One thing I am really looking forward to when the end comes and I find myself in Heaven is the banqueting table. My imagination can't even grasp how good it is going to be because it won't be anything we have had here. It will be new and good! I look forward to it because I love food and enjoy eating A LOT!
The problem is I am attracted to everything that can cause poor health more than I am to what will produce great health. It takes a conscious effort and deliberate focus for me to eat for wellness. If no negative effect would happen, I would have a diet of cheese, ice-cream, chocolate, vanilla cake with whip cream icing and caramel/Oreo cookie/banana ice-cream sundae. However, this would not give me proper nourishment. I would end up getting sick and eventually gravely ill.
The fact that the Lord made many physical laws to parallel spiritual ones is a blessing. In the same manner that we need to feed our physical bodies we need to feed our spiritual bodies. If the only thing you are serving your spirit is dessert, you will not grow and become spiritually ill. If continued you can become little use to the Kingdom of God because of becoming dead, spiritually. You need at first milk, like an infant and then as you come to maturity meat, fruit and vegetables.
So, what do I mean by that? Dessert feeds the desires of the flesh. Your balanced nutritious meal feeds the spirit. Dessert in the church would be the aesthetics like the donut and coffee bar; events like the Harvest Festival (replacing Halloween festivities - that's a sermon for another day); and special programs around Christmas and Easter. These things are great! I attend as many of them as I can and participate as well. However, if this is the extent of your fellowship with believers you will not grow or be spiritually healthy.
The milk, meat, fruit and vegetables come from being discipled with sound doctrine from the Word of God. The best kind of milk for infants is whole milk, not watered down. The same is true for those new to the body of Christ, whole milk; not watered down. When you come to maturity and able to handle it, the best meat, fruit and vegetables is organic; no additives or pesticides.
If you are in a church that waters down the word, meaning not giving the hard stuff people don't like to talk about such as sin, repentance, holiness, righteousness and the gifts of the spirit, you will not be filled. You will know there is more and hop from place to place looking for what your spirit is thirsty and hungry for. Or you will take someone else's word for what THE Word says.
The only way you are going to know the whole truth is to study the Bible for yourself. There is no way even a life time of being in church will allow your pastor to be able to deliver every sentence in the Bible and it's meaning in the time of 30 minutes a week. In the end, they will be responsible for what they taught and how many they truly raised to maturity in order to walk out the God given purpose for each individual. Jesus commanded that the shepherds (pastors, preachers, teachers) of His flock (us) feed His sheep (John 21:17.) My question to all pastors, preachers and teachers is what kind of food are you feeding Jesus' sheep?
Some may say, "Well John 21:17 is Jesus telling Peter that. It doesn't apply to me." When put with Jesus' command for the disciples to make disciples of men teaching them to follow ALL they were commanded by Him (Matthew 28:20,) yes, it does apply to you.
If you want to know if a church is doing well in this area, go volunteer in the children's ministry. See what is going on in the children's church and youth programs. Are the children learning scripture by memorization or just a song that sings about scripture? Do you hear the children and youth making references to what they have learned? Do the children learn the books of the Bible in order? Another test is if your pastor is comfortable with you having a piece of paper to fill out during his message and not pushing you to bring your Bible to follow along.
One of the things Jesus warned us of regarding the end time is deception. Deception happens when you don't know the truth. The truth is found in God's word. So study it. Feed on it and grow. It is the energy you need to persevere in this world. The Holy Spirit will guide you and teach you. He is the power that will help you live the Word out!
Dessert is good, enjoyable and fun! But the meat of the word gives life! It is mysterious, challenging, comforting and exciting! It is the fuel to help you run your race. It is the directives to hearing at the finish line, "Well done!"