Pay Attention to the Gospel | Hebrews 1:5-2:9
Brian Hedges | October 15, 2023
Let’s turn in our Bibles to the letter to the Hebrews. We’re going to be in Hebrews 1-2 this morning. We’re going to cover a lot of text, so I’m going to begin in just a minute by reading one verse, Hebrews 2:1, and then we’ll work our way through.
While you’re turning there, how many of you have heard of ADHD? Probably everybody in the room is familiar with ADHD. Over six million children between the ages of three and seventeen have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the CDC, and 6.8 percent of adults worldwide have been diagnosed at least with symptoms of ADHD. That’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Of course, the common symptoms of this are things like hyperactivity, distraction, the inability to focus, all this excess energy, fidgeting, those kinds of things—difficulty in paying attention.
Now, I know there are all kinds of theories about why this is the case, like what are the causes of this. Some think it’s genetic and basically a physiological problem, some think it’s more environmental and because of being in a very connected and hyperdigital world and things like that. There’s also controversy about how to treat it, but at least one way that doctors often treat ADHD is through the prescription of medication, medication such as Ritalin.
Here’s the interesting thing about Ritalin. Ritalin is not a depressant, it is a stimulant. You know the difference between the two? A depressant, something like alcohol, actually slows down the central nervous system, and someone who’s taking a depressant will begin to calm down and feel relaxed. You would think that this fourth-grader who can’t sit still and has ADHD, you would think that in order to get them to calm down it would be better to give them a depressant. But that’s not what Ritalin is. Ritalin is a stimulant; it actually stimulates the central nervous system, and it does something to the brain that then makes the child or even the adult able to then focus and to concentrate.
Now, whatever you may think about ADHD and the prescription and the diagnosis and treatment of it, what I want to suggest this morning is that, spiritually, we live in a culture where hundreds and thousands of us as Christians have something like spiritual ADHD. We have difficulty focusing on the most important things. There’s a lot of religious activity, there’s a lot of spirituality, but there’s difficulty with actually paying attention to what matters most.
The letter to the Hebrews is written to address people in their temptation to pull away, to fall back from holding onto the gospel, and it’s written with this central exhortation that we find over and over again in this letter: “Hold fast. Pay attention. Listen to what God is saying.”
That’s especially true in the passage we’re going to look at this morning. In the first two chapters of Hebrews you have one command, and that command is found in Hebrews 2:1. It is the application on which these first two chapters turn. Everything else that’s written around it is written to enforce this application, so I want to begin by reading that. Then what I want to suggest to you is that everything surrounding this command is something like a spiritual stimulant that is meant to stimulate us so that we will pay attention to what God says in his word.
So look at Hebrews 2:1. It’s a very simple verse. “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”
That’s the command. Now, why is it that we are to pay attention? What are the stimulants that will help us to do that? There are three things that we see in the passage. These three things are:
1. The Supremacy of the Son (1:5-14)
2. The Greatness of Our Salvation (2:1-4)
3. The Glory of the World to Come (2:5-10)
We’re going to take each one of those in turn and then look at the specific verses as we go.
1. The Supremacy of the Son
First of all, here’s the first stimulant to your faith, to help you pay attention to what God is saying through his Son, Jesus—it is the supremacy of the Son of God, the supremacy of Jesus Christ.
You see this in Hebrews 1:5-14. Remember what we saw last week. We looked at the first four verses and we saw that God, in times past, had spoken to the fathers through the prophets in many different times and ways, but now in these last days he has spoken to us in his Son. There’s an emphasis here on God’s full and final revelation of himself in and through his Son, the Son of God, who is the heir of all things, who is the Creator of the world, who is the very brightness of the Father’s glory. He shares the very divine nature of the Father, and he’s seated at the right hand of God. He’s the one who’s made purification for our sins—all of these wonderful statements about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that are in those first four verses.
Then verse 4 says that he has become” as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” The rest of Hebrews 1 is written to show you why and how Jesus the Son is superior to angels. It’s all about the supremacy of the Son.
I think it’s important, if we’re to understand this and grasp this, we have to understand the logic of this passage. Any of you remember this symbol from math class in grade school? Do you remember what that symbol means? Greater than. The whole logic of this passage is that Jesus, the Son, is greater than the angels.
Why is that so important? The reason that’s important is because, for the Jewish mind, the angels were the mediators of the Old Testament, the old covenant, the law of God, specifically the Torah that was given in the law, that was given to Moses on Mount Sinai. There’s a reference to that in Hebrews 2:2, when it talks about “the message declared by angels.” Other passages of Scripture teach this as well—Galatians 3:19 talks about the law that was put in place through angels by an intermediary. There’s a similar reference in Acts 7, in the sermon of Stephen.
Even in the Old Testament, in Deuteronomy 33, we read how the Lord came down from Sinai, and with him were myriads of holy ones. These holy ones were probably the angels.
So the idea here is that the angels were the mediators, the intermediaries, the ones through whom God gave his law.
What the author to the Hebrews is telling us here is that the Son is greater than the angels, and that means that the message of the Son—namely, the gospel—is greater than the law, and therefore the new covenant is greater than the old covenant. That’s the whole thrust of this letter. Jesus is better, and he’s better in every way. He’s better in his revelation, he’s better than the prophets, better than the angels, better in the word that he gives, and better in the whole new covenant economy of how God works in the lives of his people. We’re going to see that as we work through this letter.
That’s the logic of this passage. The structure of the passage is simple. The writer here says basically four things about the Son, showing that the Son is supreme over the angels, and he does so by quoting seven Old Testament passages. This is really just exposition of the Old Testament Scriptures. We saw last week that Hebrews gives us the key to unlocking the Old Testament. It helps us understand how to interpret the Scriptures.
Let’s work through the passage. I’m just going to read through and comment briefly; we're not going to go into great detail, but I want to show you the structure of this passage, how it holds together, and then lean into some application of this passage.
First of all, this passage shows us that Jesus the Son is the Messiah. He is the sovereign King. You see that in Hebrews 1:5-9.
“For to which of the angels did God ever say,
‘You are my Son,
today I have begotten you [quoting Psalm 2:7]?’”
Just note here how this is worded. It says that God is saying this to his Son. The Old Testament Scriptures here are put in the mouth of God, and God is saying this to his Son. You know what you’re doing here as you read Hebrews 1? You are listening in on conversation between the Father and the Son. This is glorious stuff.
‘I will be to him a father,
and he shall be to me a son [quoting 2 Samuel 7:14]?’”
This is the covenant that God made with David, and he promised David, “I’m going to put one of your sons on the throne and he’s going to reign over my people forever. He’s going to be the King.” And of course, Jesus is the ultimate son of David. He is the Messiah.
Verse 6: “And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God's angels worship him,’” probably quoting Deuteronomy 32:43 from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament.
Don’t miss this. Jesus, the Son, is the object of the angels’ worship. The angels worship him. Verse 7:
“Of the angels he says,
‘He makes his angels winds,
and his ministers a flame of fire’ [Psalm 104:4].
“But of the Son he says,
‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.’”
That’s from Psalm 45.
Again, I don’t want you to miss this, the glory of this. Here are Old Testament passages that are applied directly to Jesus, and notice how he is addressed here. The Son is addressed, “Your throne, O God . . .” The Son is addressed as God. Don’t ever let anybody tell you that the deity of Christ, the doctrine of the deity of Christ was invented at the Council of Nicaea. Nicaea codified what the Scriptures taught, but it’s right here in Hebrews 1, it’s right here in the New Testament, that Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, is himself very God of very God.
Then we see in verse 10 that he is the Creator.
‘You, Lord [Yahweh, but Jesus here seemed to be equivalent with Yahweh], laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.’”
We’ve already seen this in Hebrews 1, that the Son is the one through whom God made the world. He is the agent of creation. Not only that, verse 11 says,
“‘They will perish [that is, the heavens and earth], but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment,
like a robe you will roll them up,
like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will have no end.’”
This shows us that the Son is the unchanging, eternal God himself.
Then, finally, he is the exalted priest king. Verse 13, quoting from Psalm 110:1, says,
“And to which of the angels has he ever said,
‘Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’?
“Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?”
There’s a lot of theology packed into those verses. What I want you to get here is the supremacy of the Son over the angels. Here’s the Son—the Son sits on a throne. The Son is worshiped. The Son is the Creator. The Son, taking this language from Psalm 102 and applying it to Jesus, the Son is the immutable, unchangeable, eternal God. What are angels? Creatures. They’re spirits that are sent forth from God, they are messengers, but they are servants. They’re not to be worshiped, they’re not to be venerated, they’re not to be held in any higher esteem. The Son is the one who is the Lord.
This passage is showing us the superior name of the Son, the superior nature and dignity and rank and work of the Son over that of the angels. Therefore, worship the Son. Therefore, listen to the Son, pay attention to the Son.
You might say, “Okay, you’re doing it again, Brian! It’s dense theology. I know this is good information, but how does this apply to my life?”
It does apply to our lives, and let me ask two questions to show you how we can apply this.
(1) Here’s question one: In a rapidly changing world, do you trust in the unchanging One?
Have you noticed how fast our world is changing? I mean, it’s changed more in the last hundred years than the previous two thousand years put together, and it’s changing even more rapidly now. In the last twenty-five years, with the technological revolution, with the invention of the Internet, we now live in a global economy. We now live in a world of geopolitics, where wars across the world—whether it’s in Ukraine or Israel—those wars will affect us. They will affect our economy, they will affect our lives. We’re bombarded by this stuff in the news every day, and it just seems like the world is unstable! It’s always changing.
You might feel that in your personal life, that your personal life, in your family or in your job or in your finances or in your relationships, is always changing. It can create this deep unsettledness in your heart. We live in a world that is marked by change.
The question is this, Do you have a foundation? In a rapidly changing world, do you trust in the one who does not change? Because the Son of God here is seen to be the one who does not change. He is the unchanging, eternal God. In fact, at the end of this letter, in Hebrews 13:8, the author says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Do you remember that old hymn by Henry F. Lyte?
“Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim, its glories fade away:
Change and decay in all around I see;
O thou, who changest not, abide with me!”
Do you trust in the unchanging One, Jesus Christ the Son of God? Take a passage like this; don’t miss the glory of this, that Jesus Christ is God himself. He doesn’t change. You can trust in him.
(2) Here’s a second application question. In an overly distracting world, do you have the capacity to exult in the supremacy of the Son?
Could I suggest something to you? Could I suggest to you that the capacity to appreciate a passage like this, dense with its Christological theology, is actually a measure of our spiritual maturity or lack thereof?
A few months ago, when I was on sabbatical, I went to the mountains of New Mexico. I was up in the mountains and did a lot of hiking up there, and even in the cabin where I was staying—my brother has a cabin there and I was staying there for about a week—even at that cabin I couldn’t walk anywhere without walking down a hill and then back up a hill. You know, I feel like I’m in decent. I work out. But I remember one day I walked down that hill—I was on the phone talking to Holly—and I probably walked a quarter of a mile. When I started back up that hill, I realized how out-of-shape I was! I was out of breath. You know why? Because of the elevation. The air is thinner, and because of the elevation, you get up in that elevated territory with a thinner atmosphere, it’s harder to breathe, and you begin to realize what kind of shape you’re really in.
I would suggest to you that these elevated passages of Scripture that have such high doctrine for us test us and they show us how well we’re doing spiritually, whether we’re really spiritually fit and able to grasp and hold onto and see the glory of these truths about who our God is and who Jesus Christ, his Son, is.
In an overly distracting world, where there are a million things at this moment on your phone that compete for your attention, the spiritually mature person is the person who has the capacity to turn it off, set it down, open the book, read the Scriptures, and see the glory of the Son. So test yourself. Where are you?
The supremacy of the Son is a stimulant to our faith that beckons us to pay attention. That’s the first thing.
2. The Greatness of Our Salvation
The second stimulant to our faith is the greatness of our salvation. You see this in Hebrews 2. This time I’ll read Hebrews 2:1-4.
“Therefore [in light of what we’ve just seen about the supremacy of the Son] we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard [that is, the word of God in the Son], lest we drift away from it.”
The picture here is the picture of a ship or a boat, and the anchor has become loose, and this boat is now drifting slowly, imperceptibly, away. Don’t drift.
“Pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For [here’s a comparison] since the message declared by angels [the law] proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?”
He’s talking here about the message of salvation declared by Jesus. Look at the next phrase. “It was declared at first by the Lord.” This connects back to Hebrews 1, that God has now spoken in his Son. This message, the message of the gospel, is declared by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard.
The author here is saying, “We heard it, not firsthand from Jesus the Son, we heard it—it was attested to us—by those who heard him,” meaning the apostles. This is one reason why we don’t believe the apostle Paul wrote this letter, because Paul never would have said this. Paul’s apostleship was built on the claim that he was an eyewitness to the resurrected Christ and that he received the gospel firsthand from Jesus (read Galatians 1). That’s not the case here with Hebrews. So this was someone else, a second generation. He says,
“It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
These gifts, the sign gifts and the ministry of the Holy Spirit during this period of the early church, were given to verify this message. But what is the message? It is the message of salvation. The author here is saying, “We have to pay attention to this message, because there’s no escape if we neglect that message, if we drift away from that message.”
What does he mean when he says, “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” What does he mean by salvation?
Most of the time when Christians today use the word “saved” or “salvation,” we’re looking back. We talk about the time when we were saved, “back when I was saved.” We’re looking backward to when we first placed our faith in Christ, when we first were convicted of our sins and we repented of our sins and we received Jesus, we believed on his name, and then we committed ourselves to him in a public way, maybe through baptism or through confirmation or something like that.
That’s not the way Hebrews is using this word “salvation.” This word carries the idea of deliverance, and it’s deliverance from the judgment of God, and it’s not looking backwards, it’s looking forward.
Here are some verses that talk about salvation in Hebrews. We already saw one of them, Hebrews 1:14. It speaks about those who are to inherit salvation. But that’s future tense. They’re going to inherit it later, down the road. They haven’t gotten their inheritance yet; they’re going to inherit salvation. It talks about Jesus, who is the founder of our salvation, the source of an eternal salvation.
And then in Hebrews 9:28—I think this verse is the clincher—it says that Christ “will appear a second time . . . to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Here people who are waiting for him—these are believers, but they are waiting for him to come a second time, and when he comes he’s going to save them. I think what this means is that the salvation in view here is salvation in the future. It’s salvation from the judgment and wrath of God at the end of time when Jesus comes again.
Now, it’s not wrong to talk about salvation in the past. The Bible does that, too. But here in Hebrews, when the author says, “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” he means that if we don’t hold onto this gospel word, paying attention to it, not drifting from it, holding onto it in ongoing faith, holding fast to this word—if we neglect that, if we let that go, there’s no escape from the judgment that’s coming on planet Earth.
(1) The questions for you and I, brothers and sisters, are, first of all, do you grasp the urgency of this exhortation? Do you realize that judgment is coming? Do you realize that the wrath of Almighty God is going to scorch this planet as God judges sin once and for all? That’s uncomfortable for us to think about, but that’s reality. The Bible teaches that in the Old Testament and New Testament. Prophet, apostle, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself all teach this unequivocally, that God is going to judge the works and the thoughts in the hearts of men. He’s going to judge. That’s bad news. How do we escape?
The good news is there is an escape, and that escape is through the sin-bearing death of the Son of God, who tasted death for everyone, as this chapter will say, who through his suffering has now been crowned with glory and honor, and he rescues us by taking our sins upon himself! He absolutely rescues us from sin and from the coming judgment and wrath of God against that sin. But don’t miss the urgency of this. There’s no escape if you reject that message. If you turn your back on Jesus, don’t presume that there will be salvation. Not everyone will be saved. Therefore we need to pay attention to this message. Do you grasp the urgency of this exhortation?
(2) Second question: are you drifting and neglecting, or are you paying attention? Someone once said that “drifting is the besetting sin of our age.” Drifting is dangerous, isn’t it, because it’s so imperceptible. It can happen so easily, so quietly, that you don’t even notice what’s going on. But if we begin to drift, in the image of this passage we’re drifting into danger.
There’s a theologian whose work I greatly appreciate; his name is Don Carson, D.A. Carson. He’s written a number of books, including the best daily devotional that I know of, For the Love of God. In this book of daily devotional readings, Carson says,
“People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift towards compromise and call it tolerance. We drift towards disobedience and call it freedom. We drift towards superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation. We slouch towards prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism. We slide towards godlessness and convince ourselves that we have been liberated.”
Check yourself here. Look at your spiritual life and ask yourself, are you drifting? Do you love Jesus as much now as you did when you first became a Christian? Are you as earnest in your Bible reading and prayer as you were at the best times in your spiritual life? If not, you’ve drifted.
Are you as passionate about pursuing holiness as you once were? Are you eagerly waiting for the return of Jesus Christ, or has your heart grown hard and grown cold? If so, you’re already drifting. This passage is saying, “Pay attention to the message! Don’t drift away from it. Don’t neglect it.”
So, how do you fight the drift? Let me give you three ways to battle drifting.
Number one, fill your mind with gospel truth. What helps us not drift is paying attention to the message, and the message is the gospel. So of course this means things like reading your Bible, it means meditation, it means thinking good thoughts. There are lots of ways to apply this. If you’re not much of a reader, use your phone with the Bible app. There are so many things in your phone that will get you in trouble or just waste your time; you never waste time in the word of God. So use the Bible app and listen to Scripture. Listen to good music. Listen to an edifying podcast, something that builds you up in your faith.
Look at the level of input in your life. What’s the proportion of input that is essentially gospel truth, either from Scripture or something that’s based on Scripture? What’s the proportion of that compared to entertainment? Do a little inventory. What are you putting in your mind? Fill your mind with gospel truth.
Number two, fire your heart with spiritual affections. I have in mind what the New England Puritan Jonathan Edwards called the religious affections. What are these affections? They are the inward responses of our hearts to spiritual reality—things like the fear of the Lord, trembling, joyful reverence in the presence of God. They’re things like joy and delight in God, desire for God and for holiness, love for God and for others, compassion for people in their sins and in their suffering, gratitude for God and his gifts, mourning and brokenness over our sins, hatred of sin and wickedness and injustice, and zeal for the kingdom of God. Those are the spiritual affections. Those are the kinds of emotions that we should have when we are thinking about spiritual reality. To whatever degree those things are not there, to that degree the level of our spiritual life is going to be affected. So, fire your heart with spiritual affections.
Listen, it’s not enough to have a head full of knowledge. It’s not enough to just download all the information in your mind. We need the information, we’re a teaching church. We believe in doctrine, believe in theology, believe in books—we want all of that—but it’s not enough! That’s just piling wood. You need a spark! You need a flame. You need something that’s going to make that catch fire. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, creating these spiritual affections. The only way I know to get that is time in the word and in prayer, where we’re asking God to do it. “Lord, create this in me. Give me a desire.”
Sometimes I have to pray, “You know, Lord, I don’t have much of a desire, but I think I have a desire for a desire. Give me the desire that I should have.” Pray that way. Ask God to create that in you.
Here’s the third thing to do: commit your will to practical obedience. That means believe the promises, heed the warnings, obey the commands. The Puritan John Owen, in his commentary on Hebrews, said, “The true and only way of honoring the Lord Christ as the Son of God is by diligent attendance and obedience to his word.”
Do you get that? The only way to honor Christ is by diligent attendance—that’s paying attention—and obedience to his word. You honor Christ by what you do with what he says, the word of the Son of God.
The first stimulant to your faith is the supremacy of the Son. The second stimulant to our faith is the greatness of our salvation.
3. The Glory of the World to Come
Here’s the third, briefly: the glory of the world to come. This is Hebrews 2:5-9, kind of shading into verse 10. I’m going to come back next week and we’ll look at at least some of this again, but let’s read through these verses, because this does connect. He’s continuing on with the supremacy of the Son of God above angels, and now doing it in terms of the world to come. Look at Hebrews 2:5. He says, “For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.” Then he begins to quote from Psalm 8, which is a creation psalm that’s all about how humanity was meant to have dominion over the earth. He says in verse 6,
“It has been testified somewhere,
‘What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
putting everything in subjection under his feet.’
“Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.”
He means that presently, even though man was created to rule the world, to be God’s king seeing and ruling over creation, we don’t see it that way. We don’t see the natural created order under the dominion of human beings. Birds destroy crops, insects spread diseases, wild animals maim and kill human beings. The poet Tennyson said, “Nature is red in tooth and claw.”
Human beings have to fight for their survival. We don’t see the natural world under the dominion of man; instead, we see floods and earthquakes and fires and tornadoes and hurricanes. We see a world that’s in chaos. We don’t see Psalm 8. But look at what this author says in verse 9. We don’t see everything in subjection to him yet,
“But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
He’s saying, we see Jesus for a little while made lower than the angels. Just as Jesus in his divinity in Hebrews 1 is superior to the angels, now we’re seeing Jesus in his humanity, who for a little while was made lower than the angels. But what has he done? He has suffered, he has died on the cross, tasting death for everyone, and therefore he is crowned with glory and with honor.
Once again, we get to the exaltation of Christ. He’s been resurrected! He didn’t stay in the grave. He’s been seated at the right hand of God; he’s been crowned with glory and honor.
You know what that means? That means that there is a human being on the throne. It means that human nature has now been exalted in Jesus Christ.
I love the way the old Scottish theologian John Duncan put it. He said, “The dust of earth is on the throne of heaven.” Jesus, in his incarnate humanity, has been exalted, and in his exaltation it shows the glory that is his and the glory of the world to come. That means the second Adam reigns.
Listen, my friend; if you are in Christ, if you are joined to him, then you also will share in that glory. Look at verse 10.
“For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.”
Let me ask you—here’s the application—have you considered the price that Jesus paid to save you and to bring you to glory? I mean, this is the heart of the gospel, isn’t it? Jesus, in his death and his resurrection—this is the message that Hebrews is saying, Don’t lose this, don’t drift away from this, don’t forget this, pay attention to this! The cross, the resurrection, the Son of God who suffered for you, who died for you, and who rose again for you so that he could bring you to glory.
We’re going to sing these words in a few minutes:
“Come behold the wondrous mystery,
Christ, the Lord, upon the tree;
In the stead of ruined sinners
Hangs the lamb in victory.
See the price of our redemption,
See the father's plan unfold,
Bringing many sons to glory;
Grace unmeasured, love untold.”
Last question—are you living in the daily power of this hope, the hope of glory? Are you living in the daily power of this, so that the glory of the world to come—the coming glory—being one of the children of God that Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection is bringing into glory, that that hope is fueling your life, that it’s a stimulant to your faith? Is it helping you pay attention, helping you listening, helping you not drift, because you have this hope deep in your heart of what Christ has done for you and what is yet to come?
I think one of the biggest problems we all face—and I face it with you—is we get so distracted by everything else—by the technology, by the entertainment, by the news, by the press of daily life, by the stresses of trying to raise a family in this world, make a living in the world—we get so distracted by all of that that we end up with a temporal mindset instead of an eternal perspective. We’re caught up in the hubbub of daily life and we’re forgetting that this is going to be over in an instant and glory’s coming for those who are in Christ. Do you believe that? Are you living in that hope?
Do you remember the story of Frances Chadwick? Some of you have probably heard me tell this before. She was the first woman to ever swim across the English Channel. In 1952, she was swimming from Catalina Island to California, but the weather conditions that day were so foggy that she couldn’t see. She had been swimming for fifteen hours—fifteen hours! Can you imagine? She had been swimming for fifteen hours, trying to get to the shore of California, but she couldn’t see. And finally, exhausted and worn out, she asked to be pulled into the boat. Then she discovered that she was only half a mile away.
She said, “All I could see was the fog. I think if I could have seen the shore I would have made it.”
Listen, friend. The letter to the Hebrews is written to show you the shore. It’s written so that you can pierce through the fog and you can hold fast to the hope of your confession, the hope of what Jesus Christ has done for you in his death and resurrection. Don’t lose your hope.
Why should we pay attention to the gospel? Because of the supremacy of the Son, because of the greatness of our salvation, and because of the glory of the world to come.
Friend, if you find yourself beset with spiritual ADHD—attention deficit hyperactivity disorder—and you’re doing all kinds of things but you’re not doing this one thing, you’re not paying attention to the gospel, you’re not listening to Christ, let these truths be a stimulant to you this morning. Get your nose back in the Book, get your knees back on the floor, get your heart lifted up to the Lord in heaven, and to cherish the good news of what Jesus Christ, our crucified and risen Savior, has done for us.
If you’re not a Christian this morning, today is a day of salvation. Don’t miss the urgency of this message. How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? Come to Christ. Trust in the unchanging Son of God. Turn from your sins, believe in him, find salvation in his name. Let’s pray together.
Gracious, merciful God, we thank you this morning for your word. What glorious depths are in the Scriptures for us; we’ve barely scratched the surface of it this morning, but we pray that by your Holy Spirit you would take these truths, that you would burn them deeply into our hearts, and that you would use them to motivate us, to stimulate us, to inspire us to simply believe, to hold fast to the faith, to pay attention to Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savior, the Son of God.
Lord, we ask you to do a work in our hearts this morning, that by your Spirit you would search us out, that you would help us examine ourselves, to see if there’s anything that we need to do differently in the way we think, maybe in the way we organize time, maybe in what we cultivate in our hearts.
Lord, help us to earnestly lean into you and to your grace. This is not something we can do in ourselves; this is not about self-effort or self-help. It’s all about trusting in you and listening to what you have said to us through your Son, Jesus. We need your Spirit to give us ears to hear and eyes to see and a heart to understand. We ask you to do that for us this morning.
As we come to the table here in a few moments, we ask you to prepare us for it. Help us to meet with you in these moments of worship. As we take the elements, may we by faith lay hold of Jesus Christ, who is the bread of life. And we pray that our hearts would be helped and that your name would be honored in and through it all. We pray this in Jesus’ name and for his sake, amen.