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Pay more attention!
Hebrews 2:1-4 (Pastor Heo)
1 We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
Jesus is the creator, sustainer, purifier, sitting down at the right hand of God in heaven. He is the brightness of God’s glory and exact representation of his being. He is the visible representation of the invisible God.
Last week, we saw Jesus’ superiority over all angels. He is NOT a superior angel but is superior TO angels.
- Superior name
We are much more blessed than the OT believers who received the Word of God through angels and prophets only – but we are receiving God’s Word through Christ’s mouth and actions. This is why we have the Bible. The Word is near you – in your mouths, hearts.
Faith comes from hearing the message – and the message from the Word of Christ.
The fact that we are much more blessed means that we also have much more responsibility.
Today’s message is SERIOUS.
Maybe some of us may dislike today’s message, but I hope and wish that all of us will be blessed through today’s message.
Hebrews is a book of warnings.
Do you like warnings? When you drive on the highway, you may encounter warning signs.
This part is the first warning in Hebrews – the warning of neglect. All warnings SHOUT “danger!”
Yes, our Christian life is a pilgrimage – we are foreigners on this earth. As our journey through this world, it will be dangerous.
Warnings in Hebrews
- Danger of Neglect
- Danger of Unbelief (chp 3)
- Danger of Not growing (chp 5)
- Danger of Drawing back – old life (chp 10)
- Danger of Refusing God (chp 12)
One of the ancient symbols in Christianity is a boat.
Matthew 15 – after Jesus fed 5,000 men, he made the disciples go in a boat across the water to the other side. He sent the crowd home, and went up onto a mountain to pray. He remained up there until night.
After midnight, the boat was far out in the lake, and buffeted by strong winds and waves. Jesus walked out to them.
They said, “It’s a ghost!”
Jesus said, “Do not worry. It is I.”
Peter said, “Lord, if it is you, call me to you.”
Jesus said, “Come.”
Peter walked out on the water toward Jesus – but when he saw the wind and waves, he began to sink into the water, and cried, “Lord! Save me!”
Jesus did so, but said, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?”
They climbed into the boat and the wind and waves died down. They all knelt before him and worshiped him and called him “Son of God.”
Peter – when he fixed his eyes on Jesus, he could walk on the water. But when he saw the wind and waves, he sank.
Hebrews: “Fix your eyes on Jesus, who is the author and perfecter of our faith.”
Yes, our lives in this world are also like a boat – and a journey – we are constantly on the move. Paul also confessed this. We cannot be fixed in the same position and status all the time – whether or not we recognize this, we are constantly on the move and changing.
The fact that we are changing means – we are changing:
- to the better (good)
- to the worse (bad)
If we are not becoming BETTER, we are becoming WORSE.
Today’s warning: Pay more careful attention to change to the better.
“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. “
“Drift away” = nautical term = a boat term
This means that a boat on the sea is just moving passively, aimlessly, by wind or waves with no set direction or purpose.
How can we drift away? Very easily: Do nothing.
If you do nothing – the wind, the stream, the waves, life’s circumstances – will make you drift away.
In our Christian life, drifting away is very easy. This does not mean rejecting salvation but neglecting salvation. It’s not a non-Christian, but a service-less Christian.
We may become careless or complacent in our devotion to Christ. We may backslide into sin that we formerly rejected. We may compromise our morals and disobey Christ’s teaching. We may neglect Christian service and become inactive, indifferent Christians.
At this moment, I want to ask very practical questions – also to me – for checking our lives and know whether we are drifting away or not.
In these questions, our answers should be “YES!” (should be, hopefully) – to make it clear that we are not drifting away.
“You must pay. more. careful. attention.”
- Pay more attention to the Word of Christ than the words of man?
- Pay more attention to your ministry in church than your own hobby, taste, dress?
- Pay more attention to your mission from God than your career and salary? (Well…)
- Pay more attention to the GOOD news of salvation than the BAD news on channel 9?
- Pay more attention to attending worship on Sunday than doing your own schedule on Sunday?
- Pay more attention to winning the lost to Christ than pleasing yourself?
For most of us, the threat is not that we plunge into disaster, but that we drift into sin.
FEW Christians suddenly turn their backs on God, but MANY Christians drift away slowly.
Few Christians commit some drastic, terrible sin at once, but many drift into small sins, slowly, gradually, and one day find they are far off course.
That’s why we must be aware all the time – careful of where we are going.
The REASON to pay attention
This is the REASON why we must pay more careful attention.
“2 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.”
Yes, Jesus is much more superior to angels. IF he surpasses angels, then his message must surpass the message of angels.
We know angels are the messengers of God.
“If” is not “maybe” but “because” in this sentence – repeated twice.
“If” angel’s messages are to bring blessing and be obeyed, or if the messages brought punishment, HOW MUCH MORE in the case of Christ?
Christ’s word = much MORE blessing; or greater punishment and judgment.
This is the message of v. 2
This is why we have much more responsibility. “”Ability to respond”
To WHAT we should pay attention
“3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.”
That’s why salvation is called “Great Salvation.”
You know, this IS great. It is the miracle of miracles; the sign of signs; the wonder of life.
Q: Are you living a Christian life in this world?
This life is ALL about salvation. Our Christian life begins with salvation. If you are not saved, no matter how long you’ve attended church, you are not a Christian.
- Also, the journey, pilgrimage of a Christian life is salvation.
- Also, the final destination of a Christian life is salvation.
Eph 2:12 ‘Continue to work out your salvation with humility, fear, and trembling.’
This is the journey of salvation.
1 Peter 2:9 “The final goal of your journey is salvation.”
“Salvation can be found in no one else; there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 2:12)
“What a Beautiful Name it is.” – the name of Jesus Christ – it is beautiful because salvation is found only in this name.
1 Tim 1:15 “Trustworthy saying – Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners.”
We all need salvation.
“It is by grace, through faith, you have been saved. It is the GIFT of God so that no one can boast.”
We must remain humble.
Yes, even Father God, Son God, the Holy Spirit God (the Triune God). The HS testifies about the Son because salvation is only available through him.
How to APPLY this lesson
This is our job – our practical lessons – how to apply this lesson.
“God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
Even the Father testified to “it” – what is “it”? “It” is “Great Salvation” which can be found only in Jesus Christ.
Signs, wonders, miracles are not the END – they are just the MEANS (method).
There should be no differentiation made between them because God’s work encompasses them all. God’s work = “wonderfully miraculous signs” – and through these, God is testifying to “Great Salvation” through Jesus Christ. Also – the gifts of the HS testify to him – and are distributed according to his will.
John 5:37 “The Father who sent me has testified concerning me…”
John 15:26 “When the Counselor comes whom I’ll send to you from the Father, he will testify about me…”
What are the “gifts” of the HS? This word is used in various ways and has various meanings depending on context:
- salvation, grace, favor, faith, present, talent for ministry, ability for service…
Usually we consider this word to mean talent / ability for service in church. But in this context it means “special ability to help save others.”
The HS empowers every believer with one or more gifts – distributed according to his will. To use these gifts effectively, we must realize that all these gifts come from God and not everyone has the same gifts. The HS decides which gift each believer should have. The gifts are various, but the purpose is one in the same – to testify about Christ, build the church, and spread the kingdom of Christ in this world.
Do you have gifts?
What am I doing with these gifts? With this gift for the salvation of others?
We have a privilege, responsibility, to use and sharpen our gifts.
v. 1 “You must PAY ATTENTION…”
We are given a special task / purpose.
Without purpose, our lives in this world are meaningless motion, directionless activity, reasonless events.
God has given us a “purpose driven life.”
“I must live by God’s given purpose driven life.”
God bless your tongue, your words, that they may be fruitful in this world for his glory.