Hebrews: The danger …..of drifting-01/31/21

Series Title: Jesus is GREATER than…

Message: ‘The danger…… of drifting’

Text: Hebrews 2:1-4

 Introduction: The following true story is found in ‘Our Daily Bread’ devotional.  An incident from the American Revolution illustrates what tragedy can result from neglect.

  • PP: Colonel Rahl, commander of the British troops in Trenton, New Jersey, was playing cards when a courier brought an urgent message stating that General George Washington was crossing the Delaware River. Rahl put the letter in his pocket and didn’t bother to read it until the game was finished.
  • Then, realizing the seriousness of the situation, he tried to rally his men to meet the coming attack, but his neglect was his undoing.
  • He and many of his men were killed and the rest of the regiment were capture.
  • Nolbert Quayle said, “Only a few minutes’ delay cost him his life, his honor, and the liberty of his soldiers.” (end Quote)   PP:

All of that happened because he neglected to do his job.

PP: Question: What are some of the things we often neglect in life?

  • PP: Dentists will tell us ‘Brushing our tongue.’
  • PP: Our children
  • PP: Our spouses and elderly parents
  • PP: Water… and friends

PP: Courtesy, good manners, reading, smiling, updating your voice mail, common sense, yearly check-ups, checking expiration dates, using your gift cards.

True? Well, you can also neglect your spiritual life. PP:

Folks look, I think you all would agree that it’s easy to get caught up in things that seem important… at the time. But upon later reflection, often just don’t measure up. So here the problem:

  • Those little, less important things… add up, becoming more frequent

And as I said last Sunday;

  • We allow the lesser things to take priority over the greater things… even the greatest thing… Jesus.

We sing a hymn that tells us that very thing:

  • PP: Rise Up O Men of God

But do we… Rise up and have done with lesser things? Sadly, not always. We end up prioritizing the lesser things in life and neglecting the greater things..

  • Like our faith, our spiritual walk before God and others,
  • like our fellowship with Jesus and other Christians,
  • like our commitment to the local church.

And we often justify that choice with something like this:

  • I’ve got to get my career on tract
  • I’ve got to get through school
  • I’ve got to take care of my children
  • I’ve got to have some me time…

PP: I’m just too busy now!

  • I’ll get back to my spiritual life… sometime.

We’re so distracted by life in the world, that we neglect our life in Christ.  And when that happens, friends, be honest… we start to drift away from Jesus. PP:

Background: That’s what the writer of the Book of Hebrews addresses in our text this morning….

  • Drifting away from Jesus by reason of neglect.

To put it another way,

  • You’re either drifting from Jesus because of your neglect of the greater spiritual things, or
  • You’re growing closer to Jesus by choosing to be done with the lesser things of this world and making the greater things of Jesus your passion.

In the immediate context of Hebrews 2, the lesser thing, is Judaism. For us today, it’s all that attracts us from the world.

One last thing before we look at the text.

  • In all of chapter 1 of Hebrews, there’s only doctrine/truth about Jesus.
  • The author reveals to us that Jesus is God and that He’s greater than the prophets, the angels, and everything else.

There were no commands, no ‘you must do this’ kind of things… We get the first command, the first ‘you must do this’ in chapter 2…

  • So that makes it… very important.

 Transition: So, open you Bibles to Hebrews 2:1. And let’s see what’s so important.

  1. Hebrews 2:1a Pay attention

PP: Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard…

The writer begins with therefore… He is calling our attention back to what he has previously written in Chapter 1. What did he write?

Jesus is superior, greater than everything

  • Because, God has spoken most clearly, most completely in and through Jesus.
  • Pay attention, listen to Him.

Jesus is superior, greater than everything

  • Because, He is not only the Creator of all things, He also sustains all things, He holds all things together.
  • Pay attention, listen to Him.

Jesus is superior, greater than everything

  • Because, He is God in the flesh.
  • Pay attention, Listen to Him.

Jesus is superior, greater than everything

  • Because, He has completed the work of forgiveness of sin.
  • Pay attention, listen to Him.

Jesus is superior, greater than everything

  • Because, He sits at the right hand of God, continually making intercession for those who belong to God through faith in Jesus.
  • Pay attention, listen to Him.

Because of all that He is and all that Jesus has said and done, the writer tells us we must pay close attention to what we have heard.

  • We must… defines our moral responsibility to hold on to, to not let go of, to not let slip through our hands, what we’ve learned from and about Jesus.

And not only that, we must pay close attention to what we’ve heard.

  • Pay close attention is in the present tense in the Greek.it means to constantly and always pay close attention.

Contextually, the idea is to pay more attention to what you’ve heard from and about Jesus, than to what you’ve learned from and about Judaism.

For us, if I can make a point of application,

  • The idea is to pay more attention to what you’ve heard from and about Jesus, than to what you’ve seen and learned from the world.

PP:  Next Slide

Transition: In the last part of verse 1 the writer tells us one of the reasons why it’s important to hold on to what we’ve heard from and about Jesus.

  1. Hebrews 2:1b Drifting away from Jesus

PP: lest we drift away from it.

This is… quite simple… isn’t it?

  • Hold on to, pay close attention to what you’ve heard from and about Jesus..
  • Because when you don’t, you WILL drift away from Him.

But… for far too many followers of Jesus, it’s one of the very hardest things to do,

  • because the world and all that it teaches, has such a strong hold on us..

Contextually that was also true for those 1st century Christians.

  • They came out of Judaism. They studied Judaism. They knew Judaism. It had a strong hold on them.
  • When they came to faith in Jesus they left Judaism behind…
  • But it started to creep back in to their lives. Those who promoted it, wanted to make it more prominent in their lives, than Jesus.

The same is true for us… Satan, who is the prince of this world, wants us back… and he uses the enticement of the world, our familiarity with the world, to influence:

  • Our priorities, what we read, what we watch, what we do with our time and money.
  • He wants the pleasures of this world to distract us from our passion for Jesus.
  • He wants us to choose the world over Jesus.

And I’m sad to say, I believe he’s winning that battle.

Understand the connection between chapter 2 &  Chapter 1 is the word… Therefore.

  • In light of all that you’ve heard from and about Jesus, keep holding on to it
  • so that you don’t drift away from Him.

Because you will… you will drift away… if you don’t.

 

The Apostle John, who wrote the Book of Revelation gave the same warning, only he put it a different way:

God speaking to the Christians at the church in Ephesus said PP: But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. (Revelation 2:4)

 

In other words, you have drifted away from Jesus, your love for Him has grown cold. You are choosing to align your life with the world rather than with Jesus.

 

What does that look like… practically?

 

Pastor Bob Diffenbaugh put together a list of tangible signs that we have perhaps drifted away from Jesus.

 

PP: 1. My sense of wonder begins to wane. In Hebrews 1, we’re informed of the majesty and splendor of the Son of God, our Savior. Has the wonder that He came down to earth to save us been lost on us?

 

  1. My awareness of the nearness of God has become ancient history. If the intimacy I once knew and enjoyed is now a faint memory, I’m drifting.

 

  1. My love and desire for God’s Word falls short of what I find in Psalm 119.

 

  1. The realities of heaven and hell seem distant and unreal.
  2. I fall apart at the first sign of suffering.

 

  1. I am unaware of the constant, downward pull of the world, and the flesh.

 

PP: 7. Prayer, Bible study, witnessing, and going to church are a duty, rather than a delight.

  1. The Lord’s Table is dull, and preaching is boring.

 

  1. Remembering the work of Jesus Christ on the cross does not emotionally move me.

 

  1. I become independent, rather than deeply dependent upon other believers.

 

  1. Theology ceases to be important to me, or it’s just an intellectual exercise.

 

PP: 12. My theology is derived more from what I see and hear in the world than from what I read in the Bible.

 

  1. I lack joy and gratitude for all God has done for me.

 

  1. I have ceased growing in faith, hope, and love.

 

  1. I’m looking for something “more” something outside Scripture, and outside of Christ. (End quote)

 

Christian.. be honest…does any of that describe you?

Transition: In verse 2 the writer warns us using the teaching tool of moving from the lesser to the greater.

  1. Hebrews 2:2 The word of angels is lesser

PP: For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution

He begins by going back to angels.

  • Remember, the writer never said that angels weren’t important, they were just not as important than Jesus.
  • They were lesser than Jesus.

So he states that when someone failed to listen to an angel when he brought them a truth from God, they received from God a just retribution.

  • They were disciplined by God, things didn’t go well for them.

It seems angels had a hand in bringing the Law to Moses. The Law stated that disobedience brought  judgment by God.

Here’s, I think, part of the idea:

  • If you go back to Judaism, back to the law, you’ll be back under the Law and not under grace.

You see, the OT Law could only judge sin. It was never intended to forgive sin, or to save from sin.

So, where is the writer going with this? Verse 3a.

  1. Hebrews 2:3a Neglecting our salvation

PP: How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?

First notice that the writer included himself here.. How shall we escape… he’s implying that anyone can drift away from Jesus. And that everyone that does,

  • Will be disciplined by God…
  • Things in life will not always go well for them. More on that in a bit.

Back to the lesser than greater than teaching tool.

  • Since there were consequences to disobeying the law brought by angels who are lesser than Jesus.
  • How much more will there be consequences to those who choose not to listen to Jesus and drift away from Him?

Christian… there are consequences when you drift away from Jesus.

  • You’ll see God’s discipline, things will not always go well for you.

Pastor David Dewitt and others put it this way:

  • You’ll experience a lack of victory over sin
  • You’ll experience a distance from Jesus. Drifting, is a movement away from someone or something, in this case, its Jesus.
  • You’ll experience a loss of blessing.

Blessing come from a close fellowship with Jesus.  Choose to neglect Him and you’ve chosen to live w/o His blessing.

  • You’ll experience a loss of godliness. You’ll find that sin is easier and more frequent.
  • You’ll experience a loss of spiritual sensitivity. You no longer respond to the voice of the Spirit.
  • You’ll experience a loss of God consciousness. God’s presence, His voice, His leading, His healing, His comfort will fade away.

And what do you have to do for all of that to happen?

  • Nothing, absolutely nothing.

That’s what the writer meant when he said if we neglect such a great salvation.

Neglect.  Christians who drift away.. most often do so by simply…doing nothing…

  • Nothing to effect spiritual growth and development in their lives.

Here the writer’s main point:

  • With all that you know about Jesus being God in the flesh.
  • With all that you know about the free offer of salvation Jesus offers.
  • With all that you know about being saved by grace and not by works of the Law.
  • With all that you know about Jesus constantly making intercession for you at God’s right hand.
  • With all that you know about the blessings that come from being a part of God’s family through faith in Jesus.
  • With all you know about God’s presence, power, guidance, comfort, love, healing being yours through faith in Jesus.
  • With salvation through faith in Jesus being so absolutely amazing…

Why, Christian, why would you neglect nurturing all that it means to be saved?

Here’s just one of many reasons:

We see salvation as just something great we’ve received from God.

  • Like blessings, peace, joy, even forgiveness

Rather than seeing it as being rescued from something very horrible:

  • Like God’s judgment, His wrath and an eternity in hell.

So, what’s the answer?

  • It’s understanding that the opposite of neglecting our salvation,
  • is persevering, is continuing to nurturing our salvation.

The writer will address this again in chapter 6:10-12 PP: For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

  • Explain

Christian, don’t neglect your salvation, continually nurture it until the end.

  1. Hebrews 2:3b-4 The word of God is greater

PP: It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.

Here’s what this all boils down to…

  • Everything we read in the Bible about this great salvation offered to us by God’s amazing grace… is true.
  • There’s the witness of Jesus Himself.
  • There’s the witness of the Apostolic writers.
  • There’s the witness of God’s mighty power though signs, wonders, miracles.
  • There’s the witness of the gifts the Holy Spirit has given to those who were so blessed by God’s salvation.

PP: Since the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus is proven to be absolutely true… you don’t need Judaism or the world or anything else.

PP: Next Slide

 Conclusion: Christian,

  • Neglect your job, you’ll be fired.
  • Neglect your business, it’ll close.
  • Neglect your vehicle and it’ll stop running.
  • Neglect your plants and they’ll die.
  • Neglect your spouse, well, at best, you won’t be happy.
  • Neglect your children they might grow up resenting you.
  • Neglect your body, it will not be nice to you.

And Christian, neglecting, doing nothing with your faith in Jesus… will ruin you.

If you have drifted..

  • Seek God’s face in prayer.
  • Confess you sin of neglect.
  • Ask God to forgive your sin.
  • Choose to stop making lesser things greater than Jesus.

Remember we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard… if you want to avoid the dangers of drifting.

 

Let’s pray.