Sep 24, 2023. Hebrews 6:7-12

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A BETTER HOPE. Hebrews 6:7-12. 09/24/2023. #19.

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 blessing from God; 8 but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. 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 labor 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.

1. Wheat and tares

                a. Hebrews uses farming as an illustration (common in NT)

                                a1. The field does not bear life without rain

                                a2. Rain enlivens the seeds in the field

                                a3. Both good grain and weeds grow in field

                b. The herbs (botanĂ© – English word botany) means any crop which is beneficial to the farmer and men

                                a1. The field and rain are the same

                                a2. The seeds yield according to its own kind

                c. 2 approaches have been taken to this passage:

                                a1. I Corinthians 3:11-15 the tares that are burned up are the useless works done by immature believers (burned up like wood, hay, stubble)

                                a2. The tares are false believers growing among the grain (as the seed that fell on thorny or stony ground or the false branches on the vine mentioned in John 15)

                d. Since true believers are never called thorns or briers, the warning is probably to false believers

                                a1. Both Paul (Philippians 2:12) and Peter (2 Peter 1:10) urged readers to make sure they were saved by growing in Christ

                                a2. Without growth = no evidence of salvation

                                a3. II Corinthians 13:5 like the Corinthians, the author is concerned with the salvation of the Hebrews

2. A note of optimism

                a. Just as Paul expressed confidence in the faith of the Corinthians believers, Heb. expresses confidence in the faith and direction of the Jewish believers

                b. The author sees some positive signs in readers:

                                a1. Works of labor and love for the Lord

                                a2. They minister to fellow believers

                                a3. They continue serving the Lord

                c. Heb. encourages them to continue to serve in the hope of the Lord to the end

                                a1. Their service was in contrast to their holding onto the vestiges of the Law

                                a2. By completely focusing on their relationship with the Lord, they show evidence of a dynamic growing faith (Mark 4:1-9)

                d. Full assurance of salvation is seen in a relationship with the Lord that leads to godly service

                                a1. James 2 though no one can discern the salvation of another, it easier to detect in believers who show their love, joy, and eagerness to serve the Lord

                                a2. A labor of love points to what you love

                e. No one should leave their profession of faith in doubt (it should be obvious to all around you)

3. Removing tares

                a. Two categories destined for fire:

                                a1. Revelation 20 the unsaved, separated from Lord

                                a2. I Corinthians 3 worthless works of believers

                b. Should avoid both types of ruination

                                a1. To be a tare is to be a false believer who is destined for eternal condemnation

                                a2. To be an immature believer is to be useless in the service of the Lord and unrewarded

                c. Heb. encourages us to imitate (lit., mimic) spiritual believers, so we can be assured, useful, and rewarded

                                a1. I Corinthians 11:1 Paul urged Cor. to imitate him     

                            a2. Not to be motivated to grow fosters doubt