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4th Week of Lent

Solid food for the Mature

Reading:-   Hebrews 5:11 to 6:12

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 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 all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
6 1 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement 3 And God permitting, we will do so.
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 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. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
9 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. 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. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

The basics of the Christian faith, the foundation, are given in chapter 6, verses 1 – 2: repentance, baptism,and the laying on of hands refer to the initiation ceremony for a new believer.The Creed, said every Sunday in our churches is a constant reminder of these basics and also of the resurrection of the dead and the judgement to come. However, in these verses the writer of the Epistle encourages his readers to move on in both believing AND serving.

These Hebrew Christians had apparently heard the basics of the Gospel some time before this Epistle was written. Enough time had passed for them to mature in the faith and become evangelists and teachers of others. (Chapter 5 verse 12). They were in danger of being worthless. Like cultivated land, they should be producing a profitable crop. (Chapter 6 verses 7 – 8). The writer then goes on to commend them for their past service (Chapter 6 verses 9 – 10). They do however need to keep going! There is always the temptation to take things easy, rather than have the faith and patience to go on believing and serving.

The reading from the Epistle to the Hebrews for this week then, is both a warning and an encouragement. Those of us who are mature Christians need to hear again the words of our Lord Jesus:- “ As the Father has sent me, even so send I you” (John 20 v.21). Out into a hurting, broken world to serve Him.

"Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; Yours are the eyes through which is to look out Christ’s compassion to the world; Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good; Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now."

Teresa of Avila


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