Summary: #6 in series on Hebrews. A warning to hear, an example to heed and an instruction to implement.
A Study of the Book of Hebrews
Jesus is Better
Sermon # 6
“The Danger of Hardening Your Heart!”
Why is it that we as people have so much trouble heeding warnings? Sometimes it is because we misunderstand.
Such is the case with the story that “Some time ago, zoo officials in Kirby, England, had to pay visitors for articles stolen by monkeys. But what puzzled them was the favorite item the animals snatched: Eyeglasses. An investigation revealed the reason. The monkeys grabbed the glasses when visitors leaned over to read a small sign on the wall of the cage. The sign said: “Beware! These monkeys steal spectacles.” [Leo Van Dolson. Vibrant Life - www.bible.org/illus./danger ]
But often the problem is not a due to misunderstanding but ignoring the warning. What do you do when you see the a sign posted saying, “Do not touch, wet paint?” “ I don’t know about you but I always feel compelled to see if it is still wet.” But not paying attention to warnings is danger thing!
“Many residents of Washington remember exactly where they were and what they were doing on the morning Mount St. Helen’s blew wide-open. The shock wave rattled windows for hundreds of miles around.
Prior to the eruption, scientists monitoring the peak didn’t know when it would go off or how big the blast would be. But all the signs of a live volcano were evident. It was just a matter of time.
Local media issued warnings and faith-fully reported St. Helen’s vital signs. But as time elapsed and the big eruption did not occur, people became less wary and more bold. Campers, photographers, and others moved in to get a closer look.
Then on May 18, 1980, the mountain that had been dormant since 1857 spewed ash skyward and killed at least thirty people. They had failed to heed warnings, and they died needlessly.” [Christine Dallman, The Quiet Hour, December, 1997, February, 1998, p. 77 - www.bible.org/illus/warnings ]
Today we are going to look at the second of two warnings found in the letter to the Hebrews, the first in (2:1-4) pointed out the danger of drifting and now he points out the danger of doubting. Our danger today is not that in giving in to pressure to return to some previously held belief, but many church members do have to fight the temptation to live lives that are essentially no different than the non-Christians around them! Let’s not be guilty of ignoring the warning today!
First, A Warning to Hear (v. 7)
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice.”
“Today” is emphatic. “Today” God is speaking through a greater someone than Moses, and today God expects us to respond. The writer is reminding us that Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, has a relevant message and demands a present hearing. He knew that human tendency to delay.. to procrastinate especially it seems with spiritual matters. So he repeats three times “Today..(v. 7) Today…(v. 13) Today…. (v.14)”
“Today,” of course indicates urgency.
It does not necessarily mean a 24 hour period but rather it means “now!” In other words it refers to this present moment in time. In (2 Cor. 6:2) the Apostle Paul stated, “… Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” The time to respond to God is always, now!
The problem begins when we hear the word of God, feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit and tell ourselves that we need to take action. But then we do nothing! We tend to procrastinate with the most important issues of life. But the warning that runs through out this section of the letter is that if we fail to follow through when challenged by the word of God, we face the inevitable hardening that occurs when we hear and fail to respond. The heart gets harder every time we say “no” to Jesus or to any part of His truth or will.
If we are tempted to put off our spiritual need …this scripture warns us of the danger of foolish choices and encourages us not to miss out on what God has for us… not to make light of each spiritual opportunity He sets before us.
“D. L. Moody called it the biggest blunder of his life. It happened on October 8, 1871, during a preaching series in Farwell Hall, Chicago. His text was “What then shall I do with Jesus which is called Christ.” At the conclusion of the sermon Moody said he would give the people one week to make up their minds about Jesus. He then turned to Ira Sankey for a solo, and Sankey sang “Today the Savior Calls.” But by the third verse Sankey’s voice was drowned out by the noise outside the hall. The great Chicago fire had begun, and the flames were even then sweeping toward the Hall. The clanging of the fire bells and the noise of the engines made it impossible to continue the meeting. In the years that followed, Moody wished that he had called for an immediate decision for Christ.” [The Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, W. Wiersbe, p. 198 - www.bible.org/illus/Hebrews ]