The Danger of Unbelief

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The Danger of Unbelief

The Danger of Unbelief

Hebrews 3:14  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
15  While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
16  For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
17  But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
18  And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
19  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

God takes a much different approach to man and the actions of man, than we often do. We tend to take our cues from psychology. We try to be positive and we try to minimize the wrong. We know that people like to feel good about themselves and about their circumstances.
In our text, God reminded the readers of the situation in Israel in the time of Moses. He did that to contrast Moses with Jesus Christ. Moses faced some real challenges as the leader of the nation of Israel. He was chosen to be the leader by God. He wondered at times why he was given such a difficult task. We know that Moses could handle the task if he would walk humbly with the Lord. During most of his time as leader he did that. He failed on one key point and that cost him the opportunity to physically enter the land of Canaan. He was there with Jesus and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. However, He did not lead the nation into that land.
Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Godhead and He came into this world during a very difficult time as well. The nation of Israel had their sights set on what they expected the Messiah to be like. They did not follow the prophecies given regarding the Messiah. They studied the life of David somewhat and they liked what they read about him. They were tired of the Roman rule and they wanted to be delivered from that.
They failed to understand their problem was not the Roman rule. Their problem was their wicked hearts. They did not want to address that. They did not see themselves as wicked people.
In verse 14 the writer reminded the immediate recipients that “we”, referring to fellow saints, are made partakers of Christ, under a certain condition. We need to remember that a saved person cannot lose their salvation. The Bible is clear. There will be definable evidence of true Biblical salvation. There are those who claim salvation for a time, but then they turn away from that which they once claimed to believe. We have had people like that in our church. I have had people tell me they know of individuals who professed to be saved but then walked away from it. They are convinced those people were saved and they lost their salvation.
The Bible is clear. Salvation is a gift of God. It is not earned by man. When God gives that gift to a person, He places that person into His own hand. Jesus declared:

John 10:28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Jesus never lied. Those who receive the gift of eternal life have eternal life. Those who receive the gift of eternal life will demonstrate that they have in fact received that gift.
The writer of Hebrews went on to illustrate further what God meant with verse 14.
In verse 15 we are again reminded of the importance of listening to God’s call to salvation. There were many in the days of Moses, that hardened their hearts. It did not matter what God did for them, it was never enough. They were never satisfied. They never submitted to Him.
In verse 16 God pointed out that some, when they had heard, did provoke. It was not ignorance. They heard the truth. They just chose to reject it. God also made it clear that not all those that came out of Egypt provoked God. Joshua and Caleb did not do so. We see that it was a minority that did not provoke God.
In verse 17 God showed who He was grieved with for forty years. It was those who sinned. It was those who were guilty. Many chose to reject the facts. They insisted on rebelling. Nothing God did for them would change their minds. He judged them in a just manner for their rebellion. They died in the wilderness. They could not enter the land flowing with milk and honey. Ten of the spies who saw first hand the bounty that was in the land, never got to go back into that land. They encouraged the multitudes to reject God’s promise. They chose rebellion over blessing.
In verse 18 we are reminded again that God’s promise of not entering the land was to those who believed not. You cannot claim to believe in God and then fight against Him. We have talked of the New Evangelical movement. That movement was built around fighting with God. From its beginning, it was designed to reject the holiness and righteousness of God. It was designed to make a softer, more palatable Christianity. The majority of what is classified as “Christianity” today is found in that camp.
God does not want those who are saved to miss out on God’s blessings. He wants us to fully understand that He was providing the best for them. Jesus Christ is better than all that came before Him. Jesus Christ did away with the old system by presenting Himself as the I Am. The New Testament saints needed to let go of the types and accept the fulfillment of the types. They needed to embrace Jesus Christ and not allow the Judaizers to convince them that they were lacking something.
In verse 19 the writer again concluded that the problem was unbelief. Those many who died in the wilderness did not die because they were too old or they got sick. They died because of unbelief. They made a wrong choice and they refused to be convinced it was a wrong choice. They insisted they were right and Moses was wrong. They fought against his leadership until God said, enough. When God said “enough” there was no changing that sentence. Now they would plod along and go in circles until those who rejected the truth died off. A new generation would enter the land of Canaan. Even among them there were some who did not embrace the truth. Achan and his family did not embrace the truth. They would die shortly after entering the land. They were not killed in battle. They died at the hand of God. The people were told to take them outside the camp and stone them. Their time was up.
Unbelief is a terrible thing. God has proven Himself to be true all the time. We do not need to let anyone convince us that God missed something. We do not need to let the world influence us and make us think we need some of its influences in our lives. The modern emergent church movement has accepted the lies of the devil. The worship teams and the casual nature of most churches is the work of the devil.
God is not impressed with rituals. We need to understand why we do what we do. We need to examine everything we do in the light of God’s Word. We need leaders who will stand upon the Word of God and help us to see the necessity of submitting to God’s Word fully. We will not do that if we are told that things are not that bad. We will not turn to the truth if we are told that there is no absolute truth. We will be like the children of Israel were in the book of Judges:

Judges 17:6  In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Judges 21:25  In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

When you read the context of those verses, you see the mess that resulted from doing what was right in their own eyes. The writer of the the book of Proverbs was also directed by God to point out that danger of judging things by our own eyes.

Proverbs 12:15  The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

Proverbs 21:2  Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.

We need to listen to what God says. We need to humbly submit to His Word. We need to be saved by the power of the Holy Ghost, by turning to God in repentance and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation. When we do that we receive the gift of eternal life. Then we need to walk humbly and faithfully with the Lord. Is there that heart of unbelief in your life today? You can change that today. You can turn to God in repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour. Your attitude toward God will be changed when that happens. You will grow as you submit to His will.
Pastor Bartel

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