Growth and Learning in the Church
Heb. 5:11-6:3 – 11 of whom we have many things to say and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 but strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Heb. 6:1-3 – 1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit.
The text of our study today has to do with the growth process of a new convert [i.e. one that has recently become a Christian]. The new Christian is considered a baby at the time of their baptism cf. Heb. 5:13 – For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. (KJV) The person who has recently volunteered to be a Christian is like a newborn baby; without ability and ready to begin the growth process from infant to adult [I.e. unknowing child to knowledgeable spiritual adult – one capable of understanding and teaching another person].
Paul is telling the Hebrews that they ought to be full-grown-Christians because of the length of time that they had been Christians. Yet, he chastises them for their failure to grow in the spiritual sense (i.e. from baby to full-grown Christians].
From this passage of Scripture and others it is apparent that new born Christians are to avail themselves of each and every opportunity that is available to them of learning more and more about their responsibilities and conduct as Christians. Indeed; no Christian will, grow unless they are conscious of the need to ingest more and more spiritual food [i.e. avail themselves of opportunities to learn through Bible study sessions, gospel meetings, and other special opportunities] to learn about their new life; as a Christian.
This growth process is encouraged by the Lord throughout the Scripture; note the following passages that so teach …
Eph. 4:15-16 – 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. KJV
1 Peter 2:2-5 – 2 as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby: 3 if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. KJV
2 Peter 3:15-18 – 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. KJV
So; then; let us come quickly to a proper understanding of our responsibility as a new Christian to put forth reasonable effort to grow spiritually as God directs us. May God bless our efforts to provide opportunities for all new Christians to grow and be eventually mature enough to teach and understand the strong and difficult passages of Scripture.