Keith Hunt - What is the MEAT of the Word? Restitution of All
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Just what is the MEAT of the Word?

Is it "technical" Theology?

WHAT IS THE MEAT OF THE WORD?

by Keith Hunt


Paul once wrote, "..we have many things to say, and HARD to be
uttered, seeing you are DULL of hearing. For when for the time
you ought to be teachers, you 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 STRONG MEAT. For every
one that uses MILK is unskilled in the word of righteousness: for
he is a BABE. But STRONG MEAT belongs to them that are of full
age, even those who by reason of the use have their senses
exercised to DISCERN both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:11-14).
     What did he mean by those of full spiritual age wanting to
have more than MILK? What was he meaning by saying that after
having the first principles of the oracles of God people should
be moving on to STRONG MEAT?

     Does this mean people should want and should always be fed
large technical doctrinal messages in sermons, and always be
involved in nitty-gritty in-depth technical Bible studies when
they get together in large or small groups to study and discuss
the word of God?

     The CONTEXT of these verses and the context of the preceding
chapters to these verses will give us the answer, and that answer
is not what most may first of all think about when they read
those verses outside of their context.

The Basic Oracles of God

     We are not left to guess what might be meant by the "first
principles of the oracles of God" or as put in chapter 6:1, "the
principles of the doctrines of Christ." We are given the list of
those first principles which once having we are to move forward
from, not casting off, or leaving behind to forget, but to go
from that basic foundation and to then continue to build a STRONG
house from that foundation. A house that is called "strong meat"
in this case. Not some shack made from stubble or hay, but a
spiritual house for us made from strong bricks or stones that can
weather the storms that life as a Christian and life within the
Christian community we call "the Church of God" can endure and
remain standing when the winds that would come to destroy, do
blow.
     Yes, we are told that we must go on to perfection, to get
passed the "babe" stage of spiritual growth, to move on to "full
age" even to where we can be teachers, to be able to teach others
who are yet babes in Christ, how to attain full age and
perfection.

     Look at the list of the foundational doctrines of Christ.
Think about them, meditate on them somewhat. Ask yourself this
question: How do these foundational doctrines, the basic milk of
the word, the basic oracles of God, how do they effect my daily
walk in life with others in the world and in the "church"? I
mean, from a clinical technical point, as we look at the basic
"theological" view of those doctrines.

     Take the doctrine of "repentance." Yes, we can come to study
it all, find every Scripture on the subject in the Bible. And we
can apply it to ourselves in a personal way. We can come to
understand all the technicalities of sin, righteousness, grace
and forgiveness, and be inwardly changed and as we say
"converted" to God and Christ. It is still a personal thing going
on within us. The same with faith towards God. We learn all about
it in a technical way, and we apply it in a personal way, and it
remains personal.

     Take "baptisms." Water baptism for example. Some of us hear
the announcement that so and so has been baptized, and we are
happy and we go and shake their hand or give them a hug, and it's
over as such. Sure there is technical knowledge that goes into
the mind as we study about that technical knowledge side of the
doctrine of baptism, but when it is performed it is a literal act
done with someone and that literal act comes to an end. The same
with the doctrine of the laying on of hands. There is study in
the mind of the Scriptures concerning it, but the bottom line is
the laying on of hands is a physical act done with physical hands
on the body of a physical person, for a specific reason, and then
that literal doing of it is all over and finished with.

     The doctrines of the resurrection of the dead and eternal
judgment, the truths and plan of God as to His purpose in
creating human life on this planet. Yes, it is all there in the
word of God for us to technically study, search out, come to
understand, be thrilled at it all, and put into our little brain
box of "technical knowledge of truths of God" but... all those
basic foundational doctrines are still rather "personal" and
"physical" sometimes maybe "personally physical" for us
personally, if you understand what I'm saying.
     They are important truths, they are indeed the FIRST oracles
of the principles of God, they are important for us to understand
and have in the technical compartment of our brains, but walking
as Christians in this world and within the Church of God MUST GO
FAR BEYOND those technical and physical first principles of the
doctrines of Christ. Christianity is living in a mature and
correct enduring WAY OF LIFE as we interact with people every day
in and out of the Church, as we face the battles, the problems,
the conflicts, the trials, the tests, the pressures put on us
mentally, emotionally, spiritually, even physically, at times
from whatever and whoever, in the whenever. Living a Christian
life is ENDURING to the END, it is NOT falling away, it is
staying in the grace of God and not falling from it (Heb.12:15).

     Being a Christian is moving forward from starting out as a
BABE, with the basic first principles of the oracles of God, and
then leaving behind those foundational doctrines of Christ, and
going on to FULL MATURE AGE, to perfection in God. As Jesus once
said, "BECOME you therefore PERFECT (or mature, of full age),
even as your Father in heaven is perfect (or mature)" (Mat.5:48).

     And this was THE problem of many of the people that Paul was
writing to as he was giving forth teachings and instructions and
even corrections, in his letter we call today the book of
Hebrews. People were FALLING AWAY. See it in chapter 6 and verses
4 to 6. Immediately AFTER talking about that they should be
teachers, yet could not be because they needed to be again taught
themselves, because they needed to be taught the first principles
of God once more, because they were still needing MILK, because
they were UNskilful in the word of RIGHTEOUSNESS (living the
commandments and ways of correct godliness in daily life for
themselves and towards others in and out of the church). Because
they were not close to being of full age, mature, being exercised
in their senses to discern both evil and good. Because they were
far from strong spiritual meat character in the Lord. AFTER
talking about ALL that problem with many of them, he immediately
talks about what that problem eventually LEADS TO! MANY were
FALLING AWAY from the grace of God. With some it was because of a
root of BITTERNESS had sprung up in their hearts and minds, as he
later mentions (see again Heb.12:15). No matter what it was, many
were falling away. Many had made no progress in their Christian
spiritual lives. They had never moved passed the foundational
first principles of the oracles of God and Christ. Some even
needed to be TAUGHT AGAIN those first principles. They were
indeed WEAK BABES in Christ, feeding on milk, and when the trials
and tests, the pressures and stresses of life, the abuses from
others, the sins of others, the lies of others, the corruptions
of others, the falsehoods and deceptions of others, the heresies
of false teachings from others, when all this came upon them from
OUTSIDE and INSIDE the Church of God, they were not mature
enough, not of FULL AGE, not of STRONG CHARACTER MEAT to ENDURE
TO THE END!

     Read back into chapter 3 and chapter 4. Get the whole
CONTEXT leading up to these pivotal verses we are studying.
Notice the emphasis on "faithful in all his house" - "if we hold
fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the
end" - "harden not your hearts" - "take heed brethren, lest there
be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the
living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called
today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of
sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the
beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end" - "Let us
therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his
rest, any of you should seem to come short of it" - "Let us
labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after
the same example of disobedience" - "let us hold fast our
profession."

     Ah, do you now see the whole context leading up to verse 11
of chapter 5? Then look at chapter 6 and starting with verse 9.
Paul ENCOURAGES them after correcting them. He encourages them
concerning their LIVING, working, doing, in a life of labour of
love towards the saints. He encourages them to so keep living and
doing UNTO THE END! That they continue and be followers of them
who through FAITH and PATIENCE (enduring commandment keeping (see
Rev.14:12) will not fall away from the grace of God but will
inherit the promises.

     Now that is the STRONG MEAT they need to be with and in and
fed upon. To "be STRONG IN THE LORD, and in the power of His
might" (Eph.6:10). And Paul in that section of Ephesians goes on
to instruct HOW they can be strong in the Lord and fight the good
fight and endure to the end, by putting on the WHOLE ARMOUR of
God. That is HOW we move from being babes in Christ, from being
fed on milk, from leaving the first principles of the oracles of
God and the doctrines of Christ, and become of FULL AGE, become
PERFECT and MATURE, so we can be teachers and not have to be
taught all over again, so we can endure to the end and not fall
away.

     This whole section in the book of Hebrews has NOTHING to do
with the CONTENTS of what some sermons or Bible studies consist
of.
     The doctrine of baptism is one of the milk foundational
first principles of the oracles of God, yet as I found out in the
early 80s when pastoring near Toronto, Ontario, it can be a very
technical and nifty-gritty doctrine of Christ. I had a man in the
local town who was convinced that baptism could be done very
correctly with just a few drops of water, sprinkled on the head.
He had many "technical" proofs to back up his belief, some from
the Greek language. I had to spend many hours and many days in
deep technical research to answer all his arguments, from the
word of God and from historical writings. Much of all that work
of mine is in my study on the subject of baptism on my Website.
     So, even the basic first foundational doctrines of Christ,
can be very all encompassing and can be studied with a lot of
technical in-depth study if you want to take the time to so do.
     To think that all sermons and all Bible studies have to be
technically and theologically so in-depth and so mind-bending and
so challenging, that the listener has to be blown away with new
data, new ideas, new theories, scholastic Greek terms and
meanings of words, that to be anything otherwise means the sermon
or Bible study is only MILK as opposed to STRONG MEAT, is so
silly a notion quite frankly, that I'm blown away by such a
thought.
     
     God does not always speak to us in the wind storm, or hail
storm, or with thunder and lightening, but sometimes in a still
small voice. It is still Him speaking, IF we will but tune our
hearts to listen. Sometimes God just wants us to be still and
attentive to even the simple messages and things of life. We can
still learn much from the sunset or sunrise in the quiet of the
day.

FULL AGE AND STRONG MEAT IN THE CHURCH

     You want to know what STRONG MEAT is in the Church of God?
It is learning HOW and WHEN to do and act and speak as we should,
personally and collectively, under all types of circumstances and
within all types of situations, so we do the correct and right
Godly thing for the salvation of not only ourselves but for the
other brother and sister within our church community.
     You want examples of STRONG MEAT situations and being full
age and moving on to perfection in dealing with them? Oh, you
have many to look at in the word of God. He has not at all left
us in the dark on such an important subject as this. Strong meat
situations and handling them correctly could be the time when the
disciples found a man healing in the name of Christ and he did
not follow them, and they asked Christ if they should tell him to
stop. Jesus gave them the strong meat answer. Then there was the
time two disciples wanted to call fire down from heaven to
destroy people. Jesus gave them the strong meat answer.

     You may want to look at the example of strong meat as found
in 1 Corinthians chapter 5. How about the strong meat example and
instructions from Paul contained in Romans 14. Then you will find
other examples in the letters of Paul to the Corinthian church.
     There are sure strong meat examples in the book of Galatians
and how to deal with that circumcision teaching and party sect
that was devastating the spiritual lives of many with false
heresy teachings. There's a number of strong meat situations and
how to handle them in the letters Paul wrote to Timothy and
Titus.

     Yes, how to be of full age and mature and how to use the
correct perfection of our senses being exercised to discern bath
good and evil, within the Church of God as we deal with ourselves
and our brethren in all kinds of situations that arise, so we and
they can all continue to NOT fall from the grace of Gad, and so
move towards being more like God, more perfect and of full age,
now that is indeed the STRONG MEAT we all need. That is the ALL
IMPORTANT MATTER of the true strong meat character of God we need
to focus on as we leave the principles of the doctrines of Christ
and go on unto perfection, and not get all hung up over thinking
this or that sermon was strong meat in the way "we" think sermons
should be strong meat.

     Paul in Hebrews 5 and 6 was not even thinking per se about
the technical contents of sermons. He had much more important
things on his mind, like seeing people falling away from
salvation, which truly was a grief to him, and should be to us
also.

                            ..................

Written July 2000


 
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