Tuesday, September 22, 2020

 

The Son Must Be Preeminent

Hebrews 2 The Danger of Drifting From So Great A Salvation

 

In today's world we are virtually drowning in an ocean of communication, media, and advertisement. At all times, somebody somewhere is trying to get our attention and deliver a message to us. Commercials, billboards, Twitter feeds, political campaign ads, television preachers, entertainment, conversations, and a thousand other things flood our eyes and ears. The key to navigating these treacherous waters is deciphering which messages are worthy of our focus. This section of Hebrews urges us to pay the utmost attention to the most worthy of messages. In short, God has spoken. He has spoken in his Son. The most important message we can hear is the message that comes from the Father through the Son in the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. That God has revealed himself and made a way for us to be saved through faith in the person and work of his Son is the most earth-shattering news we will ever hear. God has spoken to us in Jesus Christ. What could possibly be better news than that?

 

Hebrews 2:

1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

 

There is comparison and continuity expressed here in this passage. The truths of Hebrews 1:1 and 2 are filled out here. God has spoken in the Old Testament He has Spoken more seriously here in the New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Just as the angels attended the giving of the law, so the angels attend to this more important revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ (2:2, compared to 1:5,6,7,14.

 

I was one of the Romper Room generation.  I remembered the most important thing from Romper Room was the picture of a bee flying around, and kids would buzz around the tv as Miss…? Said each day:

"Don't be a Don't be Do be a Do Bee…."

I grew up thinking that negative warnings were not helpful.  But Hebrews is a book of warnings. It is an epistle in which there are seven warnings :

Peter Obrien "The writer describes his work as 'a word of exhortation', that is, a homily or sermon which he wants his hearers to receive (13:22). His exhortations and warnings are integral to the argument and purpose of Hebrews and are in line with this description. Although there is more exhortation in the book than this listing indicates, the following are particularly important and have been called 'the warning passages of Hebrews':

Don't Drift, Heb 2                     

Don't Doubt Heb 3

Don't become Dull  Heb 5:11                    

Don't Deny.     Heb 6

Don't Disobey  Heb 10:19                                

Don't Despise God's Chastening Heb 12

Don't be Disaffected.    Heb 12

2:1-4; 3:12-4:13; 5:11-6:12; 10:26-39; 12:25-29. These exhortations are sometimes addressed to the readers in the second person plural 'you', but they also frequently appear in the first person plural, as here in 2:1-4. By using 'we' and 'us' the author identifies himself with his listeners and brings a warmth and urgency to his addressees. … The reference to God who has spoken effectively 'in the past' (1:1) and now 'in these last days . . . to us' (1:2) prepares for the solemn appeal to readers to pay the closest attention to what we have heard (2:1-4).399 Moreover, the interlocking of 1:5-14 with 2:1-4 shows that the exposition of Scripture was not an end in itself, but provided the ground for challenging the hearers to resist the temptation of disregarding their Christian commitment. They were in danger of drifting off course.

Here at 2:1 all are confronted by the word of God: 'we must keep holding fast to what we have heard'."

1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard,

 

Albert Mohler: "We do not listen to the Son so that we can puff ourselves up theologically. Doctrine is not for bludgeoning our brothers and sisters in Christ, nor is it for impressing our neighbors. We engage the Bible with the utmost seriousness in order to commune with God himself and thereby not "drift away." The language of drifting conveys nautical imagery. In the ocean, those who row in the wrong direction are not the only ones who fail to reach their desired destination; it is also those who do not row at all. There are only two options in the Christian life: we can either sail forward in fidelity or we can drift backward in faithlessness. There is no such thing as standing still in the Christian life.

Spiritual drift is often imperceptible when it starts. But just like boats at sea, our souls can veer almost entirely off course in moments. You do not need to be far off course to end up a very long way from where you initially intended to be. The writer of Hebrews indicates that there is only one way to fight against the danger of spiritual drift: we must pay attention to and obey the Word of God. Orthodoxy and obedience are the oars we must use for fighting against the straying current of spiritual drift. Theology and practice will keep us sailing forward in fidelity. The fight of sanctification is a fight against the tides of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Either we are listening to the Son and walking in his Word, or we are drifting away from biblical thinking and getting carried away by the cultural confusion of our day.

Sadly, we witness theological and spiritual drift all too often. It is the story of many denominations, churches, families, and individuals. Even the most cursory knowledge of church history demonstrates that heresy and theological liberalism do not capsize denominations and churches with one revolutionary wave. Instead, churches and individuals end up on the wrong side of the doctrinal equation by drifting a little at a time. Churches once orthodox in their theology slowly minimize and relax their theological convictions until they become unwilling to draw boundaries or speak clearly on issues essential to orthodox Christianity and the evangelical gospel.

 

The author of Hebrews wants to make sure there is really a good anchor point for your life.  He knows the only good anchor point is the Lord Jesus. 

 

God wants you to anchor your life to Him.  That's why in Hebrews 1:1-4 he goes to such lengths to tell you Who Jesus is. He wants you to anchor to Him, and not to drift. So how do we avoid the danger of spiritual drift? The answer is the beginning of Hebrews 2:1. We must "pay attention all the more to what we have heard." The importance of "hearing" God's Word pervades Scripture. Paul reminds us, "Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ" (Rom 10:17). Of course, when Scripture talks about "hearing," it means more than just audibly perceiving God's Word. For example, concerning those who did not believe him, Jesus said, "looking they do not see, and hearing they do not listen or understand" (Matt 13:13). "Hearing" the Word of God rightly is a spiritual hearing—one that involves believing, obeying, and submitting to what is heard. Right hearing is more a matter of the heart than a function of the ear. We must hear with our hearts.

Christian faithfulness has no secret formula. God sanctifies us through his Word (John 17:17). We avoid the danger of spiritual drift by reading, hearing, meditating on, and obeying Scripture. As B. B. Warfield said, "When Scripture speaks, God speaks" (Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, 119). We avoid spiritual drift by dropping the anchor of our souls in the deep waters of the Word of God.

 

But go back a minute to the last quote we didn't look at last week. .. we must look at it because 2:1 refers to it. Therefore… what is here in chapter is because of what is  in Chapter 1. And what is here in chapter 1 is summarized in 1:13.

13 And to which of the angels has he ever said,

"Sit at my right hand

until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"?

The section is related to the last quotation of Psalm 110 found in 1:13. The enthronement of the Son. The introduction to the quotation of Ps. 110(LXX 109):1 both sets it apart from vv. 6-12, and forms an inclusion with v. 5a, binding the catena together (see introduction to 1:5-14). The quotation itself follows the LXX and the MT exactly.  Ps. 110:1 is the OT text most widely used in the NT. It is quoted in Mk. 12:3611 and Acts 2:34f.; freely quoted in 1 Cor. 15:25; and alluded to in Mk. 14:6211; 16:19; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1.

Ps. 110:1 is associated with Ps. 8:6f., either by conflation (references to the Son of Man in Mk. 14:6211, cf. Dn. 7:13; Mk. 12:36, Mt. 22:44), or by quotation (1 Cor. 15:25, 27; Eph. 1:20, 22; Heb. 2:6-8). The messianic interpretation of the text, and more specifically its application to Christ as Lord, are presupposed in Hebrews, as in Mk. 12:35, 37 and Acts 2:36. The psalm itself contains slight elements of royal messianism, somewhat enhanced in the LXX of v. 3 (Coppens 1956). Ps. 110:1a ("The Lord said to my lord ...") is not quoted, but the author of Hebrews assumes that his readers would respond to the rhetorical question: "to which of the angels did God ever say ... ?" with the answer: "to no angel, but to the one whom the psalmist calls `my Lord."' The author can also assume that Christ's sitting at God's right hand involves supremacy over the angels. It now emerges that his main interest in this chapter is not negatively to demote angels in his readers' eyes, but positively to reaffirm and strengthen their existing faith in the one who is now exalted to sit at God's right hand.

The specific function of this quotation is in fact twofold.  In relation to the earlier argument (as in Acts 2:34f.) it appeals to a quotation deeply rooted in primitive tradition in order to confirm the supremacy of Christ by virtue of his exaltation (as in Acts, by virtue of his resurrection).  And Secondly in relation to the argument of chap. 2, and especially the exposition of Ps. 8 in vv. 5-9, the quotation of Ps. 110:1 announces the author's concern with the period from Christ's enthronement to his final triumph, the "until" of this text anticipating the "not yet" of Heb. 2:8.

He is saying the Lord Jesus Christ is preeminent, seated at the right hand of the Father on high.  13 And to which of the angels has he ever said,  "Sit at my right hand

until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"?

Therefore don't drift.  Don't drift into becoming an enemy of God.

Don't Miss the Greatness of your Salvation.

Heb 2: 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Kent Hughes has summarized the opening contents of the supremacy of Jesus Christ as, His prophetic supremacy as the final word of God (vv. 1,2), his cosmic supremacy as Creator and Sustainer of all (vv. 2, 3), his Levitical supremacy as the ultimate priest seated in Heaven (v. 3), and his angelic supremacy in that he is superior to angels in name, honor, vocation, existence and reign (vv. 4-14). This manifold superiority of Christ is meant to be an anchor to hold them to their Christian faith amidst the increasingly stormy seas of persecution. Indeed, it is meant to be the universal anchor for all imperiled souls for all time [Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul, vol. I, 47-48].

it was originated by Jesus.

This "salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord,"

Mark 1:14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

Matt 17:22 Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up." And they were exceedingly sorrowful.

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

 

We are to ever be astounded by the wonder that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself;" and that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (II Cor. 5:19; John 1:14). God himself has come to us to reveal himself in all of the radiance of his glory and holiness, and to effect our redemption through his own fulfillment of the law and then bearing its penalty against us at the Cross.

 

It was substantiated by the apostles

and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,

This was a reference to the apostles and firsthand witnesses of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. While these first century believers heard some of the witnesses with their own ears, we have the vantage point of reading their own story of Jesus Christ in the pages of the New Testament. The evidence of the gospel's trustworthiness is strengthened by the testimony of the nine New Testament authors in their 27 books. The role of the apostles was to be the foundation of the church.

Eph 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

 

Rev 21:12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

 

It was authenticated by God with miracles and signs.

4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

 

At times God enjoined the evidence by demonstrating his power in out-of-the-ordinary ways to confirm the trustworthiness of the gospel. Prior to the canon of Scripture and at the advent of the gospel message into a society that knew nothing of Christ, it was important for these signs and wonders to point attention to the power of Jesus Christ to save sinful men. "God also testifying with them [literally, the Greek term is 'to witness together with someone' or 'to join in giving additional testimony'],

Signs" were events that pointed beyond the act itself to God's mighty hand operating upon humanity or nature. "Wonders" tended to excite a sense of awe and amazement in onlookers because of its superhuman character that again points God-ward. "Various miracles" refers to the diverse ways that the Lord invaded the normal pattern of humanity and accomplished something beyond human capacity. "Gifts of the Holy Spirit" shows how even in the manifestation of spiritual gifts there is a testimony of the power of God at work among his people, all for the purpose of testifying of the great sufficiency of Jesus Christ. All of these things are done "according to His own will," that is, none of these acts or gifts come by the whim or random desires of men, but only by the control and purposes of God [see Philip Hughes 80-81].

This tells us the purpose of the miraculous gifts in the first century was primarily to authenticate the message which the apostles brought.

2 Cor 12:11 I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing. 12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.

The very word "sign" tells you these were miracles with a message.  Miracles that gave important information, and the important information they gave was that the Lord Jesus Christ was the Christ, and that the message about Him was the ongoing of the Old Testament.  The revelation the apostles brought was to be regarded as highly as the Old testament revelation. It is all the Word of God.

Don't Miss The Seriousness of your Salvation   Hebrews 1

Hebrews 2: 1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution,

 

God thought it

Eph 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Jesus bought it    purged (1:3)  inherited (as a free gift (1:14)

Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

The Holy Spirit wrought it

Eph 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Sinners sought It

The Devil fought it

And we caught it.

You'd be Dumb to miss it!   Verses 2 and 3

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,

In the Old testament, when God's Word was given, the commandment of the Sabbath was broken by a man gathering sticks.  The people of Israel sought the Lord to know what they ought to do.  God told them to stone the man to death.  He was making it plain that breaking His Law so deliberately was a slight on God Himself.  Would you give God the cold shoulder? Hey consider what you are doing?  He sent His Son to die for you, and would you despise the sacrifice the Son made?

There is a true story of a father, who, on his way home from work one afternoon came on the scene of a car accident. A car had hit a pushbike, and there on the ground lay his son in a pool of blood.  As he passed the bike, he realised who it was.  The ambulance men had finished working, and it was too late. The boy had died.  When they realised this was the man's son, they comforted him. Nothing was to be done.  The body was in the ambulance, and it would be taken to be prepared for burial.  They left the father sitting beside the pool of blood in the gutter.  Traffic started to flow again, and the man, overcome with emotion, ran into the middle of the road waving his hands and crying "Don't run over my son's blood!"

Heb 10:28-29   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?

Kent Hughes has written, "Drifting is the besetting sin of our day." He explains that drifting "is not so much intentional as from unconcern" [48]. That is why the writer of Hebrews interrupts his exposition of the supremacy of Jesus Christ over the angels by injecting this stern warning of drifting away.

We do not hear the gospel without responsibility to faithfully heed its call. Built into the very fabric of the gospel is a sense of accountability. We impoverish our own souls, yes; we even imperil our own souls, by neglecting the gospel of Jesus Christ. So we are warned that there is no escaping this divine reckoning with the gospel of Christ. Do you take the message of the gospel seriously? Are you paying attention to Christ and the gospel, more attention than to the passing fancies of the world or the religious substitutes bombarding our society?

Don't Miss the Fullness of your Salvation.

It's in the Lord Jesus, not some new book, seminar or emphasis. I am often asked if I go along with this emphasis or that emphasis.  How do I define myself as a pastor?  Am I a premill, amill or flower mill? Do I hold to a pretrib, post trib or mid trib rapture?   Do I hold to the doctrines of grace, or the freewill of man?

Am I 2 point, 3 point 4 point or 5 point Calvinist?

Do I hold to a strict cessationist position, or a loose cessationist position.

Do I hold to the church as a universal church or only a local body of Christ?

Am I a contemporary or traditional worshipper, or am I blended with a tinge of Hillsong?

Do I hold to the primacy of the KJV? Or the primacy of the Textus Receptus, or the primacy of the Arnd's text, or Westcott and Horst's text, or the UBS text or ?

Do we hold to filling with Spirit as a daily experience or as a crisis experience?   Now all these things are important, and you already know I have definite views on each of these issues, but I think sometimes we could be so taken up with what we are against, that I don't know what I am for anymore. We could become legalistic and barren if we don't keep the main thing as the main thing. 

We can become cultic if we allow some personal "conviction" about a secondary issue such as 6 Day Creation, Music Style, Music or non music, or Vaccinations, or an opinion about covid or some other issue to become the dominant thing of our lives. It must not be so.  We mustn't be known for what we are against, bit what we are for!!

What I am for is the Lord Jesus Christ, our crucified, risen, ascended and returning Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ is the main thing.   Do you know Him? Have you received His salvation? Are you growing to enjoy more and more this wonderful salvation?

When I became a Christian when I was 15 , I realised that Jesus Christ is a wonderful saviour.  46 years on He is a much, much more wonderful Saviour. The more I know of Him, the more wonderful He becomes. Every day He is more wonderful to me.  This is not a "great salvation", this is a "so-great salvation!"

That little word "so" has an eternal God in it. 

That little word "so" has the presence of God in it.

That little word "So" has an unbelievable love in it. 

That little word "so" has the Sacrifice of God the Son it.

That little word "so" has an eternity of heaven in it. 

That little word "so" has a tremendous personality changing power in it.

That little word "so" has life in it.

That little word "so" has God indwelling my poor human frame in the presence of His Holy Spirit in it.

That little word "so" has a lifetime of joy and peace in it.

That little word "so" has friendships and fellowship unknown to the person outside of Christ in it.

That little word "so" has a God Who guides me and daily cares for my needs in it.

That little word "so" has in it more than the greatest millionaire could possibly buy.

That little word "so". A "so great" salvation!

Do you value it?  Has it struck you that you are of all people the most rich?  Has it struck you that angels don't even have what you have, A Saviour to die for them?

Herschel Hobbs said, "The great river of God's will is everflowing on to bigger and more glorious purposes. Some individuals and churches are content to stand like children and splash in the shallow waters, while the great plan of God flows by them.
"we must give the more careful attention" - more earnest heed; apply what you have heard about salvation; to apply the mind tenaciously.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe tells about the man with a hearing problem in Leeds, England who went to the doctor. He already had a hearing aid. When the doctor removed the aid, his hearing immediately improved. He had been wearing it in the wrong ear for twenty years.

One pastor was asked if he had a deaf ministry in his church. He replied, "Sometimes I think the whole church is deaf!" We are called to listen better to the truth of the gospel. Dr. Griffith Thomas has said, "With familiarity truths tend to lose their influence, and the result is involuntary gradual backsliding."

The next time you sing, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing," recall that the composer, Robert Robinson, was converted under the mighty preaching of George Whitefield, but that later he drifted from the Lord. He had been greatly used as a pastor, but neglect of spiritual things led him astray. In an attempt to find peace, he began to travel. During one of his journeys, he met a young woman who was evidently very spiritually minded.
"What do you think of this hymn I have been reading?" she asked Robinson, handing him the book. It was his own hymn! He tried to avoid her question but it was hopeless, for the Lord was speaking to him. Finally, he broke down and confessed who he was and how he had been living away from the Lord.  "But these 'streams of mercy' are still flowing," the woman assured him; and through her encouragement, Robinson was restored to fellowship with the Lord.

Our salvation is a "great salvation," purchased at a great price. It brings with it great promises and blessings, and it leads to a great inheritance in glory.

Heb. 6:19, "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil."

 

 


 

The Danger Of Drifting From The Son

Hebrews 2 The Danger of Drifting From So Great A Salvation

 

In today's world we are virtually drowning in an ocean of communication, media, and advertisement. At all times, somebody somewhere is trying to get our attention and deliver a message to us. Commercials, billboards, Twitter feeds, political campaign ads, television preachers, entertainment, conversations, and a thousand other things flood our eyes and ears. The key to navigating these treacherous waters is deciphering which messages are worthy of our focus. This section of Hebrews urges us to pay the utmost attention to the most worthy of messages. In short, God has spoken. He has spoken in his Son. The most important message we can hear is the message that comes from the Father through the Son in the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. That God has revealed himself and made a way for us to be saved through faith in the person and work of his Son is the most earth-shattering news we will ever hear. God has spoken to us in Jesus Christ. What could possibly be better news than that?

 

Hebrews 2:

1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

 

There is comparison and continuity expressed here in this passage. The truths of Hebrews 1:1 and 2 are filled out here. God has spoken in the Old Testament He has Spoken more seriously here in the New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Just as the angels attended the giving of the law, so the angels attend to this more important revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ (2:2, compared to 1:5,6,7,14.

 

I was one of the Romper Room generation.  I remembered the most important thing from Romper Room was the picture of a bee flying around, and kids would buzz around the tv as Miss…? Said each day:

"Don't be a Don't be Do be a Do Bee…."

I grew up thinking that negative warnings were not helpful.  But Hebrews is a book of warnings. It is an epistle in which there are seven warnings :

Peter Obrien "The writer describes his work as 'a word of exhortation', that is, a homily or sermon which he wants his hearers to receive (13:22). His exhortations and warnings are integral to the argument and purpose of Hebrews and are in line with this description. Although there is more exhortation in the book than this listing indicates, the following are particularly important and have been called 'the warning passages of Hebrews':

Don't Drift, Heb 2                     

Don't Doubt Heb 3

Don't become Dull  Heb 5:11                    

Don't Deny.     Heb 6

Don't Disobey  Heb 10:19                                

Don't Despise God's Chastening Heb 12

Don't be Disaffected.    Heb 12

2:1-4; 3:12-4:13; 5:11-6:12; 10:26-39; 12:25-29. These exhortations are sometimes addressed to the readers in the second person plural 'you', but they also frequently appear in the first person plural, as here in 2:1-4. By using 'we' and 'us' the author identifies himself with his listeners and brings a warmth and urgency to his addressees. … The reference to God who has spoken effectively 'in the past' (1:1) and now 'in these last days . . . to us' (1:2) prepares for the solemn appeal to readers to pay the closest attention to what we have heard (2:1-4).399 Moreover, the interlocking of 1:5-14 with 2:1-4 shows that the exposition of Scripture was not an end in itself, but provided the ground for challenging the hearers to resist the temptation of disregarding their Christian commitment. They were in danger of drifting off course.

Here at 2:1 all are confronted by the word of God: 'we must keep holding fast to what we have heard'."

1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard,

 

Albert Mohler: "We do not listen to the Son so that we can puff ourselves up theologically. Doctrine is not for bludgeoning our brothers and sisters in Christ, nor is it for impressing our neighbors. We engage the Bible with the utmost seriousness in order to commune with God himself and thereby not "drift away." The language of drifting conveys nautical imagery. In the ocean, those who row in the wrong direction are not the only ones who fail to reach their desired destination; it is also those who do not row at all. There are only two options in the Christian life: we can either sail forward in fidelity or we can drift backward in faithlessness. There is no such thing as standing still in the Christian life.

Spiritual drift is often imperceptible when it starts. But just like boats at sea, our souls can veer almost entirely off course in moments. You do not need to be far off course to end up a very long way from where you initially intended to be. The writer of Hebrews indicates that there is only one way to fight against the danger of spiritual drift: we must pay attention to and obey the Word of God. Orthodoxy and obedience are the oars we must use for fighting against the straying current of spiritual drift. Theology and practice will keep us sailing forward in fidelity. The fight of sanctification is a fight against the tides of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Either we are listening to the Son and walking in his Word, or we are drifting away from biblical thinking and getting carried away by the cultural confusion of our day.

Sadly, we witness theological and spiritual drift all too often. It is the story of many denominations, churches, families, and individuals. Even the most cursory knowledge of church history demonstrates that heresy and theological liberalism do not capsize denominations and churches with one revolutionary wave. Instead, churches and individuals end up on the wrong side of the doctrinal equation by drifting a little at a time. Churches once orthodox in their theology slowly minimize and relax their theological convictions until they become unwilling to draw boundaries or speak clearly on issues essential to orthodox Christianity and the evangelical gospel.

 

The author of Hebrews wants to make sure there is really a good anchor point for your life.  He knows the only good anchor point is the Lord Jesus. 

 

God wants you to anchor your life to Him.  That's why in Hebrews 1:1-4 he goes to such lengths to tell you Who Jesus is. He wants you to anchor to Him, and not to drift. So how do we avoid the danger of spiritual drift? The answer is the beginning of Hebrews 2:1. We must "pay attention all the more to what we have heard." The importance of "hearing" God's Word pervades Scripture. Paul reminds us, "Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ" (Rom 10:17). Of course, when Scripture talks about "hearing," it means more than just audibly perceiving God's Word. For example, concerning those who did not believe him, Jesus said, "looking they do not see, and hearing they do not listen or understand" (Matt 13:13). "Hearing" the Word of God rightly is a spiritual hearing—one that involves believing, obeying, and submitting to what is heard. Right hearing is more a matter of the heart than a function of the ear. We must hear with our hearts.

Christian faithfulness has no secret formula. God sanctifies us through his Word (John 17:17). We avoid the danger of spiritual drift by reading, hearing, meditating on, and obeying Scripture. As B. B. Warfield said, "When Scripture speaks, God speaks" (Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, 119). We avoid spiritual drift by dropping the anchor of our souls in the deep waters of the Word of God.

 

The section is related to the last quotation of Psalm 110 found in 1:13. The enthronement of the Son. The introduction to the quotation of Ps. 110(LXX 109):1 both sets it apart from vv. 6-12, and forms an inclusion with v. 5a, binding the catena together (see introduction to 1:5-14). The quotation itself follows the LXX and the MT exactly.  Ps. 110:1 is the OT text most widely used in the NT. It is quoted in Mk. 12:3611 and Acts 2:34f.; freely quoted in 1 Cor. 15:25; and alluded to in Mk. 14:6211; 16:19; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1;

(a) Ps. 110:1 is associated with Ps. 8:6f., either by conflation (references to the Son of Man in Mk. 14:6211, cf. Dn. 7:13; vjtoxatw for vjtotto&Lov, Mk. 12:36 text; Mt. 22:44), or by quotation (1 Cor. 15:25, 27; Eph. 1:20, 22; Heb. 2:6-8). Hebrews shows no interest, here or elsewhere, in the apologetic argument that the psalm cannot apply to David (Mk. 12:35- 3711; Acts 2:34; cf. Barn. 12:10f.). The messianic interpretation of the text, and more specifically its application to Christ as Lord, are presupposed in Hebrews, as in Mk. 12:35, 3711 and Acts 2:36. The psalm itself contains slight elements of royal messianism, somewhat enhanced in the LXX of v. 3 (Coppens 1956). Ps. 110:1a ("The Lord said to my lord ...") is not quoted, but the author of Hebrews assumes that his readers would respond to the rhetorical question: "to which of the angels did God ever say ... ?" with the answer: "to no angel, but to the one whom the psalmist calls `my Lord."' The author can also assume that Christ's sitting at God's right hand involves supremacy over the angels. It now emerges that his main interest in this chapter is not negatively to demote angels in his readers' eyes, but positively to reaffirm and strengthen their existing faith in the one who is now exalted to sit at God's right hand.

The specific function of this quotation is in fact twofold. (a) In relation to the earlier argument (as in Acts 2:34f.) it appeals to a quotation deeply rooted in primitive tradition in order to confirm the supremacy of Christ by virtue of his exaltation (as in Acts, by virtue of his resurrection). (b) In relation to the argument of chap. 2, and especially the exposition of Ps. 8 in vv. 5-9, the quotation of Ps. 110:1 announces the author's concern with the period from Christ's enthronement to his final triumph, the "until" of this text anticipating the "not yet" of Heb. 2:8.

 

Therefore don't drift.  Vs 3

Therefore 2:1

Don't Miss the Greatness of your Salvation.

Heb 2: 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Kent Hughes has summarized the opening contents of the supremacy of Jesus Christ as, His prophetic supremacy as the final word of God (vv. 1,2), his cosmic supremacy as Creator and Sustainer of all (vv. 2, 3), his Levitical supremacy as the ultimate priest seated in Heaven (v. 3), and his angelic supremacy in that he is superior to angels in name, honor, vocation, existence and reign (vv. 4-14). This manifold superiority of Christ is meant to be an anchor to hold them to their Christian faith amidst the increasingly stormy seas of persecution. Indeed, it is meant to be the universal anchor for all imperiled souls for all time [Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul, vol. I, 47-48].

it was originated by Jesus.

This "salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord,"

Mark 1:14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

Matt 17:22 Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up." And they were exceedingly sorrowful.

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

 

We are to ever be astounded by the wonder that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself;" and that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (II Cor. 5:19; John 1:14). God himself has come to us to reveal himself in all of the radiance of his glory and holiness, and to effect our redemption through his own fulfillment of the law and then bearing its penalty against us at the Cross.

 

It was substantiated by the apostles

and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,

This was a reference to the apostles and firsthand witnesses of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. While these first century believers heard some of the witnesses with their own ears, we have the vantage point of reading their own story of Jesus Christ in the pages of the New Testament. The evidence of the gospel's trustworthiness is strengthened by the testimony of the nine New Testament authors in their 27 books. The role of the apostles was to be the foundation of the church.

Eph 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

 

Rev 21:12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

 

It was authenticated by God with miracles and signs.

4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

 

At times God enjoined the evidence by demonstrating his power in out-of-the-ordinary ways to confirm the trustworthiness of the gospel. Prior to the canon of Scripture and at the advent of the gospel message into a society that knew nothing of Christ, it was important for these signs and wonders to point attention to the power of Jesus Christ to save sinful men. "God also testifying with them [literally, the Greek term is 'to witness together with someone' or 'to join in giving additional testimony'],

Signs" were events that pointed beyond the act itself to God's mighty hand operating upon humanity or nature. "Wonders" tended to excite a sense of awe and amazement in onlookers because of its superhuman character that again points God-ward. "Various miracles" refers to the diverse ways that the Lord invaded the normal pattern of humanity and accomplished something beyond human capacity. "Gifts of the Holy Spirit" shows how even in the manifestation of spiritual gifts there is a testimony of the power of God at work among his people, all for the purpose of testifying of the great sufficiency of Jesus Christ. All of these things are done "according to His own will," that is, none of these acts or gifts come by the whim or random desires of men, but only by the control and purposes of God [see Philip Hughes 80-81].

This tells us the purpose of the miraculous gifts in the first century was primarily to authenticate the message which the apostles brought.

2 Cor 12:11 I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing. 12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.

The very word "sign" tells you these were miracles with a message.  Miracles that gave important information, and the important information they gave was that the Lord Jesus Christ was the Christ, and that the message about Him was the ongoing of the Old Testament.  The revelation the apostles brought was to be regarded as highly as the Old testament revelation. It is all the Word of God.

Don't Miss The Seriousness of your Salvation   Hebrews 1

Hebrews 2: 1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution,

 

God thought it

Eph 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Jesus bought it    purged (1:3)  inherited (as a free gift (1:14)

Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

The Holy Spirit wrought it

Eph 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Sinners sought It

The Devil fought it

And we caught it.

You'd be Dumb to miss it!   Verses 2 and 3

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,

In the Old testament, when God's Word was given, the commandment of the Sabbath was broken by a man gathering sticks.  The people of Israel sought the Lord to know what they ought to do.  God told them to stone the man to death.  He was making it plain that breaking His Law so deliberately was a slight on God Himself.  Would you give God the cold shoulder? Hey consider what you are doing?  He sent His Son to die for you, and would you despise the sacrifice the Son made?

There is a true story of a father, who, on his way home from work one afternoon came on the scene of a car accident. A car had hit a pushbike, and there on the ground lay his son in a pool of blood.  As he passed the bike, he realised who it was.  The ambulance men had finished working, and it was too late. The boy had died.  When they realised this was the man's son, they comforted him. Nothing was to be done.  The body was in the ambulance, and it would be taken to be prepared for burial.  They left the father sitting beside the pool of blood in the gutter.  Traffic started to flow again, and the man, overcome with emotion, ran into the middle of the road waving his hands and crying "Don't run over my son's blood!"

Heb 10:28-29   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?

Kent Hughes has written, "Drifting is the besetting sin of our day." He explains that drifting "is not so much intentional as from unconcern" [48]. That is why the writer of Hebrews interrupts his exposition of the supremacy of Jesus Christ over the angels by injecting this stern warning of drifting away.

We do not hear the gospel without responsibility to faithfully heed its call. Built into the very fabric of the gospel is a sense of accountability. We impoverish our own souls, yes; we even imperil our own souls, by neglecting the gospel of Jesus Christ. So we are warned that there is no escaping this divine reckoning with the gospel of Christ. Do you take the message of the gospel seriously? Are you paying attention to Christ and the gospel, more attention than to the passing fancies of the world or the religious substitutes bombarding our society?

Don't Miss the Fullness of your Salvation.

It's in the Lord Jesus, not some new book, seminar or emphasis. I am often asked if I go along with this emphasis or that emphasis.  How do I define myself as a pastor?  Am I a premill, amill or flower mill? Do I hold to a pretrib, post trib or mid trib rapture?   Do I hold to the doctrines of grace, or the freewill of man?

Am I 2 point, 3 point 4 point or 5 point Calvinist?

Do I hold to a strict cessationist position, or a loose cessationist position.

Do I hold to the church as a universal church or only a local body of Christ?

Am I a contemporary or traditional worshipper, or am I blended with a tinge of Hillsong?

Do I hold to the primacy of the KJV? Or the primacy of the Textus Receptus, or the primacy of the Arnd's text, or Westcott and Horst's text, or the UBS text or ?

Do we hold to filling with Spirit as a daily experience or as a crisis experience?   Now all these things are important, and you already know I have definite views on each of these issues, but I think sometimes we could be so taken up with what we are against, that I don't know what I am for anymore. We could become legalistic and barren if we don't keep the main thing as the main thing. 

We can become cultic if we allow some personal "conviction" about a secondary issue such as 6 Day Creation, Music Style, Music or non music, or Vaccinations, or an opinion about covid or some other issue to become the dominant thing of our lives. It must not be so.  We mustn't be known for what we are against, bit what we are for!!

What I am for is the Lord Jesus Christ, our crucified, risen, ascended and returning Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ is the main thing.   Do you know Him? Have you received His salvation? Are you growing to enjoy more and more this wonderful salvation?

When I became a Christian when I was 15 , I realised that Jesus Christ is a wonderful saviour.  46 years on He is a much, much more wonderful Saviour. The more I know of Him, the more wonderful He becomes. Every day He is more wonderful to me.  This is not a "great salvation", this is a "so-great salvation!"

That little word "so" has an eternal God in it. 

That little word "so" has the presence of God in it.

That little word "So" has an unbelievable love in it. 

That little word "so" has the Sacrifice of God the Son it.

That little word "so" has an eternity of heaven in it. 

That little word "so" has a tremendous personality changing power in it.

That little word "so" has life in it.

That little word "so" has God indwelling my poor human frame in the presence of His Holy Spirit in it.

That little word "so" has a lifetime of joy and peace in it.

That little word "so" has friendships and fellowship unknown to the person outside of Christ in it.

That little word "so" has a God Who guides me and daily cares for my needs in it.

That little word "so" has in it more than the greatest millionaire could possibly buy.

That little word "so". A "so great" salvation!

Do you value it?  Has it struck you that you are of all people the most rich?  Has it struck you that angels don't even have what you have, A Saviour to die for them?

Herschel Hobbs said, "The great river of God's will is everflowing on to bigger and more glorious purposes. Some individuals and churches are content to stand like children and splash in the shallow waters, while the great plan of God flows by them.
"we must give the more careful attention" - more earnest heed; apply what you have heard about salvation; to apply the mind tenaciously.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe tells about the man with a hearing problem in Leeds, England who went to the doctor. He already had a hearing aid. When the doctor removed the aid, his hearing immediately improved. He had been wearing it in the wrong ear for twenty years.

One pastor was asked if he had a deaf ministry in his church. He replied, "Sometimes I think the whole church is deaf!" We are called to listen better to the truth of the gospel. Dr. Griffith Thomas has said, "With familiarity truths tend to lose their influence, and the result is involuntary gradual backsliding."

The next time you sing, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing," recall that the composer, Robert Robinson, was converted under the mighty preaching of George Whitefield, but that later he drifted from the Lord. He had been greatly used as a pastor, but neglect of spiritual things led him astray. In an attempt to find peace, he began to travel. During one of his journeys, he met a young woman who was evidently very spiritually minded.
"What do you think of this hymn I have been reading?" she asked Robinson, handing him the book. It was his own hymn! He tried to avoid her question but it was hopeless, for the Lord was speaking to him. Finally, he broke down and confessed who he was and how he had been living away from the Lord.  "But these 'streams of mercy' are still flowing," the woman assured him; and through her encouragement, Robinson was restored to fellowship with the Lord.

Our salvation is a "great salvation," purchased at a great price. It brings with it great promises and blessings, and it leads to a great inheritance in glory.

Heb. 6:19, "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil."

 


Friday, September 18, 2020

 

What sort of faith will you exercise to enter the Kingdom of God?

Luke 18 The Rich Young Man

18 And a ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 19 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'" 21 And he said, "All these I have kept from my youth." 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, "How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." 26 Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" 27 But he said, "What is impossible with man is possible with God." 28 And Peter said, "See, we have left our homes and followed you." 29 And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers2  or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life."

31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise." 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

 

 

At the end of chapter 17 the Lord Jesus has explained to us that it is utterly necessary for us to be in the Kingdom of God.  And He has explained to us that we enter the Kingdom of God by faith in the Lord Jesus.  We saw that Luke is describing to us what real faith looks like. Chapter 18 reminds us that real faith is dependent, like a baby. "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it" (18:17) encapsulated the truth that the recognition of one's total helplessness is essential to salvation.   A trusting faith in God understands that it has no righteousness of its own to claim.. like the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-collector.

Now we have another description in real life of what true saving faith looks like. The rich ruler in the passage is just the opposite of a helpless babe. "He was extremely rich" and had the clout that went with it (v. 23; cf. Matthew 19:22). He was powerful and affluent. "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God" is literally, With what difficulty rich people enter the kingdom of God.  Again, this is about the Kingdom of God and the sort of faith that enters the kingdom of God.

We are instructed here about real faith

See His Inquiring Heart

Evidently this ruler (probably a civil magistrate, maybe a ruler in the synagogue) had watched Jesus tenderly hold the little children, lift his eyes to Heaven, and pronounce individual blessings. And he was positively attracted to Jesus. He had also heard Jesus' enigmatic words about receiving the kingdom "like a child" and was further drawn to the Saviour. He then responded with an impressive question: "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (v. 18). The ruler was a sensitive man with unusual openness. He was not testing Jesus. He truly wanted to know what to do. Though he had meticulously observed the Law, he evidently had found no assurance of eternal life. He assumed he needed to do something more. And he was willing to do it. He had always been able to pay for what he had in this life, and he was quite prepared to do so now. "Name the price! I'm ready to do whatever it takes!"

But there is a subtle problem here; the ruler's question assumed that he had the inner power to do whatever was required and that he was intrinsically good. No doubt, he was "good" when compared to most men.

Jesus responded graciously: "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone" (v. 19). God's goodness is clear in the Old Testament scriptures: "Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good" (1 Chronicles 16:34). "Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" (Psalm 34:8). "The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him" (Nahum 1:7).

It wasn't an acceptable thing to call Jesus "Good Teacher." There is not one example in the Talmud of a rabbi being addressed as "good."

Whatever the reason is, Jesus used the occasion to turn the conversation so that the man could reflect upon his own soul.

See The Lord's Investigation Of His Heart's Faith

"Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone"  Jesus challenges him to reflect on Jesus' ministry as it related to God as the only truly good person in existence. If the ruler could see this level of goodness in Jesus' ministry, he would realize that the kingdom of God was present.  "If I am good, and if only God is good, then who am I, and what am I doing?"

Having pushed the goodness question, Jesus then focused upon the insufficient goodness of the ruler. Jesus did so by calling him to keep the second half of the Ten Commandments, the commandments that have to do with our duty to other people. "You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother'" (v. 20). Jesus knew that if the ruler would do some deep reflection here, he would see that he was totally unqualified for the kingdom he was seeking.

Tragically, the ruler missed the whole point: "And he said, 'All these I have kept from my youth'" (v. 21).  He was so ignorant of the tragedy of his own human heart. He really did think he had kept the Law. But he was ignorant of the commandments' spiritual meaning, so ignorant that he sincerely thought he had fulfilled all the commandments. Yes that is the tragedy of the human heart.

Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. (Romans 7:7–9)

Spiritually illuminated, Paul saw that his entire interior life was filled with coveting. And when he tried to abstain from coveting, he did it all the more. The Law killed—it condemned him! Now he knew who he was, and he felt the sentence of death. Unchecked coveting precipitates the breaking of the second table of the Law, bringing evil acts of murder, adultery, theft, and lying.

Significantly, the rich ruler's problem was covetousness, and the Lord went after it. "When Jesus heard this, he said to him, 'One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.' But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich" (vv. 22, 23). The rich man loved his possessions more than he loved God. His materialism indicated that he did not love his neighbour as he loved himself and therefore was not a keeper of the Law (cf. Galatians 5:14). He simply was not as good a man as he had thought.

This man's deep heart faith was in his own goodness and his own money. And the Lord has exposed both of them.

What are you putting your faith in? Do you think you are ok to get onto heaven under your own steam?

Do you think that you are doing ok so far as God is concerned?  Then how would you feel if the Lord Jesus said to you right now:  'One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.'

Would you feel that your security is based on your wealth?  

Would you feel that your security is based on how well you do at playing the God business at church?

 

Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, "How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" (vv. 24–26)

 

Paul told Timothy, "As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches" (1 Timothy 6:17). Pride, arrogance, insensitivity, indifference, harshness, self-satisfaction, worldliness, and other ungodly mind-sets feed on affluence. Most tragically, wealth can steel one against the indispensable requirement for entering the kingdom of God—helpless dependence.

See the Lord's Invitation to True Faith Which Can Enter The Kingdom of God

What sort of faith will you exercise to enter the Kingdom of God?

It is A Faith That Renunciates Everything and Anything Else You Might Be Trusting In.

The Lord Calls You To Renunciation Of Other Trusts

How is it then that our Saviour said just, "One thing you still lack." 'One thing thou lackest?'

Because it would have been tedious to convince him of all his defects, and therefore Christ would take the shorter way, and insists upon just one thing, which was enough to show that he was not perfect, as he vainly dreamed. If a man brag that he is able to pay a hundred dollars, you convince him that he is broke when you press him to pay one dollar, and he cannot.

This one thing was sure, and would strike home; for our Lord knew his heart, and therefore he touched him where it hurt.  He told him to do something that would really put him off and show what was really in his heart. Many think so highly of themselves, and yet each has a secret idol in their hearts. The Lord exposed his sinful heart.

That one thing which he lacked was the main thing, the principal thing of the law, which was loving God above all things; the sum of the law is, to love God above all, and our neighbours as ourselves.

 

To answer the call of Jesus Christ does require a negative. He requires you to renounce all other hopes of salvation.  He wants you to see your sinfulness. Your sinful heart can't help you. He wants you to see your covetousness. He wants you to see tat just like the rich ruler, you covet your own things, your wealth, your treasures more than you covet God. And if the Lord were to say to you today, "sell everything you have and give it to the poor," would you?   The rich ruler tried to evade the fact of sin, and many try to evade it to. But you can't. Your sinful heart betrays you. You need to renounce your hope of saving yourself and see your own sinfulness, see your own covetousness, see your own selfishness. 

Jeremy Taylor described the progress of sin in a man: "First it startles him, then it becomes pleasing, then easy, then delightful, then frequent, then habitual, then confirmed: then the man is impenitent, then obstinate, then resolves never to repent and then he is damned."

It deceives until it destroys.

Because of sins deception the Lord Jesus begins with a negative. You have something to renounce: your own sinful heart.  Get a knowledge of yourself and see the depths of your sinful heart.  Renounce all trust in yourself. Jeremiah 17:  7 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,  whose trust is the LORD.   8  He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?   10  "I the LORD search the heart  and test the mind,   to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds."

 13 O LORD, the hope of Israel,  all who forsake you shall be put to shame; those who turn away from you  shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water.

This renouncing includes a renouncing all other lords and masters which are in opposition to Christ,  the devil, the world, and the flesh. The devil: Col. 1:13, 'Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.' Before there is any entrance into the kingdom of Christ there is a translating from the power of darkness; that I take to be the power of the devil. The world: Gal. 6:14, 'The world is crucified to me, and I unto the world.' Then for the flesh: Rom. 8:12, 'We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.' In our natural state we are under the power of all these three, as it is set forth: Eph. 2:2, 3, 'Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; among whom we had all our conversation in time past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind.

 

What sort of faith will you exercise to enter the Kingdom of God?

It is A Faith That Turns From Sin To Jesus Alone.

The Lord Calls You To Salvation

Come to Him! "Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money,

come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  2  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.  3 Incline your ear, and come to me;  hear, that your soul may live;  and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,  my steadfast, sure love for David."  Isaiah 55.

Matthew 11: 28  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

John 6: 35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37  All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

 

There must be a believing in Christ, or a resting upon him alone for salvation. Faith in the Son of God is the great qualification necessary to Christ's disciples, that as they forsake the devil, the pomps and vanities of the world, and the inclinations of the flesh, so they may cleave to him alone as Lord and Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins to his people: Acts 5:31, 'Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a prince and a saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.'

 

What sort of faith will you exercise to enter the Kingdom of God?

It is A Faith That Follows The Lord Jesus.

The Lord Calls You To Consecration Follow Me.

It is required that we resign up ourselves to do his will, and walk according to his directions, if we would be Christ's disciples; for otherwise we do but give him an empty title, and we may as much mock him as the Roman soldiers did, that put a robe upon him, and cried, 'Hail, king of the Jews.' When we cry him up as our Lord and Saviour, and do not resign up ourselves to his use and service, we mock him as they did. Take three scriptures to prove this: Luke 6:46, 'Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?' Tertullian. It is a mockage to give Christ a title, and deny him the duty which belongs to it. The greatest part of the christian world live in a bare outward profession of Christ's name, without any care and conscience to walk answerably; they seem to have renounced the devil, the world, and the flesh, but their hearts are in a secret league with them still; they call Christ Lord and Saviour, but do not rest upon him for salvation, nor obey him, therefore this will be of no use to them as to eternal life. So Mat. 7:21, 'Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father that is in heaven.' Though we profess Christianity, and seem to have a great respect to Christ's memory, yet without the practice of faith and obedience, we shall have no benefit by Christ, and shall never enter into the kingdom of heaven. Only those who, being condemned by the law, fly to Christ by faith, and study to bring forth the fruits of newness of life, shall be saved by him. Again, John 8:31, 'If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.' There are disciples in name, and there are Christ's disciples indeed, such as are so in truth, life, and practice.

 

What sort of faith will you exercise to enter the Kingdom of God?

It Is A Faith That Grows In Commitment And Trust

The Lord Calls You To Compensation

The promise before us is a very peculiar one. It does not refer to the believer's reward in another world, and the crown of glory which fades not away. It refers distinctly to the life that now is. It is spoken of "this present time." The "many times as much" of the promise must evidently be taken in a spiritual sense. The meaning is, that the believer shall find in Christ a full equivalent for anything that he is obliged to give up for Christ's sake. He shall find such peace, and hope, and joy, and comfort, and rest, in communion with the Father and the Son, that his losses shall be more than counterbalanced by his gains. In short, the Lord Jesus Christ shall be more to him than property, or relatives, or friends. The complete fulfillment of this wonderful promise has been often seen in the experience of God's saints. Hundreds could testify in every age of the church, that when they were obliged to give up everything for the kingdom of God's sake, their losses were amply supplied by Christ's grace. They were kept in perfect peace, staying their souls on Jesus. (Isaiah. 26:3.) They were enabled to glory in tribulation, and to take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in distresses for Christ's sake (Rom. 5:3. 2 Cor. 12:10.) They were enabled in the darkest hour to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, and to count it an honor to suffer shame for their Master's name. (1 Pet. 1:8. Acts 5:41.) The last day will show that in poverty and in exile--in prisons and before judgment seats--in the fire and under the sword--the words of Christ before us have repeatedly been made good. Friends have often proved faithless. Royal promises have often been broken. Riches have made themselves wings. But Christ's engagements have never been known to fail. – J.C. Ryle

J Macarthur "The Lord's reply, "The things that are impossible with people are possible with God," reiterated the truth that salvation is humanly impossible, and that only a sovereign act of God can change the heart (John 1:11–13; 3:3–8; 6:44; Eph. 2:8–9).

In contrast to the rich young ruler, the disciples had abandoned everything to follow Christ. As Peter noted, "Behold, we have left our own homes (no word for homes is in the Greek text, so that all their possessions are in view) and followed You." Matthew 19:27 records that Peter followed up this statement with the question, "What then will there be for us?" The Lord's reply introduced the second point in His comment on this incident, the riches of poverty.

Peter's comment and question were legitimate, and Jesus did not rebuke him for them. Instead, He gave the wonderful promise, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life." The Lord affirmed that, unlike the rich young ruler, the disciples (and all who forsake everything for the sake of the kingdom of God), had been granted by God the full blessings of eternal life.

To yield up everything in this life to gain access to the blessings of His kingdom is the greatest wealth (cf. Luke 9:24–25). God, in His lavish grace, promises that the redeemed will receive many times as much at this time in addition to receiving, in the age to come, eternal life. This is the great exchange: believers receive the treasure hidden in the field (Matt. 13:44) and the pearl of great value (Matt. 13:46) when they willingly give up the right to all that they possess."

 

Jesus call us! O'er the tumult Of our life's wild restless sea,  Day by day His sweet voice soundeth,  Saying, "Christian, follow me": 

Jesus calls us from the worship Of the vain world's golden store,  From each idol that would keep us,  Saying, "Christian, love me more!" 

Have you heard Him? Have you heard His voice calling you? This Son of God who can give you eternal life and everlasting bliss and joy—He is calling you. Can you say with the hymn-writer, 

Jesus calls us! By Thy mercies,  Saviour, may we hear Thy call,  Give our hearts to Thy obedience,  Serve and love Thee best of all.  Cecil Frances Alexander 

 


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