The book of Hebrews has much to say about a tired and weary church that has lost its enthusiasm and is in need of a strong reminder about Jesus Christ! I am particularly drawn to three sections that show the process we must be aware of that could lead to a falling away.
The first is the concern now to DRIFING AWAY.
Hebrews 2:1-4 (ESV) Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
The second is the reality of a hardening of our heart and DOUBTING.
Hebrews 3:7-11 (ESV) Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. 10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ 11 As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
Finally, we can become SLOW TO LEARN or LAZY.
Hebrews 5:11-14 (ESV) About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Hebrews 6:9-12 (ESV) Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we
feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook
your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints,
as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
There are two interesting things implicit in this passage.
(a) We learn that even if these people to whom he is writing have failed to grow up in Christian faith and knowledge and even if they have been falling away from their first enthusiasm, they have never given up their practical service to their fellow Christians. There is a great practical truth here.
Sometimes in the Christian life we come to times which are arid; the Church services have nothing to say to us, the teaching that we do in Sunday school or the singing that we do or the service we give becomes a labor without joy. At such a time there are two alternatives. We can give up our worship and our service, but if we do, we are lost. Or we can go determinedly on with them, and the strange thing is that the light and the romance and the joy will in time come back again.
In the end times, the best thing to do is to go on with the habits of the Christian life and of the Church. If we do, we can be sure that the sun will shine again.
(b) He tells his people to be imitators of those who through faith and patience inherited the promise. What he is saying to them is: “You are not the first to launch out on the glories and the perils of the Christian faith. Others braved the dangers and endured the tribulations before you and won through.”
He is telling them to go on in the realization that others have gone through their struggle and won the victory. The Christian is not treading an untrodden pathway; he is treading where the saints have trod. — Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT).
June 7, 2014 at 1:03 pm
Some more very powerful words from you, Gary!