Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Milk vs. Meat


In 1 Corinthians 3 Paul states of how he is feeding "Christian infants" with milk, rather than meat. Spiritual milk would be classified as basic biblical truths and spiritual meat would be something more theological or "deeper" in meaning. However, unlike many churches in America today, Paul is very careful to encourage these new believers to GROW in their knowledge, not continuing to consume the milk (basic and simplistic biblical teachings).

1 Cor. 3:10-15
"But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames."
Paul was careful to admonish the Corinthians to build upon their faith (grow in maturity).

2 Peter 3:18 says that we should grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. We are encouraged to GROW spiritually.

Hebrews 6:1 says, "Therefore, leaving the elementary message about the Messiah, let us go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God."

If a particular church is not actively encouraging and speaking to its fellowship to change and grow; if Christians justify such churches as being the "milk", then when will these believers grow into the maturity of Christ and leave to go to a church that is more "meaty"? At what point does this church move people on to pursue their own spiritual growth? I see no plan for that in the view of most seeker sensitive churches. I see only contentment to stay in that spiritually simplistic atmosphere for entertainment purposes.

I understand that we need to start somewhere as new believers, but the discipleship atmosphere that Jesus modeled with His disciples seems to be a great way to start! Bring them up to a higher level..."as iron sharpens iron" (Proverbs 27:17)!

In case anyone is wondering...no, I do not consider myself even close to reaching the pinnacle of spiritual knowledge and maturity. That can never be attained on this earth. Still, I will strive to get as close to it as possible by challenging myself by placing myself around Christians and under a pastor who encourages me to GROW in my salvation!

Below is what Matthew Henry had to share about this chapter of 1 Corinthians 3 and how Paul was chastening them for lacking in spiritual maturity.

Paul blames the Corinthians for their weakness and nonproficiency. Those who are sanctified are so only in part: there is still room for growth and increase both in grace and knowledge. Those who through divine grace are renewed to a spiritual life may yet in many things be defective. The apostle tells them he could not speak to them as unto spiritual men, but as unto carnal men, as to babes in Christ, v. 1. They were so far from forming their maxims and measures upon the ground of divine revelation, and entering into the spirit of the gospel, that is was but too evident they were much under the command of carnal and corrupt affections. They were still mere babes in Christ. They had received some of the first principles of Christianity, but had not grown up to maturity of understanding in them, or of faith and holiness; and yet it is plain, from several passages in this epistle, that the Corinthians were very proud of their wisdom and knowledge. Note, It is but too common for persons of very moderate knowledge and understanding to have a great measure of self-conceit.

The apostle assigns their little proficiency in the knowledge of Christianity as a reason why he had communicated no more of the deep things of it to them. They could not bear such food, they needed to be fed with milk, not with meat, v. 2. Note, It is the duty of a faithful minister of Christ to consult the capacities of his hearers and teach them as they can bear. And yet it is natural for babes to grow up to men; and babes in Christ should endeavour to grow in Stature, and become men in Christ. It is expected that their advances in knowledge should be in proportion to their means and opportunities, and their time of professing religion, that they may be able to bear discourses on the mysteries of our religion, and not always rest in plain things. It was a reproach to the Corinthians that they had so long sat under the ministry of Paul and had made no more improvement in Christian knowledge. Note,
Christians are utterly to blame who do not endeavour to grow in grace and knowledge.
Others build wood, hay, and stubble, on this foundation; that is, though they adhere to the foundation, they depart from the mind of Christ in many particulars, substitute their own fancies and inventions in the room of his doctrines and institutions, and build upon the good foundation what will not abide the test when the day of trial shall come, and the fire must make it manifest, as wood, hay, and stubble, will not bear the trial by fire, but must be consumed in it. There is a time coming when a discovery will be made of what men have built on this foundation: Every man's work shall be made manifest, shall be laid open to view, to his own view and that of others. Some may, in the simplicity of their hearts, build wood and stubble on the good foundation, and know not, all the while, what they have been doing; but in the day of the Lord their own conduct shall appear to them in its proper light.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

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