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  • Writer's pictureWayne Shelton

The Book of Hebrews - Hold Fast


Hebrews 3:7-19


Our passage this week begins with a warning from Psalm 95:7-11. In this passage from Psalm 95, God is warning the reader (us) not to make the same mistake as that wilderness generation which failed to enter the promised land. The Israelites had been graciously delivered out of the land of Egypt and were heading toward Canaan, a land described as flowing with milk and honey. But most never got there. They never made it to God’s rest in Canaan because they were filled with unbelief.


With this story of Israel’s rebellion as the backdrop, Hebrews 3:12 issues a clear warning to us: “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.”


In his commentary on Hebrews, Michael Kruger notes that there are three things we should observe about this warning. First, the warning proves that “having great spiritual privileges does not guarantee true, saving faith.” If there was any group on the planet that should have believed in God, it was the Israelites. Think of all that they had seen during the exodus (the ten plagues, parting of the Red Sea, manna from the sky, etc.). And yet, even with all those privileges, most still did not believe.


Second, Kruger writes, “this warning applies to everyone.” Our temptation is to think that we don’t need to listen to this warning because we believe in God. But the Israelites could have said the same thing! For this reason, remarks Kruger, Hebrews 3:13 provides one of the cures to drifting away: “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Accountability is a great ally in the war against apostasy. We all need it.


“Richard and Andy worked in a factory outside a west Texas town. Andy’s new faith was growing, but he told Richard his drive home was a daily battle. A few miles from his house was a fork in the road: a left turn led home, but a right took him to the strip club that had long been his escape.


“One afternoon, Andy confessed he craved to go to the club after work. Before Richard left, he prayed with Andy and assured him Jesus would help him resist.


“It was pouring rain when Andy began his drive. Approaching the fork in the road, he noticed something in the median. As the windshield wipers brushed aside the rain, he saw Richard standing at the fork with a large piece of cardboard. On it was an arrow pointing home. Andy turned left toward home that day, and every day since.


“Richard is the kind of brother we need, and the kind of brother we all should want to be. Whether you are a man or a woman, we need help from fellow sign-holding saints to point us away from temptation and toward our heavenly home.” (Account given in the article, ‘Help Someone Home to Heaven,’ by Garrett Kell.)


Third, Kruger points out that this warning teaches us that “a good start does not guarantee a good finish.” Someone might start their Christian life with excitement and optimism, but the real test is whether a person demonstrates perseverance. Thus, Hebrews 3:14 says, “For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”


We need to take the warnings seriously and urgently – while it is still “today”! This week we will talk about one of God’s primary means of grace to preserve us. Steadfastness is the test of the true believer. What do we need to hear to persevere? Praying for you and your family as you continue to follow the Lord. Perhaps you can bring someone with you to hear God’s Word together.

 

Holding Fast,


Pastor Wayne

 

P. S. Stay tuned next week for another great book giveaway!

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