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Hebrews 10:26-39: The Need for Enduring Faith Print E-mail
Sunday, 15 January 2017

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When I first started learning how to drive, my dad gave me a very important warning. Actually, he gave me several important warnings about driving in general, but the one I am talking about is one he gave me about taking care of my car. He told me, ĎIf you ever see the temperature gauge running hot, do not keep driving the car.í Seemed simple enough and I had no real trouble listening to what he was saying. Well, that is until the day came that the warning got in the way of my plans. I was on my way to my friends house to do some really important things like hang out and maybe play some basketball. Yet, I didnít get far and my temperature gauge was running seriously hot. So what did I do? Remember my fatherís warning and pull over? No way, I had things to do. Besides, whatís the big deal? How much damage could I really do? If you know anything about cars, then you know the answer to that question. I kept driving and before long the car broke down. We took it in and was told that I cracked the head in the engine. My dad was not so happy. He asked me if I remembered the warning and I told them I did. Then he told me that I would have to pay for the damage. It literally pays sometimes to heed wise warnings.

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The author of Hebrews gives us an important warning in our passage this morning. We can laugh at my foolishness as a teenager and I am sure we could all tell stories about times when we refused to listen to warnings and it cost us, but the warning this morning is no laughing matter. We absolutely cannot afford to ignore it. If you are here and donít know Jesus, then you need to hear this warning. If you are here and you think you know Jesus, you need to hear this warning. Your eternity literally hangs in the balance! As we have seen, the author of Hebrews is encouraging his readers to persevere in the faith. Since they have access to God through Jesus, he tells them to draw near to God and hold fast their confession and encourage one another in the faith. Those are all positive ways that we can fight for perseverance. He follows that up in our text this morning with a serious warning about what will happen and what will not happen if we do not persevere in the faith. These are warnings that we all need to hear. So what does he say?

You should persevere to avoid judgment (v. 26-31)

If you do not persevere in the faith, then you will face eternal judgment. If you decide that Jesus is not for you and turn away from the truth that you have been taught, then you are heading down a dangerous path. Look at what the author writes in verses 26-27. What does he mean by sinning deliberately? In this context, it is a reference to rejecting Christ and walking away from following Him. These readers were tempted to do just that and the author is telling them what will happen if they do: judgment and fire. We should all tremble at these words. To not persevere and walk away from faith in Jesus will only lead to a fury of fire. Do not make light of that description.

He goes on to describe the coming judgment further through a comparison in verses 28-29. Look at those with me. Under the Old Covenant, if a person set aside the Law and did whatever he wanted, then he was setting aside his life without mercy. That is a severe judgment indeed. So then, how much greater will the judgement be if we set aside faith in Christ? The author of Hebrews knows that it will be much greater. How does he describe this person? They have spurned the Son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant, and outraged the Spirit of grace. Who is this person? As we said in chapter 6, I believe this is someone who has known some of the blessing of being a part of the community of faith. As we will see in a moment, they will have experiences in following Christ. They will know the truth. Yet, as with Jesusí second soil, the rocky ground, in the parable of the sower (see Matthew 13:20-21). That person receives the word with joy for a time but eventually falls away when persecution and difficulties come. The author of Hebrews even says that this person was sanctified by the blood of Jesus. It could be that he is simply describing what the blood does for the believer, but it seems as if he is saying that this person has at least been set apart or performed certain acts of holiness in some regard. Yet, they have walked away from it all and nullified their faith. The abandonment of their faith shows that they were not truly followers of Christ, which means they can only expect judgment.

And who will bring this judgment? Look at verses 30-31. The author quotes from Deuteronomy 32 where the Lord speaks of coming judgment. The judgment of our God is nothing to take lightly. To think that because God is loving and king and gracious means that His judgment will not be severe is to reveal our lack of understanding of Godís holiness. All our sins deserve just wrath from God. All of us deserve fire and fury. If anyone does not believe in Jesus or does not persevere in their faith, trusting in yesterdayís faith, they will face the righteous judgment of God. And it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. People make jokes about Hell. People laugh about how they will be having a good time with their friends. But this warning is no laughing matter. You absolutely cannot afford to miss it! The glorious good news is that even though we deserve to face Godís punishment for our sin, Jesus faced it in our place at the cross. Through enduring faith in Him, and only through faith in Him, we can be forgiven for our sins and escape the wrath to come. Heed the warning to avoid judgment.

You should persevere to avoid losing your future inheritance (v. 32-39)

If you do not persevere in the face, then you will not make it to heaven. Through faith in Christ we are promised an eternal home with Him. But if we do not believe and hold fast to our belief, then we will forfeit that promise. The author continues his warning by encouraging them to recall their endurance through past suffering. Look at verses 32-34. These professing believers have walked through difficult times. They faced public shame and affliction and they partnered with those who were facing it. They lost their worldly possessions. They had people come and take their stuff because the claimed to be Christians. What is crazy is that they did this joyfully. How in the world do you watch people plunder your stuff with joy? You can only do it when you know that you have a better possession and an abiding one. I can joyfully accept the taking of my house on North Ranney when I know that I have a mansion in heaven. I can give away my gold for missions when I believe that it will be the dirt of heaven. I can laugh when they take my truck and my clothes and my television and computer when I trust that Christ Himself will welcome me at His table in glory! As Paul tells us: For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17). How many of you would joyfully give up $20 bucks now for a million bucks in a year? I can find joy in the plundering of my stuff because of the promise of a better possession.

The author reminds the readers of this time in their past to encourage present endurance. Look at verses 35-36. He is telling them to keep their eyes on the prize. Donít let persecutions and sufferings and the difficulties of this life make you forget Godís promise. O Church, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering! All the sufferings of this life will be washed away with one glimpse of glory. Do not throw away your confidence. Do not grow weary in following Christ.

And do not shrink back. Look at verses 37-39. The one who shrinks back and loses faith and sins deliberately will lose the inheritance. But not those who persevere. The author quotes from Isaiah and Habakkuk to undergird the importance of perseverance. We must have a faith that endures if we do not want to lose our promised inheritance. We must not shrink back but persevere like those who have gone before us. The author will go on to give us a list of faithful men who did not shrink back. They suffered greatly, but their faith endured. We must have such faith.

We might rightly dismiss some warnings as not that important. We might ignore them altogether. But this is not one of those warnings. Lack of perseverance is not an option. The idea that we can pray a prayer or walk an aisle without perseverance is dangerous. Right now it is paving the road to Hell for many people. What about you? Are you trusting in yesterdayís faith or are you following hard after Jesus now? Maybe you think that following Jesus is not that big of a deal. I plead with you today to reconsider. The Bible is clear on this issue: judgment is coming and the only way to escape is through faith in Jesus, enduring faith in Jesus. Why walk away from Him? Why turn away from the glorious inheritance that He has promised? Nothing in this life can even compare to the joy found in knowing Him! Heed the warning and follow Him. Heed the warning and fight for a faith that will endure to the end. Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Friday, 27 January 2017 )

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