Thanks For Warning

Thanks for the Warning!

Hebrews 2:1-4

A Gracious warning is presented by the writer of Hebrews so that any who have neglected the Great Salvation preached by the Lord will listen and Escape the judgement of God.


Sermon Transcript

I Invite you to take your Bibles up with me again this morning, and turn in them to the book of Hebrews. Hebrews chapter two verse one; we will take our text from there this morning. Please follow along as I read.

1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?  (Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)

Would you bow in prayer with me this morning? Lord God, we ask this morning for the preparation of our hearts to receive Your Word. We pray, that we might find ourselves in great ecstasy of joy, because of the salvation of Jesus Christ your Son. Lord, even as we had the opportunity to sing your praises and the glories of salvation in Christ just a few moments ago, we pray, Oh Lord, that this that we study today, that is preached to us, that we would be open to the preaching, of the hearing of the doing, and take into account those things that we need. We find ourselves secure in You, it is the great work that You have done. Bless us, Lord, not because we deserve it. Bless us, Lord, because of Your loving kindness, bless us, Lord, because of Your grace. And bless us, Lord, so that You might glory in what You do in and through us. Even as You teach us this morning. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and our Savior. Amen.

Thanksgiving has come and now gone. And it is obligatory that after Thanksgiving or around about it, that we would preach a Thanksgiving message.

Well, here it is. "Thanks For The Warning!"

So I've been entitled this message "Thanks For The Warning." And if we are truly people who give thanks for all of God's word, I need not depart from our text this morning. And yet go into the warning that God gives knowing that God has given it to us by grace. He's given it to us, and we are thankful for it, because He has warned us. In the past, many of us may have given thanks for God's provision of food for the past year. Perhaps even over the last few days, we gave thanks to God for our country, for our families, for our church, our health, and even for God's comfort through trials and tests of life. But I ask you how often do we give thanks to God for His warnings? For the way in which He provides for us a way of staying on His path, and avoiding the pitfalls of being off of His path? It is appropriate I would say to give thanks to God for His warnings. Because God is expressing to us His heartfelt compassion, and He is also giving us a form of provision when He gives to us His gracious warnings; a warning against transgressing His spoken word. This book begins with the word of God coming at various times and in different ways to the fathers by the prophets and having come to us today, in these days through His Son, Jesus Christ. The call to listen to pay attention is the call of Hebrews. The call of accepting Jesus Christ in all of His humility, and in all of His glory, and all of His functions as both God and king and priest will come before us. So listening to Him and following Him is a paramount venture. And this morning, we are going to be warned, along with the Hebrews who received this letter so many hundreds of years ago, we receive it as well.

We might call this another good part of the Bible. Sometimes when we read the Bible we do sort of arbitrarily divide it, don't we? The good parts and the bad parts. But there are no bad parts in the Bible. They're all good parts, and all are profitable for our learning. This gracious warning is presented by the writer of Hebrews, and with a purpose, so that any who have neglected the great salvation, preached by the Lord will turn today and listen and escape the sure judgment of God. Thanksgiving. First, we began by giving thanks for the warning against drifting away. Thanks for warning us, God, against drifting away. It is good when signposts are put up that say, sharp turn ahead, slow your speed to 20 miles an hour. Even if you drive a big truck, oftentimes they'll have a sign. If you're not too good at reading, and you're going down the mountainside, they'll put a little sign there with a big semi truck, and it's tilted on the two wheels. I'm pretty sure we all know what that message is. Go too fast, you're going to roll over. And by the way, this is a mountain, it's a long way to the bottom. It's even farther to the bottom, when you drift away from God and go off the edge and miss the message of his salvation or drift away. So we begin by giving God thanks for warning us against drifting away. Verse one says, therefore, we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. It is presented to us here in this verse, that drifting away is a real danger. Drifting away is presented as a REAL danger to us. It is a negative clause of purpose this lest we drift away. And it comes from an old verb, an old verb meaning to flow by, or flow past.

There's kind of an analogy that is working here a picture that God wants us to see where, if you will, and you will allow me this example that God makes each person like a ship; a ship on the sea of life. And the seas as we are told, I'm not a seaman, I am a land lover, but I have read books about the sea and from what I understand about the sea, the sea is moved by great currents. And if you get in the right current going the right direction, it will help you get to where you want to go. And even if you are adrift in the sea, they will move you about, but you have no power, unless you find power to drift or, if you will, to go where you need to go. In some cases, you will just drift further out to sea. So ships that are moved by these currents are drifting along, if you will, helplessly they are driven by what is powering them that they cannot even really see. They have no real destination or ability to reach a safe port or a secure landing, unless they harness some other power that will overcome the currents that are pushing them along. In the old days of the tall ships, and the big sailing vessels that we are so accustomed to seeing now in little bottles, commemorated, those tall ships would catch the wind on the sea and thereby be able to harness that power and get to a port. Before that time even, many of the ages of the Greeks where sometimes they used sails, but even more so they used good old oars. Just like in your rowboat. If you get out on the Missouri River, if you don't just want to flow all the way to the sea, it's good to have some oars on board. And there when you get done fishing, you can end for the day, at some place where you can make portage and get out of there. It's really fun when you're in control and it's really scary when you're out of control and you just go where the river carries you.

Now that is the picture that we are presenting, lest we drift away. But we must ask lest we drift away from what? The danger, the warning, is against drifting away, but against drifting away from what? Well, let's look at our verse again. Lest we drift away, it says therefore we must give the more earnest heed to what? To the things we have heard, the things we have heard, these are the things. These are the words spoken by God. In a past tense - you've already heard them. There is a responsibility being portrayed, that when you have heard God's word, you need to now pay attention to it. It is like the power that keeps you from drifting away.

Sometimes when I'm sharing the gospel with people, and they seem to be a little more obstinate than I would like, and the end doesn't seem to be going as good as the beginning. Sometimes the Lord seems to prompt me of the necessity of telling them of the responsibility that they now have, because they now know the truth. They have now been shared the way to Christ, that it is singular, there's one way to salvation, there is one way to heaven, there is one way to forgiveness of sin, and that is through belief in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. And once you know that, you are then responsible for that. And the responsibility is with the words you have heard. In times past, God spoke to the prophets, through the prophets to the fathers, we have all that He spoke, as in this last days spoken to us by His Son. And then we have an entire chapter of truths about the Son, about who He is, as the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father. That He is superior over even the mighty angels and all of their vast power, and all of their might and glory, He is superior to them in His position. For God never said to any of them as He has to the angels, let all of the angels of God worship Him, Jesus. He is the one worthy of worship. In chapter one we have Him displayed as the King, the Son, on the throne forever. We have Him as well as the all knowing, ever present, never changing Son who both created the world, and was there at the creation of the world, will be there when it's folded up, verse 12, and yet be unchanged and the same, always and forever. And who has a coming kingdom.

These are the things that they are to remember, along with all the other things that God said. We need to pay the more earnest heed, lest we drift away. You can drift past things, even things you have heard. Sometimes don't we say when we're having a conversation, our mind drifts away. Well, maybe yours doesn't, but mine does, and every so often, my wife will notice. That it's really a rude thing, isn't it? Somebody is talking to you, and you've drifted away. And sometimes, you know, in your pride, you try to scramble inside and reconstruct what it was that had just gone by you and words so that you can participate again in the conversation. Like I was here, right in the stream all along. I wasn't drifting. But it seems that the person who is conversing with us notices. You've drifted away. Oh, and the best thing to just say is, I'm sorry, I wasn't listening. I lost my focus. And it's good to say that because it happens to all of us. It's not good that it happens to all of us. But it's better if we just admit it. It gets it over with fast. And besides, it saves you a lot of angst as you're trying to play catch up and pretend you knew what they were saying and thereby participate. Oh, no, I did it again. Okay, now that you've had that little glimpse into my and Vicki's life will go back. And I only say that because I know it is common to men. Men, may I have an amen? Ladies, same sign. Hey, man, I know it's there okay? It's easy to drift away. But drifting away is prevented by paying careful attention. So when your wife talks, gentlemen, pay attention. Let me just do this with some equanimity, shall I? Ladies, when your husband is talking to you, you can do the same. I know it can't be just guys who drift off. It must be something that all humans do. So it's prevented when you pay careful attention. And that's what this phrase means. We must give more earnest heed. It means by definition, pay close attention, or holding on to something. Hold on to the thread of the conversation. Hold on to the Word of God that you already know. Use it as guardrails in your road of life to keep you within the boundaries, or the rumble strips, which I hate, on the highway that are there to warn us, you're about ready to go in the ditch. Even though we like to say I wasn't going in the ditch, I was just trying to see if that deer over there was a four point or a six point. That I will have turned back in plenty of time. We must give them more earnest heed and pay close attention.

There was a woman who paid very close attention to the words of the Apostle Paul, when God sent Paul to her. And in Acts chapter 16, verse 14, we read of a woman named Lydia. It says, now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. I point that out, because that is a key theme throughout the entirety of the Bible, for the Hebrews, to hear also meant to follow, to do what you have heard. In the New Testament, Paul says Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worship God. But listen to this. The Lord opened her heart, to heed the things spoken by Paul. Not only did she hear, but she heard and too heed, and she believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. She had heard about the one true God, but she had not yet heard about Jesus Christ, the Savior, who had recently died on the cross, and rose again on the third day. And that message was spreading its way across the known world. And Paul was one of those messengers. This woman gave heed, and found the direction.

The things you have heard, the akous, the listening and understanding is really here, a legal term. A legal term, which is present in the court of law of the day. It means to grant a hearing in a court trial, not just to hear, but hear as evidence. To allow yourself to be convinced or reasoned with. You know, some people are just obstinate aren't they? Sometimes when you go to convince somebody of something, they're just certain people who dig their heels in on anything new and don't like to accept anything that they haven't already thought about. That might be true of you, and you don't need to raise your hand, you just might become an example of this. But sometimes it's hard to teach people because they don't want to reason with something they're uncomfortable with. And regrettably, in our culture, today, we we now termed it a canceled culture. And a canceled culture is, by definition, those who don't want to hear any kind of reasoning, any kind of logic, any kind of convincing, that is opposed to their way in which they already are thinking. Here in the Bible, this warning is to allow yourself to be convinced by the word of God, you've already heard. And let Him convince you logically in the court of law, that He is right.

It's very interesting that when we get to the end of the practical nature in the book of Hebrews, chapter 13, it is this very idea that is going to be presented to the people of God. When He says, obey those who rule over you, which means listen to those who are trying to convince you from the Word of God, I want to prep you with that now, so you won't forget it started here, and it will end there. The Word of God is to be something we take in and then allow God to convince us of the certainty of those words. It is very important, and there is a warning aspect to it. If you drift on by - you know, I used to have certain people, in certain churches, no not here. Okay, maybe once or twice here. I used to have one fellow who would come to church, and I wouldn't be five minutes into the sermon, and he was asleep. Okay, maybe 10 minutes sometimes. And he's gone. And the rest of the message flows on by and I suppose in a sense, he's heard it because he always seems to be awake at the end. But he's got nothing. He's attended church, you know, he's got to check that box off the list on the calendar. Yep. Went to church. But he's heard nothing. He hasn't taken it in, he hasn't even allowed himself to be convinced. It's not just like the husband who drifts off as the wife is talking. This is I'm just ignoring you, I don't want to hear. But there's a great danger in doing that as Jesus, when He sent His 12 apostles, or soon to be apostles, out in their preparation ministry, before they would go out on their own after He had died and was ascended into heaven.

Matthew chapter 10, we have one of the places in the Gospels where this is recorded. So He sends out His 12, to preach this message. The message they were to preach was the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Why did they preach that message? Because Jesus was still alive and on Earth. And as the King was in their presence, wherever the King is, the kingdom is close by. We say prophetically, the kingdom promise was near, but not here. And there was in a real sense, a presentation of their own King being made to Israel. Here's the King, you've been waiting for Him. He's in the Old Testament. Here He is. Listen to Him. Here's the danger. Some people didn't.

Disciples were instructed by Jesus, if you go into a city, and their peace comes upon you, let their peace come upon you. Preach the message, and then go your way. But if you go into a city or into a house, and they refuse to hear you, then this. Chapter 10 of Matthew, verse 14, it says, whoever will not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city. Why would it be that Sodom and Gomorrah, that place of the grossest immorality, sexually and otherwise on the face of the planet, and is now still for us a sign of the judgment of God on sin, for all ages to recognize? Why would it be worse? Why would it be worse for those who hear from these 12 disciples as they went out two by two with a message of the kingdom being at hand, then for Sodom and Gomorrah? Because they've heard the gospel message, and refused to take heed. They've heard about their king, that they are supposed to want to accept - this is to Israel - for he told him don't go by way of the gentiles, go to the children of Israel with this message. So the people that had the word of God, should have known the Word of God, are judged more harshly than the other people because they've heard the message. Brothers and sisters, it's dangerous to sit in church. It's dangerous to sit in church because you are responsible for the message you hear. And there are people, I guarantee it, in churches all across America, and maybe there's one or two here, even in this gathering of people, who have not yet believed the message of Jesus Christ. You have heard it, it is passed on by. Oh, what is that? I really wasn't paying attention. But God is.

In Matthew chapter 11, verse 13, we read, for all the prophets in the law prophesied until John. And Jesus said, and if you were willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is come, he who has an ear, listen, let him hear. There is a call to listen to what the message is, a fulfillment of the prophecy that was given. Even in our book of Hebrews, we'll read these words when we get to chapter four, and I'll prep you for that now, reading verse two. It says in that chapter of Hebrews four, verse two, for indeed the gospel was preached to us all as well as to them. Now listen, but the word which they heard, did not profit them. The word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

Okay, so back to our analogy where there were ships on the sea that were being pushed around by different currents. We must gain the power that gets us to a safe portage, and that power is the word of God. So, the sails need to be put up to catch the wind. The words spoken by God are like the wind at sea. Yet, if you want to capture the power of those words you have to have faith in the wind, enough to, one, make a sail, and two - put it up. God has spoken, what have you done about it? Have you caught the word in your sails? Are you letting it move you in the right direction? Are you by faith, raising it up? Sailors all the time became becalmed in the old days on the sea, the wind that was once there, gone. And if your on a sailing ship and that's your only mode of gaining power to get where you want to go, you're stuck! Your at the side of the road of the sea, if you will, with no place to go. Unless there's a wind. So, what do you do? Take down all your sails, store them away? Well, that's the last wind we'll ever see. Or, do you put them up in hope? In hope of catching them. Well how do you do that practically? Well I'm glad you asked. You open your Bibles, and you read the word of God, and you fill your sails, and you move on it every single day. You go to church and you learn from those whom God has given you to learn from, so that you might have something to push you down the sea of life, into a safe port, lest you drift away. Faith has to be mixed with the word that God does. God has spoken many, many times, but there are many, many who are lost at sea. Purposefully, because they refuse to put up a sail. This is a warning against drifting away.

Number two, thank you God for warning us of certain justice for disobedience. Thanks be to God that He warns us that He is a just God, and that He will justly punish all disobedience. That's verse two. In Hebrews, chapter 2, verse 2, we read, for if the word spoken through angels proves steadfast and every transgression and disobedience receive a just reward. There's a logical progression going through these four verses again. And this is part of it. Back to the past again, there is a steadfastness of the words spoken in the past by angels. So we give thanks to God for warning us of the certain judgement for disobedience, and this is proved, this certain justice for disobedience, is proved to us by the steadfast word spoken by angels. The angels that were compared to Christ in chapter 1, so that we would listen to Christ. So that we would see Him as higher than the angels, are revisited again now as those messengers that we read about in chapter 1, verse 14, were we read about the angels: are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those that will inherit salvation. And the ministry of the angels at many points was giving the words of God to men. And it is something they can count on, the words spoken prove steadfast. Meaning an anchor. Isn't that great? It's one of the reasons I chose the ship analogy. Because this word means an anchor. The secured and fast. If you want to stop where you're going, and even when you've reached your port, if you don't want to just float around and go up on the beach or slam into other ships that are in the port, you throw the anchor out. And it's amazing, a small weight, even for a large ship, when it reaches the bottom, it holds fast. It can hold a mighty ship, weighing tons, though it just weighs hundreds or a thousand pounds.

This was illustrated to me one time when Vicki and I went on one of those drift boats. Speaking of drifting away. We had a fellow who great fisherman and he had one of those drift boats and he took us on the Snake River. And as we floated down, it was a flat bottom boat, you can feel everything that the rivers kind of doing, and if it weren't for his oars, we'd be all over the place. But when he took us to one of his favorite fishing spots, he took this little tiny square, looked like lead on a rope, and threw it out over the side. And it was amazing. With him, and Vicki and me, and I weigh zzzzz pounds, that little tiny anchor held us fast in that spot so we could fish. So if even in the past when the angel spoke like an anchor, to hold you in faith in place, it was secure. Recognize that it was. The same root word steadfast is used by another, the apostle Peter, in chapter one of Second Peter said these words. Verse 18, and we heard this voice which came from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain. In verse 19, he goes on to say, and so we have the prophetic word, listen, confirmed. We have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in the dark place. It's steadfast, it sure, it's confirmed, and you can trust it. It even goes on if you allow me to skip to verse 20, knowing this first that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation. That means it's not just for one person. And it doesn't just have a meaning for you. You know, there's been a trend in the past where there were many Bible studies that were convened. And one of the questions that was asked many times, and even in the books on these Bible studies, you are prompted to ask each person, well, what does this text mean to you? And so the person would then, you know, try and find something that that text meant to them. Well, that's not the way the Bible was given. It doesn't matter what the Bible in that text means to you. What matters is what did God mean when He wrote those words? And then what are you going to do about it? If you don't have the meaning, it means nothing. Or you can manufacture a meaning that's not in the context. Hence, if you're going to interpret the word, you need to start with context, context, context. Less I digress, I move on. So we give thanks God for warning us of certain justice for disobedience. This is proved by the steadfast word spoken by angels, and then letter B in your notes, certain justice for disobedience is proved by the just reward received for every transgression. Again, verse two, for if the word spoken through angels prove steadfast or an anchor, and, his second point, every transgression, and disobedience received a just reward. So even when the angels gave this word, if you disobeyed it, you're sure to receive justice, a reward. The word transgression here is a knowing sin, or if you will, a sin that is known and then transgressed. If you look at it like a line, there's a line in place and God says, don't step over that line. But you know, what happens inside the heart of a sinner? As soon as God says, don't step over that line? Well, there's, there's just this desire to go up in there and push your foot a little closer like, you mean like that line there. Well, what if I just touched the line? Or I step over just a little bit in the line, and God is saying, if you even transgress the line, there's a sure punishment, because even by pushing the line you're rebelling. That happened, it really means a refusal to obey. It's blatantly overstepping the boundaries once you've been shown where they are. In Genesis, two angels came and talked. They came and talked to a man who was being saved from the sure judgment and justice of God. And we are going back again, to Sodom. In Genesis 19, we read this in verse one. Now, the two angels came to Sodom in the evening. These are the ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation. In name Lot.

Lot was being ministered to, and the words of warning are the words coming from angels via their master God. God commanded these angels to go and save Lot. And the Bible tells us that Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them he rose to meet them and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. Now if you're in Genesis and following along, I need to skip some of this and go down to verse 12, lest I never finish anywhere close to noon. Verse 12, then the man, and this will be the angel, said to Lot, "have you anyone else here?" Son in law, your sons, your daughters and whomever you have in the city, here's their message, take them out of this place. For we, the angels will destroy this place. Why? Because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it. The Lord has sent us to destroy it. Here's a message of warning that will deliver you Lot from being among those destroyed. That's called the good news. Listen and be saved. Stay and enjoy the hellfire and brimstone. For you will be judged. It's a sure word. It's a steadfast word for blatant transgression. Sodom stands in all history, as blatant transgression over the lines which God has made. In the beginning God made heaven in the earth. And in the beginning God made man, and from the man he made woman, and he said, the two shall become one flesh. The two shall become one flesh, what I joined together, let no man put asunder. There's man, there's woman, there's marriage. That's it. Sodom stepped over that line. Our culture is stepping over that line. There is a sure judgment coming. And we have the testimony even of angels for it. Is anyone listening? That is transgression. But then also disobedience is mentioned in our verse too. Every transgression and disobedience received a just reward. Sodom received the just reward for their sexual immorality. God destroyed the entire city, but saved Lot, and his daughter. Disobedience is different. This is a form of disloyalty, but it is not just a blatant disobedience, it is an unwillingness to obey, if you will, it's a sin of omission. A sin of omission means failing to listen and know what the law is and where the line is, and thereby, inadvertently or unknowingly stepping over the line. The point is, you've heard where the lines where you just didn't listen. And you're going to receive a just penalty, a fair justice. Sometimes when someone who is rightly convicted because they did do the evil deed, we say, justice is served. It was right. God makes only right, justice, right judgments. In Judges chapter two, we have an example of angels and Gods justice, in verse one we read that the angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim and said, I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers. And I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land. You shall tear down their altars, but you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? Therefore, I also said I will not drive them out from before you, but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you. They didn't listen to the steadfast word. They didn't put down their anchor. They didn't open up their sails to catch the word. They just stopped listening. And in stopping to listen, they allowed error into their lives, all around them, that would become for them a snare.

Snares are interesting things. They're placed by those who try to ensnare, they're placed on the path where people normally walk. Or if you're trying to catch an animal, and you want to catch a rabbit, put it where the rabbit normally goes. But you just don't put it out in the open, do you? That would be not very smart. You disguise it. And when they happen along not paying attention, they're snared. Most of the people who go astray in our world, go astray from inattention. Hence the warning we must give the most earnest heed to the things we have heard lest we drift away.

Number three, the third thanks. We have Thanksgiving we give thanks to God for warning us against neglecting salvation. Against neglecting salvation. Most of us are familiar with what neglect means. It means to disregard. It means to live without concern about something, to live unconcerned about it. So you pay no attention. What you're not concerned with you pay no attention to. This is a call to pay attention. To neglect is to pay no attention. The warning is, how shall we escape? How should we escape this? For sure if even when the angels talked every transgression and disobedience received a just reward from Sodom and Gomorrah, to his own people Israel, received the right reward for their disobedience, punishment. How shall we escape? If when the angels delivered the message, it was powerful, and it had consequences, how much more so this? How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed by those of us who heard him? How shall we escape?

There are consequences for the failures to listen. Jesus, when He spoke at the end of his ministry on earth, about His own Second Coming, is asked by His disciples, when shall these things be? In the book of Luke we have these words recorded in answer; now, after a long list of things that would precede His Second Coming, we read verse 34. And Luke says, but take, as he records Christ, Christ says but take heed to yourselves less your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and the cares of this life. Notice that list, your weighed down with carousing, with drunkenness, and the cares of this life. All of those things are distracting. To keep you from paying attention, let's go have fun. Whoo hoo! Everything's fun. Everything's a party, let's play. And you don't have to pay attention to what really matters. The drunkenness, we could call even the drugs that are out there in our day added to this. Those things which take from your ability to concentrate on the Word of God and follow it and obey it. You don't listen. And then again, he says in the cares of this life. Who here isn't busy? Everybody's busy. We got cares in this life. And some of the things we need to pay attention to don't we? We need to do the things we need to do. Some of us need to earn a little bit of money. Some of us need to take care of wives, husbands, children. We need to go to school, we need to go to work. We need to do all these things. Oh, it's fall, we got to do all the fall work, get the yard ready. Oh, now its winter, get the shovels out all these things we got to do, the cares of this life. Sometimes we care so much about this life, we aren't paying attention. And He says the cares of this life, Jesus says, that the day come upon you unexpectedly. He's just warned them that there is a time when He's coming to judge the world. And it comes on unexpectedly to those who aren't looking for it. In verse 35, of Luke 21, Jesus goes on to say, for it will come, listen. as a snare. We had Israel being snared by the pagans, they allowed to be around them, because they refused to obey God. And now we have a snare being the very end of days that it will come upon people and they'll be like, what happened?

How did this happen? He had just given a whole list of signs of His coming. And those signs that will precede it, the birth pains that would happen on the earth. Brothers and sisters, I hope you're paying attention. I can't read to you the entirety of Luke 21, but go back and read and then say, hmm, I wonder how close we might be? It will come as a snare, listen, on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, listen, and to stand before the Son of man. So if even when the angels delivered the judgment of God, and that came true, how much more so this that Jesus warns of through his own mouth? In First Thessalonians five verse one again, the day of the Lord is under discussion. And Paul says, but concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, here it is - not paying attention, peace and safety. When they say peace and safety, everything's good, everything's fine, we're secure - then sudden destruction comes upon them as labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they shall not escape. A snare, a snare, no escape. How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? If God shows you where the snare is, charts a course for you around it so that you're not trapped in it, how are you going to escape? If you go blithely on your way, saying peace and safety, I'm just going to live my life and maybe at the end, I'll believe in Jesus. Maybe later, I'll start reading my Bible. Maybe later, I'll start following what it says, I'll really be a good scholar then, I'll really know the Word of God then. Oops, why am I hanging upside down by my foot? I think I've been trapped. Uh oh. Now it's too late to read your Bible. Now it's too late to go where God says, it's too late. To salvation that was spoken by the Lord, the point of Hebrews is to remind us that when Jesus says it, of the supreme authority of His words. So if an angel who scares men to death when they speak, is granted a hearing? What's wrong with us? What's wrong with people if they won't listen to Jesus as he speaks today? Even in Matthew chapter four, what was the beginning? What are the first words that are recorded by Matthew from Jesus' mouth when he begins his ministry? Those words are these. Matthew 4 verse 17, from that time, Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." You realize that's a gospel message? That's good news to the children of Israel. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Salvation that you are waiting for, that comes through the Mashiach, that comes from the King David, and his line, is right here near to you, turn from your wicked ways, and follow me. But His people would not. In Mark chapter one, verse 14, this is recorded; after John was put in prison Jesus came to Galilee, listen, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel. If you're going to put up your sails and catch the Word of God, by faith, you have to believe that that power which pushes you into the safe course of the port of salvation is the gospel of Jesus Christ. You trust it to get you there. Did I see Jesus die on the cross? No. Did I see Jesus rise from the dead? No. Did I see Jesus ascend into heaven? No. Have I seen Him sitting at the right hand of the Father waiting till His enemies be made His footstool? No. How do I know about these things? From the very words of Christ Himself? From the very words of the Bible, God's word Himself testify to me. I believe in that and by that means we escape the sheer judgment of God and find salvation.

In Hebrews chapter 12, verse 25, that is made real when the writer of Hebrews says, "See that you do not refuse Him who speaks, for if they did not escape who refused him who spoke on earth, how much more shall we not escape, if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven?" It's a warning. Do not neglect the salvation spoken by the Lord. And then do not neglect the salvation that is confirmed. Look at our last verse here God also bearing witness, both with signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will. Confirmed, confirmed by those who heard Him. God also bearing witness, both with signs and wonders, various miracles, all of these things together, those who heard Him and the signs and wonders. At the end of verse three, we have those who heard Him. In Luke, Luke writes, not having been a disciple that was always with the Lord, but one who walked with him later and was part of those who were believing after Christ had been ascended into heaven. And God places upon him the inspiration to write the book of Luke. And he begins this book in this way, in Luke one one; in as much as many have taken in hand, to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us. Just as those who from the beginning were eye witnesses and ministers of the word deliver to us. It was confirmed by those who heard Him.

We have a testimony, even in the Word of God of those who heard Him. We have again and again, even Peter speaking in the book of Acts of what he heard, and what he delivered in his Gospel messages. But it was also confirmed by God bearing witness. God bore witness, how did God bear witness that what Jesus said was true? He did it the same way he has always done it from the beginning of time when he's giving new revelation. Many people ask me, Well, Pastor Fred, why did God do signs, wonders, and miracles? Why did God give gifts? Where people could even do these things? And that they would come about in the early church? Why were they there? Well, this is part of the answer right here. It's part of the answer, because if you'll notice, as you read your Bible, every time God spoke a new message to man, he authenticated His Word through signs, wonders, miracles, fulfillments. They're confirmatory. How do we know God spoke? The words were witnessed. The witness was written down. How do we know that they're accurate? Their message was authenticated by miracles, signs and wonders, and gifts. Right here God is saying, that's how you know He's speaking. Men can say a lot of stuff, can't they? I predict, in 2045, the world will end. Well, that's been done before. It was supposed to end in 2012. Remember, the Mayan calendar was running out. We were on short term, this is what's going to happen. And so many people said, Hmm, that it's Mayans how could they be wrong? And I used to say, well, where are they? If they were that smart, they'd still be here. I guess they got a head start on the disaster.

But there was no confirming sign. When God was going to give the law to Moses, which was a huge body of new revelation about what God wanted, as God was going to come down and live in the middle of his people Israel. That had never happened before. He says, okay, I'm going to come down, I'm gonna live right here in the middle of you in the tabernacle, My presence will be there. So if you want to approach Me, and by the way, you know what the tabernacle was called? The tabernacle of meeting. You want to meet with Me? You have to be holy. I'm a holy God. So all these laws on cleanliness were about how to approach God. It's not God being mean. It's God's saying I don't want you to die when you come near. That's a good warning. Right? Thank you, God. Hoo Hoo! Saw what happened to old Bobby over there, old Eddie, they went up there hoo hoo, should've listened to the warning. And we laugh but it was real. Nobody went into the Holy of Holies except the high priests once a year. And that not without blood, guess what book that's going to be in - Hebrews. But that's not for today. The signs and wonders that were given in Egypt that God was speaking through Moses were powerful. The signs and wonders when they were running to the Promised Land, even from Egypt were powerful. Parting of the Red Sea, not the reed sea, the Red Sea. And they crossed over dry shod even if you don't think it wasn't that deep, the Bible says that it was dry and they crossed over. So even if it wasn't very deep, and he made it dry, I'll tell you what, you've been pretty happy. It's a miracle. The signs and wonders were to confirm the message. Why was there signs and wonders in the New Testament era? Why was that coming? Because God was speaking again of the new covenant and what we were supposed to do. Nobody had done church yet. Before Moses, nobody had done tabernacle. Here's how you do it. Here's the miracles, you better believe it. Nobody had church yet. So God gave signs and wonders through those carrying the message of how to do church. What God wants; are we listening? No, show me another sign and wonder. I think they missed the point. So the signs and wonders and various miracles are confirming the words that Jesus spoke. In Acts chapter eight, verse four, listen, after Stephen is martyred and the church is scattered before Saul became Paul, Saul's persecuting the church, trying to kill them all. And they're scattering from Jerusalem. Listen to this. Acts, chapter eight, verse four, therefore those who were scattered, when everywhere, hear me, preaching the Word. So what happens? What do you do if you're scattered? Preach the word. That's just a primer for the last times. Okay, verse five, Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ to them. Verse six, and the multitude, with one accord heeded. There we are listening again. Heeded the things spoken by Phillip hearing, and seeing the miracles, which he did. That confirmed Christ, gospel of salvation, and even gifts of the Holy Spirit. We have gifts of the Holy Spirit, we're confirming of this message in the book of Ephesians. We have this recorded, but to each one of us, grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore, he says, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men in Ephesians, even the gifts of men who are mature to teach, but also we read in First Corinthians about gifts of the Holy Spirit. Well, in the same way the gifts of the Holy Spirit were not the point themselves, they were the signs that pointed to the Word of God itself. Why don't we need signs and wonders and miracles anymore? We have this confirmed to us by those who heard Him. God also bearing witness, both with signs and wonders, with various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will. That reminds us again, you don't get gifts of the Spirit. They never got them in the beginning by their will they came by the will of God. I say that because it's confirmed. There's whole factions of the world still looking for signs and wonders.

And the message is complete. You want the complete message, look at your Bible. Creation, to the destruction of the world, to recreation, the new heavens and the new earth. The end? Will God speak again? Yes. But we got everything we need. For the man of God to be fully equipped unto every good work in the word already given already confirmed by those who heard it. And by the signs of wonders that accompany it, and the question is, what will we do about it?

A warning.

A warning can be an invitation as well. Not to miss the blessing. Jesus gave just such a warning in this way in the book of Matthew and I like this to be our conclusion. Matthew chapter 22, verse one I read; And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said, The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son. And he sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding. And they were not willing to come. Again he sent out other servants saying tell those who are in invited, see, I have prepared my dinner. My oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready, come to the wedding. But they made light of it and went their ways. One to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest, seized his servants, treated them spitefully and killed them. Okay, I'm gonna comment just once. Those are the prophets. Verse seven. But when the king heard about it, he was furious, and he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, the wedding is ready. But those who were invited, listen, we're not worthy. Okay, I get two comments. They're not worthy because of faith, no faith, no sails up, no being pushed into the wedding feast. We're not worthy, therefore go into the highways and as many as you find invite to the wedding. So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment? And he was speechless. By the way, wedding garments are supplied in these weddings. You don't even have to get dressed in your own clothes. This kind of a wedding, they gave you the right gear. So you know what you're supposed to do when you come to the wedding. You put on the wedding clothes. It's like believing in Christ. You put on the clothes of Christ, to come to the way. You put on his righteousness. And you come to the wedding. But if you say hey, I'm just gonna come to church. I want to come to the feast. Hey, crashed the party. This is good, good food. God knows. And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, bind him hand and foot, take him away and cast him into outer darkness and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. That's Jesus and His warning. This is Hebrews and a warning. How thankful we can be that God warns us, and invites us in.

Don't drift away. Don't neglect the salvation and be surely judged. Don't miss the wedding feast. Come in by faith. And I'll feed you and you'll be safe. Thank you, God for your warnings.

Let's pray.

Lord, thank you for your warnings. For by them we are directed to the safe port of Your Son Jesus Christ and His salvation. Lord we confess there are too often times in our life when we're not listening to you. We're not giving earnest heed to Your Word in our daily life, or giving earnest heed to you in our prayer life, or in our work life, or in our play life. We pray, Lord, to be people that are paying attention to you, lest we drift away. Lord, we pray to be people of faith that listen to the Son, the King. He who is higher than angels, our Lord and gracious Savior Jesus Christ. And all God's people say amen.

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