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The Peril Of Persistent Rejection

Go On To Perfection  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction: When it came to the gospel the Hebrews to whom the author is writing had become hard, dull, and stupid, and although the author is specifically addressing Jews here the warning applies to everyone. All who know the truth of God’s saving grace in Jesus Christ, who may have even seen it change the lives of many of their friends and family members, who may have even made some kind of profession of faith themselves, yet turn and walk away from full acceptance of Christ, are given the strongest warning possible. Stubborn and persistent rejection of Christ may result in a person’s passing the point of no return, and forever losing their opportunity for salvation.
Hebrews 2:1 NKJV
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.
That is what always happens to those who are indecisive in following Christ, eventually he chooses to follow his own heart of unbelief and turn his back on God forever.
Hebrews 3:13 NKJV
but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
People can go to church for years and hear the gospel over and over again. People can be faithful church members and yet never make a commitment to Christ, and the warning in this passage is directed at those people. People who pretend to know Christ, but the reality is that they will eventually choose to abandon Christ for the love of this present world.

Two Contrasting Ideas

Leave elementary principles and go on to perfection

The word translated leaving refers to a total detachment from a previous condition. The same word is used in .
1 Corinthians 7:11 NKJV
But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.
Paul was saying that a man should not totally abandon or detach himself from his wife.
It is wrong to completely abandon your spouse, but it was necessary for the Jews to completely abandon what Judaism taught concerning the Messiah. Now the elementary teachings of Christ would refer to the teachings of the Old Testament teachings about the Messiah. Did the Old Testament teach anything inappropriate or wrong about the Messiah? No, of course not! So, what was the problem and why should they totally abandon the teachings of Judaism which came from the Old Testament? The problem was that they were living as if the Old Testament hadn’t been fulfilled.
Matthew 5:17 NKJV
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
They were still living as if Jesus were not the Messiah, and they were still looking for the Messiah to come. So, they were being encouraged to stop living as if the Old Testament hadn’t been fulfilled. They were called to leave the pictures of the Messiah and to go on to a relationship with the Messiah Himself.
This is the center, climax, and call of Hebrews. Because Jesus is better than everything and everyone, leave everything and everyone and go on to perfection in Christ.
The author of Hebrews specifically calls out some things that they were to abandon
Repentance from dead works and faith toward God
The Old Testament taught that a man was to repent and turn from his evil works because they brought about death
Ezekiel 18:4 NKJV
“Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.
Romans 6:23 NKJV
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Men only knew that they were to turn away from evil works and toward God
Even John the Baptist, the last Old Testament prophet, preached this
Matthew 3:2 NKJV
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
Only repentance was preached, but the doctrine of repentance only becomes perfect (complete, mature) in Jesus
Acts 20:21 NKJV
testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now that the New Testament is at work, It does no good to turn from sin if you never turn to Christ
John 14:6 NKJV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
It does not matter how sincere a person is in their religion - apart from Jesus man has no hope of reaching God
Repentance from dead works is simply turning from evil to God and it is a wonderful Old Testament truth, but it has now been fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus. An incomplete way of dealing with sin has been replaced for a complete one.
The doctrine of baptisms
Unfortunately, the King James and New King James translations obscure the meaning here
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Every Jewish home had a basin at the entrance of their homes to use for ceremonial washings. The Old Testament itself looked forward to the day when ceremonial washings would be abandoned and replaced by a spiritual cleansing from God
Ezekiel 36:25 NKJV
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
The old washing was symbolic and temporary while the new washing real and permanent.
John 3:5 NKJV
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
The laying on of hands
The laying of hands here has nothing to do with the early church practice
Acts 5:18 NKJV
and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.
Acts 6:6 NKJV
whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.
In the Old Covenant the person who brought a sacrifice had to put his hands on it to symbolize his identification with it
Leviticus 1:4 NKJV
Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.
Our identification with Christ has nothing to do with our laying hands on Him. These Jews are being instructed to forget about laying hands on temple sacrifices and to instead lay hold of Christ by placing their trust in Him
Resurrection of the dead
Job 19:16 NKJV
I call my servant, but he gives no answer; I beg him with my mouth.
Job 19:26 NKJV
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God,
The Old Testament teaching on the resurrection is not very clear
We do know that the Old Testament taught that there will be life after death and that the resurrection will be bodily and not just spiritual
Job 19:26 NKJV
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God,
In contrast, the New Testament teaches extensively on the resurrection
Why would anyone be content with the limited understanding of the Old Testament when they can have the detailed teachings of the New Testament?
Eternal judgment
There is little we can learn from the Old Testament about the final judgment
Ecclesiastes 12:14 NKJV
For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.
What we know from the Old Testament is that there will be a judgment and that the judgment brings punishment to the evil and blessing to the good
The New Testament, on the other hand, teaches us a lot about eternal judgment
We know what will happen to believers
Romans 8:1 NKJV
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3:12–15 NKJV
Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
The works of the believer will be judged while the believer himself will be saved
We also know what will happen to unbelievers
Revelation 20:11–15 NKJV
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
The point here is that it was necessary for the Jews to let go of the religion of Judaism in order to take hold of the perfect reality of Christ. These were the six basics of Judaism that were to be laid aside. All of these principles were true and all of them were ordained of God and all of them were necessary. However, the revelation of the Old Testament is incomplete because it did not include Christ Himself. The things that pointed to Christ were to be abandoned in order to lay hold of Christ.
Well, what does this mean for us as Gentiles? The same can be said for Gentile religions. Lay aside any belief or hope you have of reaching God apart from Christ. If you reject Christ, you have rejected God.
So, as verse 3 says, let us do exactly this in full reliance on God.

Five Condemning Advantages

Read Hebrews 6:4-6
Now, I am probably not going to finish this lesson this week. Reason is because I want to go slowly over the next few verses because this is one of the more challenging passages in the New Testament, and there are some who hold the belief that this passage teaches that you can lose your salvation. I do not hold to that belief, but neither do I want to soften the language used here. The writer of Hebrews used language here that sounds very serious because he wanted to get across a very serious point and we need to be faithful to recognize how serious he was. In speaking to these Jews who were still holding on to Judaism but yet had tasted the benefits of Christianity, this warning is issued
First, we must notice that this passage does not make any reference whatsoever to salvation. There is no justification or sanctification and there is no mention of a new birth or regeneration. Yet,

They had been enlightened

First, we must notice that this passage does not make any reference whatsoever to salvation. There is no justification or sanctification and there is no mention of a new birth or regeneration. The writer does not say that those who were enlightened were made holy or righteous. None of the normal New Testament terms for salvation are used here neither are any of the terms used here ever used in the New Testament to describe someone who is saved.
The enlightenment spoken of here simply refers to someone recognizing truth. You can become enlightened in math class when you learn that 2+2=4, but recognizing the truth of the gospel is not the same as trusting in it. Jesus is more valuable than a math problem and He is to be treasured - not just recognized.
The Hebrews here were enlightened but not saved. Peter uses similar language
2 Peter 2:20–21 NKJV
For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
Remember ? The word of God will either save us by showing us the glory of God in the face of Jesus or it will condemn us and expose us. Because of their unbelief, the enlightenment that was meant to save them became a judgment against them.

They had tasted of the heavenly gift

This group had not only been enlightened but had also tasted of the heavenly gift. The gift here refers to the gift of Christ Himself. Now, how can someone taste the gift of Christ temporarily? Isn’t the gift He offers an eternal gift? Well, the writer of Hebrews is consistent throughout Hebrews in his use of the word taste. The way he uses taste means to experience something temporarily.
Hebrews 2:9 NKJV
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
Hebrews 6:5 NKJV
and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
But this brings us back to the question, how can someone taste the gift of Christ temporarily? 1). It is possible to watch the working of the gospel in the lives of others and yet reject the gift yourself. 2). For these Jews, it was also possible that they were there when Jesus performed miracles and they saw the evidence of who He was, and yet they rejected the ultimate gift. So, in other words, they had seen or experienced the benefits of salvation and yet they chose that they did not want those benefits for themselves.
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