January 2, 2022 - Message Update

Don’t Walk Away – Hebrews 10:19-27 – Pastor Eric

 

 

Today, surveys tell us that over a third of pastors are seriously contemplating walking away from ministry in America, and more churches close than start every year.  On top of that, it’s understood that one third of church goers may not come back after this pandemic.  However, there is hope for the church and scripture speaks to a situation like this in the book of Hebrews. 

 

At the time of Hebrews, there was a major concern about people walking away from the faith and the church.  Throughout the entire book of Hebrews, there are five major warnings called the warning passages, where the author pauses with great concern over apostasy.

 

From this warning passage, we gain this great truth - Don’t walk away from Christ for the consequences are catastrophic, but walk with Christ for the benefits are glorious.  Don’t walk away from Christ and the church, but walk toward Christ and the church, for it is so good to be with our Lord and His people.

 

(I) Walk with Christ by drawing close to His wondrous grace. We are to walk with Jesus by drawing near to Him and His graces.  It is necessary and imperative for us to walk with Christ and in the gospel every day.  We must understand that the gospel is necessary for salvation and life in Christ. We never graduate from the gospel, but we live out of it. (Hebrews 10:19-22)

 

In verses 19-21, the author emphasizes and describes the life and work of Christ. The believer can come to God with confidence and assurance, because we have free access to God and Christ has opened up for us a new and living way. This new and living way is possible, because of the shed blood and body of Jesus upon the cross.  This new and living way is vastly different from the old way of the sacrificial and ritual system of Israel.

 

The new and living way broke through the spiritual barrier that no man could do and the new and living way ushered in a new access to God free from ritual or sacrificial requirements.

 

We are called and commanded to draw near to God not out of duty or obligation, but in faith and in love.  We are to draw near to God and His wondrous graces, for He has given us a new heart without an evil conscience. It means that you now have a new will and desire for both good and evil.  Before Christ, your heart was deceptive and corrupt, but after Christ, your heart has the capacity to resist sin by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Thus, we are to walk in the newness of our relationship with Christ.

 

How can we grow in this new and living way and how can we draw near to our God this coming year?

 

1) Walk with Christ by reading His Word. Make it a commitment to read and study the Bible daily. Find a good reading plan. There are no substitutes in the Christian life if we want to be close to God, we must be close to His Word.

 

2) Walk with Christ in prayer.  Scripture calls us to pray without ceasing, pray continually. Pray in the car on the way to work. Pray while you fold your laundry. Pray while you take the dog for a walk or drop the kids off at school.  Pray while you walk from one meeting or classroom to the next.

 

3) Read a good Christian book.  Don’t miss out on all the wonders of God given by good Christians authors.  If reading is hard for you, then again pick up the audible and enjoy God through the wonders of technology.

 

There are a variety of ways that we can all draw near to God, and there are a variety of ways that Satan will do anything in his power to draw us away from God.  Don’t waste your coming year on empty things, but fill your heart with God’s glorious and gracious things.

(II) Walk with Christ by fixing your focus on our hope of salvation. Don’t put your hope in a new year, a new job, a new relationship or a new experience. Put your hope not in this world, but put your hope in Christ.  Fix your sight on eternity and the hope of glory that is to come. (Hebrews 10:23)

 

We are able to come to Christ with great boldness by the blood of Jesus, not because of our own will power or self-will.  Our hope is not based upon our determination or even our faithfulness. No, it is based upon our God who is always faithful. For God was faithful before creation and at creation. God was faithful with Israel, the kings, and prophets. God was faithful through Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection. Our hope of glory is based on the continual faithfulness of God, which in the end, will show itself to be true in Revelation 21:3-5.

 

God will make all things new, for there is hope of a new heaven and new earth.  There is hope of eternity with God in complete joy and peace.  There is hope free from COVID, no more isolation, no more suffering, and no more death. This hope lends us perspective beyond a crazy 2021 with the pandemic, violence, and chaos in our world. This hope provides us confidence not to be shaken, but to long for what is ahead of us, an eternity with God. So, don’t waste your coming year on earthly things, but fill yourself with heavenly things.

 

(III) Walk with Christ by gathering together with the family of God. The author emphasized a vertical relationship with Christ and an eternal perspective with Christ.  Now, the author exhorts us to live in a horizontal relationship with the community of Christ. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

 

We are to provoke one another, so that we love and do good works.  We are to encourage one another until the coming of Christ. This can only be done in the gathering of the church and in the consistent weekly meeting of the body through worship, bible study, prayer, and fellowship.

 

The author assumes the basic understanding of a believer as a church-goer.  Our identity in Christ is not just an individualized faith or only a personal faith.  Yes, we only come to faith in Christ on our own, not because of our parents’ or friends’ faith.  But when we come to Christ, we enter into the presence of God and the family of God. So, don’t waste your coming year by walking with the world, but walk with Christ and His people.

 

(IV) Don’t walk away from Christ for the consequences are eternally harmful.  Don’t leave Christ and the church, because the consequences can be catastrophic and deadly.  Don’t walk away from Christ, for you walk onto a dangerous path. (Hebrews 10:26-27)

 

Be assured, if you are a believer in Christ, then you can be assured of your salvation. Scripture is clear that you are saved by grace through faith, not by your own works or merits.  You cannot sin out of salvation either.  However, faith does produce some good works, whether seemingly small or big.

 

The author expresses here a sin of rejection and unbelief. This is a person who heard the gospel, but kept on sinning and is in grave danger.  Thus, if you continually wander from the faith and from the family of God, then one ought to examine one’s self and one’s faith.  The consequence of unbelief will be the eternal judgment. The fire denotes the heat of God’s divine wrath, and this person shall burn in the eternal torment of hell forever.  The author provides a strong warning for any person who might consider walking away from God.

 

In this new year, there will be times when we feel the temptation to walk away and walk into sin, because of disappointment, hurt, sorrow, or simply just comfort. But always remember to behold the wonders of God’s grace, for He has never stopped loving you and God has never given up on you no matter what. He is calling you to walk with Him in His Word, calling you to walk with great hope for a brighter future, and calling you to walk with the family of God.

 

For consequences of walking away are eternally dangerous and harmful, but the benefits of walking with God are eternally gratifying and good. What an amazing year that we can look forward to by walking with Christ, our Lord!

 

 

 

Praise Songs:

Living Hope, Be Thou My Vision, In Christ Alone, Doxology