Sermons & Sunday Schools

A Harsh Warning amid a Strong Exhortation to Keep Pressing on toward Full Maturity

Full Transcript:

Let’s take our bibles and turn to Hebrews 6. I will give an introduction from my last message in order to connect messages. I left you with chapter 5 where the author had a problem. That problem is that he wanted to go on and teach about the Son’s typological relationship with Melchizedek as in chapter 7. However, he could not do it because he began to realize that there was a big problem in the congregation.

The problem was that the people were in a perpetual state of infancy. They were babies and not growing spiritually. It could be that they were not growing spiritually due to persecution or Judaizers that were around at that time. He is saying to them to not remain spiritual babies and move ahead to come closer to the things of God.

He said that they started off with zeal but became sluggish. It was a two-fold problem that I left you with. The immensity of the subject in Hebrews 5:11

Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

It is a lot to teach when it comes Jesus Christ because the whole Word of God has to do with Christ. From Genesis to Revelation, it is about Christ. So there is a lot to teach. It cannot be learned in a day. It cannot be learned in a few months. It must be a daily exercise of the mind on truth in order to grow.

It is something that cannot be backed away from. One cannot take a vacation from truth. An unwillingness to work out the deeper implications of the gospel in your life or even to become reluctant and not to be serious about it is a ongoing problem. It is a problem that we all have to deal with from time to time.

A second problem in verse 11.

Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

They became sluggish in there hearing. Remember that this was a word used for the numb limbs of a sick lion. If a lion is slow-moving and unable to catch his prey, he will grow weak and die. Then he will become the hunted. That is a very sad and pathetic thing. The point is that it is sad and pathetic for someone, who is born-again in Christ with the living Spirit in them, to not grow. Those things do not pair well together.

The author is saying that he is restricted in his communication and cannot go any further. Also they were restricted in their comprehension. They were not getting it. They needed to get it because it is vital to bear fruit in Christ and vital to go on and feed on, not milk like babies, but feed on meat and potatoes. Vitamins, minerals and nutrients that one gets from a good, healthy diet. That is what will make one grow spiritually.

It implies in Hebrews 11:5 that the readers were once keen of hearing but fell into a state of sluggishness. They became spiritually lazy. It also gives hope. It shows that their sluggishness does not need to be permanent. We may fall into times where we are cold and sluggish spiritually. However, we do not need to stay there, we should not stay there.

In fact, in the great scandal of today’s church people say they are Christians without Christian minds. For the most part, the evangelical Christian is grounded in ignorance. They are negligent of the responsibilities to study, learn, and teach the truth about God’s Son.

Their understanding of the Christian life remains infantile. They are still babies and remain babies. The author explains in chapter 5:12. 13.

12For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

13For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.

They did not get passed the basics of Christianity. They needed to go back and be retaught the “ABC’s” of basic doctrines. He explained that he cannot feed them with meat but rather with milk and could barely do that. Milk is used for babies or the sickly.

He has problems on both fronts. A communicating problem and a receiving problem. That is a problem in the church and must be rectified.

In Hebrews 5:14, he gives a sense of rectifying the problems.

But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

He says that the problem is getting into a staying into a “spiritual gymnasium”. He says that solid food is for the mature and through practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. The term train we use for the English word, gymnasium. It means to exercise vigorously. Exercise the body and mind. Here, he means exercise the ind.

Spiritually, we have become so accustomed to the Word of God that we are able to make good judgments, in line with God’s Word and what we know God determines as good and evil. That is where God wants to grow us. However, it cannot be done on milk. Babies can’t make decisions can they? We cannot tell a baby to go out and start the car in the morning. It is a simple thing for someone who does that all the time. No need to think about it. However, for a baby it cannot be done.

The author is saying that this is where they were spiritually. That is not good. We need to go on and grow, but it will take exercise in our minds so we can engage in deeper understanding of the Word of God. So in verse 11 and onward, there are two things to bring to your attention today. Verse 6 1-3 and 4-8. He calls them to correct their present course and move towards spiritually maturity. Also he warns them of the devastating consequences of apostasy.

Therefore, believers are expected to move from being reluctant learners to life-long learners. That is what we are as soon as we become believers. In fact, since I have been pastor and Christian, I have known several people who were illiterate before they became believers.

They became believers, started to read and understood the Word of God and became teachers of the Word of God. These are people who were older in their life. It is pretty hard to read when you are older. However, the Spirit of God came into them and gave them the hunger to know the Word of God that they overcame the obstacle of learning the language.

You and I should never be reluctant about learning but be life-long learners. Life long learning occurs occurs when we address more advanced teaching about the Son as priest and that is what the author gets to.

It is just fact, not just theory but experiencing and engaging the Word of God. Learning does not occur by simply rehashing the basics of the faith. We cannot keep going back and getting stuck in Christianity 101. We must keep going forward.

The point of this scripture is that believers are not to rehash or wallow in the basics like reluctant learners but rather to advance and press on to be life-long learners about the Son as King Priest.

Let us look at Hebrews 6 as the scriptures give believers hope yet a harsh warning. We see that the scriptures show we are called to correct their present course if they are in a state of spiritual sluggishness. We must correct and arrest it.

We must also press on to spiritual maturity. We must grow up spiritually. We are called to do that. The Spirit of God is in us and will make us do that. This is God moving us to look at ourselves to see where we are spiritually and keep going.

The first thing he says is in Hebrews 6:1

Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God

We are to first leave something. What are we to leave? We are to leave the very basics of what is means to be a Christian and what it means to be saved. Not to leave it and forget about it. He means that after we receive the foundation we should build on the foundation. He begins to list what those elementary things are.

The things that every Christian has to believe to be saved. The first one is in verse 1, repentance. Repentance is the basic element of Christian faith. Repentance is a foundational principle taught by the prophets of Old. They were taught by John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, the Apostles and every gospel teacher who were sincere in giving the Word Of God correctly.

In the New Testament, the call to repent is the call to turn from personal sin and evil deeds. Since it has a Jewish background it is a call to repent from any of man’s empty attempts to self salvation. These think that any religious system can save them. “I’m this, I’m that in a religious system”. They will trust the system or themselves to save them but the One that God gave to save us, Jesus Christ.

Repentance is basic. People do not know that. It is hardly preached anymore. If we are not being taught the very basic, then we are really in trouble! Every believer has to repent of the way they were going and what they were trusting in and trust Christ. They must be a time that happened in your life. There must be a time of repentance.

Some people may say that they never repented. I spoke with a woman who say that she said a prayer at five years old because her mom told her. She thinks that is her repentance experience but no it is not.

That is not a conversion experience. That was her mom hoping that she will be a believer. You yourself must have a conversion experience where repentance of sin is attained. Either a great, blown out experience or quietly sitting in a pew or a room.

Where one will say “Lord, I am a sinner. I deserve hell and condemnation because of my sin. I want to turn from that and trust You completely for salvation.” That is repentance. We repent regularly, but this is basic.

A second basic element is placing our faith in God. It says at the end of Hebrews 6:1

… and of faith toward God

Isn’t that the message? Acts 20:21

solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith is a basic of the gospel. All of us must have faith in God. We turn in repentance to the Father and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, because Christ was the one that provided as our substitute to be saved.

The third basic element is the instruction about washing and laying of the hands. This seems a little difficult if you read the passage but the word comes from a word that means baptism. The word “washing” is plural and can refer to the difference between Christian baptism and the baptisms under the former economy.

Remember, before they went to Christ at that time, people went through John the Baptist’s baptism and that was a baptism under repentance. So there is a difference between John’s baptism and a Christian baptism. However, it does mean to baptize. Back then, when people were baptized they had hands laid on them. There was a transfer of them coming to Christ and hearing the Word of truth, believing it then being baptized and receiving he Spirit of God.

It was a package deal, it all happened at once. The phrase laying on of hands in verse 2 refers to the early practice of laying on the hands during a believer’s water baptism. It was symbolic of an act of identification and also of the Apostles’ ministry when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the early church. We find that in Acts 8:17

Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.

We know that baptism was a part of that. Then in Acts 19:6

And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.

So repentance, forgiveness of sins, baptism, the coming of the Spirit was one package. It happened at once when someone came into the faith. They repented, had faith in Christ and were baptized. That was all a part of it. The author is saying that this was all basic.

Another basic is the resurrection of the dead. Isn’t that a basic of Christianity? Isn’t that a basic of coming to faith? The belief that death is not the end? Who knows that better than a believer? We are promised a resurrected body. It is a belief that physical death is not the end. We have an opportunity to live for God here and and will get a body with no sin, perfect and never to die again. This occurs when the resurrection comes. This is a basic truth. Remember, Jesus not only died but He rose from the dead.

He defeated Satan and death at the cross. If He defeated it, then He defeated it for me and you too. So we have that hope and assurance. Every believer does. So if we have it, keep going! Keep learning about all the things that come under and around that.

Another basic in verse 2 is eternal judgment.

Death, resurrection and judgment were clearly linked as a part of the basic Christian doctrine of the Word of God. We cannot get away from it. Those are the basics and what we build on for the rest of our Christian lives. In fact, once new believers learn that and come to Christ, they go from a new believers class to a class where they grow more in the Word of God. They go to a place where they are challenged more on a spiritual level by a spiritual father to live by faith. That is where Hebrews is headed to live by faith. Every day of my life, I trust God for what is going on in my life. He is taking care of everyone.

There is a call to move away from the basic teaching of salvation. In the middle of verse one he says

…let us press on to maturity…

He tells them to press on to maturity. That means to get moving. I had a reformed theologian remind me in my reading that it is a very important truth to remember that it is not possible for one born of the Holy Spirit not to grow.

The point is going to become clear, if you never grow, you were never a believer. If you never grow, you never had the Spirit of God. The question is: Once a person makes a profession of faith in Christ, is it God’s will to grow? Look at verse 3. We see that the author was confident in his audience that they will progress in maturity. It says:

And this we will do, if God permits.

In fact the phrase “if God permits” does not ask if it is God’s will to mature in Christ, but rather assumes by the structure that it is His will. So if we were to ask if it is God’s will to grow once we become baby Christians, the answer is yes. It is God’s will. It will take place. However, there is a cooperation on our side too. We cannot sit as bumps on a log and think we will get it all. We must think, engage our mind and heart. We have to practice it and do those things that God called us to do because it is God’s will for you to mature in Jesus Christ.

Look at Hebrews 6:9

But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.

The author is talking to a saved audience that are not growing in their faith and some have not grown at all, even falling away. He will address that issue at this point. The reason why it is possible for the believer to press on to maturity is the fact that the basic issue of life, faith, death and resurrection has been settled by the finished work of Christ. It is done. If it is done then it is finished.

If one is not sure about their salvation, then there will be no growth. However, if one is sure about their salvation, then growth will be seen. Progression will be attained. You and I, much like the Hebrews, are free to get on the business of living for Jesus. He resolved, forever, the question of our relationship with God. That is what gives us confidence. “I am a believer in God, I know where I am going if I die today.”

Live with gusto for Christ if you are confident in that. It is not based on who we think we are. We cannot save ourselves, no church or religion can either. However, Christ can save me. Once He saves me, I can grow. I can grow past what I think I can grow to.

Once we become Christians, God gives us the capacity to learn beyond what we could have learned before. That is about God. We learn who He is, what he wants and His will for our lives. We learn and know that with confidence.

When Satan comes and says things against you: “You are worthless, God wouldn’t want you.” All those things that he will say to accuse the brethren. We let him know that he will have to deal with our Lord. God saved us. We did not save our selves. We are worthless, but Christ gives us worth. He gave us a chance to be a child of His family. He is our heavenly Father, you have to deal with Him, our Dad. You deal with Him, my salvation is settled in Christ. It is not us that you have the issue with, it is Him and He already defeated you.

When we know those things, we can grow, be confident, share the gospel and go anywhere with that. In scripture we see a situation. There are a group of people who professed Christ, were introduced as Jews to the very intimate things of what God has been doing all throughout history and they fall away.

This becomes the most difficult portion in the Word of God because this whole section that we are dealing with is one of the most controversial part of the New Testament.

To give you a sense of what I mean, here are six of the more prevalent interpretations of this passage:

1.The believers have slipped back in unbelief and lost their salvation

2.This is a hypothetical situation that could have never happened, or is used to demonstrate the foolishness of the panic within Hebrews not to hold fast in the faith instead of going on in the faith. So they were sticking.

3.These are saved people who have fallen into sin and will lose their reward.

4.These are professing believers but stop short of true faith, who never possessed salvation.

5.Those who received enlightenment about salvation, tasting the heavenly gift and partakers of the Holy Spirit, never received Jesus as Lord and Savior.

6.They are saved people being exhorted to mature in Christ.

My position based on the flow of the text is that he is speaking to people who are saved babies who need to go forward. We see that some of them, in that group, have professed but have fallen away. In scripture, they are called apostates. There are a few things being shown in scripture.

He also calls us to mature. He points us to the harsh warning and devastating consequences of apostasy. An apostate is simply someone who has been introduced to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and maybe has lived in that realm of being a Christian for a while.

However, they have dropped off. Their attitude about Christ becomes evident. That is what the author is warning them of. It is a harsh because he is saying to them that if there are some among you that have not grown, it is a possibility that they may slip off to apostasy because they were never saved in the first place.

It is a call to examine oneself. These apostates have come under the influence of the message of the good news of Jesus Christ. The gifts that God gave the Jews and humanity because of the Savior and the blessings that flow from those things and come to the children of God. They have dabbled in those things.

The author is not just talking about people who drifted away because they have gotten cold. He is talking about people who have fallen away. In Hebrews 6:4, he says

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit.

This is the language he is using: The word “enlightened” means to shed light upon. If the audience are Hebrews, they have the Hebrew scriptures. They have the oracles of God. They have the prophets and everything that the world did not have to come to know the Messiah, Jesus Christ as their Savior.

For years, they’ve had the word of righteousness come to them. These people were informed and enlightened to the principles of Christianity. They even have known the way of righteousness. The way to be saved in Jesus the Messiah. That is our salvation, that is what the prophets and Old testament has been saying all along. In fact, Melchizedek is a type of Messiah.

Another thing that the author says about them in verse 4 is that

“…they have tasted of the heavenly gift…”

The word “taste” means more than a sample. It speaks of full participation. It gives a sense that these people were in the community of those who were active in professing the Messiah as the Savior. It was not just a sampling. The heavenly gift is the gospel of the revelation of mercy through Jesus Christ and to taste the heavenly gift is to experience the heavenly gift. They were introduced to the gospel.

These are the people who, to a certain degree, understood and relished in the revelation of mercy. Then the scripture also says

“…have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit..”

They saw the Holy Spirit work in people. It could mean that they understood the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and even the miracles performed by the apostles in the gospels and the book of Acts. They were very well-known to them and could even have first-hand accounts of seeing the Spirit of God work in the congregation of someone who is genuinely a believer. They would have seen people transformed right before their eyes, changes from their evil deeds before God and their whole life changes. They were involved with and partakers of the Holy Spirit.

The scriptures also says that they tasted the good word of God. They have come to understand the tasteful influence of the word of God concerning the promise of God respecting the Messiah and that God has been faithful to His promise. That promise also being fulfilled in Christ.

One thing we know that we will not see anymore from these people is that they no longer see Christ on the pages of the Old Testament. They do not see Christ in the inspired words of the apostles.

These people are in the congregation, professed Christ, had a chance to taste the good word of God and are well-informed about what the prophets are saying about the Messiah. Furthermore, have now come to the place where they know how to get saved. They know the basics of how to get made right with God. It was not Judaism or the religions around them. One could not save themselves by good works. They began to understand that.

They came under the full influence of the gospel of Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation. One would think that if someone came under the influence, they have to get saved. If there is no where else to go for truth and the way of salvation, then we have come to the end of it and conclude that we have to believe in Christ.

It is the only way. He is the only one that died in our place. He is the only way to satisfy the wrath of God. He is the only One that has passed through the heavens and become my High Priest that intercedes for me. He is the only one that can take me into the presence of God. He is the only one that can do it.

So who are these people? What happened to them? Look at Hebrews 6:6,

and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

There are three things I want you to see. First, I must point out that when one like a Jew comes under the message of Jesus Christ, they really must make a choice. They could make a profession of faith but we see what happens to them in verse 6. They fall away and refuse the message.

They no longer are willing to hold to the aspect of Christian belief. They drop out of the contest. This means that they have fallen away. Fallen away cannot mean lose salvation because it is not possible to lose one’s salvation.

If it was possible to lose one’s salvation then the text means that such individuals could never become saved because it says that it is impossible. If you have been around long enough, you may have seen someone who has come, excited about the things of God and then in the short period of time quit everything. Their zeal evaporates and they disintegrate to the way things were before. They may have been converted to a group, church, or a like-ability of Christians and the “cool” things they do in their worship. However, if they fall away this way, then they were never converted to Christ.

They have never grown, but that is not just it. Their whole demeanor towards Jesus Christ changes. Not only do they refuse the basics of the faith, but they abuse the message. Verse 6 says

…since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame…

What does that mean? It means that they identify themselves with Christ’s persecutors on Good Friday. Persecutors who deliberately mocked, ridiculed, rejected and humiliated Jesus publicly during the crucifixion. They finally cried out “crucify Him!” “If You are truly the Son of God, then get down from the cross”

They have become a part of the lawless crowd that caused our Savior to become crucified. They abused the message. They abused the very person and want to get rid of Christ. That is what an apostate does, get rid of Christ and His message from the earth. That is what crucifixion means. They did not want Him as the Messiah or the Savior, that is why they crucified Him. These people are aligned with that group of people.

The next thing that happens is that they forfeit God’s blessing. Look at verse 6

…it is impossible to renew them again to repentance…

That is a difficult statement. It is difficult because when one thinks of the word impossible, it is impossible in reference to whom? If it is in reference to God, then all things are possible. However, if it is in reference to man, I believe that is the assertion here, then it is impossible by any renewed course of elementary instruction to bring back such apostates to the acknowledgment of the truth if they outright reject the basics. What are they to be taught? Auto mechanics as a Christian? What are they to be taught if they totally reject and outwardly abuse it?

The people consign themselves to the impossibility of ever being instructed again in the gospel? That is the impossibility. If one refuses to listen to Moses and the prophets, someone cannot be sent to hell to rescue them as Jesus said in the parable of Lazarus. If no one listens to Moses and the prophets then there is no other message. Additionally, who did they speak of? Christ. Moses and the prophets spoke of Christ and if the basic tenants of their message (Christ as the only way to be saved) is being rejected, there is no other teaching. There is nothing to teach anymore. It was outright rejected, trampled and rejected. Because it was abused, the opportunity to be saved was forfeited.

Once the spiritual appetite is lost it is difficult for someone to be brought back to repentance. What are they going to repent of to? With all the exposure, they had not become different. There was no change of mind concerning the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. Instead of counting Jesus as the Messiah, they concluded that He was an impostor. Instead of considering Christianity as the true and only way of salvation, they concluded that it was a cunning, devised fable.

Instead of concluding that salvation through Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior as a revelation that came from God and is the will of God, they concluded that it was a hellish delusion. How can someone at that point be renewed? We are not?

We must make the observation that we are not dealing with a sincere believer in despair about a spiritual failure. Neither are we dealing with a backslider who temporarily lost interest in the things of God. In this passage of scripture, this person is one in fierce opposition to Christ after knowing the truth. They are in opposition to the gospel and their opposition is now public.

It is a rebellion against Christian things. It is a determination to bring Christ’s work to an end. Now they have switched from being professors of Christ to being enemies of the cross and now being public with it. It just shows who they are and their true colors. This shows their real fruit. It is not the genuine salvation, it is the fruit of unregeneration. They were never regenerate.

Remember that the main purpose of Hebrews was to urge the Jewish Christians not to allow themselves, under the pressure of persecution, to abandon the distinctly Christian aspects of the faith and slip back into Judaism. That was the temptation, to slip back into a prior belief that we are delivered from.

We know as Christians, we cannot go back that way. We have to go forward. The more we know of Christ and mature in truth, we know we cannot go back that way. I have to follow Christ, grow in Christ. I know I do not know enough about Christ but I want to see the fruit that God is producing in my life.

Anyone who refuses to grow spiritually or returns to a system of good works. All religions are systems of good works. The only one that is not a system at all is the Person of Jesus Christ our Lord and by faith. Grace is a free gift and there are no works involved. If I abandon that,I must go to a works system, I must because there is no other way to go. However, if I go back there, I am in dangerous territory.

If one ultimately concludes that Jesus is not the Way, Truth and Life. They are saying that His work on the cross s not enough to save and they must add something to it because it is just not enough. Anyone who is of this mentality is on deep error and must get out of that way of thinking. If they do not, they forfeit the blessing of God.

An honest question must come up at this point. Were these people ever saved at all? I have answered that question already, but we are confronted with some who have made a profession of faith and formally had visible signs and marks of being a truly committed Christian. However, by their refusal to grow and continue in the faith, they now give fruit that they were not generally born again at all.

They were not born again by God’s Spirit. They may have convinced others that they were believers. At one time may have even persuaded themselves that they belong to Christ. People who continue in their sins and deceive themselves that they are believers despite sinning year after year. We must go back to the basics to the gospel and ensure they are believers. That is the basics of Christian counseling.

Many times they go to a counselor who discovers that this person never understood the gospel or repented of their sin. Yet they have been around the Christian community. That becomes a great opportunity to share the gospel with them to be save.

I cannot say that I have met people in this position of apostasy. However, there are some and will be some in the future. Their conversion is counterfeit. When tested of their faith, usually persecution, they did not hold on. They became rebels to the work of Christ and fell off.

Remember that real regeneration results in the believer possessing the radical transformed nature. That is a new nature, predisposed to holiness, as the old nature was predisposed to sin. In regeneration, God gives the dead sinner a new heart. He also places His Holy Spirit in the saint and causes the saint to walk in His statues. This renewed and spiritually alive nature now drives that person, a saint of God, to be faithful, obedient and reverent to God. They desire to want to grow.

This desire is for spiritual growth and practical righteousness. The Spirit of God abides in them and they no longer wants to persists in sin but rather abide in God. That can be found in 1 John 3.

The believer cannot lose their regenerate nature. The bible never speaks of regenerate reverting back to their unregenerate condition or old nature changing them back to old ones.

Losing salvation would necessary require reversing regeneration and that cannot happen. It is precisely that concept that author Robert Spinney spoke about when he said that the concept of unregeneration is no where to be found in the bible. We can never say that someone lost their salvation. We must conclude that they never had it in the first place.

Someone who gives this evidence makes it impossible to renew them to repentance again because they have outright rejected with their whole being the very basics of what it means to be saved. There is nothing else to teach them.

What is the issue with this text? When we become Christians the issue is fruit. What’s on your branches? What is hanging from your branches? I was driving through Ventura, California and going to the beach. We drove through the orange and lemon groves. What a beautiful site! Sunny, gleaming and bright oranges and lemons on these trees. It is really a sight, but if I plant a lemon tree I should expect lemons. If I plant an orange tree I should expect oranges.

If the Spirit of God is in your heart, we should expect Christian fruit. The fruit of the Spirit. If that is never there, there is no salvation. If we are out right rejecting the basics of truth because we have our own philosophy on religion then there is no salvation. The issue is fruit.

Look at Hebrews 6: 7,8. There is an illustration from agriculture in case we missed it.

7For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God;

8but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.

This is pretty clear. The rain seeps into the ground, the vegetation soaks up the rain with all the minerals of the soil, grows and bears fruit. The author is saying that the good soil and bad soil have both received the rich blessings of God’s rain. One produces vegetation and receives the blessing of God. It continues to grow, flourish and bear fruit. Another is useless, has harmless horns and receives receives God’s present curse and future destruction.

It is like when a genuine believer receiving the goodness of the Word of God and everything that comes with it. Then the apostate receives the same thing. One fell into fertile ground, soaked up all the promises and blessings of God and ended up with eternal life and the blessings of God’s goodness.

The other soaked up the same thing. However, it did not land in good soil, buut stony ground as in the parable of the sower. When persecution and tribulation came, it died off. It was useless and did not produce any good thing. Whenever a tree gets to that point, one would say “let’s save it for one more year, give it nutrients and see if it would grow. If not we will cut it down and throw it away.”

It is the same thing here. Someone can have a profession of faith their whole life and never bear any fruit. This means that their heart was not right. The seed of God did not seep in their soil and bear spiritual fruit. They had no desire for God’s Word to grow or know the basics of what happened to them.

If one is not conditioned, they are not a Christian. If they have become dull and sluggish, teach them again. They are not at the apostate phase as yet, let us go and teach them. Look at Hebrews 6:12

so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Yes! That is it! We grow and grow so we can be an imitator. Especially to those who are looking at our life, about the faith that we have in Christ and the fruit that God bore in my life. In doing that we can, through faith and patience, inherit the promise that we learn to live by faith.

We learn also to be patient with God’s will and how He does things. When we do that we hold to the promises that God gave us and are not yet fulfilled. How many promises do we have that are not yet fulfilled because Christ said they are not yet fulfilled? We have the down payment, the wedding ring of the Holy Spirit that lives in you and bear fruit. That is what we spend time with. We spend time on growing.

We cannot grow apart from the Word of God. If there is no desire for the Word of God, there is a problem. So there is a warning to all believers, especially to those who have become dull of hearing, callous and stagnate in their faith. They must leave spiritual infancy behind and move forward toward maturity in Christ.

That is the admonition and exhortation. It is appropriate for all believers to genuinely examine themselves to see whether they are in the faith at all. Isn’t that appropriate? Isn’t that good to know? Don’t you want to know and be assured? Assured of all the things that God is doing? It is also appropriate for all believers to examine whether they are living in the faith.

Are you living in the faith? It is good for believers to ask if they are storing up mentally, the truths of God Word? Am I living by them? Have I developed an appetite for more solid food? Am I growing and progressing in my faith or has my growth been arrested by the destructive weeds and thorns of anxiety, materialism and pragmatism that we all deal with every day of our life.

Worry and greed are enemies of the word. They portray a failure to trust God, especially His Fatherly care for us daily. We can get wrapped up in that and pulled away. It can suck away our desire for the Word of God. Even our energy for the Word of God.

Spiritual security does not depend on a clear recollection of the moment of conversion. The issue is fruit, right now. Are you bearing fruit now? Some people cannot remember how they came to Christ, but they know they repented, turned away from sin and wanted to follow Christ. They desire the Word. Are you bearing fruit? The issue is fruit. Matthew 7:20.

So then, you will know them by their fruits.

It is by God’s love for you and His grasp on you. You don’t keep yourselves saved, God keeps you saved. How do we know that we are saved? Because God loves us. If He loves us, then He has our best at hand.

He is our loving Heavenly Father. We wake up every morning and God is no longer our enemy, He loves us. That changes the whole dynamic of the game. That means that is how we are to live. When we live to desire His Word, meditate on it and put it to practice it gives us more confidence to live for Christ and desire to learn ore about what God has done. This starts on the basics of the foundation of our faith.

Then one day our faith will turn to sight and we will see Jesus. Everything else will fade away. Everything we know about Christ will be filled in and all the blanks will also be filled in and we will have a hallelujah party.

Remember, a part of the fruit of the Spirit is Joy. Are you joyful? Are you joyful in your heart?