Summary: Exposition of Hebrews 10 regarding the warning against apostasy, and the fear that God instills. There are three truths to fear.
Text: Heb 10:26-29, Title: Afraid? Should Be, Date/Place: NRBC, 8/21/11, AM
A. Opening illustration:
B. Background to passage: the writer has given us the first three of five warnings in the sermon, and here is number four. After the passionate declaration of the superiority of Christ in all things, he has turned to practical application again. He is a powerful preacher with a urgent and grave truth. He doesn’t simply want to give a theological treatise or an academic exercise in doctrine, he is preaching for a decision. And because he knows the terror of the Lord, he attempts to bring that truth to bear on those that may be wavering.
C. Main thought: is the warning against apostasy, and the fear that God instills; so three truths to fear
A. Scared of Willful Sin (v. 26-27)
1. In dealing with the church of the Hebrews, the preacher is dealing with a mixed bag. Some that profess Christ, some that don’t; some that are really saved, some that aren’t; but all are calling the church their church. The warning he sounds is to be afraid of willful sin. The word for willful is placed at the very first of the sentence for emphasis. There is a difference in the OT for how intentional and unintentional sin is dealt with. Sin that is presumptuous (knowing that it’s wrong, and doing it anyway) is punished by death. And the preacher says that if one continues to deliberately sin, there is no sacrifice for them. It puts one in danger of sure fiery judgment that consumes the enemies of God. It calls them adversaries!
3. Illustration: little white lies, not questioning the ability of God to forgive, just saying that when the provisions that have been made for that forgiveness are rejected with full knowledge, the benefits of the atonement do not apply, and the only alterative is to grant them the wages they have earned and asked for: judgment
4. This should really scare us for our own souls. We take sin so lightly. And the truth is that we very rarely examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. This verse should make a really consider our ease in purposefully sinning and the consequences it brings, and the truth that it reveals about us. And even if we are convinced that we truly give evidence of genuine conversion, the simply violence that is promised toward those who blatantly sin should be enough to examine our hearts.
B. Scared of Apostasy (v. 28-29)
1. Apostasy is when one with a full knowledge of Christianity, turns from it. This can be “believers” or unbelievers who understand the gospel and reject it. Look at the characteristics of those who fit the apostate mold: they trample Jesus underfoot, count the blood as common, and insult the Spirit of Grace. The “trampling” here means to treat with utter disdain, to count as worthless. So they are taking the greatest Treasure in the world, and spitting on it, and declaring it contemptible. Counting the blood of the covenant common means that after having evaluating the blood of Christ as a saving measure, decided that there is nothing special about it, and deemed it unworthy and unable to save, and unfit for sacrifice (spotted rather than spotless). “They drank the cup of the new covenant, said, "Nice juice," and went away to sin , as if it were not the most precious reality in the universe.” Insulting the Spirit would be telling the Spirit “no” after conviction and leading. After the Spirit speaks to them, they have judged Him a liar. This is very much akin to the unpardonable sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Basically they have understood, but rejected the good news of Christ. And it is a fate worse than physical death.
3. Illustration: Steve from the Grace to You program who after 10 years of full-time ministry had written in for them to remove him off the mailing list because the trinity were nothing but fables, and now he is living in the real world. Rick Nelson, “Confrontation is one of the highest expressions of love. When done is love and compassion, confrontation of one of the kindest things you can do for another person. A refusal to confront when needed is one of the most selfish things that you can do. The parent who says, “I love my child too much to discipline him,” says in reality, “I love myself too much to discipline, confrontation is too difficult for me.”
4. This is a truth that scares us for our future, but more so for those in our circle of family and friends. Each one of us can probably name someone that you know, who exhibited some initial evidence of change or commitment in their life upon making a profession of faith, but today is not walking with the Lord. This begs for an explanation. And it can’t be because they have lost their salvation. Although many groups have gone to this theology based on experience rather than bible. Can’t always tell apostasy from severe stumbling. So we must seek diligently to recover the apostates! We must warn those who seem to be headed down that road.