This is part two of the “Sour Milk” series. If you’ve not yet seen part one, then maybe you’re in the wrong place. After all, before we discuss what has soured the milk, it might be worth it be on the same page with me that the milk is indeed soured. (View part one here.)
Before we get into what has soured the milk, it will be expedient to get on the same page as to what exactly milk is. Milk is where we start. It’s step one. Milk is the stuff of which foundations are made. All of these different statements pretend to answer the question without really saying anything. But even they are foundational to what the next verses say:
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. —Hebrews 6:1-2
There ought to be know doubt as to what the identity of milk. Milk is the elementary teachings. It is the foundation. So what does the above passage say that milk is? There are six specifics listed:
- Repentance from acts leading to death (or; sin),
- Faith in God,
- Instruction about cleansing rites (baptism),
- The laying on of hands,
- The resurrection of the dead, and
- Eternal judgment.
Those are the basics. Had we not jumped right into the Bible, maybe you could have guessed a couple, or even most of these. Many seem pretty basic, even elementary. That’s kind of the point. However, there are some things on this list that might have surprised you. More than anything else, I suspect that the laying on of hands caught you off guard. It certainly surprised me. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. That’s number four on the list.
So this is milk. But we have yet to answer the big question:
What has soured the milk?
Maybe first we should decide if the milk is soured at all. I’d love to think that things are good within church culture, but I just don’t see it that way. I’ve been called cynical, but I prefer the term “realistic.” People don’t take the church seriously, and why should they? We claim to worship a living God who is the exclusive way to salvation, we call ourselves the body of Christ (which is almost the same as saying we are the physical manifestation of the Spirit of God), and we heavily tout the value of being in one accord with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Meanwhile, we gossip about each other, look down on “the least of these” (Matthew 25:44-45), and argue over everything we can think to argue about. I always go back to color of the carpet, and if you’re not a long-time church goer, you might think that’s ridiculous, but anyone who has been in church for an extended amount of time knows how real, and how venomous, these petty debates can become.
The church is sick. Christians are sick. And no wonder! We’ve been drinking sour milk. Years of complacency, weak preaching and teaching, and great apathy has caused the church to become less about the living God and more about the people in the church. But when the people focus on themselves, are they even God’s people any more? You could make a pretty good argument against them.
The church is little more than a social club in the western world. It’s a culture, complete with its own music, books, and movies. We think we’re set apart buy modifying our entertainment, but all we are doing is fueling an industry. If you are in a church because of what they can offer you, you need to check yourself. If you’re actually saved, than you are almost certainly a spiritual baby (and that’s if you’re even saved at all).
There were people in Jesus’ day who were in it just for themselves, too.
Jesus gave sight to the blind, caused paralytics to walk, cleansed lepers, and fed thousands of people. Yet when it came time to be crucified, he was left with a handful of disciples, all of whom abandoned Him. And after His resurrection, there were only about one-hundred twenty people gathered together in the upper room (Acts 1:15). What happened to the thousands of others who had known Jesus? Many of them, it would seem, were following Him for their benefit, and when things got ugly, they dispersed and went looking for the next free lunch. It seems they ran so far that they weren’t there to see Him resurrected.
So I’ll ask again: What has soured the milk? I’m afraid the question is better posed as: Who has soured the milk?
We have. We have not earnestly sought after all that God has for us. We have settled for what we deem as “good enough” in the church culture, and we have rejected the idea of living in the fulness of what Christ offers.
We don’t put it to words, but while we believe that God can raise the dead, we doubt that He can keep us from sin. And we permit sin, because it’s just too hard to give it up.
[ctt title=”We don’t give Jesus all of ourselves, but only enough to assuage our own seared consciences.” tweet=”We don’t give Jesus all of ourselves, but only enough to assuage our own seared consciences.” coverup=”vtSD3″]
Jesus didn’t die on that cross merely to save you. He opened the way for us to live with Him, and for Him to live with, in, and through us. He wants total commitment, but all we want is fire insurance. The thing is that Jesus isn’t an insurance salesman. Fire insurance is not available. It is only a life yielded entirely to Christ that will get desired results. You can’t place your hope on anything less.
The milk is soured. We have soured it, and we are drinking it. Will you continue? Will you continue with the curdled rot, or seek something better?
We are not called to drink sour milk, but streams of living water that will refresh our parched souls and restore our dry bones to a new life in Christ. Thirsty? Living water is on the menu, and it’s free to as many who will come. Christ has secured your reservation at the cross. Will you come to the table? There is no better time to cast away the sour milk than now.