Jesus Christ

Too Many “Babes” in Christ in the Pulpit

Black Preacher

(Photo Credit: Bossip)

Too many pulpits across the globe are being occupied by babes in Christ. Hebrews 5:11-14 state: “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” In those aforementioned verses, the Apostle Paul teaches those Jewish Christians who have been saved for a considerable amount of time that they should now be teaching people the full Gospel of Grace, but they’re still struggling with mixing the Mosaic Law with Grace. They’re still living mostly by the rules and regulations given by Moses instead of the Grace Jesus Christ has given them by the shedding of His precious blood on the Cross at Calvary.

Christians who cannot handle the full Gospel of Grace are those who don’t fully understand or accept everything about the Finished Work of Jesus Christ; that is, the Work He did at the Cross. When you don’t fully understand or accept the Finished Work of Jesus Christ, you’re a “babe” in Christ. Unfortunately, we have too many babes in Christ in the pulpit. A babe in the pulpit is dangerous.

Preachers Still Being Breastfed

Babes are too beholden to the past: the Mosaic Law, old rules, old customs, what the founders of their church denominations have said, and etc. You cannot have a serious understanding of the Bible without having a comprehensive understanding and acceptance of all that Grace has made available. Numerous preachers who fail to receive the Gospel of Grace fully are highly skeptical of the freedom and new agreements that accompany Grace. They’re so accustomed to living under the condemnation of the Mosaic Law that they cannot completely receive the liberation from sin Jesus has made available to us today.

Your church pastor might just be a “milk baby,” a Christian who has never gotten off of the nipple of the Old Covenant and continues to drink only the “Milk of the Word.” (Chapter 6 of Hebrews discusses the “Milk of the Word.”)

Stop Serving Moses—Serve Jesus

Although preachers who are babes in Christ are unintentionally serving Moses instead of Jesus—as a result of them mixing Law and Grace—they teach and preach the condemnation of sin that was a part of the Old Covenant given by Moses. Under the New Covenant of Grace, there’s no condemnation for Believers: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2). For preachers who are still shaming people about what they can and cannot wear, telling them what music they can and cannot listen to, telling them they cannot go to the movie theater, and etc., they’re activating “the law of sin and death.” It’s no wonder, therefore, they and their congregants struggle greatly with sin and death—the preachers are activating this dangerous law or principle and their congregants are receiving it.

Doctrines of Devils from the Pulpit

While it’s okay for your pastor to give you advice about what to wear, what type of music to listen to, and whether or not to go to movie theaters, the moment he or she forbids you from wearing something, listening to a certain type of music and/or going to the movie theaters—as if it is sin—he or she has engendered “doctrines of devils” (I Timothy 4:1). I Timothy 4:1-2 state, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” When a preacher, therefore, makes his or her personal opinions rules and regulations all must follow, his or her teaching departs from “the faith”—grace—and he or she begins “speaking lies in hypocrisy.” If you try to challenge the doctrines of devils they espouse, you can be sure hey will attack you and attempt to undermine you. They will assert that you’re simply trying to change everything the denomination was founded on, and that you’re simply one of the false teachers the Book of Galatians discusses. Ironically, they’re unintentionally (in most cases) functioning in many ways like the false teachers in the Book of Galatians.

Acknowledge When Others Have More Bible Knowledge than You

Too many preachers simply are unwilling to admit that some of those they lead have more knowledge of the Word of God than them. Their arrogance leads them away from opportunities to grow in their knowledge of the Word of God and Jesus Christ. They’re too arrogant to concede they’re still babes in Christ, and when a lay member is able to demonstrate more knowledge of the Word of God than them, they often attempt to undermine their knowledge as simply the words of “the educated”—as if being educated makes one diametrically opposed to the true knowledge of the Word of God and Jesus Christ.

Embrace those in your churches who have deep knowledge of the Word of God—don’t be envious of them and don’t try to undermine them. If you disagree with something a person who has deep Bible knowledge says, confront him or her directly and not in underhanded ways.

Milk Baby Preachers, We’re No Longer under the Law

Preachers who are babes in Christ are still struggling with applying Abrahamic faith in their own lives. Galatians 3:6 states, “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Righteousness was given to Abraham because he believed God—not because of his personal performance, conduct and style of dress. For a mature Christian, he or she finds Abrahamic faith to be an elementary phenomenon, even though it’s a highly important phenomenon. Elementary aspects of the Bible compose the “Milk of the Word” babes in Christ continue to drink.

It’s time for preachers to stop drinking “milk” and start consuming and embracing strong meat—the full Gospel of Grace.

Preachers, it’s time to stop issuing rules and regulations and concentrate your congregations on beholding Jesus. Jesus didn’t die to give people rules and regulations. He died so that they can have eternal life and fellowship with them. Romans 6:14 says, “Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Believers now live by what the Spirit of Christ (the Spirit of Grace) informs them to do and not by rules and regulations established by man, including those unscriptural rules forbidding women to wear pants and certain lipstick and fingernail polish colors.

We’re no longer under your laws and the Mosaic Law. Jesus has delivered us from the curse of the Mosaic Law (Galatians 3:13), and we no longer obtain and maintain our righteousness through the Law but through Jesus Christ (Romans 10:4).

Conclusion

I encourage all preachers and Believers to engage in a focused and comprehensive study of the Book of Romans. The Book of Romans is Paul’s masterpiece and is a treatise on Grace. Read Romans with New Testament eyes and not with Old Testament eyes. From the Book of Romans, you will be able to gain a foundational understanding of Grace and will learn the importance of teaching and preaching the Gospel of Grace.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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A New Past, Present and Future in Jesus

Black women in church

(Photo Credit: Black Youth Project)

Under the New Covenant of Grace, you receive a new past, present and future when you receive Salvation. When Jesus died upon the Cross, He died for you to have a new past, present and future. The most vivid evidence of this new past, present and future we receive through Salvation is found in II Corinthians 7:2: “Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.” If you understand the Apostle Paul’s history, dating back to his unconverted days as Saul, you recognize that Paul persecuted and killed more Christians than any person in history. The question becomes, therefore, is Paul lying when he says he has not “wronged no man,” “corrupted no man,” and “defrauded no man”? Not at all. The reason why Paul says this is he has fully received his new life in Jesus Christ. Through the Finished Work of Jesus Christ, Jesus has bought for us all—through His precious shed blood—the right to have a completely new past, present and future.

We enter into this blood-bought Grace Covenant with Jesus when we receive the Salvation He has made available to everyone. After you receive Salvation, Jesus says that not only are your sins forgiven but He will also never remember them again: “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12). Receiving the Salvation that Grace has made available allows you to no longer live in the condemnation of your past, present and future sin: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). As a Believer, Jesus no longer remembers your sins. Why would you choose to remember them? Why would you continue to hold on to the condemnation attached to your past sins when Jesus knows nothing about them?

When your sins are forgiven, Jesus expects for you to no longer live a life where you’re sin-conscious: “For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins” (Hebrews 10:2). When you’re constantly worried about sin threatening your position of righteousness in Christ Jesus, this sin-consciousness causes you to receive bondage and fear—this bondage and fear is not a part of your reborn spirit in Christ Jesus, but it is bondage and fear you receive from Satan when you fail to Rest in the fact that your righteousness is eternally secure when you continue to place your Faith completely in what Grace has made available to you. Romans 8:15 states, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” When we receive Salvation, we become a part of God’s family; He becomes our Daddy—all because of what Jesus did at the Cross and our receiving of His Finished Work. Receiving Salvation means we receive God as our Father. A Believer can never be separated from his or her Father—you’re eternally connected to the Father, even sin cannot separate you from the Father because when God sees us He sees Jesus—not our sins.

Ephesians 1:4-7 state, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” Because of Jesus and what He did at the Cross, our righteousness in Him is eternally secure. Again, not even sin can ruin our position of righteousness in Christ Jesus. If our sin could ruin our position of righteousness in Christ Jesus, then John 3:16 would have to be a lie, and we know God is not man who has ever lied and will not ever lie (Numbers 23:19).

After receiving Salvation, your eternal life is secure and all that Grace has made available to you is secure. The more you sin in this life, however, can unravel your life in this present world—sin cannot unravel what has already been laid up for you in your eternal life in Heaven.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Easter’s Rebirth and Death Messages

Easter is a holiday widely celebrated not only in America but across the globe. It’s a holiday that honors the resurrection of Jesus. God sacrificed his son’s life to atone for the sins of the world.  Jesus died so that we can live again. I do not want to offer you a traditional Easter speech or sermon, however.

There are meaningful messages in the narrative about Jesus being reborn after dying that can be useful for anyone, even for atheists. If we would simply look at Easter’s messages of rebirth and death, we would all be able to make significant strides toward immense self-improvement. Although human beings are not able to physically die and return to life again here on Earth, we need to experience many metaphorical deaths and rebirths. There are many areas in your life where you have things that you need to bury and experience Christ-like rebirth of those things in your life. By Christ-like rebirth, I mean doing away with things that are not productive in your life and replacing those things with things that are going to promote eternal growth in your life.

Thinking about rebirth and death can be quite unsettling for many people. Many people don’t want to even consider thinking about death. Although thinking about your literal death can be a vexing psychic exercise, many will find metaphorical deaths to be just as difficult to contemplate as literal deaths.

When you have to think about giving up some of the habits that you cannot break that are destroying you, this can be very unnerving. You need to realize when you have some habits that need to be buried and replaced with some more productive habits. For instance, if you think that you have to smoke marijuana every day, then you need to bury this habit and replace it with a habit that will lead you to a healthier treatment of your body. You cannot expect to keep smoking marijuana all of your life and then anticipate positive health outcomes. Smoking marijuana each day is simply moving you closer to death. Instead of smoking weed each day, bury the marijuana and let your body experience a rebirth by working out nearly every day. Can you even imagine how better you will feel when you eliminate marijuana from your life and replace it with working out?

While you may say that you don’t have any problems with marijuana, what about those problems you have with low expectations and negative thoughts? What about those problems you have with believing in yourself to be able to do great things? What about your willingness to succumb to doubt too easily? What about your problems with becoming so easily frustrated? If you have any of those aforementioned problems, then it’s time for you to bury these negative things. Experience a rebirth in your thinking. Cast out negative thoughts, doubts, and low expectations. Have a willingness to dream about what you want in your life that others simply think is impossible. Bury those relationships with people who don’t believe in your dreams and your potential. When you are around negative people, they won’t do anything for you but bring you down. They will have an unwillingness to believe in your ability to do anything that is not within their limited vision of what they think is possible for you.

It’s time for you to bury silly economic practices that have you flooded with debt. If you know that you cannot afford to go out to the club and buy drinks every weekend, then why would you keep doing this? At some point you have to face the fact that what you are doing is simply stupid! Begin to invest your money in things that are going to yield significant returns. Start saving more of your money. Your finances need to benefit from an economic revival. You’re not going to witness an economic revival if you are spending every dime that you have. It can be quite beneficial for you to sit back and think about how what you spend your money on says about who you are.

For those who pretend that they have salvation but know that they are not living a holy and separated life from this present world, then it’s time for you to bury your sins and make a solemn and renewed commitment to God.  Your spiritual life needs a rebirth if you find that you’re saved today, unsaved tomorrow, saved the next day, and unsaved the day after that. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you can experience the fullness of God and live a truly victorious life through Jesus Christ.

You have many things about yourself that need to be buried. You have to be willing to muster the courage to bury those things in your life. While you can get help with burying some of the things in your life that need burying, many of the things you are going to have to bury on your own. If you are a Christian, God can give you the strength that you need to do some essential burying of things in your life. When Christ comes into your life, He helps you to bury many of the unclean things in your life.

Take the necessary time to get rid of all of the trash in your life and experience a rebirth of a more refined you.

On this Easter Sunday, I want us to think about the need to experience many metaphorical deaths and metaphorical rebirths in our lives. This juxtaposition of rebirth and death can make us better human beings who live much more fulfilling and productive lives. Let’s learn how to die so that we might have a chance to be reborn!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison