This article presents the substance of a sermon I delivered on May 22, 2022 at my home church of Fairview Community Church in Fairview, Tennessee.  The title of the sermon is “What’s On Your Menu – Milk or Meat?”  The text is Hebrews 5:11–14 (NASB95),which reads:

11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

The one basic application that develops from the text is:

God is commanding each one of us who is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ to continually take the necessary steps to better comprehend (not that we don’t comprehend to some extent) the saving gospel of Jesus Christ so that we become more capable (not that we aren’t capable to some extent) of preaching salvation through Jesus Christ to the lost, and especially to the religious lost who are those people who rely on a non-saving religious system to give them eternal life.


Evangelism is Important to God

A few basic biblical teachings about preaching salvation through Jesus Christ establish that evangelism is important to God.

While it does not mean God saves everyone, God’s revealed will is that all people be saved according to 2 Peter 3:9 (NASB95), which reads:

9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

The Bible teaches that each Christ-follower is under an obligation to preach the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost in every corner of the world.  For example, Matthew 28:18–20 (NASB95) records Jesus’ words:

18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The can be said for Acts 1:5, 8 (NASB95)

5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”  … 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Ephesians 4:11–12 (NASB95) teaches that God gave some as evangelists for the building up of the body of Christ:

11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

While each one of us does not have that specific calling, 2 Timothy 4:5 ( NASB95) records Paul’s instructions to Timothy to do the work of an evangelist:  

5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

These instructions apply to every believer.

Finally, each of us is under an obligation to be ready to tell others about our hope of our salvation through Jesus Christ according to 1 Peter 3:15 (NASB95):

15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

In summary, these passages support the teaching that those of us who are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are under an obligation to carry out God’s command to preach the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to every corner of the world.   God is calling each of us to minster in our sphere of influence. 

False Prophets Abound under the Guise of being “Christian”

I cannot think of a time in my lifetime when there has been a greater need to preach the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost, and especially to the religious lost who are those people who rely on a non-saving religious system to give them eternal life.


The opening of a sermon entitled “Prepare for the Storm” reads:

The human race continues to rush from crisis to crisis. The world situation continues to deteriorate, and war clouds hang low as we tremble once again on the brink of disaster. 


Not only is the world itself facing crisis, but Christianity beholds giants rising to contend with it—more powerful, more worldwide in the influence they are able to exert than any the church has known since the downfall of paganism in Europe 1,500 years ago. 

An anti-supernaturalistic philosophy is being taught to students in universities and colleges; God is denied and man is deified. Long ago, we were told by the Apostle Paul that the day would come when mankind would turn away their eyes from the truth and believe a lie. This naturalistic attitude can be found in much of our contemporary literature about Christ Himself. The virgin birth is denied; the bodily resurrection of Christ is proclaimed a myth. They say Christ was a good man, but that He was not God. 


Naturalistic philosophers refer to the miracles of the Bible as “miraculous magic” and “oppressive absurdities.” They are trying to hammer away at the very foundation of Christianity: faith in Christ as the Son of God. 

Their philosophies are the basic cause of moral deterioration throughout the Western world. If there is no such thing as a transcendent God who is interested in the affairs of men, then there is no moral law, and each person has a right to do what he or she pleases. We have sown to the wind and are now reaping a whirlwind of cheating, lying, dishonesty and immorality on a scale that has not been known in the history of this nation. 

In view of the multi-faceted turmoil our country faces, one could easily say this sermon was preached last week.  However, it was preached over sixty years by Billy Graham in “The Hour of Decision” radio program on July 9, 1961.

In writing 2 Timothy 4:1-4 (NASB95), Paul predicted the false teaching that is prevalent today:

1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

The Apostle Peter made the same accurate prediction when he wrote 2 Peter 2:1–3 (NASB95), which reads:

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

The heresies that Paul and Peter predicted exist today in religious organizations that deny fundamental Christian doctrine, and yet, call themselves “Christian.”

I’ll give just a few examples out of many.

Some religious movements deny the Trinity.  One definition of the Trinity reads:

We may define the doctrine of the Trinity as follows: God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God.

Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine (p. 226). Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.

While the doctrine of The Trinity is not easy to understand, it is what the Bible teaches.  God possesses His triune nature so that to deny the Trinity is to corrupt the true identity of the Person of Jesus Christ. 

Even though these groups use the name “Jesus”, they advocate placing one’s trust in an unbiblical Jesus – a Jesus who has been corrupted by their heretical theology.  While I am not the judge, there is a very strong presumption that a person who sincerely places their trust in an unbiblical Jesus is not saved, but is on the road to hell.

Other religious groups require works (e.g., water baptism) as a mandatory element in their plan of salvation.  While water baptism is something a believer should do after conversion, it has nothing to do with their actual salvation.  A theology that requires water baptism to be saved says that Jesus’ work on the cross is in and of itself is insufficient to save a person.  Salvation by grace through and not works per Ephesians 2:8–9 (NASB95):

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

A person who trusts in any form or fashion in their works – like water baptism – to save themselves is not saved.

There is a movement that calls itself “Progressive Christianity.” This group changes the core message of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.  Instead of the basic message that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and resurrected, thereby reconciling us to God, progressive religion de-emphasizes or flat out denies the concept of blood atonement and replaces it with social justice and good works.  Not one of their 8 points – updated in 2020 – mentions the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ or the concept of sin that separates a lost person from God.  Their 8 points read:

 By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…

 1. Believe that following the path of the teacher Jesus can lead to healing and wholeness, a mystical connection to “God,” as well as an awareness and experience of not only the Sacred, but the Oneness and Unity of all life;

 2. Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness, Oneness and Unity of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom, including Earth, in our spiritual journey;

 3. Seek and create community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:

 Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
Believers and agnostics,
Women and men,
Those of all races, cultures, and nationalities
Those of all sexual orientations and all gender identities,
Those of all classes and abilities;
All creatures and plant life;

 4. Know that the way we behave towards one another and Earth is the fullest expression of what we believe, therefore we vow to walk as Jesus might have walked in this world with radical compassion, inclusion, and bravery to confront and positively change the injustices we experience as well as those we see others experiencing;

 5. Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning with an open mind and open heart, than in absolutes or dogma;

 6. Work toward peace and justice among all people and all life on Earth;

 7. Protect and restore the integrity of our Earth and all of Creation;

 8. Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love on this journey toward a personally authentic and meaningful faith.

Even though what they teach is “warm and fuzzy,” they are a dangerous group.  Just because a group calls itself “Christian” does not mean it proclaims the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.  The cover of the May 2022 issue of Decision Magazine – published by the Billy Graham organization – says it best:  Progressive Christianity Can Lead You to Hell!

Even within the walls of “evangelical” Christian churches, much error exists among the people. 

An August 31, 2021 report from Arizona Christian University reveals some shocking beliefs by “Integrated Disciples” – the “cream of the crop” churchgoers who are a part of the Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night crowd.  In the context of salvation, one disturbing  belief is that 42% of the “cream of the crop” churchgoers believe that having faith matters more than which faith you pursue. 

Such a theology is blatantly unbiblical and damning.  The Bible teaches that salvation is available only through Jesus Christ per Jesus’ teaching in John 14:6 (NASB95):

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Peter preached the same thing in Acts 4:12 (NASB95):

12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

To say that faith in any faith is saving is damning heresy.

So, how shall those of us who are Christ-followers respond in light of our text of Hebrews 5:11-14? 


One commentator describes the dominant theme of Hebrews when he writes:

This [dominant theme] is, the super-abounding excellence of Christianity over Judaism. The sum and substance, the center and circumference, the light and life of Christianity, is Christ. Therefore, the method followed by the Holy Spirit in this Epistle, in developing its dominant theme, is to show the immeasurable superiority of Christ over all that had gone before. One by one the various objects in which the Jews boasted are taken up, and in the presence of the superlative glory of the Son of God they pale into utter insignificance.

Pink, A. W. (1954). An exposition of Hebrews (p. 7). Bible Truth Depot

It was important for the writer of Hebrews to establish the superiority of Jesus Christ over Judaism because some of his audience was in danger of reverting back to Judaism.  In addition, and this is the point most relevant to this article, the capability his audience to explain the superiority of Jesus Christ over Judaism was vital to them witnessing to unsaved Jews.  His audience had to comprehend and be able to explain this salvation-oriented substantive content.

Let’s look at each one of the four verses.

Verse 11 (NASB95) reads:

11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

The phrase “Concerning him” refers back to earlier salvation-oriented substantive content.  This content comprises the teaching of the superiority of the sacrifice of Christ over the Levitical sacrifices.  Unsaved Jews would need to be convinced of the superiority of Christ for them to leave Judaism and exercise biblical saving faith in response to the call of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.  Wuest writes:

The words “of whom” of 5:11 are from a preposition and a relative pronoun, which latter is in a case form that indicates either the masculine or neuter gender. The last named individual to which a masculine pronoun could point, is Melchisedec. But the writer is not concerned with him in what he has to say in 5:11–6:12. Therefore, the pronoun is neuter, referring to the teaching of the Melchisedecan priesthood of Jesus Christ, a thing which these Jewish readers who were still unsaved, needed to be convinced of if they were to leave the Aaronic priesthood and its system of Levitical sacrifices.

Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 10, pp. 103–104). Eerdmans.  Boldfacing added.

The writer of Hebrews wanted to explain a great amount of this salvation-oriented substantive content that would equip his audience to witness to the Jews.  But it was difficult – if not impossible – to do so because of a problem with his audience. 

At some time in the past, his audience had intentionally entered into the condition of being slow to understand due to their spiritual laziness and they were still in that condition.  The Wuest expanded translation (WUESTNT) brings out this point:

because you have become those who are in a settled state of sluggishness, yes, of stupidity, in your apprehension of the same.

Verse 12a (NASB95) reads:

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers,

Consistent with the context, the New Living Translation points out that the writer’s audience comprised believers:

You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others.

The meaning of the Greek verb translated as “you ought” reveals that these believers’ failure to spiritually grow was a failure to satisfy an ongoing moral obligation they had to God.  The Wuest expanded translation brings this out when it reads (WUESTNT):

In fact, when at this time you are under moral obligation to be teachers by reason of the extent of time [you have been under instruction]

By entering into a spiritual lethargy, the writer’s audience had not fulfilled their moral obligation to spiritually grow to the point where they could comprehend the salvation-oriented substantive content and or have the ability to be ready to give a defense per 1 Peter 3:15 for the hope that was within them.

Verse 12b reads (NASB95):

you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

The writer describes the basic need of his audience to again be taught what they lacked – the basics of Christianity. These believers were in no condition to understand the more advanced salvation-oriented substantive content he had wanted to explain to them.  They were in no spiritual condition to effectively reach lost Jews.

Verse 13 (NASB95) reads:

13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.

The writer told his audience the tragic truth that a spiritual infant – one who has regressed to need instruction about basics such as justification and sanctification – is not accustomed to or does not have the experience with proclaiming “the word of righteousness” which is the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) points this out a bit better than the NASB95 when it reads:

13 Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant.

Let’s pause for just a bit.

Up to this point, by writing verse 11-13, I believe the writer of Hebrews intended to convey to his audience that:

 he (and the others with him) had a lot of salvation-oriented substantive content to explain to them, but he was unable to do so because of their inability to comprehend or explain this content due to their spiritual laziness that had caused them to regress into being spiritual infants. The solution to this problem was they had to be re-trained in the basics of Christianity. 

Obviously, the spiritual infanthood displayed by the writer’s audience was sad!  Believers in the midst of a so-called “target-rich environment” and they were essentially incapable of effectively witnessing.  They were soldiers who had lost their ability to use their weapons.

Is it possible we – you and me – are in the same basic boat as our 1st Century brothers and sisters in Christ?  By this I’m not saying all of us are spiritual infants, and may be none of us are, but, in a relative sense of a spiritual infant as compared to a spiritual adult, do not all of us have a long way to go?  Do not you and I each have much to learn and apply in real life circumstances about the saving gospel of Jesus Christ? 

I know that I do so that I exercise greater boldness and more skill in preaching the saving gospel of Jesus Christ o the religious lost and become more effective at countering the false, damning teachings that are abundant in so many false religions. 

And, yes, the gospel is so simple a child can understand it and exercise biblical saving faith, but it is also so profound even the greatest minds will never come close to plumbing its depths or fully appreciating its magnificence.  No matter where we are on the spiritual maturity scale, each one of us can take to heart what the writer says in verse 14, and apply it in our lives. 

Verse 14 reads (NASB95):

14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

By writing verse 14, the writer taught his audience that the way to become spiritually mature so they could comprehend – to understand the real nature of  – this substantive content is by spending the time to work in the spiritual gym – to enter into systematic training.  To spend the blood, sweat and tears by training to become a good solider – a spiritual NAVY SEAL – who is equipped to engage the enemy in the raging spiritual war that engulfs all believers.

This training was something that took place in the past and produced the current state of being able “to discern between good and evil.”  In the context of our message this morning, this discernment concerns doctrinal issues so that the writer’s audience could discern between truth and error whereby they would become better equipped to evangelize lost Jews. 

Let me “circle back” to the one application that can legitimately be taken from Hebrews 5:11-14, and that is:

God is commanding each one of us who is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ to continually take the necessary steps to better comprehend (not that we don’t comprehend to some extent) the saving gospel of Jesus Christ so that we become more capable (not that we aren’t capable to some extent) of preaching salvation through Jesus Christ to the lost, and especially to the religious lost who are those people who rely on a non-saving religious system to give them eternal life.


In practical terms, what can you and I do to carry out the basic teaching from our passage of Hebrews 5:11-14?  Initially, let’s keep in mind that all of these actions must be bathed in prayer to God.

First and foremost, you must be confident you are saved.   If you have any question about where you will spend eternity, settle it today!  I believe my recent (and only) book The Salvation Meter – Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth is a helpful tool. 

Second, develop the mindset (or intensify your mindset) of a Berean per Acts 17:11 (NASB95), which reads:

11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

The NASB95 translates the Greek anakrinō as “examining,” and it means:

27.44 ἀνακρίνωa: to try to learn the nature or truth of something by the process of careful study, evaluation and judgment—‘to examine carefully, to investigate, to study thoroughly.

Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). In Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 330). United Bible Societies.

The verb is in the present tense so it is a continuous and habitual action on the part of those Bereans.

Part and parcel of the “be a Berean” mindset is to have a high view of Scripture.  It is the infallible and inerrant Word of God.  The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy [in part]:

Article I

We affirm that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God.

We deny that the Scriptures receive their authority from the Church, tradition, or any other human source.

Article II

We affirm that the Scriptures are the supreme written norm by which God binds the conscience, and that the authority of the Church is subordinate to that of Scripture.

We deny that Church creeds, councils, or declarations have authority greater than or equal to the authority of the Bible.

Article IX

We affirm that inspiration, though not conferring omniscience, guaranteed true and trustworthy utterance on all matters of which the Biblical authors were moved to speak and write.

We deny that the finitude or fallenness of these writers, by necessity or otherwise, introduced distortion or fa.lsehood into God’s Word.

Third, learn how to study the Bible using the three-step inductive Bible study method comprising the steps of observing the text, interpreting the text using the historical-grammatical method of interpretation, and applying the text in a legitimate way.  This takes work! 

Fourth, take and complete and revisit the soteriology [doctrine of salvation] course of the Theology Program we have offered and plan to offer at FCC.  Other courses exist, but is one we can make available.

Fifth, spend the time in study and prayer to identify what you believe is the “irreducible minimum” content of a saving gospel presentation.   

Sixth, identify one or more of your favorite evangelistic passages and develop a gospel presentation using that text as the base text.  Does your presentation include the “irreducible minimum?”

Seventh, get out of the boat and walk on the water by enrolling in a course like “Essentials of Evangelistic Expository Preaching” offered by Olford Ministries International in Memphis, Tennessee.  Their website shows that this course is going to be offered July 26-28, 2022.

Eighth, learn more about the teaching and errors in those religions that deny the Trinity.  Their teaching is false and there are persuasive arguments against them, but you have to know your material.  Most members of these groups are well indoctrinated in their damning heresy and so do not expect to see immediate (or possibly) any tangible results.

Ninth, learn more about the teaching and errors in those religions that requires works (e.g., water baptism) to be saved.  Again, you’ve got to know your stuff, but take heart, their position is unbiblical and it cannot stand against competent biblically-based arguments.

Tenth, learn more about the teaching and errors in the movement that calls itself “Progressive Christianity.” There are at least a couple of churches and many individuals in middle Tennessee that are listed on their website so it is possible you may run into someone who is a “progressive Christian.”

Eleventh, appreciate that all of this is real.  Even though the lost religious can be nice, kind and generous people, in reality, they are on the road to hell.  This is serious and it is real.  It is not a mere academic exercise.  Heaven and hell are forever, and there is no do-over after a person’s final breath.

The title of this message is What’s on Your Menu – Milk or Meat?  When the server in a restaurant gives you a menu, you are faced with choices.  The menu from this sermon has only two choices from which you can choose. 

You can choose the milk in the sippy cup which is easy, but not that that satisfying.  Or you can choose the meat which takes much more time and investment to prepare, but is so much better than milk in a sippy cup.

While you may think the choice is yours, for a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ there is no choice.  Don’t forget the last few words of the song This Blood (and I’ve made a slight change): :

So pour it out and To cleanse my soul
And let’s liquid Glory flow
Because He lives To make me whole
I owe my life I owe my soul…

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, God owns all of you and He owns all of me and the price that was paid was the shed blood of Jesus Christ.. If we really believe we are His, let’s live that way. 

If someone is reading this post and is unsure of their salvation, please read below.


In the beginning, God, who is holy, created the entire universe.  As a part of His creative actions, He made humans in His image to know Him.  For a while, everything was right between God and our ancestors, Adam and Eve.    But Adam sinned, and his sin was passed down to all of humankind whereby we became separated from God.  Nothing we could do on our own could bridge that separation so that without God’s intervention, hell would be our eternal destination.   

Fortunately for us, in His great love and mercy God provided humankind with the only means of salvation, which is through Jesus Christ who is God’s only unique Son.  While retaining His deity, God the Son became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law Himself and taking on Himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever repent and trust in Him for their salvation.  Jesus rose from the dead, showing that God the Father accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us has been exhausted.  He now calls us to repent of our sins and trust alone in what Christ did to save us. 

If we repent of our sins and completely trust in Christ alone that He died for our sins and rose to life from the dead, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God. 

Scripture References: Genesis 1:1, 27, 31; Habakkuk 1:13; Genesis 2:7, 18, 21-25;  Genesis 3:1-7, 23-24; Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:19-20, 23; 5:17-19; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 6:23; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 John 4:10; John 3:16-18; Mark 1:15; Romans 1:4; 4:25; John 3:5-8; 1 Peter 1:3.


Lord, Jesus Christ, the only unique Son of God, thank You for Your free gift of eternal life.  I know I’m a sinner who cannot save myself no matter what I do, and I deserve to spend eternity in hell.  But, I know that because You loved me so much, You voluntarily died on the cross for me taking my sins upon Yourself, and You physically bodily rose from the grave showing that Your sacrificial death was sufficient payment to give me eternal life in Heaven.  I now repent of my sins and trust alone in what You did for my eternal salvation.  Please take control of my life as I now receive You as my Lord and Savior.  Thank You so much for saving me.  I am now Yours forever! (Scripture references: John 1:1-4, 11-14; John 3:16; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:21-26; Isaiah 53:4-6; Mark 1:15; Acts 16:31; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9-10, 13; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; John 10:27-29).

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