Summary: The danger of backsliding is just as real today as ever. The Hebrew writer offers us encouragement and a perscription to overcome!

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Rx for Backsliding

Hebrews 12:12–17


The book of Hebrews is an encouraging word to Christians that contains strong warnings against falling from God’s grace. In the first part of Hebrews 12 the writer encourages them to put off everything from their life that would hinder them in their Christian life.

This warning and encouragement is desperately needed today. The danger of backsliding is just as real today as ever. In our text, the writer uses the example of Esau selling his birthright or inheritance to illustrate the danger of taking the fact of our salvation too lightly. Esau as the older of the twins was the rightful heir to Isaac. Yet, because of a moment of weakness, out of his own human desire, he gave up his inheritance to Jacob. When the time came for the inheritance to be passed down, Esau was unable to repent or change his mind, it was too late.

In the same way, we too, can in a moment of weakness give up our inheritance. The writer gives us a prescription to avoid this possibility.


I. “Lift your drooping hands” - Service. Hebrews 12:12a

A. Be diligent in Service by remembering God’s grace. Eph. 2:8–10

B. “Strive. . . for holiness.” Hebrews 12:14

1. Practice faithful service. James 2:14–26

2. Practice the Greatest Commandment. Matt. 22:34-40

II. “Strengthen your weak knees.” - Evangelism Hebrews 12:12b

A. Make sure “no one misses the grace of God.” Hebrews 12:15a

1. We are obligated to both our fellow Christians and the world.

2. Galatians 6:1–2

B. “Strong knees” are needed to fulfill Christ’s command. Matt. 28:19–20

C. Blessings come to those who share the gospel. Rom. 10:14–15

III. “Make straight paths.” - Right Living Hebrews 12:13

A. The dangers of unholy living. Hebrews 12:15b–17

B. Illustration: The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. The way to heaven has only one path which just so happens to be the straight path.

C. God will help us stay on the path.

1. Psalm 5:8–12

2. Proverbs 3:6

D. The key to following the straight path is following the will of God through His word. Psalm 25:1–10


Avoid the danger of backsliding, falling away. Ensure your inheritance will remain at that time when it is given.

1. “Lift your drooping hands” and be diligent in service.

2. “Strengthen your weak knees” and make sure “no one misses the grace of God.”

3. “Make straight paths” for yourself by living according to God’s word.

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