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The Danger of Falling Away
Heb. 6:1-8


Christians should grow spiritually. The Hebrew Christians in which Paul is writing, stopped growing because of their dullness of hearing. The Word of God is no longer pleasing or delightful to them. They were spiritual babies when they should have been teachers, and they can’t even discern between truth and error. In our text Paul says that anyone who doesn’t grow spiritually is in danger of God’s chastening or punishment.

I. Going to Perfection (Heb. 6:1)
A. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ. The word principles come from the word “arche” which means “beginning.” It is speaking of the basic doctrines that we begin with as believers. It is expected that we should leave those basics and move. As we grow up, we are weaned from milk to enjoy solid foods like meat.
B. The word leaving comes from the Greek “aphiemi” and means ” separation or departure” The idea is not leaving in the sense of forsaking, but of advancement. A preschool student learns how to read ABC’s and then slowly read words as he advances in learning,
C. Paul calls the Jewish Christians to move from the ABC’s or the basic principles of New Testament teachings to the deeper things of the Word of God.
D.Let us go on unto perfection; (Heb. 6:1) The basics are important. The word perfection comes from the Greek “teleiotes” and carries the idea of “completeness and maturity.” Paul is not talking about sinless perfection here, but of growing up in Christ.

Illustration 1/Application: How to See Growth in Christ
Dr. Bonar once said that he could tell when a Christian was growing. In proportion to his growth in grace he would elevate his Maker, talk less of what he himself was doing, and become smaller and smaller in his own esteem, until, like the morning star, he faded way before the rising sun.
A Treasury of Bible Illustrations.

II. Six Spiritual Basics (Heb. 6:2)
A. Repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God. This is where we respond to the gospel. Repentance and faith are the very basics of salvation. The sinner learns that his works and his religion will not save him and he turns to Christ for forgiveness and salvation.
1. “Dead works” are those works that unsaved people attempt to do in order to earn salvation. They are dead because they are unacceptable before God and therefore useless.
B. Doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, (Heb. 6:2). Baptism is the first act of obedience to the Lord. The laying on of hands refers to the conferring of power by the apostles (Acts 8:17; 19:6) and to ordination, of which there are three occasions: deacons (Acts 6:6), missionaries (Acts 13:3), and pastors (Acts 14:23).
C. The resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (Heb. 6:2) The resurrection of Christ is a major part of the gospel. Upon receiving Christ as Saviour, we are assured that because Christ conquered the grave and rose again, so will we. Our Saviour assures us that that the sting of death has been removed and that the grave holds no victory over the believer. In addition, we look at the future without fear of eternal judgment because Christ took our sin on Himself.

Permission (Heb. 6:3)
A. Permission. And this will we do, if God permit. (Heb. 6:3). This is an expression of complete reliance upon God. (Jas. 4:13-16). This is not to be interpreted as if God was unwilling that they should make such advances, or if it were doubtful whether he would allow it if they made an honest effort, and their lives were spared; but it is a phrase used to denote their dependence on him. (D. Cloud).

IV. The Possibility of Falling Away (Heb. 6:4-5)
A. 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. (Heb. 6:4-6).
B. These verses are probably the most controversial in all the word of God. Verses 4-6 could be interpreted in several ways:
1. The Christian can lose his salvation.
Refutation: There were so many scriptural proofs that the Christian can never lose his salvation. “Once saved, saved forever” is a major Bible Doctrine (Jn. 5:24, 10:27-30, 1 Jn. 5:10-13) which the Bible teaches, and a doctrine I will uphold till the day I die.
2. It is written to people who were never truly saved. (I favor this interpretation)
a. He has been enlightened or illuminated by the clear presentation of the gospel and its presentation to repent and believe. Apparently, he has made a profession of faith and has reached out for Christ as his Saviour.
b. He has tasted the heavenly gift, that is he has had a part in the activity of the church, the joyous fellowship of other Christians in the worship and service of the Lord.
c. He has tasted the goodness of the Word of God. He has come to a clear understanding of the message of the Scriptures and has mentally and intellectually approved it and appreciated the faithful and earnest presentation of it in the part of preachers from the pulpit.
d. They were made partakers of the Holy Ghost. This is not at all the same as to be born of the Spirit, sealed by the Spirit, indwelt by the Spirit, anointed by the Spirit, baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ, or filled with the Spirit.
e. He has even tasted of the powers of the coming age just as Judas Iscariot did, when he came back with the other eleven, rejoicing that in their two-by-two evangelistic campaigns even the demons were subject to them as they preach the Lord Jesus. (G. Archer)
f. The above facts are true not only to Judas but also to all make believers. They were with us in the church, prays with us, sings with us, listens to the preachings, fellowships with us yet, they were never saved. Some are even “miracle workers”. They call upon the Lord, prophesy, cast out devils, and do many wonderful works; but Jesus says, “I never knew you” (Mat. 7:23).
3. What does “if they shall fall away” mean? For me, this is a hypothetical situation because of the word “if”. Can true believers fall away? Again, I want to emphasize about the security of true believers. Genuine Christians cannot fall away. (Jn. 10:27-29, Rom. 8:35-39, Eph. 1:11-14, 1 Jn. 5:11-13). Christ will keep them from falling away. Once a baby is born, he cannot be unborn. False professors or make-believe Christians can deny, oppose and fall away from the faith they once thought they believed. God’s Word is very true in 1 Jn. 2:19 which tells us “They went out from us, but they were not of us for if they have been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us”.
4. I will emphasize again here that those false professors or make believers with full revelation of the truth about Christ and still reject and oppose it had no hope of being saved. The seriousness of this sin is described as “seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh and put Him into an open shame. The “impossible” in verse 4 goes with “to renew them again unto repentance”, which would literally mean no hope for restoration or forgiveness (Heb. 2:2-3, 10:26-27, 12:25).
5. What happens then to Christians who do not go on to maturity?
a. Such people do not lose their salvation. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Cor. 3:15). They will enter eternity but no reward for they forfeit their opportunity to serve and bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.
b. Christians can “sin unto death” (1 Cor. 11:30-32; 1 Jn. 5:16-17). This is God’s chastening, a theme which we will take up soon (if the Lord wills).

Illustration 2/Application: An Accident or Divine Justice?
A man was a prime suspect in a brutal murder, but all the evidence was circumstantial. Therefore, the man was never arrested or tried for the crime.
One night the man was traveling on an interstate highway. Apparently, he became drowsy and pulled off the pavement for a short nap. As he slept, a truck loaded with logs came along. Just as the truck passed the man’s vehicle, the chain holding the logs in place broke. The logs fell on his car and crushed him to death!
Was it an accident? Or was it the principle of divine justice doing what humanity’s system of justice could not do? No one can say with certainty, but it is worthy of thought.
But one thing is certain. A person may escape humanity’s system of justice, but he or she cannot escape God’s justice. “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Rom. 14:10b). And from His verdict there is no appeal.
My Favorite Illustrations.

V. Fruitfulness/Unfruitfulness (Heb. 6:7-8)
A. Paul draws from agriculture to illustrate the difference between obedience and disobedience in the life of a believer.
1. Fruitful Believers. Verse 7 speaks of ground that drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it. This is illustrative of believers who receive the spiritual
benefits described in verses 4 -5. Such believers bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed. They are fruitful and receiveth blessing from God.
2. Fruitless Believers. Verse 8, however, speaks of ground that has received the same rain but beareth thorns and briers. Such a product is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. Burning is not a reference to Hell, but to the judgment seat of Christ where the believer’s works will be tried by fire (1 Cor. 3:13).

Illustration 3/Application: No Mistake in Judgment
A young man who graduated from West Point said that so much tension and anxiety built up with regard to final examinations that the best scholar in his class fainted at the first question asked him. He felt that his standing in his chosen profession was at stake, that his future position depended on the manner in which he acquitted himself. If the loss or gain of a little worldly distinction could so move a man, what will be the feeling of the soul when it stands alone at the bar of God? West Point honors are but for the little moment of time here, but the results of this final examination are for eternity. There are often mistakes made in worldly judgment, but there will be no mistakes made at the judgment seat of Christ.
Illustrations of Bible Truths.

VI. Conclusion:
Let us all strive and go to perfection, that is, maturity or growing up in Christ. Real believers can never lose their salvation. However, they will be chastened if they don’t grow, serve and glorify the Lord. Rewards awaits the faithful and the fruitful. The choice is always yours my friend.

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