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The Danger of Drifting

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                                    The Danger of Drifting

                                                Hebrew 2:1-4

Intro: Far up the Niagara River, boaters begin to see signs of warning of the impending falls. Some have not headed the warnings signs and have gone to their death over the 167 foot drop. This morning I want us to look at the danger of drifting and the reality of it. (tell about shooting beavers at night and getting stranded and having to drift…….)

            The Writer of the letter to the Hebrews posted warnings throughout his letter. He has warnings to believers about negligence (2:1-4), disobedience (3:7-19), desertion(5:11-6:20), rebellion (10:19-39), worldliness(12:14-17), and unwillingness to listen to God( 12: 25-29). In the first warning, the writer of Hebrews warned about drifting away from the Lord. The Greek verb used here means to “drift or flow alongside or by”. The Metaphor in mind seems to be that of allowing the current to carry one away from a fixed point through carelessness and unconcern. Instead of keeping a firm grip on the truth, the person drifts. Using the metaphor of drifting lets us gain insights about moving away from the fixed point of the gospel

I. THE REALITY OF DRIFTING     (vs1)

            The writer of Hebrews began with the possibility of God’s people drifting:……so that we do not drift away”. The expression indicates that the possibility of drifting is present

  A. the possibility of drifting may be seen in Bible characters. Do you know when Lot got into trouble about drifting? When he pitched his tent toward Sodom. He allowed the secularity of Sodom to influence him and his family. Samson drifted in his relations with Delilah. He allowed himself to drift gradually into the thought patterns of the pagans. David was a man after god’s own heart,” but in a moment of leisure, his heart drifted with lust toward Bathsheba. Peter did not mean to deny the Lord. His denial of Jesus came as a result of drifting away from commitment to Christ.

  B. Drifting is a possibility in any Christian’s life. No Christian has the premeditated intention of going away from the Lord. It sneaks up on a person covertly. There are innumerable Christians today that are drifting and it didn’t just happen. How can I identify that I’m on the edge of drifting or have already went over the edge? If I have come to the place in my life that I can judge someone else I’ve arrived. (  Tell of O. J. judgment of the deer stand overlooking my land) The Bible says in I Cor. 10:12 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

There is a reality of drifting this morning that affects every one of us today. We see today the reality but I want us to also see

II. THE REASON FOR DRIFTING      (vs3)

   The writer of the letter to the Hebrews diagnosed the cause of drifting as neglect. The believers were neglecting their great salvation experience in Christ, and this neglect  caused them to drift

  A. Neglecting come through inattention----- the readers of the letter to the Hebrews were not giving attention to their salvation experience in Jesus Christ. They had joined life with Christ, but they had failed to open more of life to the Lord. This inattention caused drifting

            What are some other areas of life where neglect will cause problems for us? Our jobs, relationships…….Suppose you do not give attention to an important relationship such as a marriage. Before long you will notice that you have drifted apart.  Many marriages today are on the ropes because of neglect…What is sad today is that the divorce rate in the church is equal to and exceeding the divorce rate in the world. Why? How can this be? Neglect!!!! .Just as marriages require attention, so a believers’ relationship with the Lord requires attention. God woes us and we must turn to Him. He will not force you into a relationship that you aren’t willing to do your part………………

  B. Drifting come through lack of discipline.  Paul wrote to Timothy, ‘Do not neglect your gift” ( I Timothy 4:14). The church is failing to be the salt and light God desires because of this very thing. Neglecting our gifts!   Becoming a better Christian involves spiritual discipline. The Bible says in 1 Tim 4:7---7       But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

Unless a Christian resists the Devil, studies God’s word, engages in prayer daily, and applies faith to life, drifting is inevitable.

III. THE RESULTS OF DRIFTING

            The writer of the letter to the Hebrews examined the possibility  and cause of drifting. He them listed the tragic result of drifting----punishment: “ every violation and disobedience received its just punishment” ( Heb. 2:2)

  A . Drifting inevitably led to punishment for God’s people in Old testament times. The writer of Hebrews referred to an Old Testament incident in which the Israelites drifted away from the Lord. The expression “if the message spoken by angels” probably refers to the revelation of Moses at Sinai. This word that God gave was binding on his chosen people.

             God’s people let these commands of God slip or drift. Consequently,, God punished the people. Throughout Israel’s history the Lord fit punishments to the crime. Drifting away from the Lord always leads to punishment.

  B. Drifting always leads to punishment for God’s people in the present. The writer of Hebrews asked a poignant question: “How shall we escape if we neglect such great salvation? (Heb. 2:3). The pronoun “we” refers to believers. The writer uses it twice for emphasis. Spiritual deterioration begins when Christians start to neglect this great salvation. During the Old Testament days, people who did not heed the Word were sometimes punished. That Word was given through angels, so how much greater responsibility do we have today who have received the Word from the Son of God! In Hebrews 2:2, “transgression” refers to sins of commission, while “disobedience” suggests sins of omission.

I have often told the story of the pastor who preached a series of sermons on “the sins of the saints.” He was reprimanded by a member of the church. “After all,” said the member, “sin in the life of a Christian is different from sin in the lives of other people.”

“Yes,” replied the pastor, “it’s worse!”

We have the idea that believers today “under grace” can escape the chastening hand of God that was so evident “under Law.” But to whom much is given, much shall be required.(Luke 12:48) Not only have we received the Word from the Son of God, but that Word has been confirmed by apostolic miracles

IV THE REMEDY FOR DRIFTING.

            The biblical writer was not content to tell about the reality , the reason, and the results. He wanted the readers to apply the remedy for drifting. He wrote, “ We must pay mor careful attention , therefore , to what we have heard, so that we do not slip or drift away” (Heb. 2:1). The remedy for drifting is obvious---give heed to what you have heard.. I don’t just chalk it up to information, but heed that warning. What was the writer of Hebrews saying in the preceding chapter? Since the Son is so supremely great and is destined for final triumph over His enemies, the readers would do well to pay more careful attention to these realities.

  A. Look to the initial experience with Christ. The writer’s expression “what we have heard” refers back to the intial experience of salvation, the time when Christ was invited into a person’s life. God’s ultimate word was spoken in Jesus Christ, and believers responded by opening their lives to Him.

  B. Take seriously the relationship with Jesus Christ: “We must pay more careful attention.” Hearing and receiving Christ is not enough. Believers need to be concerned about developing their relationship with Christ and sharing it. It is the remedy for drifting

Conclusion:

            Can you see some signs of warning? Are you drifting today? Are you hitting the mark God has ordained for your life? The world has swift currents. The possibility that you could drift in your relationship with Jesus Christ is real. Make up your mind now to develop your relationship with Him  What’s the problem with drifting? At the beginning of the message I told you about the experience I had on the river ........ There’s a lot of difference between drifting for Christ and having an 85 hp engine pushing you. Our Christian lives need to count for the kingdom. When we drift, we allow the world to push us and dictate our direction and speed ……………………

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