This letter to the Hebrews glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and exalts Him above all things as is proper –
Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Today we need to discover the necessity for writing this letter. When we are asked of the purpose of the letter, we would answer that the Lord is set forth as being better than anything – full stop! We would think that they, as well as we, would know this truth seeing that we have come to Him as Lord and Saviour, gladly admitting that which was testified of by John –
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
It seems from the evidence given in the letter that the people had lost their zeal, their energy in living their day to day lives for the Lord. Does this sound familiar. We also have the inclination to slow down in our service to the Lord. I trust that this exhortation will be our exhortation to prepare our hearts to keep the Lord as our first love!
We note three things today – The Passion was gone from their lives resulting in the Problem being discovered which led to the Prescription for recovery. We begin this morning with the description of –
I. The Passion faded from their lives.
A. They had ignored the power of the Lord. Hebrews 2:1 “drifting”
“…lest at any time we should let them slip.”
They began to believe that if they did not do the work of the Lord, someone else would. They were busy in the work of life and did not have time, but someday they would have the time to give unto the Lord.
How often we say “Where has the day gone”? Think about this – we talk about the day slipping by, what about the week, the month, the year, the life! “On my, where has my life gone”? I meant to do more, but I let it “slip” by.
B. They had ignored the purpose of the Lord. Hebrews 6:12
“…That ye be not slothful…” “sluggish” We are in danger of being quick starters for everything except our service to the Lord.
Have you visited a crocodile farm and watched them laze around the pool. You would think that they were asleep, or even dead. They seem to be so sluggish. It is all they can do just to change their position a bit. A serious change is noticed when a chicken carcass is thrown in though. Wham! The crocodile comes alive with desire to get the chicken first! This is how many Christians are – seeming to laze around saving our energy for something really important and when it comes along, we come alive! We might say of Christians “It would be great if they got that excited about the things of God”!
Now, we are not crocodiles in a river or sloths in a jungle. God has not created us to laze around a pool of water or climb along vines in a jungle. He has created us to work steadfastly at that which He puts before us.
These believers were drifting along, they were spiritually sleeping.
Paul wrote to them and revealed –
II. The Problem evidenced in their lives.
A. They were preoccupied.
Hebrews 5:11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
Paul told them that it was very difficult for him to teach intelligently, to give them the interpretation of spiritual things, because they would not listen with the desire of understanding.
They were like these of our day that cannot be taught because they are like children, totally occupied with toys and games –
Hebrews 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
B. They were spiritually paralyzed.
Hebrews 12:12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
Can you imagine the man with the palsy who was carried by his friends to Jesus and wonderfully healed with the Lord commanding him “take up thy bed and walk” returning to his bed of affliction? What about the woman taken with the terrible disease of twelve years that He healed on the road as He went to the home of Jairus to heal his daughter. Or the lame man at the pool of Bethesda or the blind man in Jericho? Do you think any of them would throw away the life that Jesus gave them?
Paul knew of the problems. He warned them and then he gave them –
III. The Prescription for recovery.
A. Pay attention Hebrews 2:1
“…we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard…”
Paul is exhorting us to examine our motives in hearing and obeying the Word of God. We are challenged to go beyond our duty as we are instructed. We should desire to hear God and obey Him. We begin our life with God through dutiful obedience to Him. As we learn of Him we are to grow from duty to desire.
Paying attention to God’s will for us is more than just doing what we should do, as doing our duty. Paying attention to God’s will for us is necessary if we are going to be what God wants us to be!
Refer to the use of the word in –
2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must (ought) not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
Paul tells us that a servant of the Lord should not quarrel, fight, with others. He should be gentle to all men. In order to understand our motives, we will illustrate simply using an employer/employee relationship.
One might say “That employer does not fight with his employees”, and go on to say – “Look, he is being kind to them. His actions show what he does. One might also say of another employer– “Look, he is kind to them.” His attitude shows what he is. You may say that it is a small thing, doing and being, as long as the work of God is done. But it makes all the difference in the world to the Lord. He is all of what He says He is and we are to be all that we say we are!
Paul wrote the Hebrews and told them that if they were going to glorify God on earth by their lives, they needed to begin by being what He wanted them to be and that could only be accomplished if they “gave earnest heed to the things which we have heard.” They need to pay attention to Gods will.
From here they would –
B. Pray assuredly Hebrews 4:14-16
They would be known as God’s children, a people who were in daily communion with Him. Their faith and trust would be evident through their reliance on the Lord which would be evidenced through their prayer life.
These people were in danger of growing cold to the things of God. They had become preoccupied and paralyzed. In order to recover they must pay attention to the Word of God, they must pray assuredly to the Lord and then they must –
C. Participate actively Hebrews 12:1,2
Action is a necessary part of our being as Christians. The Lord stated this in –
John 14:31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
We are to be witnesses unto the Lord and there is only one way to accomplish the purpose of God in our lives – “Arise, let us go…” Run the race that God has put us in!
The Letter to the Hebrews is a testimony to the infinite greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ. I challenge us today to prepare our hearts and minds to read, know, and do what we will be challenged with as we preach this Word in the coming weeks.
Have you been preoccupied, putting things of this world before the Lord? Have you been paralyzed, not walking according to the will of God? It is time for us to “…give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard” and the things that we will hear.