Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hey Babe… (Hebrews 5:11-14) 250309

I went into the room with trembling and fear. I was about to conduct a class for three small groups which has indicated that they are ready to move on from a Basic Accountability Group (BAG) to become an Ongoing Accountability Group (OAG). In our church, small groups are formed according to their spiritual maturity phase. As the name of BAG suggests, it is for Christians who need to develop and cultivate their basic spiritual disciplines and habits. And OAG will be for those who already have the basic in place and desire to dig deep into the Word of God to develop Christ-like character traits and qualities. So, members of an OAG need to know how to study the Word of God for themselves. That is why, I am teaching such a class on Sunday.

The reason I entered the room with trembling and fear was because these members whom I was teaching were almost all older than me, not only in term of age, but also in term of their years as a Christian. I humbly come before them just to offer a model of Inductive Bible Study which I compiled from various sources. I was surprised by their humility too, a heart of willingness to learn.

Today, as I read Hebrews 5:11-14, I can’t help, but to think of them. Many of them ought to be teachers, but still need again someone to teach them (v12). Of course they are not learning elementary stuffs, they are ready for real solid food as the author of Hebrews describes. The question I have, and the feedback I have received, is that our church has been neglecting this area of ministry for many years. Well, I wouldn’t say we have neglected the ministry of Christian Education; it is just that there has been no one anchoring such ministry to equip our members. Therefore, some turn elsewhere for such feeding.

I like the illustration of “milk” and “solid food” (v12-14). Leon Morris defines “milk” and “solid food” as follow:

“Milk” stands for elementary instruction in the Christian way. “Solid food” is, of course, more advanced instruction, the kind of teaching beginners cannot make much of but which is invaluable to those who have made some progress. What is appropriate at the early stages of the Christian life may cease to be suitable as time goes on.

It is not a differentiation of the word of God as “milk” or “solid food”. I am a firm believer that the Word of God is the same whether it is the form of “milk” or “solid food”. But it is the maturity of the listeners or Christians in this case which makes the difference.

I am a father of a 15 months old girl. I have witness how she grew from an infant who totally dependent on feeding of the caregivers to eating semi-solid food like cereal and porridge, and now she will ask for food, solid food, when she sees us eating. She loves to eat. She has an appetite for food. She wants to grow.

I hope that we are no longer a babe, but a hungry adult who desires to grow. If you desire to grow, you need to eat good and solid food. You need to constantly meditate on the Word of God and also study the Word of God. Maybe you long to study and understand the Word of God, but not knowing how to, go and ask someone who know.

Don’t let people call you babe, you can handle solid food. You have to grow. I was preaching in the Chinese ministry on Sunday, and I ended my sermon with this illustration to help the congregation to realize the need to grow:

My daughter is very cute. She sucks her finger; that’s cute. She blabbers her words; that’s funny. She tumbles and stumbles as she walks; that’s cute and funny. She is only 15 months old. But when she is 15 years old and still sucks her finger; that’s not cute. If she still blabbers her words when she speaks; that’s not funny. And if she continues to tumble and stumble as she walks; that’s dangerous! To stretch our imagination further; when she is 35 years old and still sucking her finger, blabbing her words and tumbling and stumbling as she walks; that’s horrifying! A person who is not growing is horrifying.

Hey Babe! Grow up!


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