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The Land of Spiritual Rest

Learning the Epistles – Study 168

from Pastor Dan Parton | Timberline Baptist Church | Originally presented January 26, 2011 |

Hebrews 2:1-4

Introduction:  These verses contain the first of the five parenthetical warnings found in Hebrews.  We must pay careful attention to these warnings if we are to make it to spiritual Canaan, the land of spiritual rest.

We must keep in mind that no book in the Bible is addressed to the unsaved.  The books of the Bible are always addressed to the people of God, those who are born again.  Therefore, the warnings found in Hebrews are not warnings to the lost but warnings to the saved.  Heresy has come from teaching that the five warnings in Hebrews are parenthetical warnings written to the lost.  Two false doctrines in particular have come from Hebrews being taught out of context:

– That you can lose your salvation.

– That you can sin away your day of grace.

These warnings are to the saved and give a strong message to the backslider.  This particular passage deals with the neglecting of the salvation that every Christian has already received, not the rejecting of the salvation God is offering unbelievers.  It is a sin committed by the saved, not the lost.  We can understand this passage better if we examine four phrases carefully:

“Therefore we ought.”  The phrase “we ought” emphasizes the fact that “we must.”  The writer is, no doubt, speaking here of essentials, not incidentals.  This passage speaks what a Christian must do, not what he may do.

“Give the more earnest heed.”  This phrase means “to pay careful attention.”  No one becomes a good Christian automatically or accidentally.  If you are to become a good Christian, you will do so on purpose.  It will demand concentration and effort on your part.  “More earnest heed” refers to hard work and diligence.

“The things which we have heard.”  This phrase refers to the Word of God, teaching, and preaching.  We must heed God’s Word or experience God’s judgment.

“Slip” is a nautical term and refers to “drifting away.”

“How shall we escape.”  Here, we are reminded that carelessness about our spiritual growth and spiritual matters in general will result in judgment from God.

  • Does God judge His people?  Yes, but not in the same way that He judges the lost.  A Christian needs to distinguish the judgment that God’s people experience from the judgment that the lost experience.
  • The difference is found in two words:  condemnation and chastisement.
  • Condemnation, that is, eternal death, refers to God’s judgment of the lost and results in spending eternity in Hell.  Chastisement refers to God’s judgment of the saved, and suggests the pictures of a father carefully and lovingly disciplining his children.
  • Hebrews 12 is a key chapter in the Bible that deals with the chastening of the saved.

– To “neglect so great salvation” refers to carelessness on our part in caring for the essential things in the Christian life.  (And there are a number of essential things in the Christian life!)

All five of the parenthetical warnings in Hebrews have to do with our relationship to the Word of God.  In this lesson, we will see the first warning for God’s people.


1.            Drifting from the Word of God through neglect.


– Hebrews 2:1-4, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”

– For most of us, drifting away from the Word of God goes unnoticed.  It happens slowly.

– The following illustration is nearly worn out, but it fits so perfectly here.  When I lived in Minnesota, I was the camp director at Camp Patterson in Mankato for four years.  Camp Patterson was located next to beautiful Lake Washington, one of the more than 10,000 lakes of Minnesota.


One day, while the campers were having their horizontal time, I went fishing in a canoe with another counsellor.  It was a windy day, and we didn’t have an anchor.  Before I knew it, our canoe had drifted close to the shore.  We neglected to anchor ourselves down and drifted away from where we needed to be.  So, we had to paddle back out to the middle of Lake Washington.  We did this several times, because we never put an anchor down.  We could have caught more fish if we hadn’t spent so much time paddling back to where we needed to be.


– This is clearly illustrated in Hebrews 2:1, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”

– Those, away from the Lord ask “What happened?  I was so close to God, and now I am so far away.”

– It is always a series of events and never just one thing that happens.  Proverbs 6:10-11 and 24:33-34 say, “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.”

– The end result of this neglect is that we get further and further away from the Lord because we are further from His Word than we once were.

– This neglect is easily recognized though oft-ignored.  We need to stop neglecting:

  • Our walk with the Lord.
  • The Word of God.
  • Our prayer life.
  • Our witness.
  • Our faithfulness to church.
  • Our service for God.
  • Our tithing and other giving.
  • The godliness of our language and habits.
  • The control of our anger.
  • The guarding of our hearts.
  • Our response to the preaching of God’s Word.
  • The cleaning up of our lives.
  • Our Christian testimony.
  • Our lives as children of God and the making of excuse as to why we can’t live like Christians ought to live.

Conclusion:  Every Christian has been or is presently practicing the neglecting of their great salvation and, therefore, not growing.  If you have been neglectful, you can make it right starting right now.

This is why Peter wrote, And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue… (2 Peter 1:5) and why the author of Hebrews wrote, Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

1, 8, 3, 1 Which are you?

January 25th, 2012 | Buen Consejo | for http://www.baptist.org
The right book!

1, 8, 3, 1…  which are you?  What is this about?  Read on and see –>>

   In the scriptures, in Matthew 26:36-46, we read about 13 people that I want to address.  Jesus and 11 of his disciples when to a place called Gethsemane.  At this time Judas was off betraying his Lord for some money.  Jesus brought Peter and the two sons of Zebedee closer and gave them an assignment to watch with him.  Jesus went on a little further and prayed to the Father.
   Here is our break down: 1 person is off betraying.  8 people are given no assignment. 3 are given an assignment and struggle with it.  1 goes on to the presence of God and perseveres.
   In our churches, Bible study groups, cell groups or gatherings we find within Christianity this same break down. Which are you?
   The bad 1.  Are you the one off running your mouth? Judging, condemning, running others down with your words?  Is there sin in your life that turns others away from the Lord? Are you giving non-Christians ammo to destroy confidence in Christ?  I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “Lord protect me….. from thy followers!” 
  The 8.  Are you just a pew-filler?  Are you one of those Christians that attends church or Bible study? You support financially, and there is no actual fault in your doings.  You just don’t actually do anything much for the Lord.  You’re just… there. This is the largest group.

The 3.  Are you a worker? Do you tell people about the Lord and his free gift of salvation? Do you actively do what the Lord wants in your life? Yes, you might struggle and mess up, but do you try to serve God? Do you take what you learn in your daily scripture reading and try to apply it? Do you actually do what you hear in church or read in the Bible? Or do you fall asleep and fail the Lord?  Do you serve God or expect to be served by him?

  The good 1.  Are you the one who goes on into a deeper relationship with God?  Not the work of the Lord only, but the Lord of the work.  Are you hungry for the presence of God in your life?  Do you continue in prayer, not to bring your shopping list of what you want from him, but to surrender yourself to him?   Do you want that closeness with God more than anything? Do you pray earnestly from the heart, honestly… until you are heard by him? Is loving him more important than anything else?  Are you willing (as Jesus was) to separate from the others enough to get alone with God and really focus on him and his will for you?

Are you a 1, 8, 3, or 1? 

  Here are the verses:
Matthew 26:36-46  “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.  And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.  Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.   And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 
And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?   Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 
  He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.  And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.  And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.” 

Salvation under the old testament law?

Straight ahead!
  December 12th, 2011 | Buen Consejo| for http://www.baptist.org
 Under the law securing an eternity with the Lord and not spending eternity burning in the lake of fire was set up differently than it is now under grace.
A confusion enters here: Someone asked Jesus (while under the law):  Matthew 19:16, 17  “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”  You might say, this was a trick question. He did not ask what is needed to have eternal life. He asked, “what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” That is where confusion starts.
  It might seem well founded, if you don’t know enough about the scriptures. Simple requirement under the law: Leviticus 18:4, 5  “Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.  Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.”
  These are the “works” to do. But the works or deeds of the law are not going to get you to heaven. (I’m still talking old testament, under the law) Romans 3:20  “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”  The deeds or works did not and will not get anyone into heaven.
  Habbakuk 2:4  “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”  The law had to be “attempted” to be done perfectly as a demonstration and exercise of truly seeking him and his ways.  But it had to be done by faith.  Not the faith that says, “Jesus died for me, I’ll trust him.” But a faith that said, “God said to do these things, so I will try and live in them, trusting that, though I will fail, he will have a way to get me to him.”  But if you would not try to do the works and live in the holy law, you were not really seeking him.
  Under the law blood sacrifices and offerings of many kinds were prevalent.  They did not save anyone.  Hebrews 10:4  “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” These sacrifices did not take away sin, but covered it for the time being.  That is also why, when the old testament saints died they went to paradise in the center of the earth, not heaven. Their sin was covered, not taken away.  
   John 1:29  “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”  When Jesus paid the price of his precious blood (and presented his risen body to the Father), the salvation of old testament saints was complete.
   So under the law eternal life came by walking in the law of God by faith, trusting his sacrifice system and mercy to not give you what the law showed you you really deserved.
  Works are not “Wow, you built an orphanage, you deserve heaven!” Works are showing you trust the LORD, seek him and want his ways. But it’s still his grace that keeps anyone out of the lake of fire!