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Beyond the Basics: Growing Deeper in Faith (Hebrews 5:11-6:12)

Hebrews 5:11–14 - 11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 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. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Hebrews 6:1-12 - 1 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, 2 of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do, if God permits. 4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. 7 For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8 but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned. 9 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. 10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. What does today’s passage say? In today’s passage, the writer urges us to keep moving on our spiritual journey. He emphasizes the importance of growing beyond the basics and delving into spiritual truths (vv. 5:11-6:3). The text stresses that it's not about acquiring knowledge but also about applying and living out these truths, progressing from elementary teachings to more profound insights. Additionally, the writer makes the point that it makes no sense to think that someone who has experienced all the blessings of salvation could fall away and would therefore need to go back to repentance.  You cannot lose your salvation once you have genuinely experienced it (vv. 6:4-6). The warning is that, if a person does hear and experience the truth but then rejects it, they are in a dangerous place.  They need to consider whether they were ever truly saved or if they are at risk of eternal separation from God. To reinforce this idea, the writer then uses an analogy of land that receives rain and then either produces crops or thorns. If the land yields crops, it is useful; however, if it grows thorns, it is not fulfilling its purpose and is subject to being burned (vv. 6:7-8). Despite these warnings there is a sense of hope woven throughout the passage. The writer truly trusts that his readers will continue to live out their faith and that God will recognize this.  The writer encourages his readers to persevere to the end so that they can experience the full measure of God’s blessings (vv. 6:9-12). How can I apply Hebrews 5:11-6:12 to my life? In our daily lives, it is easy to stay within our comfort zone, sticking to the familiar rather than seeking deeper spiritual growth. Just as a plant needs soil to thrive, our faith also requires new experiences and a deeper understanding to truly blossom. Think about how learning something new can spark excitement and change your perspective on the world. Our connection with God should mirror this growth and deepening. The Bible is a wellspring of wisdom and guidance providing us with the nourishment needed for our faith to flourish. Today’s passage reminds us not to settle for surface level beliefs but instead urges us to go deeper into Gods teachings and His plan for us. This journey isn't always easy; it demands courage, curiosity, and a genuine faith. But the rewards speak volumes: a closer bond, with God, a fortified faith and a life that radiates His love wholeheartedly. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

  1. Grow Beyond Basic Teachings to Mature in Faith (vv. 5:11-6:3): Sometimes we can find ourselves caught up in the fundamentals of our beliefs circling back to the basics instead of moving ahead. It is like a student who remains in the same grade year after year because they do not want to take the risk of trying to learn new things. But God calls us to move forward to grasp new insights and put them into practice. Just as infants expand their horizons by milk to solid foods, we mature in faith by comprehending and living out the full counsel of God’s profound truths. It's not enough to possess knowledge about Jesus; we must embody His teachings, spread His Gospel message, and serve others as He did. This journey of growth can be challenging. It demands dedication, prayer, and a readiness for change. However, we cannot forget that God walks beside us at every turn. He doesn't demand flawlessness but progress. We must ask ourselves if we are growing or staying stagnant. We need to commit to nurturing our faith so that we grow in spiritual maturity allowing Him to sanctify us as we live out lives in a manner that mirrors His love and truth. This process of development will not only draw us nearer to God but will also show Him to others as we live these truths out (Ephesians 4:14-15, Colossians 2:6-7, 2 Peter 3:18).

Food for thought: What steps can you take today to grow in your faith? How can you move beyond the basics to deeper understanding and application?

  1. Understand the Warning: A Call to Examine Our Faith (vv. 6:4-8): This portion of Scripture leads us into deep waters, urging us to consider the authenticity and endurance of our faith. Imagine the scenario depicted here as not a threat to the securely saved, but as a litmus test for the sincerity of one's commitment to Christ. The Bible assures us that true salvation, once granted by God's grace, is irrevocable. Therefore, this passage doesn't depict the loss of salvation as a possibility for the true believer; instead, it illustrates the gravity of genuine faith. Consider the analogy of the land receiving rain: this symbolizes the blessings and truths we receive from God. Just as fertile soil responds by producing beneficial crops, a heart genuinely touched by grace will naturally bear the fruits of the Spirit. If, however, the soil of our hearts sprouts only thorns and thistles, despite being showered with divine grace, it calls into question whether the seeds of salvation were ever truly planted. This passage, then, is a sobering call to examine whether our faith is real and transformative. It suggests that if one could "fall away" after tasting the heavenly gift, perhaps they never truly grasped it to begin with. Since the Scripture asserts that a genuine encounter with Christ changes us fundamentally, turning back would be inconceivable for the truly regenerated heart. Therefore, this is not about fearing a loss of salvation but about ensuring our faith is not shallow or counterfeit. It's an urgent appeal to introspect and discern whether we live in the steadfast assurance of salvation that bears lasting fruit, or if we've been merely masquerading in faith without its transformative power (Matthew 13:20-22, 1 Corinthians 10:12, James 2:17, Hebrews 13:5, Romans 8:38-39).

Food for thought: How does your life reflect the genuine change that comes from true salvation? What measures can you take to ensure your faith is deeply rooted and producing the fruits that testify to the authenticity of your commitment to Christ?

  1. Be Diligent to Attain the Full Assurance of Hope (vv. 6:9-12): God doesn't want us to constantly doubt or fear our connection with Him. He offers us certainty and hope through our belief in Jesus. However, this confidence isn't automatic; it's something we develop over time as we practice our faith. Being diligent involves effort. It means praying, reading the Bible, helping others, and following God’s teachings. It's like training for a sport or preparing for an exam. The more we work at it, the stronger we become. This perseverance bolsters our hope and confidence in God’s assurances. So, let’s not be lazy or apathetic about our journey. Instead, we should invest the time and energy and rely on God to build and strengthen our faith and hope. By doing so, we will find ourselves increasingly secure in God’s love and His promises and we will be better prepared to confront challenges that we face in life with courage and happiness (Romans 5:1-5, 1 John 3:19-24, Hebrews 10:22-23).

Food for thought: In what areas of your spiritual life do you need to be more diligent? How can you cultivate a stronger assurance of hope in your relationship with God? This passage reminds us not to settle for mediocrity in our spiritual lives but to strive for genuine depths and heights in our connection with God. It's like climbing a mountain: the journey may be challenging but the breathtaking view from the top makes the effort worthwhile. Each day presents us with a choice: stagnation or growth. Comfort zones do not foster growth. Advancing in faith involves venturing beyond those comfort zones and, in faith, trusting God as He guides us into uncharted territories. It makes us go from just knowing God to truly experiencing Him. This is not a one-time commitment but a moment-by-moment decision to walk alongside Jesus and allow Him to shape our existence. We should pray fervently that God would sanctify us continually as we live for Him. The time to deepen our spiritual roots in Christ is now and we can bear fruits that reflect His love and mercy to the world. Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I humbly come before You today in the name of Jesus grateful for Your guidance. I ask for a heart and mind to always seek growth in You. May I not just listen to Your teachings, but may I also live them out in every part of my life. Guide me daily to a better and greater understanding of Your teachings and a stronger belief. Grant me the courage to step out in faith so that I may grow and know You better. May I remain diligent, persevere, through trials and cling tightly to the hope You provide. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Hebrews 6:1 – “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.” With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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