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Maturing in Faith (Hebrews 5:11 – 6:12)

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“Maturing in Faith” – Hebrews 5:11-6:12 – Notes

No one watches a football game to see the huddles!  We watch to see where they go with it.  Our gatherings on Sunday mornings – both in Small Groups and in the worship service – are kinda’ like huddles.

A Huddle is not just for calling a play; it’s for sharing struggles that are keeping you and the team from the goal, and it’s for encouragement for where you got each other covered – “I got your back”.  All of this is for your common goal together, advancing in the game of life!  And that’s how Small Groups should work.

Too often today, in too many churches, we huddle to huddleBut we never execute the play.  We stay locked in a huddle while the Enemy of our souls executes his plays with precision and power.

What’s the solution?  See the huddle for what it is:  An absolutely crucial element for a team to win.  For the church, it’s an absolutely crucial element to win in the game of life and to bring life to people’s souls in our families, in our community, and in the places we live our lives.

Tom Brady couldn’t play all the positions on the team as they won the Superbowl.  He spent time practicing his own role as he helped everyone else on the team develop in their own roles.  You could see them getting better at working together throughout the season.  And all commentators I’ve seen have spoken highly about how Tom Brady consistently focused on and gave credit to everyone else on the team doing their part.

One thing you can’t do when you leave a church service is to have your leaders live this faith and Bible stuff out for you – they can’t do it for you.  The test of faith is faithfulness.

Faith is our response to God’s Truth revealed in His Word.  Romans 10:17 tells us that “Consequently [with consequence], faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through The Word about Christ.”

Hearing only is not faith.  Ephesians 2:8-9 doesn’t say we’re saved by grace through knowledge, but through faith!

The more you hear or read God’s Word, the more knowledge you get – the more you’re informed.  But faith is trustplusactionit’s what we do about what we know.  The more we know, the more we’re accountable for, but faith grows as we respond.  Faith can’t grow without knowing God’s Word and stepping out on what you’re learning, depending on the Holy Spirit to guide and protect you as you do.

So please allow me to share with you Four Kinds of Faith, and A “Check-Yourself” Warning, from Hebrews 5:11‐6:12:

5:11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.

Knowledge is knowing facts, but understanding is active; it’s applied knowledge; it’s evaluating how those facts fit into a bigger picture.  While we studied through the book of Matthew together for a few years in here, we heard Jesus caution us at least 9 times to “Understand”.  We heard Paul warn us at least 4 times in the book of Ephesians over the last 6 months, one of those times being a direct command:

Ephesians 5:17 – Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word [the basics] all over again.  You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted [is in-experienced] with the teaching about righteousness.

1. Converted FaithAn infant-faith who has only received life, like a baby. (Hebrews 5:11-13)

• Like a baby whose greatest accomplishment is being born, their greatest accomplishment is being rescued.

• Like a baby, this person tends to whine – this person is self‐centered because they can’t take care of themselves yet – they usually only communicate desires and wants.

New believers tend to struggle with the same things for some time because they can’t yet find answers in God’s Word for themselves.  Like babies, as they are “babies in the faith,” they only know how to receive.

• When infant-believers pose problems in the church as whiners, the average church tends to deal with them by…putting them in positions of leadership – infants in leadership!!!

• We should not give infant believers leadership yet without making sure they are at least acquainted with the basics of faith in Jesus so they can see how He sees, which makes it easier to do as He says and to show others as well.  They need to be involved in Bible study, small groups, or with people growing in faith.

• You are young only once, but you can stay immature indefinitely.

14But solid food is for the mature, [and this next part is an awesome definition for maturity:] who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil [who’ve gained at least some basic info and lived it out and have some practice in telling right from wrong].

v6:16:1 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity

Hosea 4:6a – My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge [knowing Me].  This is more than just knowing facts about God; it’s about knowing Him personally – what He likes and doesn’t, how He works.

Maturityis making choices based on these elementary teachings for yourself so that others don’t have to make them for you.

Moving on in v1 – …not laying again the foundation of repentance…

Stop making other believers in your life lay out the foundation and convictions for your life you claim you have! (“Let me get this straight – you are upset with your church for holding you to your own convictions?!”)

  • Confession is agreeing with God – “God, I now see it as You see it, I’m sorry”.
  • Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change in behavior – “because I now see and agree with You God, I wish I never did it in the first place.”  And because you know better, you do better.

Paul goes on to elaborate in v1  on some of those basic teachings about Jesus that we should have actually changed our minds on: …not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death[useless rituals, self-help], and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites [understanding baptism], the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. [How you doin’ on this short list?] And God permitting, we will do so. [There’s so much more – let’s get on with it!]

2.                    Faith

But because this passage moves on to the mature in Christ, we are skipping down to #3… (we’ll come back!)

3. Compassionate FaithThey’ve moved from infant, to toddler, and now on to maturity and to becoming compassionate. (Hebrews 5:14-6:3)

• Toddlers know how to act dignified, but this person is becoming dignified in character. worthy of respect.

• They’re more willing to admit when they don’t know how to do or lead something.  The focus and the glory – the spotlight – is moving from them and to God; they are beginning to appreciate and to better communicate things like 1 John 4:4 – “The One [God] who is in you is greater than the one [anyone] who is in the world”; they empower other believers to stand in the authority God gave them:  “Jesus in you makes you a majority regardless of how many others are in the room.”  And they don’t want to mis-represent Jesus-in-them to anyone else or to drag Him into something He’s wanting to pull you out of.

Compassionate Faith is faith that is cultivating deeper friendship with God and bringing everyone else they can with them.  They are intimately connected to their Heavenly Father and have that anchor for their soul to throw out to others.

• This is a person who is learning to share lifeTheir faith is Compassionate, compelled by love.

Then there’s this little “check yourself” warning in v4-8: It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened[like at youth camp or at a conference – elated or impressed with themself to see or understand something new, but stopping short of any active response to what they know], who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age[…they shared and tasted all these things just because they were“in the room where it happened”] 6and who have fallenaway, to be brought back to repentance

There is A LOT written on these verses, but please allow me to offer this warning:  You can’t recommit something you never committed to in the first place.  You can’t back-slide if you’ve never front-slidden.

…To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles [weeds that don’t grow deep roots but choke out good crops] is worthless and is in danger of being cursed.  In the end it will be burned. [Fields like that are burned, not harvested!]

Q: Do you hear these verses as those of a drill sergeant, or those of a loving Father who is trying to make sure you get what you need?

Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case – the things that have to do with salvation. 10 God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. [As with a Toddler learning to walk, He’s counting your steps, not your falls.]

And that’s my segue way back to #2.  So take a step back with me…

2. Committed FaithA toddler in the faith – They are moving from merely receiving life to deepening faith. (Hebrews 6:4-10)

• These believers are drawn to leaders because they know leaders have some answers.

• Toddler-believers hunger for leadership – “My do it!  Look at me!” – to validate themselves.  They’re beginning to recognize there’s a difference between being an infant and being a little bit more mature.  They’re not as ready‐to‐lead as they think they are at this state of spiritual maturity, but…if the hunger stays…it might be developing intoCompassionate Faith.

Just because you are committed to doing or being something doesn’t automatically make you are prepared.  This is when you’re deciding to show up for practice alongside other believers for the game of life – being part of the church together.

11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.

Hope – it’s not wishing, it’s anticipating God’s goodness showing up.  And unless you’re looking for it, you might miss it, you might not fully realize it in this life…when you can!

Bonus BLT– When you aren’t as close to God, you stop having the same values as God.

12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate (4.) those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Don’t drag your feet.  Be like those who stay the course with committed and compassionate faith and then get everything promised to them, those with…

4. Crucified Faith– Those who recognize and depend on God because they really believe God takes full responsibility for a life wholly devoted to Him. (Hebrews 6:11-12)

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me [I’ve identified myself completely with Him – Jesus lives in and through me!].  The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

• This person recognizes that God won’t move you until you’re faithful where you’re at, and that God calls us to go first, trusting He’ll show up.

Their life is marked by the 3 things that last forever (1 Corinthians 3:13):  Faith (a knowledge of God that they act on), hope (they anticipate God’s goodness showing up – they truly believe He is faithful to do what He says He will do when we are faithful to do what He’s told us to do), and the greatest one, that takes faith and hope: Love (they care for the best interests of others with their heart informed from God from His word and led by His Spirit).

• This person walks in deep friendship with God.

Let me share with you 2 statements that can help move you in this direction:

I believe that what I believe makes me what I am.” (In practice)

I know that what I know is more important than what I feel.

TRUTH is more important that feelings – it’s stable.  Salvation is a covenant and a commitment.  We are saved based on facts – TRUTH is what matters.

As we navigate out of this Covid season of uncertainty and heightened emotions, here are Four Habits That God Blesses and That Will Help Keep You Grounded:

1. Establish a Sunday morning routine where you synchronize your heart with God’s word alongside other believers!

2. Establish a small group routine, be it Wednesday nights or Sunday mornings.

3. Read the Bible to hear God speak to you – He promises to as you submit to His Spirit leading you through it.

4. Pray for your church family.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 MSG – So speak encouraging words to one another.  Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.  I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.

Spiritual Guidance Questions:

Q: Where are you? (Point A)

A) Have you trusted Jesus like you would a lifeguard or life preserver if you were drowning?  Salvation is rescue, not a reward!

“It’s better to have little faith on thick ice, than to have big faith on thin ice.”  Anything we bank life on other than God and His Word is big faith on thin ice.  But faith in Jesus is banking everything you have on everything you know of Him.  You may not think you know a lot about Him, yet – that would be little faith on thick ice.  He can support you better than you can support yourself.  You supporting yourself is like a drowning man trying to save himself.

This is life’s most important relationship.  It’s a relationship you’re supposed to have, one you don’t have because of sin, but one you can have because of who Jesus is and what He’s done.  You have to believe Him to receive Him.

B) Maybe you understood enough to know you needed to trust Him – that sticks in your mind, but you haven’t moved very far beyond that point.  Or maybe you got stuck a little further down they way.

Q: Where do you want to be? (Point B)

Q: What do you think it takes to get from point A to Point B?

  • What steps is God bringing to mind for you to take?
  • Do you need to submit to working life-in-Christ out with other believers?
  • Do you need lay back down any areas in your life that are in the way of the believing you being the behaving you?  You’ll need wisdom and courage to follow through from God – we can pray for and with you, together, on the way!

Q: How can I/we help you get there? (Accountability)