SINCE ISRAEL FAILED
IN THEIR COVENANT WITH GOD,
WHAT MUST WE DO, IN THIS NEW COVENANT,
TO BE SURE WE DO NOT FAIL GOD?
18. For we are not come unto the mountain (Mt. Sinai) that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest.
19. And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more;
20. (For they could not endure that which was commanded, and if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart;
21.And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake.
22. But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.
23. To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.
24. And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh of better things than that of Abel.
25. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused Him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven.
26. Whose voice then shook the earth; but now He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only but also in heaven.
27. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
29. For our God is a consuming fire.
All through the book of Hebrews, Paul has been warning us that the key to finding, possessing, and keeping this new covenant is to not do as those of the old covenant did, and not heed the message of God.
We are told:
a. BEWARE OF DRIFTING FROM, OR NEGLECTING GOD'S WORD...
1. Therefore, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
2. For if the Word spoken by the angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward.
3. How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
4. God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will.
This is the first of the five admonitions of Paul, here in Hebrews, to pay attention, close attention to God's Word. First, he directs us to beware of drifting, neglecting the Word. Each further warning is stronger, until he warns against "defying" God's Word in chapter 12.
This warning is to believers, for he uses the word "we"... We must beware of neglecting our salvation. As Christians, we do not normally "reject" God's Word, but many do "neglect" God's Word. When we neglect what God has told us, we can "let them slip" from us, and this is deadly. As a ship needs an anchor to keep it from drifting during the storm, so Christians need the Word, to keep them from drifting, and slipping away from the Lord.
The Word of God, its message of deliverance, is vitally necessary. We must beware of taking the Word of God for granted. If we neglect prayer, worship, and the Word... our salvation that was purchased at great price can be lost. Our salvation, when enjoyed and lived as the Word instructs, can bring great inheritance, power, and victory over the devil and his cohorts. Too many Christians are weak, ignorant, mortified, pew- sitters in the church... These W.I.M.P.S. are near to destruction and judgment.
b. BEWARE OF DOUBTING GOD'S WORD
Hebrews 3:7, 12
7. Wherefore, (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day, if ye will hear His voice...
12. Take heed, brethren, lest there be any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God...
This is the second of the five admonitions of Hebrews. The first pointed to the danger of drifting away from God's Word, and this one warns of doubting God's Word. To disbelieve the Lord when they faced the Promised land was the error of Israel in the wilderness. They were atop and near the victory, and yet turned back in disbelief. They said, "We are not able..." and then had to wander in the desert of unbelief. Many today are likewise in that wilderness wanderings, and though they were out of Egypt (a type of sin), they were not into a life of power.
The doubting of God's promises when faced with difficult times, was their sin that led to judgment. We must learn to take God's message and believe Him explicitly. The disbelieving heart becomes a hard heart... do not go back to milk, when God has led you to meat... It may seem easier, but it is a lonely, desolate wilderness experience, when we doubt what God has told us.
c. BEWARE OF BECOMING DULL AND SLUGGISH TOWARD THE WORD
The book of Hebrews warns us to "fear, lest, a promise being left of us entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it... (Hebrews 4:1). Paul reminds us that the "Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith..." (4:2). Therefore we are instructed to "labor... lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief..." (4:11). There is great danger of us becoming dull and sluggish toward the Word of God, and lose its blessings. "The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper that any two-edged sword..." (4:12).
The problem is not with "dull" teachers, but with "dull hearers..." (5:11). The word "dull" could better be translated in our day as "slothful." Many do not want to listen to teachers who teach the unadulterated Word. Spiritual apathy and laziness prevent them from hearing the speakers of the truth of the Word.
11. Of Whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing...
12. ...ye have need that one teach you again...
Many today are likewise "dull" of hearing the true Word. They will listen to the heresies of the day. They want to be told how to be rich in carnal things, but do not want to hear about sin, about weeping for lost souls, etc.
Note how the Thessalonians listened to I Thessalonians 2:13:
"...when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us: ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which effectually worketh in you that believe."
The Word of God is to work in us, and it will, when mixed with faith. It did so in the believers in Thessalonica, but it could not in the people in the wilderness, for they were slothful, dull, and sluggish toward the Word. The Word should excite us, enthuse us, empower us, and engender us toward more and more effectual work for the Lord. If it has not, it is because you have not learned to "labor" in the Word. You likewise must not have had "fear" of missing the "rest" that the Word could have engendered within you.
When Christians are "dull" toward Bible study, when they are sluggish and slothful in their study of the Word, they are immature, and on very dangerous ground. They are on more dangerous ground than the ones who "drifted" from the Word... and more than those who "doubted" God's Word... These who are "dull" of hearing are not hearing the truth by their slothfulness.
While these ones have been in the "faith" long enough that they should be teaching others the Word of God, they have an inability to share the truth, for they were "dull" when hearing the Word. Instead of being able to help others, they need to re-hear the truth of the Word of God. (See Hebrews 5:12)
They need to mature from the "milk of the Word" to the "meat of the Word." Only those who have gone through the painful "teething" time... who can enjoy a good steak. Too many avoid the painful teething time of spiritual maturity... and thereby, God can never get them to the "meat."
"For every one that useth milk, is unskillful in the Word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who be reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
When we use the Word, and apply it to our senses to discern good and evil... we mature... It is a painful process. Too many are "in-betweeners"... and live in-between Egypt and the Promised land... as did the "saints" in the wilderness.
We must "go on to perfection" (maturity) (Hebrews 6:1). Saints today need to make spiritual progress in the Word... and it is a painful process to be "teeth-ed"... and many would rather lie in the arms and protection of another, and be given the baby bottle of milk...!!! Slothful, dull, sluggish... non-maturing study of the Word... is not acceptable... but will be JUDGED BY GOD!
more to come