October 3, 1999, Hebrews 6:1-8
The name of the book alone, HEBREWS, tells us that it is an
unique book, written with a specific purpose in mind -- to INSTRUCT
THE HEBREWS in the Christian religion.
The date of the book is important. If the date is not kept in mind, one will certainly misunderstand its message. Its date is well before the old Temple worship stopped, and that Temple worship was a public picture of the crucifixion of Christ, which was yet to come. After Christ came and was crucified, the Temple worship became a very evil denial of Christ's work, and this passage reminds the Hebrews of that fact.
1) Hebrews was probably a joint effort by the apostles at Jerusalem, with Paul maybe the lead apostle in that effort. I will speak as though Paul wrote it, though it is by no means certain he did.
2) Hebrews was for the Hebrew people who were saved out of the old Hebrew manner of worship in the Temple at Jerusalem and in the Jewish synagogues around the world. Many Hebrews were converted to Christ, and some were willingly considering departing from their profession of Christ. They were being tempted to return to the old Hebrew manner of worship as carried on at the Temple at Jerusalem.
3) Hebrews tells them that if they return to the old Hebrew manner of worship, they not only have departed from the faith, they openly crucify the Son of God again.
NOTE: v. 6, crucify to themselves. Not that it actually takes place again, but that they act as though Christ must be crucified again.
NOTE: v. 6, open shame. They make a public mockery of Christ and his work if they return to the old Hebrew manner of worship.
4) Finally, Hebrews tells us that the Christian's life in this world is not a flowery bed off ease; rather, it is a battle-field. Sin and death are at work in this world, destroying everything they can.
Hebrews 6:1-8 is built on at least two other passages: Matthew 13:1-9 & Matthew 7:21.
Matthew 13:1-9: This is the Lord's parable of the seed that is cast upon the ground. The Lord identifies this parable as an insight into one of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, v. 11.
V. 4, some seed fall by the wayside, and the birds came quickly and ate it up.V. 19, the individual heard the good word of God, and did not understand it. The wicked one removed the seed from the individual's heart.
V. 5, some seed fall upon stony ground where there is not much earth. This seed springs up quickly, but when the heat of the sun came out, it witheres away because there was not much earth to give it roots.Vv. 20, 21, this person heard the good word of God, and rejoiced in it. For a time, he had all the right words and works of a Christian. But when tribulations and persecutions came, he left the faith, and returned to what he was.
V. 7, some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns soon choked it out.V.22, this person heard the good word of God. He becometh unfruitful, so he had all the Christian works for a while, even the fruit of a Christian. But the cares of this world and the allurement of riches took him over, and hebecame unfruitful. This is the worldly man; he becomes so occupied with the cares of this world that he has no time to be occupied with the care of his soul or with the care of others. He shrivels up, withers away, and becomes nothing for the cause of Christ.
V. 8, some seed fell on good ground, and it
brought forth fruit. V. 23, this person heard
the word of God; he understandeth it-- that is,
he understands the cost involved, and he willingly pays the price.
The Lord's words here confirm his words in Matthew 6:24 (Lk. 16:13) -- No man can serve two masters.Those represented by the first seed heard the word of God, yet were unaffected by it. Though starting out as Christians, the next two over a period of time where presented with the choice of which master to serve. They made their choice, and it was not the Lord Jesus Chhrist.
So based upon Matthew 6:24, we must say that the first three were not saved in the first plalce.
Hebrews 6:6-8 is a clear reference to Matthew 13, for we see there that the briers and thorns are cast into the fire to be burned.
In other words, Hebrews 6:1-6 cannot be understood apart from Matthew 13.
The second passage that must be considered with Hebrews 6 is found in Matthew 7, which I will only quote:
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
In other words, here are people who clearly experienced the power of God, being able to cast out devils in the Lord's name, yet they were cast into the lake of fire.
There are those who challenge the Bible doctrine of eternal security, or the doctrine of eternal life, with v. 6. .However, v. 6, has nothing to do with eternal security. Eternal security is not the topic of discussion. Rather, it has everything to do with warning the Hebrews who wanted to return to the old Hebrew manner of worship to examine themselves to see if they really are in the faith. Of course, Paul delivers the same message for us today:
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
The Hebrews to whom this is addressed were new Christians in a new religion and in a new church. They are now being told that to even consider returning to the old way of worshiping God was a mark of a serious spiritual problem on their part.
V. 2, they were reminded that Christ is the judge, and they must not try to judge him, which is what they would do if they returned to their old religion.
Now that we have discussed the true meaning of the key verse, v. 6, let us look as some of the major points of the passage.
Vv. 1-8, could be titled "The Duty of Christian Progress" and " The Dangers of Relapse."
The book of Hebrews warns Christians against seeing salvation as a stagnant fact, with no responsibility to grow up on our part. Salvation is victory over sin and death and it is a new life lived in and for Christ. Life means growth, not stagnation.
Hebrews urges Christians to move ahead to perfection, or maturity. Perfect is an old English word meaning mature. The message is to GROW UP.
A blind man is useless as a soldier on the battle filed. So to are Christians who need to be taught endlesslessly the basic precepts of the Christian doctrine. Certainly, there are basic things we need to know very early, but after we learn those things, we are to go on to more mature understandigns of the whole word of God.
Sadly, vv. 1, 2 discribes most of the teachings of many churches. I hear radio preachers sometimes and am on many mailing lists. Most of the messages I read and hear are good, but they are centered in these few basic Christian doctrines. In fact, all the churches I have been in personally and am very familure personaly with stay on John 3:16. Three times a week, the basic message is John 3:16.
They have reduced the Christian doctrine from doing all things for the glory of God and seeking first the kingdom of God to simply man's salvation and happiness. The chruch has been turned into a daycare centerfor baby Christians.
The author of Hebrews insists that we leave those things behind, and go on to maturity. Hebrews tells us that the lack of desire to mature past the "ticket to heaven" is sin; it is not Biblical Christianity. Hebrews speaks against those who do not want thier Christian thinking challenged -- those who want to stay babies in Christ.
People will spend all kinds of time, money and energy increasing their skill in their occupations. Yet many of those same people fail to see the need to have the same dedication to increase in their Christian skills. Many times these same people delight in being baby Christains, unskilled in the use of the word of God.
NOTE HEBREWS 5:10-14, v. 13, For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
The few things mentioned in vv. 1, 2, are not the sum total of Christianity. We will be held accountable to know and do much more than what is mentioned here. Hebrews tells us there is much more required of Christians. Those who desire to keep the word of God simple are to change their desire; they are to desire to grow in their understanding of the deeper things of the Lord -- things that require work and deep thinking.
V. 2, Baptisms referred to what we call baptism. It also referred to any forms of ritual purification.
The people are warned that there is no second chance for them if they reject the very real Christ as he has presented in the book of Hebrews -- High Priest, Messiah King and Prophet.
It is not for them to judge Christ as to who he is, but he is their judge. Paul tells them that they are part of the crucifying mob if they will not have Christ on his terms and apostates from the fatih.
The early church denounced those who saw Christ as simply someone to save them from hell. Such people were considered heretics.
V. 4.Those who are in the church have been first enlightened. The truth was proclaimed to them.They also have tasted of the heavenly gift, the gift of new life through Christ who came from heaven.They have been made partakers of the Holy Ghost. Because they have been in the church where the Spirit works, and even did mighty works themselves.V. 5.They have tasted the good word of God. The truth has made known unto them. They have tasted the powers of the world to come. They experienced life under the new orders of Christ. They have even entered into the fullness of Christ's work.
Hebrews warns of serious consequences if they turn away from what they have experienced in Christ. Hebrews tells us that when people depart from Christ after experienceing all of this, they show their unsaved, hardened charactor. They have put Christ to an open shame.
V. 6, impossible to renew... I will make the point here that nothing is impossible with God. Man sure can't renew them. But I have not really seen one return who has turned from the Christian path they once followed.
Vv. 7, 8.
Here we clearly see the reference to the parable of the sower and seed. These verses tell us is that those spoken of in vv. 4-6 may not even be one of the four mentioned in Matthew 13. Rather, they could well be the thorns and briers that were wrongly in the sower's field.
First, if we are content with where we are in our Christian life, we are to question ourselves concerning whether or not we are even in the faith.
Second, Hebrews 6:6 is a call to make sure we are in the faith. If we are growing cold and indifferent concerning Christ and his claims upon us by God's word, we are to question ourselves, not this text.
Third, those who see Christ as no more than a ticket to heaven are in serious trouble - they are obviously one of the first three mentioned in Matthew 13, regardless of the mighty works they may have experienced.
Fourth, if we have heard the truth, but have no desire to move ahead to maturity once we have been enlightenedby the truth, then we must question ourselves to see if we are in the faith. We must not question this text of Scripture.
Fifth, this passage was a strong warning to those who were considering departing from Christ--even the consideration is a mark of being lost.
Job 5:6 Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; 7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.
Life is made up of troubles. Yet people go to church many times a week and are still unprepared to handle the troubles. (Counselors make a killing.) They are unprepared because all they know is the basic doctrine of Christ. The answers to man's troubles are no longer found in Scripture as they once were. Rather, the answers are sought in secular counseling and in medication. According to Hebrews, the answer for man's problems is to grow up, and become mature in the word and life of the Son of God.
Seventh, Hebrews is puting forthis this question to the Hebrew people who were tempted to go back to the old manner of worship: What kind of seed are you?1) one of the three seed that perished in Matthew 13.2) thorns and briers what the Spirit of God has done no work at all in.3) the good seed, #4, that was honestly converted and brought forth good fruit.
Hebrews was writen to the Hebrew believers, and it said, "Grow up; you may be ahead of the Gentile believers, but in understanding the meaning of Christ as prophet, priest and king, you are far behind them." Grow up he said.
The church is being turned into an army of blind men, as they cannot get past the basic principles of Christianity.
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