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(WHERE'S THE BEEF????)
SCRIPTURE - 1 Cor 2 : 4 JANUARY, 2004
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom,
but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
SUBJECT - WHERE'S THE BEEF??
Some years back, I'm talking over a couple of decades or so ago, there was a commercial on TV, that became very popular back then, and is still drawing comments from many of us today. If you look at the title of this message, then you may recognize it, and it may be what attracted you to read this tract.
The commercial was from a fast food chain, advertising their product, a hamburger, and claiming that other fast food chains' burgers were so lacking in the amount of meat as compared to this particular chain's burger, that one would ask the other chain's representatives, 'Where's the beef???'
Obviously, if you want a hamburger, you expect to have some beef on the sandwich. That is what a hamburger is generally made of. If it isn't made of beef, then, it really isn't a hamburger. We have so called hamburgers, made of turkey, and chicken. These are all counterfeits of the real deal. True hamburger fans, can tell when they are eating an original, or a counterfeit.
Well, if you can understand that, then you can begin to understand the message in this tract.
What is it that draws people to the hamburger?? If you say, taste, you have hit the nail on the head. Advertising something on TV, on the radio, or by some other means, may get someone to try something, but in the case of food, taste will bring them back again, and again.
When it comes to the message of the gospel, the same procedure is in play. Advertising about the goodness of God is enough to get people to come see what God is all about. However, there has to be something more than just the message that God is Love, and that He is Merciful, to keep people coming back for more and more. What is needed, is something that is missing in most of the church, and that is the meat (or beef ), that the apostle Paul, was talking about, in the passage of scripture above.
The apostle Paul knew that there is much more to the gospel (good news), than what is being portrayed as, 'what can be reasonably expected by the believer, from God.'
Many saints today, live lives that for the most part, are full of failures, and hurdles, that are insurmountable, and therefore are easily led to believe that if they can just hang on to God's unchanging hand, then they can 'just make it in.' That, my friends, is a poor analogy of what God has set up for His children, in THIS LIFE.
The diagnosis of this problem, can be traced back to one thing, and that is what is being taught to the believers, by their pastors, and bible teachers.
To further understand what it is I am talking about, read the following passages of scripture.
1 Cor 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 1 Cor 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
Heb 5:12 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. Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. Heb 5:14 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.
Heb 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Heb 6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
1 Pet 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
In all these passages of scripture, reference is being made to milk. In some of them, the word meat is used.
The apostle Paul, in using the word milk, is referring to Christians that are immature, or babes. Just like in the natural, babies are fed a steady diet of milk, when they are first born, because their systems can't tolerate anything else. They are undeveloped.
As they get more mature, then they can start taking small portions of meat, (or solid food), in the form of baby food, until they grow in to maturity, then they can handle solid food, with no problem.
The problem in the Church, is that many pastors, and teachers, fall in to the category of still being immature themselves, and
therefore produce more and more people that can't stand anything but the milk of the gospel.
Everything they say and do, is centered on a carnal understanding of spiritual things, and therefore carnal solutions. And unfortunately, carnal solutions to spiritual problems, are going to come far short of what God has in store for us. It's like settling for a $1000.00 prize, when you can have $1,000,000.00 if you are willing to do what it takes to get it.
There is a time, as I mentioned earlier, for milk, but there is a time when you have to grow up, or you will find yourself looking for solutions to problems that you have, outside of the realm of God's protection, and power.
The meat of the gospel can only come when God decides a person is ready to handle it, and sad to say, most aren't. Oh yes, they can talk a good game, but when it comes down to demonstrating what they claim God can do, they can't, so what they tell you, is 'God is able.' By saying that, they avoid any responsibility of having to explain why God isn't working in their lives or ministry, the way He is in others. It is not unusual for these carnal minded people to attack those who are mature, by saying they are phonies, and using tricks to deceive the people.
You see, I can say, that I can beat Mike Tyson, any day of the week, and may get some people to believe me. But, until I actually get in to a ring with him and do it, then, after while, people will look at me as being what I am, a phony with a big mouth.
Christians, that brag about what God can do, yet never experience it, or demonstrate it, will soon find themselves feeling like phonies, and therefore are ineffective in winning others to Jesus Christ.
There are many religions out there that can make all types of promises about what will happen, after you die, but very few of them can demonstrate any, what you may call (supernatural) power.
If we look at the life and times of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we see that His ministry was full of teaching, and the demonstration of the power that the Father endewed Him with. Prior to Him being baptized, He was like a spiritual babe. He had knowledge of the word of God, but wasn't yet empowered (anointed) to demonstrate the full scope of what God was going to show us He would do.
After the Holy Ghost came on Him, then the power of God was in Him, and He demonstrated that power. It was His teaching, and demonstration of the power of God, that caused thousands to become followers. They knew that He had the solution to every problem that they had. Well, guess what. When He left, He gave that same power, to His disciples. He also left the promise that that same power, would be available to the Church, through anointed pastors, teachers, prophets, evangelists, and bishops. But, He also said that whosoever would believe, could accomplish the same things.
The problem is, that part of the message, is not getting out. The reason being, that the leaders in the church, are not, themselves, anointed to be in the positions that they are in, and therefore have no power in them, Look at what Jesus said to His followers, Mat 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Mat 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;
but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; Mark 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Now ask yourself this question. How often do you see the demonstration of the power of God in your church?? The apostle Paul, before He was converted, was a religious leader, believing he was doing what God wanted him to do. He studied the scriptures, and taught in the synagogues and went around trying to get rid of an upstart cult, known as Christians. All because many of his own followers were going to hear the teachings of this new cult, because they seemed to be offering more to the people, than just the teaching of the scriptures, and the adherence to the commandments. They saw the power of God in these men. Then Saul, as he was called before his conversion, experienced the power of God, first hand, and from that moment on, became a follower of Christ, a Christian.
My point is, when you have a specific need, you look for something to fulfill that need. That is what the Church should be offering. If they were offering that, and not with just lip service, then many more people would convert to being a Christian, and stay in it. Instead, many come in to the church, and find it doesn't meet their needs, then go some place else.
Why do people that are sick, go to the doctor, or hospital?? Because they know that, that is the place to go, for help with their problem. And, if they don't get what they feel is relief, they just may go to another doctor. If you have a legal problem, you go to a lawyer. Whatever the problem, there are usually people that can help you specifically with that problem.
Well, the Church, is the place to go, for all of your problems, whether they be physical, mental, of spiritual, because God is in control of everything, the doctors, the lawyers, the hospitals, you name it. Now why go to the secondary powers, when you can just go to the primary Power?? And, you don't have to pay a dime.
The meat, or strength of the gospel, is the Power of God. without it, it is just another philosophy, or religion.
I remember the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, and the showdown that they had. The story, found in [1 Kings 18:21 - 40].
In this story, Elijah was addressing a nation of people that were suffering from a drought, that God, had caused, because of their disobedience to Him. While Elijah was calling for them to repent and turn back to God, 450 prophets of Baal, claimed that they were suffering nothing more than a natural occurrence and that there was no man that could change that. The people didn't know who to believe. What it actually came down to, was who had the power to solve the problem.
So Elijah challenged these 450 prophets to a show of power, and Elijah defeated them, and the people killed all of them, and turned back to God, and the rains came back, and the drought was over, and there was an abundance of rain.
That's the way it is today, people don't know who to believe. Only those that are mature enough to demonstrate the power of the gospel, can win souls to the Lord. So, when people come to the Church, they are looking for something more than enticing words of man's wisdom. They are looking for the 'BEEF.'