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What You Don't Improve, You Will Lose!
 
"Small progress under great privileges is a grievous fault." - Biblical Illustrator - New Testament
"God takes notice of the time and helps we have for gaining Scripture - knowledge." - Matthew Henry
"...and indeed those that are not improving under the means of grace will be losing." - Matthew Henry
"...Those who are not careful to add to their knowledge, will be in great danger of losing what they have formerly acquired." - Biblical Illustrator - New Testament
 
"It is man's slothfulness in hearing that is the sole cause of their not improving the means of grace, or not thriving under the dispensation of the word or, all our miscarriages, with respect unto the Gospel, are to be resolved into our own sloth, negligence, and depraved affections."
- Biblical Illustrator - New Testament
'It is sadly true that our apprehension of divine truth is limited by our own spiritual condition. Dull ears cannot receive deep truths."
- Believer's Bible Commentary
"None should take upon them to be teachers of others but those who have made a good improvement in spiritual knowledge themselves."
- Biblical Illustrator - New Testament
 
In Hebrews 5:11-14, the writer of Hebrews wrote this warning to the church - "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."
 
What is really scary in the Christian walk is the fact that you can lose what you don't use! If you are not moving forward or progressing in grace, you are actually slipping backwards without even knowing it. 
 
You can lose all of the knowledge that you formerly acquired. If you don't take care to keep growing in the knowledge of God and His ways, you will be in danger of losing it all. Small progress in His sight - when you are greatly privileged - is inexcusable. He is fully aware of all the time and helps that are at your disposal.
 
Sloth, negligence, or depraved affections - who wants to be accused of any of these? No one, really! Yet these are the very hindrances to a believer's improving the means of grace or thriving under the dispensation of the word.
 
"Dull of hearing!" This is the accusation that the writer of Hebrews brought against the Christians in that day. He had to stop in his teaching and interject this rebuke because he sensed that they were not receiving the truth. Something was blocking them. He had  more revelation to give them, but he seemingly hit a brick wall on their part. Their understanding was weak - they no longer were able to understand spiritual things - that is, on a higher level. They were slow in conceiving, learning, and believing.
 
What happened? They were moving along smoothly. What created this "brick wall" - if you will?
 
There are several contributing factors - their carelessness or lack of diligence in pursuing after the things of God...apathy, worldliness, and conceit...minds being possessed with other things...lack of meditation on the Word of God...and lack of prayer. Consequently, they found themselves not able to perceive, discern, apprehend, or judge higher doctrine. Because they did not walk closely with the Lord nor conscientiously apply the knowledge that they had, they remained "babes" - those suffering from spiritual weakness and inertness. Their active power was defective.
 
A picture is drawn here of lazy travellers who go slowly - making very little progress. Similarly, these are the ones who are slow in hearing the Word of God and then applying it to their lives.
 
Your improvements in knowledge should bear a proportion to the time that you have been a Christian or have walked closely with the Lord.
 
"...For when for the time..." - Considering the long time that you have been a Christian or the time which elapsed since your conversion. This is addressed to all those who profess to being a Christian for a long time - those who supposedly have been well instructed in Divine things so as to be able to teach others.
 
"...For when for the time ye ought to be teachers..." - By reason of the time that has elapsed, you "ought to be teachers" - you ought to be able to instruct others or explain to them the truths of Christianity. You should be a ready defender, illustrator, or propagator of the Word. You have been a long time under the influence of the Christian faith. You are well-versed in the Christian experience. Yours is a matured faith - you have a clear perception of the things of the unseen world...you feel the powers of the world to come...and you see what others do not see. Then, why aren't you teaching others?
 
Instead, the writer of Hebrews found them in a pitiful spiritual state - "...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..." They needed to start from the very beginning again - the very rudiments of divine truth - the first lessons, principles, or elements that they learned as "babes" in Christ. It was necessary to lay the foundation again in their Christian faith.
 
Due to their slothfulness, negligence, and depraved affections, they "...became such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat..." They became like little children in that they were incapable of receiving the higher doctrines. At one time, they were better instructed, but they had forgotten it all because they did not continue to hear or heard so carelessly the Divine Truths.
 
"...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..." "Babes" are not able to talk. They are not able to understand deep things. They are unskilled and inexperienced. They cannot receive stronger food.
 
Those who were once "giants" in the faith fell to this level - "...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..." They had alot of knowledge, but they failed to do anything with it.
 
"...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." Solid food is for those who are advanced in Christian experience. These are the ones who did not fall prey to slothfulness, negligence, or depraved affections. Instead, they were constantly hearing, believing, praying, and obeying. They happened to use all of the graces available to them. Resultantly, they gained much skill. Now, they are able to decide between good and evil. They can appreciate the more elevated doctrines of Christ. They are able to distinguish between what is useful from what is injurious. They appreciate and understand what is true and are able to reject what is false. They are able to distinguish between what is pleasing to God from what is provoking. In using the grace that they have, they get more grace.
 
"...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..."
"...unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe..."
 
Are you still a "babe" when it comes to spiritual things? Have you allowed your own slothfulness, negligence, or depraved affections to rob you of a higher level in grace? Are you in need of teaching when you should be the one teaching?
 
Never forget -
"...and indeed those that are not improving under the means of grace will be losing." 
"...Those who are not careful to add to their knowledge, will be in great danger of losing what they have formerly acquired." 
 
What you don't improve, you will lose!
                                                                                            
May God Bless His Word.
Connie
 
COPYRIGHT Connie Giordano - All Rights Reserved