Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hebrews 2:1-4 - The Danger of Drifting Away

We hear lots of warning in life and many of them we don’t pay much attention to - cigarettes; STD’s; speed limits; wearing a helmet when cycling or on a motorcycle, etc… Many of these are ignored for various reasons and often have disastrous consequences.

In this post we are going to be reminded of a warning of a danger that is much more deadly than the ones we just mentioned. We are going to consider just how it is that we are going to keep from being another one of those who drifts away from salvation in Jesus Christ?

We’re looking at the book of Hebrews – and what we have seen so far is that God has spoken today through His Son Jesus and we have beheld the breath-taking superiority of Jesus Christ.

My goal from this text is to warn you of the danger of drifting away from God and to point you to your help.

Hebrews 2:1-4
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.
 v. 1 - Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

We’re supposed to pay close attention to something – what is it? 1:1-2 – It is the message that God has spoken through His Son Jesus. God has given a message to us and we are supposed to pay attention to it.

Why is this message from Jesus such a big deal? Why is it a bigger deal than a message from someone else? The clue is in the word “Therefore.”

Because God has spoken through Jesus – Jesus who is absolutely superior to anything or anyone else, including the mighty angels of God.

He is the heir of all things, God created the world through Him, He is the radiance of the glory of God, He is the exact imprint of God’s nature, He upholds the universe by the very word of His power (vv. 2-3).

In other words, he is someone worth listening to.

What could happen if we don’t pay close attention to Him (v. 1)? We could drift away from that message – the message of the Gospel.

The word drift away has the idea of being in a ship and being carried past a safe anchorage by a current or the wind.

Here the idea is that we could drift away from the safe harbor of salvation in Jesus Christ if we don’t pay much closer attention to that message. And not just closer attention – much closer attention.

Come on, let’s be serious – is there really any danger of any of you reading this post drifting away from this message?!?

The answer is “Yes!” I’ve seen it over and over again. This is serious – this is deadly.

Look at verse 2 – For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution – Do you see what that’s saying?

God’s message in the past wasn’t always taken seriously – and think about the consequences.

God had sent his angels to bring His word to man (Exodus 23:20-23). He promised to bless them if the obeyed His voice – and to curse them if they disobeyed His voice.

Look at Deuteronomy 28 – especially verse 1 & verse 15. Did the blessing for obedienc and the cursing for disobedience happen to Israel? We know from history that it did (look at Judges 2:11-15).

God is serious. Disobedience has serious consequences. It receives the just penalty. 

And do you see what the writer of Hebrews is saying?

If they didn’t escape – how can we expect to (v. 3)??? And their message was a message given to them by angels – our message was given by the almighty, superior Son of God Himself.

You might be saying at this point, “Okay, Ryan, but I’ve trusted in Jesus as my Savior. I’m right with God.”

BUT – what does the text say? We are called to pay much closer attention. And the danger for us is that we’ll neglect this great salvation.

A common mentality for many people is, “I’ll get serious about God later.” And this is exactly what this idea of neglect has in mind. To neglect means “to pay no attention to” or “to be unconcerned about.”

The Hebrew Christians were not “rejecting” the Gospel – but were in danger of minimizing it’s influence in their lives. They would have said, “Yes, I’m a Christian” – but in reality it was not that big of a deal in their lives.

And remember just what verses 3 & 4 say about this Gospel message – it was given by Jesus Christ, it was spread by eye witnesses, and God Himself gave evidence upon evidence that it was true and extremely important.

This Gospel isn’t some little hidden or secret message. It’s not like the founder of this religion was out in the woods with his head in a bowl receiving some private revelation from “god.” It was big – it was out in the open – it was noticed by people in all levels of society.

Many have tried to disprove it through the years – but none have been ultimately successful – and by God’s grace some who spent years trying to disprove it have themselves come to faith in the Son of God.

But what about you? More than likely if you’re taking the time to read this post you are not actively rejecting the message of Jesus Christ – BUT – are you neglecting it? Are you fighting the temptations of your own desires and the very air of the culture around you to minimize the implications of the Gospel on your life?

I would challenge you to rehearse this Gospel every single day – PAY MUCH CLOSER ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD.

(GOD) Get up in the morning and remind yourself of the greatness and holiness of God.

That this God made everything that you can see w/your eyes, everything you can taste with your tongue, everything you touch or smell.  This is the God who has no evil – He is absolutely righteous in all He does and says.

(SIN) Remind yourself of your failure to honor God and obey His laws. Remind yourself that your tendency is to do the wrong thing and that you have no goodness of your own.

(CHRIST) Then remind yourself of this amazing God who sent His Son to be the payment for your sins. That God’s love and mercy led Him to send His Son to live the life we are unable to live, and that we refuse to live, and that He died on the cross taking the judgment that we deserve – and then was raised from the dead to give us new life.

(RESPONSE) And then repent afresh and trust in Christ. Acknowledge your need to live God’s way and not your own. Acknowledge your sinful rebellion and again place your trust in this Jesus who died paying the penalty for your sin and who rose from the dead.

Beloved – rehearse this every day. Pay much closer attention, lest you drift away.

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