Hope from Hebrews #3 - Don't Drift Away
Text: Hebrews 2:1-4
Thesis: To stress the necessity of holding on to our “great salvation.”
(1) Do you know of people who were once very active in the church and now have nothing to do with the church?
(2) What went wrong?
(3) In 2:1-4, “having established the supreme authority of the Son of God in 1:5-14, the preacher builds on that truth by turning momentarily from his exposition of Christ and confronting the listeners with their responsibility” (Guthrie 83).
I. The Exhortation (v. 1):
A. The exhortation here is given in order to prevent Christians from “drifting away.”
1. ‘Drift away’ (Gr. pararreo) means “be washed away” (BDAG).
2. “The warning is that as a boat might glide past its landing place, so Christians might be swept downstream from the truths of the gospel” (Lightfoot 70).
3. Coffman observed: “It is possible to drift away from the teachings of Christ because: (1) some, being in him, are still not anchored in him; (2) subtle and powerful tides and currents surge and tug against the soul's safety; (3) the believer fails to exercise due care and diligence in the defense and development of his faith; and (4) some allow preoccupation with unimportant and secondary things to preempt too much of their time and attention.”
B. In order to prevent this from occurring, the preacher stressed that Christians must “give the more earnest heed.”
1. ‘More earnest’ (Gr. perissoteros) means “a degree which is considerably in excess of some point on an implied or explicit scale of extent” (Louw-Nida).
2. To what are we to give the more earnest heed?
a. The answer is: “to the things we have heard.”
b. This “comprises the entirety of the Christian message, the word that has been proclaimed ‘in a Son’” (Attridge 64).
II. The Explanation (vv. 2-4):
A. In verses 2-3a., the preacher argues from the lesser (i.e., the Old Testament) to the greater (i.e., the New Testament).
1. With the Old Testament, “the writer of Hebrews reasons, ‘if’ there was such a thing as ‘retribution’ under the old covenant ‘declared by angels’, how much more ‘retribution’ there will be in a covenant declared by a Son” (LWC).
a. ‘Spoken through angels’ – Cf. Deut. 33:2; Psa. 68:18; Acts 7:53, Gal. 3:19
b. Another implication is “that if angelic mediation shows how great the Law is, then the message proclaimed by the Son of God must be even greater, since he is greater than the angels” (Koester 205).
c. With the OT, every ‘neglect’ (i.e., transgression and disobedience) was punished properly.
2. With the New Testament, there will be no “escape” if we “neglect” Jesus and His teachings.
a. ‘Escape’ (Gr. ekpheugo) means “to become free from danger by avoiding some peril” (BDAG).
b. ‘Neglect’ (Gr. ameleo) means “to have no care for” (BDAG).
(1) The same word is used in Matt. 22:5 in reference to wedding guests who “paid no attention” (NIV) to the king’s invitation.
(2) We ‘neglect’ when we fail to ‘give the more earnest heed.’
c. Why would anyone want to ‘neglect’ “so great a salvation?”
- “ ‘So great a salvation’ is an appropriate designation for the redemption in Christ; and the true greatness of it is apparent because of: (1) the greatness of the Savior who achieved it; (2) the greatness of the disaster from which it rescues the sinner; (3) the greatness of the eternal reward in heaven provided by it; (4) the greatness of the Savior's love that underlies it; (5) the greatness of the adversary who opposes it; (6) the greatness of that multitude who shall receive it; and (7) the greatness of those certainties upon which it is grounded” (Coffman).
B. In verses 3b.-4, the preacher elaborates on the message of salvation.
1. First, it was spoken by the Lord.
2. Second, it was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.
3. Third, God bore witness of it with signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
(1) We mustn’t drift away from Jesus because there is no other way.
(2) This “great salvation” can be yours today if you will give your life to Jesus!