Summary: # 17 in series. There is no clearer text of the sobering reality of playing church than this one.
A Study of the Book of Hebrews
Jesus is Better
Sermon # 17
“The Danger of Playing Church.”
Because our daughter Nikki grew up in a Pastor’s home, when she was small she and her friends sometimes played a game they called “Playing Church.” Now “Playing Church” had a lot of variables but there were couple of things that were constants. First, Nikki was in charge and secondly, somebody is going to get “bab-a-tized.” So all her friends and some of their pets got “bab-a-tized.” Now there is nothing wrong with children playing church but there is something inherently wrong with adults “playing church.”
This morning we come to the fourth and last warning passage in Hebrews, (2:1-4, 3:7-4:13, 5:11-6:20) and it is by far the most serious and sobering. Here we are faced with the fact that there are only two possible responses when one is presented with the gospel of Jesus Christ. One either goes on to believe, and is saved or one stops short of actually believing and becomes apostate. Apostasy can be said to be the most heinous of sins, because it is the most deliberate and willful form of unbelief. It is not a sin of ignorance, but rather of rejecting known truth. Apostasy is the sin of rejecting the gospel for which there is no forgiveness.
Some people in our world today obviously consider that their involvement with the church at some point in their lives as adequate cover from the wrath of God. These are individuals who although they may have been a part of the Church, really are not believers. Outwardly they appeared to share in the blessings of God, but inwardly their hearts is unchanged. The visible church does not contain a pure body of genuine believers. Not now, nor has it ever! As much as church leaders try, as closely as Scriptural principles are adhered to, absolute purity is impossible in this world. Tares are going to be found among the wheat. Goats will be found among the sheep. But the day will come when the Lord distinguishes between the wheat and tares, the goats and sheep. In that day there will be no more hiding and masquerading as Christians. The question we must ask ourselves is, “What will that day expose about me?”
There is no clearer text of the sobering reality of playing church than the one we will
Turn with me to Hebrews 10:26 where we will see
First, The Characteristics of Apostasy (v. 26)
“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.”
There are two very clear characteristics of apostasy given in verse twenty-six.
•There is sufficient knowledge to be saved.
John MacArthur says, “Every apostate is an unbeliever, but not every unbeliever is an apostate.” There are many people who do not know the Gospel, they have never had anyone explain to them the saving message of Jesus Christ. This is not true of an apostate. An apostate knows the truth intellectually. They can quote chapter and verse. They may even attend a local church, but their hearts are far from God. They know the truth, but they have refused to receive the truth so that it might transform their lives.
One scripture the comes to mind when we think of this subject is 1 John 2:19, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” John says that some who had made a profession of being Christians in that day had all the outward trappings of being Christians. They bore the Christian name, and they identified themselves with some local assembly, some church. They were baptized, immersed, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They took the bread and the cup at the communion service. But John says that the way you can tell whether or not one is really a child of God is that eventually a man will show his true colors and will leave the assembly of God if he is not a child of God. He will withdraw from the Christians, the body of believers, and he will go right back into the world. To know God’s truth, to study about it, to hear about it, perhaps even identifying with a body of believers and then turn away, that is to become an apostate.
Does this happen today? We see it when we see young people that grow up in the church with Christian parents. They have heard the gospel on a regular basis. They may have even professed to be Christians at some point in their early years and gave outward appearance of being serious. But the day came when they were challenged about the gospel and rather than believing God, they embraced a lie. Not repenting of such sin they continued to grow cold toward any thought of divine truth. The years pass and they care nothing of the church of Jesus Christ, easily forsaking the church because they have forsaken the gospel of Christ. They shunned warnings with ease. Their heart gets harder. They may even still be able to rattle off the basic elements of biblical truth but it means nothing to them. In willful defiance they turn away from Christ, the gospel, and the church.