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Hebrews 2,1-4

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"THE GREAT ESCAPE"

(A Series on Hebrews)

Westgate Chapel 9/5/04 a.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. introduction

-     SHORTLY after moving to Seattle from Iowa 16 years ago, I went out at Paine Field in Everett, to get checked out in a Piper Cherokee.

-     THE chief pilot there, gave 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 that 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 (JUDGMENT BASED ON APPEARANCES).

-     HE asked me a few questions about the plane and my knowledge of flight rules.....and I was able to answer them without any problem.

-     THE plane was fairly easy to fly.......and I was settling in quite nicely (COMPLACENCY).

-     THE instructor chatted about the terrain in the Northwest.....and asked me how it compared it to flying in Iowa.

-     HE showed me where all the local landing strips were, 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.

-     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.

-     FOR the most part he would spoke very quietly.......and it bothered me that I could not hear him.....so I started ignoring him. I figured that if it was something he wanted me to hear, he would just have to speak up.

-     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 sound of the engine.

-     I HAD no power. This kind, conversational, elderly gentleman instructor had reached over and pulled the throttle on me.

-     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 place to land.....assuming the worst about getting the plane re-started.

-     WELL, I lined up over one corn 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 the corn 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 illustrates what going in the first 4 verses of Hebrews 2 (pg.1184).

-     HEBREWS 1 starts out flying........ about the superiority of Jesus Christ.......God's final and complete Word to mankind.

*     Jesus is the Creator of all things (vs.10).

*     Jesus is the shining of the Father's glory (vs.3).

*     Jesus is the exact image of God (vs.3).

*     He sustains all things by the power of His Word (vs. 3).

*     He is seated at the right hand of God in heaven (vs.3).

*     He is superior to the angels (vs. 4)

*     He is the ultimate ruler over all things.....with His enemies under His feet (vs.13).

-     THESE are wonderful Biblical truths about Jesus. They are theologically sound….accepted as orthodox faith for 2000 years of the Church’s existence….uncontested.

-     AND you and I climb into the cockpit together every Sunday, and we 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 His voice.

*     We sing songs of praise and worship about Him.

-     AND we get so accustomed to the sights and sounds of the flight........

*     …that unless we are very careful, most of the time we are not really paying attention to the demands these truths about Jesus make on our lives......listening for the voice of 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."

-     THE NASB translates verse 1,

      “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.

-     WE are to pay much closer 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 much closer 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 have a relationship Him as the only true Source of your life.

*     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 much closer attention" means that you recognize the eternal consequences of these truths, and are actively, by faith, appropriating these truths to the practical elements of your life.

-     ARE you living as if your very life depended on the truths of Hebrews 1? (Doesn't it?)

-     SO the warning words of Hebrews 2:1 are intended to get yours and my 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 much closer 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 a drift......as you gradually and sometimes imperceptibly get careless, indifferent, callous, then hard.

-     SO we MUST pay more careful attention......to the demands of the truth about Jesus on our lives.

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 to drift away will face the sure judgments of God.

-     THERE is a philosophy prevalent in many church circles today that the subject of judgment must be avoided from the pulpit.....that it is negative and will drive people away.

-     WELL, before we abandon the subject, let’s examine the attention Jesus gave to the judgment.

-     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…and many there are who walk in it.

*     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.

-     THE Bible is crystal clear that there is a lake of fire that burns for all eternity.....reserved for those who leave this life without the saving grace of Jesus covering them, through faith and repentance 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......the Holy Spirit gives us the power back, now that He has our attention.

-     IN verses 3b-4, He writes;

      "........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."

-     “PAY attention!” 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.

-     AND God 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.

V. conclusion

-     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….the only 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.

 

 

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