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Moral and Spiritual Discernment

The greatest crisis in the church today is the lack of moral and spiritual discernment.  The power of moral discrimination is the mark of spiritual maturity in contrast to childhood.  Poor judgment is exercised and lives are destroyed and testimonies ruined.

Every study reveals the same disparity between everyday life and Christian teaching.  There is little difference between the professing Christian and the world.  Talk to any spiritually mature pastor, and you hear the same lament.  One pastor said recently, “One morning I am going to stand up and shout, “Grow up!”

Hebrews 5:11-14 deals with the same problem.  "Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil."

Just like the modern church, they had remained immature too long.  The pastor is saying, “Let’s pass onto them what is mature.”  But that is just the problem.  Our “salad bar, make me feel good” mentality refuses to go on to mature discernment between good and evil and better and best.

The author of Hebrews admonishes us to leave “the elementary teachings about the Christ, let us press on to maturity.”  He is not suggesting that we despise or abandon these basic doctrines we learned as babies in the Christian faith.  If we digested the spiritual milk, we do not have to go back and have someone teach us again the basics.  The problem both then and now is they did not digest the spiritual food for infants.  One pastor suggested, “Manna not used breeds worms!  Milk undigested ferments.”

There is a direct correlation between spiritual maturity and moral discernment.

We must never desert the fundamental basic truth upon which everything else in the Christian life exists. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ was once and for all never to be repeated.  All of the sins of the elect of God are under the blood of that sacrifice.  We have been cleansed of our sins by that blood.  The spotless Lamb of God cleansed and removed our sins, and we have been reconciled to God.  That fact never changes.  Don’t forget the fundamentals; build on them.  The goal of the Christian is to go on to full maturity of spiritual growth. Hebrews 6:1 says, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.” 

How tragic the situation!  “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food” (Hebrews 5:12).

Note carefully what the author goes on to say. "For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" (Hebrews 5:13-14).

There are those who cry, “Feed me, preacher!” The sad truth is that many want to be entertained and not fed the riches of God’s Word. Spiritual things must be spiritually discerned.  Only the spiritual mind and a heart that thirsts for God can receive spiritual truth.

Every Christian who is going on to spiritual maturity will be constrained to teach others what he or she is learning. “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

The immature Christian never gets beyond the use of spiritual milk meant for babies because there is no hunger and thirsting for the righteousness of God. 

Do you have a real longing for deliverance from the power of sin in your personal life?  Are you being obedient to the truth you have already learned as a baby?  Has God placed in your heart a hungering and thirsting for a deeper knowledge and experience of Him? There will be spiritual growth only as we are obedient to what He has already taught us in His word.  Why is there so little earnest pursuit after discerning the difference between good and evil, the better and the best in Christian living?

Oh, Spirit of God help me to grow up!

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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