Building on the Foundation – Hebrews 6 by John Brown
Listen to the whole sermon right here > https://craigbrownsreformedtheology.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/hebrews-6-v-1-12.mp3
Building on the Foundation
By John Brown
Alright, here is the deal because this we are not going to look at the whole chapter. We will look at the first twelve verses. There is a lot of stuff that we have to be clear on. So here is what we are going to do. There are going to be three basic sections that we are sort of going to break this down into and I think the only way that we are going to handle this clearly is to sort of hold our questions at the end of each section until the end if that is okay. The first three verses, explain the bits, you know maybe how you read, if it is your chance to read, the verses that apply and I then I will give you a chance to ask questions about that section or make comments, is that okay?
Otherwise here is why guys Hebrews 6 might be the devils favourite passage because it is a section that often people get a hold on and they think, “that is it I am lost and I am lost forever” because of what you read here in chapter six. If we don’t understand what the author is getting to this can be a text of just really of depression, of condemnation and that is not what I think the Holy Spirit had this guy write this stuff down for. So it is really important that we see it in its context and we try to decipher it as best as we can and I will say this too before we pray too. I will say in fairness a lot of really good men disagree on how to interpret this section. Okay, so I say that because what I am going to try to do is make it clear what I believe it is saying, at the same time bring up some things up that why people believe other things about this text. Okay, so this is a deep one, you have got to get your snorkle out, your head will be under the water for a while. I am going to close that door and we will pray. Lets pray.
The Opening Prayer
Father God we thank you that your Word is living and active and Lord because it is sharper than a two edged sword we don’t want to be casual about how we grab onto it. Lord help us to know how to handle on this as best as we can. Lord so that we don’t inadvertently cut ourselves or cut others. Where we are not meant to be cut and yet Lord we also pray that as we look at it we would not dull the blade but that it would that work which is meant to do in us cutting us open, exposing what needs to be exposed, cut it away what doesn’t need to be there. Father I pray that as we are just filled with the riches of your Word. Lord we also want to be filled with your Holy Spirit in understanding and applying, and walking in the things that we read, and I pray Lord as well that you would help us Lord to be stirred up toward love and good works, to be stirred up about how we might minister to one another today by the power of your Holy Spirit God. Lord help us not to listen to the lies of the enemy and be fearful, and help us to be bold to speak the truth in love. Just use us all tonight Lord and meet us all here we pray in Jesus name amen.
Alright Hebrews 6. I am going to read through verses one to twelve and there will be some words that I want you guys maybe to circle or underscore – if you do that sort of thing just so we are going to come back to those words. Hebrews chapter six starting in verse one.
Hebrews 6:1-12 (NKJV – New King James Version)
The Peril of not Progressing
1 Therefore leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God. (You might want to circle that word foundation) 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgement. 3 And this we will do if God permits. 4 For it is impossible (circle that word impossible) for those who were once enlightened and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of age to come 6 if they fall away to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put him to an open shame.7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessings from God; 8 but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed whose end is to be burned.
A Better Estimate
9 But beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. 10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labour of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Now this section also connects to what we read in chapter five, last time in chapter five a couple of weeks ago. Remember specifically Hebrews 5:11 where he talks about that he often wanted to tell them more about Melchizedek. He kind of wanted to open their eyes and teach them about who this Melchizedek guy was and connected to Jesus, and he says, “you are dull of hearing” you are not ready to hear this, you are sort of lazy in hearing you are not diligent in how you receive what God has to say through his Word, and so he was sort of rebuking them about being lazy hearers and that connects to what he says in verse twelve about being sluggish, in fact it is the same word for the word lazy. In fact we will come back and talk about that in a bit.
But what we have here is this reality that the author of Hebrews is continuing the same theme that we see from the beginning that Jesus is better than the other things we are tempted to trust in, and what we have here in chapter 6 is a sense where the author is not just saying, “Jesus is better than” of course Jesus is the best we know that but he is saying that, “Jesus is the only” and the thing he is saying about Jesus being the only is he is the only foundation and in fact when he says in verse one about therefore it connects these things together. If you remember in verses twelve and fourteen at the end of chapter five he talked about the fact that by this time some of you guys ought to be teachers. Some of you guys have got to be the ones who are explaining these things to baby Christians but because you have not grown, because you are still so immature he says, “I have got to feed you milk” and he is sort of rebuking them a little bit that they have to be milk fed, they have to be spoonfed as Christians where at this time in their walk with God they should have been mature, able to handle the solid meat of the Word and also able to give that back to others but they weren’t.
In fact what he is really dealing with in fact is their temptation as Hebrew Christians to not grow in their faith in Jesus but instead go back to Judaism instead of growing up, they go back to Old Testament Religion or historical Judaism, that is what they wanted to go back to. And so this is a warning it is the third warning to the Hebrews about the warning against not progressing, the warning against not maturing, about being lazy with what God has given you as far the salvation he has given you in Christ, and so what we are going to look at is three things in this.
1) We are going to see that Jesus is the only foundation for all truth
2) We are going to see that Jesus is the only foundation for all life,
3) We are going to see that Jesus is for all assurance
And we will explain what those things are one thing at a time. So lets first three verses and I will give you a chance to ask questions about the first three verses okay.
Hebrews 6:1-12 (NKJV – New King James Version)
1 Therefore (he says) leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection
If you guys have the NIV – you know that it doesn’t say perfection does it? Does anybody have the NIV here? No, NIV says, “let us go on to maturity” that is a better translation actually. He is not talking about us being perfect this side of heaven, he is talking about, “let us move on to completeness, let us move toward maturity. We should be going in that direction. Literally it says, “let us be carried toward maturity” now this is important guys. We have to understand that maturity only starts doesn’t stop here but only it starts through a right understanding of Jesus. You can’t grow up in your faith unless you have a right understanding of Jesus. Now here is the problem though the problem is that we often treat a right understanding of Jesus as the goal. “As long as I know him in the right way, as long my doctrine, or my ideas about Jesus are right that is all that has to be there,” but guys that is like saying, “okay I went to kindagarten and learned my abcs,” and someone says, “do you know how to read” yes I do abcdefg see I know how to read I know the whole alphabet. Well that is good when you are five but when you are fifty and someone says, “hey have you read the new book by so and so?” “yes I have hey listen, abcdefg” it just shows that you are in the wrong place, you should be in a place far beyond that you see. Now you have know your abcs or you can’t read can you? If you don’t know the alphabet you can’t read, you can’t form words, you can’t form syllables, you can’t form sentences – you have got to know the abcs.
And so what he is saying is not, “hey lets chuck aside the abcs” he says, “lets use the abcs what they are for, let’s build on the abcs.” So you have to have a right understanding, you have to have the abcs down of Jesus if you are going to move on, and so really in these first three verses he is talking about what those abcs are, what those basic things are.
Hebrews 6:1 (NKJV – New King James Version)
He says, “leaving the discussion (or building on the discussion) of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to maturity” and here is what he says, “not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
Now he is not saying, “that is not a good foundation,” he is saying, “lets just not be content to have a foundation.” Now if you decided to build a new house you would have to start with what? A foundation right? Now if you build a foundation, that foundation was the exact the right size, the exact right structure, it fit all the coats that need to be there, you know the bricks were laid just perfectly, the mortar was the right strength, the metal was in there what was supposed to be, everything was exactly as it was supposed to be. If you built that and thought, “done, honey lets move in” she would think you are nuts because the thing is that a house is much more than the foundation. You have to have a foundation but it has got much more than a foundation. But what he is saying is, “lets make sure you get the foundation right. Lets not think we have to put the foundation down again.” The foundation is the foundation, as long as you have the right foundation it is time for you to start building. So the first point about foundation he brings is, “lets not lay again this foundation upon the foundation that it is repentance of good works or repentance from good works and faith toward God.”
Now what are dead works?
What is repentance from dead works?
Dead works guys listen are what we are doing to try to be right with God – that is dead works. Some people want to say that dead works are works that you do that you do that are wrong – they are bad works. No those are just the evil deeds. A dead work is a work that you do in attempt to attain a right standing with God by your works – that is a dead work, it is a work that you do in the flesh. That often leads to sinful stuff, ugly stuff – but it can you being religious, it can be you trying in your best effort to be the best person you can be. Those are dead works and God calls us to repent of dead works, to turn away from dead works and instead put our faith in God. Now the point is this okay Jesus being the only foundation from all truth, we have to understand as a foundation it is not our works – but only his work that can save us. It is only the work that work that Christ does that can save us.
John 6:29 (NKJV – New King James Version)
“Jesus answered and said to them, “this is the Word of God as you believe in him who he sent.”
That is right, so the work that God calls us to is not the dead works that, “I have got to earn something or make something happen,” it is simply, “believing in who Jesus is and what he has done for us okay.” That is the work that God has called us to – repentance. So that is not a dead work, a dead work is me trying to do something to earn God’s favour – that is a dead work we have got to turn from that instead, put our faith in God, what he has provided for us in Christ. So that is the first part of the foundation right.
The second part is this he says, “also of the doctrine of baptisms” now the word for baptism there baptisms it is a plural word that could mean you know more than one baptism but it also can mean a washings in fact that is the way it is used in places in the New Testament the word washings and it is an idea of sort of ceremonial washings. Now I believe it is connected to the idea of baptisms because one of the mistakes that Hebrew Christians began to make same mistake a lot of Christians make today is thinking that somehow there something that happens that cleanses us when we are baptized, that actually getting dunked in the water washes away our sins in some way, but that is not what the Bible teaches is it? Now the issue is that what the author of Hebrews is after he is just trying to make we have to understand it is not our being washed in water that cleanses our sin, it is his washing us by his blood, it is his cleansing us and the work that he does that makes us clean. Only his washings us can cleanse us.
Titus 3:4-5? (NKJV – New King James Version)
4 “But when the kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 not by our works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit
Not by works – but the washing of regeneration, it is the washing that he does by his Holy Spirit – that cleanses our sin because of the blood that was shed on the cross. The doctrine that is our foundation is not this idea that, “oh I was baptized in water therefore I am saved” no I was baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ and that is why I am saved. I was washed in the washing of regeneration. The Holy Spirit giving me that new life, being born again by the Holy Spirit that is when I have been cleaned. It his washing that makes me clean that is the foundation that we build on.
Hebrews 6:2 (NKJV – New King James Version)
Also he says this, 2 “of laying on of hands,
There is a whole lot of stuff that happens nowadays like the laying on of hands. We see a lot of people talk about or think that there has to be hands laid on somebody for them to receive the Holy Spirit, we see a lot of people talking about the idea that you have lay hands on somebody if you are going to pray for them. Now there is nothing wrong with laying hands on somebody to pray for them. There is nothing wrong with that whatsoever it is biblical. There is nothing wrong with laying hands on somebody to receive the filling of the Holy Spirit – that is not unbiblical. But I don’t think this is what he is talking about, I don’t think he is talking about the New Testament reality of laying on of hands. I believe he is talking about because he is talking to Hebrew Christians what the laying on of hands meant in the Old Testament.
Leviticus 4:13-15 (NKJV – New King James Version)
13 Now if the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally, and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done something against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which should not be done, and are guilty; 14 when the sin which they have committed becomes known, then the assembly shall offer a young bull for the sin, and bring it before the tabernacle of meeting. 15 And the elders of the congregation shall lay hands on the head of the bull before the LORD. Then the bull shall be killed before the LORD.
Okay, so what has to happen if they find out they have sinned, the Israelites who sin, what did they have to do? They had to get a bull and what did they have to do with the bull? Lay their hands on it first, they laid their hands on the bull first and then they slayed it.
What about Leviticus 16:21-22? Remember this is what God commanded the laying on of hands to be on that bull.
Leviticus 16:21-22 (NKJV – New King James Version)
21 Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. 22 The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.
Okay, now again that is talking about the day of atonement. The High Priest would have to lay his hands – both hands on the goat, that would be called the scapegoat the goat would be sent off to the wilderness to be set free. It was that picture of one goat being slain, the other goat being set free kind of God separating us from our sins okay, separating our sins from us. Now when the author of Hebrews is talking about the foundation of laying on of hands he is talking about this reality okay. As a Hebrew they understood the hands were laid on the animal so that that animal was identified as that which would atone for their sin. When the High Priest would lay his hands on the animal or the person who was giving the animal to the High Priest to be sacrificed – laying his hands on the animal the laying on of hands was to identify that this is what God required for their sins to be atoned for, this is what God provided for their sins to be atoned for. Now because of that guys the Hebrew Christians were sort of stuck. They felt like that every time they sinned they needed to offer a sacrifice. They needed to lay hands on the sacrifice so that their sins could be forgiven. Right, that is what they were tempted to do, that is what they had to do because that was part of their culture that they grew up in, that was part of the command of the Old Testament that they do.
Well the point that the author is making here is that listen it is only his hands that identify if the atonement is sufficient or not. Who had to examine the goat or the bull before they laid hands on it? The High Priest, The High Priest had to look at the bull or goat and say, “yeah this is perfect, this is spotless, this is without blemish and now laying hands on it this is sufficient to atone for your sins. Okay, so the laying on of hands. This doctrine he is saying is a foundational doctrine for us to grow in, it is a reality that it is what God identifies as sufficient for our atonement that we have to recognize. Jesus being our High Priest isn’t that what he has been talking about in Hebrews 5? Jesus being our High Priest, a better High Priest than Aaron remember? And so this is what he is saying that this is the doctrine if God has in a sense laid his hands on Christ and said, “this is sufficient, His death is sufficient for your atonement guess what? It is sufficient for your atonement, if God said, “this is acceptable,” it is acceptable. How do we know it is acceptable? Because God had his hand on Jesus, it was seen by the miracles that he did, by the words that he taught, and even by the voice in heaven that said, “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” not once but twice.
God made sure that we knew that he was an acceptable sacrifice. He was examined wasn’t he? Wasn’t Jesus examined before the High Priests of his day didn’t even Pilate say, “we have found no fault in him.” (Scripture references which teach Jesus is sinless: John 18:38; John 19:4; Luke 23:4; Mark 15:14; Matthew 27:23; 1 Peter 2:22.) So in a sense what he is trying to say is listen, “the hands have been laid on Jesus – what he has done, his atonement is sufficient – that is what this is talking about. It is not that understanding that you know does a pastor or someone have power to lay his hands on somebody? That is not the issue that he is bringing up – that is a totally different Bible study really. Now the issue here is you know that he is trying to make the Hebrew Christians understand the foundation you have to have is that God has laid his hands on so to speak on Christ to save, what he has done is sufficient – the laying on of hands.
Hebrews 6:2 (NKJV – New King James Version)
Okay, also listen 2 of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Now I believe these two things go together for two reasons.
1) The word ‘and’ there is that word ties those two things together it is a very specific word and. It is two different words for and in the Greek this one is a specific one it means to tie two things together.
2) But also he is talking about the reality of when he talks about the resurrection of the dead it is not just the resurrection the fact that Jesus rose from the dead but what that implies about eternal judgement.
Okay, now Jesus talked a lot about resurrection.
John 5:24, 28, 29 (NKJV – New King James Version)
24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
Okay, of course that is Jesus speaking. Jesus is saying, “listen anybody who has believed in me and who has passed from death to life it is a done deal but also he said, “they are going to hear my voice and what is going to happen? Everyone is going to be resurrected with the voice of Christ. He is going to resurrect those who believed unto eternal life and those who have not believed unto eternal condemnation that is what he is going to do. Okay, now why is this so important? Because when we deal with issues of the resurrection, when we deal with issues of the afterlife if we don’t have that sorted in our head we are not going to relate to God the right way. If we believe how we relate to God or if we believe that what we do in our relationship with God determines whether or not we make it if we don’t have that sussed out in our head, it is going to affect how we relate to God isn’t it? And so the foundational work is okay what is it that causes us from being passed from death to life? What is it that guarantees that when we hear the voice of Christ say, “come unto me” that we are going to be resurrected unto eternal life? Jesus said in John 5 he said, “those who believe in me.”
John 6:54 (NKJV – New King James Version)
54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Notice he said, “eats my flesh, drinks My blood.” That is important we are going to come back to that a little bit later. What did he say at end of that? “I will raise him up on the last day.” You see the foundation that we have to have to build our faith upon is the fact that Jesus and his death and resurrection has provided for us our resurrection that we can know that we are going to hear his voice and be raised up unto eternal life on the last day. This is the foundation we have to build on. In fact in Hebrews 6:3 look at what he says.
Hebrews 6:3 (NKJV – New King James Version) 3 And this we will do if God permits.
He is talking about this idea of moving on to maturity. We will build on these things if God permits. In other words it is only his power that can resurrect us and it is only his work that can bring us to that place of maturity. In other words in a nutshell guys Jesus being the foundation for all truth it is what he has done – who he is, what he has done, it is by that we measure everything else. Jesus was – he was compared to a certain part of a building anybody know what it is? The cornerstone exactly. You know why he was compared to the cornerstone? You know what the cornerstone did? The cornerstone determined the height, the width, the level everything in the building was measured by the cornerstone. Everything that we understand about who God is, and what God has done for us is measured by Jesus. That is why he is the foundation stone, he is the measurement of all truth that has to be there. Okay, now any questions about those foundational things or things you want to add? Feel free, are you sure about that? You want to give them the juicy bit?
Kelly Green, “I wanted to say something about the dead works”
John Brown, “Okay, please”
Kelly Green, “Like when you said oh I forgot it now. Right at the end of verse three now I forgot. What was your example when you said oh just forget it.”
John Brown, “I said dead works were those works that we do trying to be right with God works that are trying to earn a righteous position with God – those are dead works.”
Kelly Green, “You gave an example and I thought, I wanted to say so if we was to not that we shouldn’t do it but if we was to not pray in the morning that is not that we exceed we do. Like another example you gave you said about trying to be a good person. Shouldn’t we try to be a good person, why is it dead works? Trying to be a good person, are you saying that it has to come from God working inside us for us to be a good person? Or can we not just like try to be a good person to please God but why is that dead works? Does that make sense?
Yeah, no it does. First of all what is a good person? Because Jesus said, “there is none good but God.” So our standard for goodness if we are going to say good is going to be what God’s standard of goodness is, that is why if you read the sermon on the mount Jesus talked about being perfect, he says, “as your Father in heaven is perfect so you also be perfect,” and the context is about loving your enemies and that sort of thing. So it is not that we shouldn’t pursue the standard of goodness that God has, it is the reality of if we are trying to pursue a standard so that God will then say, “you have met the standard and now you are good,” that is a dead work or if you recognize that God sets the standard and then he calls us to that standard and we think we can achieve that standard on our own strength that is a dead work, and so it is trying to attain a place of righteousness of God by our own efforts. God says, “that is a dead work,” we have to turn away from. He saved us for good works. You read the book of Titus the whole thing is about good works but he saved us from dead works to good works. From dead works – things we try to do in our own strength, trying to get a right standing to good works – things we do from the position of already being right with God by the power of his Holy Spirit for his purposes in glory. Do you see the difference?
Kelly Green, “yeah”
John Brown, “okay, any other questions about that?”
Will Harrison, “In the Old Testament it said of The Law, “do this and you shall live,” so in what sense is that not a dead work? Or is it only a dead work in the light of Christ’s finished work? If you know what I mean.”
John Brown, “Yeah that is a good question. It is this idea that it goes back to the purpose of The Law. Like when Paul explains that in Galatians 3 what does he say? He says that, “cursed is he” or maybe he says this in Romans actually I am getting confused where he talks about, he quotes the Old Testament, he says, “those who live by The Law shall do them.” In other words you are obligated to fulfil every aspect of The Law if you are going to fulfil The Law. So in other words he says those who live, those who do these things shall live by them. When the Bible says that law – it is every bit of it. So the purpose of The Law was to show that nobody lives by every bit of those things. That is why The Law provoked the need for faith. God you have to provide something beyond this, you have to provide something greater than this and they believed that greater thing would come with the Messiah – deliverance would come with the Messiah. Because The Law was enough to sustain them, but not enough to deliver them from their own sinfulness.”
Will Harrison, “But If you told an Israelite that dead works were trying to do something so that they would get a right standing with God wouldn’t they say, “well The Law tells us to do this and live.”
John Brown, “Wouldn’t they say that?”
Will Harrison, “Yeah.”
John Brown, “Well and so you are saying”
Will Harrison, “So like that is a big difference isn’t it from that and The Old Testament.”
John Brown, “Yes, there is a huge difference between The Old Testament and New Testament, definitely a big difference. But even The Old Testament even when they would say that –Israelwould say that but in the Old Testament they believe in say even like David said when he repented didn’t he in Psalm 51. He says, “Lord if you wanted the blood of bulls and goats I would do it but that is not what you want. You want the sacrifice of what? A broken and contrite spirit and so even David recognized that The Law was holy. The Law was spiritual as Paul talks about in Romans. So even David recognized that, yeah there were Jews who didn’t recognize that but David definitely recognized that.
Any other questions?”
Frankie, “we have the free will to try and buy our way to heaven and we can like do things. We love God with our own hearts and we believe his promises so therefore you know we just believe, we don’t have to do any dead works. We can just believe his promises – true faith, not true works.”
Yeah but the difference too as well and this is the thing to understand what the author of Hebrews here is not saying is, this is why it is important to understand what these a b c s are. He is not saying that it is just a matter of you believing and not working that is not even his point. His point is that listen you have to know it is all about who Jesus is, and what he has done. Because what God requires is right. He is right to require that we live holy and righteous. The standard of The Law is not some unreasonable standard. The things that God commands in this Law he does command us to do, they are not some unreasonable standard. But the purpose of The Law is to show that we will never be right by The Law. Do you see what I am saying? But the standard is right. So the issue is you can’t just choose to meet that standard, you try and meet that standard and you will show yourself that you cannot and that is the whole point. It forces us as Paul says in Galatians 3 – it is a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ. “Oh Lord I can’t save myself. I must have Jesus save me.”
Frankie, “We are just so prone to walk in that religion. It is in us isn’t it?”
John Brown, “Well and don’t even think about walking yet. At this point we need to make sure that you understand, it is important that we all understand this guys in Hebrews 6. He is not talking about what we need to do to walk with God we will get to that toward the end. He is talking about what our life is built on, what is the foundation? The walking might be more of the walls. We will talk about that in a minute. But what is the foundation? The foundation is Christ period. That is the whole point the foundation is Christ period it is nothing else. Not the law, not the commandments, not even our faith, the foundation is Christ – he is the foundation. It is his work that saves us, it is only his work that saves us, it is only his washings, his baptisms that cleanse us, it is only his hands that have been laid upon, it is only his hands that can identify what is worth atoning for us, it is only his power that can resurrect us, it is only his work that can bring us on to maturity. So the point that he is making is it has got to be Jesus that the foundation is on. The problem was the Hebrews and the reason this is important is because it ties into what?
We are going to see what these next section of verses say because the whole point is that these guys were looking for a different foundation. They are going, “okay, we want to build our lives on Jesus. He doesn’t have to be the foundation but in building their lives on Jesus making him the only foundation the other Jewish people beat us up and they threatened to kill us. They won’t do business with us and we suffer persecution and get kicked out of the synagogue for this reason.” That persecution they were under was tempting them to say, “there has got to be another foundation we can build our lives upon and the whole idea that is trying to get is across is listen there is no foundation to lay, so let’s not try and go through the process of trying to get through that again that there is another foundation to lay. And this is the problem guys we think, “wait I get it yeah Jesus died for me but that can’t be the only foundation – there has got to be something else as the foundation.” No that is the foundation and the foundation sets the size of the house, the foundation sets the direction of the house, the foundation sets the strength of the house. That is the only foundation and there is no other foundation that we can build upon – that is the point. Okay, there is no other foundation that we can build upon. If we don’t get that you know what is going to happen? We are going to build on the wrong foundation. We have to understand that there is no other foundation. But we also don’t want to go, “oh yeah there is no other foundation” and never actually move on to build the house. Does that make sense?
Okay, so Jesus is the foundation for all truth – he is the only foundation. The truth is though he is also the producer of all life. Okay, so now look what he says in Hebrews 6:4 we are getting to the heavy part.
Hebrews 6:4 (NKJV – New King James Version)
He says, 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again
Now there is a few things we have to ask about this section Hebrews 6:4-8. There is three questions that we need to ask and answer and depending on how you answer depends on how you interpret this. Okay, the first question we have to ask is in Hebrews 6:4-5 we have to ask who is being described in Hebrews 6:4-5?
What kind of person is being described? So let’s go over these things, who is being described? (Hebrews 6:4) Someone who has once been enlightened. Now the word for once there is a word that can be translated as the phrase, “once and for all.” So that way later on in Hebrews we will see it can be translated that way. Who was once and for all enlightened you could say. It says also this person is described as the kind of person who has tasted the heavenly gift. Now the Bible describes Jesus himself as the heavenly gift. Okay, and says have become a partaker of the Holy Spirit. The word for partaker is someone who has legitimately, has authentically experienced something if you are a partaker you have authentically experienced something. So this is someone who has authentically participated or experienced the Holy Spirit, (Hebrews 6:5) 5and have tasted the good word of God – okay the scriptures, the message of the gospel, and have the powers of the age to come. Now that is a reference to the miraculous workings that God had done through Christ through the apostles – the miracles that were still part of the church. The power of the Holy Spirit working through the miraculous that is what it is talking about. It is called the powers of the age to come because obviously when Jesus comes back and reigns guess what? That stuff is going to be common everyday, it is going to happen all the time. It is going to be a millennial thousand year reign. The things of the age to come.
So who is this describing? Who does that sound like? Someone who has been once and for all enlightened, tasted of Jesus, who has experienced the Holy Spirit, tasted the Word of God, and of the miraculous powers. Who does that seem to describe to you? Someone who is saved, a Jew, he is writing to Hebrew Christians.
Well here is the question now wait here you are trying to jump ahead. Who does that sound like it is describing? Someone who is not saved or saved? It sounds like someone who is not saved. It sounds like someone who is saved. If somebody listen what else have you got to do to be saved then? If you have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, if you have tasted of Jesus, if you experienced the Holy Spirit, if you tasted or received the good Word of God, if you experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. I mean what else has to happen for a person to be saved? Now here is the deal because of that there are many people who would say, “this is describing someone who has been born again. Someone who has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit,” there are lots of people who believe this. In fact let me say this people who would maybe call themselves Calvinist would say, “this couldn’t be someone who has actually been born again because someone who has been born again can’t become unborn again so it is impossible that this could be describing someone born again.” Someone who might describe themselves as Arminian would say, “no this is someone who has been born again and this verse means they can lose their salvation but the truth is we have blown it all the time, we can always get that salvation back if we come back in faith.” Okay, but here is the problem that word that I just circled in Hebrews 6:4 what is that word? Impossible, so this leaves two problems for the Arminian and for the person who would call themselves in that camp who thinks a person can lose their salvation to become unborn again.
The issue is if they can become unborn again it is impossible for them to be ever born again. You get the point? There is no way according to this verse if someone has been born again, it is at least saying they can never be born again again, if they lose their salvation. That is what we all have to accept no matter what else we are going to do with this text. You have to accept this it is painfully obvious – there is no way someone can be regenerated in the Spirit, lose that regeneration and ever get that back again. There is no way, it is impossible – they word they use the word means apostle. That is what it means okay.
Now here is the thing can you see why this would freak people out? If you receive the Lord as a kid and look like the devil in your teens, you are thinking, “I am toast. It is over for me. I can’t ever be saved again. I was saved, I lost that and now I can never be saved again,” and this happens to tons and tons of people. Okay, now here is the other problem though the Calvinist would say, “this isn’t describing someone who is a believer and yet gosh I mean how else do you want to describe a believer?” Now I will tell you what I personally think. I personally think that what the author of Hebrews is trying to bring across is the reality that this is somebody who has generally experienced the work of the Holy Spirit but has actually not responded to the Holy Spirit and guys let me tell you something after being in pastoral ministry for 20 years I have known people who have been in churches for years and the Holy Spirit has done radical work in their life. They have heard all kinds of great messages and they were never saved. Because they get to a place where it is all rubbish, it is a joke they turn their backs on God. They don’t profess any faith whatsoever. I personally believe that means they were never saved.
Now here is the deal.
Matthew 16:15-17 (NKJV – New King James Version)
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Okay, how did Jesus describe how Peter understood who Jesus he was? How did Peter understand who Jesus was? According to those words, yeah he was the Father wasn’t he? It was the Fathers work by the Spirit that revealed to Peter that Jesus was the Christ Son of the Living God.
John 16:8-11 (NKJV – New King James Version)
8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
Okay, now that is Jesus speaking of whom? The Holy Spirit isn’t it. The Holy Spirit will convict the world.
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