One of the challenges I face daily is walking in a straight line. It is partially due to my experience with vertigo ten years ago and partially due my broken leg/hip over one year ago. Unless I concentrate on what I am doing and where I am going, I tend to drift sideways. It is difficult for my wife and I to walk side by side. In the same way, the writer of the book of Hebrews says that unless we pay attention to God’s word and obey it, we will begin to drift away from the truth and wind up in trouble.
The author of Hebrews is trying to prove that Jesus Christ is greater than. As he starts chapter two, he pauses in his exposition to issue a warning (2:1-4). It is the first of five warnings in the book. This one is the briefest and most restrained of all, but is nonetheless solemn.
Don’t Drift from God’s Word (1). Using the word, “therefore,” the author links his warning to what he said in chapter 1. Since Jesus is greater than the prophets and the angels, we need to take seriously what we have learned from him. He states this both positively and negatively. On the positive side, we should pay attention and obey what we have learned. On the negative side, we must guard against drifting away. This requires a degree of intentionality because we start to drift when we are careless and inattentive.
Bad Things Happen to Those who Neglect Salvation (2-3a). In stating his case, the author moves from the lesser to the greater; from the Law to the gospel; from punishment for disobeying the Law to consequences for neglecting salvation. He explains that the Law was delivered by angels, was reliable and trustworthy and promised blessings for obedience and punishment for disobedience. He then asks the probing question, If the Old Testament Law had penalties for disobedience, why do we think the New Testament Covenant will not have similar consequences?
It is important to note that he is not writing to unbelievers who have rejected the gospel. Instead, he is writing to believers, “we”, who have “neglected” their salvation. Have we allowed our busy schedules to reduce our Bible study down to reading one Proverb a day? Have we made family activities and our children’s sports teams to become more important than attending church? Have our lifestyle choices made it difficult for us to give generously to ministry? Have we allowed our own self-centeredness to prevent us from serving others? Are we neglecting our salvation?
Place a High Value on Salvation (2:3b-4). The author points out that the gospel was announced by Jesus, confirmed by eyewitnesses, and attested by signs, wonders, and miracles. As such, it deserves a higher priority in our lives.
Pay attention to God’s word and obey it to keep yourself from drifting!
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on March 3, 2019. It is part of a series of sermons on the book of Hebrews. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.