Faithlife Sermons

A Knife And Fork Kind Of Faith - The steaks couldn't be higher!

Good Morning!
I hope all of you had a great week.
Last weekend we looked at the comparison between Jesus, Melchizedek, and Aaron.
The author wants the church to see the distinct differences between all three of these priests.
He is purposefully pointing out the flaws in the priest in comparison with Jesus’s perfection.
We looked at the story of Abram and how, over and over, he didn’t do what God told him and it delayed the promises that God made.
The blessings of God always follow obedience.
In our passage today we are going to see the author very quickly change the tone of his message.
Over the last week or so, I have been watching an episode of Alone, Season 3.
Explain the premise of the show.
During this season, one of the contestants kept saying something that resonated with me so much.
It embodies the desire that I have for learning for myself and for our church.
I did some googling and I think it was originally said by Orrin Woodward.
“Are you willing to give up what you are, to become what you want to be?”
As we move into our study today, this is the mindset that we need.
In order for us to become more like Christ, we have to allow him to change who we are.
In looking up that quote I ran across this one by F.B. Myer.
“If you are not willing to give up everything for Christ, are you willing to be made willing?”
God’s ability to work in our lives is limited to our willingness to let him change who we are into who we can be.
It is my prayer and hope that you won’t hear these words of God in a discouraging way, but that it would encourage you to be willing to change.
Or at least be willing to be made willing.
Let’s read that together and we will break it down.
Hebrews 5:11–6:3 CSB
11 We have a great deal to say about this, and it is difficult to explain, since you have become too lazy to understand. 12 Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. 13 Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil. 1 Therefore, let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God, 2 teaching about ritual washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And we will do this if God permits.
It is obvious that the author of this book knew the people that he was writing to.
But today, rather than you hearing this coming from my perspective, I want you to examine your own life.
There are two things that all of us need to think about today.
First, where do you find yourself in these last four verses of Hebrews 5?

Are you drinking milk when you should be eating meat?

As an aside, it is good to drink milk when you are at that spiritual age.
The phrasing here was common to the early church and maybe to you as well.
Paul says something similar to the church of Corinth in his first letter.
1 Corinthians 3:1–4 CSB
1 For my part, brothers and sisters, I was not able to speak to you as spiritual people but as people of the flesh, as babies in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, since you were not yet ready for it. In fact, you are still not ready, 3 because you are still worldly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not worldly and behaving like mere humans? 4 For whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not acting like mere humans?
Both Paul and the author of Hebrews are examining the lives of their people and finding that their focus is everywhere but on where it should be.
This morning, as you think about your own life, how would you honestly evaluate it?
Is the bulk of your time focused on yourself and your desires or are you focused on the calling God has placed on your life?
We need to address that everyone starts by being feed milk and that is good.
We cannot bypass that stage.
We aren’t born as adults.
If you are a new believer, you are still learning the basics of what it means to be a follower of Christ, that is precisely what you need to be learning.
The beauty of this process is that all of us are in different places along this growth journey.
Some are babies, we have some middle schoolers, young adults, mid-lifers, and others that have been walking with the Lord a long, long time.
No matter where you find yourself today, there is room for exponential growth in your life.
Until we are reunited with Christ, there is more and more for us to learn.
What Paul is addressing and what the author of Hebrews is addressing is not just knowledge.
They are both urging their people to pursue the person of Jesus and to know him by experience.
The author of Hebrews is stirring the spirits of the church because they are about to dig into some pretty heavy theology.
It is time for some steak!
Don’t let that word scare you, theology is simply thinking through what you believe about God.
It is not simply knowing about God, but rather knowing Him as He reveals himself to you.
There have been many who confused theology with knowledge, but it is so much more than that.
Paul makes this clear a little further on in his letter.
1 Corinthians 3:18–20 CSB
18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks he is wise in this age, let him become a fool so that he can become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, since it is written, He catches the wise in their craftiness; 20 and again, The Lord knows that the reasonings of the wise are futile.
Don’t begin to think that this is about religious activity either.
We are not being challenged to do more or gain more information.
That is what the Pharisees and Sadducees were all about and Jesus had plenty to say about that.
Matthew 23:2–6 CSB
2 “The scribes and the Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses. 3 Therefore do whatever they tell you, and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach. 4 They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry and put them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them. 5 They do everything to be seen by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. 6 They love the place of honor at banquets, the front seats in the synagogues,
The Pharisees were focused, not on knowing God, but possessing all the knowledge about God and making sure everyone knew how religious and smart they were.
Jesus isn’t calling for more of this, he tells the disciples to do what they say, but not what they do.
The law was purposeful, but when taken out of context and twisted to benefit a few, it lost its power.
God used the law to reveal the need that people had for him.
This message in the middle of Hebrews wasn’t to bind up people and heap on a heavy load, but rather, it was to remind them that there is so much more of God that they had not yet experienced.
It is time to start cooking that steak.
The difference between just slapping a piece of meat on a grill versus seasoning it well, getting a nice sear and crust, then basting with butter, garlic, and thyme.
What God is speaking to the church through both of these writers is that there is more depth for the church to experience.
The problem that so many of us face is that we settle for the surface-level stuff and never allow God to take us deep into understanding.
The primary reason that the author addresses are laziness or sluggishness.
They were unwilling to go deeper because it would be hard work.
We often take a Laissez-faire attitude toward our spiritual lives rather than being intentional about growing.
We don’t like it when life gets difficult because it requires focus, energy, and stamina.
Unfortunately, we have let the world convince us that we are in short supply of those things.
The reality is, we aren’t, we have just convinced ourselves that we are.
We are capable of far more than we think AND we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us.
Are there other reasons that you settle for the shallows of faith?
So this first question was, are you still drinking milk when you should be eating meat?
The second question is…

Are you willing to follow God’s lead into a deeper understanding of who He is and obey what He asks of you?

In 6:1-3 the author says it is time for us to leave the elementary ways of thinking and go on to maturity.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve told you that it feels like we are on the edge of something great.
God is putting together pieces of a plan that has been in the works for years, but unless we, as a body, are willing to move forward in obedience, we are going to be just like Abram and miss out on the work that God is doing.
Here is the thing about where God is leading us, I don’t have the full picture yet.
I know of a few specific things, but I also know that historically, God doesn’t give me the whole picture.
I am so excited to see what he has planned for all the people in our lives.
I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in your lives.
Do you remember reading those books when you were younger where you get to decide how the character responds?
That is where we are except how each of us responds to God will determine the path that our church takes.
Our decisions will open and close doors and shape people's understanding of who God is.
Think about how exhilarating that is.
On the other hand, if we don’t respond, we are relegating ourselves and others to bread crumbs rather than bringing them to the table to feast.
One of the commentaries I read this week told the story of a Greek inscription that was found on an archaeological dig.
The inscription was from a man who had to use his own resources to build a tromp for his sisters and writes it to his older brother, whom that responsibility would have fallen to because he received the inheritance.
He calls his brother negligent because it was his responsibility and he failed to do it.
The word negligent is the same word translated as sluggish or lazy, in Hebrews 5:11.
If we fail to mature in our faith, we are being negligent to the calling that all believers receive when they choose to follow Christ AND we are being negligent with our relationship with Jesus.
In the middle of this text, the author abruptly stops the message, pivots to challenging the church to consider their faithfulness.
He is about to enter a challenging text and he needs to be sure that they are ready to hear it.
We are in a similar place.
God wants to reveal Himself in each of our lives so that we can share that experience with others.
We all need this gut check to be reminded of our call and what is at stake if we neglect our faith.
This is so much bigger than any one of us.
If we neglect our faith, not only do we delay God’s work in our lives, but we are also delaying God’s promises for others.
I am going to take a page from the author of Hebrews and pivot the tone of this message today.
I want you all to know how proud I am of each and every one of you.
Every time I meet with you guys, whether it is on a Sunday morning, Life group, or just for coffee, I am so blessed by you.
Today is not a condemnation, but a firm reminder from the Lord that we aren’t “there” yet.
All of us have so much more to learn and to accomplish with God.
I cannot wait to see how God is going to use this little body to change Cenla.
In studying this week, I came across this passage and I want to end today by reading it over all of us.
Philippians 3:12–4:1 CSB
12 Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore, let all of us who are mature think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you. 16 In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained. 17 Join in imitating me, brothers and sisters, and pay careful attention to those who live according to the example you have in us. 18 For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame; and they are focused on earthly things, 20 Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of his glorious body, by the power that enables him to subject everything to himself. 1 So then, my dearly loved and longed for brothers and sisters, my joy and crown, in this manner stand firm in the Lord, dear friends.
I know that our heart's desire is to be like Christ. So I leave you with the question that we began with.
“Are you willing to give up what you are, to become what you want to be?”
There is so much that God wants us to experience.
Let’s decide together today to go deeper together.
This week let’s get our pans out, gather our ingredients, and cook some amazing steaks.
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