TEXT: Hebrews 6:1-9
READING: Mark 1:1-15
SUBJ: A warning with a view towards encouraging growth and perseverance in true believers.
AIM: That we may be apprised of the necessity to grow, persevere, and attain perfection.
INTR: Like all else in scripture, warnings work for the good of true believers.
1. This passage has been quite controversial and it is hard to both interpret and understand. Arminians would use it a proof text that men can lose their salvation, while proponents of the doctrines of grace often skirt the issue.
2. We will endeavor to deal with in the context of what has been said in the previous chapter as well as the nature of true salvation.
3. And we would draw from it important lessons about the perseverance of the saints.
THESIS: The lessons of Grace often drive us away from any confidence outside of the knowledge of Christ our Lord.
I. The principles of the doctrine of Christ (vv. 1-3)
1. The idea of “leaving” does not minimize the importance of them but indicates that there is more to be had and that all we gain is to honor God in Christ.
1) They are after all the teachings of our Lord.
2) They reflect basic knowledge and understanding of necessities in salvation.
2. They are:
1) Repentance from dead works (sins) – this is not the sorrow of this world as in the case of Esau and others. 2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
2) Faith toward God as to the claims of salvation and grace
3) Of Baptisms and Laying on of hands – Compare apostolic practices (many look to O. T. ordinances.)
4) Resurrection of the dead – both of Christ and the believer for justification.
5) And of eternal judgment – Now neglected, but a basic truth.
3. We are spiritually constituted for growth – Paul knowing this says, “let us go on.”
4. “…if God permit.” He acknowledges the good pleasure of God.
II. Impossibility! (vv. 4-6)
1. Some things about those who are herein addressed warn against presumption.
1) Enlightened – Compare the example of Balaam and the Ten Virgins.
2) They have tasted (but did not eat) but openly choose to leave it.
3) Partakers of the Holy Ghost (perhaps even to the point of miracles). Compare: Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. We are reminded that Saul of old prophesied, and certainly Judas did miracles and preached the Gospel.
4) They have tasted (but not eaten) the Good Word of God. Both the Old and New Testaments allude to eating the Word. Compare the parable of the sower and note that there is some response in some (cases stony ground and thorns).
5) And the powers of the world to come. This includes thoughts of heaven and fear of hell.
2. It is never said of these that they were justified, regenerated, converted and sanctified. Matthew Henry said that there is more to saving grace than of this that is attributed to the apostates.
3. It is to be understood that such is apostasy pure and simple. These not only fall away they do so utterly. They openly repudiate what they had experienced and prove of what sort they are.
4. We understand that they openly mock the crucifixion of Christ our Lord.
5. We must see, however, that this does not limit God’s forgiveness or the work of salvation in any way. So, the idea that one may fall back into old ways only to discover the grace of God in true repentance and faith cannot come is dismissed. These discussed will not come unless it is to make a further mockery of Christ.
6. The lesson here is that we must not judge others in the matter of salvation (either way). Rather, we are to let lives speak for themselves. Neither shall we presume upon His grace and think ourselves to be saved other than in the knowledge of Christ our Lord.
III. An Apt Illustration (vv. 7-8)
1. The expectation from well-tended ground – v. 7
2. And the effect of burning the earth on that which does not produce – v. 8
IV. Better things of you (v. 9)