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Hebrews #03 Pay More Careful Attention

Notes & Transcripts

Forward in Faith

Hebrews 2:1-4

Pay More Careful Attention

(to what you’ve heard)

IN our Study of the epistle to the Hebrews, our writer’s words can be divided primarily into three categories as he makes his point about the Supremacy of the Faith and Following of Jesus Christ. 

He teaches about a Greater Person in Jesus Christ upon which to base our faith.  He does so through the first 6 chapters

He teaches about a Greater Priesthood carried out by Jesus Christ in Chapters 7-10

And then he teaches us about a Greater Principle in Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in the final 3 chapters. 

Scattered throughout these 3 sections there are 5 Exhortations or 5 Sermons, 3 in the first section, and 1 each in the last two sections. 

Today’s message comes from the first of these 5 Exhortations.  All of these messages center around the Importance of Knowledge of and Adherence to the Truth of the Word of God.

They are all warnings that there is danger and deception out there.

The Word Heresy – is defined by Webster’s as “an adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma, dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice

It comes from the Greek word hairesis which literally means “choice” and speaks of a sect or faction within a religious system.  The Sadducees were a sect, or hairesis, of Judaism as were the Pharisees.  The followers of Jesus were known first as the “sect, or hairesis, of the Nazarenes”

Initially the word meant nothing more than a sect or divergent version of a group. 

As the church developed, groups within the church that held opinions contrary to the established and accepted truth of the Apostles were then called hairesis

In 1 Corinthians 11:19 the word is used to describe differences that separate the church. 

But eventually the word gained the understanding of a teaching that had the purpose and outcome that caused people to separate from orthodox truth. 

And Peter writes in 2 Peter 2:1-3 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there were be false teachers among you.  The will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them –bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up …

In nearly every generation and most certainly every century since Christ there have been heresies and attacks on the truth that is Jesus Christ.  Even if only one a century that would easily be 20 major heresies but the number is so much higher than that. 

The writers of the epistles, like this writer, and Paul, John, Peter, Jude wrote to counter the falsity of Gnosticism or KNOWLEDGE … special understanding that false teachers said they had that was contrary to the truth given through Christ and the Apostles.  Among the heresies addressed were the Docetics who taught that Jesus Christ didn’t have a human body, he only APPEARED to, that he was only a Spirit appearing to be born, so they rejected his Incarnation as our Sacrificial Lamb.  Then there were the Cerinthians (not Corinthians).  They also perverted the truth about Jesus.  They said that Jesus and the Christ were in essence two different entities.  They believed that Jesus was a normal human born of Mary and that The Christ, came ON him at his Baptism, and was with him until before he went to the cross and left him to die as a human but the Christ didn’t die for us. 
Other heresies said that Jesus didn’t truly rise.  Others taught that there was only one God not a triune God and on and on. 

Heresies were always an attempt to entice Christians to compromise truth and stray from the command of scripture. 

Perhaps the 1st Century Heresy that is most common to what we face today were the Nicolaitans who called for a compromise with culture that would lead people away from the Absolutes of Jesus Christ to embrace the culture alongside Jesus.  Worship the emperor, worship idols AND Jesus among other compromise.  We are told, oh come on “be modern, be realistic, come out of the archaic or superstitious”

So, read with me this first Exhortation from the writer of this Letter to the Hebrews

Read 2:1-4

Our focus today comes from the first verse

We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away

Outlining this passage wasn’t so obvious as some are, but let’s Pay Careful Attention to 3 things and then Draw some conclusions …

 

Steamer Went Out Despite Warnings

The steamer Portland left Boston harbor in the storm of November 1898 and never came back. She left when all the signals for danger were flying; she left when the government agent at the signal office had advised out-going vessels to remain in port; she left when the owners of the vessel had commanded her to stay at dock.

Why she left no one has ever been able to say. Her captain said to the lighthouse-keeper. “Keep your light burning bright tonight, for we may come back.”[1]

We need to be anchored in the midst of this storm.  I am speaking about truth here.  We definitely don’t need to be hiding in the church.  But we need to be anchored and pay attention, careful attention

“Pay More Careful Attention”

The writer is not just saying “hey look at this”

The word “Pay” – prosecho – to bring to, like bringing a ship to land, to turn mind to, be attentive, apply one’s self to, attach one’s self to

“more careful attention” is the perissos – beyond measure, extraordinary; greatly, exceedingly

We are talking about serious issues here

Not simply differences in non-essentials but the serious issues that are exceedingly great and important, we need to put the ship in and set up camp on the important thing and recognize what is not right.

Pay More Careful Attention to

1. A Dangerous Drift

 

We were told to put the ship in to land.  That is bring the ship in and secure the ship so that it doesn’t drift away.

There are two dangers here

  A. Danger 1 - Believers

is that those who know the truth, will not be tied well to the truth and will drift away into needless wandering or chasing after heresies and render us useless and ineffective in our faith.

The Evil One would like nothing more than to take those who have experienced the blessings of Salvation in Christ and then keep them ineffective as they swallow deceptive heresies that steal from them the joy and victory of their salvation. 

  B. Danger 2 -Unbelievers

Is that those who have heard the truth will be distracted and deceived by heresies and they will drift away from the blessings that Salvation Offers

There are countless dangers ideas, that would desire to cause us to drive

Listen to the Dangerous Heresies

“God didn’t mean what is recorded in scripture, you shouldn’t take his commands so literally”

“What we have written Isn’t Really God’s Word”

“The Events recorded aren’t accurate, like the Creation, the Flood, the Virgin Birth of Christ to Mary, The Death, Burial, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ.”

“The Commands of God aren’t meant to be binding or taken seriously”

“The Precepts in Scripture aren’t meant to be followed”

Those are dangerous heresies.  Some are major while others don’t seem to be a BIG deviation from the truth.

Some would say, just follow the commands of Jesus to love, and be a good neighbor, and leave the rest. 

Is that really a big deal?

Is that really worth all the fuss?
Is it really important whether or not Jesus WAS who he said he was?

Is it really important if Jesus rose bodily from the grave?

Does it matter if the Gospels are true, the book of Genesis is true?

1 John 4:1-3 (NIV)
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

2 John 7 (NIV)
7 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.

Is it important?

Yes and we need to be anchored to the truth lest we drift away to follow anything

Ephesians 4 says that the church has been given Apostles, Prophets, (That is the Word of God) and Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers to equip you, build you up, toward maturity so verse 14 and 15 says then you will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is Christ

Pay More Careful Attention

Issues like this require extraordinary attention putting in as to securing your vessel in the Truth. 

Put in to take note of the Dangerous Drifts that Threaten to Undermine the Truth

And Then bring your ship into the Harbor with Extraordinary Attention to a

2. Tremendous Salvation

So Great a Salvation

“so great” – telikoutos/tay-lik-oo-tos/ of such an age, so old, so young; of such great a size, in bulk

“salvation” soteria – deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation; deliverance from the molestation of enemies; salvation as the present possession; future salvation, the sum of benefits and blessings which the Christians will enjoy in the eternal kingdom of God

We need to pay attention to the great salvation we have and is available to us in Jesus Christ. 

A salvation that is as old as the eternal plan of God

And as young as is offered to you Today, or the day you first heard and received it

A Salvation that is Great enough to have room for as many as received, to all who believe. 

A salvation big enough for you and for me, for Africa, Asia, South America, North America, Europe, the Frozen North and the Tropical South, the Developing West and the Ancient East.

So great a salvation

  A. Announced by the Lord

What great salvation did Jesus Announce?

Luke 4:18-19 (NIV)
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Jesus was reading that day from Isaiah 61:1-2 and when he finished, he rolled up the scroll and said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”

So great a salvation Jesus Christ brought to us

A salvation that is good news for us who are wretched and poor with respect to the righteousness that God requires.  But there is good news … the Riches of his Mercy and Righteousness have come

He came to proclaim freedom for prisoners – bound by the chains of the guilt of our sin

He announced that the blindness we had to our condition and truth is gone

He came to announce that oppression need be no more

Because God’s Favor has come

So Great a Salvation

That delivers us from the harassment of our enemies, that saves us from the power of sin, and will one day transport us into the presence of the one who dwells in unapproachable light to a place he has prepared for us …

A Great Salvation

Proclaimed by the Lord

 

  B. Confirmed By Those Who Heard

The writer, Barnabas, or Paul, or whomever it might have been reminded them, that they knew people who had firsthand knowledge of Jesus Christ.  They had heard him proclaim the good news.  They had experienced the riches of his mercy, his freedom, restoration of sight, life, hope, and a future.  The gospel proclaimed by Jesus wasn’t empty promises, or pie in the sky. 

The promises of the Gospel of Jesus is both for now and then, for time AND eternity

They are not platitudes meant to appease the masses but actuality for feeding the soul. 

It is a gospel confirmed by those who have experienced it

Can anyone here confirm the salvation of Jesus Christ?

Anyone here know the riches of his mercy?

Anyone here been freed from prison?

Anyone here had scales fall from your eyes and suddenly you saw clearly reality and truth?

Anyone here been freed from oppression?

Anyone here know the undeserved Favor of the Lord?

Pay careful attention it is a great Salvation

Announced by Jesus

Confirmed by those who have heard and received it

Pay careful attention to the

3. Obvious Signs

Three different times in the Life of Jesus, God Spoke in an audible way. 

It happened when he was Baptized by John and God spoke and said “This is my son, in whom I am well pleased”  

On the Mountain of Transfiguration with Peter, James, and John, God spoke and said “This is my Son, whom I love, listen to him”

And in Bethsaida in Galilee, not long before his crucifixion, Jesus said “Father, glorify your name!”  and God’s voice thundered “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again”

God Spoke because he loved his son and he wanted US to know and love his Son

And verse 4 of our text says “God also testified to it” to the Great Salvation …

This passage is NOT a discussion of the current validity or frequency of signs and wonders.  This is a 1st Century Apologetic for the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Signs, Wonders, and Miracles were God’s Voice Testifying to the Truth that is Jesus Christ

God gave WITNESS … martyreo – to Jesus

Through

  A. Signssemeion/say-mi-on/ sign, mark, token that which distinguished from others

This is the way that John in his gospel referred to the miracles of Jesus, as Signs.  They were meant to validate the ministry of Jesus.

  B. Wonders teras – a prodigy, portent (a foreshadowing of coming events); a miracle performed

The miraculous things that Jesus Christ did were meant to foreshadow the greatness of what is to come

If he can make a blind man see he can open our spiritual eyes

If he can make the lame walk he can set me on my feet and make me walk straight through I am spiritually lame

If he can make the deaf hear he can open my ears to hear the truth

If he can make the dead live again …

If he can make the dead live again …

He can resurrect my life

He can restore my soul

He can give me eternal life

Signs, Wonders, and

  C. Various Miracles

Dynamis – strength, power, ability, inherent power, moral power, excellence of the soul, power and influence that belong to wealth, power and resources rising from numbers

Jesus Christ performed miracles to show us that he has all the power, the excellence, the influence, wealth, and numbers to provide everything we need

And then after Jesus Christ left this earth he gave us the

Gift of and the Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit to continue to Speak into our hearts and testify to the Veracity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Gifts – merismos – a division, a partition, a distribution

Of the

Spirit – pneuma – a gentle breath of the nostrils

In order that we would know for sure, God breathed out a portion of himself to us in the Person of the Holy Spirit

Not because of anything you or I have done but according to his will

Thelesis – a willing will

It was because he wanted to …

There is a price to be paid for the Believer and the Unbeliever for ignoring

Obvious Signs

A Great Salvation

To Drift away

Verse 3 asks … What other hope for us is there if we IGNORE the Signs and Salvation for a Substitute for the Truth?

IGNORE – ameleo – to be careless of, to neglect

How could we ignore the Love of God poured out in his Son?

How could we ignore the will of an all powerful miraculous God?
How can we ignore the amazing evidence of changed lives?

Conclusion

So how do we Pay Attention?

1) Read and Ingest this Truth like a Thirsty Soul Drinking Water in the desert – so you will know and love the truth

2) Respond in Faith –don’t question and defy – Trust and Obey

3) Recognize and Expose Counterfeits and Scoundrels

4) Rehearse it from Generation to Generation

Let’s Bring the Ship into the Harbor

Let’s Anchor to the Truth

 

In Times Like These

In times like these

You need a Savior

In times like these you need an anchor

Be very sure

Be very sure

Your anchor holds

And grips the solid rock

This Rock is Jesus

Yes he’s the one

This Rock is Jesus

The Only One

Be very sure

Be very sure

Your anchor holds

And grips the Solid Rock

In times like these

you need the Bible

In times like these

oh be not idle

Be very sure, be very sure

Your anchor holds and grips the solid Rock

This Rock is Jesus

Yes he’s the one

This Rock is Jesus

The Only One

Be very sure

Be very sure

Your anchor holds

And grips the Solid Rock

In Times like these

I have a Savior

In times like these

I have an anchor

I’m very sure

I’m very sure

My anchor holds and grips the solid Rock

This Rock is Jesus

Yes he’s the one

This Rock is Jesus

The Only One

Be very sure

Be very sure

Your anchor holds

And grips the Solid Rock


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[1]Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

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