Milk and Meat
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. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? (1Corinthians 3:2-4)
The Bible tells us how to get to Heaven and how to live on our way to Heaven. These two subjects are related but they are not the same thing. It comes as a surprise to many new Christians that although they have been born again, they have some responsibility to become more on this earth than they are now.
A new Christian has been born of the Holy Spirit and has become a new creature in Christ: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2Co 5:17). The idea is reinforced in this verse: For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (Colossians 2:9-10) This “new creature” is “complete” in Christ and yet we are immediately introduced to the idea of “growing.” If we are complete, why must we grow?
No problem. When we came from our mother’s womb, we were a complete baby. We had all of our fingers and toes and we wailed like we were the center of the world and everybody would have to be at our beckon and call for every discomfort that might come our way. Hungry? Somebody put something in my mouth! Wet diaper? Somebody come immediately and change me! Colic? Somebody come immediately and walk the floor with me! Can’t sleep? Somebody pick me up and fill up the empty void in my life. We were born as a complete baby and were immediately in need of growth. We were complete as a newborn baby but we were not destined to remain a baby.
But, how are we to grow? Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (1Pe 2:1-2) Notice that before we are served the “milk of the word” there is something that must be done. Five things are to be laid aside so that the milk of the Word can do its work. Please look above and read them again. If we do not lay these things aside, the milk of the Word cannot be effective in our lives. We may memorize 50 verses but it won’t amount to anything until it is obeyed. Learn the Word! Obey the Word! That’s God’s plan for genuine Christian growth.
When we are “born again” of the Holy Spirit and of the Word of God, we are “complete” in Christ and ready to start growing immediately. And just like newborn babies are expected to quickly grow into toddlers and to begin walking and talking, even so are new Christians expected to grow quickly so that our walk and our talk develops. Seems like everybody who has written a book can tell us how much of our total learning takes place by the time we are five years old. I don’t think anybody knows for sure, but it has been studied to death and the “experts” have an opinion they are glad to share with us.
A great portion of our lifelong learning has taken place by the time we are five; at least the foundational learning has taken place. A China-born preacher told us: “the Chinese language is not hard to learn. Even our children speak Chinese!” Uh-huh. And how does a child in China learn to speak Chinese by the time he or she is five years old?
We all know this verse: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Pro 22:6) Someone has said that the above word: “train” would be in the context of the ancient mothers who “touched the palette” (the roof of the mouth) of their babies. The mothers would select the baby’s food, chew it for the baby and transfer it from the mother’s mouth to the baby’s mouth. It greatly aided in the digestion of the baby’s early food and created a familiar taste in the baby’s memory. It was associated with the life-giving mother who had nursed the child.
Training the baby’s palette established the baby’s preference for food. (No, my mother didn’t do this either but don’t knock it ‘till you think it over.) Gerber’s and packaged baby food had not been invented yet. Apparently, chewing the baby’s food for him/her worked to the child’s good, whose digestive juices were not yet fully formed. Touching the palette. This is a good term to remember.
I have a confession to make: although my mother didn’t do it for me, I saw several mothers do that when I was 3-4 years old. (I can remember my age 3 because I can remember my Grandpa Carr who died before I was four.) At that time, I was “stuck” with my mother to go with her every place she went and that included sitting down with her among the other women who were taking care of their babies and toddlers.
At our country church dinners, some of those women would chew the food for the baby in their lap and “spoon” it to the baby while the mother carried on a conversation. (I hope this doesn’t offend the elite among us.) They had no refrigerators and knew nothing about “store-bought” baby food. Besides, the amylase enzyme from the mouth of the mother gave a head start on the digestion of that food for the baby. It was better for the baby than if it had been ground in a food grinder.
The New Testament writers had a problem with “growing up” the new Christians. They expressed their disappointment in their writings. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 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 5:13-14)
The result of all the Bible teaching they were giving these newborn babes in Christ was that they might be able to discern both good and evil. Is that expecting too much? Do we have that problem hanging on today? How’re you coming along in being responsible for your growth in Christ?
It does no good to blame all the “bad preaching” we had heaped upon us as a child. I’ve heard a lot of bad preaching, myself. When you learned how to read and you had a Bible, what have you done with it? Do you think you can honestly blame the bad preaching you heard as a child as the cause of your being a “babe in Christ” after 20-30 years?
If you are a born-again Christian, it is God’s will for you to “get with the program” and make the Bible your daily companion. Your preacher is not going to be responsible for you at the Judgement Seat of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:10) If you can feed yourself a hamburger, you can feed yourself a Bible-burger. If this is too hard, please realize that you would be no better off if the Apostle Paul explained it to you. I’m very mild-mannered compared to that giant of the Faith.
I must give an account to the Lord for this letter today. So, I must ask you: “Is your Bible diet one of milk for babes in Christ or can you handle the meat of the Word of God? I pray that you are eating well and chewing well and obeying God well. And I pray that your real intention is to exercise yourself in the meat of the Word of God. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
September 27, 2017 – WEDNESDAY
A.M. Isaiah 10-12
P.M. Gal. 5
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Great Memory Verses:
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deu 6:6-7
Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; (Deu 4:9)
Song for Today:
Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer (2:57) (Royal Hall??)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ofp6rdAgRrY Wait a few seconds. You may have to adjust the volume.