Summary: Give careful consideration to what Christ has said
Shiloh Bible Church
Dr. Bruce Wilkinson was the Founder and President of Walk Thru the Bible Ministries. When he was a student at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dr. Howard Hendricks was his favorite professor. Dr. Hendricks had an unquenchable desire to motivate his students to learn. He couldn’t stand it if his students weren’t paying attention to his teaching.
Well, during his senior year at seminary, Wilkinson decided to run a little test on Professor Hendricks. So one day, Wilkinson came into the classroom, sat in the back row, and just looked out the window into the parking lot. Wilkinson wanted to see how long Hendricks could cope with a student who wasn’t paying attention.
Now, Dr. Hendricks had a routine in starting every class. He sat behind his desk, and you could watch his leg start bouncing at about three minutes until the class started, as if he were getting wound up and ready to go. At the stroke of the hour, he would open his mouth and start teaching. And he was off like a shot—and he would have the whole class with him, hanging on his words. He would sit there for about eight minutes teaching. At that point he’d get up from his desk, go to the board, and draw a great chart. Then he’d tell a pertinent joke and go on with his outline.
But on this day, Wilkinson just looked out the window and didn’t pay attention to a word Hendricks said. So, Hendricks was out from behind his desk in less than a minute, and drew a terrific chart on the board. Wilkinson said it was all he could do not to grab a piece of paper and start copying down that great teaching tool. But he kept on staring out the window. So Hendricks started telling jokes—lots of jokes—funny jokes. But Wilkinson just bit his tongue to keep from laughing and kept staring out the window. Next, Hendricks moved to the corner of the room, directly in Wilkinson’s path, gesturing wildly while he spoke. But Wilkinson didn’t pay him any attention. He kept staring out the window. At the 3-minute and 37-second mark, Hendricks couldn’t stand it any longer. He started running down the aisle of the classroom toward Wilkinson. Hendricks screamed, “Wilkinson! What on earth are you looking at?” Wilkinson apologized to Professor Hendricks and started to pay attention to his teaching. It wasn’t until years later that Wilkinson told Dr. Hendricks about his little experiment.
Hendricks wanted his students to pay attention so that they would learn and grow and develop. He wanted people to pay attention. And that’s what the writer of Hebrews wants his readers to do—to pay attention! And he tells us so in Hebrews chapter 2.
In Hebrews chapter 2, we find the first of five encouragement passages in the book. The second encouragement passage is found in chapters 3 and 4, the third in chapters 5 and 6, the fourth in chapter 10, and the final one in chapter 12. Each encouragement passage is designed to motivate believers to move forward in their growth in Christ.
Hebrews 2:1-4 is the first encouragement passage. The writer begins with these words, “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard.”
Now, you’ve heard Bible teachers say that when you read the word “therefore” you need to stop and find out what it is “there for.” The word therefore is pointing back to what was previously said. The author is drawing a conclusion. In 1:1-3, the writer demonstrated that Jesus is greater than the Old Testament prophets. Jesus is greater because He is the Heir of all things, Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. He is the Revealer of God, the Redeemer of mankind, and High Priest. Jesus is greater than the prophets! Last week in 1:4-14, we saw that Jesus is greater than the angels. He is greater in His position—where He is, in His person—who He is, and in His power—what He does. Jesus is greater than the angels. Since Jesus is greater than the Old Testament prophets and greater than the magnificent angelic spirits, then we need to listen carefully to what He has said. That’s why the writer of Hebrews tells us: “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard”—that is, to what Jesus has said.
Why do you need to do this? What will happen if you neglect what Jesus says? And the answer is: It will cause a downward spiral in your Christian life. And it all starts with neglect …
1. NEGLECT LEADS TO DRIFTING
Look at verse 1 again: “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”
The picture that the writer of Hebrews paints is interesting. He views a believer as a boat. A boat can be moored securely and safely to the dock. But if you untie the rope and let it go, the boat will drift away slowly down stream with the current. And that’s what happens when you stop paying attention to Jesus Christ. You begin to slowly—almost unnoticeably—drift away from Him.