Yesterday I didn’t attend the service in Shreveport with my church. My parents invited me to worship with them in Natchitoches. A solid brother had come in to preach from Jackson, MS and they wanted me to hear his sermon. He was preaching out of Hebrews chapter 1 as well as the first few verses from chapter 2. I was impressed, challenged and encouraged by what he had to say. He exalted the Supremacy of Christ and explained why this was the opening thought in this book to the Hebrews, because there was debate among them over the deity of Christ.
As he entered the second chapter he reached verse three, “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” This is such a rich verse. And such a profound question. It tells us not only that the salvation offered through the blood of Jesus Christ is great, but also that there will be no escape for those neglecting this great salvation. He began to expand on the idea of neglecting salvation. He said, “All that you need to do to go to hell is live a moral life, hang around Christian friends, go to a Bible-believing church, profess to be a Christian – and deep down in your heart-of-hearts not really and truly believe the gospel.” I could not agree more.
We are told in Hebrews 3:12-15, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” This is a radical call to examine ourselves and encourage our brothers. And so I challenge you: examine yourself. Put everything in your life on “pause” for a minute. Be still and look into your own heart. Do you have true peace with God? Are you absolutely certain of your eternal destiny? Further, Matthew 7:16 tells us that, “you will recognize them by their fruits”. Do you have the fruit of a true Christian in your life? Do you love the word of God? Do you love fellowship with Christian brothers and sisters? Do you love to discuss the things of God? When you are in a conversation with your friends, do you lead the conversation towards the things of God – or do you tend to shy away?
1 John 2:4 says, “Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” Do you keep his commandments? Do you love his commandments? Here’s the real kicker: Do you love the things of God or do you love the world? John is radical. John is hardcore. He writes in 1 John 2:15-16, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.”Some people claim that they love both God and the world. That is impossible. Jesus made it very clear that “no man can serve two masters”. Christianity is an all or nothing proposition: either you love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength – or you don’t. There is no middle ground.
All of these verses are a challenge to me every day to examine myself and to encourage my brothers and sisters. I pray that God will speak to you through them as well. The stakes are high. The eternal destiny of the never-dying soul of a man is not something to be taken lightly. I hope that God will use you in the lives of others to encourage, challenge and inspire them.