Pastors are Failing to Mature Christians
Get off the MILK and on the MEAT!
How to Grow in Christ Series #17
Purpose: To learn from Scripture alone how to begin maturing in Christ by growing in New Covenant theology
and not holding on to Old Covenant theology.
“Continuity” Covenant Theology Versus “Dis-Continuity” Dispensational Theology
As a pastor, I have sat under other pastors in the past and as a member of their congregations I finally realized that I could not
grow under their ministry, because these men were not mature in Christ.
A favorite maxim of mine is:
you can’t impart what you don’t possess.
If a pastor has not got off of the milk of the Word on to the meat of the Word, then his ministry can’t grow beyond
his own personal growth in Christ.
It breaks my heart to meet Christians that have been saved for many years, however, they are still on the milk of the Word.
They don’t know that they don’t know;
they live impoverished Christian lives because they are under pastors that are not capable of maturing them in the Word.
The Word of God is very clear concerning the importance of Christians becoming mature in Christ.
Heb 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles
of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Heb 5:13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
Heb 5:14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses
exercised to discern both good and evil.
Heb 6:1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection,
not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
Col 1:28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present
every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
Col 1:29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
Eph 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
Eph 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
Eph 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man,
to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Eph 4:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine,
by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
Eph 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
Eph 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the
effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
From these Scriptures we can see that God wants every Christian to become mature in Christ.
One of the earmarks of a ministry in which a Christian can grow is characterized by the Bible teachers of that
ministry demonstrating that Christians are not under the Law of Moses as a rule of life but Christians are under
the principles of the New Covenant as rule of life.
A ministry that points us away from our on efforts to relying on the sovereign work of the life-giving Holy Spirit alone,
under New Covenant Christ-centered commands by means of grace through faith will bring about maturity in a Christians life.
However, a ministry that points us away from the sovereign work of the life-giving Holy Spirit alone to going back
under the Mosaic Law, a ministry of death, will bring about pride, self-sufficiency and a constant inability to mature in Christ.
Gal 3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ
was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
Gal 3:2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
—Gal 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Rom 8:4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh
but according to the Spirit.
2Co 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,
2Co 3:6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills,
but the Spirit gives life.
2Co 3:7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not
look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away,
2Co 3:8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?
2Co 3:9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory,
the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.
2Co 3:10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels.
2Co 3:11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.
Act 20:27 For I have not shunned declaring to you the whole counsel of God.
If you are not in a sovereign grace ministry you can’t mature in Christ!
REFRESHER FROM LAST WEEK:
1. What is a dispensation?
The Greek word for dispensation is oikonomia. It is a compound word composed of oikos which means “house”
and nomos which stands for “law”.
In Vines’ Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, he states that the word oikonomia, i.e. dispensation primarily
signifies the management of a household or of household affairs; then the management or administration
of the property of others, and so a stewardship.
This can also be stated as a house ‘principle’ rather than a house ‘law’. The house principle by which God is managing
His New Covenant people is not the law principle but the grace/faith principle because Christ the Son of God
the Father has introduced a completely new principle by means of His superior revelation and
His superior sacrifice for sins and His superior High Priesthood.
Read the book of Hebrews to fully understand what Christ has done for you in this New Covenant.
It is WONDERFUL! Oh what a SAVIOR we have in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Eph 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—
Eph 3:2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,
Eph 3:3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already,
Eph 3:4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),
Eph 3:5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy
apostles and prophets:
Eph 3:6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,
Eph 3:7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.
Dr. Ken Blue is pastor of Open Door Baptist Church, Lynnwood, WA USA, and a community close to the metropolitan area of Seattle.
Before a child of God can move forward in serious Bible study, he must understand the different dispensations.
Failure to understand the true teaching of dispensations has led many to make false applications of the Bible.
Some, who do not understand the truth about dispensations, have attacked the teaching of dispensations and even
refuse to believe they exist. The purpose of this booklet is to answer these objections and to help the reader understand
the true nature of dispensations. Perhaps a clear definition of the word at the beginning will help.
Definition: the act of dispensing or something dispensed; a specific arrangement or system by which something is dispensed.
Moses dispensed the Law. The word dispensation does not mean a period of time. However, the dispensing of a particular
message or ministry
will usually have a beginning and an ending.
The steward of a household is given the responsibility of dispensing the affairs assigned by his master.
Thus Moses was entrusted with the dispensing of the Law. He was God’s steward of that dispensation.
The gospel of the grace of God and the Church age was committed to Paul.
It was his responsibility to dispense the good news to the Gentiles. He was God’s steward for that dispensation.
Heb 3:2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in His entire house.
Moses household management/administration given to him by angles from God for the children of Israel
only and not to any Gentile nations was a law/penalty covenant.
Heb 3:6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we (we abide in this priestly arrangement by faith)
hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. Zane Hodge states that, “But just as one who was a true
Levite by birth could withdraw from participation in the tabernacle of Moses’ day, so too one who is truly a Christian by new birth
may withdraw from his priestly role within the functioning household. It was precisely this danger which concerned the writer,
in the present warning passage as well as in later ones.”
In stark contrast to this old, obsolete, household management/administration, Christ manages His new household
made up of every believer being a priest and king( 1 Peter 2:9; Rev. 1:5) by means of the grace/liberty New Covenant
in His blood, the very blood of God.
Act 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers,
to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
2Ti 2:20 But in a great house (Christ, New Covenant grace/liberty house not Moses, Old Covenant law/penalty/bondage house)
there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.
2Ti 2:21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master,
prepared for every good work.
2. The Law of Moses had a very specific beginning and a very specific ending and this knowledge is critical to understand
for your growth in Christ i.e. your growth in New Covenant theology.
a. When did the Law of Moses begin?
Exo 34:27 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant
with you and with Israel.”
Exo 34:28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water.
And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
Deu 5:1 And Moses called all Israel, and said to them: “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your hearing today,
that you may learn them and be careful to observe them.
Deu 5:2 The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.
Deu 5:3 The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive.
Deu 5:4 The LORD talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire.
Deu 5:5 I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD; for you were afraid because of the fire,
and you did not go up the mountain. He said:
Deu 5:6 ‘I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Rom 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Rom 5:20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,
Gal 3:19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom
the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.
Gal 3:17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later,
cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.
b. When did the Law of Moses end?
Joh 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Mat 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
Luk 16:16 “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.
Mat 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
Mat 27:51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,
Heb 10:19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
Heb 10:20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,
Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Eph 2:15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances,
so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,
Col 2:14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us.
And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
2Co 3:7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel
could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away,
2Co 3:8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?
2Co 3:9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.
Heb 8:13 In that He says, “A NEW COVENANT,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete
and growing old is ready to vanish away.
This is another article written by Roger Sapp
From Adam to Moses. The period before the Law of Moses covered by the Book of Genesis and ending with the death of Joseph
and the children of Israel living in Egypt until the time of Moses. 2,400 years no Law of Moses. From 4,000 B.C. to 1,600 B.C.
Rom 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death
reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam,
who is a type of Him who was to come.
From Moses to Christ. The period beginning with the Exodus from Egypt and the giving of the Law to Moses and ending with the
announcing of Jesus as the Christ by John the Baptist. Luk 16:16 “The law and the prophets were until John.
From 1,600 B. C. until 4 B.C. about 1,600 years.
From Christ to the Present.
The period of grace and truth beginning with the announcing of the adult Christ by John the Baptist to the present time.
These three periods are highly significant. In each period God differed in how He dealt with humanity.
In each period, God revealed Himself in a greater way than the previous period.
The Old Testament, of course, covers the first two periods of humanity.
The New Testament covers the beginning of the third period of humanity.
3. There is a great continuity with respect to Old Covenant believers
and New Covenant believers however there is also a great discontinuity as well.
All Old Covenant believers were saved by grace through faith in the future work of Christ and they possessed the imputed
righteousness of Christ and all of their sins were forgiven.
Rom 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?
Rom 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
Rom 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
Rom 4:4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
Rom 4:5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
Rom 4:6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
Rom 4:7 “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS ARE FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS ARE COVERED;
Rom 4:8 BLESSED IS THE MAN TO WHOM THE LORD SHALL NOT IMPUTE SIN.”
However, no Old Covenant believer had the benefit of coming to Christ as his High Priest.
Moreover, no Old Covenant believer could appropriate the resurrected Christ as his life or that Christ was in him.
Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
Heb 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Col 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Col 3:2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
Col 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Col 3:4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Col 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Col 1:28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
Col 1:29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
There are at least 100 riches in Christ in the New Covenant that no Old Covenant believer possessed.
This constitutes a great discontinuity between Old Covenant believer’s privileges vs. New Covenant believer’s privileges in Christ.