Don’t Drift

Hebrews 2:1-4

Drift is an interesting phenomenon – defined as: a general tendency to change; the gradual departure from an intended course due to external influences; a gradual change in position. Effect or results of drift cover a range – embarrassing, inconvenient, deadly. Maybe you’ve personally witnessed individual standing – one foot on dock, one foot on boat, you know where this is going! And the individual! Or how about three fellows fishing, slowly drifting downriver not realizing peril until too late, went over dam to their death.

How does drift happen? One more example:

“During World War II at the age of twenty-one, Barney Colson was a skipper of an amphibious ship in the South Pacific. His and three other ships had unloaded their cargo on an island near the end of the day. They backed away from the shore and dropped anchor as the sun was setting. An anchor watch was assigned to make sure the ships did not drift. Everyone else went to sleep. When morning light came, all four ships were within sight of one another with about a quarter of a mile of spacing for safety. When Colson questioned the sailor on anchor watch, the sailor pointed to each of the ships nearby. But then Colson asked him: “Where is the island?”

During the night with the limited light available on the dark ocean, the watch had been able to discern the nearby ships. He did not think they were drifting, because the other boats were nearby all night long. What he did not realize was that all four ships had dragged their anchors and were drifting together. They drifted over twenty miles, so that the island was completely out of sight over the horizon the next morning. By comparing themselves with one another instead of a fixed point such as the island, they were able to drift all night long while thinking they were securely anchored.”

Our text begins with “Therefore” – iow, “because of what I just said, do this so you won’t do that“. A strong warning, strongly worded consequences for failing to heed it – DON’T DRIFT AWAY!

A. nature of drifting (1c)

gradual –

happens slowly, over time – definitions: gradual departure, gradual change; at times, can be so gradual as to be imperceptible, nearly impossible to detect as it’s happening

usually is not confined to specific blocks of time – a continuous process of many continuous incremental changes

is how old-timers accomplished so much – were content to achieve large goals in small steps over long periods of time

relative –

things that are close together sometimes stay together, drift together relative to other things – remember WWII boats – were pretty stationary relative to each other, drifted long distance over many hours relative to land

can be true of people, too, especially kind of circumstances apostle is addressing: a body of believers in local church (or several churches in a small area)

are in danger of losing their bearings, their position collectively, as a body, together drifting away from the truth

B. subtlety of drifting (1a, 3a)

drifting requires nothing

only one Being in universe who doesn’t change – God; so…unless your name is God, you will experience change…even if you do nothing; will be slow and gradual, still change

can actively drift – can be busily doing all manner of things yet drifting in relation to particular goal or purpose

more common drift is passive – not paying attention, not caring, not acting to prevent drift; comes with no announcement or warning of its own, usually figure it out only after the fact

inattention or wrong attention

told right from beginning: we must do this so we don’t do that

“must give the more earnest heed” “must pay much closer attention” “must pay even more attention”

so…drift can come when we are inattentive, when we fail to pay attention or when we pay attention to wrong thing and are inattentive to the right

remember the sailor on anchor watch: paying attention to other ships, not paying attention to the island

indifference – “meh”

even have a word for it now – verbal equivalent of shrugging your shoulders, what you say when you have no preference

probably toughest one to deal with in HS classroom – student highly capable but not motivated, didn’t care about the grade, just floating along aimlessly, unconcerned about short or long term consequences


“willful lack of care and attention” – more than not giving due attention, involves giving attention to other things in its place

really centers on setting priorities – Snuffy Smith, leaky roof: can’t fix it in the rain, don’t need to fix when not raining

C. danger of drifting (2-3a)

serious issue – truly matter of life and death (of the eternal kind)

apostle talking about drifting from the truth: “the things we have heard” v.1; “so great a salvation” v.3

it’s the Gospel message in its entirety: not simply salvation from hell but salvation from sin – Lord Jesus came to “save his people from their sins”, that has far-reaching implications for this life

it’s about what we believe and how we live; about how we think/look and who we follow; also has huge impact on how we communicate the Gospel to others: what does it really mean to be saved from sin

whoever doesn’t get that right is in serious danger – in the boat, fishing away, nearing the point of no return

chastening or condemnation

“Escape what? Ah, note how abstractly the apostle worded it. He did not specify the “what.” It all depends upon the state of the individual. If he be only a lifeless professor and continues neglecting the Gospel, Hell will be his certain portion. But if he be a regenerated believer, though a careless and worldly one, then lack of assurance and joy, profitless and fruitlessness, will be his portion; and then, how shall he “escape” the chastening rod of the holy Father? Thus, the question asked in our verse addresses itself to all who read the Epistle.” A W Pink

D. unreasonableness of drifting (1a, 3-4)

Therefore… given the nature of the Messenger… ; introduced clearly by apostle in chapter 1, further teaching about who Jesus is, why he is the Best still coming up in Hebrews

key points of introduction: Heb. 1:2-3 1) God’s son; 2) heir of all things; 3) creator of the universe; 4) radiance of God’s glory; 5) representation of God’s essence; 6) sustainer of the universe; 7) perfect sacrifice; 8) ruling King

since He is the messenger, why would you even think about ignoring Him, of neglecting the gift he purchased at such great cost and gives freely

the content of the message – so great a salvation

who had to do it: the God-Man; who could pull that off!? what did he do: saved from sin, Satan and death

released from bondage in sin; no longer subject to Satan’s accusations, granted power to resist his temptations; death transformed from curse to blessing – is gate to next life of blessing in God’s presence

and the confirmation

eyewitnesses – 1 Cor. 15:5-8and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”

signs and wonders and miracles – signs: miraculous things Jesus and others did point beyond actual miracle to spiritual realities (John 11.42); wonders: purposely to put those who observe in awe and amazement of God; various miracles: God’s power not limited in scope, covers the full spectrum

gifts of the Holy Spirit – various gifts given by Holy Spirit to specific individuals in early church for sole purpose of confirming the Gospel

gifts – miracles, healings, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, word of knowledge, and prophecy – spoken of in past tense, dying out even before end of NT period, had served God’s purpose

with message like that of the Gospel; delivered by a Superior Messenger, the Lord Jesus; confirmed by God himself, is absolutely unreasonable, even foolish to drift away from it!

E. antidote to drifting (1b)

“pay even more attention”

“To “hear” is not sufficient, there must be prayerful meditation, personal appropriation.” Pink

hear what? – God’s word as it is read, taught, preached; and not just Matthew/Mark/Luke/John, entire Word Genesis to Revelation, the Gospel is throughout, it all speaks of the Lord Jesus

“The duty here intended is a serious, firm, and fixed settling of the mind upon that which we hear; a bowing and bending of the will to yield unto it; an applying of the heart to it, a placing of the affections upon it, and bringing the whole man into conformity thereunto. Thus it comprises knowledge of the Word, faith therein, obedience thereto, and all other due respects that may any way concern it” (Dr. Gouge).

could safely say…what is required to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:37)

True without question: Gospel accompanied by work of Holy Spirit gives life to all who hear and respond in faith. But God doesn’t intend it to all be pie in the sky by and by, limited to eternal life in heaven someday when you get old and die. God intends the Gospel in its fullness to be life-changing from moment of conversion onward. 2 Cor. 5:17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

To experience all the transformation God expects of us in this life requires we stay on course – don’t drift! Means we must actually take up our cross, get our boots in gear and follow Lord Jesus. Pay attention to where he is going, where he is leading us (he uses his word, his Spirit, his messengers to guide us) and purposely follow our Master, our Lord, our King.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s