As we walk through the book of Hebrews, we find the author’s challenge to not be like the ancient Israelites. They heard God’s word, but didn’t join their faith to what they heard, causing them to fail to enter into God’s rest. This sermon encourages us to believe God’s words, to make our response active and visible, and to thereby receive His rest.
Reviews: Author is encouraging them not to harden their hearts like the nation of Israel did in the wilderness, and didn’t inherit the Promised Land.
How’s your hearing? Is it mixed with faith?
Vv. 1-2 They came up short in the wilderness and didn’t enter God’s rest. We too might come up short, and this is something to be concerned about.
The problem? They didn’t believe. They didn’t obey. They heard God’s word, but didn’t mix in their own personal faith with it.
“Hearing alone is of as little value as undigested food in a bad stomach.”
Recent examples…a friend who says that she approaches my daily devotional believing that God is going to speak to her. And another who comes with faith every Sunday, simply believing that God will give her real meat during the sermon, something she can take home and apply that will make a difference. What about you?
Vv. 3-5 What is this rest?
Vv. 11-13 His word goes into the deepest recesses of our hearts. It cuts through everything we might use for excuses. It clarifies what’s of God and what is of our natural souls. It uncovers real motivations. It’s the word God directly speaks to our hearts.
Then, there is the point that nothing is hidden from Him. He sees everything. So what are we to do in response to being so exposed?
Vv. 14-16 When we are “exposed” by the Holy Spirit, we are encouraged to come boldly to the throne.
This is against our natural thinking. When we’re exposed like this, we tend to run away from God, not toward Him.
But why would we do that? Fear of judgment? Jesus took it for us! Fear that our works failed so miserably in achieving our salvation? Jesus’ work was complete–nothing we can add to it! mit, and grace to obey His word.
Vv. 14-16 Jesus didn’t sin, but He understands everything we go through, and knows how we each can find a way to resist the temptations.
Jesus is called a great High Priest, but of a different order: Melchizedek. Genesis 14:18 and Ps. 110:4. Not like any other priest. Was also a king! Like Jesus, combined both.
Hebrews 5:11b “Have much to say , and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.” Means sluggish and spiritually lazy.
V.v. 12-14 By this time you ought to be teachers. The goal of discipleship is to disciples others. That completes a cycle of learning and growth–when you’re giving out and working to raise up others. (II Timothy 2:1-2)
Milk best for babies. As we grow, we need something more.
A new Christian should be reading God’s promises, and reading Our Daily Bread, a daily devotional, or something like it. But if that is ALL you’re reading 10 years into the Lord, you’re the person the author is speaking to here.
We should be digging in deeper all the time. Getting as close to Him as we can. Finding answers when we can. Serving when we can. Leading others when we can. Participating with faith in whatever is being offered to the church.
There is a spiritual laziness here that the author is talking about, and it is a rampant disease in American Christianity. This is a sign of our not believing, and not obeying–which are synonyms here. We are to fear being in that state.
What can we do?
Mix what you hear with your faith!