True Salvation Changes our Lifestyles
Hebrews 6:7-12 (Pastor Heo)
7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
Last Sunday, I shared hermeneutics – right teaching, right interpretation, makes right Christians.
- 1 John “If you claim to be without sin, you deceive yourselves and the truth is not in you.”
- Later in the same book “He who does what is sinful is of the devil. No one who is of God, sins.”
These two verses do not contradict each other. They support each other.
This means: we are sinless while we remain in God’s Word – but it is also possible for Christians to sin continually and deliberately. It is also possible for non-Christians to seem like true Christians for a time, but not to the End.
Point #1: Fruitfulness
We must produce fruit if we are born-again Christians.
“7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.”
The real seed given care by the farmer and planted on fertile soil will produce bountiful crops. In this verse, the “seed” is the Word of God…
In the parable of the Sower, Jesus says, there’s only one kind of seed = “gospel”, but there are 4 kinds of soil = “hearts”.
The first three soils did not produce a crop.
- Hard (doesn’t understand the Word – immediately, the Word is snatched away)
- Rocky (the Word is received with joy, but half understood, no root, no faith – so when trouble comes, he falls away quickly)
- Thorny (infested – receives the Word, but mixed with the worries of this world, so they choke his faith out and makes it unfruitful)
- Good soil (receives the Word with faith, understands it, applies it to his life, obeys it, and produces fruit – authentic and living faith produces visible fruit)
Yes, our faith is invisible, but produces visible fruit.
Jesus in the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, “Like this, by their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes? Like this, bad trees bear bad fruit, good trees bear good fruit. So then, every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Also like this, we will be recognized in the eyes of God by our fruit. How? Why? Because we have salvation – “found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts)
“Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation.”
confident, assurance, salvation, better things
All things that accompany salvation are MUCH better than things we can get in this (material) world. In our inner and outer lives – visible and invisible lives.
The things that belong to salvation are evidenced by the HS as he testifies. Are you feeling the witness of the HS in you? He continually testifies with our spirits that we are the children of God. Also, we have subjective voices inside that authenticates our standing with our God. One evidence = the sublimely conversive desire to converse with God as Father.
“You did not receive a spirit of fear, but a spirit of sonship and by him we cry, ‘Abba, father!'” This displays very close intimacy with God.
At the very root of this is the inner assurance that we are totally forgiven. We are reconciled to God and have the inner peace of God through Christ (supernatural and eternal).
John: “Peace, I give to you… Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
Romans “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The things that belong to salvation are witnessed to by the characteristics of our character:
- True light
- Forgiving spirit
- generous heart
- truthful tongue
Authentic Christian heart produces authentic Christian character.
Like this, when the HS whispers “you are the child of God”, when we have a sense of inner peace, when our character has grown spiritually by the help and guidance of Christ, we can be confident of our spiritual standing.
If we are really born-again Christians, we need to know HOW our lifestyle should be. So the next verse teaches us this.
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”
We can see how our lifestyles should be as real born-again Christians.
God is just / right / righteous judge (Romans 14 “We all will stand before God’s Judgment Seat”) – individually, personally, we will all give an account of ourselves before God. Remember, he will never forget how hard we have worked for him, and his glory.
Sometimes we want to be remembered by others. But we must know that man’s remembrance of us is temporary – but God’s remembrance of us is eternal. Reward / inheritance of man is temporary, from God is eternal.
True salvation must change our lifestyles.
God never overlooks nor forgets our hard work for him. So we must continue to work wholeheartedly for him. So our service and caring for others are shown to him.
This doing good for others for his glory and his kingdom is not a performance, but a lifestyle. There’s a good example to show this lesson:
At the last Judgment Day, the King says to the saved on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, and receive your inheritance.” The Lord says to them, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…” (Matthew 25:35) They say, “When?” He says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.”
This is a very interesting, but meaningful story. It means that God remembers something about us that we do not remember.
Why do they not remember what they did? Because this was their lifestyle.
However, if this helping, serving, caring was an event, they would remember. But, as a part of their natural lifestyles, they do not remember.
- So, what you have done without remembrance IS YOU – your lifestyle.
- If you remember your deeds, this is not YOU – it is a performance, an event.
“When you give to the needy, do not let your right hand know what the left is doing…”
This means, caring, loving, serving should be our lifestyle – just like breathing. Can you count how many times you breathe in a day? No.
So, our caring lifestyle for others is loving God – because he created all human beings.
We must recognize that, generally speaking, God is father even to unbelievers – and potential “Father”.
- Be diligent! (v. 11)
- Do not be lazy! (v. 12)
“We want each of you to show this same *diligence* to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”
Matt 24:13 “He who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
This does not mean that you must stand firm to the end in order to be saved, but rather it means that he who is REALLY saved is SURE to stand firm to the end.
These verses encourage us:
Avoid laziness, sloth, sluggishness.
Some people think: laziness is a matter of character / style / disposition. But this is a misunderstanding of laziness. Laziness is a terrible sin. It is wickedness.
Matt 25: The parable of the Talents.
One man got 1 talent, one 5, one 10. The man with 1 did nothing, he hid it. Jesus said, “You wicked and lazy servant! You will be thrown out into the darkness.”
What made him lazy? We must know the root of this attitude.
This servant who was lazy said, “Lord, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I hid the talent underground. See, here is the talent belonging to you.”
From this story, we can understand that laziness is misunderstanding about God – doubt about God. The root of laziness is faithlessness, no hope, no expectation, no grace, no love.
Laziness results from unbelief and results in condemnation. It is evidence of a graceless life.
Is there the grace of God in you? Are you under the grace of God? Are you assured of God’s grace at work in you?
1 Cor 15:58 (last verse of this resurrection chapter): “Therefore, my dear friends, let nothing move you, but always give your whole life fully / wholly to the work of God because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
Paul “By the grace of God, I am what I am.” If we are real Christians, we should also be able to confess this. “By the grace of God, I am who I am.” (memorize this). Do you agree? Up to now in your life?
It means: “I confess, it is only God who did all things in my life up to now.”
- And the next sentence “…I am what I am…”
- Paul did NOT say “… so I did not work hard.”
- Rather, Paul confessed, “… so I worked HARDER than all the other people.”
It means diligence is a sign that the grace of God is at work, actively, powerfully in you.
- Laziness is a sign that there is no grace in my life.
- Perseverance in loving service is clear evidence of hope.
Shall we say together: “…in order to make your hope sure.”
“Hope makes all the difference.”
The gospel is FULL of hope because it is the good news of great joy for ALL the people (young, old, intro/extroverted, etc). All people are invited into the hope of Christ. If you set your life in the hope of Christ, tomorrow offers huge opportunities – and Jesus has offered the hope – “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
Next time, let’s continue in detail with God’s Promise.
- “God bless you with hope.”
- “Put your hope in Jesus Christ.” (Really?)