So Great Salvation

Posted by on Jun 10, 2007

By Mike Withem, Pastor

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

June 10, 2007

Sunday Morning

“So Great Salvation”

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 2:1-4

Scripture Text: Hebrews 2:1-4

Introduction:

 

A.   Two weeks ago, when I began our study in Hebrews, I told you that even though the book of Hebrews is considered by many to be a very difficult book to understand, believers today still need to read and study this book.

1. I gave you two reasons why this is true.

2. First of all, it is true because the book of Hebrews exalts our Lord Jesus Christ.

3. As we have already seen in chapter one, one of the themes of this book is “the superiority of Christ.”

4. In other words, Jesus is “better”!

5. He is better than the prophets.

6. He is better than the angels.

7. He is better than Moses.

8. He is better than Aaron.

9. He’s just better! (Amen?)

10.   And so, first of all, we need to read and study the book of Hebrews because it exalts our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

B.   The second reason that we need to study this book is because it exhorts the believer.

1. I also told you two weeks ago that there are at least five “warning (exhortation) passages” in the book of Hebrews.

2. The first of these “warning passages” is found in our text, this morning, Heb. 2:1-4.

3. As we examine these verses carefully, there are three things that I want us to notice.

4. First of all, I want us to notice the…

 

I.       Greatness Of Our Salvation.

 

A.   Notice again the first part of Vrs. 3 of our text, it says, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation.”

1. While we will come back to this verse a little bit later, I want you to notice now the words, “so great salvation.”

2. According to the writer of Hebrews, our salvation is “great”! (Amen?)

 

B.   Why is our salvation great?

1. First of all, it is great because of how it was purchased.

2. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

3. Paul put it like this in Rom. 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

4. The apostle John put it like this in 1 John 4:9-10, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him….Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

5. How was our salvation purchased?

6. It was purchased by God sending His Son into the world so that He could give His life on Calvary’s cross as a payment for our sin.

7. And so, our salvation is great because of how it was purchased.

 

C.   It is also great because of how it was proclaimed.

1. Notice again Vrs. 3 of our text, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;”

2. Other than John the Baptist, who was sent to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus was the first person to proclaim the message of salvation in New Testament times.

3. The Bible says in Mark 1:14-15, “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,…And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

4. Not only was Jesus the first person to preach the gospel in New Testament times, but many were saved under His preaching.

5. Some of His more famous conversions were Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night, the Samaritan woman, who met Jesus at Jacob’s well, and Zacchaeus, who climbed up into a sycamore tree so that he could see Jesus.

6. And so, other than John the Baptist, Jesus was the first person to proclaim the message of salvation in New Testament times.

7. But notice that there were others who followed Him, who heard Jesus preach, and then proclaimed that same message after He had returned to heaven.

8. Of course, this is a reference to the apostles.

9. For example, not long after Jesus had ascended back to His Father in heaven, the apostles preached the gospel on the day of Pentecost, and 3,000 people were converted in one day.

10.   And so, our salvation is great because of how it was proclaimed.

 

D.   It is also great because of how it was proven.

1. In other words, because of how the message of salvation was authenticated.

2. Notice again Vrs. 4 of our text, “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost.”

3. Jesus predicted this just before He ascended back to His Father in heaven.

4. Listen to Mark 16:17-18, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;…They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

5. But someone asks, “Why don’t these “signs” follow believers today?

6. Because we have something that the apostles didn’t have, we have the completed Word of God.

7. This is why we read in 1 Cor. 13:9-10, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part….But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”

 

E.   And so, as we take a closer look at our text, this morning, the first thing that we notice is the greatness of our salvation.

 

F.    The second thing that we notice is the…

 

II.      Warning That Believers Are Given.

 

A.   Now before I say anything else, I want to make it clear that the warning given here in our text is given to believers, not unbelievers.

1. Most of the time, when you hear sermons on this text, they are evangelistic in nature.

2. I don’t how many times I have heard preachers, especially evangelists, read these verses and then say, “If you don’t get saved, there is no way that you can escape the fires of hell!”

3. Now don’t misunderstand what I am saying.

4. It is true that if a sinner does not get saved, there is no way that he can escape the fires of hell.

5. However, that is not what this passage is teaching.

6. This passage is clearly a warning to believers, not unbelievers.

 

B.   How can I be so sure?

1. Three reasons.

2. First of all, because the book itself was written to believers.

3. To be more specific, it was written to Jewish believers, who because of severe persecution, were considering abandoning Christianity and going back into Judaism.

4. A second reason is because of the writer’s use of the personal pronoun, “we.”

5. While we don’t know who actually wrote the book of Hebrews, we do know that he was saved (a believer).

6. Notice how many times he used the personal pronoun “we” in this passage.

7. Vrs. 1, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”

8. Vrs. 3, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation.”

9. A third reason is the use of the word “neglect.”

10.   The word itself implies that we already possess something that may be neglected.

11.   If this warning was intended for unbelievers, wouldn’t the writer have used the word “reject” rather than “neglect”?

12.   And so, this passage is clearly a warning to believers, not unbelievers.

 

C.   Now what exactly is it that we, as believers, are being warned about?

1. We are being warned about the danger of neglecting our salvation.

2. Now I know what you are asking yourself right now!

3. You’re asking yourself, “How can we neglect our salvation?”

4. Let me answer that question for you.

5. We can neglect our salvation by not fulfilling the purpose for which God saved us.

6. Listen to me for just a moment.

7. When God saved us, He didn’t save us just…

-to keep us out of hell,

-to give us the gift of eternal life,

-so we could go to heaven when we die.

8. That’s part of it, of course, however, God’s purpose in saving us goes far beyond that.

 

D.   Turn with me to Eph. 2:8-10, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:…Not of works, lest any man should boast….For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

1. Paul put it like this in Tit. 3:8, “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”

2. Why did God save us, other than to keep us out of hell?

3. God saved us so that we could do good works, so that we could devote our lives to serving Him.

4. That being true, we can neglect our salvation by failing to fulfill this great purpose.

5. (Illus.- Let me illustrate. Suppose your father was a farmer. And suppose that when he died, you inherited the family farm. Now that farm is yours, but like any farm, it has to be worked if it is going to continue to produce. If you neglect the farm, it will still be yours, however, it will not be productive.)

6. Many believers do this with their salvation.

7. They are saved, they are possessors of this great salvation that the writer of Hebrews talks about, however they fail to fulfill the purpose for which God saved them (they neglect the farm).

8. This is the very thing that the writer of Hebrews is warning believers about.

 

E.   Paul gives us the very same warning in Phil. 2:12. Turn there with me and lets read what it says, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

1. Now please don’t misunderstand what Paul is saying here.

2. He is not saying that we must work for our salvation.

3. Salvation is by grace.

4. Salvation is a free gift.

5. Salvation, having been purchased by the blood of Christ, is received by faith in Christ.

6. And so, Paul is not saying that we must work for our salvation.

7. What he is saying, however, is that those of us who have received the free gift of salvation, must be very careful to fulfill the purpose for which God saved us!

8. Notice the words “with fear and trembling.”

9. This is a warning that every believer should take seriously.

 

F.    And so, the second thing that we see in our text is the warning that believers are given.

1. First of all, we see the greatness of our salvation.

2. Secondly, we see the warning that believers are given.

3. Notice, finally, the…

 

III.    The Cost Of Not Heeding The Warning.

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 2-3 of our text, “For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;…How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;”

1. In other words, “If in the past, God has always exercised justice by punishing disobedience, what makes us think that we can disobey God by neglecting our salvation without paying a price?”

2. The answer, of course, is that we cannot escape paying a price! We too will pay a price for our disobedience.

 

B.   Now this raises the question, “What price will we pay?”

1. Well, let me say, first of all, that we will not lose our salvation!

2. Because salvation is a free gift from God, given to us entirely on the basis of His grace, there is absolutely no way that we can lose it!

3. I love the words of Jesus found in John 10:27-28, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:…And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish.”

4. But someone asks, “If we can’t lose our salvation, what consequences are there for neglecting our salvation?”

5. The first consequence is the chastening hand of God.

6. Let’s jump ahead to Heb. 12:5-6, “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:…For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”

7. (Illus.- The objection that I hear most often from those have a problem with the doctrine of eternal security is that those of us who do believe in eternal security believe that you can be saved, then live like the devil, without any consequences whatsoever. Of course, we don’t believe that. We do believe it’s impossible for a truly saved person to lose his salvation, however, we don’t believe that we can live like the devil without any consequences. There are consequences when a child of God sins, and one of those consequences is the chastening hand of God.)

8. Just like you spanked your children when they were young, God will “spank” us when we need it.

9. And let me tell you something, when God “spanks” you, you know that you’ve been spanked. (Amen?)

 

C.   Another consequence of neglecting our salvation will be realized at the judgement seat of Christ.

1. Turn with me to 1 Cor. 3:13-15. “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is….If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward….If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

2. Notice again the first part of Vrs. 15, “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss.”

3. (Illus.- Every now and then I will hear someone say, “I’m a Christian, therefore I don’t have to worry about being judged.)

4. Now, there is some truth to that statement.

5. As a believer in Christ, we don’t have to worry about being judged for our sins, because our sins were judged at Calvary (through the blood of Christ).

6. However, we do have to be concerned about being judged for our service.

7. While it’s true that we won’t stand before the Great White Throne Judgment, we will stand at the Judgement Seat of Christ.

8. According to the passage that we just read, some believers are going to come away from that judgement with absolutely no rewards.

9. Why? Because they neglected their salvation.

 

D.   And so, there is a price to pay for neglecting our salvation.

1. First of all, there is the chastening hand of God.

2. Secondly, there is the loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

3. It’s no wonder that the writer of Hebrews warns us in Vrs. 1 of our text, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”

Conclusion:

 

A.   What have we seen this morning in this great text?

1. First of all, we saw the greatness of our salvation.

2. Secondly, we saw the warning believers are given.

3. Finally, we saw the cost of not heeding that warning.

 

B.   May I ask you a question?

1. Are you heeding this warning?

2. Or are you guilty of neglecting your salvation?

3. Remember, God didn’t save you just to keep you out of hell.

4. He saved you so that you could serve Him

5. And if you don’t serve Him, you are going to pay the price!

6. There is no way that you are going to escape.

 

C.   As believers, we don’t fear God the way that we should!