Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

 
Given at Laurens Memorial Home on 5-14-2003.

Title: What the Bible Says About Things That Accompany Salvation

Text: “But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner” (Heb. 6:9)

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 6:7-12

 

Let’s begin our study by reading God’s word. 

Our text is Hebrews 6:7-12.

7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God;
8 but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.
9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.
10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,
12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

One misleading notion that has stopped the spiritual growth of countless Christians is the idea of salvation is a termination point rather than a starting point. 

It is almost as though some people, when they are saved, look back on that experience and say, “Whew!  I took care of that, now I can settle down to the business of living!” 

And they build a fence around their Christianity and pay periodic visits to it, but by and large they live their lives as they want to.

In this Hebrew passage, the author is not talking about what makes up salvation; rather, he is recalling what shows or demonstrates a genuine salvation experience-both in believers themselves and to those who watch. 

In the letter to the Hebrews, we discover four major gifts that accompany our salvation.

First, we have the gift of assurance (Heb. 6:17-20).

Quite often a pastor hears someone say, “Pastor, there are times when I seriously doubt that I have ever been saved.” 

And the look on the person’s face indicates that those are not idle words, because the misery and doubt are plainly seen. 

Often the person will add, “I just don’t feel the way I used to feel about my faith and my relationship with God.” 

What people who doubt their salvation fail to realize is that few things in the world are more undependable than feelings. 

And because of the inconsistency of our feelings, Satan takes pleasure in attacking us at this point.

In Hebrews it says, “God wanted to prove that his promise was true to those who would get what he promised.  And he wanted them to understand clearly that his purposes never change, so he made an oath.  These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when he makes a promise, and he cannot lie when he makes an oath.  These things give those of us confidence who came to God for safety.  They give us strength to hold on to the hope we have been given.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and strong.  It enters behind the curtain in the Most Holy Place in heaven, where Jesus has gone ahead of us and for us.  He has become the high priest forever, a priest like Melchizedek” (Heb. 6:17-20).

We are taught in these verses that the safekeeping of our salvation rests totally on the faithfulness of God; not on ourselves. 

Two things are underscored in this passage that forms the basis for the guarantee of our salvation. 

First, we have the Word of God (v 18). 

Verse 18 said, “These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when he makes a promise, and he cannot lie when he makes an oath…”

Our confidence in fellow believers may be shattered at times because of their human weakness. 

But God’s Word never changes. 

It is alive with the breath of God. 

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). 

God’s Word has a rich revelation of His love for us-it is the gift of His son. 

In His Word we are told of His death and resurrection and of His ascension and intercession for us. 

These truths never change.

Second, Jesus’ mission in heaven for Christians right now, is additional assurance that we are eternally secure in the grace of God. 

Jesus functions now as our High priest (v.20). 

“Jesus has gone ahead of us and for us. He has become the high priest forever…”

When Christ ascended back to heaven, He assumed the office of High Priest. 

He is there to intercede for us, and to represent us before the Father in heaven. 

Verse 19 said, “He entered behind the curtain in the Most Holy Place in heaven.” 

Christ, as High Priest entered into the temple in heaven. 

Jesus passed through the veil and into the holy of holies, into the presence of God, and He presented His blood there. 

Then He “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” 

He could go in and set down because He had finished redemption. 

Verse 19 also says that, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul.” 

We have an even stronger encouragement than Abraham had in his time, because our High Priest has entered in advance into the presence of God for us, and He is there today interceding for us.

In verse 18 we read, “These things encourage us who came to God for safety.” 

This reminds me of the cities of refuge which God provided for the children of Israel. 

These cities of refuge serve as a type of Christ sheltering the sinner from death. 

It was a very marvelous provision for a man who accidentally killed someone. 

Maybe the one whom he killed had a hotheaded brother who wanted vengeance. 

So the fugitive could escape to a city of refuge where he would be protected and his case tried. 

If he was acquitted of intentional killing he had to remain in the city until the High Priest died. 

What a picture this is for us today! 

This reveals that Christ is our refuge. 

My friends, I have already been carried into court, and at the trial I was found guilty. 

I was a sinner. 

The penalty which was leveled against me was death-and it has already been executed. 

Christ bore the penalty for me. 

Because He died in my place I am free. 

I have been delivered from the penalty of sin; never do I have to answer for it again. 

I am free now to go out and serve Him. 

I now have a High Priest, a resurrected Savior, to whom I can go. 

What a wonderful picture of my Savior this gives! 

The second gift to accompany our salvation is the awakening of our spiritual appetite (Heb 5:12-14).

In the fifth chapter of Hebrews it says, “Although you should be teachers by this time, you need to have someone teach you again the basic elements of the utterances of God. You need milk, (and) not solid food.  Everyone who lives on milk lacks experience of the word of righteousness, for he is a child.  But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties are trained by practice to discern good and evil” (Heb 5:12-14). 

In this passage the writer tells us that milk is important for children. 

Milk contains certain elements that are necessary to the development of young bodies. 

It contributes to the growth and development of the bone structure, making it possible to stand upright and walk. 

But there comes a time in our growth development when there must be an addition to the milk diet. 

The body needs the strength that comes from meat. 

The milk supplied the calcium for the child’s teeth, and now the child is equipped to chew meat. 

The “meat” represents the solid foods that a child can eat after passing through infancy.

The spiritual similarity is obvious. 

During the first stage of our spiritual development, we must have the “milk” of God’s Word. 

We would choke on the strong “meat” of the Word in the early days of our Christian life. 

Before long the “milk” of the Word provides the bone structure and the teeth, and we are ready for the “strong meat” of God’s Word.

It is sad that some people have been Christians long enough that they ought to be mature saints and teachers; but instead they are still little babies, needing someone to burp them. 

The truth is that you can’t grow apart from the word of God. 

I don’t care how active you are in the church. 

You may be an officer. 

You may be on every committee in the church. 

You may be a leading elder or deacon. 

I don’t care who you are or what you are; if you’re not studying the Word of God, and if you don’t know how to handle it, you are a little baby. 

You ought to come on and grow up. 

In 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 Paul says, “But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ.  I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready.” 

And in 1 Peter 2:1-2 Peter says, “So put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander.  Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation.” 

The third gift that we get is a longing for association with God’s people (Heb. 10:25; 13: 7, 17).

“Association is referred to three times in the Hebrew letter. 

First, the writer appeals to the Hebrews to “not give up meeting together.” 

We need to study the Word of God together. 

God has something for a group that He will not give to one individual. 

One of the reasons I like to teach the Word of God is selfish; because God won’t let me grow in the Knowledge of His Word unless I share it. 

If there is a Bible study available to you be sure to go, because there’s a blessing there that you can’t get when you study by yourself. 

Then in this passage, Paul reminds them to remember those who first spoke the Word of God to them.   

Finally, he instructs them to obey their leaders and submit to their authority. 

Paul is saying that we are not to stop coming together in Jesus name. 

We are to follow the scolding and exhortations of those who God has set over us as teachers and shepherds, and we are to show appreciation and thanksgiving for those whom God uses to speak His Word to us.

Then, in Hebrews 13:1, we are told to, “Let brotherly love continue.” 

All of us have been brought together into one body, the body of believers. 

The cement, the Elmer’s glue, which holds us together, is love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

We are not to love like brothers; we are to love because we are brothers. 

But, the way some Christians act when they come to God’s house is disgraceful; they sow discord and are hurtful and snobbish. 

But when Christ is Lord in our lives, we act as magnets and draw those who are lonely and confused. 

Gathering with other genuine Christians makes us eager for the Lord’s Day to come so that we can be in the Lord’s house and fellowship with the people of God forever. 

On the other hand, failing to meet together on a regular basis is a symptom of spiritual weakening.

Fourth, we have a determination to adhere to that which is essential for spiritual growth (Heb 4:14; 12:3).

Throughout the letter to the Hebrews, the clearest emphasis falls on faith-not faith simply as “trust,” but rather an unwavering loyalty to what has been known, heard, seen, and experienced of God. 

It is a quality of faith that holds fast. 

That’s what Paul wrote about in Hebrews 4:14; He said, “Let us hold fast our profession.” 

Notice that he did not say, “Let us hold fast to our salvation.” 

Christ died down here to save us, and He lives up yonder to keep us saved and to enable us to have a good witness. 

Some people say, “I can’t live the Christian life.” 

Well, I have news for you. 

It’s true that you cannot live the Christian life. 

We cannot do it in our own strength, but He asks that He might live it through us. 

He lives up yonder so that you and I might hold fast to our testimony down here.

How tragic that some Christians are like clouds in the sky, driven by the wind first this way and then the other. 

There is no stability in their faith.

Then here is something else that I want you to see--there is a quality of faith that persists.

There come those trying times in all of our lives when we feel like “throwing in the towel.” 

But true faith persists; It “keeps on keeping on” even in the face of overwhelming difficulties. 

Believers can indeed be “down” occasionally, but they must rise again, doggedly and perseveringly. 

God gives us the strength to do this. 

Paul had some good advice for us in Hebrews 12:3, “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” 

Paul is writing to Hebrew believers who had come out of a religion that had a lot of ritual and ceremony, but now he says, “Consider Christ, that is, that He is everything.” 

He is the temple. 

He is the ritual. 

He is Christianity. 

He is all of it. 

Many other things accompany our salvation as well. 

But these are basic: assurance, appetite, association, and adherence or perseverance. 

Are these things present and operational in your life? 

What is the state of your spiritual health? 

Are you failing to grow in the faith because these “accompaniments” to your great and free salvation are dormant and out of action in your life?

 

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