Every day I make great effort to eat more vegetables -- and less red meat. In fact, eating meat is regarded as dangerous by lots of health conscious dieters these days. You know what they say - heart healthy foods reduce blood pressure and lessen heart attacks.
But, spiritually speaking -- it's time to for us to eat some meat!
Spiritual Vegetarians don't get it! There comes a Divine time when we must serve and eat meat! Keep your shirt on (keep your waist girded), keep the lights on! Be vigilant! When you don't expect Him, the Son of Man (the Christ, The Human Being) shows up! (Lk. 12)
What is the milk and meat of God's Word?
Paul told the Corinthians that because they were carnal (babes, natural people) he fed them with milk and not with solid food (1 Cor. 3:1-2). The Holy Spirit teaches comparing spiritual things with spiritual (combine spiritual truths with spiritual language). Spiritual people discern and judge all things; they have the mind of Christ (the Anointed One, 1 Cor. 2:13-15).
Statistics say the Sunday morning church attendance is lessening. Perhaps you wonder, as I do, why many of the churches are not growing as they should? Maybe it's that everyone is more busy. Maybe it's because we want to go on vacation. Blame the television or the devil if you must... but, maybe it's because everyone is getting tired of milk.
The writer of Hebrews rebukes the readers for their unsatisfactory progress, "You ought to be teachers by now. I have a lot to say to you, but your hearing is dull and sluggish. You need someone to teach you the fundamentals once again. If you only drink milk you are childish, unable to speak (unfit to bear weapons, metalambano is word play for someone not yet fifteen). Strong MEAT is for the believers who have exercised their senses to DISCERN (increase their capacity and potential) good and evil (from Heb. 5:14-15).
We ask again, what is spiritual meat?
Understanding spiritual milk could bring perhaps bring understanding about meat. "Milk" is a spiritual metaphor that refers to the basic doctrines and understandings of Christianity: salvation, resurrection of the dead, and the judgment, etc. Milk is what is necessary to begin to walk in salvation. We must always be aware of those who still need milk.
MEAT takes our understanding beyond our initial concepts. This is called "maturity." Meat is for those growing up (Gal. 3:7). As we grow, our concepts about basic fundamental doctrines expand and develop. For example, baptism. We learn that baptism is commanded for the remission of sins ( Acts 2:38, 8:34-39, 6:31-33, etc.). Paul shares with the Romans how baptism symbolically demonstrates Christ's burial and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-7). And later we learn that we are already baptized WITH Him, buried with Him, raised with Him, and are already seated with Him. Meat is progressive current Truth.
Those that still live by milk alone are "unskillful in the word of righteousness." (v 13) Sure milk is necessary for some, but as believers become "skilled" concerning the Word of righteousness, they need MEAT.
Any meat you eat must first be cut into bite sized pieces in order for you to swallow it. Your molars masticate (gnaw, chew, and crush) meat and then it is mixed with saliva and swallowed. Then, stomach enzymes break down the meat. In digestion, your BODY chemically, physically, and biologically changes the structure and substance of "meat" as it moves past the intestines.
Nutrients can then be passed into your blood system and into your cells.
Meat molecularly transforms into being a NEW part of YOU.
It is called protein - a necessary building block for your lives. Meat transforms into a different state as it is digested - none of the original properties are the same.
What remains and is not transformed, must be eliminated.
Spiritual MEAT TRANSFORMS you into the image of Christ. The gnawing and chewing allows you to break down and digest His Word. Only the meat that is transformed will be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Paul tells you to be transformed (metamorphosed, changed completely) by the renewing of your mind. Why? That you may prove what is the WILL of God! Jesus told the disciples in Samaria that He had MEAT that they did not know -- and His Meat was to DO the WILL of the Father (Jn). You EAT to find and do God's will.
Doing God's will brings nourishment.
Keep in mind that Jesus is the Word of God - and He told the disciples how to abide in Him and have eternal life; "Whoever eats (chews, gnaws) my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is REAL FOOD and my blood is real drink. - The one who FEEDS (chews, gnaws) on me will live because of me. - (John 6:48-59). The disciples said, "This teaching is too hard?" Jesus answered, "These words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life." As a result of this statement, many disciples life.
Here's the typical rub. Preach milk and fluff and pack out the house - or preach meat and not be "popular. "
Jeremiah warns, "Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep...the LORD God of Israel is against the pastors that don't feed His people; -- but, I will set up shepherds over them which shall FEED THEM, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, says the LORD" (Jer 23:1-5).
"And the Lord said, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of MEAT in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find him so doing. - He will make him ruler over all that he has" (Lk. 12:42-44). Notice that the faithful and wise steward serves meat in the right season, even when no one is watching. Serving meat defines stewards as wise and faithful!
Ezekiel warned about shepherds who don't bring provision to their flock, "Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? --neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became MEAT to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered." (Ez. 34:2-5).
Did you get that? Shepherds should feed MEAT to the flock of God so that the flock is not scattered. If the sheep scatter, THEY become the 'meat' for 'all the beasts of the field' and are devoured.
Meat is heaven's bread. It's not oratory skills or brilliant scholarship. It's having deep hunger to "Come and Dine!" (Jn. 21:12). When dining, what do we hear? Three times Jesus tells Peter to "shepherd and feed His lambs and sheep" (Jn. 21:15-17). Feeding the believer is a commission from Jesus Christ. You don't have to ask - just go to your baby and feed it. Either babies eat and experience spiritual growth and spiritual understanding or their growth is stunted and many die.
Why do we preach meat? Certainly not to "out preach" the next person. (Don't you just hate those competitive preaching contests by those eager to have superiority!) Listen, MEAT is not about KNOWING more than someone else. We're not talking about intellectualism or scholarship. It's NOT about political causes - not even just one. It's not about hierarchy. It's not about the latest fad, the currents, or trends. It's not about becoming proficient in Greek or Aramaic. IT IS about delivering Truth and being able to protect the flock from false doctrines and 'ravenous wolves.'
Meat is never served with arrogance - but with love and compassion. It often needs to be tenderized before cooking. Sometimes your "strong meat" may cause someone to get a stomach ache and not be able to digest what you feed them. Putting too much on their plate at one time may even cause a unwanted regurgitation.
Hebrews tells us a remarkable Scripture differentiating the Old and New Covenant believers. No other New Testament book speaks about the details of this sacrifice discussed in Exodus 29. "We have an altar, whereof they have NO RIGHT TO EAT which serve the tabernacle."
This spiritual Meat could pertain to Old Testament symbols fulfilled in Jesus. "For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate" (Heb 13:11-13).
Selected priests would slit the throat of the animal sacrifice and catch the blood in a basin. Then he sprinkled that blood on specific furnishings of the temple. We remember how the High Priest of the Old Testament would enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement and pour out the blood of animals (beasts) on the mercy-seat."
MEAT is a type of the sacrificial body and blood of Jesus who died as a ransom for us. God promises His new priesthood a "right to eat at a different altar." There is an altar where some have no right to eat. The body and blood of Jesus qualifies us to eat the MEAT of this new day. Hebrews goes on to say that we can only "go on unto perfection (maturity) if God permits" (Heb 6:1-3).
The bodies of the animals (beasts) were butchered and stored in a "storehouse" (Mal 3:10). Malachi called this MEAT the "tithe" that was given to priests as their inheritance. (Heb 7:5-9). This MEAT fed the priests and their families, the orphans, widows, and strangers who needed help (Deut 14:27-29). The tithe is a type of MEAT - we have understood it as milk and now it is meat. We become transformed as we become a tithe. We give with abandonment - totally of the substance of what we have become. Oh, the glorious liberty of becoming metamorphosized into the Likeness of God.
My friend, if there is any expectation for the emerging triumphal church, be assured that it will come from allowing the MEAT of God's Word to transform us.
Lord we entrust our lives to You and commit to preach the meat of Your Word. We boldly come to the altar, Your heavenly altar, with the revelation that we have the right to eat MEAT. . When we see You, we'll know You, because we will look just like You! (1 Jn).
All of Dr. Kluane Spake's articles are copywrited. You may copy and use them for personal use providing you do not alter. Please include all contact information - (if used on web, include active link).
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