Summary: We can anticipate knowing people who once claimed to follow Jesus but then later decided to disavow Him. How do we account for this?
History Repeats Itself
1. Many people today are walking away from the Lord. How do we account for this?
Many compliant but unconverted. Some may come to Christ later.
2. Many of those are not denying that Jesus is the Son of God; they just don’t care.
3. Some have become enemies of the Gospel or embraced false religions. Others just numb. Deliberate rejection. That was the question the Messianic Jews had when they saw some of their peers trashed Jesus & return to mainstream Judaism. Disturbing.
4. We call this apostasy and should not be confused with falling into sin.
5. A lot of evangelical Christianity is based upon group dynamics, a lot like the ancient Hebrews who followed Moses. It was the thing to do.
6. Most of us agree that someone whose faith and trust are not in Jesus are lost. But what if they once professed the faith that they now deny? What happened?
7. Were they saved and then lost their salvation, or where they never really saved?
8. In one sense, it doesn’t matter. They are lost. In another sense, it does matter, because if God elects people for salvation, is God’s sovereignty broken?
Main Idea: We can anticipate knowing people who once claimed to follow Jesus but then later decided to disavow Him. How do we account for this?
I. The HISTORY LESSON Today’s Text Is Built Upon: Rejection of the Promised Land (Numbers 13-14)
The Hebrews text is a Midrash or application of the events in Numbers 13-14.
A. Most were skeptics, even though they were ENLIGHTENED by God’s Word.
1. Their commitment to Yahweh was tenuous, with reservation, and probationary. Not final, unreserved, and genuine.
2. It easily may have been a case of group dynamics & being overwhelmed.
B. They had seen God’s POWER in miracle after miracle.
C. In their hearts, they wanted to RETURN to Egypt and worship the gods of Egypt.
D. The twelve spies previewed Canaan and INTERPRET its challenges in 2 opposite ways.
E. They tasted the amazing PRODUCE of Canaan, including giant grapes.
F. The people refused to believe God would HONOR His Word.
G. They could not BACKTRACK: too late.
H. They suffered God’s JUDGMENT: wandering 40 years until they dropped in death.
I. What was their problem? They didn’t actually TRUST God’s character!
II. The Same PRINCIPLES Apply to Those Who Have Professed Faith in Jesus to Later Reject Him (Hebrews 6:4-12)
1. The application of this text to the people who professed faith in Christ only to later reject Him is drawing parallels in some sense. As with many Midrashim, the author uses a little creativity to make things fit the illustration.
2. Much of how we interpret this passage will be based upon whether we agree that it is in fact a Midrash or not.
3. If you read the Numbers account, it is obvious that many or most of the Hebrews were not right with God, at least that first generation. It is not like they were godly and then fell away.
4. They went along with Moses (sometimes), but did they take ownership of a relationship to the Lord? No. And understanding this is crucial.