Grow up in Christ!
Hebrews 6:1-3 (Pastor Heo)
6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And God permitting, we will do so.
Why do we like babies? We like to see them grow. I also love to see these children in our service grow up.
John 1:12 “To all those who accepted him; to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
We are God’s children, so he loves to see us grow. If we do not grow, he is unhappy. This is sad because he is our Father.
Where there is life, there is growth.
To go to HS, we must leave elementary school. To go to college, we must leave HS. But, we do not leave what we learned in elementary school even though we move on. In elementary school, we learn the fundamentals, foundational knowledge of reading, writing, speaking, math. In HS, we can learn more difficult subjects, and read heavier books. In university, we use fundamental mathematics in our classes.
“Elementary” means “fundamental” or “foundational”.
In these 3 verses of Hebrews, there are 6 elementary teachings of Christian doctrine. This is the foundation on which we must stand, so we must be sure, unshakeable in this elementary foundation. But we must not stop here, we should continue on, continue learning. So we should practice these 6 foundational doctrines in our lives, but we must also continue on and on to build our higher progress.
We must practice these daily and on and on:
- Laying on of hands
“1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.”
Christian life begins with salvation – conversion, justification, regeneration, union with Christ, adoption, all take place at the same time, but logically, there is an order.
Logically, the first we experience is conversion. There are two elements: repentance and faith. So, the first elementary teachings about Christ are these two.
The first is repentance.
Without repentance, there is no start to the Christian life. That’s why the first preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus was the same, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
Luke 15:7 “There will be more rejoicing over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who do not need to repent.”
This is the fundamental of fundamentals.
Essentially, repentance = a change of heart, but it has 3 elements:
- Repentance = change of viewpoint with regard to sin, Christ, and yourself.
- Sin = anything against the will of God. The biggest sin = not to believe in Christ as Savior and Lord.
- Jesus = the Savior and Lord of the world and God who became man to die on the cross for our sin and save the world through his blood shed on the cross.
- Self = now I recognize that I’m a sinner – powerless, helpless, I need forgiveness, I need a Savior.
But we must know that true repentance cannot exist apart from faith – for we cannot turn AWAY from sin without at the same time turning TOWARD God in faith.
Also, true faith never exists without repentance. These two are inseparably bound together.
- Emotional: sorrow for sin, desire for forgiveness = evidence of repentance.
- Volitional: change of will, purpose, disposition. This is the inward turning from sin. Surrender for forgiveness – to seek cleansing. This is repentance in volition (will).
Practically, repentance and faith go together. We must practice them everyday.
We know we are saved by faith.
Everyone’s life is governed by what we believe – in what we have faith. Whether you are conscious of it or not, you are driven by what you believe.
We are saved by faith.
- “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
- “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God.”
- Eph “It is by faith you have been saved. It is not of yourselves so that no one may boast.”
- Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
How can we get a saving faith? Can you get it through your own effort?
There are two sides to this coin.
- God’s side: It is his gift – we have nothing to do to receive it.
- Human side: we must practice our faith to grow in faith.
Romans “Faith comes from hearing the Word.”
Please remember, saving faith is much more than intellectual agreement or acceptance. It is total surrender to Christ as Lord and Savior.
Did you receive water baptism? This is just a symbol of cleansing and identification with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. This is an outward symbol of an inward experience.
Did you receive baptism by the Holy Spirit? The HS testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.
“I’m a child of God.” This is the spiritual meaning of baptism.
4 Laying on of hands (안수)
This also means the sharing of some blessing from God.
If we have received a blessing, it is our responsibility to share it with others. Also, this laying on of hands shows a setting apart for good works.
We are saved by faith + nothing. (Good works cannot DO anything for our salvation – but we are saved TO DO good works.)
Eph “We are God’s workmanship, made in his image, to do good works which he has prepared for us to do in advance.”
Matt 5:16 “In this same way, let your light shine before men so that everyone who sees your good deeds will praise your father in heaven.”
If we are really saved by faith, we have a responsibility to do good works – ministry IN church, mission OUTSIDE church.
If there is no resurrection, there is no hope in Christianity.
“I am the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in me will never die.” Jesus “Do you believe this?”
We all experienced remaining in our mother’s womb. Do you remember this? 40 weeks.
West: end of 9 months
Korea: beginning of 10 months
same – same
Just as staying in our mother’s womb was preparation to live in THIS world, so also our lives in this world are only preparation to live in the NEXT world. We can live up to 100 or so years, but no matter how long we live in this world, the next life has no end. Our lives in this world are as short as a blink of an eye – but the consequences are eternal.
One day, our hearts will stop beating. This will be the end of our bodies (physical) – but it will not be the end of YOU. Our physical bodies are a “tent” – and our next bodies are a “house”.
1 Cor “If our physical tent is destroyed, we have a house from God built in heaven – not built by human hands.”
So, as long as we live a short time in this world, we must live in light of eternity. We will use our time, treasure, talents more wisely. Our priorities will be reordered.
Remember: physical death is not annihilation but transition into eternity. We are looking forward to our eternal home.
Secular people say: “When he died, he left home.”
Christians say: “When we die, we go home.”
Are you expecting this? Anticipating it? Or dreading it?
Hebrews 9:7 “Just as a man is destined to die once and after that to face the Judgment.”
Someday, we will stand before God face-to-face. Nobody can escape this fate.
Many people spend their physical lives trying to create a lasting legacy on earth, but we must remember that what matters most is not what other people say about my life, but what God says about my life. We are not put here for others only, but to prepare for the next life. God will do an audit and in this final judgment seat, he will ask only two questions:
What is the most important question in your life?
God asks only two:
- “What did you do with Jesus?” (Did you receive him? Learn to love and trust in him?)
- “What did you do with all things I gave you?” (Your time, treasure, talents. What did you do with it all? Did you spend it on yourself alone? Or use it for the purposes I made it for?)
Are you ready to give a correct answer to these two questions? That’s why we must practice these 6 elements daily:
- Laying on of Hands
“For his kingdom! For his glory!”