"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"
Lest We Drift Away (Heb 2:1-4)
1. The author of "The Epistle To The Hebrews" was concerned about the
spiritual well-being of recent Jewish converts
a. They were former Jews who had become Christians
1) Thus they were faced with tremendous social pressures to return
b. His concern is that they not drift back into Judaism
c. He deals with this problem in two ways:
1) By emphasizing the superiority of Christ and the New Covenant
2) By a series of exhortations for them to remain steadfast
3. Now we come to the first of several exhortations – cf. He 2:1-4
a. In which we find a warning about the danger of "drifting"
b. The illustration suggested is that of a boat
1) Drifting along at a barely noticeable pace
2) Carried along in the wrong direction by a subtle current
4. In this lesson, we want to examine
a. The reasons behind such an exhortation
b. Various "currents" that can cause us to "drift away"
c. How to avoid "drifting away" i.e. falling back into sin
[Let’s begin with some]
I. REASONS FOR THIS EXHORTATION
A. THE REAL DANGER OF "DRIFTING"
1. It is possible for us to "drift away" from our salvation
a. We can certainly "neglect" our salvation – He 2:3
b. We will learn that we can "depart" from God – Heb 3:12-14
c. We will learn that one can "fall away" so far that it becomes
impossible to restore them to repentance! – He 6:4-6
d. We can reach a point where the sacrifice of Christ is no
longer available to cleanse our sins! – He 10:26-27
2. The danger of "drifting" is very real!
a. It is possible for a child of God to drift so far away as to be lost
b. Otherwise, such an exhortation as this is meaningless.
He would not warn you if it were not so
B. THE DIGNITY OF THE ONE THROUGH WHOM GOD HAS SPOKEN
1. As noted in He 1:1-2, God now speaks to us through His Son
a. We have seen that this Son is
1) Superior to the prophets – He 1:1-3
2) Superior to the angels – He 1:4-14
b. We have seen that this Son is
1) The appointed Heir of all things
2) The brightness of God’s glory, the express image of His person
3) Our Sustainer and Redeemer
4) The "Firstborn" who receives worship
5) "God" enthroned and anointed
6) The "LORD" (Yahweh) who is the eternal creator
7) The "Sovereign", reigning at God’s right hand
2. When God spoke through angels
a. His word proved steadfast
b. Every transgression and disobedience received a just reward
– He 2:2
3. How much more, then, when He speaks through His Son
a. Will not His word prove just as truthful?
b. Will not every unrepented transgression and disobedience
receive a just reward?
— Dare we neglect the Word of God spoken through His Son?
C. THE PROOF TO SUPPORT THIS REVELATION
1. The word spoken by the Son was confirmed by His apostles
– He 2:3
a. Individuals who were eyewitnesses – Ac 10:39-41; 2 Pe 1:16
b. Men who endured much to serve Him – cf. 1 Co 4:9-13
2. The word spoken by the Son was confirmed even more – He 2:4
a. By God Himself, through signs, wonders, and miracles
– cf. Jn 10:37-38
b. By the Holy Spirit, with gifts according to His will
– cf. 1 Co 12:7-11
— Shall we neglect that Word to which such have born witness?
D. WHAT WE LOSE IF WE "DRIFT AWAY"
1. We lose "so great a salvation" – He 2:3
2. It is a "great salvation", because it offers such things as
a. The forgiveness of sin
b. Transformation of character by providing power over sin
c. Assurance of God’s fatherly presence
d. A clear and peaceful conscience
e. A glorious hope for eternity
— Dare we lose all this through "neglect"?
[Just as those who neglected the word spoken through angels (i.e., the
Law of Moses) lost their "promised land", so there are grave
consequences for those who neglect the salvation spoken of by the Son
of God! Such neglect is possible when we voluntarily return to a sinful state.
Following the metaphor of drifting, what "currents" might cause one to
II. "CURRENTS" THAT CAN CAUSE US TO DRIFT
A. THE CURRENT OF "TIME"
1. In which we grow weary of doing good, a concern expressed in
2. As time passes by
a. We can gradually lose some of the fervor of our devotion
– e.g., Re 2:4
b. We may begin to rest on past accomplishments, and cease
pressing forward – cf. Ph 3:13-14
B. THE CURRENT OF "FAMILIARITY"
1. As we become familiar with the truth, it may seem common place
a. We may lose its sense of novelty
b. We may take it for granted
2. Like the Ephesians, we may lose our "first love" – Rev 2:4
C. THE CURRENT OF "SOCIETY"
1. The tides of modern opinion can easily persuade us – 1 Cor 15:33
2. Bombarded by the secular humanism, false religions, and even
plastic "Christianity" offered as "truth", it is hard to
maintain the course
3. Such things can move us away from the simplicity and wisdom of
our Lord! – e.g., 2 Cor 11:2-3
[Any and all these things can slowly move us away from the Lord and His
great salvation if we are not careful! However, as we return to our
text, we can learn-]
III. THE KEY TO PREVENT "DRIFTING AWAY"
A. WE MUST GIVE "THE MORE EARNEST HEED"
1. Imagine yourself in a canoe, in a river with a slow moving
a. Failure to pay constant attention leads to drifting
b. The drifting may be subtle, but often by the time you
realize it, it is too late!
c. Last minute corrections may be made, but even then one may
still run into the brush, crash into the rocks, or go over
— Only by giving earnest heed can that be avoided
2. So it is with our salvation!
a. We must be "diligent" to the task at hand – cf. 2 Pe 1:5; 2 Pe 1:10
b. There is no place to be half-hearted about this! –
e.g., Ph 3:12-15
3. Note that we must give the "more" earnest heed
a. We are to be more earnest than those who heard the word of
God spoken through angels (i.e., the Israelites)
1) We have the word of God spoken through His Son, which
pertains to a salvation greater than that enjoyed by them
2) To whom more is given, more is required! – cf. Lk 12:48
b. Are you more earnest in giving heed to what you have heard,
than those saints in the Old Testament?
B. WE MUST GIVE SUCH HEED TO THE "THINGS WE HAVE HEARD"
1. The "things we have heard" refer to
a. The Word of God spoken through His Son
b. The great salvation
— I.e., the gospel of Christ in all aspects
2. How can we do this?
a. We can follow the example of the Bereans – Ac 17:11
1) In the way in which they initially listened ("received
the word with all readiness")
2) In the way in which they followed up, i.e. ("searched the
b. Certainly through
1) Earnest attention whenever God’s word is proclaimed
2) Earnest study of God’s Word on our own
3) Earnest study in preparation for teaching
c. With the sort of study of God’s Word
1) Entered into with a prayerful devotion to God – Ps 119:18
2) Concluded with a prayerful desire to please God – Ps 119:10-11
3. Are you giving "the more earnest heed to the things we have
a. Looking back on the last year, how did you do?
b. Can you do better in the coming year? Yes, but will you?
1. We have been blessed to receive "so great a salvation"
a. A salvation spoken to us first through God’s own Son
b. A salvation then confirmed by God Himself, the Holy Spirit, and
those who heard Him
c. A salvation much greater than any offered before
2. But please note carefully
a. One need not reject or actively fight against this great
salvation to receive a just reward
b. Those who simply drift away through neglect will not escape
1) Escape what?
2) From what we learn later, it will be "much worse punishment"!
– cf. He 10:28-29
Have you neglected this great salvation Jesus offers? If so, may this
first exhortation found in "The Epistle To The Hebrews" move you to
repent, and cause you to give "the more earnest heed" to the gospel of