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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Messages » Time for the Meat!

Time for the Meat!

As a Homeschooling family we had the great opportunity to be a part of our children’s education. Many years ago our family started having geography dinners to teach our children about other cultures. Each month a new country was chosen to study. At the end of that month we met with other families in our group and had a meal with food from that country. Recipes had to be something common to their culture. Everyone also had to dress in the traditional clothing for that country. During the evening each child had to give a song, dance, present a skill or read a report about something pertaining to that area of the world. Then at the end of the evening I read from a book that listed the country’s religious percentages and we all prayed for that nation and its people. We all learned a lot about different countries and it was so much fun that we continued doing it for some time after the girls graduated. I was amazed at what people eat in other parts of the world. Then again, they would probably be surprised at what we eat here in the Southern U.S.! That’s the strange thing about food. It really is what you are used to. A small child in a foreign land may sit and suck on a jalapeño pepper like it was candy. I take one bite and run for the stomach medicine. When we are raised on certain food it becomes palatable to us and then we even desire it when we are hungry. It’s a lot like scripture in a way. That is the area of my message today.

Start with me in 1st Corinthians chapter 3. Paul is writing to a carnal church which is mixed with traditions of the world. It sees no problem with sin on varying levels and Paul gives stern correction in several areas of his letter. Look at the first verse with me today.

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, [even] as unto babes in Christ.

Notice the terms that Paul uses regarding the maturity of these believers. He says that instead of being able to talk to them on a spiritual plane he instead speaks to them as babies, on a carnal level. Ponder that for a moment. Do you think Paul talked to them in a vulgar, worldly manner using the world’s profanity since they could not understand the spiritual? I don’t think it means that at all. Certainly we know that it would never be proper for a pastor to speak in street language from the pulpit, although there are some today who even swear and use profanity from this sacred position. I believe the key is that Paul talked to them as babies in Christ. It was in a way that was non-threatening, non-challenging and easy to receive. This church was much like the church of our time. It was full of prosperity, affluence, and in an area of commerce and many varying beliefs. The time that it had been established is not known to us but from Paul’s words, we see that it was past time to be beyond certain teaching. Look now at verse 2:

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able [to bear it], neither yet now are ye able.

Now Paul uses two examples of food to further describe a maturity level. Let’s stop and think about who can only use milk and who can use meat. Babies come into this world with an appetite for milk alone. They could not possibly consume anything else. In deed, it is the perfect food for them. From the day of their birth it gives them the nutrition to grow at an incredibly fast rate and anyone who has had a baby knows that they seem to outgrow clothing overnight.

They do not go to meat overnight nor do they switch to solid food quickly. But they do reach a point in that their bodies need solid food. We use a term called “weaning” in which we cut them from “only milk” and begin to slowly use the solid foods. Paul stated here that this church should have been beyond the milk by now and that they were at an age that meat would be appropriate. Imagine a baby that grows up to a toddler’s age but is never weaned. The child enters the school age group and still drinks only milk. He would be smaller that his friends and weaker, for sure. But he would be in malnutrition sustained only on milk.

We are much like that on a spiritual level. We begin our “new birth” with the sincere milk of the Word (1st Peter 2:2).  We grow and are healthy but we’re not strong enough to take care of ourselves. We are spoon fed in the beginning as someone else usually teaches or disciples us. We sit in Sunday School or “New Creations” classes and learn what we need to start our walk with Christ. And this is all proper and good that we do so. In the reference I listed above from Peter he said;

 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

So, it is proper for new Christians to learn these things. It establishes us in the walk. It is much like a honeymoon for a newly married couple. We all know that the honeymoon is over when the realities of life come. There is a time when we must get down to the real things in life. We do need the easier doctrines to begin with. It allows us to grow in Christ as we should. Would you ever think about giving a baby a piece of steak or a hamburger? Of course not! That child would choke! Even if he was able to swallow the food down he would not be able to digest it. So what we do is slowly bring in the solid food to a child to give him an appetite for solids.

Examine Hebrews 5:12- 14 for a moment. Paul says that this church should have been to a point that they could have taught others but they still needed milk. He goes on further to state that those who use milk are unskillful in the Word of God and are babies. This is our first clue as to what scripture is referring to when it talks about the milk. One must first know the Word to understand the word. The Holy Spirit gives us insight into what the Lord has said in His Word.

Think again about the entire analogy of babies eating different foods as they mature. When a child reaches nine to twelve months old they learn enough motor skills to reach out and put things in their mouths. This is natural as they are becoming able to begin feeding themselves. The first semi-solid foods are small and dissolve quickly so that the baby doesn’t choke. Then they are slowly moved to things like macaroni and steamed vegetables. If meat if there they will need it pre-processed before they can eat it. Later, they have developed enough teeth and understanding to actually chew things.

Spiritually, we are that way too. We slowly develop an understanding that some things we never knew are actually spelled out in the Bible. These things don’t necessarily happen with an age either. My children often had discussions with adults on scriptural matters. I often listened as our youngest daughter Olivia explained why we don’t adorn ourselves and why they wear the head coverings. Several older adults even told here those things weren’t in the Bible until she opened it and showed them!

We ought to be continually learning from scripture and just like children who feed themselves we ought to develop a habit of reading it ourselves. The majority of the church today has never read through the Bible even once. Some don’t even bring their Bibles to church now as they just trust that the Pastor knows what he’s talking about. If you are not in the habit of finding new studies, and not in the habit of regular personal Bible study you may be still in the milk.

I’d like to close today with some questions for you. Do you read your Bible daily? Do you spend more time in it than you do in other books? Do you have a habit of reading it with your family? Have you ever shared the Gospel with someone else? If you did share the gospel did that person ask questions that you couldn’t answer? Finally, do you feel that you have enough knowledge of the Bible to teach Sunday School or a small Bible study?

If you answered no to all of the above questions you are definitely still on the milk of the Word! If you answered no to some of those questions you have not been completely weaned. The mature Christian should be able to independently know what they believe if someone asks about their faith. Next week I plan on continuing with some practical thoughts about the meat of the Word of God.

Prayer-Father, perhaps some have found themselves in the place that the church at Corinth was in. They have realized that their spiritual life is not one of maturity. May this be the day that they take their first real meat. Open their hearts to receive what You have for them. Give them a hunger for real food that they might grow in You.

In Jesus’ Name I pray-Amen

paul

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Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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One Response to "Time for the Meat!"

  1. Virginia says:

    Thank you Paul, this was a real eye opener for me. I now know where I stand and what I need to do to get there.

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