Summary: This sermon warns about the danger of not growing in Jesus and living in disobediance to the Lord using the Isrealites as an example.
CARCASES IN THE WILDERNESS
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today, when you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. 10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ’They always go astray in their hearts; they have not known my ways.’ 11 As I swore in my wrath, ’They shall never enter my rest.’" 12 Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end, 15 while it is said, "Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." 16 Who were they that heard and yet were rebellious? Was it not all those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they should never enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
11 About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God’s word. You need milk, not solid food; 13 for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
• The Christian life begins with a new birth through Jesus.
• We are born infants but should not remain babes in the Lord.
• We are to grow into mature spiritual adults
• Many of God’s children suffer from a stunted growth.
• In most cases it is simply a lack of feeding on the milk of the word
• This results in week anemic Christians who fall easy prey to temptation, false doctrine and error, in both faith and practice
I. The Case of Israel (Paul to Hebrew Christians)
1) Danger of stopping short of God’s best.
2) This history would be familiar to the Hebrew Christian.
3) They are pointed to the experience of the nation, as a warning against halting short of abundant life
4) This whole scripture is all in perenthesis, to serve as a warning in view of what had preceded it.
II. Hardened Christians
8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. 10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: 11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
1) Christians can harden their hearts by:
a. Living in disobedience to Gods will.
b. Continuing to ignore God’s warning and pleadings
2) This numbs our sensitivity toward God and we become callous to his pleadings until at last it brings us to a place where it is impossible to renew ourselves to repentance.
3) Do you remember how convicted you were when after you were first saved
and you were faced with the need of giving up some sin or habit.
a. You new that sin or habit had no place in your new found life, and you were miserable in your defeat and disobedience.
b. As time went on, the conviction seemed to become stifled, you began
to find excuses, and today the very thing which once caused you
such a feeling of guilt and convictions are condoned and excused
without a twinge of conscience.
4) WHAT HAPPENED???
a. You have hardened your heart.
b. This is the reason you have not grown spiritually, and you know nothing of victory.
c. You may be saved but are losing out terribly in forfeited blessing and reward.
III. SHORT OF CANAAN
10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: 11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.