Summary: Many today are teaching that Christ is only one way to God. This passage reminds us that religion without Christ is worthless.
Religion Without Christ
Purpose: To call religious people to trust fully in Christ.
Aim: I want the listener to be fully surrendered to the Gospel.
INTRODUCTION: “Retro” styles are now in. Wikipedia defines “Retro” this way: “Retro is a term used to describe aspects of modern culture which are consciously derivative or imitative of those trends, modes, fashions, or attitudes of the recent past which have or had come to be seen as unfashionable.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retro] In other words, Retro means being old-fashioned without calling it old fashion.
Some of the Jews who read the book of Hebrews want to be “retro” in their religion. They said they accepted Christ as their Messiah, but they wanted to stick with the outdated ceremonies that only pointed to the coming Messiah. They had not fully submitted to Christ as their only hope. They wanted Christ PLUS their “retro” religion.
Why were the early Jewish converts tempted to stay with the old Jewish religion? There are at least three reasons why Jewish Christians were tempted to continue practicing Jewish rituals:
1. The beautiful temple vs. the harsh lifestyle of believers. Many of the Jews were able to worship in beautiful synagogues while the Christians met in ordinary homes.
2. Christians were persecuted.
3. Relationships. They had unsaved friends and relatives in the Temple.
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.13-14 3. Unbelievers neglect God’s grace “word of righteousness”
Vs.13 a. God’s grace changes a person “he is an infant”
Vs.14 b. God’s grace brings discernment “discern good and evil”
➔6:1-3 B. Beware of religion without Christ
Following Christ is much more than just SAYING we are following Christ.
William Booth, a Methodist preacher who started the Salvation Army in England in the middle 1800’s was once asked what dangers he thought lay ahead for Christianity. He replied, “In answer to your inquiry, I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be ✔ religion without the Holy Spirit, ✔ Christianity without Christ, ✔ forgiveness without repentance, ✔ salvation without regeneration, ✔ politics without God, and ✔ heaven without hell.”
What a prophet! That is exactly where we find ourselves today. How can we make sure that Christ really is in our religion?
➔Vs.1a 1. Forsake the symbols about Christ “leaving the elementary teaching”
LEAVING means to “give up,” or “to leave behind and be done with, in order to go on to something else.”[Wuest, K. S. (1997, c1984). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (Heb 6:1). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.]
So, what are we supposed to leave? ELEMENTARY TEACHING literally, “the word of the beginning of the Christ [or Messiah].” Contrast that with what we learned last week. In chapter 5 verse 13 we learned that goal was to accept “the word of righteousness.” In other words, we must be willing to stop depending on anything other than Christ and His work on the Cross to provide our forgiveness.
“As in building a house one must never leave the foundation: yet to be always laboring in ‘laying the foundation’ would be ridiculous” – John Calvin. [Jamieson, R., Fausset, A., & and Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (electronic ed.) (Heb 6:1). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.]
The aorist tense speaks of a once for all action. We could translate, ✔ “Therefore, having abandoned once for all the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection.” [Wuest, K. S. (1997, c1984). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (Heb 6:1). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.]
Just adding Jesus to your lifestyle is not salvation. We must turn away from our sinful lifestyles in order to pursue Christ. Some people say that this verse refers to Christians who need to grow up. But, we know that this passage is referring to an unsaved person because a Christian is NEVER told to move away from the basics of Christianity. Remember that the most important thing to Paul was the cross. Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,. . . .(NAU)
➔Vs.1b 2. Focus on the perfection that’s in Christ “press on to maturity”
MATURITY or PERFECTION refers to salvation.
Hebrews 7:11 Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron?(NAU)