A Christian Epidemic
'Happy With Milk Only'
I love our bird feeder especially when it runs out of seed. One or two Rosellas (the Australian red and blue parrots) will perch on a chair inches from our glass sliding door and look at us patiently having our breakfast - obviously demanding us to refill the feeder. It gives me joy and a warm feeling. They know that I am the one who provides the seeds. Other birds just come and go. They don't ask.
I believe it's the same with God. He delights when we ask for more seed. He knows we need it. We need it for others and to read the signs of the times. Jesus explained that the seed is the word of God.
I am saddened by what I see in many Christians especially as they get older. They want the benefits but have no desire to dig deeper in the word of God and discover the burden on God's heart. It's time to relax and take it easy! Why would I want more of the word of God at my age? I don't want to get into complex discussions of the word. I am born again and saved. I want to have a nice quiet life. What more do I need?
I recently read in a devotion "While giving requires energy I have to say that the situations where I become a taker leave me completely drained and 'dead' inside. To be a taker is like sucking the water and nutrients from the soil, leaving both the plant and the soil depleted and useless. Being a giver is a win-win: it helps others, plus it energizes and gives joy" Trudy Metzger. Through the love and grace given to us by the Lord we can change for the better. What do people really need these days? Mouths that speak the creative word of God! We can only give what we have. If we have no depth in the word we can become like the blind leading the blind.
Being content and not being willing to be taught the deeper things of God is very selfish. In fact, and you may have never thought about this before, such are depriving God. No consideration is given to what God needs and desires to do. He needs a vibrant church to cast sin and Satan and his demons out of heavenly places where they still have access up to the present time (Revelations Chapters 12 and 13). Satan wants the church blind and complacent.
In those chapters we clearly see that power is released in the heavens to the archangel Michael and his angels when the manchild (a group of people, not Jesus - Jesus went to heaven 2000 years ago) is taken to heaven. The manchild is the product of the woman clothed with the brightness of the Sun and crowned with 12 stars - the Bride of Christ. It is a mystery that God still wants to unfold in detail but well explained in my forthcoming book, 'End Times: According to Scripture'. God won't do it until Christians and the angels intervene. God gives them the power to do it, but everybody has to step out as an instrument of the Lord. God is waiting for us to get ready:
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come; and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17). Note that the book of Revelation was not written in chronological sequence.
It's a mystery why God just doesn't step out and do it Himself. The entire bible teaches that He is waiting for us to step out in His strength at every point. Remember the story of Gideon. If you don't remember it, read it (Judges Chapters 6-8). Queen Esther is another good example (Book of Esther). God raised her into the king's household so that she would intervene for her people, the Jews. When her uncle Mordecai said its time to intervene she was reluctant to do so out of fear. Her uncle said that, if you don't, God will raise up somebody else to do it, but don't think that you will escape with your life. She decided to fast and do God's will. God is waiting for us to move and then everything will fall into place because we have loosened His hands to help us.
You could say, well that's silly. Who could stop God from acting? The angelic court in heaven would!! Lucifer, the best lawyer in the world, would plead that mankind is so corrupt that they don't deserve help. Everybody in heaven would have to agree, especially the Holy Spirit who cannot stand sin http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word/3824. But when mankind asks and acts by faith, and the Son of God intercedes, it gives our triune God the legal loophole to help His people, who are under the blood whether in the new or old covenant, though we may still sin in our daily walk.
In a nutshell, God has a principle to use godly men and women to achieve His purposes. We, who are of God, are His instruments. He achieves the final victory through US! Satan knows that - he wants to incapacitate us by making us feel tired and sorry for ourselves. We all want to retire! Who wants to study all those dry chapters in the Bible? What's the point? Most of my life is already over?
Note: in Ezekiel below, how God uses a prophet to raise up the whole house of Israel. God uses US. He used the aged Simeon and Anna to prophesy over Jesus when He was brought to the Temple by Mary and Joseph. Age is no barrier in God.
Therefore the spiritual Israel of God needs to awaken. In many regions of the world, and especially in a peaceful region like Australia, the body of Christ is like the bones strewn about in the valley of dry bones, as revealed to the prophet Ezekiel. God wants a living army that can march forth in victory. Read it in Chapter 37. It is prophetic of the church today in many places.
'......... Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord Jehovah, You know.....Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the Word of Jehovah. So says the Lord Jehovah to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you and you shall live.......So I prophesied as I was commanded, and as I prophesied, there was a noise.......Prophesy to the Spirit, prophesy, son of man, and say to the Spirit: So says the Lord Jehovah: Come from the four winds, O Spirit.....So I prophesied, as He commanded me, and the Spirit came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army......these bones are the whole house of Israel.....(Ezekiel 37:3-11).
The early church fathers were frustrated by some of the followers of Christ, 'For indeed, because of the time, you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again what are the first principles of the oracles of God. And you have become in need of milk, and not of solid food. For everyone partaking of milk is unskilful in the Word of Righteousness for he is an infant. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, even those who, because of use, have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil' (Hebrews 5:12-14).
I know what happens to me when, on hot days, I drink far too much milk to quench my thirst instead of balancing it with solid food. Stomach cramps and diarrhoea soon follow.
Dr. Craig Keener describes the motivations of the author of the book of Hebrews:
'Not only was the author of Hebrews a Hellenistic Jew, but we can also add to our profile that he was a passionate intellectual. Interpreters widely acknowledge that the author of Hebrews was an intellectual. The theological arguments in Hebrews are more complex than many of those found in the rest of the New Testament. In fact, the author himself noted the priority of sophisticated theological reflection in passages, like Hebrews 5:13-14, where he indicated that, to distinguish good from evil, followers of Christ must become doctrinally mature.
From the contents of the letter of Hebrews there are a number of things we can say about the author. One is that he was brilliant. He knew the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, backward and forward. He knew how to link texts in ways that were very persuasive to traditional Jewish audiences. Probably he was a Hellenistic Jewish author, probably writing to a Hellenistic Jewish audience. When I say "Hellenistic Jewish", I mean Greek-speaking and probably in the diaspora, but very committed to their Jewish traditions and very knowledgeable in Scripture [Dr. Craig S. Keener].
Even though the author of Hebrews should be considered an intellectual he was not a cold, detached academic. He was deeply passionate about the Christian faith. His devotion and passion for his fellow Christians is evident in his writing' (http://thirdmill.org/seminary/lesson.asp/vs/HEB/ln/1).
WE ARE ADMONISHED TO KNOW THE WORD OF GOD MORE PERFECTLY
This is the will of the Father for both you and me irrespective of age or circumstance! 'Study earnestly to present yourself approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth' (2 Timothy 2:15).
Far too many Christians are content with what they already have. They don't really want anymore. Their situation in affluent Australia puts no pressure upon them. They have come so far, but no more Lord, they say. They see no urgency. They take no heed that not only a great harvest, but also a great tribulation for the church is ahead (HA Sevener, 'Israel's Glorious Future: The Prophecies & Promises of God Revealed', 1996). The wheels of politics and world events are turning and not in favour of Christians! They relax just like in the days of Noah. Too many Christians are dangerously complacent resting on their laurels. 'Take up your cross daily' Jesus said.
'And Jesus said to him, No one, having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God' (Luke 9:62).
Another important lack in Christian experience is the assumption that to be "born again" by the Spirit also means to be filled with the Spirit. They often are two separate experiences sometimes separated by as much as two years. See a YouTube testimony and my article on "The Last Generation". The scriptures are abundantly clear on the matter.
'I, Jesus, have sent My angel (aggelos or angelos in Greek - messenger) to testify these things to you over the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright and Morning Star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let the one hearing say, Come! And let the one who is thirsty come. And, he willing, let him take of the Water of Life freely. For I testify together to everyone who hears the Words of the prophecy of this Book: If anyone adds to these things God will add on him the plagues that have been written in this Book. And if anyone takes away from the Words of the Book of this prophecy God will take away his part out of the Book of Life and out of the holy city, and from the things which have been written in this Book. He who testifies these things says, Yes, I am coming quickly, Amen. Yes, come, Lord Jesus' (Revelation 22:16-20).