GROWING UP SPIRITUALLY

BABYHOOD
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"
—I Peter 2:2
Here in Peter the Bible speaks about Christians being "newborn babes." No one is born a full grown human naturally and physically. They are born babies, and then they grow up. Similarly no one is born a full grown Christian. You are born a spiritual babe, and then you grow up.
There's a whole sermon in just that fact. We are going to be held accountable for the spiritual babies born into the family of God around our altars and in our churches.
I pastured nearly twelve years and really you don't expect too much out of babies because they can't do too much for themselves. Someone else though can do something for them.Too many times someone is saved on Sunday night and if they make a mistake before Wednesday night everyone in the church knows it, and is already fussing about it. They expect him to be living, by Wednesday night or the next Sunday, just as good a Christian life as they do when it took them years to get where they are.
A number of years ago I held a two-week meeting for a particular minister. We were scheduled to go longer but I cut it off.
Crowds were coming. The auditorium would seat 800 and it was comfortably full every night. People were responding. We weren't really having evangelistic services—I was doing a lot of teaching and praying for the sick—yet on Saturday night when I gave the invitation first for people to be saved, thirty-three adults came for salvation.
They stood across the front as I prayed with them and led them in a prayer. Then I sent them back to the prayer room where others would pray with them while I went on ministering to the sick.
The thing that so impressed me about this service was that of the thirty-three who came for salvation so many were young married couples who looked to be between the ages of twenty-five to thirty-two. I learned later not one or the group had ever been a Christian; not one was a member of any church. I asked thepastor after the service about these young people.
He said, "None of the thirty-three were backsliders. They were all sinners who came to be saved."
That was unusual. I asked him if he knew any of them.
He said, "I don't know a one of them. They've never been to my church before."
I asked him, "Did you get their names and addresses?"
He said, "Oh brother, I just figure if they got anything they'll be back. You don't have to worry about them."
I said, "I'm closing the meeting tomorrow night."
People are born babies. They need to be seen about. They had never been to that church before. They had never heard any Full Gospel preaching before. They needed to be followed up and prayed with, talked to, and dealt with. They were newborn babies.
After a leading healing evangelist held a meeting in a certain city a pastor who had cooperated with it said to me, "I'm never going to cooperate with another one of those city-wide meetings. Never another one."
"Why?" I asked.
"I didn't get a person out of it," he said. "Not a one. Not a member. It didn't do me a bit of good in the world."

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RECEIVING THE KNOWLEDGE

7 RECEIVING THE KNOWLEDGE
''Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man..."
—Ephesians 4:13
How is that going to come about?
I guess we all want to be mature spiritually, but just wanting to be doesn't make it so. How are we to grow spiritually?
We've already pointed out I Peter 2:2, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." God starts us in the spiritual, just like folks get started in the natural. When babies are bornthey start off on milk. They certainly couldn't eat meat. And God says that this sincere milk of the Word will cause us to grow.
Yet there are some things Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians and to the Hebrew Christians which are of interest to us.
I CORINTHIANS 3:1-2
1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
HEBREWS 5:11-14 (Comments in parentheses)
11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. (Some things are hard to get over to folks because they are dull of hearing.)
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye 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 of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness (The margin reads 'hath no experience in the word of righteousness.' Now why has he noexperience in the word of righteousness?): for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age (mature), even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
They had the same problem then we face now—that of growing. They were just like us. They should have been teachers, but they still needed to be taught. They couldn't be taught anything very deep, but still had to be taught the milk. Paul said, "I fed you on milk for you couldn't take the meat."
The milk of the Word he's talking about here is the preaching and staying with the first principles of the doctrine of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-2). Paul calls that the milk of the Word, not the strong meat. When you still have to be taught the first principles, you are still on the milk. It seems to me that's about what we've done—and about what we've had to do.
But how are we going to grow up? Look back at this clause in Ephesians 4:13 which speaks about growing in "the knowledge of the Son of God" unto a perfect man.
Receiving the knowledge, feeding upon God's Word: Until you gain a knowledge of the plan of God which He planned and sent the Lord Jesus to consummate...Until you gain a knowledge of what you

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