Things That Accompany Salvation

Posted by on Sep 2, 2007

By Pastor Mike Withem

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

September 2, 2007

Sunday Morning

“Things That Accompany Salvation”

Scripture Text: Hebrews 6:9-20

Introduction:

 

A.   Last Sunday we focused our attention on the perils of spiritual immaturity.

1. First of all, we considered the characteristics of spiritual immaturity.

2. Secondly, we considered the call to perfection (or the call to maturity).

3. Finally, we considered the consequences of not heeding the call.

4. Let me remind you again that the consequences of not heeding the call (not growing spiritually) are very serious, in that we forfeit something that can never be regained.

5. Notice again Heb. 6:4-6, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,…And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,…If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”

6. What do we forfeit that can never be regained?

7. We forfeit future rewards, when we stand at the judgment seat of Christ.

 

B.   Now I want us to review, for just a moment, the characteristics of spiritual immaturity.

1. Do you remember the three characteristics that were evident in the lives of these Hebrew believers?

2. First of all, they were slow of hearing. (In other words, they were lazy listeners, when it came to hearing the truth of God’s Word.)

3. Secondly, they were severely lacking in Bible knowledge. (While they should have been teachers themselves, they still needed someone to teach them.)

4. Finally, they couldn’t handle the meat of God’s Word. (In other words, they were still needed bottle feeding.)

5. By the way, the Lord’s churches today are full of believers who are just like these Hebrews, they…

-are slow of hearing,

-are severely lacking in Bible knowledge,

-can’t handle the meat of God’s Word.

 

C.   Now this raises a question.

1. If these are the characteristics of spiritual immaturity, what are the characteristics of spiritual maturity?

2. In other words, how can we tell if a believer in Christ is growing spiritually? Are there any outward signs?

3. The answer is, “Yes!”

4. Notice again Vrs. 9 of our text, “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation.”

 

D.   May I say, first of all, that if a believer is growing spiritually, it will be evident in his…

 

I.       Commitment To Ministry.

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 10 of our text, “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”

1. Now this verse tells us something about these Jewish believers to whom Hebrews was written.

2. It tells us that they had experienced, at least some, spiritual growth.

3. How do we know that?

4. We know that because they were involved in ministry.

5. Now we don’t know the exact nature of their ministry, other than the fact that they were ministering to other believers (“saints”), but we do know that they were involved in ministry.

6. Perhaps they were feeding the hungry.

7. Perhaps they were taking care of the sick.

8. Perhaps they were simply offering encouragement.

9. Perhaps they were doing something else, but they were involved in ministry.

 

B.   Not only were they involved in ministry, but at least some of them were “diligent” in their ministry.

1. Notice again Vrs. 11 of our text, “And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:”

2. The Greek word translated “diligence” here literally means “speed” or “eagerness.”

3. And so, not only were these Hebrew believers involved in ministry, they fulfilled their ministry with speed and eagerness.

 

C.   Now, there is a lesson to be learned here.

1. One of the outward signs that a believer is growing spiritually is that they are moving from being on the receiving end of ministry to being on the giving end of ministry.

2. You see, all ministry has two ends, someone gives and someone receives.

3. (Illus.- For example, ministry is taking place in this room even as I speak. Now, because I am doing the preaching, I am on the giving end. You however, because you are listening, are on the receiving end. This will change in a few weeks. In a few weeks we will be in the midst of our Faith Promise Missions Conference and someone will be doing the preaching instead of me. When that time comes, I will be on the receiving end. By the way, I enjoy being on the receiving end of ministry!)

 

D.   The problem, however, is this.

1. Many believers live their entire Christian lives on the receiving end of ministry, and never move to the giving end. In other words, they take and take and take and take, and never give anything back. Not only is this extremely selfish, it is a sure fire sign that they have not grown spiritually.)

2. Mature believers don’t just take, but they also give.

3. Mature believers spend as much time on the giving end of ministry as they do the receiving end.

4. Mature believers are not only involved in ministry, but they are diligent in ministry.

5. (Illus.- Oftentimes Christians will make excuses for not being involved in ministry. One excuse is, “I’m too busy.” Another excuse is, “I haven’t discovered what my spiritual gift is.” Still another excuse is, “I lack the confidence.” While there may be some truth in all of these excuses, I’m convinced that the REAL reason believers are not involved in ministry is because they lack the spiritual maturity. They haven’t grown spiritually.)

 

E.   And so, if a believer is growing spiritually, it will be evident in his commitment to ministry.

 

F.    It will also be evident in his…

 

II.      Confidence In God’s Promises.

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 12 of our text, “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

1. Did you notice the reference there to a believer’s “faith”?

2. One of the evidences that a believer is growing spiritually is that his faith will be growing.

3. Do you remember the request that our Lord’s disciples made of Him in Luke 17:5?

4. They said, “…Lord, Increase our faith.”

5. Now every believer has some degree of faith, however, the more a believer grows spiritually, the stronger (greater) his faith becomes.

6. We see this in 2 Thes. 1:3, where Paul thanked God for the Thessalonian believers.

7. Listen to what he said to them, “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly.”

 

B.   Not only did the writer of Hebrews admonish his readers to grow their faith, but he also gave them a wonderful example of a man of faith.

1. Notice again Vrs. 13-14 of our text, “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,…Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.”

2. Do you remember the promise that God made to Abraham?

3. The promise was first made in Gen. 12:2, where God said to Abraham, “…I will make of thee a great nation.”

4. The promise was reaffirmed in Gen. 13:16, where God promised to make his “…seed as the dust of the earth.”

5. The promise was reaffirmed again in Gen. 15:5, where God promised to make his “seed” as “the stars” of heaven.

6. There was one problem, however.

7. When God made this promise to Abraham, he and Sarah had no children.

 

C.   Did Abraham believe God’s promise?

1. He most certainly did!

2. In fact, it was his initial faith in God’s promise that made him righteous in God’s sight.

3. At least three times in the New Testament (Rom. 4:3, Gal. 3:6, Jam. 2:23) we are told that “Abraham believed God,” and that his faith was accounted (imputed) unto him “for righteousness.”

4. And so, yes, Abraham did believe God’s promise to him, even later in life when both he and Sarah were old and still childless.

 

D.   Now this raises a question.

1. How could Abraham be so sure that God would keep His promise to Him?

2. The answer is found in Vrs. 16-18 of our text, “For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife….Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:…that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:”

3. According to these verses, there are at least two reasons why we can be sure that God will keep His promises to us.

4. First of all, we can be sure because God never changes.

5. Did you notice the reference to the “immutability of” God’s “counsel” in Vrs. 17?

6. Do you know what the word “immutable” means?

7. It means “not capable of or susceptible to change.”

8. And so, when the writer makes reference to the “immutability of” God’s “purpose,” he is reminding us that when God purposes to do something, there is no way that His purpose can be changed.

9. This should remind us of what God said in Mal. 3:6, He said, “I am the LORD, I change not.”

10.   James said it like this in Jam. 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

 

D.   The second reason we can be sure that God will keep His promises to us is because God cannot lie.

1. Notice again the first part of Vrs. 18 of our text, “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation.”

2. (Illus.- You know, when people make promises to us, we need to be aware of the fact that these promises may not be kept. Why not? Because people are sinners, and sinners are susceptible to lying.)

3. God, on the other hand, is not susceptible to lying.

4. In fact, because of God’s character (which is holy), it is impossible for Him to lie.

5. The Bible puts it like this in Num. 23:19, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”

6. And so, that’s why we can be sure that God will keep His promises to us.

7. First of all, because He never changes.

8. Secondly, because He cannot lie!

 

E.   Now, let me get back to what I saying a moment ago, one of the outward evidences that a believer is growing spiritually is that his faith (confidence in God’s promises) will be growing as well.

1. Let me ask you a question, “Is your faith stronger today than it was when you first came to Christ? If so, how much stronger is it?”

2. The reason I ask is because this is a pretty good indicator of how much you have grown spiritually.

 

F.    And so, if a believer is growing spiritually, it will be evident in his commitment to ministry as well as his confidence in God’s promises. Notice, finally, that it will also be evident in his…

 

III.    Composure In The Face Of Trials.

 

A.   Not only is Abraham a tremendous example of a man of “faith,” he is also an example when it comes to “patience.”

1. Notice again Vrs. 15 of our text, “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.”

2. It’s talking about Abraham.

3. It says that Abraham “patiently endured.”

4. Now what does that mean?

5. It simply means that even though many years went by between the time that God made the promise to Abraham and the time He actually gave Abraham a son (Isaac), and even though during that time Abraham faced many trials and hardships, he never…

-panicked,

-lost his composure,

-seriously wavered in his faith!

 

B.   Turn with me to Rom. 4:17-20, “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were….Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be….And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:…He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.”

1. This, of course, does not mean that Abraham’s faith was without any flaws whatsoever.

2. We all remember the time that Abraham gave in to the pressure of his wife, Sarah, and fathered a child by the Egyptian slave girl named Hagar.

3. However, when you look at Abraham’s life as a whole, he truly kept his spiritual composure in the face of many trials.

 

C.   Now this raises a question.

1. How was Abraham able to do that?

2. How was he able to keep his composure (hold on to his faith) all those years?

3. The answer is in our text.

4. Look again at Vrs.19-20 of our text, “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;…Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”

5. Abraham was able to maintain his spiritual composure, even in the midst of great trials, because he had an anchor, an anchor that was fastened to a rock.

6. That rock, of course, was our Lord Jesus Christ!!!

 

D.   Some of you here this morning would fall to pieces if you were to be faced with any kind of trial whatsover.

1. Perhaps it is because you have never been saved.

2. Or perhaps it is because, even though you have been saved, you haven’t grown much spiritually.

3. Don’t forget that one of the outward signs of spiritual growth is “patience” (the ability to endure).

Conclusion:

 

A.   How can we tell if we, as a believer in Christ, are growing spiritually?

1. First of all, it will be evident in our commitment to ministry (the more we grow spiritually, the more involved we will be in ministering to the needs of others).

2. Secondly, it will be evident in our confidence in God’s promises (the more we grow spiritually, the stronger our faith will be).

3. Finally, it will be evident in our composure in the face of trials (the more we grow spiritually, the less shaken we will be by the trials and hardships of this life).

 

B.   How about you, friend?

1. How’s your commitment to ministry?

2. How’s your confidence in God’s promises?

3. How’s your composure in the face of trials?

4. Are you growing spiritually?

 

C.   Perhaps you are not saved.