The Weekend Word
4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,
- Verses 4-6 –Together –WARNING!!!
- Who are these people? Are they seekers who are experimenting with Christianity, or are they true blue baptized believers?
- Is there a point of no return?
- What does it mean “Enlightened”? Hearing the preached word of God
- What does it mean “tasted the heavenly gift”? The Lord’s Supper
- What does it mean “shared in the Holy Spirit”? Baptism
5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,
- There are 2 options – a believer can fall away OR a believer is secure.
- Within these 2 options are 4 views
- ) Eternal security – once you have come to Christ, he is stuck with you. This warning is purely hypothetical – there are no people like this.
- ) The Arminian view – people can lose their salvation – true blue believers – saved – regenerate
- ) Covenantal Reformed view – in the covenant visible but not united to Christ. This is where we get the visible / invisible church distinction.
- ) Lutheran view – you are secure in Christ’s promises, you cannot lose your salvation, you cannot sin your way out of God’s love, but … you can give up the free gift, you can ignore your faith, starve it to death, let it shrivel up and die,
- Hebrews 4 spoke about the wilderness and not allowing people into his rest – who were those people? Those who gave up.
- And all of these references would have brought to mind 1 Cor 10 / Neh 9
- READ 1 COR 10 – At least 1st 5 verses.
- Nehemiah 9
6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
- Crucifying once again – similar language to those who approach the Lord’s Table in an improper manner.
- Going back to the old Jewish ways. There is no redemption once you have stepped outside the covering of Jesus Christ – it is impossible for you to come to repentance from within Judaism, from the temple system.
- What would you say or how would you answer…
- Does the church lock the doors on these people?
- Is this putting yourself in a position where you stop yourself from wanting to come back?
- Here is the important thing to remember – regardless of the position you take, if you are in this situation you are in a place you do not want to be.
7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.
8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
- Does this sound a bit like the Parable of the Sower?
- What can we look for in people who profess Christ?
- Isa 5:1-7 – The vineyard – the good grapes and the wild grapes.
9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.
- This shows that the means of grace are still falling on these people, and there is time to repent.
- Note where he says beloved – the loving language is coming back.
10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.
- The writer now recalls their good works and their faithfulness.
- He sees that the rain has fallen on them and they have produced in the past.
- And here is where some have problems. They have no training in distinguishing between God’s voices. The proper distinction between law & gospel.
- They do not recognize that in this chapter – well, the entire book, well actually the entire Bible he is speaking to the same people – HIS people.
- When he gives warning, even warnings of destruction, he is speaking in his law to HIS people.
- When he gives comfort, speaking of eternal salvation, he is speaking in his gospel to HIS people.
Because of the close connection between the Book of Hebrews and the Old Testament, it is important to note the God is always speaking to his people and he uses those 2 voices. It is not as if God speaks to them (the lost) in his law and speaks to us (the redeemed) in his gospel.