Christian Universe ™
Weaning The Weak From The Milk
December 06, 2009
Feeding new Christians only the milk of the gospel is the right course. However, as they are in the church longer, preachers, ministers, or pastors need to feed them something more substantial. Eventually, they must receive the meat of the word of God, else their spiritual growth will be stunted and they will remain spiritual infants. It is not wise to feed only the milk of God's word perpetually, else spiritual maturity will never be achieved.
Weaning The Weak From The Milk
By Bernie Parsons
Presented to Load church of Christ on 12-06-2009
I recently spoke on the freedom that we enjoy as Christians. We have no law of ordinances such as was forced upon the Israelites. As Christians, we are responsible for our own actions and decisions. Since this is true, we must grow from the infants that we were when we were born again into the kingdom of God.
John 3:1 “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.“
1 Peter 1:22 “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
1 Peter 1:14 “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
When we obey the gospel of Christ and are born of water, we are born again. A newborn is fairly helpless, feeds on milk, and has a lot to learn. Being helpless, the newborn requires a lot of attention and teaching. It is no different with a newborn Christian.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Romans 6:3 “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
The baptized believer in Jesus is born again. With this rebirth comes a new life. The old life has passed away, or died, and was buried in the water. The new person emerges from that watery grave where the old, dead life is buried, and is a newborn in Christ Jesus.
As a newborn baby feeds on its mother’s milk, so the newborn Christian must feed upon the word of God.
1 Peter 2:1 “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings,
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.”
This is logical and makes a lot of sense! New Christians need a weakened form of food, something suitable for a newborn. This is the milk of God’s word. It is at this stage that basic doctrine must be grasped. It is important that new Christians understand that they must let go of their old ideas and concepts, replacing them with the teachings of God.
The new Christian must be taught to relinquish malice – the desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another; guile, which is deceitful cunning or duplicity; hypocrisy – pretending to be one thing, while actually being another; envy -- painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage; and all evil speaking, or saying bad things about others, as in gossip and slander.
Part of laying the foundation is to give up these practices of the flesh. Instead, a new life is founded upon righteous principles.
1 Corinthians 13:8 “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
Perfection, or maturity, comes when we move beyond the childish things. We need to stop the game playing and childish talk and behave like adults. Once we understand how to love God totally, and our neighbors as ourselves, then we shall have achieved spiritual maturity.
1 Corinthians 3:1 “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
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.
3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?”
Paul wrote this because the church at Corinth was contentious and divided, having favorite preachers that different members followed. Paul called for unity among them, keeping in mind that all follow Christ, not some preacher!
1 Corinthians 1:10 “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”
It was exactly this situation that caused Paul to chide them for their spiritual immaturity.
1 Corinthians 1:20 “Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
1 Corinthians 1:26 “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
God has not placed His message in the hands of the great orator, nor the skillful debater, nor the highly educated man. In fact, the apostle Paul here states that God has done the opposite. He has chosen a simple, plain message of salvation in Jesus Christ to save people. Instead of the powerful orator, the skilled debater, or the highly educated, He has given it to the common man.
Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
Uneducated, these apostles nonetheless proved their knowledge in what Christ had taught them. Read all of 1 Corinthians chapters 3 and 4 to get the gist of what Paul was teaching on unity.
Hebrews 5:11 “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 useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
Hebrews 6:1 ”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.”
We have an obligation to grow and learn as Christians. Weak when we are first baptized into Jesus Christ – that is, born again – we must first drink the milk of the word of God, but then we must grow into the meat of His word. If we just repeat the basics of becoming a Christian over and over, we are not growing in Christ.
Colossians 3:12 “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
We must learn love, mercy, and peace, which are the signs of spiritual perfection, or maturity.