Summary: God has given us the gift of eternal life. We need to pay close attention to the gift!
• SLIDE #1
• We are in December! Christmas is right around the corner. What is one thing that in reality seems to take center-stage during the Christmas season?
• We all know it is supposed to be about Jesus, BUT?
• Really, how many of us are willing to stay up all night to pray or read our bible? I did do some praying during Black Friday.
• In reality how many of us would max out our credit cards to help with some program at church or for God’s kingdom? (PLEASE DO NOT MAX OUT YOUR CREDIT CARDS FOR ANYTHING!)
• Boy I sound mean! But in all seriousness.
• How many of you enjoy receiving gifts? We all enjoy gifts, and I believe God wants us to enjoy our gifts.
• I know we all do enjoy receiving gifts and I think at least as we get older, we really enjoy giving gifts. Speaking of giving gifts follow me for a minute!
• I want you to picture with me the following scene. Your loved one really wants a particular gift. If can be a car, a piece of jewelry or whatever you can think of.
• You know your loved one wants this gift and you really want to give to it to them. There is one problem; the gift is very, very expensive.
• But still, you want to be able to give this gift to your loved one. It is going to take a great sacrifice on your part to get this gift.
• Well, now you make the sacrifices necessary to purchase the gift. It was a struggle; you put in a lot of extra hours of hard work to get it. Now comes the time to give the gift. You hand the gift over and you wait for the reaction.
• Your loved one is ecstatic! They are going crazy, they love the gift. After they settle down you tell them that this gift comes with instructions for the proper care of the gift. You ask that they take good care of the gift because it was so costly.
• As time goes by you start to notice that the gift you have given to your loved one, the gift you sacrificed for, is being neglected. You see it is not being taken care of. How would you feel?
• Our God has given all who have been immersed into Christ a great gift called salvation. He has offered that gift to anyone who wants it.
• The gift that God has given was given at great expense and sacrifice. I believe if we are not careful we can go down a path where we just take the gift for granted.
• I believe we really need to guard against going down that path, today let us look at why we should appreciate our gift!
• SLIDE #2
• Hebrews 2:1 (ESV) Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.
• SLIDE #3
I. Give full attention to your gift.
• Let us look at verse 1 together.
• The Hebrew writer tells us, “Therefore.” The reason we are to pay closer attention to what Jesus has said is because He is superior to everything else!
• What are we to pay closer attention to? We are told to pay closer attention to what we have heard!
• This includes all the facts, commands, warnings, and promises of the Gospel! We have a tendency to just listen to the wonderful promises of heaven and we forget the rest.
• We are told to “pay much closer attention” to what we have heard. This means much more than just listening and hearing, it takes us to the next level of DOING.
• The words translated “pay much closer attention” means to not only focus the mind on something, but to direct the actions towards the something also.
• This same verb was used in Greek literature when speaking of a Captain of a ship bringing the ship to shore.
• The Captain not only had to look closely at what was being done, but he had to also direct the actions of the ship to accomplish the goal of safe harbor.
• Hearing is not enough; we must act upon what we know.
• SLIDE #4
• James 2:26 (ESV) 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
• Having faith that we pay no attention to is like having a dead animal for a pet.
• You can look at the dead animal but you cannot do anything with it. HERE, FETCH!
• If your faith is not active, it is as useless as having a dead ANIMAL for a pet. Plus when something dies, it starts to stink after a while.