Beware, Brethren

Hebrews 3:7-19

In early 1900s, before invention of efficiency experts, somebody came up with the bright idea of hanging up signs in workplace, “Do It Now!” The president of a large business thought would be cure against procrastination, hung some up for his employees. Not prepared for the results! Few days later, the treasurer of the company had skipped out with $50,000. The head bookkeeper had eloped with the boss’s secretary. Three salesmen had asked for raises and the boy in the mail room had gone out west to become a movie producer.

Wonderful idea, even a biblical one, but with quallification: must be sure it is the right thing! People seem more obsessed than ever with filling every available moment with activity – going here, doing that, planning the next thing, constantly in motion, giving impression that 48 hours in each day not enough to get it all done. If that describes you – STOP, ask the question: does Jesus give all this activity the same importance I do? Even if you aren’t the driven type, you need to ask the question: do my priorities agree with Jesus’ priorities?

Beware, brothers and sisters, it is incredibly easy to become consumed with doing the Christian life and not being a Christ-follower. Beware, brothers and sisters, that can lead to unbelief and hardness of heart. Failing to do Today what Jesus expects will have serious consequences for you and your brothers and sisters: doubt, lack of confidence in God’s Word and ways, sinful attitudes toward God and his people.

A. hear Jesus’ voice Today (7)

many voices competing, can’t turn them all off; shouldn’t turn some of them off, if they are ones he is using

overwhelming majority of those voices encourage trust in wrong things: self (I’m tough, strong); false gods of all kinds

same voices offer false hope: live for the moment, it’s all you have; good karma will win; my God grades on a curve

if consequences for not listening to Moses (servant) were serious, imagine not listening to Jesus (Son)

Luke 20:9-19 man planted vineyard, leased it out, sent servants to collect rent, beat and turned away empty-handed; finally sent Son, threw him out and killed – “He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”

listening to Jesus’ voice keeps us tender – toward God, toward brothers and sisters, toward the lost, toward our own sin

how do we hear his voice? in his word, by his Spirit, through his servant, by way of mind to heart

Heb. 4:12 “The word of God is living and active” – Jesus continues to speak to his people from pages of his Word; Bible unlike any other written material: we see Jesus in it, hear Jesus in it, from Genesis to Revelation

John 16:13-15turn and read

Eph. 4:11-12 with Rev. 1:20read Ephesians, “The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.”

hearing must go beyond our ears, even beyond minds – must impact our lives, changing who we are, what we believe, how we behave

what God requires of us: Deut. 10:12-13“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?”

“It is to the heart God’s Word is addressed, that moral center of our beings out of which are the issues of life (Pro 4:23). There may be conviction of the conscience, the assent of the intellect, the admiration of understanding, but unless the heart is moved there is no response.” Pink

given who we are by nature, if we are to do what God requires, must hear and be instructed by Jesus’ voice, then respond accordingly

Isa. 42:2He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.” – means we need to turn down volume on other voices, listen intently for his so we will hear it

Today – urgency (this very day), habitually (tomorrow never comes); beginning when you hear his voice (now), make it habit, character of your life to do what he says

B. exhort one another to follow Jesus Today (13)

come along side one another for the purpose of: topping their war story with a better one, sympathizing with how they were done wrong, NO – to encourage and equip and strengthen and challenge

one of 40+ “one another” statements in NT – this an essential component of local church body life missing in many places

Sunday the one we think of as church day, day the church meets, the church body interacts with one another

text, though, says we’re supposed to do that, not just Sunday, but Today; this very day regardless of which day of week

remember what we read from Eph. 4 – Christ gave the church “pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”

major purpose in you being here now: to get equipped so you can minister to one another, so you can build one another up – in the process you will be ministered to, you will be built up

encourage – to persevere, to continue the good that is obvious

come along side other person, help bear their load, assure them they’re not alone/forgotten/unwanted/unneeded

acknowledge / express appreciation for what you see in them of godly character, what they’ve done with God’s help

equip – here’s how God helped me, what God has taught me, you use it

I was experiencing this, God brought these truths to mind, he directed me to this text in the Bible

I was struggling with this, asked God for help/strength/answers, here’s what he used to equip me

strengthen – we’re brothers and sisters, we’re family, we’re here to help one another

God never intended to have a bazillion only children; purposed from beginning to many sons and daughters, that his Son the Lord Jesus would be firstbborn among many brethren

John 13:35“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you profess love for Me.” – NOT – “if you have love for one another.”

love for one another, members of one another, brothers, sons of God, many members but one body, living stones – strength in numbers, working together as God intended

not only on “church” projects; working together on the stuff of daily life – raising children, caring for elders, work, home, just living

challenge – you sure about that?! what’s up, you’ve been distant lately

on the “rare” occasion a fellow believer comes up with really wacky idea about God, his Word or how it applies, challenge it

in a good way, of course! – let’s check out what the Bible says, let’s ask this person who is trustworthy

if there’s a persistent change in enthusiasm or participation, or pattern of increasing distance, question it

don’t let brother or sister simply drift away; do your part to keep them connected, healthy and productively involved in the body

C. partner with Jesus Today (14)

we have become partners with Christ, if in fact we hold our initial confidence firm” NET

Eph. 1:13-14 “And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when you believed in Christ – you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit,who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.”

those who belong to Jesus share in everything he purchased and everything he inherited, the Holy Spirit is the guarantee

if we accept his invitation: Matt. 11:29, means we ought to be cooperating with the yoke, partnering in what Jesus is doing Today

yes, we’re partners with Christ, but don’t forget he is the senior partner with the controlling interest – He calls all the shots

to share in Christ, partner with Jesus means he expects some things of us – God is sovereign and we are responsible

to maintain our initial confidence – God is right, Jesus knows what he is doing, what is best for us

the one who is truly converted, born again, doesn’t start out challenging God and his ways; take it for granted his way is the only way

to be pursuing his priorities his way in his time

if God says move into the land and kick out the giants…now, we’d best be on the move, keeping step with the Lord Jesus

if he says do it this way for six days and that way on the seventh, that’s what we must do if we expect his help and blessing

to be relating to his brothers and sisters as he would – exhorting, encouraging, strengthening

Jesus went away, sent his Spirit in his place – another Helper (John 14:16) – but not to do all the work: Spirit has his job, we have ours, both are essential according to God’s design

D. be a believer in Jesus Today (7, 13, 19)

have no guarantees of tomorrow, only Today – true on many different levels: may not live to see tomorrow, today’s opportunities may not be around tomorrow

true in both temporal and ultimate senses – the good things we intend to do…tomorrow; blessings for obedience we’ll collect…tomorrow; commitment to follow Christ…tomorrow

are you interested in that eternal rest promised to Christ-followers? Listen to Christ TODAY, respond in faith TODAY

listen to his voice, encourage brothers and sisters, partner with Christ TODAY

most of all, don’t let unbelief of any size or shape interfere with your life now or in eternity – comes in different forms

the kind that rejects truth of God and leads to eternal condemnation: flat out atheism, confidence in self’s ability to satisfy God

the kind that robs the Christian of blessings now and later: “I’ll pray cuz I’m sposed to but God won’t do it”; “what he said in the Bible is good, but…”; “I’ll do it God’s way but I think my way would be better”

This is not prosperity gospel – just have faith enough to claim the blessings God has promised to you. Is not an uncertain gospel – saved today, lost tomorrow because you lack faith and fell from grace. Is gospel that says: “Then who can be saved?”But [Jesus] said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” (Luke 18:26-27) Beware of unbelief; believe in God with whom all things are possible – listen to his voice – follow his leading as he walks beside you every step of your way.

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