A call to faithfulness Hebrews 6:4-12
A call to faithfulness
Scripture reading: Matthew 13:1-23
Some of you may remember that last month we were in the Book of 1 Timothy. While there, I
led you through 5 passages in 1 Timothy that speak of the danger of wandering from the
faith. One of the most striking passages was in 1 Timothy 4:1, which says; "The Spirit clearly
says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things
taught by demons."
As a counter I concluded by talking about how to have a strong faith.
This morning we are going to look at what is considered to be one of the more difficult
passages of the New Testament--Hebrews 6:4-12. At the heart of this text is a call to
faithfulness to Christ. This call to faithfulness is wrapped in a serious warning as it regards
not betraying Christ- a warning that has caused anxiety in a number of followers of Christ.
READ Hebrews 6:1-12 and Hebrews 10:19-39-- they need to be read together
-Note before reading that Hebrews 6-10 forms a unit-- bracketed in the NIV by the words
"Therefore" (Hebrews 6:1; 10:19)
-It's interesting that a call to faithfulness and a warning about betraying Christ/disowning
him, sandwiches a lengthy discourse on the sacrificial work of Christ as our great high priest.
Obviously Jesus' work on our behalf as the once for all sacrifice for our sins, merits our
worship, reverence, and complete devotion.
THE WARNING OF HEBREWS 6:4-6
First off: Warnings of the Bible are not meant to be ignored or brushed aside.
When you see a sign that warns of high voltage and you see the picture beside it of someone
being electrocuted, you pay attention and tread carefully.
At the heart of the warning of Hebrews 6:4-6 and Hebrews 10:19-39 is this message:
Renounce, reject, abandon, or disown Christ at your peril (Read Hebrews 10:26-31)
Though the warning is aimed at the aforementioned people: THE WARNING OF
HEBREWS 6:4-6 HAS UPSET A LOT OF CHRISTIANS
What makes this warning so alarming?
1. The terms used, lend to one thinking that it is possible to lose ones salvation
"enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, shared in the Holy Spirit, tasted the goodness of the
Word of God and the powers of the coming age." Such are all phrases that we typically
associate with being a follower of Jesus Christ.
2. Many Christians backslide for a time in their lives and then return to Christ. Sometimes
these Christians wonder if v.4-6 means they are beyond restoration.
The simple answer is NO- you are not beyond restoration. Backsliding Christians that return
to Jesus in faithfulness are the true followers of Christ. For your encouragement consider 2
Timothy 2:11-13- and note how it perfectly ties into the question at hand. "Here is a
trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will
also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will
remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself."
3. The guilt Christians carry around with them over sins committed and yet forgiven by
I John 1:9 says; "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness."
Psalm 103:12 says; "as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our
transgressions from us."
Connected to the anxiety that some Christians have as it regards Hebrews 6:4-6 is
this question: CAN A GENUINE FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST LOSE THEIR
The answer is NO. No a genuine Christian cannot lose their salvation
Philippians 1:6 "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry
it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
John 6:39 "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has
given me, but raise them up at the last day."
I John 5:13 "These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the
Son of God." Note: The Book of 1 John written to assure believers of their salvation-- and in
doing so, it lays out the marks of a Christian that lead to the assurance.
An important FYI
THE WARNING OF HEBREWS 6:4-6 IS NOT MEANT TO CAUSE GENUINE CHRISTIANS TO
FEAR LOSING THEIR SALVATION
Note this: The writer of Hebrews, based on what he'd heard and seen from the recipients of
his letter was confident that they were genuine followers of Christ. There fruit convinced him
v.9. Further evidence of his confidence in their right standing with Christ is found in Hebrews
WHO IS THE WARNING OF HEBREWS 4:4-12 AND HEBREWS 10:19-39 AIMED AT?
To help us figure out who v.4-6 applies to, we have supplied with a timely illustration v.7-8
"Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for
whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is
worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned." Hebrews 6:7-8
Interesting from v.7-8 -- it's the same rain but the results are very different.
By a persons fruit they are known!
Perseverance is a mark of true salvation! "He who stands firm to the end will be saved"
The warning of our text is aimed at those who would disown Christ, who would abandon the
faith, who-- after professing faith in Christ-- become enemies of the cross and the Gospel.
Some examples of who is intended by the warning of Hebrews 6:4-6 and Hebrews
Firstly: The parable of the sower connects to today's text
This morning we read Jesus' explanation of the parable of the sower. This parable is critical
to understanding who the warning of Hebrews 6:4-6 ultimately applies to.
Sadly, some people are like the soil that is rocky. As Jesus says; "The one who received the
seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.
But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes
because of the word, he quickly falls away" Matthew 13:20-21
Others are like the soil that is full of thistles. As Jesus says; "The one who received the seed
that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the
deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful." Matthew 13:22
Application: We are to be like the good soil: Producing fruit in accordance with
Judas Iscariot- remorseful but not repentant
If anyone ever illustrates the person who is being described in Hebrews 6:4-6, it's Judas--
the son of perdition. (John 17:12 KJV)
Judas saw the light of Christ. Judas experienced and saw the work of the Holy Spirit. Judas
saw the power of Christ. Judas heard the scriptures taught. Judas witnessed evil spirits cast
out, the healing of the sick, the raising of the dead. Judas spent three years in the very
presence of God. Yet Judas was not saved and he's not in Heaven-- for he betrayed Christ.
Simon Magus of Acts 8
A sorcerer who made a profession of faith after seeing the miracles of the disciples, but then
showed his true colors when he attempted to buy the power of the Holy Spirit. Church history
records that he became a bitter opponent of the 1st c. church.
One time preacher who renounced the faith and became an enemy of Christ.
Not everyone who goes to church, serves in the name of Christ, gets baptized, talks about
Jesus, participates in worship, or studies the Bible is a genuine Christian. As Jesus warns in
Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."
By our fruit we are known. By our perseverance in the faith we are known.
HOW ARE WE TO RESPOND TO THE WARNING OF HEBREWS 6:4-6 AND HEBREWS
1. A person ought to examine themselves and ensure that they are a genuine follower of
Make sure that you are the Christian that you think you are. A lot of people think they are,
when they aren't.
In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul writes by the Holy Spirit's leading; "Examine yourselves to see
whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in
you--unless, of course, you fail the test?"
Have you made the good confession that Jesus is Lord and Savior?
Have you confessed your sins and renounced them as evil and worthy of judgment in the
sight of God?
In your heart, do you have the desire to bring your life into accord with the holy teachings of
the Scriptures? Do you want to be holy? Do you desire to see the fruits of the Spirit in your
life? Are you putting aside the things the Bible calls deeds of wickedness?
Consider this verse: ever so comforting but also containing a reminder of the call to Holy
living. 2 Timothy 2:19 says; ""The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who
confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."
In Hebrews 10:35, carrying on the same subject as here in v.4-12, the writer says; "So do
not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that
when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised
In Matthew 24:13 Jesus says; "He who stands firm to the end will be saved"
3. Imitate those who have gone on before in the faith. Hebrews 6:12
It's amazing how Hebrews 11 perfectly takes this point up right after this section
4. Remember this: We have a great Saviour.
There is no one like Jesus. He is better. He is superior. He is the only one who can save and
he made for such by dying on the cross and acting as our great high priest
ONE MORE BIG PRINCIPLE FOR TODAY
FAITHFULNESS WILL BE REWARDED V.10-12 read v.10
In 2 Timothy 4:8 Paul writes; "Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but
also to all who have longed for his appearing."
So press on. Continue to love. Continue to serve. Don't give up. Don't become lazy. Be
Some people have and will profess Christ as Savior and Lord and will not be genuine.
Others will profess Christ and then become bitter enemies of the Gospel and a stumbling
block to Christians. The warnings of this text are directly aimed at them.
By our fruit we are known
The warning that is featured in our ought to make us examine ourselves and test ourselves
that we might be assured of our salvation
It is very important that we stay faithful to Christ. Perseverance is a must.- The Lord will
reward us for such
Can a genuine follower of Christ lose their salvation? NO.
I leave you with 2 Timothy 2:11-13- "Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we
will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will
also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself."
While it contains the same warning as Hebrews 6 and 10, it also contains some powerful
words of assurance for us who the love the Lord Jesus and have made a genuine commitment