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                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

               The Basis For Spiritual Security (6:9-20)

INTRODUCTION

1. We have seen the author of "The Epistle To The Hebrews" express his
   concern for the initial recipients of this epistle...
   a. He makes mention of their spiritual immaturity - He 5:11-14
   b. He warns them of the peril of not progressing - He 6:1-8

2. While he writes in this way, he has great confidence for their 
   ultimate salvation...
   a. Though others had indeed fallen to the point where it was 
      "impossible...to renew them again to repentance..." - He 6:4-6
   b. Yet he could say of them, "we are confident of better things
      concerning you, yes, things which accompany salvation..." - He
      6:9

3. What was it that gave the author confidence regarding his readers' 
   salvation?
   a. I.e., what was the basis for their spiritual security, when the 
      danger of apostasy had just been described in vivid detail?
   b. What can we glean from this passage that may help us understand
      the basis for our own spiritual security?

[There are three things mentioned in this section of scripture (He 6:
9-20), that gave the author his confidence.  The first of which is the
fact...]

I. GOD DOES NOT FORGET OUR WORK AND LABOR OF LOVE (9-10)

   A. GOD IS A JUST GOD, ONE WHO DOES NOT FORGET...
      1. He is very much aware of our service in the PAST ("in that you
         have ministered")
         a. Service that has been shown toward Him ("toward His name")
         b. Service that has been shown toward His servants ("to the 
            saints")
      2. He is very much aware of our service in the PRESENT ("and do 
         minister")

   B. KNOWING THIS CAN BE A SOURCE OF GREAT COMFORT...
      1. In contrast to every sin which is "blotted out" and 
         "remembered no more" (cf. He 8:12), service rendered in love
         to God is not forgotten!
      2. We need not fear that God will not see or remember our efforts
         to be pleasing to Him
         a. God seeks to show Himself strong to those who are loyal to
            Him - cf. 2 Chr 16:9
         b. If He took note of Cornelius' desire to please Him in his 
            unsaved state, how much more will He take note of His 
            children's effort to serve Him! - cf. Ac 10:1-6
      -- Thus when we stumble, but repent of our sins, our labor of 
         love is remembered and our sins forgotten!

[Knowing that God sees and does not forget our service of love, both 
past and present, should help us feel spiritually secure. But note that
what He does not forget is our "work and labor of love", which implies
the need for...]

II. DILIGENCE, FAITH, AND PATIENCE ON OUR PART (11-12)

   A. NOTE THE AUTHOR'S DESIRE...
      1. That his readers' show the same diligence (earnestness) they
         had shown in the past
         a. Diligent regarding their assurance of hope
         b. Diligent until the end - cf. He 3:6,14
      2. That they do not become sluggish
         a. The word "sluggish" is from a Greek word meaning "dull"
         b. The same word as used in "dull of hearing" - cf. He 5:11
         -- They were already dull of hearing; his desire is they not
            become dull in conduct!
      3. That they have faith and patience
         a. Imitating "those who through faith and patience inherit the
            promises"
         b. Such as Abraham, who is given as an example later - He 6:15

   B. THESE QUALITIES ARE NECESSARY FOR SPIRITUAL SECURITY...
      1. Peter describes the need for diligence to "make your calling
         and election sure" - 2 Pe 1:5,10-11
      2. Jesus called upon His disciples to remain faithful if they 
         wished to "receive the crown of life" - Re 2:10
      3. Paul wrote that eternal life is for those "who by patient 
         continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor and 
         immortality" - Ro 2:7; cf. also He 10:36

[Only by developing such virtues as diligence, faith, and patience can
we rightfully have an assurance that we will one day "inherit the
promises". Without them, we become sluggish, and as such expose 
ourselves to the danger of apostasy.

To encourage us further, we note that another reason we can have
spiritual security is because...]

III. GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES (13-20)

   A. THE EXAMPLE OF GOD'S PROMISE TO ABRAHAM...
      1. God made a promise to Abraham - He 6:13-15
         a. In which He swore by Himself (because He could not swear by
            anyone higher)
         b. A promise which Abraham obtained after patient endurance 
            - cf. v.15 with v.12
      2. God confirmed His promise with an oath - He 6:16-18a
         a. For men, an oath confirms what they say, ending all dispute
         b. To assure us of the unchangeableness of His promise, God 
            also swore an oath
         c. This provided a double assurance that He would keep His 
            promise:
            1) One, because it impossible for God to lie anyway - cf. 
               Ti 1:2
            2) Two, because of the oath by which He confirmed it
      -- How does this relate to our spiritual security?  Read on...

   B. GOD'S FAITHFULNESS IS OUR ASSURANCE!
      1. It gives us "strong consolation" - He 6:18b-19b
         a. We who are seeking refuge
         b. We who need "an anchor of the soul, both sure and 
            steadfast"
      2. This is especially true regarding our "hope", which is Jesus!
         - He 6:19b-20
         a. I understand Jesus to be the "hope" in this passage...
            1) For He is "our hope", to whom we can flee as a refuge 
               - cf. 1 Ti 1:1
            2) As such, He is our "anchor of the soul, both sure and
               steadfast"
         b. As a forerunner, He has entered "the Presence behind the
            veil" (i.e., heaven)
         c. He has become "High Priest forever according to the order
            of Melchizedek"
            1) Even as God swore He would do - cf. Psa 110:4
            2) God not only promised, but He swore an oath, just like 
               He did for Abraham
         -- So He has kept His promise, providing us a superior High 
            Priest!
      3. Upon such an example of God's faithfulness, we can have an 
         assurance of our salvation as long as we continue to lay hold
         of the "hope" (Jesus) set before us

CONCLUSION

1. With a finely crafted argument, the author has returned his readers
   back to his original subject, which is Jesus as "a priest forever 
   according to the order of Melchizedek"
   a. Our spiritual security is first based upon the character of 
      God...
      1) Who is not unjust to forget our work and labor of love
      2) Who keeps His promises
   b. God has promised and swore with an oath concerning the priesthood
      of the Messiah
   c. This priesthood Jesus now has in heaven, and as such is the basis
      of our "hope"
   -- For which reason we should seek to learn what we can about the 
      priesthood of Jesus

2. Yet as wonderful are the character and promises of God, we are not 
   to take them for granted...
   a. We must be careful not to become sluggish
   b. We must be careful to be diligent, imitating the faith and
      patience of those like Abraham who obtained God's promise for
      them
   -- Together with God's character and promises, this is "The Basis
      For Spiritual Security"

Have you fled to Jesus for refuge?  Is He your "hope", your "anchor of
the soul, both sure and steadfast"?  Is He your "High Priest"?  If so,
then let these words sink deep into your heart:

   "And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to 
   the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become
   sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit
   the promises." (He 6:11-12)

If you have not yet fled to Jesus for refuge, then please consider His
tender invitation:

   "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will 
   give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am
   gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
   For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Mt 11:28-30)
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