[At Christmas time I did a sermon on this same text so I will not repeat all of the details that were addressed there. This sermon will make different points for us to consider.]
I listen to a pod-cast that is put out by Dr. Stephen Nichols called “5 Minutes In Church History”. He will often interview a theologian and ask him a simple question. He asks, “If you were lost at sea and found yourself on an isolated island somewhere what five books would you bring with you to keep you company.” I have noticed that all of these theologians would always choose to bring books that they have read before. They never never bring a new book that may not be good. They always want to bring books that have already proven to minister truth and the gospel to them.
We will see when we get to Hebrews 2:1-4 that the believers who received this letter had begun to drift away from Christ by listening to false teachings. Instead of continuing to listen to the gospel that was taught by Jesus and His apostles they had begun to drift away from sound teaching towards doctrines that could shipwreck their faith. Because of this, the author immediately comes and preaches to them about Christ from the Scriptures.
So often we can drift unknowingly away from Christ and sound teaching and be attracted to a new teachings or to new philosophies. The book of Hebrews will remind us to pay attention to the message of the faith that has once and for all been entrusted to the saints. It will remind us that in this world, where we are exiles and sojourners, our best friends are those who will speak the gospel to us and continually magnify Christ (Hebrews 13:7-17).
The puritan Thomas Brooks once said, “It is the very drift and design of the whole of scripture to bring souls first to an acquaintance of Christ, and then to an acceptance of Christ, and then to bring them up in a sweet assurance of their actual interest in Christ.”1
Let me list out those three points that were made so that you can see them clearly.
The whole of scripture is to bring souls to an acquaintance of Christ.
The whole of scripture is to bring souls to an acceptance of Christ.
The whole of scripture is to bring souls up in a sweet assurance of their actual interest in Christ.
As I consider these words I immediately am reminded of the letter to the Hebrews. The recipients of this letter were Jewish so they knew the scriptures. The scriptures had been used to bring them to an acquaintance of Christ. We also know that at some point the scriptures which had been used to acquaint them with Christ had led to their acceptance of the Lord Jesus. Over time these believers had grown lazy and sluggish in their faith. They had begun to take steps away from Christ. All of this revealed that they once again needed to remember their interest in Christ. Hebrews 2:1-4 is just one passage in this letter that shows these three things were at work.
It says, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
Not surprisingly then, the same scriptures that were used to acquaint these believers to Christ, and to bring them to acceptance of Jesus, will now be used to reacquaint them to Christ so that they will renew their interest in Him. The author of this letter wastes no time in setting out to accomplish this objective. We see this happening from the opening verse of this letter.
Let’s read Hebrews 1:1-4, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imp