Babies vs Natural Men - RR198E10
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission|
Let us worship God. The hour cometh and now is when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit, and in truth. Let us pray.
Almighty God our heavenly Father, we thank Thee that in Thy grace and mercy, Thou hast called us and made us Thy people, commissioned us to serve Thee, to obey Thee with all our heart, mind and being. Give us grace day by day to give Thee the thanks that is Thy due, to praise love and obey, to be faithful in all things, to rejoice in Thy mercies, and in the certainty of Thy government. Bless us this morning as we give ourselves to the study of Thy word, in Christ’s name, amen.
Our scripture lesson is Hebrews 5:6-14. Our subject, Babies versus Mature Men. Hebrews 5:6-14.
“6As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
7Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
8Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
10Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
11Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
12For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14But 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.” [00:03:13]
Hebrews here uses a verse from Psalm ...
Hebrews here uses a verse from Psalm 110:4, and it must have startled the readers. Hebrews or Jews to whom it was addressed. God declares to His messiah: “For Thou art a priest forever, according to the order of Melchisidec.” This did not make sense to them, the way Hebrews used it. We see what the ancient interpretation was, even today in Rabbinic commentaries on the Psalms. For example, Rabbi (Ablhorn Jane Fuher?)in his commentary, says of this verse, you shall be a priest forever, in accord with Melchisidec’s word, that it refers to Abraham. Why? They believed that Abraham was made a priest by God. That Abraham’s works were such that his merit, stored up, can save every descendant to the end of time.
So for them the great High Priest was Abraham, not one to come. And here Hebrews is applying this verse to Jesus Christ. Abraham’s work was to atone for Jews to the end of time, normally a high priest’s efficacy ended with death. But Hebrews tells the Jewish followers that it is Jesus Christ who is the true High Priest, a living High Priest in heaven. In verses 7 and 8 we are told that God the Son was prepared for his high priestly calling by his agonized prayers and sufferings as our sin bearer. Although He was the son of God, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered. He was spared none of the griefs of humanity, but was required to experience them all to learn obedience through suffering. He was God of God, but he had to be very man of very man, to experience to the uttermost every kind of grief we experience. [00:06:27]
He had to experience even the horror and terror of
He had to experience even the horror and terror of death, because He would not then been like us, nor would he have had what it needed to be our High Priest, a full understanding of what we go through. Christ’s life on earth was a training for His eternal priesthood. This is why when we pray to Him, we know that our greatest griefs, our greatest heartaches, are not comparable to what He experienced.
And it was all a preparation for the cross, and for His present place as our mediator. He knows our frailty and our needs, and also the reality of our sufferings. He is the author, verse 9 tells us, of eternal salvation, unto all them that obey him. Again we have the strong emphasis in Hebrews upon obedience. If the captain of our salvation must learn obedience, then we his followers must learn obedience also. Obedience to the Lord, obedience to all God given authorities over us.
Paul in 2nd Thessalonians speaks of the day of God’s wrath as one of taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faith does not displace obedience, but rather requires it. There is no virtue in disobedience. It was God the Father that called Jesus Christ to be a High Priest according to the order of Melchisidec. Much more can be said on this, Hebrews goes on to say, but it is hard to do so, the readers are told, seeing that ye are dull of hearing.
Now verses 11-14 are a sharp rebuke to the people addressed by this letter. They see themselves as wise and mature believers, unlike the gentile congregations, but their pride had made them dull witted. [00:09:50]
Now this was in a way an insulting statement, because
Now this was in a way an insulting statement, because the moral and religious superiority of the Jews to the Gentiles was a very substantial one. This however created their problem. They were therefore less willing to learn. This made highly intelligent people dull witted. In verse 12, these Hebrews are told: “You should be teachers of others, but instead you need to be told the first principles of Gods word.” If for example they saw Abraham as the great high priest after the order of Melchisidec, they would not see the meaning of Psalm 110. Whereas a Gentile with no preconceived ideas about the Psalm could be taught its relevance to Christ. Their preconceptions have made the Hebrew believers unfit for strong meat. Like babies, they are only capable of milk.
Any person who is theologically a baby, will be unskilled at interpreting Gods word, verse 13 says. This was a very sharp rebuke to a people who saw themselves as obviously superior to the Gentile believers. From all that we know, the gentile believers were often deficient in many ways. It was easy to say that Hebrews, here was rather unfair. But what we have here is the word of God, not our opinion, and we must accept it because we now face a like situation.
In 1960 80% of all Christians were Europeans and Americans. Now, as of 1980, 40% are Europeans and Americans. The rest are peoples of what is called the Third world. The Europeans peoples have and advanced knowledge of Gods word. But not an advanced understanding. Many peoples on the mission fields are a maze of strange beliefs, but they also have a simple trust in God, which is now lost among the historically Christian peoples. [00:13:19]
Out there among these natives or whatever term you
Out there among these natives or whatever term you want to use for them, there are very grave problems. There is also an uncomplicated and simple trust, and a recognition of the authority of God’s word, and of His servants, and of authorities. Things lost, in the Western world. In verse 13 we are told of the reason for the harsh judgement on the Jewish believers. We are told that maturity comes with a willingness to grow and to learn. Too many people think they are mature, they have arrived, they need to know as much as they think they need to know, and the churches in the western world are full of people who are self-satisfied, who believe they know enough about God and the Bible and Jesus Christ to get them into heaven and therefore they don’t need to know more. Let the children learn, let the natives out there in the third world learn, but they are okay. They don’t need more.
But, maturity comes with a willingness to grow and to learn. And so the Hebrew believers must cultivate maturity. Maturity does not mean an end to growing. If a person thinks they are mature and don’t need to grow any more, they are immature. And this is a key point of Hebrews, which in one way or another is stated again and again. You must grow. You must continue to learn. [00:15:50]
Maturity cannot mean an end to growing, but where spiritual
Maturity cannot mean an end to growing, but where spiritual and intellectual discernment are concerned, it means the ability to learn and to discern continually more and more. It means an aptitude for grasping implications and meanings, and acting on them. This is an especially important point for our time.
A book, an inadequate one because the author has no real concept of maturity, a liberal, nonetheless makes a valid point: Where have all the adults gone too? Where are they? We are surrounded by a world of children. They can’t wait to play, and they turn their life and their retirement into play time. They don’t want maturity. Our culture is anti-mature. Where have all the adults gone? It’s a good question, a very urgent one, because unless we answer it and become a mature people, we are a finished people. There is no place in the world for perpetual babies.
In recent years we have had man, many no-growth doctrines in the church. These doctrines have seen, for example, sanctification as completed at the time of regeneration. They are perfect, then. I have been assured over the years by many people that they are perfect. They are of course the very consistent and strict Armenians.
Such beliefs, and there are many varieties to them, tell us why the churches have become impotent. Because even in the churches which do not follow this strict Armenian professionalism, you have a no growth attitude. They are converted, they attend morning and evening service and the prayer meeting, and they give. “Well what more do you want of us?” And they don’t like preaching that challenges them.
The Hebrew believers were ready to return to the synagogue. Jesus, they were ready to believe, is the Messiah. But what is He doing about it? And we do need the High Priest. So how can we separate ourselves into these churches, we need the high priest. So they were ready to go back to Judaism, and to continue with the temple sacrifices, because they felt they could not be separated from the High Priest. [00:20:06]
They were ready to separate themselves from the rest
They were ready to separate themselves from the rest of the church into churches that said: “We are Christian, but of course we still are tied to the temple.” Some groups did, there were two sects of such Jewish believers, but they died out in time. However, at the end of the first century, the overwhelming majority of Christians were Jews. For centuries afterwards many Christian leaders, well into the medieval era were from Jewish families. Obviously, Hebrews was effective in its declared purpose in its day.
But, Hebrews is needed today, to accomplish the same purpose of recalling European and American believers to their task of dominion and victory. Even among professing evangelicals there is little evidence of a calling to triumph in Christ. The maturity of the Hebrew believers then and the evangelicals now was thus a self styled one, not a legitimate one. They were babes as Hebrews declares, not mature men. And as the prophet Isaiah tells us, Where babes rule, where children rule, disaster follows. Let us pray. [00:22:12]
Our Father we thank Thee for this Thy word
Our Father we thank Thee for this Thy word. We pray that the churches may begin to train up adults, mature believers, who see their responsibility, who stop waiting for the rapture or for heaven and know they have a task to do here and now as mature men and women in Jesus Christ. That they have a calling to responsibility, to obedience, to service; and not to indolence. Oh Lord God, we pray for maturity in Thy church, in Christ’s name, amen.
Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes.
[Audience Member] Rush, to what degree do you think the spirit of romanticism has contributed to the obsession with immaturity?
[Rushdoony] A very, very good question, and essential and an important question, because romanticism idolized the child. And Wordsworth of course wrote about the child as pure innocence, coming into this world trailing clouds of glory. And it created the cult of the child. It created a studied indifference to maturity. And the romantic movement was a powerful force in destroying maturity in the western world. We have seen the impact of it especially in this century, in the 1950’s a book was written, I believe the title was: The Child Centered Culture. Other books were written about the same subject, namely that children now had displaced adults. That adults focused on children, and they saw it as their calling to make the child enjoy life, enjoy childhood, be happy, happy, happy endlessly. And of course it has created our present crisis where they are a major headache to their parents, are threatening them now as I’ve told one or two of you, with lawsuits.
“My Mother” or “My Father spanked me once when I was a child, or did not let me do thus or so. And I’m going to go to court unless they apologize and pay me off.” This is a literal fact today. The romantic movement has exalted the child and it is now leading to a chronic immaturity in our culture which is destroying civilization. [00:26:15]
Any other questions or comments?...
Any other questions or comments?
[Audience Member] Our educational system encourages immaturity.
[Rushdoony] Yes it does.
[Audience Member] We allow students to revolve 6-7 years in University through scholarships, and I know a young lady who is still working on her P.H.D. and I guess she’s 28 years old, and she has about 3 more years to go, and before she gets out of the university, and so at the age of 30 she’ll be out, maybe.
[Rushdoony] Well, in the 30’s I went to school with someone who was about 80 or more, and he was still a student, because some well to do relative had died and left him a trust fund to put him through school, and he decided to be a permanent student. Well, by the time World War I ended with inflation, it was just a very modest amount, so he lived in a one room apartment, he went from department to department taking courses, he had a position as a grader of papers in the math department, and I know the professor’s dreaded having him around because that had been his major, and he knew more math than any of them. But he was a permanent student, and ultimately died still a student.
Now back then in the mid 30’s that was regarded with amusement, now there are a great many who leave the academic community reluctantly, because they enjoy the status of a perpetual student without having responsibilities. Let their wife, if they are married, work and support the children, and they are going to go on, getting their degrees. And some of them today are getting 3-4 doctorates. [00:29:11]
Any other questions or comments? Well, if not let us
Any other questions or comments? Well, if not let us conclude with prayer.
Our Father we give thanks for Thy word. For its plain speaking. We thank Thee that Thou dost and canst make us mature men and women. Shake us out of our childish way’s, make us joyful in growing and in maturity, that we may serve and obey Thee as Thou wouldst have us to do. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen. [00:30:12]