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Arrested Development

Hebrews 5:11-6:3

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ďof whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. [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. [13] For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. [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. [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, [2] of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. [3] And this we will do if God permits.Ē (NKJV)

 Last week we crossed the continental divide of the book of Hebrews where the writer shifted from the theme of the supremacy of Christ to our response to His supremacy.  Weíre walking backwards a bit this week to study a passage weíve saved for this point in our series from the 5th and 6th chapters.  This passage foreshadows the direction the writer is taking us in his book by giving us the first response to Christís supremacyóspiritual grow.  Actually, he uses this passage to underscore the importance of what he is writing and to encourage his readers to be interested in the deeper things of God and not just rehash the same old elementary teachings.  But I felt it would be helpful to study this very important passage after we completed the section on the supremacy of Christ.

 The writer is quite hard on his readers here and by association, hard on us too.  He calls them ďdull of hearing.Ē  For as long as I can remember I have been a teacher, and for that matter, Iíve been a student.  For me, the two are tied together.  As you know, Iíve taught in the capacity of being a pastor since I was a teenager, and through the years have worn other teaching hats too.  I have served as a guest lecturer and on the adjunct faculty of a couple of seminaries, and I spend a fair amount of time teaching pastors and other church leaders in conferences across the country.  What you might not know is that when I was much younger, I taught Speech Communication at a Christian High School and was a substitute teacher in the California public school system.

 While Iím sure that Iíve always been a teacher, Iím not so sure that Iíve always been teaching.  Let me explain what I mean. There are times when Iím speaking that I sense someone in the audience hanging on every word and devouring everything Iím teaching, but then I look to the person sitting next to them and see a vacant stare. Nobodyís home.  Their body may be in the room, but they arenít.  It would be safe to say that happens almost every time I teach. 

 I accept the responsibility for some of that.  I know that there is a lot a speaker can do to spark interest in a subject.  So I work hard to see that my messages have an compelling structure and relevant, fresh illustrations.  I try to maximize learning by involving more than just the auditory sense, knowing that people process information 75 percent visually and that memory retention increases from 14 percent to 38 percent when listeners see, as well as hear.
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