Hebrews 5:12-14 – “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”
Throughout the Bible and from various books written about following Christ, the Christian life is described with various metaphors. Many times it is described as a race. Other times it is described as a journey. John Bunyan wrote the Pilgrim’s Progress to describe the journey that we are all on in this life. When someone runs a race, there is a clear start line and a clear finish line. When someone goes on a hike, or on a journey, there is usually a predetermined destination or goal. Christian, in Pilgrim’s Progress, was on a journey described very simply by the fact that there was progress to his pilgrimage.
Where are you going in life? What are your goals as a follower of Christ? Ten years from now, what are your goals for your progress and maturity and sanctification in Christ? Because the Christian life is a journey and a process, there should be progression.
In Hebrews 5, the author makes it clear that progression is a must. People must, over time, move from the “basics” of following Christ to the more “advanced.” We must progress from immaturity to maturity, from not even knowing the name of Christ to being able to understand and comprehend the depths of the gospel to the point where we are teaching others about Christ. Have you plumbed the depths of God’s Word to the point where you are able to clearly communicate certain non-negotiables of your faith? As we have interviewed different potential candidates for the pastoral positions we are hiring, I have been blown away by some people’s responses to the question, “What are the non-negotiables of your faith?” Many have been able to answer that question confidently, but some have been so confused by the question that they answer in a way that makes me wonder how much they’ve paid attention to their Bible and theology classes in school.
As we consider this progress, the author of Hebrews uses teaching as an example of someone who has progressed. They understand the truths of God’s Word to the point where they can communicate them back to people. This isn’t saying that all people must be able to preach a 40-minute sermon, because that is not something God has called all people to do. If someone asked you to present the gospel to them in 60 seconds, could you do it? If someone asked you to explain to them 10 attributes of God, could you teach them those attributes and what they mean? If someone asked you if there are multiple ways to heaven, would you be able to give a thought out answer? If I asked you to take a passage in Scripture and teach a group of 10 people what that passage meant to the original readers, and now what it means to us, would you be able and willing to do this? No one in Scripture said you need to be an expert in Scripture. What they did say though, is that if you are progressing in your faith and becoming more and more like Christ, you will be making disciples. And as we know from the Great Commission, making disciples requires teaching!