Join us this Thursday evening for our first Men’s Fellowship Night of our new season. Pastor Richard VanHeukelum , Shawnee Baptist, Shamong, NJ will be our speaker. Call today for reservations: 800-453-7942
You’re Eating What?
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5: 12 – 14) ESV
I have been working in men’s ministry now for over 24 years and I have to say, I love the work even though the work has been grueling at times. One of the difficulties that I keep encountering in ministry is that there are those who have been around the ministry for a long period of time and they should be teachers but they aren’t because they never fed off the pure milk of the Word.
The more and more I study the early church and how they establish believers, the more and more convinced I am that we have been doing it all wrong. Paul and the other Apostles made it their aim to build up the Church not individuals. Look at the book of Acts and you will notice that the Gospel went out from Jerusalem, Judea/Samaria and then the ends of the earth (Rome and beyond).
The Apostles were obeying the command of Jesus from Matthew 28 and Acts 1:8, where he told them to “go out into all the world and make disciples (not converts), baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I commanded you.” What does all of this have to do with above verse? Well, many of us who have been in recovery work and or men’s ministry understand that many of those who come to us “know” the truths of the Scriptures intellectually but not practically. I like what the writer of Hebrews says, “they never fed off the pure milk of the Word”. I remember a time when a man came to me (and these happens a lot), and asked me what some symbol or sign means from the book of Revelation and I asked him, “before we go there, tell me about the significance that John 3:16 has played in your life?” To this I get lots of blank stares and then some comment that goes something like, everyone knows what John 3:16 says, to which I say, yes we all know what it says, but what does it mean?
Many of us are missing the elementary teachings of the faith for our lives. I remember when we sent our daughter to a math tutor for some needed help for math. The tutor told us that she was going to go all the way back to the basics with her because somewhere along her growing up, she must have missed some basic principles of math that were causing her some problems in her ability to do math today. After a few weeks of tutoring the teacher and my daughter discovered the missing principles of math and now she can solve math problems that use to give her great anxiety.
So, beloved this passage is a warning of falling away. Many people I know run into things we call relapse or falls and the writer of Hebrews calls in apostasy or a falling away from the faith. Some of us do because we are missing the elementary principles of the faith. Our faith is like other things in life. It has to grow and one of the ways that it grows or is strengthened is that of building off the elementary principles. It is like math, you have to learn basic principles of math before you can do algebra and geometry. So, are you one of those who by now, should be a teacher but you are not because you have been feeding off the meat of the word of God but really do not have the discernment to live off that meat because you never feasted on the milk. There are some of you who are on the milk and have been for a long time and that is equally as dangerous because you are refusing the milk maybe because of fear, apprehension or some other misguide belief that you are believing.
Let’s us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith says the writer of Hebrews later on in his letter. So, where are you today? What’s going on with your faith? Is it being strengthened or weakened? What are you feeding on, milk or meat? I love you all today and hope that you are walking with the King. – Doug Barger is Director of Men’s Ministry at Bethesda Mission outside of Harrisburg, PA. Doug served as the Colony of Mercy Administrator
Think About This: Till men have faith in Christ, their best services are but glorious sins. —Thomas Brooks
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ … 1 Peter 1:13