Summary: Neglect in any area of life is tragic, but in the spiritual realm, hearing the Gospel message and doing nothing about it is infinitely more tragic.
THE DANGER OF NEGLECT.
What if God failed to take the time to bless us today because we neglected to take the time to thank Him yesterday?
What if God decided to stop leading us tomorrow because we neglected to follow Him today?
What if God refused to hear us when we called because we neglected to listen to Him when He answered?
Yes! The Bible is filled with passages which warn us concerning the danger of neglect;however, few of them are any more insightful than the one included in the words of our text.
For how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?
The author of the Book of Hebrews is not so much asking a question as he is making a statement that there is no escape.
For in these few verses, the writer explains three things.
First of all, he explains that there is a probability that we will neglect this salvation.
Secondly, he explains that there is a penalty to be inflicted upon those who neglect this salvation.
And thirdly, he explains that God has made provisions to help us avoid neglecting this salvation.
My brothers and my sisters, it is not only possible, but probable, that you and I will neglect our salvation.
Now! Notice that I did not say that it is possible for believers to reject our salvation.
For those who reject salvation are yet lost.
For Jesus makes it clear that “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16)
Nor did I say that it is possible for believers to forfeit our salvation.
For those of us who believe in eternal security are convinced that “whosoever believeth in(Christ) should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
However, it is not only possible, but even probable, that believers will neglect our salvation.
And so understanding this, the author of the passage warns, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”
Now! “To give the more earnest heed” suggests both to focus our attention upon a thing and then to act upon what we have perceived about that thing.
For you see...those being now warned are they who have heard and accepted the Gospel.
We are the ones who are urged to hold to that which we have heard and believed.
We are being obligated to give heed to God’s Word more abundantly with an attentive and intent mind.
We must heard the doctrine of Christ with intense care and deep concern and act upon it.
We must give Scripture our constant attention and respond by putting it into practice.
Oh! We need to really pay attention to what is being said.
We need to listen and take it to heart.
For it is not enough just to hear the Gospel but we must continue to respond to the Gospel.
For listening to Christ means not merely hearing, but also obeying.
For I heard James declare, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass.”
“For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”
“But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:22-25)
Yes! We must listen carefully and be ready to carry out His instructions.
Because if we fail to do so, the danger is that we might drift away from the truth.
And the truths of the Gospel are too important for us to merely drift pass them.
Of course, our spiritual drifting is often the result of a lack of attention rather than design.
We did not plan it; but we unexpectedly found ourselves drifting.
We did not realize it; but we unknowingly found ourselves drifting.
We did not seek it; but we unintentionally found ourselves drifting.
For neglect of the Gospel message will cause us to drift away unknowingly,unexpectedly, and unintentionally.
For you see...my brothers and my sisters, there are few people who deliberately and in a moment turn their backs on God; but there are countless many who day by day drift farther and farther away from Him.
And so the author draws a picture of a drowsy sailor drifting out to sea away from safe harbor.
He poses a figure of a boat that is carried downstream because its anchor was not properly secured.
“Therefore,” he warns, “we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard lest at any time we should let them slip.”