Summary: Hebrews 5:11-6:12 form the third warning section of this masterful message. Hear and heed and hold on! You don’t even want to think about turning away.
Lazy Listening Leads to Lostness
Hebrews emphasizes hearing the word over and over. First he tells us that God has spoken his final word through Jesus his Son. Then he tells us that we must pay more careful attention to what we have heard. Next he says, today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts! Again he stresses that the word of God is living, active, judging our hearts. In today’s text he rebukes them for lazy listening and slowness of growth. You need someone to teach you all over again! You should be teachers yourselves by now! Grow up! Hear and heed the word of God and mature from milk to meat.
This text is full of fire and whip cracking words of warning. Why do you suppose he said these things? I imagine the Hebrew writer getting excited here; he’s got to say something to awaken those who will receive this letter to the seriousness of their situation. He later calls this a word of exhortation. This sounds like a coach calling instructions to the team in the midst of the game. I remember coaching high school girls varsity basket ball in Concord for three years. During the game as a coach it gets pretty intense. There’s a thin line between pushing too hard and getting the most out of the players. The Hebrew writer is right there on that thin line with instructions here. There is so much at stake here. This is no game. By the tone of these words you know that the Christians he addresses are not giving it their best. In fact, there is the clear ring of danger in the message here, a danger that calls for pointed and clear warnings and directions. There are carrots and sticks all through this letter, skillfully woven together to move these Christians from dullness to faithfulness and deeper commitment to Christ. Today’s text is a stick at the beginning with a carrot at the end. There are five great warning passages in Hebrews and this is the third one of them. This time the warning is so severe that most commentaries have trouble agreeing with what he says.
Do you heed warning signs? When you are traveling and there appears a yellow sign with a curve on it and a speed limit of 25 MPH, do you slow down to 25 MPH?
What does the color yellow on a traffic light mean to you? How about a construction sign that says 45 where you used to drive 70? We tend to pay more attention to warning signs when we see the police watching. Well, God not only has spoken these warnings but he is watching. Let’s listen, learn and apply the message here.
Heb. 5:11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
Notice the personal pronoun “you.” He doesn’t pull any punches, does he? The basic message here is this: Grow Up! It all begins with being a dull listener. Lazy listening leads to being lost. When the word of God becomes burdensome to hear, watch out! This is a heart problem. Sin has begun to deceive you and harden your heart! Get encouragement from other Christians and get on your knees before the throne seeking grace to help in time of need.
6:1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of instruction about washings, and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And this we shall do, if God permits.
4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame. 7 For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8 but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.