Disobedience & Unbelief

Hebrews  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:34
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Jesus' great faithfulness compels all who are found in Him to diligently pursue such faithfulness.

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DISOBEDIENCE & UNBELIEF: WHAT WE NEED TODAY TO BE FAITHFUL TOMORROW! Hebrews 3:7-19 – MHAFB Protestant – 5/22/22 – Chaplain Matthew Ellis I. Introduction A. Slide) Introduction: Welcome back to our series on “Hebrews” 1. A few quick notes for you: (Taking notes, blanks) (Like it when you talk back) 2. Sld) Cantankerous: How would you define it? a) Can mean Bad-tempered; Argumentative; Uncooperative; Ill-natured; Liable to cause trouble b) Sld) Google image search… these pictures came up! 3. Do you know anyone who is a bit of a cantankerous person? a) Have you been a bit of a cantankerous person yourself? 4. And sadly, this word came to define the people of God who came out of Egypt… a) He displayed such glory & power to them, didn’t He? (Exodus 7-12, 14-16.) i) The 10 plagues that revealed His absolute power over every so-called Egyptian god ii) He miraculously parted the Red Sea to save them iii) He gave them water from dry & desolate rocks iv) Provided bread from heaven & free quail for meat— v) And more! b) Yet, these greatly privileged people still fell into such horrible sin! i) Tragically, they were spiritually cantankerous, & it led them to ruin B. Big Picture: 1. Why are we talking about Exodus when we’re actually in Hebrews? 2. Because our passage today, Hebrews 3:7-19, reminds us of these cantankerous people— a) Using them to warn us in our own walk with God. b) And encourage us in the right direction! 3. S3) Today we’re hearing about “Disobedience & Unbelief” a) Learning what we need today to be faithful tomorrow! b) As we journey through Hebrews 3:7-19, 4. S4) Thesis: During this time, I hope that you will each see how… Jesus’ great faithfulness compels all who are found in Him to diligently pursue such faithfulness. a) This passage has a very call for serious personal reflection & recommitment to the Lord. C. Passage: 1. Context: To lay the foundation, I think it’s important to realize where the term “Faithfulness” comes from for this thesis statement. Does anyone know? a) It relates to the Biblical context. b) If you were here last week, in Chaplain Brent’s message from Hebrews 3:1-6… i) You would have heard how Jesus was compared to Moses ii) Hebrews shares that Jesus was totally faithful to the One who appointed Him to His role iii) He declares that our Christ was perfectly faithful as a Son over His household c) And then we are given a short warning that a warning is given that “we are that household if we hold on to our confidence and the hope in which we boast.” - Hebrews 3:6 (CSB) i) This transitions to a larger warning that expands upon our call us to this faithfulness— ii) This holding “to our confidence &… hope” 2. Passage: Please stand with me in honor of God & His Word as we now see this in Hebrews 3:7-19, a) Sld) 7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: i) Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your ancestors tested me, tried me, and saw my works 10 for forty years. b) Sld) Therefore I was provoked to anger with that generation and said, “They always go astray in their hearts, and they have not known my ways.” 11 So I swore in my anger, i) “They will not enter my rest.” c) Sld) 12 Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. i) 13 But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. d) Sld) 14 For we have become participants in Christ if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start. 15 As it is said: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion. e) Sld) 16 For who heard and rebelled? Wasn’t it all who came out of Egypt under Moses? i) 17 With whom was God angry for forty years? Wasn’t it with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? ii) 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, if not to those who disobeyed? iii) 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. (CSB) D. Transition: Please be seated & join me now in considering first… II. Sld) Our Susceptibility to Sin A. Explain: 1. This is a foundation of the warning & encouragement to faithfulness a) It explains why this faithfulness is such a struggle for us! b) Let’s summarize what we see here… 2. Sld) First, this text builds upon the biblical foundation that we each have a sin-nature (Genesis 8:21; Romans 3:23, 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:22) a) Sld) And if we want to live as God desires—We need to realize & resist this! 3. Examples are given from stories in Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 11:1-6, 14:11-22(35), 20:2-13; Deuteronomy 9:22; quoting from Psalm 95:7-11, to help us see that… a) Sld) Just as Israel rebelled & tested God... b) Sld)...we could to do the same! 4. There could be two audiences spoken to here: Born-Again Disciples of Jesus & the unregenerate a) First let’s talk about born-again Christians— i) In accordance w/my Baptist heritage, I am convinced that this passage does not reference a loss of salvation for these people (e.g. John 10:28-30; Romans 8:38-39; 1 Peter 1:3–5) ii) However, (i) We can fall into sin & unbelief (ii) We can, in part, turn away from the Living God (iii) We can become hardened by sin’s deception iii) Consequently, we can lose… (i) …the daily spiritual rest that God offers us, this side of heaven (vv 3:11, 3:19, 4:1-13) (ii) …some of the rewards that God wishes to give us in heaven (1 Corinthians 3:10-15) iv) There is a real danger of losing the abundant life that Jesus has offered us (Mark 10:26-31; John 10:10) b) Now, let’s talk about the unregenerate—those who are not true followers of Jesus— i) This could include children of believers, unsaved spouses, or other attenders to the Christians that first heard this message— ii) For these hearers, the danger was not a loss of temporal rest or temporal abundance… (i) They were in danger of facing the full wrath of God—His total divine justice on sin! (ii) They were in danger of losing their very souls! (Matthew 16:24-27; Mark 8:34-38) 5. Now, no matter which audience is listening to this passage—back then or today— some things remain constant— 6. Sld) This spiritual fall starts as unbelief; then... a) Sld) We fall for the lies of sin i) Lies that began when sin was first introduced to us in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-7, 13; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:14) ii) Lies that exaggerate the benefits of disobedience & hide its consequences iii) Sin always promises so much but delivers so little— b) Sld) These sins cause us to doubt God's character & word (Genesis 3:1-7) c) Sld) And we begin to turn away from the Living God! (v12) d) Sld) We grow an arrogant & stubborn heart (vv12-13, 15) i) That is to say, we gain a ‘hardened heart’ ii) We become intent on doing what our sinful self desires e) Sld) And so we continually disobey, rebel & test God 7. This is our susceptibility to sin & we need to face it honestly. B. Illustrate: Example from college, 1st year, spiritually grumpy. 1. Danger of falling into a hardened heart… 2. But in the summer after that year; I softened, trusted God’s Word, a) And pressed forward with abundance C. Expand: 1. But by God’s grace & my humility to receive it, my life could have taken a very different direction 2. A direction that has very potent consequences! D. Transition: Let’s look briefly at some of those consequences now… III. Sld) The Consequence of Sin A. Explain: Within today’s text we are told several consequences of falling into this unbelief & disobedience – When we do these things, we... 1. Sld) We get an even harder heart a) Did you catch that implication of v13? b) When we fail to regularly encourage & be encouraged, i) And so fall more potently into disbelief & disobedience; ii) We are hardened by sin’s deception! iii) It makes it more & more challenging to humbly turn to God— (i) Though this is not impossible, (ii) Especially with the indwelling Spirit’s restraining power! 2. Sld) Secondly, we see that living in sin reveals our underlying unbelief a) As v19 highlights, “they were unable to enter because of unbelief” b) Their disobedience brought divine judgment that was ultimately based on unbelief c) And their sinful actions manifested this for all to see! 3. Sld) Third, living in rebellion to God provokes God to anger a) And this is not merely some emotional outburst or negative disposition… b) Sld) God’s anger is His righteous judgment on sin c) And it is always combined with His holy love. d) It may take the form of redemptive discipline, i) Or it may take the form of punitive consequences— ii) The form it takes depends upon your relationship with Him. 4. Sld) Finally, living in sin excludes ourselves from God's rest (see vv11, 18-19; 4:1ff) a) As mentioned previously, there is a temporal rest, a day-by-day rest that God offers us i) When we rebel against the Lord—we remove ourselves from this abundance of life b) However, there is also the eternal rest that God offers us— i) A final stance of rebellion against Him removes us from this— ii) Such is the case of all supposed Christians who show their true colors in faithlessness (Matthew 13:24-43; Acts 20:30; Hebrews 6:4-12; 2 Peter 2:20-22; 1 John 2:19) 5. This is not God’s desire for us (see Ezekiel 18:23, 18:32, 33:11) B. Transition: And so, let us pursue faithfulness akin to the faithfulness of Christ! IV. Sld) Pursuing Faithfulness A. Explain: 1. This is one of our key goals as Christians! a) We want to pursue God, through Jesus— b) But we are not pursing God if we are not pursuing faithfulness c) Sld) We must have a faithful faith… 2. Sld) So, how can we pursue faithfulness? To do this... 3. Sld) We must work as a community! (c.f. 4:1, 11; 10:24-25; 12:15-16; 13:1-3) a) This is a consistent theme within this entire passage! i) It relates us to a generation (v10) & speaks to us as brothers & sisters (v12) ii) We are to “encourage each other” (v13) iii) All of this because “we’ have become participants (or partakers) in Christ” (v14) b) Flying without wingman as a Christian is flying into disaster i) Your pursuit of faithfulness will be severely hindered. 4. Sld) Furthermore, we each must watch out! (vv12-13) That is to say, we are to be on the alert with and for each other, specifically looking out for… a) Sld) Unbelief, the root of so many sins— i) And turning from God, the final consequence of this decision b) Sld) Also watch out for hardening heart—whether it is your own, or a brother or sister i) When the signs first show themselves—promptly deal with this issues! ii) And beware of sin's deceit–that we spoke of earlier— (i) When unchecked, these lies so quickly harden hearts against the Lord. c) There is quite a bit of Spiritual Operational Risk Management we must take part in as Christians 5. Sld) Now, beyond simply ‘watching out,’ there are also some more pleasant things we are encouraged to do—We must give & receive encouragement! a) Sld) The author of Hebrews presents this as an urgent & daily need b) How many of you have been lifted up by an aptly shared encouragement? c) Encouragement can fill us with life; it can renew our spirit! i) It can bring refreshing truth to sin’s deceptiveness & angle us back toward God ii) It can soften hard hearts & remind us of the trustworthiness of God d) We are to be a people of encouragement! e) And please—don’t “just give it” nor “just receive it” i) Be humble enough & courageous enough to do both! ii) I feel you could have an entire sermon just on this—but we’ll leave it there for now… 6. Sld) Finally, we must work hard to endure in faithfulness! a) Faithfulness is not easy. b) Hebrews frequently warns us away from what is easy… i) Drifting away (2:1), falling away (6:6) & turning away (3:12, 12:25) ii) But rather than being blown about by every wind— (i) We are to “grow in every way into… Christ” (Ephesians 4:14-15) B. Transition: Let’s begin to close this off… V. Conclusion A. Sld) Reiterate: Jesus’ great faithfulness compels all who are found in Him to diligently pursue such faithfulness. 1. While we have a natural susceptibility to sin— a) Jesus has set us free from its bondage! b) It remains, but it does not reign in our lives 2. We must resist sin, unbelief, & the deceitfulness of sin a) We must guard ourselves against turning away from the one & only Living God b) We must cultivate a humble & soft heart. 3. While the temporary high of sin may be appealing— a) True Christians know that the consequences that follow are not worth it 4. And so, let us pursue faithfulness! a) As God’s community b) Mutually watching out for one another c) Both giving & receiving encouragement d) Let’s do the hard work required to become who God wants us to be! B. Sld) Apply: So, how should we respond? I offer these quick thoughts, several of which have been addressed quite well & I encourage you to hear them as that helpful repetition for the soul— 1. Sld) First, thoughtfully & diligently watch out! a) Consider your own life: i) Sld) Where do you disobey God? ii) Sld) What are the belief issues? b) Sld) I encourage you to better learn, trust, & follow God's ways c) Examples: i) My spiritual grumpiness – belief in God’s good plan ii) Sinful habit – God has granted self-control/church-help & that it is worth using iii) Anger – It is best not to let sun set w/… | that forgiveness is better iv) Lust – Trust in God’s plan for marriage | Worth waiting for | Guard bed d) Go down the list… i) Pride, greed, coveting, gluttony, drunkenness— ii) All of these areas of disobedience have belief issues attached to them— iii) Key in avoiding them & growing in maturity is to correct your unbelief e) And while, in our brokenness, it can seem impossible to find healing here— i) I encourage you to join the father of the demoniac child in Mark 9:24 in crying out to Jesus, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” 2. Sld) Secondly, encourage each other in community! a) We’ve addressed this well already—but it would do us well to reemphasize it… b) Sld) We need to give & receive encouragement i) This requires gentle wisdom, courageous humility, & much more! c) Sld) Bottom line here: We need one another! i) Let’s not forget that & so fall into sin. 3. Sld) Finally, hold firmly to God until the end! a) Sld) Hold firmly to Him in your belief, humility, & obedience i) Put in check those things that fight against this ii) Do the hard work required b) Sld) Remember! This comes from your daily choices i) We must not be lazy Christians— ii) But let us diligently pursue Christ in each day iii) Let us take even our thoughts captive toward obedience to Him! (2 Corinthians 10:5) C. Appeal: 1. Brothers & sisters, we serve an awesome God a) One who is worth our total devotion 2. When He came to us as God the Son—He was totally faithful in all things a) And so, He has called upon us to pursue this same end! (Hebrews 4:14) 3. When we give ourselves over to unbelief & hard hearts against God… a) It is catastrophic for our spiritual walk 4. Therefore, let us put Jesus first a) He is more important than having fun, getting a promotion, making a million dollars, or any other personal goal b) Nothing can compare with the joy of having Him one day say to us, i) “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). ii) And so, let us pursue such faithfulness. D. Concluding Statement: Please join me in prayer… “Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one mind and one voice.” - Romans 15:5-6 Digging Deeper: Prayerfully use this to bring His Word into your week! 1. v12 used a very rich term to refer to God—the Living God—learn what this means here: - - Deuteronomy 5:26; Joshua 3:10; 1 Samuel 17:26, ,36; 2 Kings 19:4, 16; Psalms 42:2, 84:2; Isaiah 37:4, 17; Jeremiah 10:10, 23:36; Daniel 6:20, 26; Hosea 1:10; Matthew 16:16, 26:63; Acts 14:15; Romans 9:26; 2 Corinthians 3:3, 6:16; 1 Timothy 3:15, 4:10; Hebrews 3:12, 9:14, 10:31, 12:22; Revelation 7:2 2. The Israelites who fell in the wilderness were strongly judged because they heard God’s voice & saw His works, yet they still chose unbelief. - - How have you heard God’s voice? Which of His works have you seen? - - How can you better guard yourself against falling into unbelief? 3. The Holy Spirit is very active & important! - - What does the writer of Hebrews teach about Him in Hebrews 3:7, 9:8, 10:15? 4. To have a ‘hard heart’ is to arrogantly & stubbornly do what you want, no matter what. - - Consider these examples of hard hearts: Exodus 7:13, 8:15, 8:32, 9:7; Deuteronomy 15:7; Nehemiah 9:16-17; 2 Chronicles 30:8; Jeremiah 7:26; Romans 2:5; Ephesians 4:18 - - Exodus 4:21, 7:3, 7:22 & Deuteronomy 2:30 teach that God can also harden our hearts! 5. God offers His people rest (safety, peace, protection, freedom from slavery & wandering): - - The Sabbath Day was to be a weekly time of rest for God’s people: Exodus 20:8-11 - - The Promised Land offered a form of rest: Deuteronomy 12:9-10, 25:19 - - Through Christ, we have rest in life’s hardships: Matthew 11:28-30 - - God offers eternal rest to His people: 1 Corinthians 2:9, 15:52-58; Revelation 14:11-13, 21:1-8 6. Why do some believe that you cannot lose true salvation? - - Consider what is taught in John 10:28-30; Romans 8:38-39; 1 Peter 1:3-5 - - Notice that temporal rewards can be lost (Mark 10:26-31; John 10:10), as can some form of heavenly rewards (1 Corinthians 3:10-15) - - We seek faithful living not to earn salvation, but because God commanded it & it is worth it! 7. What does it show about someone who once appeared to be a very strong Christian, but is now in very clear rebellion toward & denial of God? Consider what these verses teach to that: - - Matthew 13:24-43; Acts 20:30; Hebrews 6:4-12; 2 Peter 2:20-22; 1 John 2:19 If you would like prayer, chaplain support, or information on our announcements, please call the chapel's main office phone number (208-828-6417). Thanks for joining us!
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