"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"
The Basis For Spiritual Security (6:9-20) INTRODUCTION 1. We have seen the author of "The Epistle To The Hebrews" express his concern for the initial recipients of this epistle... a. He makes mention of their spiritual immaturity - He 5:11-14 b. He warns them of the peril of not progressing - He 6:1-8 2. While he writes in this way, he has great confidence for their ultimate salvation... a. Though others had indeed fallen to the point where it was "impossible...to renew them again to repentance..." - He 6:4-6 b. Yet he could say of them, "we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things which accompany salvation..." - He 6:9 3. What was it that gave the author confidence regarding his readers' salvation? a. I.e., what was the basis for their spiritual security, when the danger of apostasy had just been described in vivid detail? b. What can we glean from this passage that may help us understand the basis for our own spiritual security? [There are three things mentioned in this section of scripture (He 6: 9-20), that gave the author his confidence. The first of which is the fact...] I. GOD DOES NOT FORGET OUR WORK AND LABOR OF LOVE (9-10) A. GOD IS A JUST GOD, ONE WHO DOES NOT FORGET... 1. He is very much aware of our service in the PAST ("in that you have ministered") a. Service that has been shown toward Him ("toward His name") b. Service that has been shown toward His servants ("to the saints") 2. He is very much aware of our service in the PRESENT ("and do minister") B. KNOWING THIS CAN BE A SOURCE OF GREAT COMFORT... 1. In contrast to every sin which is "blotted out" and "remembered no more" (cf. He 8:12), service rendered in love to God is not forgotten! 2. We need not fear that God will not see or remember our efforts to be pleasing to Him a. God seeks to show Himself strong to those who are loyal to Him - cf. 2Ch 16:9 b. If He took note of Cornelius' desire to please Him in his unsaved state, how much more will He take note of His children's effort to serve Him! - cf. Ac 10:1-6 -- Thus when we stumble, but repent of our sins, our labor of love is remembered and our sins forgotten! [Knowing that God sees and does not forget our service of love, both past and present, should help us feel spiritually secure. But note that what He does not forget is our "work and labor of love", which implies the need for...] II. DILIGENCE, FAITH, AND PATIENCE ON OUR PART (11-12) A. NOTE THE AUTHOR'S DESIRE... 1. That his readers' show the same diligence (earnestness) they had shown in the past a. Diligent regarding their assurance of hope b. Diligent until the end - cf. He 3:6,14 2. That they do not become sluggish a. The word "sluggish" is from a Greek word meaning "dull" b. The same word as used in "dull of hearing" - cf. He 5:11 -- They were already dull of hearing; his desire is they not become dull in conduct! 3. That they have faith and patience a. Imitating "those who through faith and patience inherit the promises" b. Such as Abraham, who is given as an example later - He 6:15 B. THESE QUALITIES ARE NECESSARY FOR SPIRITUAL SECURITY... 1. Peter describes the need for diligence to "make your calling and election sure" - 2Pe 1:5,10-11 2. Jesus called upon His disciples to remain faithful if they wished to "receive the crown of life" - Re 2:10 3. Paul wrote that eternal life is for those "who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor and immortality" - Ro 2:7; cf. also He 10:36 [Only by developing such virtues as diligence, faith, and patience can we rightfully have an assurance that we will one day "inherit the promises". Without them, we become sluggish, and as such expose ourselves to the danger of apostasy. To encourage us further, we note that another reason we can have spiritual security is because...] III. GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES (13-20) A. THE EXAMPLE OF GOD'S PROMISE TO ABRAHAM... 1. God made a promise to Abraham - He 6:13-15 a. In which He swore by Himself (because He could not swear by anyone higher) b. A promise which Abraham obtained after patient endurance - cf. v.15 with v.12 2. God confirmed His promise with an oath - He 6:16-18a a. For men, an oath confirms what they say, ending all dispute b. To assure us of the unchangeableness of His promise, God also swore an oath c. This provided a double assurance that He would keep His promise: 1) One, because it impossible for God to lie anyway - cf. Tit 1:2 2) Two, because of the oath by which He confirmed it -- How does this relate to our spiritual security? Read on... B. GOD'S FAITHFULNESS IS OUR ASSURANCE! 1. It gives us "strong consolation" - He 6:18b-19b a. We who are seeking refuge b. We who need "an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast" 2. This is especially true regarding our "hope", which is Jesus! - He 6:19b-20 a. I understand Jesus to be the "hope" in this passage... 1) For He is "our hope", to whom we can flee as a refuge - cf. 1Ti 1:1 2) As such, He is our "anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast" b. As a forerunner, He has entered "the Presence behind the veil" (i.e., heaven) c. He has become "High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek" 1) Even as God swore He would do - cf. Ps 110:4 2) God not only promised, but He swore an oath, just like He did for Abraham -- So He has kept His promise, providing us a superior High Priest! 3. Upon such an example of God's faithfulness, we can have an assurance of our salvation as long as we continue to lay hold of the "hope" (Jesus) set before us CONCLUSION 1. With a finely crafted argument, the author has returned his readers back to his original subject, which is Jesus as "a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek" a. Our spiritual security is first based upon the character of God... 1) Who is not unjust to forget our work and labor of love 2) Who keeps His promises b. God has promised and swore with an oath concerning the priesthood of the Messiah c. This priesthood Jesus now has in heaven, and as such is the basis of our "hope" -- For which reason we should seek to learn what we can about the priesthood of Jesus 2. Yet as wonderful are the character and promises of God, we are not to take them for granted... a. We must be careful not to become sluggish b. We must be careful to be diligent, imitating the faith and patience of those like Abraham who obtained God's promise for them -- Together with God's character and promises, this is "The Basis For Spiritual Security" Have you fled to Jesus for refuge? Is He your "hope", your "anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast"? Is He your "High Priest"? If so, then let these words sink deep into your heart: "And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (He 6:11-12) If you have not yet fled to Jesus for refuge, then please consider His tender invitation: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Mt 11:28-30)