Giving Up the Bottle

The sixth chapter of Hebrews begins with the all important “therefore.” When trying to discern what the “therefore” was there for at Bible Study last Wednesday, we were taken back to the mention of Melchizedek, and how Jesus was designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

The author realized that the mention of Melchizedek would puzzle his readers because they had become “dull of hearing”, so before going on he stressed the need to go from milk to solid food, to leave the elementary teachings, and to press on to maturity. What he listed as elementary teachings, however, is surprising. He said we shouldn’t keep “laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings, and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.” As a class, we were forced to sharpen our senses to hear what he was saying.

If the focus of our preaching and teaching isn’t to be about repentance and works and faith and baptism and spiritual gifts and the second coming and judgment, what are we to talk about? If those things are elementary foundational teachings, what are the more advanced teachings we are to focus on?

We pondered that for quite a while, and someone suggested, tongue in cheek, that we could just talk about Melchizedek. We eventually came to realize this doesn’t mean we never talk about these things, but that we must dig into the implications and application of these foundational truths, and then build upon them. Our conclusion was confirmed by Thursday’s reading in The Message.

“Don’t lose a minute building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.”

Let’s not be afraid to think, to dig a little deeper, and to expand our spiritual diet.

God Bless, Rick

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