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Hebrews 6

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Verses 1-3

  1. SPIRITUAL AMBITION (How To Attain Spiritual Maturity) (6:1-3)
    1. ​​​​​​​Lobsters have to leave their shells in order to grow (molting about 10x’s a yr). They need the shell to protect them from being torn apart, yet when they grow, the old shell must be abandoned. If they did not abandon it, the old shell would soon become their prison… and finally their casket. The tricky part for the lobster is the brief period of time between when 4the old shell is discarded and the new one is formed. During that terribly vulnerable period, the transition must be scary to the lobster. Hungry schools of fish are ready to make them a part of their food chain. For awhile at least, that old shell must look pretty good.
      1. We are not so different from lobsters. To change and grow, we must sometimes shed our shells, maybe a structure, or a framework we've depended on. Discipleship means being so committed to Christ that when he bids us to follow, we will change, risk, grow, and leave our shells behind.
      2. Are you willing to leave some things behind?
    2. We said the ABC’s of the Christian life are important, but they must be a launching pad & not a parking lot.
    3. (1a) Leaving – Not to despise or abandon the elementary doctrines.
      1. The point is that the beginning is not a stopping place. It’s the door to progress & the springboard to achievement. (LKGNT)
      2. I picture the little boy in T-Ball so content to making it to 1st base, & never wanting to leave the bag. [The coach yells, go to 2nd]
        1. Today our coach Jesus from heaven yells...take 2nd. What’s holding us on 1st? Pride we made it to first? or, Fear we’re not sure we can make it to 2nd?
      3. See the sign in Heaven...Wanted: Spiritual Growth!
        1. What do you want to be when you grow up spiritually?
        2. Would you consider yourselves right now in a rut, rot, or in a revival?
    4. (1b,2) What were the elementary principles of Christ? This is the basic teaching one had, before he was baptized & accepted into the early church. [The basics of faith are in 3 pairs]
      1. 1st Soteriology repentance from dead works & of faith toward God
        1. ​​​​​​​The first pair relates to salvation. We become Christians when we realize that even our best works are as filthy rags in the eyes of God. They’re dead works.
        2. No one comes to God by their own efforts or merit. They must turn away from the dead works of the Law & from their fatal attempt of self-salvation. Salvation is a gift from God, by grace through faith.
        3. Repentance must be joined w/faith. Merely turning from dead works would accomplish nothing.
      2. 2nd Pneumatology doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands
        1. ​​​​​​​This second pair of basic Christian truths concern the work of the Holy Spirit.
        2. Notice Paul says, baptisms plural. There are 3 baptisms spoken of in the NT:
          1. First, there’s the baptism into the Body of Christ [the sp initiation, the fusion that takes place by the Spirit when we’re born again into the family of God]
          2. Second, there’s symbolic water baptism.
          3. Third, there’s the baptism, or anointing, or the point-in-time filling of the power of the Holy Spirit upon our lives. We need to experience all 3 baptisms.
        3. Then there’s also the laying on of hands by church members...which also relates to the work of the Spirit.
          1. In the early church when a person was appointed by the H.S. to an office in the church or a mission of the church, it was confirmed by the laying on of hands.
          2. Or when spiritual gifts were received they sometimes came through the laying on of hands. God often uses the touch of holy hands to impart spiritual dynamic.
            1. Acts 19:5,6 When they heard this (Johns Bap), they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
      3. 3rd Eschatology res of the dead, and of eternal judgment
        1. ​​​​​​​The third pair of basic doctrines deal with the end times.
        2. One day, the bodies of both the righteous and the wicked will be resurrected immortal. Every human being will live forever...but then comes the judgment...where you will be assigned to heaven or to hell.
        3. If you don’t have a handle on these 3 areas of Christianity: salvation, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the final judgment then you’ve have some catchin-up to do.
    5. (3) And God permitting, we will do so. (NIV)
      1. Do what? see 1a…we’ll leave off & go on!
        1. ​​​​​​​Leave the discussion of elementary principles & go on to perfection.
    6. One of GFA’s graduates, went 2000 miles from his home, up north which is full of Muslim radicals. When having a difficult time he remembered, "Oh yah...this is where I came to die."
    7. What do you plan on doing with this Sermon?
      1. Will you take a spiritual hearing test? (dull of hearing, or hear whale sounds under water)
      2. Will you evaluate if you are still spiritually on a baby’s bottle, baby food, or solid foods? (vegetarian, vegan, meatatarian?)
      3. How would you consider your maturity? (toddler, adolescent, young adult, or adult)
      4. If obedience is a spiritual growth often will you take it?
      5. If you have been, are you ready to Stop Being a Big Baby?
      6. Are you comfortable staying on 1st base, or ready to steal 2nd this morning?

Verses 4-12

  1. Intro:
    1. Title: Ersatz Christians. [Ersatz/air-sotz not real or genuine]
      1. Ersatz (air-satz) [Etymology/History] - In the opening months of WWI, replacement troops for battle-depleted German infantry units were drawn from lesser-trained Ersatz Crops, who were less effective than the troops they replaced.
        1. Also, the Allied naval blockade of Germany throttled maritime commerce with Germany, forcing Germany to develop substitutes for products.
      2. Which included: synthetic rubber (produced from petroleum); tea composed of ground raspberry leaves or catnip; Slide#5 and coffee substitute using roasted acorns or beans instead of coffee beans.
    2. Outline: Ersatz Christians. Productive Christians. Kosher Christians.
  2. ERSATZ CHRISTIANS (4-6) [Ersatz - not real or genuine]
    1. This section of Scripture has been debated, fought over, & argued for 2000 years.
      1. I will do my best to guide us step by step through a theological minefield.
    2. 3 MAIN OPTIONS it is speaking of:
      1. Option #1 True Believers who apostatize
        1. There are those who see this group as actual genuine Christians.
        2. They believe God supplies grace to those who are trusting Him, but the ultimate perseverance of any believer depends on the cooperation of his own free will.
          1. Therefore, any Christian whatever his state, is capable of the apostasy & condemnation here described.
      2. Option #2 True Believers, but a Hypothetical situation
        1. It is taking the “what if” line of thought.
        2. If salvation is Jesus alone, & one “tries” Christianity, then walks away, what else is there for them?...there is no hope!
      3. Option #3 Professing Believers who apostatize
        1. They are not true believers, only one’s who “appear” so.
        2. 1st we must define “fall away”. This is parapipto(para-peep-toe). [NT.’s only occurrence]
          1. It means apostasy. It doesn’t take place suddenly & unexpectedly. Rather, it is part of a gradual process, a decline that leads from unbelief to disobedience to apostasy. (Simon Kistemaker, pg.160.)
            1. When it takes place it leads to hardening of the heart, & the impossibility of repentance.
            2. The author gives examples of the Israelites showing the process of apostasy in 3:18 & 4:6,11, each speak to disobedience.
          2. Apostasy that rises from unbelief results in a hardening of the heart & an inability to repent.
          3. There is a big difference from falling away & falling into sin.
            1. Judas fell away (apostasy); Peter fell into sin (backslid).
    3. Now let’s look at all 3 of these options…
      1. Slide#9 Option #1 True Believers who apostatize [I reject this wholeheartedly]
        1. Wait, Brian are you going to give us your bias? Yes. But, my bias is based on my studies of Scriptures & how I see the whole of Scripture as congruent, harmonious & compatible
      2. Slide#10 Argument against: I believe in the internal consistency & coherency in the bible. [i.e. Scripture must interpret Scripture]
      3. Consistently throughout scripture those who are genuinely Christ’s do not fall away into apostasy.
        1. Thus Paul says, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it (will carry it on to completion/NIV) until the day of Jesus Christ.Phil 1:6
        2. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life,…shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom.8:38,39
        3. Scripture asserts, For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,…these He also called;…these He also justified;…these He also glorified. Rom.8:29,30
        4. Peter said believers are given, an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Pet.1:4,5
        5. Paul said, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. 2 Tim.1:12
        6. Scripture declares that true believers are sealed for the day of redemption. Eph.4:30
        7. John says apostates were never true members, They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. 1 Jn.2:19
        8. Again & again Scripture says we can have eternal life. What kind of eternity would that be which could be brought to an end in our own life span?
        9. And lastly my favorite…Jesus said, My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand...and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. John 10:27,28
      4. Option #2 True Believers, but a Hypothetical situation
      5. Barnes, It’s not an affirmation that any had actually fallen away, or that they would.
        1. But let’s suppose they could…It’s over! God does not have some other cure for sin when Calvary is rejected. No better proposition. Not even a plan B.
        2. It’s the reduxeo ad absurdum argument, meaning reduction to absurdity. It’s when you take their side & then show them there absurdity of their argument.
      6. Vs.4 is a positive declaration, it is impossible (not very difficult, not kind of hard, but utterly unachievable) to fall away & then be renewed again.
        1. If a Christian fall from grace, he must perish. He never could be saved. Why not? The crime would be so great.
        2. There is only one way to salvation, having tried that, & then renouncing it, how could they be saved?
          1. He is like the drowning man. If there was but one plank by which he could be saved, & he should get on that plank, & then push it away & plunge into the deep...he must die.
          2. He is like the sick man. Who had the one kind of medicine that could restore him to health. If he should deliberately throw it away...he must die.
        3. So in religion. There is but one way of salvation. If a man rejects that, he must perish.
      7. Option #3 Professing Believers who apostatize
      8. “Consistently throughout Scripture those who are genuinely Christ’s do not fall away into apostasy.” (Ray Stedman, Hebrews, pg.76.)
      9. 1st this is what the writer of Heb already referred to in ch’s 3&4 child of Israel
      10. 2nd enlightened, shared, & tasted corresponds w/the privileged experience of the children of Israel in the wilderness.
        1. As part of the covenant community, the fallen Israelites placed the blood on the doorposts, ate the Passover lamb, miraculously crossed he Red Sea, observed the pillar of cloud by day & fire by night, tasted the miraculous waters at Marah, daily ate manna, & heard the voice of God at Sinai, but their hearts were hardened by unbelief, & they fell away from the living God.
      11. 3rd Once enlightened – Jn.1:9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
        1. Tasted the heavenly gift – We are to taste & see the Lord is good. But then we must ingest him fully. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
          1. They might have been catechized, baptized, & partaken in communion (thus tasting of the heavenly gift) these are all “acts” that any unbeliever could do.
        2. Partakers of the H.S. – Sharing in the H.S. implies that this is done in fellowship w/other believers (emphasis on shared).
        3. Tasted the good Word of God – King Herod enjoyed listening to John the Baptist preach. Mark 6:20
        4. Tasted the Powers of the age to come – These mentioned here experienced “signs, wonders, & various miracles” just as there counterparts (2:4). They even experienced the raising of Lazarus, Jesus, the dumb given voice, the blind sight.
      12. How does one experience all of this & not be regenerated?
        1. Let’s ask Judas. Jesus knew his heart from the beginning, but he fooled the disciples to the last.
          1. Wiersbe said, That if Judas died before the betrayal, Peter would have preached him right into heaven.
      13. 4th Note, the verses preceding & following (1-3 & 9-12). Vs.4-8 use the 1st & 2nd person plural pronouns (we & you). But here in vs.4-6 the 3rd person plural pronouns, those & they occur.
        1. So why is it “impossible” for them to repent? Because it is the Unpardonable sin from Mt.12. Which is the calculated refusal of the Spirit’s witness.
        2. They have known the way but not owned the way.
        3. They had professing knowledge, intellectual knowledge.
        4. They were professors, but not possessors.
        5. They seemed to have experienced salvation, but in due time they drifted back to the life that suited their nature.
        6. Hear this folks, for those who think that they’ve committed this unpardonable sin…If you’re concerned about it, that indicates you have not committed it & that you are still capable of repentance.
    1. An illustration from nature drives home the point.
    2. (7) The healthy Christian bears herbs for its farmer (fruit).
      (8) The apostate bear thorns & thistles (no fruit).
      1. (vs.7) The healthy Christian receives blessings from God.
      2. (vs.8) The apostate is near to be cursed, & whose end is burned.
    3. A refusal to progress in the Christian life (vs.1) leads logically to retrogression, of which the ultimate end may be apostasy.
  4. Slide#18 KOSHER(proper) CHRISTIANS (9-12)
    1. (9) After addressing the possibility of apostasy, the writer assures his “beloved”(9) readers that he is confident they weren’t in that condition, & would progress.
    2. Things that accompany salvation – Like what?
      1. Works (context of the next 3 verses) [They had a faith that worked!]
      2. James says, What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can (such) faith save him?…Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead…Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works…For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. 2:14,17,18,26
    3. (11) Here we find this truth again that is found many places in scripture…The only reliable sign of regeneration is a faith that does not fail & continues to the end of life.
      1. It may at times falter & grow dim as it faces various trials & pressures, but it cannot be wholly abandoned, for Jesus has promised, “I give them eternal life, & they shall not perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”
      2. As it has been said, “If your faith fizzles before you finish, it’s because it was faulty from the First.”
    4. (12) Maturity is not automatic.
    5. Sluggish - In house fires, smoke inhalation is just as fatal as the flames themselves. And so w/sin, you may fight off flaming vices, yet die from the inhalation of idleness, or the smoke of slothfulness.
      1. We need to be saved from the smoke as well as from the flame.
    6. Faith & Patience –
    7. An old village blacksmith once said, “There is one thing I fear: being thrown onto the scrap heap. You see, in order to strengthen a piece of steel, I must 1st temper it. I heat it, hammer it, & then quickly plunge it into a bucket of cold water. Very soon I know whether it will accept the tempering process or simply fall to pieces. If, after 1 or 2 tests, I see it will not allow itself to be tempered, I throw it onto the scrap heap, only later to sell it to the junkman for a few cents per pound. “I realize the Lord tests me in the same way: through fire, water, & heavy blows of His hammer. If I am unwilling to w/stand the test, or prove to be unfit for His tempering process, I am afraid He may throw me onto the scrap heap.”
      1. When the difficulties in your life are hottest, stand still, for later on…it produces a harvest of blessings. Then we will be able to say w/Job, When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
    8. Prayer: Higher than the mountains that I face. Stronger than the power of the grave. Constant in the trial and the change. One thing remains. Your love never fails. It never gives up. Never runs out on me. That’s...Your love.

Verses 13-20

  1. Slide#11 Intro:
    1. In the movie Mary Poppins, the two children, Jane and Michael Banks, jumped into bed after their incredible first day with the amazing Mary Poppins. Jane asked, “Mary Poppins, you won’t ever leave us, will you?” Michael, full of excitement, looked at his new nanny and added, “Will you stay if we promise to be good?” Mary looked at the two and as she tucked them in replied, “Look, that’s a pie-crust promise. Easily made, easily broken.
      1. God’s promises are not pie crust promises. He will never break a single promise He has made.
    2. Title: Soul Anchor
    3. Outline:No Pie Crust Promises; Find a New Hope; Anchored for Progress; Carrying the Anchor Forward
    1. God’s promise & God’s oath assure us that we are His, and God’s character backs up His words.
    2. Abraham The Role Model
    3. Who should we imitate?(12)…well here’s one example...Abraham.
      1. But before we talk about him, understand there are many others who could be our example also. Matter of fact we’ll meet many of them in ch.11.
        1. For now be reminded, “You are not the 1st down any of life’s roads.”
        2. Others braved the dangers & endured the tribulations before you & they won. [i.e. Martyrs]
      2. So go forward saint…the trail has been blazed.
    4. (13,14) Context is Gen.22:16,17 when Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac.
      1. This (vs.14) was 1st promised to Abram back in Gen.12:2,3 (in Haran). Then again in 12:6,7(in Shechem). And then renewed in 22:16,17 right after God stopped Abraham from almost sacrificing his son Isaac.
    5. Swore by Himself – indicates that He binds Himself to His Word by His eternal person. (and it doesn’t get better than that)
      1. ​​​​​​​Courts make us swear an oath to tell the truth. For one reason...because we are untrustworthy & promise breakers.
    6. (15) Patiently endured – When the 1st promise came Abraham was 75. When it came true he was 100…Q: How long was he patient?
      1. How many times has he made you wait 25 years?
      2. We are normally impatient to wait 25 days…or, 25 minutes…or, 25 seconds.
      3. Or, this could have been Abraham waiting for Jacob to be born (the father of the 12 tribes) [Isaac/Rebekah had Esau/Jacob when Abraham was still alive]
    7. Abraham’s faith flourished because it fastened upon 2 facets of God’s dealings w/him: God’s promise & God’s oath.
      1. The ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, came in Jesus.
      2. Jesus said to the Pharisees, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, & he saw it & was glad.
    8. Trials turn into triumphs if we patiently endure them.
      1. There was once a mission station in Japan, which took the stones that were thrown at the Christians who had witnessed there in years gone by, later in more peaceful times, picked up these rocks and bricks and used them in the foundation of a new church.
        1. So with our trials, if we’re patient, they bring blessing and lay the foundation for future reward. Here the example of Abraham is regarded as such faithful endurance.
  3. FIND A NEW HOPE (16-19)
    1. ​​​​​​​The English poet Alexander Pope wrote(An Essay on Man), Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always to be blest.” But where does man turn when hope dries up?
      1. The director of a medical clinic told of a terminally ill young man who came in for his usual treatment. A new doctor who was on duty said to him casually and cruelly, “You know, don’t you, that you won’t live out the year?”​​​​​​​ As the young man left, he stopped by the director’s desk and wept. “That man took away my hope,” he blurted out. “I guess he did,” replied the director. “Maybe it’s time to find a new one.”
      2. Commenting on this incident, Lewis Smedes wrote, “Is there a hope when hope is taken away? Is there hope when the situation is hopeless?
      3. That question leads us to Christian hope, for in the Bible, hope is no longer a passion for the possible. It becomes a passion for the promise.” (Our Daily Bread, December 19, 1996)
    2. Most of us have been put under oath. Maybe in a courtroom, or before a notary public.
      1. Any attempt at lying after the oath has been taken, will result in punishment.
    3. (16) God, eager to convey to men & women of faith the total trustworthiness of His Word, condescended to the human practice of adding a solemn oath to the promise he had given.
      1. God never had to do this. His promises are Yes & Amen.
      2. Impossible to lie – because His whole nature is truthful.
    4. (17) Determining – to purpose, or to will.
      1. What a great statement of security. – Gods promise & God’s oath assure us that we are His, & God’s Character backs up His Words.
      2. Immutable – unchangeable. This word belongs to the legal terminology of the time, & signifies a ruling or contract which is incapable of being set aside or annulled.
        1. Here it indicates the irrevocability of God’s purpose, as expressed in the promise, & confirmed by the oath.
    5. (18) Lay hold of the hope set before us– hold fast, seize, to cling to.
    1. ​​​​​​​Jesus is our souls anchor.
    2. Anchor - We are anchored so we can make progress. How? Doesn’t an anchor secure us?
      1. Yes, but in a positive way. It secures us from drifting (2:1).
      2. We are anchored heavenward, where Jesus ministers in the very presence of God, & that anchor WILL NOT FAIL.
      3. The Hope is an anchor. Faith is the rope.
      4. A ship is held by the anchor cast into the unseen depth beneath.
    3. Dr. Giles, an expert on Chinese history, tells us that anchors date back as early as 2000 bc, & was invented by Emperor Yu.
      1. Anchors have been made from bags of sand or stone, also stone anchors, even large lead trunks.
      2. Anchors in the Gk. Hellenistic world it was the picture for hope.
      3. In the Roman world in symbolized wealth & commerce.
      4. To the early Christians it symbolized steadfastness, hope, & salvation.
        1. Slide#23a,b Many pictures of anchors have been found in the catacombs w/an inscription Spes in Christo, Hope in Christ.
      5. The Lord has a safe & secure harbor in which our soul can securely drop anchor.
      6. Jesus is an anchor that will hold “your life’s boat” steady, no matter how much tempest of trouble, or downpour of doubt may rage in your life.
      7. He can sustain & steady us when we are battered & beaten by life.
      8. And He can do it forever, since He is according to the order of Melchizedek.
    4. Anchors Aweigh - is used when the anchor is raised off the bottom.
      1. Today, Jesus says, “Anchors Aweigh” to every other weight that is holding you down to this world.
      2. He seeks to be your only anchor who will hold you sure & steadfast guaranteed.
  5. CARRYING THE ANCHOR FORWARD (20) Forerunner/pro-dromos
    1. ​​​​​​​Forerunner – This was used in a few different ways.
      1. It spoke of the men/troops which were sent to explore before the advance of an army.
        1. In that sense, Jesus was our forerunner, our trail blazer, our pioneer, our guide, our scout, our leader who opened up The Way.
      2. Slide#25 If he was still using the harbor imagery, maybe he recalls the role of some sailors, who would leave their large ships in a smaller craft in order to carry the anchor forward to a place where it can be firmly lodged.
    2. Where the forerunner has entered for us - For us!
      1. What Jesus did on the cross was...FOR US. Christ died for us. Rom.5:8
      2. What Jesus did at His resurrection was FOR US.Because I live, you will live alsoJn14:19
      3. What Jesus did after the res was FOR US.Who also makes intercession for us Rom8:34
      4. What Jesus did by tearing the veil was to provide access... FOR US.
      5. What Jesus did as our forerunner was to enter 1st... FOR US.
    3. MSG - When God made his promise to Abraham, he backed it to the hilt, putting his own reputation on the line. He said, “I promise that I’ll bless you with everything I have - bless and bless and bless!” Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him. When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee - God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

We Have An Anchor

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life, when the clouds unfold their wings of strife? When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain, will your anchor drift, or firm remain?


We have an anchor that keeps the soul - steadfast and sure while the billows roll; fastened to the Rock which cannot move, - grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.

Will your anchor hold in the straits of fear, when the breakers roar and the reef is near?

While the surges rave, and the wild winds blow, shall the angry waves then your bark o'erflow? Will your anchor hold in the floods of death, when the waters cold chill your latest breath?

On the rising tide you can never fail, while your anchor holds within the veil.

Will your eyes behold through the morning light - the city of gold and the harbour bright?

Will you anchor safe by the heavenly shore, when life's storms are past for evermore? [Refrain] We have an anchor that keeps the soul - steadfast and sure while the billows roll;

fastened to the Rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.

Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Hebrews 6". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.