Summary: But if we don’t grow spiritually as we should, so what? Is spiritual growth really that essential? Is there a “danger” involved in not progressing spiritually?
The Peril of Not ProgressingHebrews 6:1-8Intro The normal Christian life is to be one of spiritual growth and progression. Starting as babes in Christ, we feed on the milk of the word. As our spiritual senses are exercised to discern good and evil, we are then able to progress to solid food. In this way we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But as we saw in a last week as we looked at Spiritual Immaturity, not all grow as they should, and some of the indications of immaturity are: dullness of hearing, inability to teach others, diet of milk only, and the inability to discern good and evil. But if we don’t grow spiritually as we should, so what? Is spiritual growth really that essential? Is there a “danger” involved in not progressing spiritually? Well in the text we are going to look at today, we indeed find that there are perils of not progressing. So it is possible for Christians to find themselves in a very precarious situation.READ TEXTI. The Duty of Pressing on to Perfection (vv. 1-3)a. The perfection we seek is two-foldi. Maturity in religious knowledge, as a MEANS.1. We need the Word of God, that we may grow2. By receiving the Word of humility into our hearts, it can save our souls.ii. Full development of spiritual life, as a ENDS1. To faith and knowledge, we must add the qualities of godly character.2. As we develop this godly character, we truly come to know the Lord.b. For this we need “The Elementary Principles of Christ”i. Our text reveals that this involves teaching on such subjects as:1. Repentance from dead worksa. This means turning from works which produce spiritual death, not life.b. Paul describes such works in Ephesians 2:1-3And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.2. “Faith toward God”a. That trusting conviction in God and His promises that is essential to pleasing Him.b. This faith is produced by the Word of God itself.3. The doctrine of baptismsa. Baptism is a act of obedience to Christ.b. Baptism doesn’t save you our make you different in any way.c. It is a means for you through obedience of God’s command to outwardly express our salvation in Christ.4. Laying on of handsa. In the early church, this was done for various reasons:i. By Jesus, and others with the gift of healing, to heal the sick.ii. By Jesus, to bestow special blessing upon others.iii. By the apostles, to impart the Spirit in a miraculous measure.iv. By church leaders, to appoint different ones for service.b. Note that the laying on of hands was almost always accompanied with prayer.5. Resurrection of the deada. A central theme of apostolic preaching was the resurrection of Jesus.b. They also preaching in Jesus our own resurrection, which is our precious hope.6. Eternal judgmenta. Another theme of apostolic preachingb. Also stressed in the epistles.2. Understanding these concepts serves as the beginning of spiritual growth.a. Sadly, some who have been Christians for years still need someone to teach them again the first principles of the oracles of God.c. But we also need to “Go onto Perfection”i. Once we have laid the foundation, we need to build on it.ii. With an understanding of the doctrines previously described we are ready to receive more difficult knowledge.1. Such as the high priesthood of Christ2. We might also add the word of Christ as our “King of kings and Lord of lords,” as depicted in the book of Revelation.iii. By comprehending the “meatier” parts of the Word of God, we are more likely to remain steadfast in our faith.1. And so we need to attitudes of striving toward perfection.II. The Danger of Irreversible Apostasy (vv. 4-8)a. Note the privileges some apostates had enjoyed.i. They were once enlightened1. This likely refers to their conversion2. By the second century, the word “enlightenment” was used as a synonym for baptismii. They have tasted of the heavenly gift1. The word “taste” suggests a deep personal experience2. Their tasting the “heavenly gift” refers back to the past experience of salvation…a. In which they experienced the forgiveness of sins.b. In which they began to receive the spiritual blessings of being in Christ.3. The clause “describes vividly the reality of personal of salvation enjoyed by Christians at conversion (Baptism).iii. They have become partakers of the Holy Spirit1. This also refers back to their conversion2. The word “partakers” is significanta. Christians are “partakers of the heavenly callingb. They are “partakers” of Christ, so they are also partakers in the Holy Spirit.iv. They have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come1. Again the word “tasted” suggests personal experience2. They had experienced the good things the word of God promises.3. They had experienced the powers of the age to comea. The age to come is likely the Messianic age, ushered in with the first coming of Christ and consummated with His second comingb. The powers of the age they had experienced.i. Certainly included the power experienced by all Christians.ii. But perhaps even signs and wonders with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit.b. Note how far they had falleni. It was not impossible…to renew them again to repentance (v. 6a)1. It is apparent that Christians can “fall away”a. Paul warned that one can become estranged from Christ and fall from grace.2. Here we learn that some can fall away to the point they are beyond rescue!a. We cannot say when a person reaches that pointb. But there is a point where renewal becomes impossible and God will call those people home early.ii. In such a state they crucify again for themselves the Son of God and put Him to an open shame. (v. 6b)1. This is not a Christian who sins of weakness or ignorance2. This is one who knowingly and openly rejects Christ publiclya. It is one whose heart has been so hardened by sin that in unbelief they have departed from the living God.b. It is one who despises Jesus, His blood, and the Spirit of grace.3. It is one thing to “yield” to sin contrary to the new life in Christ, it is another thing to “abandon” that new life altogether! But this can happen to use, if we are not careful and continue to push on to be more and more like Christ in our own life’s.c. Note the fearful destruction reserved from themi. Like unproductive branches, they are “rejected…whose end is to be burned” (v. 7-8)1. Having received blessings from God, they should have produced good fruit.2. But instead they are like thorns and briars, taking nourishment but not producing useful fruit in return.ii. Jesus warned the disciples in a similar illustration in John 15:1-81. By abiding in Him, we are able to bear fruit to God’s glory.2. But if we do not bear fruit, we will be cut off and “burned”Closing From this passage, we learn some sobering truths…receiving wonderful blessings from God does not preclude the impossibility of apostasy. For those who fall away to the point of casting off their faith, destruction awaits! In view of such truths, the peril of not progressing is very real. We need to heed the exhortation, “let us go on to perfection.” We cannot be content with spiritual immaturity. We must be diligent to “press on” in our spiritual growth. Does this mean we must live our Christian lives with insecurity regarding our salvation? No, for as we will see next week, there are things upon which we can base our hope and trust for the future. But the warnings in this passage should not be ignored. What are you doing with the blessings you have received in Christ?