Hebrews 2:3                           So Great Salvation                           6/19/2011        ßą   

#1. The Danger

#2. The Vengeance

#1.       The Word Spoken by Angels (Heb 2:2, 2Pet 1:21, Mal 3:1, Mark 9:43-48)

Messengers from God

A just recompense of reward

Š      The Justice of God (Heb 2:2, Matt 11:20-24)

Unbelief

The sovereignty of God

#2.       How Shall We Escape? (Heb 2:3, Eph 1:13, Acts 13:26, Rom 1:16, Titus 2:11, 2Cor 6:2, Acts 16:17, 1Cor 2:2, Isa 53:5, John 12:32)

The Danger

The Vengeance

Jesus Christ and Him Crucified

Made light of

Have we left our first love?

200 million horsemen

#3.       So Great Salvation (Heb 2:3, Isa 46:9-10, Mal 3:6, Eph 1:4, Gal 3:13, 1Pet 2:24, 2Pet 1:21, Rev 19:13)

#1. Great Author

#2. Great Wisdom

#3. Great Incarnation

#4. Great Love

#5. Great Suffering

#6. Great Power

#7. Great Honor

#8. Great Book

#9.  Great Sins

#10. Great Insult

#11. Great Blasphemy

#12. Great Danger

#4.       According to His Own Will (Heb 2:4, Gal 5:22-23, Heb 10:24-25)

#13. Great Gratitude

Please open your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 2:1 (2X). As you know, I am alternating between the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Prophecy of Joshua. In the Prophecy of Joshua we see a picture of the church on the offense, while conquering the land of Canaan, which battle they could win only by the grace of God. In the Epistle to the Hebrews we see a picture of the church on the defense, defending herself against Judaism, which was a battle against the law that was put forward by the Judaizers. These are two battles which are with us till the end of time; the law and grace; grace and the law. And that is because the end time church has lost all understanding of the true Gospel, which is salvation by the unmerited favor of God. We read here in Heb 2:1-4,

Heb 2:1-4 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

This passage starts with the word “Therefore.” What does that mean? It refers back to everything that was said in chapter 1. Therefore, since the Son of God was announced in chapter 1:2, and the successful atonement of Christ was declared in chapter 1:3, and the Lord Jesus Christ was called God in chapter 1:8, therefore we should give more earnest heed to the things He has said. And so, these first four verses are an exhortation to give good heed to the Gospel, which means “the Good News”. Where is the good news? The good news is in chapter 1, and most glaringly in Heb 1:3, where the successful atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ and His subsequent exaltation is stated. But now that we have heard the good news, the passage of Heb 2:1-4 tells us two points to consider when we have heard this good news. #1. The danger of neglecting the Gospel. #2. The vengeance that is certain to follow on the neglect of the Gospel. And so, the beginning of this second chapter is not lovely, and peace, and quiet, and all is well. Paraphrased God says: Watch Out! Do not play games with God. Do not insult God with an insincere attitude. Examine yourselves and see if you are in the faith, for God knows your heart, and God knows even the thoughts and intents of your heart. Do we really worship Him; or do we worship our own family; our children?

Heb 2:1 tells us, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should slip away.” Lest at any time we should slip away from the faith. That is a present danger for anyone in the end time church. Please be aware that we are living near the end of time and that Satan is increasing his fiery darts aimed at the strongest pillars of the church. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1Cor 10:12). These words sound the first warning-note of this Epistle against apostasy, and this warning is repeated in Heb 3:14, 4:1, 12:25. Indeed, perseverance in the faith is the issue here, and God repeats this warning concerning perseverance in John 8:31 and in Col 1:23. Many who have heard, who once seemed to be really interested in spiritual things, “concerning the faith have made shipwreck” (1Tim 1:19). They have fallen away because the pressure was too great for them.

#1.       The Word Spoken by Angels (Heb 2:2, 2Pet 1:21, Mal 3:1, Mark 9:43-48)

Heb 2:2, “For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;”

Let us understand what God is saying here. The word “For” indicates that what follows gives the reason for persuading the Hebrews. It is similar to the word “because.” And the word “if” has the force of the word “since.” Therefore we read, “For since the word spoken by angels was stedfast,” paraphrased: Because of the excellency of the Author (Christ) and the Publisher (the Holy Spirit) of this Gospel, which was steadfast, we must take heed to what was spoken. We need to stop again here. “The word spoken” refers to the whole Bible. These words were not spoken by angels. These words were dictated by God the Holy Spirit to holy men of old, who were moved by the Holy Spirit to speak these words from God and to write these words from God to us. God says this in 2Pet 1:21,

2Pe 1:21  “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

And so, these words that we read here in the Bible did not come from Moses, or from Isaiah, or from Paul, but these words were dictated by God to His servants, the prophets.  This Book the Bible is one Book, not sixty six books, and it has only one Author, Christ, and it has only one publisher, the Holy Spirit. Moreover, everywhere we see the word “angels” we should interpret this as “messengers.” This is the basic meaning of that Hebrew or Greek word. Angels are messengers from God, and the prophets of old were messengers from God, and the apostles were messengers from God, and the Lord Jesus Christ is a messenger from God. The Lord Jesus Christ is a messenger of the covenant (Mal 3:1). Their messages were steadfast, for they conveyed the Word of God, and commands from God that were to be obeyed. And since the Bible defines sin as a transgression of the law, we can see that ignoring these messages from the prophets was transgression and disobedience to the law of God. Therefore “every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward.” What reward is God talking about here? The term “reward” conveys the thought of “that which is due.” It is the punishment for committing sin. Punishment for breaking God’s law is not always administered in this life, but nonetheless it is sure to come. The Lord Jesus said in Mark 9:43-44,

Mr 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

The message is clear: Do not belittle sin, for it is as serious as having your hand cut off, and the destiny of the sinner is the place where the maggot does not die and where the fire shall not be quenched. In other words, Hell is forever, because their sin cannot be purified. And the worm is not an ordinary earthworm but it is a maggot. People in Hell will be eaten by maggots forever, for they will continuously be producing food for the maggots. People like to spiritualize these verses in Mark 9:43-48, as if that will eliminate the threat of Hell. However the basic message that the Lord gives here is that Hell is a terrible place, and it will be forever. We would not wish this penalty even to our worst enemies. But God determined that our enemies are His enemies, and He sent Christ as our Kinsman-Redeemer to take vengeance on those who have abused His children here in this life.

Š      The Justice of God (Heb 2:2, Matt 11:20-24)

Heb 2:2, “And every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;”

This verse, Heb 2:2, sets out a most important principle concerning the justice of God. That principle is that the Judge of all the earth will be absolutely just in His dealings with the wicked. Although the direct reference of this verse is to His administration of penalties in the past, but since God is immutable, meaning He changes not, this verse must also apply to His judgment on the last day. His justice demands that there must be different degrees of punishment, and those degrees, which is the sentence meted out to each rebel against God, will be on the basis of Heb 2:2 that “every transgression and disobedience shall receive a just recompense of  reward.” In brief, we may say that the punishment will be graded according to the amount of revelation from God and opportunity to sin, and according to the nature of the sins committed, and according to the number of sins committed. Let me elaborate on this with an example. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 11:20 (2X). We read here about the cities where the Lord Jesus ministered extensively, Chorazin, and Bethsaida, House of Fish, and the village of Capernaum, Village of Comfort, where the Lord Jesus had his home base. These three places saw more of the Lord Jesus than any other place in Galilee. We read in Matt 11:20-24,

Mt 11:20-24  Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

What are the two principles that the Lord lays down here. First, He scolds those cities for their unbelief, for they had the privilege of seeing more miracles, signs, and wonders done by Jesus than any other city in Galilee, and yet they remained in unbelief. They are going to be punished worse than Tyre and Sidon, heathen cities of Lebanon which have not heard the Gospel. And Capernaum, privileged to be the home base of the Lord Jesus for three and one half years, remained in unbelief and will be punished worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. If we apply this to today, we can conclude that those who are in church, who hear the true Gospel preached every week, and yet they remain unsaved, will receive a greater punishment than those who have never heard the Gospel.

Secondly, we see in this passage an illustration of the sovereignty of God. God arranged the Gospel to be preached in those parts of the country who would not believe, Chorazin Bethsaida and Capernaum, and to those who would believe, Tyre and Sidon and Sodom, He brought not the Gospel. Although it is true that those who believe are believing because of the grace of God, we must keep in mind that unbelief is a sin, and God is not the author of sin. Man sins voluntarily, and that is why God is perfectly just and righteous to cast unbelievers into Hell, for they sin voluntarily. We cannot accuse God for not giving them the grace to believe, for God cannot be the author of sin. Please turn again to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 2:3 (2X).

#2.       How Shall We Escape? (Heb 2:3, Eph 1:13, Acts 13:26, Rom 1:16, Titus 2:11, 2Cor 6:2, Acts 16:17, 1Cor 2:2, Isa 53:5, John 12:32)

Heb 2:3  How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

Do we remember the two points of this passage as I stated them in the beginning? #1. The danger of neglecting the Gospel. #2. The vengeance that is certain to follow on the neglect of the Gospel. How shall we escape the vengeance that is certain to follow if we neglect so great salvation? Are we willing to understand what God is saying here? This is not a vain question. Some people do not like to search out what God has said exactly; it will make them uncomfortable. These are the same people who do not last in a fifty minute sermon, and these are the same people who do not study the Word of God on their own, and these are the same people who say to themselves after the Sunday morning service: “That is enough for the day; I am full; I want to rest.” How do we neglect the Gospel? What is the Gospel? Did you know that most people do not know how to answer this question: What is the Gospel? Let us look at a few examples. In Eph 1:13 it is called “The Gospel of your salvation,” in Acts 13:26 it is called “The word of this salvation,” in Rom 1:16 it is called “The power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,” in Titus 2:11 it is called “The grace of God which bringeth salvation,” in 2Cor 6:2 it is called “The day of salvation,” and in Acts 16:17 it is called “The way of salvation.” When we turn to 1Cor 2:2, we read that the apostle Paul summarized the Gospel in this way:

1Co 2:2  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

How can we understand this? Did Paul really speak only of Jesus Christ and Him crucified? In that case he would be out of steam within one hour. But you see, what Paul meant was that all his preaching to the Corinthian church was centered on Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. In other words he spoke about Jesus, the one who saved His people from their sins by dying on a cross, and only His people He saved from their sins, not everyone who has ever lived on this earth, like so many churches teach today. He spoke about the Christ, the anointed One, the Messiah, the Suffering Servant who was promised in Isa 53, who was wounded for our transgressions, who was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. He spoke about the Incarnation of God the Son and the man Christ Jesus, and how this baby of the womb of Mary was already burdened with the guilt of the sins of many for whom He had to make atonement on the cross. He spoke about the Lord Jesus who would draw all men unto Him when He was lifted up on the cross (John 12:32), and suddenly they understood that the term “all men” does not refer all of mankind, but to the worldwide elect of God. And then he spoke about God’s infinite wisdom and God’s immutability which dictated that God must make all His decisions before the foundation of the world, or else God would not be immutable. And then he spoke of the Father choosing a Bride for His Son, and choosing a people for Himself according to the good pleasure of His own will, and cleaning up their sins by sending His Son to atone for their sins, for they were a people with no strength of their own. And he spoke of the amazing strength of the Lord Jesus Christ in being able to endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. And all these things really connect to Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Heb 2:3  “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?”

Once we have seen in the Bible how much the Lord Jesus did suffer for our sins, and that He sacrificed all that He had, and we have seen the beauty of His salvation program, and that He made us free from the law, and free from slavery to Satan, and free from sin, and He gave us a new Husband to love and to cherish, and He caused us to be born again, and be joint heirs with Christ of the New Heaven and the New Earth, how can we belittle all this by neglecting this great salvation? Does this not mean that we have never been born again? And if we have never been born again, then Christ has not suffered for our sins, and we are still in our sins. How shall we then escape the great condemnation on the last day? “If we neglect.” What does it mean “Neglect?” The Greek word rendered “neglect” is also translated “made light of” in Matt 22:5. Perhaps you remember the parable that the Lord Jesus told in Matt 22 that the King is making a marriage for His Son, and then He is sending forth His servants to call them which were bidden to the wedding. But they “made light of” it. Here is that word that was translated “neglect” in Heb 2:3. They made light of the King’s gracious offer and went their ways, one to his family, another to his merchandise, and so on. Can you see that this parable sets forth the very sin against which the apostle was warning the Hebrews, namely, failure to give earnest heed to the things which were spoken by the Lord, and neglecting His great salvation? To “neglect” the Gospel is to remain inattentive, and leaving our first love. When our enthusiasm of the past has died out, and we have decided to rethink our activities, and retract like a snail into its shell, we have actually left our first love. We have decided that we are doing too much for the Lord. Is it possible that we are doing too much? That is ridiculous! It simply means that we have left our first love. The Lord Jesus is no longer first in our life. He has been replaced by someone, perhaps a son or a daughter, or someone else in the family. What does God say about this? God says, “How shall you escape, if you neglect, if you make light of so great salvation?” Remember what the Lord Jesus said to the church at Ephesus in Rev 2:4-5?

Re 2:4  Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Re 2:5  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

The Lord is not pleased if we draw back. God says it very plainly in Heb 10:38,

Heb 10:38  Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

How can we belittle that great sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ? How can we leave the church and believe that we are doing all right? It simply reflects a lack of commitment to Christ and no love for the brethren. It means that we do not understand that we are living near the end of time and we do not understand that the church is under great attack from the Devil and all his demons. We can see that in Rev 9:16-21 where an army of two hundred million horsemen is released, which represent an army of demons attacking the one third of mankind, representing the faithful church and all those who are still faithful to Christ. This is not a physical army on the face of the earth. God warns us for this attack from Satan and all his demons. We are no longer in the offense. We are the church in defense. We are defending our faith. How shall we escape if we are no longer able to defend our faith?

#3.       So Great Salvation (Heb 2:3, Isa 46:9-10, Mal 3:6, Eph 1:4, Gal 3:13, 1Pet 2:24, 2Pet 1:21, Rev 19:13)

How did we escape? What evils did we escape? What blessings did we receive? What did God reveal to us?

#1. This great salvation has a Great Author. We have a great God. He spoke and in six days the entire universe came into being. Just think of how great this universe is, and God is greater than this universe that He created. This universe consists of more than one billion galaxies. I say more than one billion, because man has invented stronger and stronger telescopes, and we have not seen the edge of this enormous universe. And all the galaxies are made of the same ninety two elements, from Hydrogen to Uranium, and all the laws of nature that we observe here on earth also are in effect throughout the whole universe. Let me zero in on one particular law of nature in effect throughout this universe, and that is the law of entropy, which is a measure of disorder, and it is increasing continuously. It means that there is nothing permanent, but everything decays with time. If God will create a New Heaven and a New Earth where there is no decay, then He must create a totally new universe where there is no entropy.

#2. Our great God has Great Wisdom. In fact He is infinitely wise, which means that God does not get any wiser as time goes on. It means that God, because of His great wisdom, knows what is going to come to pass, or else He would not be God. And this great omniscience that God has completely harmonizes with His immutability, which means God does not change. If God would make a decision in the course of time, then at that moment God has changed, and that is not possible. God says in Isa 46:9-10, “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” And God says in Mal 3:6, “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

#3. Our great God caused to occur a Great Incarnation. God did that for our benefit. About two thousand years ago God the Son, also called Christ, united Himself with a human being in the womb of the Virgin Mary, thereby generating the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, who consists of two natures into one Person: A Divine nature of God the Son and a human nature of the man Christ Jesus. It means the Son of God was born. This does not mean that God changed when He conceived Christ, since before creating the first speck of dust God already chose us in Christ, meaning in God the Son, in order that after He was raised from the dead we should stand holy and without blame before Him (Eph 1:4). This was already a done deal before the creation of the world.

#4. Our great God had a Great Love for us, so much so that He gave His only begotten Son as a sin offering for our sins, so that we would forever be freed from the guilt of our sins, and we would stand before Him holy and without blame. Think of what it cost God to accomplish this forgiveness. God spoke and this universe was created. But in order to forgive us our sins He could not just speak and wipe away our sins, for that would not be permitted by the righteousness of God, our Great Judge. No! God had to sacrifice His only begotten Son to accomplish this forgiveness. God had to put His only begotten Son under the same curse of the law of God that we were under; the curse that says, “The wages of sin is death”, and the death that God has in view is not physical death, but the second death, which is an eternity in the lake of fire. This was the penalty for our sin, and this is what the Son of God had to endure in order to make the full payment for the guilt of our sins.

#5. His love for us was the cause of Great Suffering for the Lord Jesus Christ. God waited until in the course of time the Roman Empire was the ruler in the nation of Israel, and the method of execution in the Roman Empire was to be nailed to a wooden cross and be left to dry and to die of thirst and exhaustion. This most cruel method of execution was the outward sign that God waited for. He said in Gal 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” But not only did Christ suffer in His body, but He suffered more for our sins in His human soul, for when He had suffered for a period of about six hours He cried out victoriously, “It Is Finished!” What was finished? He still hung on the cross, bleeding from His hands and His feet, and from the crown of thorns on His head. Most of His blood was still in Him. And so, what was finished? The payment for the guilt of our sins was finished in His soul.

#6. Not only did God love us, but He exercised Great Power in order to accomplish this perfect atonement of Christ, for the Lord Jesus had to suffer for our sins completely in His human nature. God the Son cannot suffer for the sins of mankind, and God the Son cannot die on a cross. This has to be totally done by Christ in His human nature, for man has sinned and man has to atone for that sin. That is why we read in 1Pet 2:24, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” But in order for the Lord Jesus to suffer in His body and in His human soul the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, He had to be empowered enormously by God the Son, who gave Him the strength to endure the atonement successfully. Even Satan, with all his wisdom, did not believe that Christ could do that, for he indwelt Judas Iscariot to bring Christ to the cross. Satan is not stupid to condemn himself. But that is what he did.

#7. And look at the Great Honor that God bestowed on Christ, and on us, after the Lord Jesus finished this atonement. He gave the man Christ Jesus all authority in heaven and on earth; He made Him King of kings and Lord of lords, and He gave Him to rule over principalities and satanic powers, and He made a show of them openly triumphing over them in it. And He gave us the great honor of being adopted as children of God through the atonement of our sins by Jesus Christ. And He gave us the riches of His grace in this life, so that we can say that we have received all things that are necessary in this life to keep us faithful and in His care. He made known unto us the mystery of His will. The elect of God are the only ones who have received this great honor. He made known unto us that we are the recipients of the New Heaven and the New Earth where no entropy dwells.

#8. And God has given us a Great Book where we can find and study all this information that I have dished out today. This great Book, the Bible, is so rich in its contents that no man can grasp it all in one lifetime. It is an infinite source of wisdom, reflecting the infinite mind of God in designing this beautiful Gospel of salvation. This great Book, the Word of God, tells us that God is the Author of it, not the apostles and prophets. God says in 2Pet 1:21, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” And then when we arrive at Rev 19:13, we read the astounding declaration about Christ, “And His Name is called The Word of God.” What does that mean? It means that Christ, who is the Word of God, and the Bible, which is also the Word of God, are intimately identified with one another. And if we dare to add or take away from the Bible we have created to ourselves an idol, which is no longer the Word of God.

For whom did God do all these wonderful things? First God created all this for His own glory. But secondly:

#9. God wants us to know that we committed Great Sins. Our sins are so great that God had to sacrifice His only begotten Son to rectify the situation. God did not make us sons of God because we are so good. God did this to glorify Himself, to show to us and to the whole world how great His mercy and grace is toward those whom He loves, those who are the called according to His purpose. God is love, but God loves only those whom He has chosen from before the foundation of the world. All others are called “reprobate”, or “rejected.” God does not love those who are rejected. God says in Psalm 5:5, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” And God says in Psalm 7:11, “God is angry with the wicked every day.” And God says in Psalm 11:5, “The wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth.” Who are the wicked? If we neglect so great salvation, then we are those wicked.

#10. God tells us that we have committed Great Insult to Him. When we kill someone, or we commit adultery, or we steal from someone, or we lie to one another, we are in fact not committing sins to one another, but we are insulting God. He made mankind in His own image, which does not refer to our outward form, but to our inner being. And when we commit atrocities to one another we are in fact denying that God made our fellow man in the image of God. We are then not satisfied with what God has given us, and we are insulting His wisdom in giving us only what we have received. We read in Psalm 51:4, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.” If you slap a policeman in the face, you go to jail for a week. If you slap the president of the United States in the face, you go to jail for a couple years. If you slap God in the face, you go to Hell for an eternity.

#11. Did we consider that we have committed Great Blasphemy? What is blasphemy? Webster’s Dictionary defines blasphemy two ways: “It is the act of showing contempt or lack of reverence for God, and it is the act of claiming the attributes of Deity.” Now we understand what God says in Ex 20:7, “Thou shalt not bear the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” When we proclaim an erroneous gospel, we are in fact committing great blasphemy, for we are saying “Thus says the Lord” when in fact the Lord has not said that, and we are bearing the name of the Lord in vain. These days many churches are blaspheming God in proclaiming that God saves only those who accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, when in fact the language of the Bible states exactly the opposite. It is not we who accept Him, but it is God who accepts us or who will not accept us. But if we search ourselves we discover that we in the past have also proclaimed such falsehoods, and thus we too were great blasphemers.

#12. Do we realize the Great Danger that we were in, or perhaps that we still are in today? What is this danger? It is the danger of Hell. There are only two places after this life: Heaven or Hell. And what is the evidence that we are on the way to heaven? Why do good people go to Hell? Why does someone who lives a decent moral life all the days of his life, and is a law abiding citizen, still go to Hell? It is because he is stuck up in pride. He refused the Gospel of Jesus Christ because it robs him of his personal control of salvation. He refused to submit to the righteousness of God who alone knows the heart of man. God says, “You must be born again”, but man says, “I will do it by my own decent moral life; I will take my chances.” And all those who neglect this great salvation that God has provided will pass it by. Let us humble ourselves that we may not pass it by.

#4.       According to His Own Will (Heb 2:4, Gal 5:22-23, Heb 10:24-25)

Heb 2:4, God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

It speaks of those who confirmed unto us what they have heard. The Gospel was preached by the Lord Jesus and was relayed to the apostle Paul by the other apostles, and he confirmed that this was the same Gospel that he heard from the Lord Jesus when he was in Arabia. And when they preached this Gospel to others in Judaea and in Samaria and in Galilee God was bearing them witness with signs and wonders and miracles. This was the situation in the first century AD but not now, and at that time Satan was not doing signs and wonders and miracles. But today God is no longer in the business of doing signs and wonders and miracles, because Satan is now doing the signs and wonders and miracles, and to avoid confusion the saints are no longer permitted to do those things. When we read the Bible we find that near the end of time all the signs and wonders and miracles are done by Satan. The signs and wonders and miracles are no longer needed for the saints since we should walk by faith and not by sight.

But what are those gifts of the Holy Ghost? Literally those “gifts” refer to “divisions” or “distributions” done by God the Holy Spirit, and those gifts of the Spirit are still in effect today. What are those gifts of the Spirit? God says in Gal 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” These were gifts of the Holy Spirit in the first century AD as well as today. The Lord Jesus commanded us that we should love one another, and these fruits of the Spirit serve to make us love one another more fervently. But since we live near the end of time the church is under attack by Satan and all his host. Satan would like to twist these words from God to make it appear that God was referring to speaking in tongues. And indeed there are many churches today where the practice of speaking in tongues exists and where a gospel is preached that is an abomination to God. How shall they hear the truth? They are strongly under the influence of Satan and they will resist any attempt to bring down Satan. They shall not hear the truth, for God has distributed the knowledge of the true Gospel according to His own will, which means that God has distributed the knowledge of the Gospel only to those He has foreordained that they should hear the truth.

How shall we know if we are on the right track? We must believe that Almighty God is sovereign and that He will make people to hear the truth or He will close their ears. Only then are we giving God all the glory, and only then are we fulfilling our mandate by giving God the glory and not man. And thus when God says in Heb 10:24-25And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching,” are we stuck up in pride to make this passage say what we want it to say, or are we willing to be humble and learn to submit ourselves to this command from God? How great is our gratitude? Is it a sin to stay away from church on Sunday? Sin is a transgression of the law. Therefore is staying away from church a sin? Most definitely it is, according to this command from God! If this is a deliberate sin, is this then one of the signs that we are neglecting so great salvation? Indeed it is! I have stated in the beginning of this sermon that there are two points in the first four verses of this chapter in Hebrews. #1. The danger and #2. The vengeance. Let us consider to love one another especially on Sunday and thereby serve the Lord Jesus Christ in all that He commanded us to do. The church needs it and the church is under great attack by Satan. If we are born again then we will take heed what the Lord said, without disputing. And we will be blessed indeed.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.