Summary: A believer who abandons the faith will face the temporal discipline of God.
Worse Than Death
The Blob. Do you remember that movie? It was a 1958 film starring Steve McQueen. It’s about an amoeba-like alien that invades a small community in Pennsylvania. And then there was the 1931 movie Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff. It’s about a monster that terrorizes a village. It’s a classic.
Now, those two movies—along with other early sci-fi films—created nightmares for thousands of people. But when you watch those movies now, they seem insultingly tame. They seem innocuous compared to the horror films that are coming out of Hollywood now. The fact of the matter is that we have become desensitized. It takes a lot to frighten us.
And I think that is true as well when it comes to the Word of God. We are so used to verses that speak of love and peace and joy that we forget that the Bible also contains some frighteningly stern passages that speak of judgment. One such Scripture is our passage for consideration today. It’s found in Hebrews chapter 10.
When we started our study of the Book of Hebrews, I mentioned that the letter contains 5 encouragement passages. We’ve already considered three of them. The first one was 2:1-4 where we are encouraged not to drift from the Word. The second is 3:7-4:13 where we are encouraged not to doubt the Word. The third is 5:11-6:20 where we are encouraged not to be dull toward the Word. And now we come to the 4th encouragement passage found in 10:26-39. Here we are encouraged not to despise the Word.
It might take a lot to scare people today, but our passage for this morning has plenty of firepower. And I would summarize Hebrews 10:26-31 by this statement: A believer who abandons the faith will face the temporal discipline of God.
Let me say that again: A believer who abandons the faith will face the temporal discipline of God.
With this summary statement in mind, let’s examine the passage. In Hebrews 10:26-31, the writer of Hebrews presents 3 issues: the people, the problem, and the punishment. First, let’s consider …
1. THE PEOPLE
The writer of Hebrews starts out in verse 26 by saying, “If we …”
Now, it’s important to stop right there and to identify the “we.” Who is the writer referring to? Well, in the immediate context, the writer has been talking about people who are …
· called “brothers”—verse 19
· have been positionally made holy, perfect, sactified and experienced forgiveness of sins—verses 10, 14, 29, 17 and 18
· called God’s people—verse 30
So, who is the writer referring to—believers or unbelievers? I think it’s pretty obvious that he is talking about a believer in this passage.
And that’s why I started the summary statement with the words: A believer.
A believer is simply someone who has trusted in Jesus Christ as his Savior. And probably the best-known believer in America today is Billy Graham. Everyone has heard of Billy Graham. Graham preached the gospel in the US and around the world for over 50 years. But he wasn’t alone in doing mass evangelism. When Graham was ministering at Youth For Christ rallies in the 1940s, there was also a good friend of his by the name of Charles Templeton that was also preaching the gospel. As a matter of fact, most people thought that Templeton was a more gifted speaker than Graham was.
Chuck Templeton became a believer in 1936 at the age of 19. He was ordained a minister of the gospel through the Church of the Nazarene. In the 1940s, Templeton was holding mass evangelism in stadiums. Tens of thousands of people would come to hear him preach. At one Easter Sunrise service, he preached to 50,000 people at the Rose Bowl. Hundreds of people would receive Christ as Savior at each night at his crusades. Chuck Templeton was an extraordinary believer that God used in an extraordinary way.
So, in Hebrews 10:26, the writer of Hebrews is describing a believer. A believer who abandons the faith …
Now, that phrase leads us to the second issue that the writer of Hebrews presents. Namely, …
2. THE PROBLEM
Look at verse 26 again: “If we deliberately keep on sinning …”
The writer of Hebrews is not referring to occasional sin or even a habitual sin that a believer wrestles with. Rather, I think he is warning against deliberate apostasy—a determined, intentional, willful abandonment and rejection of their Christian faith.
He goes on to describe this sin in verse 29: “How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot.”
An apostate is a believer who has “trampled the Son of God underfoot.” That is to say, he rejects the person of Christ—he denies who Jesus Christ truly is. He once acknowledged Christ’s superiority, but now he denies the uniqueness of the Son of God. He regards Jesus as just another man—nothing special about Him.