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The Danger Zone

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The Danger Zone

Hebrews 5:11-6:8                    May 25, 1997

Introduction:

          We have much to say about Jesus being the source of our eternal salvation as our Great High Priest in the manner of Melchizedek, but this may be too difficult for you to understand, given your current struggle about being tempted to return to Judaism.  We need to go back and remind you about the basics of the faith you professed.  Now having been reminded, let us go on to understand the deeper truths since you don’t want to run the risk of hardening your hearts by the inactivity of stagnation and by the encroaching disbelief of not growing in ever increasing belief.

I.       The danger of immaturity.  (vv. 5:11-6:3)

          A.      A person becomes immature by refusing to learn.  (v. 11)

          B.      A person becomes immature by refusing to grow.  (v. 12)

Tell about my grandmother’s baby food diet.  It appears strange for a person who should by this time be eating solid food to remain on baby food.

As Sherlock Holmes used to say, “Elementary, my dear Watson, elementary.”

          C.      A person becomes immature by refusing to become skilled in                            the Word of God.  (v. 13)

You are still on milk because you never grew teeth.  Milk is supposed to grow strong teeth.  You need teeth to “rightfully divide the word of truth” (2Tim 2:15).  The problem is not with the milk but with digestion.  What do we call an adult who looks like a child?  He is a dwarf.  This passage is about going beyond spiritual dwarfism by learning to digest milk.  God wants spiritual giants.

          D.      A person becomes immature by refusing to exercise his mental                          and spiritual senses.  (v. 14)

          E.      A person needs to get past the immaturity of elementary                        doctrine.  (vv. 1-2)

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.

   -- Will Rogers

You have heard of the little boy who was asked by his mother why he fell out of bed. "Guess, mamma, it's cause I stay too close to the gettin'-in place." We need to move forward in our Christian life if we want to keep from falling.

The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man's foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.

   -- Thomas Henry Huxley.

The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it's the same problem you had last year.

   -- John Foster Dulles

          F.      A person must be determined to mature in Christ.  (v. 3)

Maturity is putting faith into practice (Jer. 12:5).

How is your hamster?  Jack Graham at Pastor’s Conference told of a comment that could be made to someone who just doesn’t have it all together.  “Their wheel is still spinning, but the hamster is dead.”  I used to catch chipmunks when I was a park ranger and do the same thing.  They would run and run inside a wire wheel for exercise, or perhaps just because it was their nature.  But if the hamster dies, the wheel may still spin for awhile, even with a dead hamster in it.  How about your own life, your family, the life of our church, the life of our nation?  We can run for awhile on past accomplishments or beliefs, but without feeding them with continual truth they will die.  The wheel becomes out of balance with a dead hamster in it.  If there are other hamsters running alongside, they will have to step over the dead one each time the wheel comes around.  When one of us falls, it affects the rest and slows everyone down.  See v. 11, “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end.”  Why?  In order to make our hope sure.  See also 1John 3:19 that explains how we can know this by our actions.  We inherit a promise by continuing to believe it.  This is proved by our actions, but ultimately it depends on God who made the promise.  And we can trust God for it like an anchor holds a ship.  It is the stronghold of hope in Christ.  (s. Mk 9:24, “--help me overcome my unbelief!”

Is your hamster alive and kicking or sick and dying?  We can only come to God through the ministry of Jesus since he is the source of eternal salvation by interceding for us as our Great High Priest.  Is your hamster hamstrung?  Is he pushing daisies?  Give that little feller some CPR.  Make a holy hamster out of him.  Harness that hamster power.

If we make a graph and put truth on the vertical axis and time on the horizontal axis (v. 12), we can see several types of Christian lives.  Some plateau, some peak, but God wants perseverance.  Do you go through the motions without any motivation?  Then your hamster is hurting.  Your power source is kaput.  This passage tells us to keep striving for increasing truth and growth in that truth.  That is hamster power.  2+2=4 but we need to go on to E=mc2.  We read, “See Spot run.”  But we need to go on to Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.

Tell about the old Lutheran pastor, Benjamin, who must be 90 at Pastor’s Conference who went to the jail ministry with me.  He continues to minister and he preaches the Gospel.  His hamster isn’t dead.

II.      The danger of apostasy or falling away.  (vv. 6:4-8)

          A.      The believer’s safety zone.  (vv. 4-5)

                   1.       The privilege of enlightenment.

                   2.       The privilege of the heavenly gift.

                   3.       The privilege of the Holy Spirit.

                   4.       The privilege of the Word of God.

                   5.       The privilege of the power of God.

The powers of the coming age is the power of God’s eternal kingdom of which we have but a taste.

          B.      The believer’s danger zone.  (v. 6)

                   1.       Outside the safety zone of privilege is danger.

Mr 3:29  But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin."

1Co 9:27  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Heb 3:12  See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.

Heb 6:6  if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Heb 10:26  If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,

Heb 12:17  Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.

1Ti 1:19  holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.

1Ti 1:20  Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

1Ti 4:1 ¶ The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

1Ti 4:2  Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

2Ti 4:3  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

2Ti 4:4  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

2Pe 3:17  Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.

                   2.       The danger is being unable to return to safety.

                             a.       The danger of continuing to crucify God’s Son.

                             b.       The danger of putting Christ to shame for having                                               given any privilege in the first place.

Note:  Dt. 24, that once a woman is divorced and remarried, she cannot be married back to the same husband because she is now defiled.

It is the public disgrace of a broken covenant.  To turn away from grace calls for a very hard heart that gets that way because it never fully yielded in the first place.  So make sure you are fully yielded to Christ so you will finish well (v. 11, to the very end).  S. 1Cor. 15:19,  “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

Olympic runner who hobbled to finish line, quote when asked by reporters why he felt it necessary to cross the finish line with a blown out knee with the aid of his father: “I didn’t come 7,000 miles just to start the race, I came to finish the race.”

Since we cannot crucify Christ again, this should disprove any doctrinal necessity of needing to come to salvation again.  We may need to rededicate ourselves, however.  (1Peter 3:18, “For Christ died for sins once for all --”)

          C.      The meaning illustrated.  (vv. 7-8)

                   1.       Good soil receives rain.

                             a.       It bears fruit.

                             b.       It is blessed by God.

Receiving blessing, produces blessing, receives blessing.

                   2.       Bad soil receives rain.

                             a.       It bears thorns.

                             b.       It is in danger of being cursed.

                             c.       To be cursed is to burn.  (the danger realized)

Land that produces thorns and thistles is hard.  It doesn’t soak up the rain of God’s grace.  The proof of salvation is in the life lived, what it produces.

Each time we preach, we should preach as to those who are on death row.  And in fact they are.  Life comes from God.  (Dead:  See 1Tim 5:6; Jas 2:17; Jude 1:12; Rev 3:1)  There was a Judas.  These Hebrew believers were riding the fence, but eternal security is participatory.  We must continue to believe.  This is best seen in growing according to the truth we have received and not falling away.  These Hebrew believers haven’t fallen away, but they are in danger of doing so - it must be possible to fall away.  Perhaps they had not been so “once [for all] been enlightened” (v. 4) as they thought.  The challenge is to grow in the truth we have received.  (See Acts 8:9ff about Simon the Sorcerer.)

One commentator said, “Neglecting proper cultivation of the land leads to worthless results; in a similar way that refusal to adhere to the provisions of God’s grace leads to spiritual bankruptcy.”

There is no such word as re-repent.  A person once asked if they committed the unpardonable sin (blasphemy or disbelief of the H.S. about the testimony of Jesus).  The answer is that as long as you are asking questions, you have not altogether forsaken truth, and in that there is hope.  To forsake the search for truth after having tasted it takes a hardness of heart that would prevent return to it.

Timeless Truth:  Failing to grow in the truth of the Gospel makes us vulnerable to falling away even from the truth we received.  When we stop growing spiritually, we begin to die spiritually.  The sign of life is growth.  The nature of the Word of God is that it causes growth in those who are alive to God.  There is no return for the twice dead (Jude 1:12c) because their hearts become doubly hardened by rejecting the truth once it is understood.  It is not God who leaves us but we who leave God.  We reject truth when we fail to grow in truth.  Stepping out on a limb is not all it is cracked up to be.  The believer’s safety zone is continual growth in the application of Gospel truth.  Outside the safety zone of growth is the danger zone of death.  Infants are more vulnerable than adults.


The Danger Zone

Hebrews 5:11-6:8                   May 25, 1997

 

I.       The danger of i _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .  (vv. 5:11-6:3)

          A.      A person becomes immature by refusing to l _ _ _ _ .  (v. 11)

          B.      A person becomes immature by refusing to g _ _ _ .  (v. 12)

          C.      A person becomes immature by refusing to become s _ _ _ _ _ _             in the Word of God.  (v. 13)

          D.      A person becomes immature by refusing to e _ _ _ _ _ _ _  his                         mental and spiritual senses.  (v. 14)

          E.      A person needs to get past the immaturity of e _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _             doctrine.  (vv. 1-2)

          F.      A person must be determined to m _ _ _ _ _  in Christ.  (v. 3)

II.      The danger of a _ _ _ _ _ _ _  or falling away.  (vv. 6:4-8)

          A.      The believer’s s _ _ _ _ _  zone.  (vv. 4-5)

                   1.       The privilege of enlightenment.

                   2.       The privilege of the heavenly gift.

                   3.       The privilege of the Holy Spirit.

                   4.       The privilege of the Word of God.

                   5.       The privilege of the power of God.

          B.      The believer’s d _ _ _ _ _  zone.  (v. 6)

                   1.       Outside the safety zone of privilege is danger.

                   2.       The danger is being unable to return to safety.

                             a.       The danger of continuing to c _ _ _ _ _ _  God’s                                               Son.

                             b.       The danger of putting Christ to s _ _ _ _  for                                                    having given any privilege in the first place.

          C.      The meaning i _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .  (vv. 7-8)

                   1.       Good soil receives r _ _ _ .

                             a.       It bears f _ _ _ _ .

                             b.       It is b _ _ _ _ _ _  by God.

                   2.       Bad soil receives r _ _ _ .

                             a.       It bears t _ _ _ _ _ .

                             b.       It is in danger of being c _ _ _ _ _ .

                             c.       To be cursed is to b _ _ _ .  (the danger realized)

 

Timeless Truth:  Failing to grow in the truth of the Gospel makes us

v _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  to falling away even from the truth we received.


 

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