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Marks of Spiritual Immaturity
Heb. 5:11-14
The Apostle Paul would like to tell or teach more about Christ’s High Priesthood, but he temporarily paused and changed the topic. Why? Because his hearers or the people he is sending this Epistle would never understand it. They lack spiritual maturity despite of the fact that some or most of them have already been a believer for quite some time now. Our lesson today is what are the signs of Spiritual Immaturity.
I. Dullness of hearing (Heb. 5:11)
A. This prevented Paul from teaching and explaining further about the High Priesthood of Christ.
B. It’s not that the truth he is about to teach them is “hard to be uttered” or hard to explain.
C. It is because of their “dullness of hearing” which is the inability to listen to the Word, receive it, and act on it. They were not “sharp” to learn or comprehend, even apply the Scriptural truths.
D. So, we can see that the problem is not with Paul, nor the difficulty of the subject matter but with them who had become lazy spiritually and not maturing.
E. One of the first sign of spiritual regression, is a dullness toward the Bible. The word dull here can also mean “not pleasing or delightful”. Some believers feels Sunday School class is dull, the preaching is dull, anything spiritual is dull. The problem is usually not with the Sunday School teacher or the pastor, but with the believer himself.
F. It’s sad that so many professing Christians can sit three to four hours watching movies, television and ballgames, but complain when a sermon gets over thirty or forty minutes.
G. Are sermon or the preaching dull (not pleasing or delightful)? Are the Sunday School lessons dull including the singing of hymns and prayer meetings? If so, then you have become “dull of hearing” and slipping back to “spiritual immaturity”

II. Inability to teach others (Heb. 5:12a)
A. The Hebrew Christians should have been able to teach others because they had been believers for some time. The sad truth is they still can’t.
B. Every believer should be a teacher (Heb. 5:12). It does not mean, that every believer should be a preacher or a Sunday School Teacher; it means that every believer should be able to share the Word of God and teach others the Biblical Truths specially the good news about salvation.
1. Every believer should have a ministry of sharing the gospel with others (Mk. 16:15). The word “preach” means to herald, to proclaim, or publish divine truth.
We must be able to teach the gospel to the unbelievers.
Christ commanded it and with must do our best to obey it.
2. Every believer should have a ministry of exhortation and admonition (Heb. 3:13). This involves encouraging and challenging one’s fellow brethren, lifting up the downcast and warning the erring. (Rom. 15:14; Col. 3:16; 1 Th. 5:11)
3. Every believer should have a ministry of earnestly contending for the faith (Jude 3). Every believer should know the Scriptures well enough to defend its major doctrines, such as salvation by grace alone, the deity of Jesus Christ, the personality of the Holy Spirit, bodily resurrection, eternal judgment, Hell.
4. Though women are forbidden to teach men (1 Tim. 2:12), they have the very important ministries of teaching other women (Tit. 2:3-4) and teaching children (2 Tim. 1:5 and 3:15).
C. Christians should be able to “learn”, “grow” and bear “fruit”. Teaching others or sharing the good news about salvation should be one the fruit in our Christian life.
D. Their need for someone to teach them again “the first principles of the oracles of God” demonstrates their spiritual immaturity.
E. Are you able to teach others or share the gospel to the unsaved? If not, are you doing something about it? If you say that you don’t know what to tell, then recall or try to remember how were you saved. Perhaps you need to study the “Roman Road” so you can tell others how to get saved also.

III. Spiritual Babyhood (Heb. 5:12b)
A. Baby Christians are those believers that are not capable of receiving deeper truths in the Bible. It is not God’s will that a new Christian will remain a baby. He must grow.
B. Milk refers to the food of children. It stands in contrast to the solid food spiritually matured believers, can be taught which are things hard to be understood. The Hebrew Christians were not experiencing growth in Christian thought and life. They were incapable of receiving deeper truths, just like babies who cannot digest solid foods.
C. I can say that the word “milk” is described as “the first principles of the oracles of God (later called “principles of the doctrine of Christ” in Heb. 6:1-3).
D. Warren Wiersbe commented: The “milk” of the Word refers to what Jesus Christ did on earth – His birth, life, teaching, death, burial, and resurrection. The “meat” of the Word refers to what Jesus Christ is now doing in heaven. We begin the Christian life on the basis of His finished work on earth. We grow in the Christian life on the basis of His unfinished work in heaven. I agree with him.
E. The oracles of God here are a synonym for the Scriptures (Acts 7:38; Rom. 3:2, 1 Pet. 4:11).
F. The Hebrew Christians had been exposed to the gospel for quite some time that they should be teaching others and live a life of obedience. However, they were too incapable of doing it let alone understand the truth of God.
G. How’s your spiritual diet? Do you still long for spiritual milk? Do you diligently study God’s Word and tries to answer passages that you find it hard to explain or understand? Are you ashamed to ask your Pastor, your Sunday School teacher, or other mature Christians the answers or explanations for some difficult passages?

Illustration 1/Application: Only Babies
In The Last Days Newsletter, Leonard Ravenhill tells about a group of tourists visiting a picturesque village who walked by an old man sitting beside a fence. In a rather patronizing way, one tourist
asked, “Were any great men born in this village? “The old man replied, “Nope, only babies.” A frothy question brought a profound answer. There are no instant heroes—whether in this world or in the kingdom of God. Growth takes time, and as I Timothy 3:6 and 5:22 point out, even spiritual leadership must be earned. William C. Shereos

Illustration 2/Application: They Don’t Know How to Get Spiritual Food for Themselves
One spring our family was driving from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa, Florida. As far as the eye could see, orange trees were loaded with fruit. When we stopped for breakfast, I ordered orange juice with my eggs. “I’m sorry,” the waitress said. “I can’t bring you orange juice. Our machine is broken.”
At first, I was dumbfounded. We were surrounded by millions of oranges, and I knew they had oranges in the kitchen—orange slices garnished our plates. What was the problem? No juice? Hardly. We were surrounded by thousands of gallons of juice. The problem was they had become dependent on a machine to get it.
Christians are sometimes like that. They may be surrounded by Bibles in their homes, but if something should happen to the Sunday morning preaching service, they would have no nourishment for their souls. The problem is not a lack of spiritual food—but that many Christians haven’t grown enough to know how to get it for themselves.
Adapted by Leroy Eims from The Lost Art of Disciple Making

IV. The Inability to Discern (Heb. 5:14)
A. The readers are indirectly charged with being incapable in discerning good and evil
B. Discernment of good and evil includes discernment of true and false. Not only are mature Christians being able to receive the deeper truths of Christianity, but they are also able to discern between false and true teaching.
C. A mature Christian is far less to be deceived and led astray by false teaching than a baby Christian.
D. Inability to discern is a sure sign of Spiritual Immaturity.
1.A babe in Christ often has difficulty discerning the difference between:
a. Good teaching (truth) and bad teaching (error)
b. Good conduct (righteousness) and bad conduct (wickedness)
2. Inability to discern leaves them open to being…
a. “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14)
E.Do you have the ability to discern? Are you able to recognize when a doctrine is true to God’s  word? Or are you dependent upon someone else to “spoon feed” you? To “take you by the hand and lead” you? I.e., to tell you what is right and wrong, what is truth and what is error.

Illustration 3/Application: The Skill that Enables
Discernment in Scripture is the skill that enables us to differentiate. It is the ability to see issues clearly. We desperately need to cultivate this spiritual skill that will enable us to know right from wrong. We must be prepared to distinguish light from darkness, truth from error, best from better, righteousness from unrighteousness, purity from defilement, and principles from pragmatics.
Fan The Flame, J. Stowell, Moody, 1986, p. 44

V. Conclusion:
Dullness of hearing, inability to teach others, Spiritual babyhood, and inability to discern are the four causes of spiritual immaturity as it is written in our text. Of course, there are other causes like, carnality. All this should serve as a warning to us that there is something wrong and we should examine ourselves and watch out. In your honest opinion are you spiritually matured or not?

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