Archive | September 6th, 2015

7 Warnings to Christians – Part 2

September 6, 2015


The Lists of Hebrews
A Study of the book of Hebrews
Lesson 4
Lesson Text: Hebrews 5:11 – 6:12
Continued from Part 1

Good Enough Never is

Have you ever wondered why there are so many denominations?

It is true they may have started because someone of influence was able to split off from a church body and teach things slightly different from what his original group teaches.

It is also true there may have been a need to split because the original was getting off-track and they desired correction.

Whatever the case, the key truth is the denominations could not have happened without followers.

And they needed many followers to make it happen.

When we consider two groups teaching two different things, I hope we can agree that at least one of them are wrong. The Bible teaches most things clearly enough that when we read it and study it, we can come to the same conclusion as someone else reading and studying the same passage.

So here is the question again – How can there be so many denominations?

I suggest it happened because the people in the church body got lazy.

Or lethargic

Or simply indifferent.

They allowed themselves to drift. They didn’t protect their beliefs.

They decided things were “good enough”.

Since the Hebrews writer is addressing Christians that are falling away, he eventually had to come to this difficult subject. It is a difficult subject because he had to come out and tell them how slack they were. That is something most folks – then or now – never want to hear.

Hebrews 5:11 says the audience is “dull of hearing.” Every Sunday school teacher, every church leader and every minister should be willing to point this out when they notice the brethren are not getting the basic principles!

Hebrews 5:12-13 teaches us that there are indeed beginner’s principles and advanced principles. The differences are pointed out not because of level of importance, (ALL Biblical principles are important!) but because there are some rudimentary teachings that all Christians should know. Advancing our knowledge through the stages of maturity is how we learn to readily distinguish good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

We can observe those around us and see many with an attitude of “good-enough” is enough. Most people quit trying to learn when it gets hard. They tend to follow the crowd and allow themselves to ebb and flow with what is popular.

Those that stay the course and strive to be the best are the ones to move on to maturity. They gain advanced skills.

They have the tools to go the distance!

The Basics of Christianity

Next, the Hebrews writer lists the six items that all Christians need to know. The proof that the world is not well grounded in these principles is in the sheer number of religious denominations out there. These denominations are the opposite of the “one body” that Paul taught us about. (Ephesians 4:4-5)

It is interesting that the writer tells the audience what the basics are, but he does not fill in the detail about them! This is a clear indication that we are “just supposed to know” about these things and be conversational with them. Here they are as listed in Hebrews 6:1-2:

  • Repentance from dead works – Changing our ways from the world is an essential step in salvation (Luke 13:3) Hebrews makes a case that all works are dead unless they are motivated by faith and love of God.
  • Faith toward God – A fundamental. (Hebrews 11:6) In fact it is so fundamental that many quit reading their Bibles when they see faith is a requirement to salvation.
  • Teaching of baptisms – There are around seven contexts of the word baptism discussed in the New Testament, including the one baptism of Ephesians 4:4-5. This is the gateway act of salvation. (Mark 16:16-16, Acts 2:38) It is crucial to understand how this fits into God’s plan.
  • Laying on of hands – Since the printed and leather bound Bible didn’t just fall out of the sky, God had other means to get his word out there. 1 Corinthians 12-14 is a discussion of the spiritual gifts the first century Christians were given to help spread the gospel.
  • Resurrection of the dead – I don’t know that we can ever spend enough time on this. The empty tomb is the foundation of Christianity. Paul spent his entire career on this teaching.
  • The eternal judgment – Sadly, many Christians think they are “ok.” There is a very big surprise waiting for those who haven’t given enough time to the idea that they will be held accountable on judgment day. (Hebrews 9:27)

Not being well grounded in these principles, these Basics of Christianity, is dangerous to our salvation. Without them we cannot go on to deeper understanding.

Without them we will fall short.

Falling Away

Make no mistake about it – Saved Christians can fall away.

The writer mentioned it in context of protecting our beliefs, (Hebrews 3:12) and he mentions it again here in this warning against laziness: (Hebrews 6:4-6)

For it is impossible in the case of those who … (v6) have fallen away to restore them again to repentance …

When a Christian allows himself to fall away, he is holding Christ’s sacrifice up for contempt. In this passage, the writer is calling this an eternal sin. Going as far as telling the reader that it is impossible to make his way back from it.

..but what is this “eternal sin?”

  • Paul told us in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 not to quench the Spirit.
  • In 1 Timothy 5:6 there is the idea of the pleasure lover being dead while she is alive
  • Hebrews 10:26.27 speaks of a willful sin for which there are no more sacrifices
  • We learn of a sin unto death in 1 John 5:16
  • And we find out that there is a condition worse than lost in 2 Peter 2:20-21

A careful contemplation of the above verses and their context reveals that any sin that we love or prefer over fellowship with God is a sin for which there is no forgiveness! How can there be when we block off the road that leads us out of sin with lack of action and the lack of enough knowledge to overcome the blockage?

The writer compares this to a watered and fertile field. (Hebrews 6:7-8) If you have to pay for municipal water, on which are you more willing to use that resource; A lush grassy meadow, or a yard full of brambles and weeds? If we are the yard full of weeds, our outlook is not good at all.

The way to avoid this is to keep trying. (Hebrews 6:9-12) That “earnestness to have the full assurance” (v11) is what it takes. Going out of our way to serve God is the only way to avoid slipping into the lethargic ways the author was warning us against!

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