Summary: Unbelief presents a great danger. It prevents a person from entering into God’s rest.
Is there one sin greater than all others? Is there one sin that destroys more souls than all others sins combined?
I say to you that there is.
There is a sin—if it remains in the heart—that will prevent a person from ever tasting salvation.
Yes, I know that the Bible says, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). And, “Whosoever believeth in [Christ] should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Still, there is one sin that will forever disqualify a person from receiving eternal life.
What is this sin? ... Unbelief.
Sermon Title: The Danger of Unbelief
Sermon Text: Hebrews 3:7-19
To fully understand this passage, we need to know a little bit about the history of the nation of Israel.
• God began the nation of Israel with a man named Abraham.
• Abraham had a son named Isaac, and Isaac had a son named Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel.
• Jacob had twelve sons whose families became the twelve tribes of Israel.
• One of Jacob’s sons was Joseph who was sold as a slave by his jealous brothers.
• Joseph ended up in the land of Egypt where he was, by the providence of God, finally exalted as second-in-command under Pharaoh.
• Eventually all of Joseph’s family moved down to Egypt from Canaan
• Years later, a Pharaoh rose to power who felt threatened by the Israelites.
• He made them Egypt’s slaves, and they suffered for four hundred years under this bondage.
• Finally God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and back to Canaan, the Promised Land.
• Today’s text refers to Israel’s time in the wilderness following their exodus from Egypt.
Key Verse: “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief (v. 19).”
Unbelief presents a great danger.
What is the danger?
Unbelief prevents one from entering into God’s rest.
What is God’s rest?
God’s rest for the Israelites was the land of Canaan. Canaan was to be a rest from their journey from Egypt through the wilderness.
What is God’s rest for us today?
God’s rest for us is the blessing of salvation in Christ. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). To “labour” means to be weary. Just as the Israelites were weary from the wandering in the wilderness and desired rest in Canaan, people today are weary from wandering in the wilderness of sin and need rest in Jesus Christ.
I. The danger of unbelief is illustrated by the Israelites in the wilderness (vv. 7-11).
Verses 7-11 are a quote from Psalm 95:7-11. Psalm 95 refers to Israel’s disobedience while they were in the wilderness. Just as the psalmist used these words as a warning to the people of his day, so the writer of Hebrews warns his readers not to do what the Israelites did.
“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness” (vv. 7-8).
The word “wherefore” points back to verse 6: “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house we are, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”
The purpose of this passage (3:7-19) is to make sure professing Christians really are possessors of salvation.
God’s house refers to all believers. We are true believers “if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” To “hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” simply means to remain courageous and hopeful to the end.
What is the proof of a genuine believer? He will “hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto then end.”
What is the proof of a false professor of salvation? He will not “hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto then end.”
This is what we see in the illustration of the Israelites in the wilderness. The Israelites were not courageous and hopeful unto the end. Rather, they were cowardly and hopeless in the wilderness. Why were they like that? Because they lacked real faith in God.
Their unbelief is seen in verse 8: “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.”
What is a hardened heart?
A hardened heart is a heart of unbelief which manifests itself by continual disobedience to the will of God.
“The provocation”(the rebellion) and “the day of temptation in the wilderness” refer to the same event which is recorded in Exodus 17:1-7.