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A call to faithfulness Hebrews 6:4-12
A call to faithfulness
Hebrews 6:4-12

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 Christ.

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 SALVATION

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 10:39

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" Matthew 24:13


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 10:19-39

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 righteousness.

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.

Charles Templeton

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 10:26-31?

1. A person ought to examine themselves and ensure that they are a genuine follower of Jesus Christ

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."

2. Perserve!

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 diligent


CONCLUSION


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 to him.