Studies for Young People
In the Book of Hebrews
Theme: Stay Focused
Lesson 7: The Dangers of Backsliding
The writer was leaving the exhortation and dealing with the problem. These Jews should be beyond this point in their Christian Life, but here he was laying this foundation again; they were backslid. To backslide on God means to:
1. turn your back on what you know and believe to be true
2. to not be as close to God as you once were
3. the act of apostatizing from faith or practice; a falling insensibly from religion into sin or idolatry
The first danger is that you fall into sin. “And sin when it is finished bringeth forth death.” (James 1: 15) The second danger is that you take someone else with you. Jesus said to follow me. If we are following him and then we start to slide away, the person following us or watching us is most likely to slide as well. You are not an island to yourself. The choices you make affect those around you either in a positive way or a negative way.
Read: Hebrews 5: 11 – 14
Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Step one: Forgetting what Christ has done and no understanding of the things of God. You start going astray and going back into the world. According to verse 11 the writer wanted to convey to them more in depth teachings concerning our High Priest but they were unable to receive it because of their backslid condition.
Step two: Dull of hearing – you will not hear what the Bible has to say and you have left your first love.
Step three: You are no longer a teacher become a student. Need to be taught the first principles of the oracles of God again. You are unskillful in the word.
Step four: No longer a student and have become a babe – meaning that you no longer have any discernment and are blown about with every wind of doctrine. You are no longer able to discern between good and evil.
Read Hebrews 6: 1 – 8
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
The writer is encouraging them to go on in their Christian faith. Don’t lay the foundation of dead works again. For it is impossible once you have been saved to taste of the heavenly gift, to taste of the power of the word of God, and to taste of the power of the world to come to renew them again unto repentance. But to do that would be to crucify the Son of God afresh and to put him to open shame.
For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
If a Christian will be fruitful in their Christian service to God and will multiply, God will bless them.
But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
If a Christian will not be fruitful in their Christian service to God and brings shame to His name, God will take them out. (James 1: 15)
Once you have damaged your testimony, you become a castaway; God can not use you any more. Think about it. For example someone convicted and sentenced to do time in prison. When they get out it is very hard to start life over. Why? Now, they have a past that follows them wherever they go.
I Cor. 9: 24 -27
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Our deeds whether they be good or evil will be put to the test.
1 Cor. 3: 9 – 17
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
Warning: vs. 3 – 4
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Examples: Vs. 11
Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
1. Cain and Able decided to bring an offering to God. Cain brought an offering of grain. Able brought an offering of blood. Cain’s was rejected, but Able’s was excepted. Then, because of jealousy, he killed his brother Able. (Genesis 4: 1 – 16)
2. Balaam was a prophet who was so far from God that he tried to prophecy against Israel for reward from an heathen nation and the angle of the Lord stood in his way. (Numbers 22: 1 – 41)
3. Core is referring to Korah and his rebels, found in Numbers 16: 1 – 34 & Numbers 26: 1 – 11, who challenged the authority of Moses. God had the earth open up and swallow them as punishment.
Their Fiery End: Vs. 12 – 16
These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
Luke 9: 62
No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
What should we do? Jude Vs. 20 – 25
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Just like Jude the writer of Hebrews turns things around. He says boldly in verses 1 – 8 this is were you are and were you are headed if you don’t change; but in verses 9 – 12 he says, I believe in you, you can do this, and you are not to far gone.
Read Hebrews 6: 9 – 12
But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Three Assurances for Doubters that God will do what He said He will do
1. Promises Kept in the Past
For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.
1John 5: 10 – 15
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
2. Know that God can not Change and will not Lie
Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
Psalm 89: 28 – 34
My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
3. Believe in Jesus’ prophesied and fulfilled work done for us
Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
1 Peter 1: 3 – 12
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
Dear Young Person,
May I encourage you to get back in the race; believe to the end; and patiently endure. God rewards faithfulness. Just as the Jews here were being lured back into the Old Testament way, so are some of you being lured into peer pressure. Remember to stay focused and stay faithful to God. He can help you through these trying times in your life.