This morning I helped at the Toddler group and although I don’t have children myself and am not particularly “child orientated” I do love to watch them as they grow and their little characters develop.
Some of the older ones are reaching the grand age of 4 and are starting at pre-school and helping to look after younger siblings or cousins. Many of them first came to the group at only a few days old. One little girl I would often look at and wonder if she was OK and developing normally because for the first 3 to 4 months we never saw her awake, she was always asleep in her mothers arms and then she gradually became more alert, but would still just sit there.
We had a break of about 7 weeks over the summer and when we restarted I was delighted to see that she was crawling and it was only a few weeks later that she was walking and exploring all the toys and beginning to interact with the other children. Each week she grows in confidence and is rapidly losing her baby looks and growing as little girl with her mother running after her trying to keep up and make sure that she remains safe.
How sad it would be if she had remained as a sleeping baby, totally dependent on others to feed and care for her but she is learning to do things for herself gaining independence and one day hopefully will begin to care for others..
In our study of Hebrews the writer suddenly stops at the end of chapter 5 and says;
There is so much we have to say about this matter, but it is hard to explain to you because you are so slow to understand . There has been enough time for you to be teachers – yet you still need someone to teach you the first lessons of God’s message. Instead of eating solid food, you still have to drink milk (v 11-12).
I am grateful that my teenage years were spent in a church that placed a lot of emphasis on teaching and studying the Bible. I was taught and encouraged to go and read and learn for myself receiving some excellent teaching but not to rely solely on that teaching. I was encouraged to go and check it out myself. I knew that it was not enough to just turn up and sit though a nice service each week. I was encouraged to participate, to take my turn in helping to teach the younger ones and to grow and mature into an adult both physically and as a Christian spiritually.
I have sometimes been concerned when I have met other Christians who appear to be lacking in knowledge or understanding of some of the Bible even though they have been Christians for 10, 20, 30 years or more and wonder why that is. Perhaps it is that like me, they have diligently read the Bible, but not taken the time to stop and think about what they have read. I had my reading plan and would read though as quickly as I could and then rush off and do something else.
Now I am definitely not saying that I know or understand it all – much the contrary. The main reason for me doing this blog is to try and gain that better understanding and knowledge by stopping, thinking and reading some commentary or notes. Yes I have read the Bible in its entirety more times than I can put a figure usually managing the whole Bible once a year, but I recently decided that I needed to do more than just read, I needed to actually stop and think about it and try to understand and learn more. So this plan is to take one chapter a day and try to get more out of it – this is going to take about 3 years……. anyway;
In chapter 6 the writer goes on to highlight and remind the reader what they consider to be 6 basic fundamentals of the Christian faith
- turning away from useless works – repentance – or acknowledging that we need to change.
- believing in God – in our repentance we turn and start to follow God.
- teaching about baptisms – the people of the time were familiar with the concept of baptism through the Jewish customs but this appears to be speaking more about the believers baptism of repentance and confession of faith in God as taught by John the Baptist and Jesus.
- laying on of hands – This was practiced when praying for people, for ordaining or commissioning, for healing the sick or for a blessing. Again this was familiar practice as we see several instances in the Old Testament of blessings being bestowed through the laying on of hands (eg Jacob blessing Manasseh and Ephraim in Genesis 48 v 17
- resurrection of the dead – the resurrection in the last days (John 5 v 25-29
- eternal judgement – God’s judgment and the eternal condition of that judgement.
It reminds them that they should no longer be just drinking milk (perhaps just reading the Bible and attending church?) but eating solid food. Eating solid food takes a bit more effort. It means getting more involved, serving, teaching others (making the teas? doing maintenance work or cleaning the toilets?)
Let us go forward then to mature teaching and leave behind us the first lessons of the Christian message (v 1)
We should already have the foundations in place and be building on them. We will stop here and look at the next section separately
Quotes from the Good News Bible