THE SEVEN ALARMS OF HEBREWS
Some may avoid studying the book of Hebrews because of its numerous references to the Old Testament, but this should not be the case because it is full of great instructions for the Christian. The more knowledge you have of the O.T., the more you will be able to appreciate the book of Hebrews and you will have a greater understanding of the NT altogether.
Without the O.T., the N.T. would not make much sense and all the references that are made to prophecies being fulfilled would be meaningless. While it is true that we are not under O.T. Law, the O.T. is still extremely important to the Christian. As Paul said,
Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
One of the main themes in Hebrews is the supremacy of Christ. However, throughout this book are alarms or warnings that are designed to warn Christians about things that can cause them to fall away from Christ.
I think we can all appreciate and understand the necessities of alarms in the Bible and in our lives today. Even young children are taught to pay attention to alarms. For instance, if the fire alarm goes off, they know that there may be a fire and they will take the appropriate action to get out of the building. When we drive down the road and we hear the sirens of an emergency vehicle we pull over to the side of the road. When our favorite show is interrupted by the weather man and he tells us a tornado is heading our way, we jump up and get prepared for the worse.
When we pay attention to alarms like we are suppose to they will serve us well, but unfortunately not everyone does this and many lives have been lost simply because people chose not to listen to the alarms. The reason some choose to ignore certain alarms is because they have never seen anything bad happen because of them or because there had been too many false alarms, so they let their guard down.
While it is a horrible thing to lose your life for neglecting an alarm, it is much worse to lose your soul because you ignored the alarms found in Godís Word. Of course a major difference between alarms of the world and the alarms of the Bible is that the Godís Word does not contain any false alarms. He warns us that there will be a final judgment day and that we will all have to give an account to Jesus on that day on how we lived our life based on His Word (2 Cor. 5:10).
Since it has been almost 2000 years since Christ ascended into heaven some have began to ignore Godís warnings because they feel like Jesus is not going to come back or that they have plenty of time. Peter warned us that some people would think this way in 2 Pet. 3:3ff. However, we need to understand that this is not a false alarm and we need to remain alert.
Sometimes Christians see the warnings in their Bibles and they realize that they are ignoring them, but they simply do not care. Since they are not facing any immediate consequences, it doesnít bother them. However, the problem is the more you ignore the alarms, the less you are going recognize the danger you are putting your soul in and before you know it, it will be to late.
So, I hope this lesson will help you learn to become more alert and to pay attention to the many alarms that are found throughout the Bible. The seven warnings that we will be looking at today from the book of Hebrews are for those who are already Christians.
Our first alarm is deals with drifting from the Word and it is found in,
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,† 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,† 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?†
To help us to understand this warning better, we need to understand the basic message of chapter 1. We learn from that chapter that God had spoken to man through prophets in the past, but now He has spoken to man through His Son Jesus. Jesus is the express image of the Father and He has the brightness and glory of the Father.
Jesus is far greater than the angels and He has been appointed heir of all things, and Jesus is called God by the Father in verse 8. Even the angels are to worship Jesus. Jesus is the one who created the worlds, and all things are upheld by the power of his Word.
It is Jesus that purged us of our sins and who has been exalted to the right hand of God. So, Hebrews 1 shows how superior Jesus is to the prophets of old and even the angels. With this in mind, look at the first few verses of chapter 2 again:
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.† 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation
Since Jesus is far greater than the angels, and the prophets of old, we better pay attention to what He says to us through the Word of God. The reason why is given in verses 2 and 3.
Notice, the message spoken through angels in the past was true and if people did not take heed to those words, then a swift punishment would happen. Now there are differences of opinion on who the angles refer to in this text because the word angels means messenger and can apply to heavenly messengers or earthly messengers.
Personally I can see it referring to both because chapter 1 talked about both. We learn from other verses that heavenly angels were involved in someway in the giving of the Law of Moses:
Galatians 3:19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.
Now we are not told how these angels were involved, but they were there and the mediator was Moses. Luke also records this fact in,
Acts 7:52 "Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,† 53 "who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it."
The O.T. and N.T. have several examples of heavenly angels being involved with mankind. For instance,
Of course there are many other instances of angelís involvement with mankind, but these are sufficient to prove it. As the writer of Hebrews said,
Hebrews 1:14 †Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
Also all the prophets who spoke Godís Word to the various people are also called angels are messengers. When their messages from God were ignored, severe consequences were sure to follow. For example,
Of course there are many other instances that we could look at that prove that there were severe consequences when mankind did not take heed to the words spoken through earthly and heavenly angles. However, the writer of Hebrews wants us to understand that there should be no doubt in our minds that the consequences that we will face for not taking heed to Jesusí Word will be more severe because our deeds will make the difference between being saved and being lost, which is why the writer of Hebrews says,
3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,† 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?†
We need to understand that there will be no escape for us if we choose to allow ourselves to drift from Godís Word. Drifting from Godís Word is easy to do because all you have to do is nothing. Just stop praying to God and stop reading His Word and before you know it you will begin to drift.
If we want to make it to heaven and be pleasing to God then we need to take this alarm to heart and,
we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.
The second alarm of Hebrews in found in Heb. 3:7 Ė Heb. 4:2 and it has to do with doubting the Word.
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His
voice,† 8 Do not harden your
hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,† 9 Where your fathers tested Me,
tried Me, And saw My works forty years.† 10
Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, 'They always go astray in
their heart, And they have not known My ways.'† 11 So I swore in My wrath, 'They
shall not enter My rest.' "† 12
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in
departing from the living God;† 13
but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of
you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.† 14 For we have become partakers of
Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,† 15 while it is said: "Today,
if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the
rebellion."† 16 For who,
having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of
This is a completely different warning than we looked at earlier because this is dealing with those who doubt Godís Word. Since the Jews doubted Godís Word it kept them from entering the promise land. When we doubt Godís Word it can keep us out of heaven.
†It is hard to believe that someone would
neglect their salvation when there is so much evidence that proves that Word of
God is true. However, the children of
Even though they saw all of this with their eyes they doubted Godís Word and they were too afraid to enter into the promise land. Because of the unbelief, they had to wander in the wilderness for a total of 40 years because God was not going to allow those who doubt His Word to enter the promise land. If God had wanted to, he could have left the Jews on their own, but he still continued to take care of them by not allowing their cloths to wear out and he did not allow them to starve or go without water, yet they still complained and they received several punishments for their ingratitude and lack of faith.
Paul also used this example to his letter to the Corinthians, which goes hand and hand with the message our text. Notice what he wrote in,
1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea,† 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,† 3 all ate the same spiritual food,† 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.† 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.† 6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.† 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play."† 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;† 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;† 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.† 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.† 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
Both this message from Paul and the writer from Hebrews convey the idea that we must not trust in ourselves and think that we can stand firm in the faith by doing things our way. Most Christians have no problem walking with God as long as Godís way agrees with their way, but when their way clashes with Godsí way some will choose their way because they feel their way is just fine. But, this is where we get ourselves in trouble.
When we start trusting in ourselves more than trusting in Godís way, then we are showing a lack of faith and trust in God. As the writer of proverbs said,
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;† 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.† 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.† 8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.
So, take heed to this alarm in your life and donít allow yourself to doubt the Word of God no matter how much you think your way is better. Again, listen to the latter part of our text,
Heb. 4:1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.† 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.†
The third alarm from book of Hebrew come from Hebrews 5:11-14 and this alarm is a warning against dullness toward the Word.
The writer starts out in chapter 5 describing the nature of the high priest under the Law of Moses, and it talks about how Jesus has been made our high priest under the order Melchizedek. Instead of continuing on with this thought, the writer pauses and makes another observation starting in verse 11 that might apply to many Christians today,
Hebrews 5:11 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.† 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.† 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.† 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
We can understand this idea when it comes to our world. We know that there are many experts out there in their given field and there are certain words they use that only on those in their field will understand. Now if someone just started in that field and they went to a lectureship that designed for those with experience in that field, that person would be lost because they wound not be able to understand all the special terminology that was being used. This is understandable because they are babes in that field. †
However, it is sad when someone has been working in a field for many years, but they have never grown and progressed because they are dull of hearing. They have slipped through cracks and only done as little as possible to keep their job. While they should be able to teach others or even teach a lecture on their field, they cannot because they never moved on to solid food. †
This same type of attitude happens to many Christians. They had no problem obeying the Gospel, but when it comes to growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord their hearing becomes dull because they are not interested in learning more. Since they are unwilling to learn they cannot comprehend some of the more difficult books in the Bible such as the book of Hebrews.
I have known men and women who have been Christians for almost 50 years, but because of their dullness toward the Word, they couldnít tell you much about any given topic in the Bible and I would be surprised if they could even teach someone the simply plan of salvation. This is sad because someone that has been a Christian that long should know a lot about the Bible and especially how to teach the basics of the Godís Word. People like this are still babes and they have not moved on to solid food. While this is understandable for a new Christians is should not be the case for someone that has been a Christians for many years.
Friends, if you find reading your Bible is boring or if you have been a Christian for many years and you still cannot teach someone the basic principles of the Bible, then you need take this alarm to heart and realize that you are being dull of hearing. It is high time that that you start growing in your knowledge of Christ so that you can teach others. It is time to wean yourself from the milk and move on to solid food. Peter tells us exactly what must do to achieve that goal in,
2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,† 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,† 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.† 5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,† 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,† 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.† 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.† 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.† 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;† 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We have no problem making sure that we feed ourselves daily so that we donít go hungry, but many times we have no problem starving ourselves spiritually because of our dullness of hearing. So, I hope if this alarm applies to you that you will allow it to wake you up and get your attention, so that you can start growing in Christ today because if you continue in dullness of hearing, then you may find yourself being spiritual dead because you did not nourish your soul as you should had. The writer of Hebrews has taught us that those who do not move on to solid food will not be able to discern between evil and good. So, I hope that all of us will take heed to this alarm.
So far we have examined 3 alarms of the book of Hebrews. Next week we will examine the remaining 4. I hope this lesson has taught you how important alarms can especially when they come from the Word of God. As we have learned there are many things that we must watch out for as we strive to walk in footsteps of Jesus, so that we can be found faithful in the end.
Last Sunday morning we began a two part lesson on the seven alarms of Hebrews and we learned how important alarms are in our everyday lives and especial when they come from the Word of God because those alarms are designed to keep up from falling away from God. We examined the first 3 alarms of Hebrews last week. The first alarm we looked at came from Heb. 2 and it was an alarm against drifting from the Word of God.† The second alarm came from Heb. 3 and it was an alarm against doubting the Word of God. Then our final alarm we examined came from Heb. 5 and it was a warning against dullness toward the Word.
So this morning we are going start with the 4th alarm from the book of Hebrews and it comes from Heb. 6 and it warns us about departing from the Word. The first few verses of this chapter refer back to our third alarm about dullness to the Word. Notice what it says,
Hebrews 6:1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,† 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.† 3 And this we will do if God permits.
All of these topics the writer is mentioning here are considered as elementary principles of Christ. As Christians we are to grow beyond these basic principles and move on to deeper topics. We need to understand these basic principles before we can move on so that we can have firm foundation to work from. Jesus illustrated this principle in,
Matthew 7:24 " Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:† 25 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.† 26 "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:† 27 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
All of us can understand the importance of moving beyond the basics when it comes to our world. For instance, if you had 12 year old that had nothing wrong them mental or physically, yet they had only learned how to count from 1 to 10 and only knew the letters of the alphabet most people in our society would be very concerned for him because they know this young man should have already been way beyond these basics. Yet we donít seem to bat an eye at someone that has been a Christian for 12 years and yet they struggle to find where John or 1 Timothy is in their Bible. Many times we have things so backwards. While we should be concerned about a 12 year old who has not grown beyond these basics, we should be more concerned about a Christian who is not growing as they should.
In the next verses, the writer starts talking about those who have moved on to solid food and have had a deeper understanding about Godís Word. This is where our alarm comes from about departing from the Word that we should take it very serious. I am going to read to the end of the chapter so we can get the entire thought from the texts.
Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,† 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,† 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.† 7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God;† 8 but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.† 9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.† 10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.† 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,† 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.† 13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,† 14 saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you."† 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.† 16 For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute.† 17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath,† 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.† 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,† 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
This warning is directed to those who have become spiritual mature and have moved on to solid food. They understand how they are to live their life for God, and they understand the consequences of disobedience. They have experienced the power of prayer, and they know how to teach others about God. Once someone has gained this knowledge and wisdom, you would think that they would never depart from Godís Word because they have experienced and understood what it means to be a Christian, but unfortunately it happens sometimes.
What causes a Christian like this to fall away is going to be different for every Christian, but most of the time it starts out as something small that happens in their life and they become enticed by it and before you know they have allowed something small to turn into something big that swallows them whole and they depart from Godís Word. Departing from Godís Word means that you have fallen away. Now there are some religious groups out there that teach once saved always saved but the writer here proves that a person can be a spiritual mature Christian that is saved and then by their own choosing be lost by departing from Godís Word.
Now when this happens, the writer says they re-crucify Christ for themselves and put Him to open shame. This warning should scare us to death and make us pay attention to how we are living our lives so that temptation doesnít come in and cause us re-crucify Christ over again and put Him to open shame. This is describing how Jesus feels about those who loved Him and lived their life for Him and then they decide to turn their back on Him, it just like you have put Him back up on that cruel cross.
Also, when a mature Christians does this, the writer says that it is impossible to renew that fallen Christians back to repentance. Now this is not saying that God will not accept that Christian back if they repent. What it is saying is if a Christians already has experienced the grace of God and understood if and they choose to depart from it, there is nothing new they can be offered that will cause them to come back to God because they knew what they left.
We should all pay close attention to this alarm because none of us should every desire to be in this situation, but it can happen if we let our guard down and we donít endure and remain in the Word of God. As our text said, we should look at examples like Abraham to encourage us to remain faithful and trust in the promises of God.
Our fifth alarm is a warning against despising the Word of God and it comes from
Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,† 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.† 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.† 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?† 30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The LORD will judge His people."† 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.† 32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings:† 33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated;† 34 for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.† 35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.† 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:† 37 "For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.† 38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him."† 39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
It is difficult to understand how a faithful Christian could despise the Word of God and trample Jesus under their feet and consider His sacrifice as common thing, but some Christians have done this by not following Godís Word.
However, we can understand this when we put it into an earthly context. For example, if your boss gives you assignment to do with specific instructions and you have plenty of time to do what he said, but you decided to things your way instead of his way. How much respect have you given to your boss? None. How important was those instructions to you? Not important at all.
The more we trust and respect our superior, the more likely we are going to follow their instructions to the letter to the best of our ability. When we do the opposite, not only do we disrespect our superior, we are making the statement that we are greater than they are, and that we should be in their position. This is what Christians do when they despise the Word of God and they do things their way. They are showing a lack of respect for God and what Jesus did for them and they are saying that they are better than Jesus.
Jesus spoke a parable about 2 sons in Mat. 21:28-32. Their father wanted them to go work in the vineyard and one son said he would be he did not go. The other son said he would not, but later he repented and he went. Jesus wanted to know which son did the will of the Father. The opposing Jews answered correctly that the son the repented and went and worked did the will of the father.
Then Jesus pointed out
how the harlots and tax collectors would enter the
Our text says that if we sin willfully after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no more sacrifice for our sin. All there is to look forward to is a fiery judgment. Now this is not saying that if a person sins willfully that they cannot be forgiven of that sin because John says,
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If it was the case that we could not be forgiven after committing a willful sin, we would have to live perfectly, which is impossible to do and so all of us would be lost. So, when it says there is no longer a sacrifice for those that sin willfully it talking about those who sin willfully and who are not bothered by their sin or feel like they need to repent. They know what they must do to be right with God, and there is no other sacrifice that can bring about the forgiveness of their sins because Jesus already provided this through His death.
Those who have this attitude toward their sin, are despising the Word of God. Once again, we are taught about the supremacy of Christ because our text talks about how people would be put to death under the Law of Moses by two or three witness and then it says,
.† 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
If we choose to despise the Word of God by doing things our way, we are telling God by our actions that His love, mercy and grace is not important to us and the great sacrifice His Son made for us means nothing to us. When we take on this attitude, we must understand that our punishment will far greater than those who were put to death for disobeying Godís Word under the O.T. because His son is greater than them all. †
I also want to point out that our text says in Heb.10:38 that if we draw back from God that He has no pleasure in us, which means that we are not fit to enter the kingdom of heaven as Jesus said,
Luke 9:62 †No one, having put his hand to the plow, and
looking back, is fit for the
So, I hope that each of us will pay attention to this alarm and never throw away our salvation that was purchased at such a great price by despising the Word by doing things our way instead of Godís way.
Our sixth alarm of Hebrews has to do with defying the Word and it comes from,
Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:† 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;† 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.† 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.† 18 For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest,† 19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.† 20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: "And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow."† 21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, "I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.")
As Christians, we are encouraged to be peaceful with those around us, and we are to pursue, that is to continually strive, to be holy because without these our text tells we will not see the Lord. Our text confirms that if we choose to defy the Word of God, then we can fall from Godís grace.
Defying Godís is more than just ignoring it, it means that we take a stand against it. It like a child who is testing their parents to see what they can get away with. This is exactly what some Christians find themselves doing with God. Itís like they test the waters by engaging in an activity that they know is wrong and they wait to see if God is going to do anything about it. When nothing seems to happen, they continue engage in more and more sins thinking that they are getting away with something without any consequences.
Take the classic example of Esau. He was hungry and choose to sell his birthright for a little bit of food. Now he was not ignorant of what he was given up, but he did it anyway. I am sure that he was extremely hungry, but I doubt that he was in any immediate danger of dying from starvation, and its not like there wasnít food around that he could eat a little bit later without selling his birthright. Since Esau did this he is called a fornicator and profane person.
Let me ask you a question. Would give up something of great value for a little bit food just because your hungry, yet not in danger of starving to death? Most of us would probably say no, but many people exchange eternity in heaven for worldliness. They are willing to defy the Word of God just so they can enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. As Jesus said,
Matthew 16:26 "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
We need to understand that nothing on this earth is worth losing our soul over. We must remind ourselves that sinful pleasures of this world are only temporary and they will be burned up. Besides you cannot even begin to compare worldliness to enjoying eternity in heaven.
The more we defy God, the easier it is going to be for us to move away from Him completely. If we are not careful, we can find ourselves past the point of no return because once we have seared our hearts with a hot iron, it is very unlikely that we will every return back to God. Remember defiance also starts out small, so if you see that you are starting to defy Godís Word is one area of your life, you need to listen to this alarm and change your ways so that it doesnít lead to more defiance, which will ultimately cause you to fall from Godís grace. So, donít exchange your soul for worldliness.
Our seventh alarm has to do with dishonoring the Word and we learn about this in,
Hebrews 12:25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,† 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven."† 27 Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.† 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.† 29 For our God is a consuming fire.†
The OT is full of
examples of those dishonored Godís Word by being disobedient and how they were
punished and sometime put to death for this dishonor. When God spoke at
Matthew 27:51 †Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,
After this great event, we were given the kingdom that cannot be shaken, which is talking about the church. If we want to be part of Godís unshakable kingdom, then we must not dishonor God by disobeying His commands.
It doesnít matter if Godís Word came through an angel, a whisper, or through the written Word, we need to listen to what He says because He is our creator and it is only through Him that we can live and have hope of a life in heaven. God deserves our reverence and if we choose dishonor Him, then we need to be afraid because it is a fearful thing to fall into hands of a living God.
While God is merciful, He is also just, so we must do our best to honor our creator and what He has done for us by obeying His commands. After all, Jesus said if we love Him we will keep His commands and we will be His friend (John 14:15; 15:14). So, let us never forget what God has done for us and is doing for us so that we can be encouraged to do our best to not dishonor Him by disobeying His Word.
As we come to end of lesson this morning, I hope you have learned how important it is that we pay attention to the alarms that are found in the Bible. Now we have only examined 7 of those alarms in the book of Hebrews, but there are many more that can be seen throughout the N.T. and I hope that we will allow them to keep us alert so that we do not find ourselves falling from God grace.
(This 2-part sermon was adapted from the excellent chapter ďTHE SEVEN ALARMS OF HEBREWSĒ written by Kenneth E Ratcliff found in the Gospel Journal Commentary Series on Hebrews p. 295ff.)