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Are You Slipping?

Updated: Nov 3

A Study of Spiritual Lethargy by Pastor James C. Johnson


"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. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; 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; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?" - (Hebrews 2:1-4)


Introduction:


This amazing passage of Scripture cautions us against spiritual apathy, lethargy, and the gradual process of becoming disinterested or calloused toward the things of God. The text instructs us to value and obey the voice of the Lord as He speaks through the Old and New Testaments.


From this passage, we will see the Lord’s caution, revelation, salvation, confirmation, and validation; each of which will help us understand the dangers of slipping spiritually.

1. The Caution


“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.” (Hebrews 2:1)


Envision a foot resting on a slippery surface and see that foot sliding slowly, gradually, and soon the person falls. One commentator mentions that this text possibly has “nautical connotations.” The idea of slipping could picture a boat slowing drifting. If the boat is not tied to the dock, it is at the mercy of the waves. One of the waves that was causing people to slip during the time of these Hebrews was angel worship. Instead of worshipping Jesus people were worshipping angels.


The word “Therefore” in Hebrews 2:1 primarily serves two purposes. First, it ties us to the previous content. Hebrews 1:4-14 explains Christ’s superiority over angels.


Angels are amazing messengers of God and as you think about angelic involvement throughout the Bible, maybe you can sympathize with these people’s interest in angels.


Second, the word “Therefore” calls us “to give more earnest heed” to the person of Christ. Let's do both of the things that "Therefore" calls us to do, and let's do them now...


~ Hebrews 1:4 tells us that Jesus has a more excellent name than the angels.


~ Hebrews 1:5 explains that Jesus is God‘s Son and no angel is the son of God.


~ Hebrews 1:6 tells us that angels worship Jesus and rightly so. It’s not the other way around. Jesus doesn’t worship angels.


~ Hebrews 1:7-8 explains that angels do God’s bidding. They are His ministers, specifically His lowly messengers, but Jesus is God and He sits on a throne that is forever with His scepter of righteousness!


~ Hebrews 1:9-13 give us Jesus’ heavenly credentials, if you will. Many of his divine attributes are mentioned.


This passage is a marvelous Christology culminating with Jesus sitting on the right hand of God where His enemies have become His footstool.

The writer of Hebrews cautions us to “give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard.” This brings us back to Hebrews 1:1-2. The “things which we have heard” is a reference to when God spoke.


The writer of Hebrews wants us to embrace God‘s voice, and avoid being carried away with the winds of supernatural fascination through angels, or anything else that we might prioritize over Jesus.

The writer of Hebrews is crying out, "I caution you! Do not slip into prioritizing anything over Jesus. He is the author and finisher of our faith! Keep looking unto Him!"


2. The Revelation


“For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward;” (Hebrews 2:2)


See Deuteronomy 33:2, and Galatians 3:19 to read about angelic involvement in God’s revelation.


On Mount Sinai, the holy law of God was given. Myriads of angels accompanied God. Receiving God‘s revelation can change your life. Moses’ entire life was shaped by his encounter with God at the burning bush.


Indeed, receiving God‘s revelation can change your life, but so can disobeying God‘s revelation. As the verse explains, “every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward.” The Old Testament is full of historic accounts of God executing judgment on those who willfully disobeyed His revelation. How we steward the Word of God can bring both wonderful benefits or terrible consequences.

3. The Salvation


“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;” (Hebrews 2:3a)


The answer to the opening question of verse 3 is, “you can’t.“ You will not escape if you neglect so great salvation. In spite of the pluralistic world in which we live, the Bible explains the exclusivity of Christ. Jesus Himself declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)


The only way to get to the Father is through the Son. The only way to heaven is through Jesus.


The apostle Peter explained, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)


To “neglect so great salvation,” is to leave oneself with no way