Are You Still On the Bottle?
With apologies to breast feeding moms everywhere, my title this morning comes from Paul’s words in the first paragraph of 1 Corinthians 3. Here is what Paul writes: And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? Babies start out on a bottle. That is normal. They don’t begin with steak and mashed potatoes. They don’t even begin with mashed potatoes. They start with milk. As they mature and grow, they begin to eat solid food. We don’t see teenagers still using a bottle with milk. There is a natural, normal progression from milk to solid food as a child gets older. Paul uses this analogy to rebuke the believers in Jesus at Corinth who have not matured. He says he fed them with milk to begin with but by this time they should be able to take in “solid food”. They should have matured to a point in their relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s possible that Paul is referring to the fact that they should be able to understand more doctrinal teaching or that they should be able to do more involved ministry. I’m not sure that there is an exact “thing” Paul has in mind but he is calling out the Corinthians for their lack of maturity.
Unfortunately this problem is still present in the church today. Followers of Jesus get “stuck” in infancy because they don’t read and study God’s word and get involved in serving Jesus Christ in the church and in the world. And they remain on the bottle. If that is you, I strongly encourage you to put down the bottle and pick up a fork. I can help you with this if you would like…please message me. By the way, it is interesting to note the example that Paul gives regarding these people…division, strife and envy. I believe Paul is writing that a sure sign of the lack of spiritual maturity is the willingness to cause division and strife among one another. This is sort of like how we watch 3 year olds fight over a swing at the playground. That demonstrates a lack of maturity. So does watching adults take offense over issues and concerns that should never cause division. Put down the bottle…pick up a fork…and grow up…Paul’s words…not mine.