. ◦ The Hebrew believers talked about here remained unskillful in the Word of righteousness. MATT 4:4 4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. • To truly live we must live by the God-breathed words of the Bible. • Back to the final verse of Hebrews 5 HEB 5:14 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. • This final verse talks about the person remaining immature because he does not train his mental and spiritual senses. • Note a few facts about maturity: • 1.) It is possible to reach “full age” in the Christian life; ◦ It doesn’t happen overnight. ◦ But God expects that of us. ◦ I am not referring to perfection. • 2.) Also a mature person is a person who discerns between good and evil. ◦ He has gone beyond … • just attending church occasionally • just keeping the rituals and ceremonies of religion • just giving money • just reading the Bible occassionally • just praying occasionally • The mature believer does all of these things, yes, but he does more, much more. ◦ He studies the Word of God for edification, correction and learning. ◦ He sets aside blocks of time for daily to prayer, BS, meditation praye. ◦ He lives and moves and has his being in prayer; that is, he continually prays. ◦ He keeps his mind and thoughts on Christ and obeys Him. ◦ He witnesses for Christ, sharing the wonderful hope God has given him. ◦ He discerns both good and evil, and does the good. • The mature believer IS ABLE to discern between true and false religion, true and false claims, sin and righteousness. • He knows … • when to look and when not to look. • when to eat and when not to eat. • what to drink and what not to drink. • when to go and when not to go. • what socials to attend and what not to attend. • what do listen to and what not to listen to. • where Christ is really preached and taught and where He is not. • who to fellowship with and who not to fellowship with. • when to speak and when not to speak. • who teaches the truth and who does not. • The mature believer lives for Christ. He discerns between the good and evil. • A mature believer is alert and disciplines and controls his or her thoughts. II COR 10:5 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  ROM 12:1-2 1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. • In order to grow from infancy to maturity, we must learn discernment. • We must train our consciences, senses, and minds to distinguish good from evil. • We must learn the principles in the word of God ◦ right thinking and ◦ right action, ◦ right living. • Can we recognize temptation before it traps you? • Can we tell the difference between a correct use of Scripture and a mistaken one? • How much time do we spend reading the word of God? In comparison to: ◦ Watching TV ◦ Reading books ◦ Personal Recreation Brethren these are questions only you and I can answer. And these are questions only you and I must want to answer. Let’s grow in maturity as the body of Christ. CLOSING PRAYER
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