"Let us press on unto full growth" (Heb. 6:1).
I have divided these words into two parts. The first is: "Let
us press on", and the second part: "to full growth".
That means that we are not just to go on being Christians. I am
not speaking to you about just continuing to be Christians in the
sense that you just do not give up being a Christian and go back.
That may be very important, but is not what this passage in
Hebrews is talking about.
We may just go on being Christians, or Christian workers, or being
missionaries, but that is not what is meant here. My boyhood home
was in Scotland and out of my window I could see some mountains.
When I was quite a little boy, I looked out of the window and saw
those mountains. I was up there two weeks ago and am an old man
now. I looked and saw those same mountains and they had not moved
or grown or changed shape. There was no difference between them
then or now. That is like some Christians. They have been
Christians for many years, but they are just the same now as at
the beginning. Yes, they are still Christians, but they have
neither moved nor grown in all the years. That is all right for
mountains, but there must be something very wrong when Christians
are like that.
So our passage says this: "Let us go on..." not just being
Christians, but "unto full growth" - that is, unto the
purpose for which we are Christians. For when the Lord brought us
to Himself that was not the end of everything, but only a
beginning. It is a wonderful thing to be a Christian. God had to
put forth very great power to make us Christians. But there is a
still more wonderful thing for us in being Christians.
You must first see where this letter to the Hebrews fits in. It
was written to Christians, but where were these Christians to
which this letter was written? They were in the position that the
children of Israel were in when they were brought out of Egypt. Do
you remember what a great miracle it was to get the Israelites out
of Egypt? Read the story of it again. It is the story of the
exceeding great power of God. For ten times everything sought to
stand in God's way. God did one great thing, but Pharaoh would not
let them go. Then God did a second, but still Pharaoh would not
let them go. And so nine times God did great things and when you
get to the ninth, you say surely he would let them go this time,
but Pharaoh said 'No!' What a tremendous resistance to God's will
this was. And then God did it a tenth time and that time He broke
Pharaoh's will. He broke the power of Egypt and later had to drown
the whole Egyptian army in the Red Sea. All this was necessary to
get His people out of Egypt. What great power that was!
Well, I was saved with an exceeding great power; and God has
exercised His exceeding great power in saving each one of us. He
has broken the whole power of Satan to save us. It is a wonderful
thing to belong to the Lord. And yet when all that had
happened in the case of Israel, all but two of the whole nation
died in the wilderness. That is not what God had brought them out
for. God had worked by His mighty power for something more than
having people saved. God's purpose was that they should go in and
inherit the land. When they were out of Egypt they were in figure
and in type 'In Christ'. But God's thought for them was entry to
the land - a type of the fulness of Christ. They did not come into
the fulness of Christ because they did not go on. They were in
type Christians; they were saved people. But God had a great
purpose in saving them. And that is what this letter to the
Hebrews is all about. It is not only about people being saved. I
would say to everybody here today who is not saved that you are
missing the most wonderful thing that God has done for man. For it
is a very great thing. But when we have said all we can say of
that, there is this message to those who are saved. There is
something much greater for you than you at first imagine in your
salvation and it is what God has called you unto. When God's Word
says: "Let us go on to full growth...", then there must be
something very much more in God's will for us. If He says "full
growth", then full growth is His will for us.
Now, if you take up your Bible, you will find that that is what
the Bible is all about. You begin the Bible with the story of
Adam. Although Adam was a wonderful creature when he was created,
he was not perfect, but was capable of development. He could become
a very much greater man than he was. So God put him to a test.
Would he believe and obey God? Everything depended on that. And
because he did not believe and obey God, he never came to be the
man God intended him to be. Do you want to know what kind of a man
God intended Adam to be? Well, we have two pictures of that man.
The first is on the mount of Transfiguration with the Lord Jesus.
Jesus is called by Paul the "Second Man". The Last Adam, Paul says,
took the form of a servant. And He called Himself the Son of Man.
Now look at Him on the mount of Transfiguration. This is the Son
of Man glorified, the Last Adam as God intended the first Adam to
The second picture is in 1 Corinthians 15. This is one of the
most wonderful chapters in the Bible. There we see what God
intends man to be like and what He intended the first Adam to be.
There we are told what we are going to be like in Christ. The
moment is coming when the body of corruption is going to be put
away and we are going to be clothed upon with a body like His
glorious body, just like the body of the Lord Jesus when He was
transfigured. That is a very wonderful thing. Is it too wonderful
for you? It is not so wonderful to you as you think it is. You
look at any born again child of God. Before they were saved, what
miserable faces they had! Now look at their faces. Now look at
your own faces! I have never seen faces like this in unsaved
people. So something of the glorifying of our mortal bodies has
already begun. Isn't that just what you say about Christians? What
a glory about this one! Something about their very looks is
different! Something of the glory is in their faces. Now that is
only the beginning. It is impossible for us to describe what we
shall be. John writes: "Behold what manner of love the Father
hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of
God... It is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know
that, if He shall be manifested, we shall be like Him" (1
John 3: 1-2). That is, we shall be like the Lord Jesus on the
mount of Transfiguration, like Jesus with His glorified body.
But we have got to go right back to the first Adam. That is what
God intended for him and he missed it all because he did not go on
with God. He stopped, he did not go on to full growth. The Bible,
right through, is all about that. God is trying to get His people
to come on to maturity. He sent them priests whose work was to
bring the children of God to full growth. He sent them kings for
the same purpose. And when these too failed, He sent them
prophets. Their work was to bring God's people on to His full
thought for them. And then He sent His Son and Jesus represents
God's full thought for us. The purpose of God is that we should be
transformed, conformed to the image of His Son. There are going to
be a lot of people who come to that. God's purpose cannot be
defeated. And when God has things as He intended them to be, what
will things be like? Everywhere we look we shall see the Lord
Jesus Christ. Everyone will remind us of the Lord Jesus. We shall
see nothing but Him in people. Won't that be a wonderful time? The
Word of God says that Jesus is going to fill all things. We shall
not meet all the unpleasant things we meet in one another now. We
shall only meet the Lord Jesus in one another. God's whole
universe will be full of Him. Now, He has commended to do that in
you and me.
When we meet now we meet something of the Lord Jesus in one
another, but I am afraid it is true that you don't meet only the
Lord Jesus in me. There is very much of me still there and very
much of you still there, very much that is not Christ at all. But,
thank God, He has begun to do something in us and He says: "Let
us go on to full growth." Never be satisfied with having a
little of the Lord Jesus, with being just saved. "Let us go
There is a need of this word to be said to us. When Israel was in
the wilderness there were many things to stop them going on into
the land of promise, things outside and things inside of
This little phrase "Let us" appears often in the book of
Hebrews. Twice in chapter 12 we find: "Let us lay aside every
weight... let us run with patience". The writer sums it up
in the picture of a race. Now, young people can appreciate this.
You all know what is necessary to win a race. If a man came to run
a race with all his clothes on and a bundle under each arm and
another on his head, you would say that he could never win. There
would be no hope for him. We would say, "Now young man, you get
rid of those bundles and all the clothes you can spare". You "lay
aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset you."
That is what the apostle is talking about. First, let us go on
and in order that we do that, we must lay aside every weight. And
then, let us run. When people run, they usually have a reason. If
you saw a young man or woman running, you might wonder what it was
all about. But if you saw an old man or woman running, you would
think that there must be something very important or serious. And
when the apostle says, "Let us run" he means that there is
something very important and we have got to realise how important
it is. It is a very important thing that we should come to the
fulness of Christ. So we must be like these people who run and who
say that they are going to let nothing prevent them from running.
It is a sprint - the sprint of people who mean business. We will
have nothing less than all God means by our salvation. Now this is
a very serious matter and I think I can illustrate how serious it
We have a big and sad illustration in the world today. We look at
the great land of China. There were very many Christians in the
land of China when the Communists came in and the persecution of
Christians commenced. Many were thrown into prison and a large
number killed. Almost everywhere the Christians were made to
suffer. And it is like that now. Well, what has happened? The sad
thing is that a great number have let go their love for the Lord.
On the other hand there are those who have gone right on and have
stood firm. What made the difference? Those who have gone back
from the Lord are those who were not going on with Him. At a point
they said that they were not going on with Him any further. They
loved their own lives more than the Lord. But the others said that
it did not matter if they lost their lives; they would go on with
It does matter whether we are going on with the Lord. Such a day
may be very near for us, when it may be much more costly to belong
to the Lord than it is now. That is exactly how it was when the
apostle wrote this letter. These Christians to whom he wrote were
suffering because they belonged to the Lord. The reproach of
Christ was coming upon them.
Jesus was not loved by the world nor by the Jewish nation, and
those who were His were suffering with Him. So, "Let us
therefore go forth unto Him without the camp, bearing His
reproach" (Heb. 13:13). But many were saying that they did
not know whether they were going on any further. It was too costly
for them and they thought they would save themselves a lot of
trouble if they did not go on. And it was to those that the letter
Read this letter through and note how many times the phrase "Let
us" occurs. "Let us fear" (Heb. 4:1), "Let us... lay
aside every weight" (Heb. 12:1), "Let us run" (Heb.
12:1), "Let us go on" (Heb. 6:1). Look them up and you will
see how much of the book is summed up in that phrase, "Let us".
So, let us go on!
There is another little word that is used. I will not take time
to turn to all the references now, but you will find it everywhere
in the book, so I will mention it. It is the word 'lest'. Study it
for yourself. "Let us give diligence lest..." (Heb. 2:1).
We have got to be very watchful. This verse is a word picture of a
ship coming into harbour. I used to have a boat and come into
harbour in it. I used to steer in the direction of the moorings
and when I got near them, I would get hold of my boat-hook and try
to hook up my moorings. Perhaps the tide would be running fast and
the wind would be strong and I would drift past my moorings and
not get them. And what a lot of trouble that meant. I had to start
up the engine again and go out to sea and come round and try all
over again. That is the picture here. Give diligence lest you miss
that for which God has called you and have to start all over
again. Those who have drifted away from the Lord are the most
miserable people, so this word says: don't be the most miserable
people. Just go right on with the Lord. And if you have missed the
way, come back; He waits to receive you and has not given you up.
He says to us all: "Let us go on."
We can say all that has been said in a few words and in a short
time, but it will take all our lives to live it out. We go on all
our lives, but the fulness is only at the end. But there can be
more of Christ all the way along. That is a wonderful thing to
May I give you my testimony? What we say ought to be true of
ourselves. There was a time in my life when I was preaching a lot
and many people were calling me to preach. And the whole thing was
becoming a terrible burden. I was working day and night to find
something to preach about. I had a library of two thousand books -
all the latest ones - and the preaching business was a great
burden to me. I felt like the poor Israelites when Pharaoh told
them that they would have to find the straw to make their bricks
with; I was looking everywhere for the straw.
The day came when I said that I could go on like that no longer.
People might have thought me a good preacher, but they never knew
how miserable the preacher was. So one day I went into my room and
shut the door. I got down on my knees and told the Lord that I
could go on no longer, unless He did something for me greater than
He had ever done before. If not, I was going to give up the
preaching. And I meant it. I should have sent in my resignation
for I was a minister of a church.
The Lord did do something. He led me to my Bible, to Romans 6.
And I read the first four verses. These were no new words to me; I
knew them quite well. As a Bible teacher I could tell you what was
in any book of the Bible and I knew Romans and could have quoted
the verses. But the Lord spoke to me that day and it was as though
He put His finger on those words and said: "Do you know that when
I died, you died, and not only as a sinner, but as a man and not
only as a man, but as a preacher. It has been you who have been
doing all the preaching, and not I who have been doing it. You
have been doing it all by yourself. You looked up a certain
subject and thought it was a good thing to preach about it and so
you preached on it. So I have left you to it. But when I died you
died. It ought not now to be you, but Me. I should decide what you
preach about; I should give you your messages; I should be your
wisdom and your power in your ministry."
Those sound like words, but if you had been in my condition, it
would have been more than words. Those verses that I knew so well
became new to me. I said: "It can be no longer me, Lord, but it
must be You. I will never preach again unless You give me the
message!" And the Lord did that. It was over thirty years ago. I
have done much more preaching in those thirty years than ever
before. My testimony is that never in thirty years have I had to
work to get a message. Yes, I have studied the Bible and worked
hard with the Word of God, but God has been giving the messages.
Often I begin and I could go on and on and it would be a joy to do
so. You see, we can have the fulness of Christ all the way along.
In my New Testament there is one part which is more marked than
any other portion and that is the epistle to the Ephesians. I have
talked more about that letter than any other part of the Bible.
Yet while that is true, and I have been thinking about the letter
for many years, I feel as though I know nothing about it.
Something more comes to me every time I go back to it. And you
know that this is the letter about the fulness of Christ. We shall
never exhaust that. We can know something more of Him all the way
along. That is how it ought to be. Let us go on to full growth.
There is much more before us than we have any idea of.
Edited and supplied by the Golden Candlestick Trust.