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A WILDERNESS EXAMPLE (4)

Hebrews 3:12-13

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.  In the previous section, the writer had just exhorted his readers to hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end (Heb. 3:6).

 

B.   He now presents these Hebrew Christians with an example from their past, the children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness.

1.    The text reveals many of the things the Israelites did and did not do.

a.    They did not hear God’s voice (Heb. 3:7).

b.    They hardened their hearts (Heb. 3:8, 15).

c.    They tempted and proved God (Heb. 3:9).

d.   They erred in their hearts (Heb. 3:10).

e.    They did not know the Lord’s ways (Heb. 3:10).

f.    They had evil hearts of unbelief (Heb. 3:12, 18-19).

g.    They were hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13).

h.    They provoked God (Heb. 3:16).

i.     They sinned (Heb. 3:17).

2.    The result was that they could not enter into the Lord’s rest (Heb. 3:11, 17-19).

 

So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

 

3.    Ways to protect oneself from apostasy and condemnation.

a.    Hear the Lord’s voice (Heb. 3:7).

b.    Hardened not your hearts (Heb. 3:8, 15).

c.    Exhort one another daily (Heb. 3:13).

d.   Hold the beginning of your confidence stedfast unto the end (Heb. 3:13).

e.    NOTE:  These things need to be done TODAY! (Heb. 3:7, 15).

 

Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice…Whiles it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

 

4.    Key Verse (Heb. 3:12)

 

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.

 

C.  Outline:

 

I.         HEAR – HARDEN NOT (Heb. 3:7-9)

II.       ERRED – ENTERED NOT (Heb. 3:10-11)

III.      DEPART NOT – DIG IN (Heb. 3:12-14)

IV.      HEAR – HARDEN NOT (Heb. 3:15)

V.        BLOCKED – BELIEVED NOT (Heb. 3:16-19)

 

I.         HEAR – HARDEN NOT (Heb. 3:7-9)

 

II.       ERRED – ENTERED NOT (Heb. 3:10-11)

 

III.      DEPART NOT – DIG IN (Heb. 3:12-14)

 

A.  Depart not (Heb. 3:12)

 

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart in departing from the living God.

 

1.    The writer begins with the admonition to “take heed.”

a.    Definition

1)     Strong (991):  to look at

2)    Thayer:  to see with the mind’s eye, to have (the power of) under-standing, to discern mentally, observe, perceive, discover, to focus the thoughts or direct the mind to a think, to consider, contemplate, to look at, to weigh carefully, examine

b.    The tense of the verb indicates that this is something brethren were encouraged to do continually.

c.    LESSON:  God does not do for us what we can do for ourselves.  We each have a personal responsibility to “take heed.”

2.    The reason that we must take heed is because there can develop within us “an evil heart of unbelief.”

a.    The heart denotes the center of spiritual life “…the soul or mind as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors, the understanding, and the will and character.”

b.    Our hearts can become “evil.”

1)     Strong (4190):  hurtful, that is, evil…also ill, that is diseased

2)    Thayer:  bad, a bad nature or condition…in a physical sense:  diseased or blind…in an ethical sense:  evil, wicked, bad

c.    One of the things that can make the heart evil is unbelief.

1)     Definition:

a)    Strong (570):  faithlessness…disbelief (want of Christian faith)…unfaithfulness (disobedience)

b)    Thayer:  unfaithfulness, faithless, want of faith, unbelief, weakness in faith

2)    Here is the basis of all sin, unbelief.

a)    Belief links us to God.  Unbelief removes us from God.

b)    An unbelieving heart, therefore, is called evil.

-       We understand how evil unbelief is in other relationships:  husband-wife; employer-employee; doctor-patient; merchant (insurance)-customer.

-       “Among people, nothing is seen to be more productive of greater evil than want of confidence or faith – and why should not the same evil exist in the divine administration?” (Barnes).

d.   Unbelief causes the unbeliever to depart from God.

1)     Definition:

a)    Strong (868):  to remove…to desist, desert

b)    Thayer:  to cause to withdraw, to remove, go away, to depart from anyone, to desert, withdraw from one, fall away, absent one’s self from

2)    The possibility of apostasy cannot be denied.

3)     QUESTION:  “If apostasy were not a real threat to the child of God, why all the ‘to-d0’ over that which was a ‘non-existent’ danger?” (Wacaster, 123)

e.    NOTE:  The author’s reference to God being a living God “was to remind them that God knows, sees, and will act upon their faithlessness” (Wacaster, 123).

 

B.   Dig in (Heb. 3:13-14)

1.    Exhort one another (Heb. 3:13)

 

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

 

a.    In these verse we will see the What? Who? When? and Why?

b.    One of the keys to faithfulness is for each member to exhort one another.

1)     Definition:

a)    Strong (3870):  to call near, that is invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation, consolation)

b)    Thayer:  to call to one’s side, call for, summons, to address, speak to, which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction…to encourage, strengthen

2)    LESSONS:

a)    Each member has the responsibility to the other.

b)    This implies involvement of members of the body in the lives of one another.

c.    This exhortation is to be done daily.

1)     While it is called “To day” (now, this very day).

2)    Without procrastination or delay

3)     “When we observe a brother or sister neglecting the faith, ere the sun set we should exhort them unto faithfulness” (Wacaster, 123).

d.   The reason for the exhortation:  “Lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

1)     It is possible for sin to harden man’s heart.  It can make man’s heart stubborn and obstinate.

2)    One has said:  “Sin cuts the optic nerve of the soul.”

3)     It can do this because it is deceitful.  It presents a delusion to the mind of man.

4)     Exhortations are intended to make one see the truth instead of the delusion.