We’re studying our way through the Book of Hebrews this summer! Today’s installment covers Chapters 6-7, and it’s all about how to build, or rebuild, a life. How important is this subject? Eternally important!
I just built a new deck at the house while I was on my month long break. I needed some help, so God sent Ron to me for some pivotal help in the middle of the project. But in the beginning it was all on me. I made a design, got it approved by the building inspector, laid out the plans in the yard off the end of our house, and then I laid out where the “footers” needed to go. You need to dig holes in order to get the footers, about 42” deep. I picked a Saturday that seemed between the rain storms to dig these 6 holes thinking about 30-45 minutes a hole ought to be enough. I had visions of sipping on lemonade or floating in the canal on my kayak for the afternoon. It wasn’t meant to be. I started digging at about 8:30am and realized when I was finishing the first hole at 10:30, 2 hours later, that this was going to be a long day. I was on the last hole at 8:30 that night, I had another 6 inches to go, and I just gave out. I couldn’t go on anymore. I took a shower, had a little something to eat and then I collapsed into bed. The next morning I finished the last hole and poured concrete, before the building inspector and the next rainstorm came. Why go through all of that? The ability to build a deck that would last was utterly dependent on the foundation. Everything, all the weight and form and function of that deck rests on the foundation. If I didn’t lay it correctly, at the right depth, in the right thickness, eventually the upper, visible portions would be compromised.
But what if I stopped at the foundation?
We’re going on in Hebrews, where we discovered that Jesus is superior to everyone and everything. He accomplished the work of salvation at the cross and then…He sat down. Our foundation is one placed upon the bedrock of the finished work of Jesus, our High Priest.
“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.”
The first step in building a life is to make sure your foundation is solid. Like my deck, there are six footers that your life needs to rest on.
If you skip these steps, you end up with a house without a foundation. Ever wonder why the environment wreaks havoc with your life? Why the enemy seems to be able to steal your lunch money at will? This is why. Your foundation is not sure.
But there’s another problem here to be avoided. It’s the problem of having a foundation of some sort, but never building anything on it. True builders don’t ever stop at the foundation. True Christians never stop at these six foundation footers.
We need to revisit our footers at regular intervals. When I’m in our basement, I always look at the concrete blocks to see if there’s water leakage or breakdown because the house depend on it. All the spiritual foundation stones get revisited regularly too. Repentance is daily, faith is daily, refreshing water and Spirit baptisms daily, etc.
Are you building on those foundation stones? If not, you have reason to question where you are spiritually because you may be in danger.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.”
The devil uses verses 4-6 to condemn genuine Christians but that’s not what it says. It does give a very serious, dire warning. It is possible to be enlightened to God and His Gospel, to taste the heavenly gift of salvation, partner (partake) with the Holy Spirit and be used of God, taste His good Word and taste the powers of the age to come and be as lost as can be.
I like going to Wegmans on Saturday because they bring out all the featured foods and you can sample them. What if I visited Wegmans, tasted all of those wonderful foods and never bought a thing. I may be able to speak well of Wegmans. I may lead others to Wegmans. I may even end up in their advertising. But if I never buy anything then I’m not sold out; I “didn’t buy in” even though I looked like and participated like I do.
There was a parable Jesus taught involving a farm that was ready for seed. He said that the seed, as it was sown, was the Word of God. Some seed fell on the hard pathway and never sprouted, like it is with the hard hearted. Then some seed fell on ground that was stony, sprouted up and withered with the sun for lack of root. More fell on soil that also contained weed seeds and the weeds that grew up with the seeded plants were choked out by the cares and worries of the world and of life. But then there is good soil, where the seed grows to plants that produce genuine fruit in great numbers. The end result of the seed on the hard pathway is obvious. But the seed and resulting plant in the stoney ground and then mixed with weeds looks the same at first as the good soil seed and plants; only the latter is really saved.
Some people have been enlightened, tasted and sprouted some leaves. You can talk the talk, rehearse the Scriptures, name drop well known Christians and have even partnered with the Holy Spirit to help someone. But you never bought into it all the way. Hebrews tells us, the Bible tells us, that you in particular are in grave danger. You could be one who fell away and cannot repent because you don’t believe you need to. You’re inoculated with the Word and are therefore unable to receive it.
“For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.”
The rain that comes is the same for all, but the fruit it bears tells the story. If you consistently have thorns and briers coming up as a fruit of your life you are nearer to being cursed and burned.
But if you are one who has a real foundation, you’ll build on it the “things that accompany salvation”. You’ll revisit the original foundation stones regularly and, having built on it, keep examining and building until your life is over.
“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 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.”
For example, you have works of love and labors of love that people benefit from but are toward His name, like ministering to the saints and not stopping. The diligence you show, built on the foundation, gives a full assurance of hope to the end.
Abraham lived that way. In the same way, God has given you a promise confirmed by an oath and His unchangeable nature. As you live for Him, sold out, building a life atop the foundation and not stopping, you can be sure that you are His and will be with Him in the coming wrath and judgment. Hope will be your anchor in the coming storm, because the Great High Priest, Jesus, has gone behind the veil and planted that anchor firmly in the Presence of God.
So what if we are weak? And fall? And don’t know what we’re doing exactly? We have a Great High Priest who has made the sacrifice for us once and for all, and sat down, living forever, because He isn’t a Priest like the descendents of Aaron. He is of the order of Melchizedek.
“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
You have a perfect building consultant/contractor that will help you, but you need to sell out to building upon the foundation. He gives you perfect hope of an end result, but you need to build. If you’ve stopped building because of offenses, or weariness, or difficult circumstances, or prosperity and smooth sailing you need to take action right now. Revisit the foundation! Repent, believe, revisit your water baptism, be filled again with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, commit yourself to the Body of Christ and get under spiritual covering. Remember that you will be united with your true body after you die and that eternal judgment is so very real and coming soon.
Start building again. Shore up what’s been deteriorating from neglect and get building and keep building and add to the spiritual house that is yours.