Sunday, June 25, 2017

Paul's Epistles – Hebrews – Part 5: Warning Against Unbelief

Paul's Epistles – Hebrews – Part 5:
Warning Against Unbelief
Pastor Bruce A. Shields

The “official” writer of this epistle is unknown. However, I obviously believe it is Paul since I have included it in the “Paul’s Epistles” Sermon Series.

I believe there is enough evidence from early scholars to agree this was more than likely Paul’s work.

Last week we examined Paul’s writings on Jesus, the Son being Greater than Angels.

This week, Paul will give a warning for listeners to pay attention, and the fact that Jesus was made fully human.

We have already seen in Hebrews so far;

·        Jesus is greater than angels

·        And that we are to pay the most careful attention to Jesus and His way so we do not stray

·        And how Jesus (New Covenant) is greater than Moses (Old Covenant)

“Warning Against Unbelief”

Hebrews 3:7-19
 So, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you hear his voice,

    do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did.
10 That is why I was angry with that generation;  I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
    and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ 

12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”

16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
The Cure for Lacking Boldness or Courage in your Christian Faith and Backsliding is a Right beginning for the Glory and Work of Christ”

a. Do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion
                                                                 i. The Israelites hardened their hearts against God in the wilderness

                                                              ii. Followers of Christ can do the same thing today

                                                           iii. To whom is God calling?
1. Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

2. God is calling all of the world in every generation

3. However, few are answering His call

                                                            iv. TODAY, if you hear His voice, answer!
b. That is why I {God speaking} was angry with that generation {two reasons}
                                                                 i. God was calling ALL but few answered; VS 10b “…their hearts are always going astray…”
1. Our hearts are where obedience and disobedience lives
2. Joshua and Caleb were the only 2 out of 2 million who did NOT provoke God

3. 2,000,000 called, 2 answered and did not provoke God
a. That’s one ten-thousandths of a percent {rounding up}
b. I can see why God was angry…

4. With the current population of the earth at 7.5 billion people, this equation if applied today would mean in the entire world, there are currently only 675,000 people following Christ.
a. Not even ¾ of a million people out of 7.5 billion!

5. Few answer God’s call.

                                                              ii. “…and they have not known my ways.”
1. They could have known, but had no desire to know

2. Such is the heart of so many in the world today!

c. So I declared on oath in my anger “They {Those who heard God’s voice and rebelled} shall never enter my rest”
                                                                 i. The rest referred to was the Land of Promise, Canaan, but undoubtedly this is symbolic of the “rest” and “promised land” to followers of Christ, which is Salvation.

II.      SEE TO IT BROTHERS AND SISTERS {The Holy Spirit’s resolution}
a. That none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the Living God
                                                                 i. First instruction for the resolution, check yourself

b. Encourage one another daily
                                                                 i. So that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness

                                                              ii. Second instruction of the resolution, encourage others
1. Because sin deceives us
2. Leads us astray
3. Makes us think there is another, easier, or better way

4. But Christ has already told us;
5. John 14:6 “I am the way…”, Not one of the ways, but THE WAY

6. And again, Matthew 7:13, “Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and MANY enter through it.”

c. We have come to share in Christ if indeed we HOLD our original conviction firm to the very end
                                                                 i. As I just said, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”

                                                              ii. Last instruction of the resolution, hold your conviction firmly until the very end

a. Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt?
                                                                 i. With whom God was angry for 40 years
1. God’s wrath continued, because their unbelief continued

                                                              ii. Sometimes the unsavory situations in our lives continue, because our rebellion continues
1. We live our way, and are angry about the consequences

2. We disobey and make sinful choices, then cry because the results of our sins return to our lives

3. We turn our back on the Lord daily, and cry out, “Where are you God?”

4. We chose the wide gate, the broad path, then blame God when we meet destruction.

b. Who heard God’s voice and rebelled? Was it not those who sinned?
                                                                 i. Whose bodies perished in the wilderness
1. Approximately 2 million died in the wilderness

c. And to whom did God swear that they would never enter rest, it was those who disobeyed
                                                                 i. They lost everything because of unbelief

                                                              ii. And today’s church is doing the same

                                                           iii. Which is the very reason Paul wrote this epistle

CONCLUSION – so we see that they {who heard god’s voice and rebelled} were not able to enter rest because of their unbelief

If the modern believer has unbelief toward Christ and the Cross, the result will be the same as it was with Israel.

So TODAY, if you hear His voice…

Do not harden your heart, and rebel, check yourself and ensure you do not have unbelief in your heart against Christ and the Cross.

Encourage others DAILY so that they too can avoid the deception of sin, which brings about unbelief.

This is why we are called to congregate together, for His name, and we must hold firmly to our convictions in Christ Jesus until the very end.

There is but one way, Christ

There is but one path to belief, the narrow gate

Check your heart daily, encourage others daily, and hold firmly to your conviction until the very end!

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!
Want to hear the audio to this sermon?    CLICK HERE!

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