Milk and Meat

Posted on 03/18/2007 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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TRANSCRIPT:

Good morning and welcome! Let's get started today by turning our attention upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our Faith, and by welcoming the Holy Spirit to have his way in our midst today.

Let's all stand to our feet and open today's service with prayer.


Lord God, thank you for this brand new day. Thank you for what you have in store for us today. Thank you for the healing and growth you want to bring us, for the plans and purposes you have for us, and for the place you're calling us to find in you.

We bring before you the requests of those who have asked us to pray publicly for their needs.

We pray for Juno, that you would give him wisdom and direction. We ask that you make your will for him clear, and show him how you would have him serve you and his country.

We pray for Javon and Fatima. We know that you can turn everything around to our good as we seek and wait upon you. We ask that you perform your will in their life. Draw them both closer to you during their time of trial than they've ever been. May this period be a blessing and not a curse, as you draw them into a deeper, more intimate relationship and daily encounter with you.

We pray for Mariposa's mom Carol. Because of what you've done for her in the past, she's known as "Miracle Girl." She gives you the glory for her life and well-being, and we ask that you touch her now, Jesus, and bring healing to her body. We speak life into Carol's body right now, in Jesus' name. We speak life and healing to her heart and her lungs. May they be renewed, restored, and brought into proper functioning and order from this time forward, in the name of Jesus!

We pray for the private and unspoken requests, Lord. Bring healing, peace, joy, deliverance, and Salvation, as your glory continues to fill the whole earth.

And now, have you way in our midst today, Holy Spirit. Draw us into your presence, and bring us closer and deeper in love with Jesus.

And it's in Jesus' name we pray.

Amen.

Please remain standing and click-touch the pulpit for a notecard, and come to the throne room of God as we worship him together with song.


(Click CTRL+S to save any notes you write.)

Sunday, March 18, 2007
"Milk and Meat"


NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Refrain:
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

(Refrain)

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

(Refrain)

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

(Refrain)

Now by this Iíll overcomeó
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
Now by this Iíll reach my homeó
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

(Refrain)

Glory! Glory! This I singó
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bringó
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

(Refrain)


BLESSED ASSURANCE

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.

Refrain:
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
angels descending bring from above
echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
(Refrain)

Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with his goodness, lost in his love.
(Refrain)


I AM THINE O LORD

I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice,
and it told thy love to me;
but I long to rise in the arms of faith
and be closer drawn to thee.

Refrain:
Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
to the cross where thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
to thy precious, bleeding side.

Consecrate me now to thy service, Lord,
by the power of grace divine;
let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
and my will be lost in thine.
(Refrain)

O the pure delight of a single hour
that before thy throne I spend,
when I kneel in prayer, and with thee, my God,
I commune as friend with friend!
(Refrain)

There are depths of love that I cannot know
till I cross the narrow sea;
there are heights of joy that I may not reach
till I rest in peace with thee.
(Refrain)


You are worthy Lord! We give you all the honor and glory today! Speak to us now by your Word, and open our hearts and minds to hear what you want to say to us today by your Holy Spirit.

Amen.


Today's message is titled "Milk and Meat," and I'd like for us to take a few minutes today to examine where we are in our walk with Jesus, so that, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can gain a new perspective and clear direction for our lives.

We'll be taking a look at two stages in our spiritual walk: the stage of milk, and the stage of meat.

In Hebrews chapter five verses twelve through fourteen we read,

"Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to  teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk  and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of  righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that  is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."

And here we see two levels of spiritual development. The people to whom this letter was initially written had obviously been Christians for a long period of time, so much so that the writer, possibly Paul, said they should already be teachers.

And yet they needed the basics. They were unskilled in the "word of righteousness," and their senses were not exercised to discern both good and evil.


Most of us desire to know more, to go deeper, to advance beyond where we are now. I believe this is a room full of intelligent people, and Scripture tells us "the mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge." And yet there is a message behind this passage that is a vital warning to us all.

There are more teachings out there today than there are brain cells combined. And many of them sound exciting, enticing, spectacular, and revelatory. And yet, to those who do not have a firm foundation in the basics of the Word, off-based doctrines and subtle errors plant a seed of deception that hungers and thirsts to be watered and grown.

A few examples are the idea that if you give enough money to the ministry, you will become healthy, wealthy, and fabulously rich. If we are not grounded in the basics of the faith, we will buy into this flashy half-truth.

The truth is that "my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus," and "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."

And yet if we do not understand the basics of the "oracles of God" as the writer puts it, we will forget that there are many forms of blessing and abundance than money, and even the apostle Paul prayed to be neither rich nor poor, but to have what he needed, since either extreme would be detrimental to his spiritual state of being.

Another example is the power of positive confession. Most of us have heard the expression "blab it and grab it" to refer to such teachings. While it is very true that "a man's stomach will be filled by the fruit of his mouth," no where in Scripture do we see that whatever we say enough will always come to pass.

If we are rooted in the basics of the principles of God's Word, we will realize that our words have the most power when we align them with the Word and will of God. It just might not be God's plan for you to be a zillionaire. He might have wealth in mind for you that has nothing whatsoever to do with money.

And yet we are led astray by these off-base doctrines, because our spiritual senses are not exercised to discern good and evil. In other words, we are lacking spiritual discernment because we're not firmly rooted and grounded in the basic principles of God's Word.


There is a time and a place for milk.

How many of you were twenty-one years old when you were born? Weren't we all born as babies who required milk, and who could not handle solid food?

None of us are born into the family of God as spiritual adults, either. And so we all must be built up in the milk of the word, the basic, foundational principles of the "oracles of God."


First Peter chapter one verse 22, through the third verse of chapter two says this:

"Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been  born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives  and abides forever, Because
    'All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
    The grass withers,
    And its flower falls away,
    But the word of the LORD endures forever.'"

"Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all  evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow  thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious."


So we see that, while we are to grow into spiritual maturity so that we can digest the meatier things of the Word, we all must begin with the basics so our foundations can be firmly built.


The question today is, "Where are you?"

Are you a new believer who is feeding eagerly on the milk of the Word, the basic, foundational principles of the oracles of God?

Are you a mature believer who is firmly rooted and grounded in the Word and has matured to the meatier spiritual matters?

Or are you a long-time believer who is at a stand still, an adult in the nursery wetting diapers and sucking on a bottle?


The world in which we live often promotes an attitude of animated suspension in which our wheels are spinning and we're kept busy with all sorts of preferably enjoyable activities, but we're not really moving forward in the deeper things of God.

And so we get comfortable, not wanting to rock our boats, not wanting to stretch, carefully steering away from the uncomfortable, often painful processes that the Holy Spirit uses to knock off our rough edges and grow us into maturity.

On top of that, we suck on bottles that contain some or only a little milk, and the rest is full of sugar and de-orderized rot. And because we're so accostomed to the taste, we aren't aware that what we're drinking is keeping us from maturing past babyhood.

When a person ages physically but remains a baby in his or her mind, we consider them mentally retarded.

And when a person has been a Christian for awhile but remains a baby in his or her spirit, would that person be rightfully considered spiritually retarded?

And yet, while there seems to be no known cure for mental retardation, there is a 100% effective and reliable cure for spiritual retardation.

If poison in your bottle, feeding on the mind of the world along with the mind of Christ, is what is holding you back from absorbing and growing in the milk of the Word, then the cure is this:

Refuse to drink spoiled milk.


Proverbs 4:23 says, "Keep watch over your heart with all diligence, for out of it flow the springs of life." And Psalm 101:3 says, "I will set nothing wicked before my eyes." Then James 4:4 tells us that "friendship with the world is enmity with God. Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

If we want to grow spiritually, we need to get the poison out of our bottles. We need to feed not partly on the milk of the Word and partly on the spoiled milk of the worldly mind, but fully on the pure milk of the Word.

As we read in First Peter, "Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all  evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow  thereby."

If you want to grow spiritually, it's vital that you lay aside the things of the mind of the world, the carnal mindset of the flesh, and that we desire and seek after the pure milk of the word, so we can grow thereby.

Regardless of what level you believe yourself to be on spiritually, here's my challenge to you today:

Go on a fast. Not necessarily of food, unless that's what the Holy Spirit is prompting you to do, but of the entertainment of the world.

We can't and shouldn't take ourselves out of the world. But our Christian walk with God is all about choice and what we do with that choice. If we're choosing to entertain ourselves with carnality, then we're watering down and ultimately nullifying the spiritual nutrients of the Word of God. We're polluting our minds and our spirits before we even have a chance to grow strong enough to tell the difference between what is good by God's standards, and what only appears to be good but is really poison.

So I challenge you to exercise your freedom of choice. Starting today, right this moment, declare a fast from the entertainment of the world.

Do you choose to listen to secular music? Then next time you turn on your radio, find a Christian station, or put in a worship tape or CD.

Do you choose to watch worldly movies? Then next time you want to turn on your TV to Desperate Housewives, MTV, or Oprah, turn off the TV and pick up your Bible instead.

Do you choose to read magines such as Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, or GQ? Instead, pick up a copy of Our Daily Bread, Men of Integrity, or Today's Christian Woman.

Do you choose to read horror or secular romance novels? Instead, go to your local Christian bookstore or library and pick up a copy of Sparkling Gems, Every Man's Battle, or Facing Your Giants.

So for the next thirty days, I'm calling a spiritual fast -- a fast from the entertainment of the world, that sweet, sticky, all-too-often poisonous stuff that isn't the pure milk of the Word, and an immersion into the things of God.

I'm calling for a corporate baptism into the pure milk of the Word and a pressing into the presence of the Lord through prayer, Bible reading, praise and worship, and separation from entertaining ourselves with carnal things.

Out of the average eighty or so years of our lives, do you think one month of giving up the Word-neutralizing entertainment we're so addicted to is going to hurt us?

Quite the contrary. And I will make you this guarantee: After this 30 days of fasting from worldly entertainment and feeding upon the pure, uncommentaried, uncompromised Word of God, you'll have such a clear, heightened sense of discernment, that you just might choose to make this careful guarding and nurturing of your spirit and heart a way of life.

And you will begin to grow spiritually.


In closing, I would like for us to ponder the fact that the people to whom Hebrews was first directed may not have been Christians for fourty or fifty years. Although it's uncertain exactly when the book was written, Christianity was most likely less than seventy years old, and the audience could have been relatively young believers.

And yet the writer says they should have been teachers by this time.

Spiritual growth is not something that happens overnight. In fact, it is a life-long process. And yet, you will be surprised at how much, even a month from now, you will have grown from the pure, unpoluted milk of the Word.

And from the spiritual growth and deep, solid foundation in the "oracles of God," a strength and depth of character will begin to form that will enable you to move forward in areas you have seemed stuck.


Let's all stand to our feet, and I'd like the ministry team to come stand across the front.

I know many of you feel God tugging at your heart today. You may have voices from all different directions urging you to ignore this challenge, and yet you know deep down that if you don't do something different in your life, you will never move forward, and you will never move beyond the things that have been holding you back.

No doubt your fleshly, carnal mind is giving you reason after reason why you shouldn't fast from pleasing it. And if you sit back and entertain those arguments, your flesh will undoubtedly win.

After all, for most of us, our spirits are more weak and pathetically feeble than we would dare to imagine, and our flesh is strong and needs only whisper a command for our wills to obey.

But I know you have a hunger and a thirst for more of God.

I know you have a desire to see him move through your life.

I know you want to move past those things that have been holding you back.

I know you want to see the Spirit of God move in such a measure in, around, and even through you that the sick are healed, the blind receive sight, the suicidal find peace and joy, and the lost come running to the cross to find everlasting life.

And it begins with a single decision.


Accept this challenge today. Put aside all worldly, carnal entertainment for the next thirty days, and pursue the pure, undilluted Word of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit. And you will begin to grow spiritually, your eyes will begin to receive sight, and you will see a glimmer of discernment that the Church as a whole is lacking.

For many of you, this is going to change your life. It's going to set you on a path of growth and discovery, a path of transformation.

For many, this time of seeking solely after the things of God will result in a break-through, a deliverance, a setting free from the things that have you bound and with which you've struggled for years.

For all of us, regardless of our spiritual level of maturity, this will be a time of drawing closer to God, of cleansing ourselves and strengthening our spirit man.


And if you accept this challenge for a thirty-day spiritual fast, please step out of your seats and come to the front as a declaration to yourself and to God that you mean business, and that no matter where you are today, you want to move forward and grow in Christ.

Turn a deaf ear to the excuses and insane reasoning of your carnal mind, and follow the leading of the Spirit. And you will find peace, you will find life, and you will begin to grow toward maturity.

In a few minutes we'll meet next door for a time of fellowship, and you're all invited to join us there. If you need prayer or ministry, please instant message one of the ministry team.

Come to the front and accept this challenge the Holy Spirit is giving us today. And may God bless you with a fire, a desire, an unquenchable hunger and thirst for more and more of him.

Come!