1 Hebrews 6B (2014) Last time we studied in this chapter, the authr cnfrnted us with the challenge f whether we were maturing in ur faith as we shuld At the end f chapter 5, the writer sunded a bit frustrated with this church s lack f spiritual prgress He felt frced t pause in his explanatin f Melchizedek as the frerunner t Christ The cncept f Christ serving as priest in the rder f Melchizedek was difficult t understand Especially by an audience that hadn t dne its hmewrk S he diverted his attentin away frm that discussin t engage the church n the dangers f failing t pursue spiritual maturity thrugh a dedicatin t studying scripture At the beginning f chapter 6, he listed six areas f Christian knwledge that he called the elementary teaching abut the Christ Ntice he didn t call them teachings f Jesus He calls them the teachings abut the Christ In ther wrds, these were basic teachings that predated the revelatin f Jesus as Christ They are the basics f faith, which were presented as far back as the Old Testament But as we lked at the list, we fund several tpics that can still pse a challenge fr Christians still tday Teachings n washing r spiritual gifting Teaching n resurrectin & eternal judgment S, as we began the chapter, we fund urselves already cnvicted by the what cnstitutes the basics f Christian maturity If these things are the basics, accrding t scripture, and yet many believers are still ignrant n these tpics, then what des that say abut the state f ur maturity? 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
2 Hebrews 6B (2014) 2 f 15 Perhaps we are als in need f learning the ABCs f ur faith Perhaps we re als in danger f making the same mistake the early church apparently made And if s, then we may be subject t the same cnsequences, right? Nw the writer hasn t yet explained what thse cnsequences are That s cming in the secnd half f this chapter It s the third warning f the bk f Hebrews, and ne f the mre challenging in the entire letter As we dive int that sectin this mrning, we must maintain a firm view f the writer s cntext leading int the warning In fact, we need t remember where the writer began in chapter 5 In 5:12 he tld this grup that they ught by nw t be teachers f the wrd And he chastised them fr nt mving n t slid fd Instead they have remained n milk, which was a euphemism fr simplistic, unchallenging teaching and ideas And then in chapter 6 the writer pened by tell them t press n t maturity in their faith And we ended ur intrductin t chapter 6 in v.3 where the writer minusly declared that these brethren will mature if Gd permits And with that the writer mves int the warning f what may transpire fr thse wh fail t press n t maturity Nw why did I take us back thrugh thse bservatins? Because I want us t nte that thrughut this discussin the writer has been fcused n the cnsequences f failing t mature as a Christian He has never veered ff that tpic Therefre, we must understand that the warning that fllws is directed at this very same audience 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
3 Hebrews 6B (2014) 3 f 15 - That is, this is a warning fr the believer wh fails t mature as Gd expects Remember, we must guide ur interpretatin by the cntext f the letter And if we verlk the cntext, we will mve in the wrng directin with ur interpretatin, and s ur thelgy will be wrng as well We ll return t the questin f the writer s intended audience as we examine the warning, but fr nw let s read the warning Heb. 6:4 Fr in the case f thse wh have nce been enlightened and have tasted f the heavenly gift and have been made partakers f the Hly Spirit, Heb. 6:5 and have tasted the gd wrd f Gd and the pwers f the age t cme, Heb. 6:6 and then have fallen away, it is impssible t renew them again t repentance, since they again crucify t themselves the Sn f Gd and put Him t pen shame. The writer begins with the prepsitin fr r we culd als translate the Greek wrd as cnsequently In the preceding verse the writer said the church wuld press n t spiritual maturity if Gd wuld permit And nw he says cnsequently He s cnnecting these tw thughts, s it s imprtant that we try t understand hw they are cnnected Then writer begins t describe a certain scenari, ne that he fears his audience is at risk f encuntering The scenari begins with the grup encuntering a series f experiences First, this grup experiences an enlightenment is the Greek wrd phtiz, frm which we get phtn It literally means t be brught int the light In Jhn s Gspel, we learn that being brught int the light is a descriptin f cming t knw the Gspel 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
4 Hebrews 6B (2014) 4 f 15 Jhn 1:3 All things came int being thrugh Him, and apart frm Him nthing came int being that has cme int being. Jhn 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light f men. Jhn 1:9 There was the true Light which, cming int the wrld, enlightens every man. Jesus is the Light f the wrld, and He enlightens men S this grup s experience begins with an enlightenment Next the writer says this grup tasted f the Heavenly gift and were made partakers f the Hly Spirit T understand what the Heavenly gift is in this cntext, we shuld nte that it cmes after being enlightened And it leads t being made a partaker f the Hly Spirit There is nly ne Heavenly gift mentined in the Bible that wuld fit all these criteria Paul tells us what that gift f Heaven is in Ephesians 2: Eph. 2:8 Fr by grace yu have been saved thrugh faith; and that nt f yurselves, it is the gift f Gd; Eph. 2:9 nt as a result f wrks, s that n ne may bast. Paul says the gift that cmes frm Heaven is the gift f faith in Christ And by that gift f faith, we are saved by Gd s grace And we knw that faith fllws an encunter with the Light f Christ and it leads t the arrival f the Hly Spirit t dwell in ut hearts Ntice that the writer says that this grup were made t be partakers f the Hly Spirit The arrival f the Hly Spirit is nt an ptinal event fr the new believer Nr is it a mment that depends n any actin n ur part It happens by Gd s pwer accrding t His prmise t send the Helper t all His children 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
5 Hebrews 6B (2014) 5 f 15 S the writer says this grup was made t receive the Spirit by the pwer f Gd as a result f faith Finally, the writer says this grup has tasted the gd wrd f Gd and the pwers f the ages t cme This statement has been analyzed 7 ways t Sunday, as the saying ges, but it s very simple The Greek wrd translated taste is literally the wrd fr eating, as in taking in r cnsuming smething The writer isn t trying t be cute with his chice f wrds He s just speaking in petic language t describe hw a persn can nly sample all that the wrd f Gd cntains - We taste it in the sense that it s impssible t cnsume all f it in ne sitting - The wrd f Gd is infinite in its wisdm Furthermre, they have tasted the pwers f the age t cme The cming age is a reference t the Kingdm age, when we will live in eternal bdies withut sin and in the full light f Christ s presence Once again, the term taste is an accurate t express ur limited experience with the Kingdm t this pint By ur faith, we ve nly tasted what that cming age will be like We have the indwelling f the Spirit and with that certain spiritual gifts We knw the lve f Gd and have a hpe f resurrectin But these things are but a taste f what s t cme fr us All in all, the list is a descriptin f the believer wh has entered int the grace f Gd thrugh faith in Jesus Christ And f curse, such a cnclusin fits perfectly with the cntext f chapters 5 and 6 The writer is cncerned abut believers spiritual immaturity And he s been chastised his audience fr nt pursuing maturity 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
6 Hebrews 6B (2014) 6 f 15 And s he begins his warning fr this same grup by describing their early experiences in the faith Nw if smene were t assume that the writer has suddenly and quite inexplicably shifted his fcus t discussing unbelievers, the list we just examined wuld raise numerus red flags The experiences n the list are cmpletely freign t unbelievers Fr example, unbelievers are never enlightened accrding t scripture In fact, Jhn says that men d nt enter the Light f Christ because they prefer the darkness Jhn 3:19 This is the judgment, that the Light has cme int the wrld, and men lved the darkness rather than the Light, fr their deeds were evil. Jhn 3:20 Fr everyne wh des evil hates the Light, and des nt cme t the Light fr fear that his deeds will be expsed. Furthermre, unbelievers never experience any f the ther spiritual mments in the writer s list Unbelievers are simply never aware f the gift f Gd They are never made partakers f the Hly Spirit Nr have they ever knwn the gd things in the wrd f Gd - The Bible says the wrd f Gd is flishness t the unbeliever And f curse, they have n experience with the pwers f the age t cme The writer isn t saying that this grup has watched thers experience these things r experienced them vicariusly He has spken f a persnal experience cmmn t a grup And by the cntext and by what he described, we must cnclude that he s speaking f a grup f believers In ther wrds, this is a warning fr the church A warning f what culd happen t any grup f believers wh fail t press n t maturity 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
7 Hebrews 6B (2014) 7 f 15 As we lk at the cnsequences f their immaturity in v.6, we see even mre clearly that the writer is cncerned fr the walk f a believer At the beginning f the verse, he raises the prspect f a Christian falling away What des it mean fr a Christian t fall away? First, we knw that it must speak f smething that a persn has cntrl ver rather than smething that lies utside ur cntrl Fr example, a believer has n cntrl ver their salvatin It cmes by way f a gift thrugh the wrk f the Hly Spirit It is maintained in ur hearts by the pwer f the Spirit in keeping with the prmises f Gd As Paul says in 1Cr 1, by His ding we are in Christ Jesus Furthermre, the arrival f faith in ur hearts prduces a degree f spiritual change that is irreversible Paul says in 2Cr 5 that the believer becmes a new creature Because ur ld nature we received frm Adam has passed away, never t return Salvatin isn t a questin f what we think The Bible says it s a matter f wh we are And nce Gd changes ur identity, the ld identity is gne frever Phil. 1:6 Fr I am cnfident f this very thing, that He wh began a gd wrk in yu will perfect it until the day f Christ Jesus. S whatever the writer means by falling away, it must refer t sme aspect f ur Christian experience that a believer can cntrl...s what can a believer cntrl? Well, a believer has cntrl ver his r her behavirs, thughts, attitudes and feelings We see the truth f this reflected in the many, many exhrtatins in the New Testament t walk in the Spirit instead f the flesh 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
8 Hebrews 6B (2014) 8 f 15 Paul tells us in 2 Cr 10:5 t take every thught captive t the bedience f Christ And in Philippians, Paul tells the believer t have the same attitude f sacrifice that the Lrd pssessed As Paul says: Phil. 3:15 Let us therefre, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything yu have a different attitude, Gd will reveal that als t yu; Phil. 3:16 hwever, let us keep living by that same standard t which we have attained. Phil. 3:17 Brethren, jin in fllwing my example, and bserve thse wh walk accrding t the pattern yu have in us. Paul calls the church, wh have been made perfect by faith, t have an attitude f living up t that same standard In ther wrds, Paul tells us t live up t the perfectin f Christ Which we received by ur faith S it shuld be bvius that the chice f hw t live, think and feel are chices that lie in ur cntrl S if we are cmmanded t live in bedience t Christ, then it stands t reasn we have the pssibility t disbey in each f these areas We are called t cntrl ur thughts because it s pssible t indulge disbedient thughts We re called t maintain healthy attitudes, because a believer can slip int undesirable attitudes And when we mve in the directin f disbedience t Gd s wrd, we are falling away We are falling away frm bedience We are falling away frm ur missin t represent Christ We are falling away frm pleasing the Lrd And we are ptentially falling away frm ur pprtunity t receive eternal reward And this prcess almst always begins by neglecting the wrd f Gd 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
9 Hebrews 6B (2014) 9 f 15 The writer intrduced his third warning by lamenting the way this grup had failed t pursuing spiritual maturity in the wrd f Gd They hadn t prgressed t the meat f Gd s wrd They were stuck in milk And as a result, they had becme cnfused and deceived And s they nw needed t be retaught the ABCs f their faith And when believers make a pattern f neglecting the wrd f Gd, they are in grave danger f falling away in their walk f faith In my experience, this rule is s certain as t be a law f the universe Believers trubled by persistent sin, caught by fleshly temptatins r deceived by the enemy s lies are invariably peple wh have a weak r nnexistent study life Irnically, they ften think themselves strng Bible students Much as I suspect this writer s audience prbably thught they were knwledgeable But the prblem is ur standard fr what is enugh Bible understanding is usually far lwer than Gd s standard As Warren Wiersbe nce wrte: "One f the first symptms f spiritual regressin, r backsliding, is a dullness tward the Bible. Sunday Schl class is dull, the pastr s preaching is dull, everything spiritual is dull. The prblem is usually nt with the Sunday Schl teacher r the pastr, but with the believer himself." S what happens t a believer wh has entered int the Christian experience, and begun their walk f faith in the Spirit, but then they fall away int sin, disbedience and apathy? The writer says this is a serius prblem, nce that may nt have a rescue That persn may remain in their disbedient state indefinitely 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
10 Hebrews 6B (2014) 10 f 15 Remember, the began the warning in v.3 saying that we will press n t maturity nly if Gd permits And the hard reality is that He may nt permit us a secnd chance t mature And there are tw reasn why this secnd chance may never arrive First, the writer explains in v.6 that it s impssible t renew such a persn again t repentance The wrd repentance in scripture can be used in a cuple f different ways It talks f a repentance leading t salvatin And fllwing ur salvatin, the Bible cmmands believers t cntinually repent f sin s we can seek t live a life that pleases Christ In this case, the writer speaks f a repentance that leads t a renewal The wrd renew simply means t be made new There is nly ne kind f repentance assciated with being made new - This is the repentance that leads us int salvatin - It s the repentance that is accrding t the will f Gd The mment f ur entering int faith in the Gspel is a glrius, ne-time experience We can all relate t this truth, especially if we came t faith later in life as an adult The truth f the Gspel arrested us and set us n a new curse in life It prduced a spiritual renewal in ur hearts And by that renewal, we were pulled free f a life f sin and ungdliness and granted a new life f peace, hpe, lve and jy But like the church in Ephesus, it s pssible fr believers t leave their first lve and squandered that reset mment 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
11 Hebrews 6B (2014) 11 f 15 A believer can slip back and fall away int a life f disbedience very much like the ne they pssessed prir t cming faith But just as a believer can t lse salvatin even a disbedient Christian then neither can they be saved a secnd time And if they can t be renewed t repentance again, then they have n prspect f receiving anther spiritual wake up call S nw...if the repentance that leads t renewal can t be repeated, what set f circumstances might draw a disbedient believer back nt the straight and narrw path? This brings us t the secnd reasn the writer says we can nly press n t maturity if the Lrd permits...because if we disbey, we are testing the Lrd s patience The writer says that when a persn spurns the Lrd s grace, they are crucifying again the Lrd by putting Him t pen shame The writer is referring t the shame Christ suffered at the hands f thse He came t save As Christ was stripped naked and nailed t the crss, He suffered great pain and great shame And the great irny f that mment is that Christ endured that shame fr the sake f thse wh were hammering the nails and tearing his clthes Likewise, when a believer takes the grace f Gd and abuses it thrugh a life f sin and ungdliness and selfishness, we are putting ur Lrd t pen shame again Each Christian is an ambassadr fr the Lrd and a representative f Christ befre a fallen wrld When we neglect ur spiritual maturity and fall away, we set such a bad example befre the wrld that we bring new shame upn Christ The writer says thse wh fall away can t expect a rescue because they crucify t themselves the Lrd He desn t mean they literally kill the Lrd again...bviusly that s nt pssible Ntice the writer says they are recruicifying Jesus t themselves 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
12 Hebrews 6B (2014) 12 f 15 - He means that by their disbedient behavir they are treating the Lrd with cntempt - Just as thse wh crucified Him the first time In effect, we are repeating the prcess f shaming the Lrd befre the wrld And as befre, His shame cmes at the hands f smene He died t save Ntice that nly a believer can bring shame t the Lrd If anyne is still harbring thughts that this is a discussin f an unbeliever, this statement puts the issue t rest On the behavir f a believer has the ptential t bring shame t a believer Unbelievers act in ungdly ways at all times, since that s all they can d S there is n pssibility f a believer f bringing shame t the Lrd by their behavir Only a believer has a relatinship with the Lrd, and it s by that assciatin that a believer can bring Him t pen shame S Christians wh fall away and return t a life ungdliness are at grave risk They lack the pssibility f a secnd renewal thrugh repentance, and by their lives they bring pen shame t the Lrd testing His patience They run the risk that the Lrd will nt permit them t press n t maturity, as v.3 suggested Instead, the Lrd may just leave them where they are, like the prdigal sn mired in the mud Until they reach their judgment day Obviusly, such a persn is still saved, as we ve discussed, but they are n a rad t persnal ruin leading t a lss f eternal reward We see that cnsequence reflected in a shrt parable the writer ffers t cnclude the warning 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
13 Hebrews 6B (2014) 13 f 15 Heb. 6:7 Fr grund that drinks the rain which ften falls n it and brings frth vegetatin useful t thse fr whse sake it is als tilled, receives a blessing frm Gd; Heb. 6:8 but if it yields thrns and thistles, it is wrthless and clse t being cursed, and it ends up being burned. The writer tells this parable t apply the truth he just explained, that is f a believer wh neglects the grace f Gd by living a disbedient life In the parable, the grund pictures the peple f Gd, wh receive Gd s grace falling frm abve This grund is tilled by a farmer wh expects t receive a harvest f gd vegetatin But smetimes, despite the wrk f the farmer and the gd rains, the land might nly prduce thrns and thistles These are clearly nt the expected utcme, and they are a severe disappintment t the farmer Shuld the grund yield nly these wrthless crps, then the farmer will have n chice but t burn the field t clear it fr next year s planting - The farmer receives n crp The picture created in this parable fits perfectly with the writer s teaching Gd dispenses His grace t believers with an expectatin that it leads t a fruitful harvest - a harvest f bedience Sme believers make the mst f Gd s grace, learning frm Gd s wrd and maturing in ur walk As we d s, we prduce that harvest Gd expects And we receive a blessing fr ur bedience Or we can elect t neglect ur spiritual maturity, fall away frm Gd s wrd and regress in ur walk until the pint we cannt please the Lrd At that pint, we re prducing thrn and thistles We re useless t Gd s purpse And we re clse t being cursed, the writer says 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
14 Hebrews 6B (2014) 14 f 15 Clse in this case desn t refer t psitin befre the Lrd, fr ur psitin is secure in Christ Clse t being cursed refers t the way ur life resembles the life f unbelief Just like the live f unbelievers, we prduce nthing f value fr the Lrd And s we are burned That last pint creates sme cnfusin fr thse wh assume any reference t burning must mean the fires f hell But the mst cmmn way fire is used in the Bible has nthing t d with unbelievers r the judgment f hell The mst cmmn picture f fire is ne f purificatin r judgment fr the believer In the OT, Israel is ften reminded that the Lrd will test them in furnaces r purify them by fire And in the NT, Paul tells us that the believer s wrks will be tested by fire In 1Cr 3 Paul explains that we will see ur life f service t Christ tested at ur judgment mment And if thse wrks are nt pleasing t the Lrd, they will be burned up And we will have nthing remaining t receive reward That s the cncept the writer is explaining in this parable The believer wh falls away lives clse t being cursed And their unfruitful life will experiencing the fires f Christ s judgment And this is the likely utcme fr anyne wh makes a pint t live in disbedience Because we have n reasn t expect the Lrd t rescue us Which is all the mre reasn nt t take that chance in the first place Let s press n t maturity frm the start, rather than testing the Lrd s patience by squandering the fresh start He gave t each f us 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
15 Hebrews 6B (2014) 15 f 15 And if yu re ne f thse wh may have have taken tw steps frward and ne step back, then take nte f the writer s warning Let tday s lessn be that spark frm Gd s wrd t bring yu back frm the Dn t bet that the Lrd has anther rescue waiting in the future There is n such prmise in scripture On the cntrary, there is a firm warning that disbedience is a ne-way trip persnal ruin 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.