"THE GREAT ESCAPE"
(A Series on Hebrews)
Westgate Chapel 12/4/88a.m. Hebrews 2:1-4
PROPOSITION: Because of the superiority of Jesus, not just in theological terms, but in reality, there is a tremendous responsibility on us all not to treat this great salvation lightly or casually, at the risk of drifting from its moorage and, ultimately, coming under the sure judgment of God.
- I WAS out at Paine Field the other day, getting checked out in a Piper Cherokee.
- THE chief pilot there, was giving me the once over to make sure that I knew the airplane, and that I was a safe pilot.......before they would clear me to rent any of their airplanes.
- I HAD flown a Cherokee, just like this one, in Iowa before, so I was fairly confident as I did the pre-flight check, and we climbed into the airplane and taxied to runway 16L for takeoff (FAMILIARITY).
- I DID not know the older gentleman who was giving me my flight test.......but he looked like he was in his late sixties, early seventies.....and he was soft spoken......and kind......so I thought this was going to be a breeze (BAD JUDGMENT).
- HE asked me a few questions.....and I was able to answer them without any problem.
- THE plane was fairly easy to fly.......and I was settling in quite nicely (BEEN ALL THROUGH THIS BEFORE).
- THE instructor was chatting about the terrain.....and asking me how it compared it to flying in Iowa.
- HE showed me where all the local landing strips are, like Martha's Lake, and Snohomish, and even a few private grass strips......in case of an emergency.
- AND he chatted on and on.......like a Chamber of Commerce tour guide.
- AND I was feeling good about flying an airplane again.....and he was such a nice man....that I started to let my mind drift.
- I STOPPED paying real close attention to what he was saying.
- I FIGURED that I would get to know where all these little fields were in time.
- SOMETIMES he would speak quietly.......and it bothered me that I could not hear him.....so I started just ignoring him. I figured that if it was something he wanted me to hear, he would just have to speak up.
- RIGHT now I was going to enjoy the feel of the airplane.....the roar of the engine.......and the rush of the air past the cockpit.
- I WAS flying again. I was a good pilot. This was a great airplane. Turn me loose. "Up we go, into the wild blue yonder.........."
- I WAS over the Mojave Desert, Westgate Chapel's Top Gun.......when all of a sudden my daydream was shattered by the realization that I was missing the wonderful sound of the engine.
- I HAD no power. This kind, conversational, elderly gentleman instructor had reached over and pulled the throttle all the way back.
- WITH a wicked smile breaking out of the corner of his mouth he said, "Now what are you going to do?"
- WELL, he had my immediate attention.
- IN that airplane, the first thing you do when you lose the engine, is turn the fuel boost pump on. Next, you change fuel tanks.......and while you are trying to figure out what went wrong inside the cockpit......you are simultaneously looking for an appropriate field to land.....assuming the worst about getting the plane started.
- WELL, I lined up over one field, about 200 feet off the ground.......only to find out that power lines blocked a decent approach.
- SO I slid over to the pasture next to this field...now about 150 feet off the ground.....only to be staring at about 50 rather surprised looking cows.......They were not half as surprised as I was right then.
- FINALLY, at about 100 feet off the deck, the instructor reached over and gave me power back.....and we climbed back up to 1500ft.
- NOW I was listening to every word he said......even when he spoke quietly....I would lean over, practically in his face, to hear what he was saying.
- HE had my attention.
- THE next time he pulled power I was ready for him. I was listening. He had succeeded in getting my attention.
- NOW, this little story explains exactly what happens in the first 4 verses of Hebrews 2.
- WE started out flying in Hebrews 1........talking about the superiority of Jesus Christ.......God's final and complete Word to mankind.
* How that He is the Creator of all things (vs.10).
* How that He is the shining of the Father's glory (vs.3).
* The exact image of God (vs.3).
* That He sustains all things by the power of His Word (vs. 3).
* Seated at the right hand of God in heaven (vs.3).
* Superior to the angels (vs. 4)
* The ultimate ruler over all things.....with His enemies under His feet (vs.13).
- AND these are wonderful truths. They are theologically sound. Biblically based.
- AND you and I climb into the cockpit every Sunday, and rev up the engine, taxi to the active runway.......and away we go as we soar around these wonderful truths about Jesus.
* We read about Him.
* We study the Bible about Him.
* We hear them.
* We sing them
- AND we get so accustomed to the sights and sounds of the flight........that most of the time we are not really paying attention to the demands the truths about Jesus make on our lives......listening to the Chief Pilot......moving every time He gives a command.
- OUR goggles are on, our eyes are closed, our scarves are flying in the slipstream.
- AND in Hebrews 2:1, the Holy Spirit reaches over and pulls the power.
ii. aimless drifting
- HE writes;
"We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away."
- WE are to pay more careful attention to what we have just heard, in chapter 1, about this final Word of the Father to us.....Jesus.
- THE Greek word for "pay more careful attention" literally means to pay attention until the power and authority of the Gospel of Jesus have taken root in your life.
* It is not good enough to know that Jesus is the sustainer of all life.......unless you acknowledge Him as the only true Source of life for you.
* It is not good enough to know that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father....unless He is undisputed Sovereign in your life.
* It is not good enough to know that Jesus will one day roll up this earth and the heavens, like a scroll and discard them like an old garment......unless you know where you will be when that happens.
* It is not good enough to know that Jesus will eventually have all His enemies under is feet........unless you know for certain that you are a friend and not one of His enemies.
- "PAYING more careful attention" means that you recognize the eternal consequences of these truths, and are actively, by faith, appropriating these truths to the practical side of your life.
- ARE you acting as if your life depended on the truths of Hebrews 1. (Doesn't it?)
- SO the warning sounds in Hebrews 2 to get your attention.
- AND in the deafening silence of the engine out procedure......the Holy Spirit adds, for extra measure, the stern warning that if WE do not pay careful attention, WE will drift away.
- THE word for drift is the word used for a boat that is without power, without rudder and without anchor.........going from no place in particular, to no place in general........aimlessly slipping away from God...sometimes without even being aware that it is happening.
- IN the Greek, the pronoun for "we" is emphatic. What that means is that the author feels so strongly about this that he includes himself.
- BECAUSE of apathy and indifference to the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Jewish believers to whom this letter was written, were in danger of drifting quietly, gently, away from the gospel, away from Jesus.
- I, IN no way, want to offend those of you who may believe in eternal security.....but I must be true to God's Word and warn you all of the serious danger of treating lightly, or with indifference, the gospel of Jesus.
- HEBREWS is full of these warnings concerning drifting away;
* In 3:12 it says;
"See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God."
* In 4:11 it says;
"Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience."
- BEING careless about the gospel, and the demands of Jesus on your life, is the first step towards drifting away......and you get careless, indifferent, callous, then hard.
- SO we MUST pay more careful attention......to the demands of the truth about Jesus on your life.
iii. sure judgment
- BUT wait, the instructor on this flight has not given you power back yet........we are still slowly descending to the field below.
- READ verse 2&3a as the writer continues his stern warning about spiritual carelessness;
"For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?"
- HERE is an inescapable promise that those who continue drifting away........and do not get power back in their lives, turning once again in faith to God.......will face the sure judgement of God.
- THERE is a philosophy prevalent in many church circles today that the subject of judgement must be avoided from the pulpit.....that it is negative and will drive people away.
- LET'S wait one precious moment and take a leaf from a chapter in the life of the One who loved us so much that He died on the cross for our salvation.
- HE is the One who said;
* If your eyes causes you to stumble, gouge it out. It would be better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."
* Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction.
* Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
* And speaking of the Jews who rejected Him as Messiah He said, "the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- ALL through His life and ministry Jesus spoke about His love for all who would come to Him. He offered His life as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. But He spoke clearly also about the judgment that waited those who either rejected Him or, through neglect, just drifted away.
- I CANNOT preach to you anything less than Jesus would if He were here to shepherd you, in person.
- JUST as sure as the judgment of the Old Testament was measured out on those who violated the law.........even more sure will be the judgment of God on those who reject or ignore this final word of salvation spoken in His Son, Jesus.
- THIS is the lake of fire that burns for all eternity.....for those who leave this life without the saving grace of Jesus covering them, through faith in His name.
- IGNORING or neglecting this great salvation.....is the same, in God's eyes, as outright rebellion.
iv. so great salvation
- BUT before we crash land into the field......here comes the power back.
- THE Holy Spirit has your attention and mine now, and He gives us the power back as He writes, in verse 3b-4;
"........how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will."
- HEY!.....He writes. This salvation is nothing to ignore. There is no reality greater. There is no power greater.
- IT was announced by Jesus Himself.....when He came in a manger, lived His life the way the Father said, spoke the words of the Father, died on the cross for our sin.....and rose again.
- IT was confirmed by those who had first hand experience with Him.....like Peter and James and John who gave their lives for their witness.
- GOD also testifies to it still, by signs and wonders and various miracles......and the gifts of the Spirit that you see in services from time to time.
- EVERY time you read the gospel of Jesus......every time you read an eyewitness account of Peter......or see God working in supernatural power today......you have proof of the greatness of the gospel of Jesus....SO GREAT SALVATION.
- THIS Great Salvation is available to you today.
- IT is not something to take lightly.....or casually....or even ignore.
- IT is a great salvation.
- WHAT does it mean to pay more careful attention?
- IF you do not pay it careful attention......you will drift away from it and its saving power.
- IF you neglect it.......you will come under the judgment of God.
- SO let its power and authority take control of your life today.
- LET it be something radical.....not hit and miss.
- LET it be real........not phony religion.
- THIS Jesus stands ready, this morning, to take the throne of your life.......in power and glory.
- THERE is no other life to live.
"NO ONE LIKE JESUS"