When you read God's word as a story, whether you read it chronologically, cover to cover, or are on a one, three or five year reading plan, if you pay attention and look for overall themes you begin to see God with endearing qualities you may not have realized before you started digging deeper into His word.
That happened to me. The packaged product of God and His work on the cross, redeeming mankind through the life, death and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ, has been done well through the centuries. Books and councils and conventions all have done their work preserving the infallible truths of God and His word. God's work has been packaged well. No matter which denomination or non-denomination you have received teaching from, there are basic teachings each of them have as their core truths.
How blessed we have been for the faithful teachings and upholding of these core truths! Thank you pastors and teachers!
But now that it has been determined who God is, what Jesus has done, and the word is available in languages beyond Luther's dreams, is that all there is for us here in 2015 to do? Keep peddling the same packaging?
I submit to you this: God's not done. God has more for us to know about Him and His plan, and the crazy part - we get to be a part of it!
See, our biggest problem is we think God thinks like us. If we package it right, if we promote it the way it's always been done, surely God is in agreement with our way of thinking and our labor will bear fruit.
Are you positive this is what God wants us to do for the time we are living in?
If so, then what did the writer of Hebrews mean when he said, "We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. 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, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting we will do so."
Could we be mistaken in our thinking that it is more important to only speak of the elementary truths, then to dig deeper into the scriptures and teach and study the full counsel of God, not just the Sunday School version?
Don't get me wrong, I know there are teachers out there teaching deep stuff, but I would venture to guess they are small in number. Don't get me wrong, the elementary teachings are necessary and God bless those still teaching them, but is that all God is doing?
Maybe, just maybe God wants to show us more? Maybe, just maybe, the time is now - 2015 - to be shown more?
If I let my thoughts be what I think God would think is most important- confession, repentance, baptism - am I limiting him, hiding my eyes from seeing what God is really up to?
I've come to learn this about God by studying how he worked in the Bible: Where we think God should be going....it's not at all where he's going or what he's trying to do. And where are we? Still stuck on the elementary teachings about Christ.
Elementary?? God, I would not call what Jesus did on the cross an elementary feat? That is a deep, deep thing he did. Taking on the sins of the whole entire world from the beginning of time until the end of time! God, really, that needs to be taught....right?
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity.....
God, I'm mature. I'm very mature. I've always been told that about me.
Leave - aphiemi - I send away, release, remit, forgive, permit.
Other passages that use this word:
Matthew 4:20, 22; 26:56
Mark 1:18, 20; 4:36; 7:8; 12:12; 14:50
Luke 5:11; 10:30; 18:28
I kind of get the picture that it's not a process of leaving either. But more like, let's get going! Now!
elementary - arches - beginning; the initial starting point, what comes first and therefore is chief (foremost), has the priority because ahead of the rest
maturity - teleiotes - perfection, completion - built on what has to precede and also supports the stage that must come next. Suggests the combination of truths (stages of spiritual growth), the culmination of which also supports future consummation.
I don't know what God thinks, I just know he doesn't think like I do.
I limit Him when He has no limits.
I tell him what I'm comfortable with and He smiles and says, "Yeah, but we're going to do it the way that causes you some discomfort."
I want Him to behave the way a good God should behave, He behaves the way Good can only behave.
I tell him to answer my prayers this way, He answers them the best way.
What do I think? It doesn't matter.
What matters is this: What does God think?
Do you want to know? Do you want to find out? Will it mean leaving, fleeing as quickly as those disciples did when they left their nets and followed him? Or will you hang on to the ways you think are best, letting the ties wear out rather than cut them quickly and run toward him? It's a lot easier to stay in step with Him when you're not chasing His back and eating his dust.