Summary: 3 of 4 in Hebrews (part 2 of 4 part study) This message is on the importance of perseverance - the critical piece of real spiritual maturity.
Hebrews: Higher Standards – Less Sin
When it comes to the subject of growing up there are a ton of different opinions as to what it means and who has arrived. And apparently when it comes to rules there are a lot of kids who don’t want any or at least they don’t want mom and dad making them.
The reality is that God has given parents the responsibility of raising their children to maturity which is defined in Hebrews 5 as being able to make consistently good decisions, or more precisely, the ability to distinguish good from evil and then to live accordingly.
Unfortunately, immaturity does not recognize its lack of experience… which leads us into a lot of conflict with immature people. Children simply don’t know what they don’t know. We who are further along on the growth curve have learned through experience many lessons that they simply don’t have a clue about.
When my eldest daughter got her drivers license it wasn’t too long until she thought she was an expert driver and master of the road. She went from tentatively driving down our street to confidently one handing her way through Dayton rush hour traffic in less than six months.
One day with me in the passenger seat she took off around a corner, spun the tires and threw gravel into the weeds. I said, Hey, take it easy – you’re not as good a driver as you think.” She kinda blew me off with an “O’ Dad” and a sigh.
The very next day I got a phone call from a man who started the conversation with the words, “Your daughter is ok but she has been in an accident – you need to come right away.” It seems that Shannon had caught the edge of the roadway on a slick and icy day. She spun the car (not just the tires) into a telephone pole, put a nice crease in the side of the car and knocked out the power to the Beavercreek police station.
I knew more than she did – but she didn’t know what she didn’t know.
So what do we do? We warn our kids. We make rules. We keep tabs on where they are, what they are doing, and who they are with. Is it a lack of trust? No, it is not a lack of trust as much as it a knowledge of things that can happen in a world that is capable of biting and destroying quickly and without prejudice.
Last Sunday we looked at the first few verses of Hebrews 6 where the author gave a severe warning urging all who follow Jesus to stay firm in their faith and to persevere in his ways. He warned us to not allow our hearts to harden against God and his word after having turned to him but to stay close Jesus.
Is it a lack of trust that is being displayed here? No. It is simply an understanding of the dangers that immature followers of Jesus lack. But it is at this point that something very important happens. After the warning comes a statement of quiet confidence in you. The author of Hebrews begins the sixth chapter with a warning but concludes with a confidence and hope that the reader – today that is you and I – will become a master at living.
Becoming a Master at Living
9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case—things that accompany salvation.
I want you to note the sudden shift in tone which has gone from a stern warning to an encouraging statement of confidence. Now, instead of the “in your face” consern of the past few verses he suddenly stops, puts his arm around you and draws you close to say that more warnings are not needed because you are different.
Unlike all the others, you are growing into a confident spiritual maturity. You aren’t like the others in the world that bounce like pin balls in an arcade machine from post to bumper to spinners and thumpers only to be lost down the center hole after scoring a few measly points. You are not like them at all!
Are you acquainted with a game called “Guitar Hero”? I’m amazed at how many kids have played this game and become masters at it. Here the author is saying that you’re different than all these others. You are becoming a master of the game called life.
So let me ask you a very important question. This is critically important. Are you ready? Here it is…
Are you different?
Does the author speak here of you? Are you really becoming a master at living? Are you maturing into a man of God? Are you becoming a woman of God? Where ever you are on the scale of maturity you can become more mature and you can be the person that the author of Hebrews is envisioning.