"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS" Lest We Drift Away (2:1-4) INTRODUCTION 1. The author of "The Epistle To The Hebrews" was concerned about the spiritual well-being of his initial recipients... a. They were fellow Jews who had become Christians b. His concern is that they not drift back into Judaism c. He deals with this problem in two ways: 1) By emphasizing the superiority of Christ and the New Covenant 2) By a series of exhortations for them to remain steadfast 2. In chapter one we saw... a. The superiority of Christ to the prophets - He 1:1-3 b. The superiority of Christ to the angels - He 1:4-14 3. Now we come to the first of several exhortations - cf. He 2:1-4 a. In which we find a warning about the danger of "drifting" b. The figure suggested is that of a boat... 1) Drifting along at an almost imperceptible pace 2) Carried along in the wrong direction by a subtle current 4. In this lesson, I want us to examine... a. The reasons behind such an exhortation b. Various "currents" that can cause us to "drift away" c. The key to avoiding "drifting away" [Let's begin, then, with some...] I. REASONS FOR THIS EXHORTATION A. THE REAL DANGER OF "DRIFTING"... 1. It is possible for us to "drift away" from our salvation! a. We can certainly "neglect" our salvation - He 2:3 b. Later, we will learn that we can "depart" from God - He 3:12-14 c. Also, that one can so "fall away" that it becomes impossible to renew them to repentance! - He 6:4-6 d. One can reach a point where the sacrifice of Christ is no longer available for their sins! - He 10:26-27 2. The danger of "drifting" is very real! a. It is possible for a child of God to so sin as to be lost! b. Otherwise, such an exhortation as this is meaningless! B. THE DIGNITY OF THE ONE THROUGH WHOM GOD HAS SPOKEN... 1. As noted in He 1:1-2, God now speaks to us through His Son a. We have seen that this Son is: 1) Superior to the prophets - He 1:1-3 2) Superior to the angels - He 1:4-14 b. We have seen that this Son is: 1) The appointed Heir of all things! 2) The brightness of God's glory, the express image of His person! 3) Our Sustainer and Redeemer! 4) The "Firstborn" who receives worship 5) "God" enthroned and anointed 6) The "LORD" (Yahweh) who is the eternal creator 7) The "Sovereign", reigning at God's right hand 2. When God spoke through angels... a. His word proved steadfast b. Every transgression and disobedience received a just reward - He 2:2 3. How much more, then, when He speaks through His Son! a. Will not His word prove just as steadfast? b. Will not every unrepented transgression and disobedience receive a just reward? -- Dare we neglect the Word of God spoken through His Son? C. THE CONFIRMATION GIVEN THIS REVELATION... 1. The word spoken by the Son was confirmed by His apostles - He 2:3 a. Individuals who were eyewitnesses - Ac 10:39-41; 2Pe 1:16 b. Men who endured much to serve Him - cf. 1Co 4:9-13 2. The word spoken by the Son was confirmed even more! - He 2:4 a. By God Himself, through signs, wonders, and miracles - cf. Jn 10:37-38 b. By the Holy Spirit, with gifts according to His will - cf. 1Co 12:7-11 -- Shall we neglect that Word to which such have born witness? D. WHAT WE LOSE IF WE "DRIFT AWAY"... 1. We lose "so great a salvation"! - He 2:3 2. It is a "great salvation", because it offers such things as: a. The forgiveness of sin b. Transformation of character by providing power over sin c. Assurance of God's fatherly presence d. A clear and peaceful conscience e. A glorious hope for eternity -- Dare we lose all this through "neglect"? [Just as those who neglected the word spoken through angels (i.e., the Law of Moses) lost their "promised land", so there are grave consequences for those who neglect the salvation spoken of by the Son of God! Such "neglect" is possible when we "drift away". Following the metaphor of drifting, what "currents" might cause one to drift?] II. "CURRENTS" THAT CAN CAUSE US TO DRIFT A. THE CURRENT OF "TIME"... 1. In which we grow weary of doing good, a concern expressed in Ga 6:9 2. As time passes by... a. We can gradually lose some of the fervor of our devotion - e.g., Re 2:4 b. We may begin to rest on past accomplishments, and cease pressing forward - cf. Php 3:13-14 B. THE CURRENT OF "FAMILIARITY"... 1. As we become familiar with the truth, it may seem common place to us a. We may lose its sense of novelty b. We may take it for granted 2. Like the Ephesians we may lose our "first love" - Re 2:4 C. THE CURRENT OF "SOCIETY"... 1. The tides of modern opinion can easily induce us - 1Co 15:33 2. Bombarded by the secular humanism, false religions, and even plastic "Christianity" offered as "truth", it is hard to maintain the course! 3. Such things can move us away from the simplicity and wisdom of our Lord! - e.g., 2Co 11:2-3 D. THE CURRENT OF "THE FLESH"... 1. Our warfare is not only without, but also within - 1Pe 2:11 2. Our flesh is constantly waging war against our souls, and against the Spirit who desires that we follow Him - Ga 5:16-17 E. THE CURRENT OF "DAILY CONCERNS"... 1. The constant pressure of daily cares, anxieties, duties, etc., can distract us 2. Jesus warned against this on several occasions - Lk 8:14; 21:34 [Any and all these things can slowly move us away from the Lord and His great salvation if we are not careful! However, as we return to our text, we can learn...] III. THE KEY TO PREVENT "DRIFTING AWAY" A. WE MUST GIVE "THE MORE EARNEST HEED"... 1. Imagine yourself in a canoe, in a river with a slow moving current... a. Failure to pay constant attention leads to drifting b. The drifting may be subtle, but often by the time you realize it, it is too late! c. Last minute corrections may be made, but even then one may still run into the brush, crash into the rocks, or go over the falls! -- Only by giving earnest heed can that be avoided 2. So it is with our salvation! a. We must be "diligent" to the task at hand - cf. 2Pe 1:5,10 b. There is no place to be half-hearted about this! - e.g., Php 3:12-15 3. Note that we must give the "more" earnest heed a. We are to be more earnest than those who heard the word of God spoken through angels (i.e., the Israelites) 1) Because we have the word of God spoken through the Son 2) Which pertains to a salvation greater than that enjoyed by them 3) To whom more is given, more is required! - cf. Lk 12:48 b. Are you more earnest in giving heed to what you have heard, than those saints in the Old Testament? B. WE MUST GIVE SUCH HEED TO THE "THINGS WE HAVE HEARD"... 1. The "things we have heard" refer to: a. The Word of God spoken through His Son b. The great salvation -- I.e., the gospel of Christ in all aspects! 2. How can we do this? a. The Bereans provide a good example - Ac 17:11 1) In the way in which they initially listened ("received the word with all readiness") 2) In the way in which they followed up
("searched the Scriptures daily...") b. Certainly through: 1) Earnest attention whenever God's word is proclaimed 2) Earnest study of God's Word on our own 3) Earnest study in preparation for our Bible classes c. With the sort of study of God's Word... 1) Entered into with a prayerful devotion to God - Ps 119: 18 2) Concluded with a prayerful desire to please God - Ps 119:10-11 3. Are you giving "the more earnest heed to the things we have heard"? a. Another year has past; how did you do? b. Another year is already started; how will you do? CONCLUSION 1. We have been blessed to receive "so great a salvation"... a. A salvation spoken to us first through God's own Son! b. A salvation then confirmed by God Himself, the Holy Spirit, and those who heard Him! c. A salvation much greater than any offered before! 2. But please note carefully... a. One need not "reject" or "actively fight" against this great salvation to "receive a just reward" b. Those who simply "drift away" through "neglect" will also not escape! 1) Escape what? 2) From what we learn later, it will be "much worse punishment"! - cf. He 10:28-29 Have you neglected this great salvation Jesus offers? If so, may this first exhortation found in "The Epistle To The Hebrews" move you to repent, and cause you to give "the more earnest heed" to the gospel of Christ!