Peter Pan Christians by David Jeremiah
In this video
in recent years social scientists and psychologists have noted the increasing difficulty that 20-somethings are having in making the transition from adolescence to adulthood this has become known as the peter pan syndrome a disease that causes someone to believe that he or she can remain in childhood forever now this disease preys upon young adults especially and those afflicted with this syndrome believe that never never land actually exists it’s called college peter pan syndrome is the pandemic of our generation wrote this young man manifestations of peter pan syndrome include a refusal to grow up symptoms include a refusal to go on dates spending hours upon hours playing video games and eating pizza for every meal of the day in short it’s a refusal to take responsibility for life undiagnosed and untreated peter pan syndrome will result in years wasted in the pursuit of things which do not matter end of quote now the writer of the book of hebrews is about to remind us that the peter pan syndrome reaches into the spiritual part of our lives and so we begin in the 11th verse of the fifth chapter with what we call the condition of immaturity listen to the word of god of whom we have much to say and hard to explain since you have become dull of hearing the phrase dull of hearing comes from a greek word which is made up of two words and if you were to say it exactly like it is in the new testament greek the two words would be like this no push they had no push isn’t that an interesting way to say it they were just lacking in any motivation they were sluggish lethargic literally you have become sluggish in your ears and this term describes the state of mind of a person who is no longer interested in hearing anything more about his faith and most of us in this room today have literally watched that happen to people that we know people who started out really excited about the things of god really wanting to go forward and somewhere along the way they get this dull of hearing disease they become lethargic they don’t want to go any further and before i am finished today some of you here are going to say pastor why couldn’t you just leave me alone why couldn’t you just leave me alone i am happy with where i am i mean i show up here as often as i can i put a little money in the offering plate i don’t cause any trouble why can’t you just leave me alone and the reason i can’t leave you alone is because the writer of hebrews won’t leave me alone and so if he’s not going to leave me alone i’m not going to leave you alone because this is important message for all of us is it not it’s so easy for us to take what we have in christ for granted and little by little to drift further and further away from what is important these early jewish believers were taken with a sort of spiritual inertia they were anesthetized by the attractions of the world maybe they were caught up in the ritualistic observance of their judaism but whatever had gone on in their life they like so many of us simply became uninterested in spiritual truth their ears were dulled to the deeper truths of the word of god the condition of immaturity now in the next couple of verses he’s going to give us the cause of immaturity why are they the way they are the first thing that happens to us if we are headed in that direction is we experience unproductive days unproductive days notice verse 12 for though by this time you ought to be teachers the verse actually says and i’m going to translate it literally for when considering the time you ought to be teachers just as in the physical realm so in the spiritual realm it takes time to come to maturity the writer of the book of hebrews is indicting his readers because they had been followers of christ for a long enough time that they should themselves have been teaching others what they had learned they had received a great deal of instruction and they should have been able to be instructing others but like so many of us they had not come to that place he’s not addressing his comments to professional teachers no no no he’s saying that all of us no matter who we are if we’re followers of christ we’re teachers we’re teaching by our lives where we work and in our communities where we live we’re all teachers and he is saying that by this time in their chronological journey with the lord they should have been teaching others they should have been involved in instructing others and yet the instruction that they had received had not taken hold in their lives and so they were not capable of teaching anybody anything and the reason for this is they had not grown they had not used their days to grow in christ the time had gone by and they had stood still how many of you know you just don’t automatically grow in christ there’s there’s a little bit of diligence and effort that’s involved so if you get saved back here and you don’t do anything in your life to grow in jesus by the time you get over here you may have lived some more days but in terms of your maturity as a christian you’re still back at square one you see in the christian realm there’s three stages you go through the first stage is when you yourself need to be fed by somebody else that’s normal and true the second stage is when you get to the place where you can feed yourself and the third stage is when now you’re prepared you can feed somebody else the writer of hebrews is saying the problem with his readers is they should be in stage three and they’re stuck back in stage one they are in a place where they need somebody to come and teach them and they should have been at the place where they were teaching others unproductive days and then unheeded doctrine notice you need someone to teach you the first principles of the oracles of god notice the word again you need someone to teach you again they had already been taught this once and they had not absorbed the teaching in fact the bible says they needed to be taught again the first principles of the oracles of god now what does that mean the first principles of the oracles of god is like saying they needed to go back and learn their abcs all over again so we have unproductive days and unheated doctrine and then thirdly an unhealthy diet notice what it says at the end of verse 12 you have come to need milk and not solid food when the writer says that they have need of milk he is simply restating the fact that they need to go back to the abc’s of their christian faith unproductive days and unheated doctrine and unhealthy diet which results in unnatural development notice verse 13 for everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness for he is a baby spiritual babyhood is natural it’s beautiful and you know there’s a kind of an awe in in new believers too in young baby christians they’re wonderful to be around they they haven’t learned christianese yet they they don’t know all the stuff they’re supposed to do and not supposed to do they it’s no one basic thing they they love jesus it’s so refreshing to be there’s not anything wrong with being a baby christian all of us started out in our walk with the lord we were all at one time baby christians just like you cannot be born into adulthood as as a person in the physical realm you’re not born into adulthood as a christian you have to grow and there’s a process in fact over in peter in first peter 2 2 peter writes these words as newborn babes desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby in other words it’s good to want milk as a young baby in christ to want to know the early things to to learn about the assurance of your faith to learn about the importance of baptism to learn about all those important things that you learn about when you first become a christian as newborn babes desire the milk of the word but it is unnatural to stay in a babyhood throughout your life so many of you have come to me over the years that i’ve been here as your pastor and told me of some of the escapades you’ve gone through in churches where you’ve gone before where there’s been church splits and church fights and open hostility and suits and counter suits and i mean the stories are unbelievable no wonder the world doesn’t want what we have we can’t seem to get along with each other now i want to tell you something if you ever walk into a church and you see that going on you see strife and envy and fighting let me tell you what you’ve just been given the opportunity to peek into the nursery you just peeked into the nursery that’s what it says isn’t it what is the result of spiritual babyhood all of these things what do you know about a baby they want their own way can i get a witness they don’t want you to say i’ll take care of your problem in the morning when i got some sleep they want it now they want it the way they want it and they won’t be quiet until they get it they’re totally absorbed on themselves and rightly so but when you have a church full of people like that brother you don’t want to be there lord save me from the nursery so that’s the condition of immaturity and the cause of it but i don’t want to close our bibles today till we talk about the cure for it what is the cure for spiritual immaturity and once again the writer of hebrews has given us some clues in this text let’s go through them one at a time it says in verse 14 but strong 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 now here are four things that mark maturity in a believer these are very insightful i didn’t make these up they come right from the text number one exposure to teaching that goes beyond the basic notice in the text there are two words to describe the kind of diet that is necessary to sustain you if you are no longer being fed with milk it’s called solid food and meat solid food and meat we should never read anything in the word of god and ever say who cares about that because if it’s in the word of god it’s there on purpose it’s possible for us as christians if we’re not careful to come to christ to go through the new believer’s class to go through the membership class to join the church and then say well that’s that and think that somehow we are now going to just be fine and we’ll just kind of float on into eternity the way we are and the writer of hebrews is not going to let us do that the whole thing about the book of hebrews is let us go on let us not stay where we are let’s be challenged and you know in life none of us wants to just stay where we are health is not like that if you’re here today and you just say don’t bother me don’t wake me up don’t move me off where i am i just want to be where i am do what i am i don’t want to learn anything more i don’t want to grow anymore you’re already gone you’re dead and the same is true in our spiritual lives the question is am i growing am i moving forward so the first thing you should ask yourself is this am i getting any exposure to teaching that goes beyond the basics now i’m going to say something here that will be misinterpreted by some but i hope you won’t take it in the wrong way there’s nothing wrong with churches where they just give you the same message every week in a different suit of clothes and believe it or not there are many churches like that you go they preach the gospel and they revel in the fact that they’re giving the gospel and we need to give the gospel it should be a part of everything we do but if you get the same message every week and there’s nothing else but the gospel you may revel in the fact that people are being saved but let me promise you you will not grow because you cannot grow if all you get every week are the abcs of the word of god it is never my intention to come to this church and stand in the pulpit and talk about things that don’t resonate with you it’s never my desire to get up here and just try to impress you that i know something about the bible that you don’t know but i should be able periodically to challenge you to go to a different place than where you are or i’m not helping you as your shepherd to grow in your faith that means i got to be ahead i’ve got to be out there on the cutting edge and that’s true in my life as well i don’t want to look back over my shoulder at the end of this year and say i’m the same place where i was last year i don’t know any more about god in his word than i did before and the difference between that and this is what happens in between have we got that exposure to teaching that goes beyond the basics two evidence of growth in the knowledge of christ notice it says to those who are of full age by this time they should have been teachers that means they had been saved long enough to have matured to that level the problem was they hadn’t matured so the second thing that’s involved in spiritual maturity is that you are moving forward in the progress of time peter wrote at the very end of his second epistle one of the challenging verses of the bible that says but grow in grace and in the knowledge of our lord and savior jesus christ here’s the question not am i where i should be or where i want to be but am i growing toward maturity in christ that’s all god is asking us to consider in this message today are we stuck where we started or are we moving forward with the lord number three engaging the challenges of life it says here who by reason of use and that means you’re involved in the christian experience you don’t just come to church on sunday hear the message throw your bible on the back shelf of your car and check out until the next week but you’re involved you’re engaged you’re using your faith here in verse 13 we are told that the immature hebrew christians were unskilled in the word of righteousness why are we unskilled we’re unskilled because we don’t practice if you want to be more skilled you got to practice more you got what we call in sports you need repetitions the way you become a better basketball player is you shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot and repetition is the key the way you become mature as a christian is you take your faith into the marketplace you engage the people of god you engage the people around you you live the christian life you’re not just somebody on the on the sideline you’re engaged in the conflict which is life and how many of you know that for us as christians in this day and age that means we deal with problems a lot can i get a witness life is about problems and life without problems is not a growing life because god uses problems to cause us to grow and then fourthly not only exposure to teaching that goes beyond the basics and evidence growth in the knowledge of christ and engaging the challenges of life but number four exercising discernment about good and evil having their senses exercised to discern both good and evil i don’t know how to say this any other way but he begins to give you a sixth sense about stuff some stuff you don’t even have to pray over very much if you’ve walked with the lord he just gives you this sense there’s something not right about that or there’s something very right about that he gives you this discernment so you know what is good and what is evil but that’s not usually where the issues are for us as christians it’s about what is best and what is better what is good and what is better and he tells us in his own way through through the infusion of his word into our heart we get this sense of discernment i pray for discernment do you do that because our lives today are so hard i mean we’re facing stuff we’ve never faced before do we not need discernment i mean this is unprecedented stuff we’re dealing with and we need to pray that god will give us the discernment here’s the scripture the scripture says that when we grow and we become a tour the bible will make it possible for us to have discernment so we know the difference between good and evil two people were planting trees on a mountain that was in a wind tunnel on one side of the mountain the older a farmer was planting trees in a very strange way he would just dig a hole put the tree in the ground and go on to the next one no fertilizer no water on the other side of the mountain was a young man who was planting trees and he was planting trees and carving water by the carload in to water the trees and built little moats around each tree where water would be so the tree could drink of the water when he noticed what his elder was doing he asked him he said these trees are going to die there’s no water host no they’ll be fine he said well how he says well what will happen is when the water isn’t available on the surface they will push their roots down until they hit the water and they will be okay and the young men didn’t believe it and they watched and over a period of time the trees on this side of the mountain at first looked pretty scrawny not much life not much foliage over here the trees were blooming everything looked great but then the first storm came to the wind tunnel and when it was all over if you walked on one side of the mountain the scrawny trees were still there hanging on to life and over here the trees that had been given so much at the beginning were laying on top of the ground with their roots up on top of the ground because you see they had so much at the beginning they had such ease at getting what they needed they never were forced to put their roots down deep and so when the storm came they weren’t capable of surviving the storm here’s what i’m learning in my christian life god sends to us opportunities for us to get our roots down deep because he knows the storms that are coming he knows the challenges we’re going to face and he knows if we have a surface relationship with the lord if it’s all up on top then when the storm comes we will be victims instead of victors this says a lot about the way god deals with his children and it says a lot about the way we deal with our children too doesn’t it i don’t know about you but i always wanted to make life easy for my children i’m not sure that’s a good thing maybe we should let it be hard for them some because if their roots don’t get down deep they aren’t going to be able to face the challenges inevitably come so my challenge to all of us today is this not to go away from here feeling guilty because i’m not as mature as i wish i were not as mature as i should be but to go away from here saying wherever i am pastor jeremiah’s challenged me that i can still go on i can still grow i can become more than i am in christ i cannot be happy with my situation enough so that i will take on some new challenges in the word of god in service and in ministry and go on to depth in my life dr jeremiah will return with one more inspirational word to close today’s program right after this take the fastest journey through the bible you will ever experience with dr jeremiah’s understanding 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especially if you’re looking for it that the new testament describes our savior in great detail during his life on this earth we discover as we read about him in the gospels that the lord jesus christ was an emotional creature his emotions are recorded for us and if we study it we will begin to pick out certain things about the emotion of the lord in short he’s just like me he’s just like you he’s just like us he became like unto his brethren the scripture says and we have someone that we can relate to who is like us when you study the book of hebrews and you begin to realize that there’s a lot of material in here about our great high priest the lord jesus it may not strike you as to why this is happening until you remember that the book of hebrews is a book that challenges us to go on in our christian life and not to quit the word in the book is let us go on let us keep going let’s not stop when we get out of egypt let’s stay strong through the wilderness until we get to the promised land and so in the midst of that instruction to persevere in our faith we are introduced to this person who the bible speaks of as our great high priest even the lord jesus christ himself as we turn our attention to the fifth chapter of hebrews we are reminded that our high priest the lord jesus christ is eminently qualified to serve in the role which has been assigned to him the fifth chapter is divided into two sections the first three verses of chapter five tell us about the qualities of a high priest that were required of a high priest who served in the old testament and then the rest of the chapter tells us how jesus christ fulfills all of those requirements and is therefore legitimately a high priest for us and some of this is old testament history which is very intriguing and interesting because for many of us we don’t know very much about that so it helps us to get the background and then we understand it better in the old testament if a man were chosen to be a high priest for the people of israel there were two qualities that he had to possess the first one was he had to be able to intercede for man it says in verse 1 for every high priest speaking of the old testament high priests every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to god that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins now here it is important for us to understand the difference between a prophet and a priest it was the role of a prophet to represent god to man so when you’re reading the old testament you will often see that somebody is in trouble and god sends his prophet to straighten them out remember when when david was numbering the people and he shouldn’t have been numbering the people and when finally joab came back and gave him that number the bible says that david realized he had sinned and god sent his prophet gad to see david and tell david what god wanted him to know about what he had done that’s what a prophet does a prophet comes from god with the message of god to the people a priest on the other hand represents men to god and it’s very important to understand that because in the old testament there is not one single verse that would tell you that a priest ever forgave or absolved anyone from their sin that wasn’t their role only god can forgive sin now notice secondly it says here in verses 2 and 3 that an old testament priest not only had to intercede for man but he had to identify with man notice he can have compassion on those who are ignorant verse 2 and going astray since he himself is also subject to weakness because of this he is required as of the people so also for himself to offer sacrifices for sins now the old testament priest had to be not only a person who could intercede for man but in order to do that he had to be able to identify with man that’s why he was chosen from among men because then he would feel what other men felt the bible says he ministered out of his own inequities his own problems he understood what it was like to be a sinner you know why because he was a sinner he understood what it was like to feel like he had been unfaithful because sometimes he was unfaithful and the bible says that the old testament priest had to have this perfect quality that would not over respond to what somebody had done nor under respond to it either he would not just say well that doesn’t matter and and sin would be unnoticed or undealt with nor on the other hand would he throw the book at a person when they made a mistake he had to have this gentle quality about him and the bible says in verses 2 and 3 he had to have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray in other words he’s dealing with people who are sinning unintentionally that’s what he means here ignorant and going astray unintentional sin how many of you believe that you have committed some unintentional sin if you didn’t raise your hand that means all of your sin is premeditated do you want me to ask that question again i will ask that question again now let me throw a new testament verse in here that brings this all into our experience all of us as we are told in the new testament in a spiritual sense are priests unto god so we’re always dealing with others and and we’re always going to be involved with people who go through stuff and sometimes we are asked to get involved with people who are going through stuff let me tell you how we’re supposed to do it and see if this doesn’t seem like what we’ve just read galatians chapter 6 verses 1 to 3.
Brethren if a man is overtaken in any trespass what does that sound like an unintentional sin doesn’t it if a man is overtaken in any trespass you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit and what’s the word class gentleness considering yourself lest you also be tempted bear one another’s burdens and fulfill the law of christ for if anyone thinks he himself to be something when he is nothing he deceives himself what a good word for all of us today like the old testament high priests when unintentional sin comes across our path and we’re asked to deal with it let us do so with the spirit of gentleness not under responding by say it doesn’t matter or over responding by nailing the person to the wall the next part of this chapter is really interesting because the writer of hebrews knows he’s dealing with hebrew readers and he wants them to understand that he comprehends the old testament requirements for a high priest now he’s going to prove without any controversy that jesus christ qualifies in every special way as our high priest first of all he is appointed as an high priest he’s an appointed high priest hebrews 5 4 and 6 says and no man takes this honor of the priesthood to himself but he was called by god just as aaron was so also christ did not glorify himself to become high priest but it was he who said to him you are my son today i have begotten you he also says in another place you are a priest forever according to the order of melchizedek now the bible says that an old testament priest could not appoint himself to that role you couldn’t just get up one morning if you were in a jewish family and tell your parents i’ve decided that i’m going to become a priest it didn’t work that way you had to be appointed as a priest and you had to come from a special family to qualify you had to be from aaron’s family exodus chapter 28 tells us that god appointed aaron and his sons to be the priests unto god for israel so a priest had to be a person who was appointed by god now look at the text we just read was jesus christ appointed by god it says that he was called by god just as aaron was and the bible says that he did not glorify himself in other words he didn’t take to himself this priestly ministry but god gave it to him for it was god who said to him you are my son and i have begotten you so jesus qualifies first of all because he was appointed by god to be high priest that was his heavenly qualification but he has an earthly qualification that’s really intriguing to me because in the next little part of this chapter we run into this guy who we meet several other times in the book of hebrews and his name is melchizedek say that with me melchizedek who in the world is melchizedek where’d he come from the bible says that jesus is qualified to be high priest because god appointed him and because he comes from a different order of priesthood not aaron’s order but the order of melchizedek now kisidek well if you know the bible and you’ve read the old testament you realize that back in the 14th chapter of the book of genesis you meet this guy melchizedek you meet him in a very interesting situation abraham has come back from rescuing his nephew and he’s destroyed the armies that have taken a lot away and he’s coming back home and he’s got the bible says he’s got all the spoils of victory and on his way home he meets this person called melchizedek and the bible tells us he is a king priest he’s the king of salem salem is the early term that was used for jerusalem in other words this king priest was the king of jerusalem and he meets abraham on his way back from the war and he is we are told that he was a priest of the most high god and the bible tells us that abraham paid tithes till melchizedek and then that story is just sort of left there you come to hebrews and you read that jesus christ is a priest after the order of melchizedek first you need to understand how important that is because melchizedek had been around a lot longer than aaron you remember that the jewish people were trying to make a case for the old testament way of doing things and so they would be very very careful to make sure that whoever claimed to be a high priest came from the right order we’re told by the writer of hebrews that jesus came from a different order he came from the order of melchizedek which predates aaron by thousands of years when you come to the seventh chapter of the book of hebrews melchizedek is described in one verse and here’s the verse verse three without father without mother without genealogy having neither beginning of days nor end of life but made like the son of god and remaining a priest continually what does that sound like that sounds like melchizedek is a picture in the old testament of the eternal christ without beginning and without end and he is a priest for how long class forever the aaronic priest ended at the end of the life of every priest and had to be passed on to the next one but the priesthood of melchizedek was eternal it never ended and where did jesus get his earthly qualification to be a priest he’s a priest after the order of melchizedek so we’re going to leave melchizedek alone for a while we may meet him again later but i only want you to understand that the first way that jesus qualifies to be a legitimate high priest for us is he was appointed by almighty god and he is in the order of melchizedek and is he qualified eminently so notice secondly not only is he appointed high priest he’s approved as high priest verses 7 and 8 says who in the days of his flesh the lord jesus in the days of his flesh when he had offered up prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears to him who was able to save him from death and was heard because of his godly fear for though he was a son yet he learned obedience in the things which he suffered the bible says jesus was god in the flesh his human life is mentioned in the phrase in the days of his flesh in the scripture his human needs are indicated in the mention of his prayers he offered up prayers throughout his entire lifetime if you studied in the gospels jesus life was dominated by his praying anytime there was an issue that jesus had to face when he was selecting those who would be his disciples we’re told that he spent hours in prayer when he sent his disciples out on the sea to teach them faith where was jesus he was in the mountains praying for them all throughout the scripture you see jesus praying and by the way every time you think maybe it’s not important for you to pray just remember if the son of god who was perfect still had to pray and felt the need to pray maybe i should try to find some time to do it so so i can make it through life as well the prayer that’s mentioned here however is not just a prayer it’s the prayer the prayer that was prayed in the garden of gethsemane do you remember that prayer he said lord let this cup pass from me and when you first read that you’re just confused because we understand do we not that jesus came to this earth so that he might die that was his whole purpose he was born to die so why would he at this important point in his life decide that he didn’t want to die that’s not what’s going on at all in fact in john 12 27 we read jesus words he says now my soul is troubled and what shall i say father save me from this hour but for the purpose of this hour i came so the question is when do you think jesus finally understood that when he died on the cross he would bear all of the sin of the whole world in his body on a tree i’m going to answer the question i believe that happened to him in the garden of gethsemane i believe that when he prayed there in that garden all of a sudden the burden of the sin of the world began to fall upon his body and the bible tells us that his grief was so great in that moment that he sweat great drops of blood the anguish of bearing the sin for the whole world was jesus asking to get out of the assignment no he was asking for god to help him through it to minister to him to get him through death he was asking that death would not be the end which is of course his prayer was answered in the resurrection but in this moment in the garden the bible tells us he felt every emotion you can imagine i don’t know what kind of anguish you may have known in your life but the bible tells us in mark chapter 14 that he was troubled and deeply distressed he was exceedingly sorrowful even unto death and he fell on the ground and prayed in fact his anguish was so intense the bible says that god the father sent an angel down to comfort him luke 22 43 and an angel appeared to him from heaven to strengthen him i’ve told you the story because this is how jesus was approved to be our high priest he was made to go through the anguish and suffering of humanity at its lowest point so there could never be anything that you and i would ever experience that would be greater than what he experienced he suffered it all the bible says he did it that he might be obedient in his suffering that doesn’t mean he was ever disobedient jesus never had a disobedient moment in his life but obedience to suffering means that he allowed the full core of suffering to take its course he never opted out during the process he was obedient to the call of suffering all the way to the end had he ever been disobedient in his life no when he was a child we are told of him i must be about my father’s business as he grew we are told in john 4 my food is to do the will of him who sent me and finish his work in john 5 i do not seek my own will but the will of the father in john 6 i have come down not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me jesus always did the will of his father but he was obedient unto suffering so that he never let any of the suffering get aborted in the process he felt it all the next time you’re going through a tough time the next time you think nobody understands i don’t know how i can even talk about this there’s nobody for me to go to let me tell you something your high priest in heaven has been there and done that a hundred times more than you will ever ever dream of experiencing hebrews later on says have you suffered restraining against blood no but he did he suffered in a moment of time the entire weight of the sin of the whole world and then thirdly he’s an accredited high priest notice verses 9 and 10 having been perfected he became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him called by god as high priest according to the order of melchizedek what does this mean class this means that jesus christ has accomplished everything that needs to be accomplished for him to qualify as your priest the bible says he is the author of eternal salvation he’s the author of it and he is eminently qualified to do all that is needed from a high priest for you and for me because you see as great as he is he’s just like us and when we go to him he understands every weakness that we will ever feel and he ever lives to make intercession for us at the right hand of the father.
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