Compare 1 Corinthians 3:1–3 and 1 Peter 2:2. What do you think Paul and Peter were specifically referring to when they spoke of milk and solid food and the need to grow? In your mind, what is theological milk as opposed to solid food?
Evidently the members of the church at Corinth had not progressed very far in their spiritual development after Paul had established the group. Consequently, when he preached to them, his message was an appeal for them to surrender themselves to God and grow in spirituality to the extent that they could grasp the deep truths of the gospel. His preaching at this time would have been evangelistic rather than edifying. Paul would not preach on the deeper themes while the people were not spiritually mature enough to understand and respond to them.
As we reach out to people today, we must be ever mindful of Paul’s strategy. We must lead people to surrender to Christ before we expect them to accept the deep, life-changing truths of His Written Word.
When we speak of an evangelistic sequence, it can refer to a long strategy or a short process. When people have progressed through a sequence of programs to the place where they are open to God’s call, they can be led through a full evangelistic series or begin a personal Bible study series. Whatever the program is, the principle is still the same: first the milk (simple gospel themes to begin a relationship) and then the solid food (deeper and more testing truths leading to firm commitment).
Read John 16:12. What important point do we find here? How can we learn to apply this principle in the ways in which we deal with others?
A new Seventh-day Adventist was so excited about the truth he had learned that he wanted to tell everyone. Often, the first thing he wanted to share with others was all about “the mark of the beast.” However well-meaning, he was a prime example of how truth needs to be presented in a sequential manner.
Think about some Bible truth that you struggled with at first that you found hard to accept. Over time, how did you eventually settle into that truth? What did you learn from this experience that could help you to be more sensitive in your outreach to others?