Summary: If you aren't constantly aware of sin in your life, then you probably have drifted away from the convicting presence of the Holy Spirit.
This is the fourth message in our verse-by-verse study of Hebrews. Our theme is “Eyes on Jesus. “The message of the book is that Jesus is greater. He’s greater than anything or anyone. Within this message, the writer has included five warning sections. Today we’re going to look at the first warning and it is warning us about the dangers of drifting.
When you hear the word “drift,” what comes to your mind? If you grew up in the Snowbelt, you may think about snowdrifts. If you’re into motorsports you might think about racecars intentionally skidding to navigate a tight turn, that’s called drifting. If you’re a pilot you might be thinking about wind drift, the effect the wind direction has on your intended heading. And if you didn’t sleep much last night in a few minutes you might be drifting off to sleep. The word drift can mean many things—if you catch my drift.
Drifting away can be a good thing. In 1973 Dobie Gray sang, “Give me the beat boys and free my soul, I wanna’ get lost in your rock and roll and drift away. “If you’ve ever been at one of those nice resorts that has a lazy river, it’s nice to lay back and just drift along with the current.
But there is a kind of drifting that is dangerous. There are all kinds of warning signs on the Niagara River warning boaters of the danger of drifting too close to the falls. There is a dangerous kind of spiritual drifting that this passage addresses as well.
Hebrews 2:1-4. “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. “
The writer is addressing this letter to believers. There is the real possibility that a believer can drift away from God and His word. I’ve always enjoyed Tom Hanks’ acting. One of my favorite movies was “Cast Away. “Tom plays a FedEx employee named Chuck who is stranded on a deserted island. Chuck is so lonely he makes friends with a volleyball he names Wilson. Wilson is his constant companion. When he is on a raft a huge wave crashed over the raft and washes Wilson off. Chuck sees Wilson bobbing in the waves and the current is taking him away. Without thinking Chuck dives into the shark-infested waters to rescue Wilson, but the current causes him to drift away. Chuck is constantly screaming “Wilson! Wilson! I’m sorry, Wilson. “And he breaks down weeping. Tom Hanks is a pretty good actor when he can make grownups cry over a volleyball drifting away.
But there are thousands of Christians who are like Wilson. They have been slowly drifting away from a place of great joy, peace, and service for the Lord. We all know people who at one time were faithful servants of the Lord who have just drifted away from the Lord. You may be drifting right now. Drifting is something that happens slowly and gradually. But here’s the truth about spiritual drifting: You never drift toward holiness, you drift toward ungodliness. You never drift into faithfulness, you drift toward faithlessness; you never drift toward goodness, you drift toward wickedness.
John Courson wrote: “Most of us are not in danger of plunging into the sea of carnality. This week or next week most of us are not going to be murderers or drug addicts. The danger is not plunging into the ocean of perversity, but rather drifting away from goodness almost imperceptibly. “
Are you drifting away from God? Do you know someone who is drifting away? Let me give you four danger signs of drifting away.
1. I drift away when I listen to God’s Word but my life doesn’t change
Spiritual drift occurs when we stop paying attention to what we hear. Verse one says, “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” This letter was written to Jewish believers who had heard the Gospel and had turned from all the rules and rituals of Judaism to place their faith in Jesus. But they were slipping back into their old comfortable religious rituals and rules. The first time they heard the Gospel, it was revolutionary. Grace? Wow! That’s amazing! You mean I don’t have to observe the Sabbath rules and the dietary laws? That’s amazing! But the more they heard it, the less amazing it seemed. It became old hat.