Summary: It is dangerous to come to church faithfully and not commit yourself to Christ.
Missing the Message of Christ
Purpose: To warn against relying on an external Christianity.
Aim: I want the listener to find assurance of salvation in a changed life.
INTRODUCTION: What you think you see is not always what you get. Many years ago there was a terrible railroad accident where hundreds of people were killed or injured. A train, loaded with young people returning from school, was stalled on a suburban track because of what is known as a “hot-box.” Al local train was due soon so a flagman was sent down the tracks to warn the engineer so it wouldn’t rear-end the stalled train. Thinking all was well, the crowd laughed and chatted while the mechanics worked on the engine. Suddenly the whistle from the local train was heard and it soon came and crashed into the other train causing a lot of damage.
The engineer of the oncoming train saved his own life by jumping. Later he was called into court to account for his part in the tragedy. They soon discovered a discrepancy in the testimony that was given. He was asked, “Did you not see the flagman warning you to stop?”
He replied, “I saw him, but he waved a yellow flag, and I took it for granted all was well, and so went on, though slowing down.”
The flagman was called, “What flag did you wave?”
“A red flag, but he went by me like a shot.”
“Are you sure it was red?”
Both insisted that they were telling the truth, and it was demonstrated that neither was color-blind. Finally the man was asked to produce the flag itself as evidence. The next day he brought the flag to court and that explained the mystery. It had been red, but it had been exposed to the weather so long that all the red was bleached out, and it was but a dirty yellow![Adapted from Illustrations of Bible Truth by H. A. Ironside, Moody Press, 1945, pp. 62-63. 10,000 sermon illustrations. 2000 (electronic ed.). Dallas: Biblical Studies Press.]
We must be careful that we don’t allow the rich message of the Gospel to fade into another message.
Paul warned the believers about this problem. ☛ Galatians 1:6-10 6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.(NAU)
We must be careful that we don’t believe a counterfeit Gospel. That is why Hebrews gives us:
5:10-6:8 I. A Warning to Those Who Claim to Know Christ
Vs.10-14 A. Beware of acting like an unbeliever
Vs.10-11 1. Unbelievers are lazy learners “you have become dull of hearing”
Vs.12 2. Unbelievers avoid the Great Commission “you ought to be teachers”
Vs.13-143. Unbelievers neglect God’s grace “word of righteousness”
6:1-3 B. Beware of religion without Christ
Vs.1a 1. Forsake the symbols about Christ “leaving the elementary teaching”
Vs.1b 2. Focus on the perfection that’s in Christ “press on to maturity”
Vs.1c 3. Receive the person of Christ “faith toward God”
Vs.2a 4. Trust the purity that’s in Christ “washings”
Vs.2b 5. Accept the substitution of Christ “laying on of hands”
Vs.2c 6. Rely on the power of Christ “resurrection of the dead”
Vs.2d 7. Acknowledge that the judge is Christ “eternal judgment”
Vs.3 8. Admit that forgiveness is all God’s work “if God permits”
Vs.4-5 C. Beware of missing the message about Christ
In verses 1-3 we are warned against embracing the symbols that point to Christ instead of embracing Christ Himself. In verses 4-5 we are warned against embracing the news about Christ without actually committing ourselves to Christ.
Today we will learn that it is possible to experience a lot of things in Christianity without really being a Christian, for example:
Vs.4a 1. Learning about Christ is not enough “once been enlightened”
Being enlightened is NOT the same thing as being saved. John 1:9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.(NAU) Yet, we know everyone isn’t saved.
The writer is not thinking about real Christians here who could lose their salvation. He makes this clear by changing the pronoun reference. In 5:11-12 he addresses them with “you” five times and then includes himself in 6:1 with the use of “us.” In verses 4-7 there is a dramatic shift to “those” (twice), “them,” and “they.”