The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 23 : The Epistle to the HEBREWS

[Chapter 2-1] (Hebrews 2:1-18) We Must Believe More Earnestly in the Things We Have Heard

(Hebrews 2:1-18)
“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will? For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But one testified in a certain place, saying:
‘What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.’
For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying:
‘I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.’
And again:
‘I will put My trust in Him.’
And again:
‘Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.’
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”
  
 
We Must Plow the Fields of People’s Hearts and Then Preach the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit to Them
 
Let’s begin by turning our attention to Hebrews 2:1-3 here: “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?”
As this passage admonishes us, it’s very important for us to guard and defend our faith carefully, lest we lose the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. All of us who believe in this genuine gospel must watch out constantly not to mix ourselves with worldly Christians and end up being contaminated by them. That’s because worldly Christians do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit even though it is strictly based on the Word of God, and if we mingle with such people, we may end up renouncing our faith in this gospel, which is what determines whether we are blessed or cursed by God.
When we turn to the Old Testament, we see the Bible mentioning two mountains: Mount Gerizim, the mountain of blessings, and Mount Ebal, the mountain of curses (Deuteronomy 11:29). God showed through this account that He would give blessings or curses according to His people’s attitude towards His Word.
The same principle applies to the hearers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We have been preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit to many people, and those who hear this Word of God can be distinguished into two kinds: Those who are blessed by God by hearing and believing in His gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, and those who are cursed by God by refusing to believe in this gospel. Indeed, there are way too many people in this world who are cursed by God by refusing to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit even after hearing this Word of the righteousness of God with their ears. This is so tragic that it would have been better for them not to hear the Word of the righteousness of God in the first place, for they might then have another chance to hear it. Those who refuse to believe in God’s Word of righteousness even after hearing it are essentially wasting their chance to return to the righteous God.
That is why God said here in today’s Scripture passage, “We must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard” (Hebrews 2:1). And that is also why anyone who does not believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit that constitutes the righteousness of God cannot receive the remission of their sins. Why then are they prone to reject this gospel of the water and the Spirit after hearing it once? This is because they don’t realize their sinful nature. Therefore, whenever we bear witness of the gospel of the water and the Spirit to sinners, we should not sow the gospel seed without first plowing the fields of their hearts. If we sow the gospel seed of the water and the Spirit without even plowing the fields of their hearts, Satan will just pick it up and devour it. The only way to save these people from all their sins is to plow the fields of their hearts first and then preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It’s therefore extremely important for us to plow the fields of their hearts first before preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them. Another important thing for us to remember is that we need to lead those new believers to come to God’s Church and continue to hear the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit. So we have to make sure to guide them to God’s Church and preach His Word to them on a continual basis.
 
 
Everyone Is a Sinner
 
Whenever a farmer sows seed, he first plows the field turning it over and softening it thereby preparing the soil. In a similar way, the field of the heart must also be plowed first before planting the gospel seed. This is done to expose people’s sins, so that they may realize their need for salvation. Although some people appreciate the gravity of their sins, others do not feel that their sins are that grave. In fact, most people take their sins too lightly, and that is why it is so important for us to plow the fields of their hearts and point out the seriousness of their sins to them until they fully realize it. If they still do not admit their sins before God properly, then we should teach them about God’s Law and explain to them that any failure to keep the Law constitutes a mortal sin. When their sins are thus exposed, we should make it clear to them that they will be condemned and destroyed for their sins.
When people’s hearts are plowed like this, they will surely surrender to God and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Once they kneel before the Law of God and admit their sins, they will all believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. So long as we sow the gospel seed properly on such frank sinners, they will invariably be saved and unite themselves with God’s Church.
The key point here is sowing the seed properly—that is, we must make absolutely sure to plow the fields of the sinners’ hearts first before sowing the gospel seed of the water and the Spirit, or otherwise it will be next to impossible for any of them to be born again. Today, it’s actually quite easy for us to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to those who don’t know the righteousness of God. However, only if we preach the gospel properly after plowing their hearts first can these people be saved from all their sins and live out their faith unwaveringly.
Let’s consider ourselves for a moment here. You and I alike were fundamentally depraved sinners, were we not? Indeed, by nature we all were sinful beings in God’s sight. And because we had countless sins that deserved God’s condemnation, we were all destined to hell. However, even though we were such depraved sinners, God has saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. That’s why we are now leading our lives of faith in God’s Church. Even though the people of this world may think strangely of us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it is in fact we who are leading the proper life of faith. Once we realized that we had nothing good in our hearts, we knew that we had to accept the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit into our hearts. No human being has a fundamentally good heart.
 
 
Why Did Jesus Christ Come to This Earth Incarnated in the Same Flesh and Blood as Ours?
 
When Jesus came to this earth looking for us, He came in the same flesh and blood as ours. Everyone is born on this earth in flesh in order to receive the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. In other words, every human being is born to become a child of God in His grace. And it’s because Jesus Christ was born on this earth incarnated in the flesh of man that we could become God the Father’s own children, for Christ could save us all who now believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit from each and every sin. Jesus Christ was more than able to save us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit from all the sins of the world. It’s like this because we were born as sinners that our Savior also came to this earth incarnated in the same flesh as ours, and that is why it was possible for Him to save all of us who now believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. But to achieve this, our Lord first had to bear all the sins of this world onto His own body through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, and there was a very good reason for this.
This reason is explained in Hebrews 2:14-15: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” This passage implies that thanks to Jesus Christ’s incarnation on this earth, many people would receive the remission of their sins and become God’s children by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. These people are none other than us. And there still are many more people on this earth who will become God’s children by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Now I am sure you now know well why human beings were born on this earth: They were all born in order to become God’s own sons and daughter. Although Jesus is our Savior, He is in fact the First Son in God the Father’s sight. And all of us who now believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are Jesus’ younger siblings—that is, we are also God’s sons and daughters.
Destined to be condemned for our sins, we had no choice but to fear death constantly and live under its bondage throughout our entire lifetime, but our Lord God sent His Son to this earth in order to deliver such wretched people like us from all the sins of this world. The Bible says in today’s Scripture passage that God the Father let His Son be incarnated in the flesh and blood of man so that “through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). Put differently, it’s to make us His sons and daughters that God the Father sent His only begotten Son in the same flesh and blood as ours. That is why Jesus Christ had to be baptized by John the Baptist and crucified to death on this earth in the same body as ours. God Himself had to become a Man in order to save the human race from all its sins. To save us from all our sins, in other words, Jesus Christ had to have the same body as ours. He then had to bear all the sins of the world on His own body by being baptized by John the Baptist. Only then could all our sins be passed onto Jesus Christ. And all these things were absolutely indispensable for Christ to eradicate all our sins.
 
 
The Bible Says That Jesus Christ Is the High Priest of the Kingdom of Heaven
 
God sent His Son to us to make us His children, and this is further explained in today’s Scripture passage: “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). It’s said here that it was only fitting for Jesus Christ to be just like us even for a short while, so “that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). This passage clearly shows us that God has bestowed His mercy on us, and that He desires us to seek His mercy, not to offer sacrifices. Put differently, God bestows His mercy on those who seek it and saves them from all their sins, but He condemns all whose hearts are too hardened to seek His mercy for their sins. It’s actually someone who is cunning and lacking like Jacob to whom God grants His mercy and salvation, while anyone who tries to establish his own righteousness of the flesh is rejected by God and cast into hell.
Jesus Christ is our faithful High Priest, just as the Bible says, “In all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). Our High Priest faithfully carried out His work of salvation to completely blot out all our sins. Having come to this earth in the same flesh as ours, Jesus bore all the sins of the world on His body, and He offered His own blood of life to God the Father instead of just offering the blood of an animal. That is why God the Father said here in today’s Scripture passage that Jesus is the most faithful High Priest who has saved us perfectly from all our sins.
 
 
Do You Now Understand Why Jesus Christ Came to This Earth in the Same Flesh as Ours, Why He Was Baptized by John the Baptist, and Why He Was Crucified to Death?
 
I hope and trust that you all now understand why Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, and why He gave up His body on the Cross. Jesus Christ is our faithful High Priest. He is also God Himself who has bestowed His mercy on us, and He is our Savior who came to this earth in the same image as ours. As Hebrews 2:14 says, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same,” God Himself came to this earth incarnated in the same flesh and blood as ours in order to save us and make us His own children.
Let’s turn to Hebrews 9:11-14 here: “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Having come to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man to save us from all our sins, Jesus Christ sacrificed His own body for us just as goats and calves were sacrificed in the Old Testament after accepting the sins of the people of Israel. But, instead of just offering the blood of goats and calves, Christ offered His own blood, as it’s written, “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12).
In the age of the Old Testament, it was the High Priest’s job to pass the sins of the people of Israel onto sacrificial animals on their behalf. But when Jesus came to this earth, He did not just pass the sins of His people to a mere sacrificial animal, but instead, He Himself accepted each and every sin onto His own body through the laying on of the hands of John the Baptist, and thereby He became our own propitiation of burnt offering.
As God Himself, Jesus is fundamentally sinless. Yet despite this, He came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, bore all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, laid down His own life for us, and thereby achieved our everlasting redemption once and for all. When we turn to Leviticus chapter 16, we see that on the Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur, the High Priest entered the Most Holy with the blood of the sacrificial animal and sprinkled this blood seven times on and before the mercy seat. The Israelites who believed in this sacrifice of the Day of Atonement were remitted from all their yearly sins. Likewise, all who believe in the sacrifice of Jesus can also enter the everlasting Sanctuary in Heaven just like Jesus, as it’s written in Hebrews 9:14, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
 
 
What Does It Mean for Our Consciences to Be Cleansed from Dead Works?
 
There are certain transgressions that we commit even as we know that they are sins. That Jesus has cleansed us from dead works means that He has washed us from all such transgressions and enabled us to serve the living God. The Scripture says that Jesus is the Lamb of God who took away all the sins of the world. It is to save us from all our sins that Jesus Christ came to this earth, and He has indeed freed our consciences from our each and every sin so that we would all be able to serve the living God of righteousness.
By being baptized by John the Baptist, the Lord took upon all our sins once and for all, and He was crucified to death while shouldering these sins. Through the baptism that He received from John the Baptist in the Jordan River, the Lord already bore all our sins. Just as all of us were exposed by the Law of God as sinners, there is no one in this world who can live with a clear conscience all the time. Can you think of anyone with a completely flawless conscience? Everyone has done something that makes him feel guilty in his conscience. Does this then mean you commit sin only when you do something against your conscience? No, this is not the case. There are actually two kinds of sins committed by everyone: Those that you commit knowingly and make your conscience feel guilty, and those that you commit unwittingly by breaking the commandments of the Word of God without actually intending it. Both kinds are equally sins. Even if one does not know the Word of God, when this person does something that troubles his own conscience, this sin is written in his heart and he is imprisoned by it. This issue is addressed in Romans chapter 2.
To see this, let’s turn to Romans 2:14-15 here: “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.” That is why even non-believers feel guilty in their conscience whenever they do something wrong. And whatever makes their conscience feel guilty is a sin. Their conscience, in other words, is a law to them and points out their sins. Before we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we sometimes have to plow people’s hearts deeply with the Word of God so that their sinful nature would be exposed. When their sins are exposed and the dead works in their conscience are revealed, they will be compelled to listen to the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
My fellow believers, I ask you not to let the Word of God that you have heard today drift away. It’s absolutely imperative for all of us to continue to ruminate on this Word that we have heard so far, and preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit accordingly. We should never let the Word of God that we have heard until now drift away. Whether you are blessed by God on account of your faith or instead cursed for your unbelief is entirely up to you. You must therefore believe wholeheartedly in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit that you have heard so far, and you must arm yourself with this unwavering faith. When we turn to the Bible, we see many accounts contrasting two kinds of people that teach us about the absolute importance of faith. The account of Abel and Cain provides one such lesson, as do the accounts of Isaac vs. Ishmael and Jacob vs. Esau. What do all these accounts teach us? They teach us that all the people of faith, from Abel to Isaac and Jacob, were blessed because they believed in the Word of God when they heard it, while others, such as Cain, Esau, and Ishmael, were cursed because they ignored the Word of God and refused to believe in it even after hearing it many times.
None of you should ever neglect to continue to listen to the Word of God and believe in it always. And whenever you listen to the Word of God or read the Scripture, you should never glance or skim over any part no matter how brief it might be. Every Word of God itself is life, for it is here that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is written so clearly and compellingly. Therefore, if you ruminate on this gospel Word carefully and believe in it with all your heart, then you will surely receive God’s abundant blessings on account of your faith, but if you neglect your faith, then you will end up losing even the blessings that you have already received. So I ask each and every member of the Workplace Mission Team to never neglect any part of the Word of God that you have heard until now, and to instead believe in it even more unwaveringly.
The very fact that you were born in this world and heard the Word of God on the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the evidence showing that God loves you.
Hallelujah!