February 16, 2020
Scripture: Hebrews 2:1-4
I. You need to pay attention because we tend to drift.
A. The author of Hebrews begins chapter 2 by saying, “Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard.” What had this church of Jewish Christians heard? They had heard according to Hebrews 2:3 a message about a great salvation. We can be saved from the judgment of God for our sins through faith in Christ’s death on the cross. We need to pay closer to attention to this message of salvation, according to the author of Hebrews, lest we drift away from it. Apostasy is the rejection and denial of the Gospel.
B. All of us have tendency to wander. All of us, if left to ourselves, will drift. Does this warning against drifting mean that a true Christian can lose their salvation? No. John 10:28-29: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” But you must persevere. And what is one of the means that God uses to help us persevere in faith? Warnings like these in Hebrews chapter 2.
II. You need to pay attention because God is just and holds people accountable.
A. Verse 2 writes about the justice of God in the Old Testament. The message declared by angels (vs. 2) is the Old Testament law. See Galatians 3:19 and Acts 7:53. According to vs. 2, those who were disobedient in the Old Testament would receive a just retribution. God would act with justice against those who sinned. One example of a just retribution was when the Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land in the book of Numbers. Because of their disobedience and lack of faith the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.
B. The author argues from the lesser to the greater in verse 3. He is saying, “If people were justly punished for rejecting God in the Old Testament, how much more will God hold people accountable if they reject the saving message of Jesus!” In the words of verse 3, “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation!” The seriousness of God’s justice is not decreased in the New Testament. God’s judgment is actually increased! In the Old Testament, people were judged on earth. But if you reject Jesus and His saving message, you will be judged for eternity.
III. You need to pay attention because the message of Jesus is clear and true.
A. Verse 3 tells us that this message of salvation was declared at first by the Lord. Jesus came to earth as God to tell us how we might be saved. That message of grace that Jesus spoke was then attested to us (vs. 3) by those who heard. The apostles also spoke about how we can be saved from God’s judgment by His grace through faith that Jesus died for our sins on the cross. This is the clear teaching of both Jesus and the apostles. And God confirmed that this message about salvation is true as we see in verse 4 by signs and wonders and various miracles. The miracles proved the truth of their words. And finally, the gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will (vs. 4) also proved that the message is true. As we in the church use the gifts God gave us through the Holy Spirit, people know that the Gospel is true. People can see the love and grace of God as we use our gifts to serve one another.
Don’t drift from Jesus. Return to Him. Persevere in your faith.
The book of Hebrews
Commentaries on Hebrews by Thomas Schreiner and Raymond Brown
Bible study by Michael Kruger