Hebrews Christ Above All
Text: Hebrews 6
Key Verse: Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection;
Introduction: The book of Hebrews is a warning about going back. In this case going back to legalism and an empty religion, but really none of us like going back. I remember a story about a man and woman that illustrates this.
While on a road trip, an elderly couple stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. After finishing their meal, they left the restaurant and resumed their trip. When leaving, the elderly woman unknowingly left her glasses on the table and she didn't miss them until after they had been driving about 20 minutes. By then, to add to the aggravation, they had to travel quite a distance before they could find a place to turn around in order to return to the restaurant to retrieve her glasses. All the way back, the elderly husband became the classic grouchy old man.
He fussed and complained and scolded his wife relentlessly during the entire return drive. The more he scolded her, the more agitated he became. He just wouldn't let up one minute. To her relief, they finally arrived at the restaurant. As the woman got out of the car and hurried inside to retrieve her glasses, the old geezer yelled to her.
"While you're in there, you might as well get my hat and the credit card.
Paul after talking about the greatness of Christ and the need to have faith in the promise and power of God, now warns the Hebrew Christians about the danger of rejecting the only way of salvation available to them.
Principles To Perfection Hebrews 1:1-3
1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit.
The Hebrew Christians were told to leave the fundamentals behind.
Paul lists the fundamentals that they should already have surpassed.
Repentance from Dead Works (Hebrews trusted in their works)
Faith Toward God (They had not trusted God but the law)
Doctrine of Baptisms (Baptisms, both the physical and the spiritual on Pentecost.)
Laying on of Hands (The passing of authority from God to Prophet in the OT, but now of apostle to pastor.)
Resurrection of the Dead (Jews believed in a resurrection to this earth, Sadducees only of a spiritual resurrection but now they should know much more)
Eternal Judgment (A judgment that not only pronounce where eternity would be spent but also a judgment that lasts for all eternity.)
Paul tells the Hebrew Christians you should already know these things and be pushing on to greater things. In the next chapter of Hebrews and later in the book he will be trying to teach them things that will challenge them, move them out of their comfort zone and in chapter 6 he is encouraging them to rise to the task.
He exhorts them “Going on unto perfection.” Literally it says be carried on to perfection, It means to walk with God on to full maturity, full Christian growth.
Not laying the foundation again but now building a house of faith resting upon an already established foundation. It was time to put the walls up and the roof on.
So Are we Building the house or Resting On The Foundation?
These fundamentals form the foundation of our faith as well as the Hebrews and we are being challenged in the same way. Are we constantly rebuilding the foundation or striving to go on to full maturity in our walk with God?
Some Pastors and church members never seem to get past repentance and faith.
Every message is about how to get saved. Every lesson is about the need for repentance unto salvation.
They can’t learn or they won’t learn the greater lessons needed for a deepening relationship with Christ.
When they are challenged by a new teaching, something that is outside of the comfort zone of “Preaching the Gospel” they reject it outright.
I once had a person after the service shake my hand after I had preached on Romans 7, Overcoming the Law. As she shook my hand she said, “I’ve been a Christian for 30 years and I’ve never heard anything like that before.” What she was say was, if it was true then I would have heard it before now. So she rejected it.
The more difficult things of scripture, the teachings that bring full maturity in Christ are never reached if we are content to live with only a foundation instead of a complete spiritual house.
I love drinking deeply at the well of God’s Word. I find that the deeper I go the more amazed I am at what the Holy Spirit shows me.
We just finished the Book of Revelation, and have started Discerning the Will of God. Here we are diving into the book of Hebrews one of the toughest but also most rewarding books in the New Testament.
I’ll tell you the truth it was years after I began pastoring that I was willing to tackle this book for myself and even more years before I was willing to try and preach or teach it. But that is what Paul and the Holy Spirit are challenging us to do. Go On To Perfection, go on to full maturity in your relationship with God by drinking deeply from the well of the Word.
Illustration: A Member's Questions
A former member from church I once pastored sat down next to me at a church outing and wanted to talk to me about problems he was hearing about in the church. Which was code for “I’m having problems with you.” After some preliminaries his concerns came down to these questions?
Why aren’t you preaching instead of teaching on Wednesday nights? Why don’t you give an invitation on Wednesday nights? Our Wednesday service there was the same as here it was Bible Study and prayer service.
My answer was basically the same that Paul gave to the Hebrews. Saved people don’t need to know how to get saved, they need to know how to grow and they can’t grow if all they hear are messages about salvation. Not long after that he left the church and joined one that had a rompin, stompin Pastor with the gift of evangelism. That was where he was comfortable, hearing the same message week after week.
Raleigh Campbell my Ecclesiology and psychology teacher in college once said, “Salvation is the most important thing in the world, until you are saved, then is the least important.”
Transition: So Paul says let us go on from the foundational truths and as God permits. Then he tells them why it is imperative that the must move to maturity. He says in verse 4, For it is impossible. What, what is impossible?
Partakers Impossible Renewal Hebrews 1:4-8
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
Paul warns the Hebrews there is no other way but Christ
Notice Paul says, “It is impossible” when he begins this section.
Everything must be understood in prospect of that statement.
It is impossible.
What does Paul say is impossible? For the saved to be lost and then saved again.
Notice how Paul describes the people he is talking about.
They were once enlightened. (The word means once for all, no other enlightenment would or could be given.)
They have tasted of the heavenly gift
They were made partaker (sharers) of the Holy Spirit.
The have tasted the good words of God
And have tasted the powers of the world to come.
Paul is describing saved people. In this case saved Hebrews but definitely saved people.
After describing them he says, “If they shall fall away to renew them again unto repentance.” Going back to vs. 4 and put it together he says, “It is impossible for the saved if they fall away from salvation to be saved again.” Why?
He tells us why in vs. 6. “seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh and put him to an open shame.”
It is impossible for the saved to be re-saved because Jesus Christ cannot be re-crucified. If it was possible to be saved and then lost and then re-saved then Jesus would have to be crucified again and again and again. He says the very idea is shameful.
Paul was warning the Hebrews, “You can’t go back to Judaism and hope to find salvation. It is impossible to reject Christ after truly being saved, impossible to be lost after being saved and then to somehow be saved again.
The impossibility of being “re-saved”
Hebrews Chapter 6 is one of the strongest proofs in scripture that you can’t be lost after salvation.
Why? Because it utterly destroys this idea that a person can be lost and found over and over and over again like some kid’s jacket being pulled out of a lost and found box at elementary school.
Salvation cost God his own Son. Salvation required the sin of the world to be placed upon a sinless man. Salvation required the suffering and torture of an innocent man. Salvation required Jesus to be forsaken of his own Father at the most terrible crisis in his life.
Do you think that can be done again?
As Paul illustrates in vs. 7-8 People who reject God’s gift are like thorns and briers. They receive the blessing of rain but unlike those fit to receive it they are rejected and their end is to be burned.
They were never rooted in Christ, they were never saved, they rejected the offer and continued in their own works and the result was the briars and thorns which will the evidence of their rejection of Christ and the end result will be eternal punishment.
But, it is impossible for the truly saved to ever be lost. They may backslide, they may slip back into the old life, yet they can only visit not live there. They can never fully reject Christ. If they could they were never truly saved in the first place.
Ecclesiastes 3:14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
Psalms 37:23 23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
Illustration: This Train doesn’t stop at Dorchester
A British commuter got on a train in London and told the conductor he wanted to get off at Doncaster. “We don’t stop at Doncaster on Wednesday,” the conductor said, “but we slow down to go through the junction. I’ll open the doors and you hop off. But, mind you, we’re going fast, so hit the ground running.” The man did as he was told. The train slowed. He jumped off and hit the ground running. He was running so fast he caught up with the car ahead. Another conductor saw him, opened the door, and pulled him in. “You’re mighty lucky,” he said. “This train doesn’t stop at Doncaster on Wednesdays.”
That’s how it is with the salvation train. Even when we try to get off God just grabs and throws us back in. Listen to me, the Salvation train doesn’t stop until it reaches Glory!
Persuaded Better Things Hebrews 6:9-12
9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. 10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Paul believed they would show fruit of salvation
Yet even after his stern warning Paul shows his faith in the salvation of the Hebrews.
We are persuaded better things of you. (Not those things that show a willingness to return to Judaism and dead works.)
But things that accompany salvation (The things of growth and maturity that should mark a child of God’s years in this world.)
He reminds them that God will not forget their work and their labor of love
Works done in the name of God
Works done on behalf of other Christians.
Paul desires them all to show these labors of love until the full assurance of hope, until the end.
He tells them more should be acting as ministers, servants to other saints
He tells them this should be done until “the full assurance of hope until the end.” He exhorts them, “Keep serving until that which gives us complete assurance of our hope comes. You keep serving and growing until Jesus comes back or until you go home to be with Him. In that day we will realize, it was worth it all. You are inheritors of the promise. Hold on till you see it.”
Are we showing things that accompany salvation?
What a challenge for us as well in this present godless, profane age in which we live. Are we showing things in our life and service that accompany salvation?
I hear the words scripture they sound as the words of our Heavenly Father speaking not just to those long gone Hebrews but to me today. God says, “I am persuaded better things of you, things that accompany salvation.”
Is my life, which knows the blessing of salvation, now showing the fruit of that salvation, or is it a life of thorns and briers? As God’s child I know He expects better things from us.
He expects service, he expects sacrifice, he exects good works done in His powerful name, He expects labors of love, He expects service to the saints. These are the kind of things that accompany salvation.
We are called to do them. Indeed, we were created to do them.
Scripture: Ephesian 2:8-108 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Quote: What God chooses, He cleanses. What God cleanses, He molds. What God molds, He fills. What God fills, He uses. - J. Sidlow Baxter
Illustration: The Point of Saving Private Ryan
At the climax of the movie when Captain John Miller is dying after saving Private Ryan, He looks at Ryan and says, “Make sure it was worth it.”
In understanding what it cost Christ to save us, we need to confront the same challenge, “Make sure my life is lived so that it shows my gratitude, my thanks and my service because it cost Christ His life.” Christ loved you, He died for you, He forgave you, He has prepared a home for you in heaven. Now, today commit yourself to live worthy of that great sacrifice.
Every Christian must look at the shape of their House of Faith.
Is it still just the foundation? How long has it been since you’ve really felt like you made strides in your Christian growth?
It’s time for all of us to Go on to perfection, the the maturity that honors our Father in Heaven as His children.
Never forget you can’t be lost again.
Don’t fight doubt over and over and over again. If you do the rest of your Christian life will result in living on a foundation slab and never seeing a roof in place in your House of Faith.
Finally as we review God’s word and its impact on our lives this morning, what things in your life accompany salvation?
What things fulfill the better expectations of God?
Where is your labor of love? Where is your service to the saints?