40.Day.Week2

JULY 6

POINT OF NO RETURN

HEBREWS 6:4-6 | For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. Please read to verse 20.

What is apostasy? It’s like a divorce. It’s a conscious and calculated decision to terminate one’s relationship with God even after being fully initiated into the faith.

What leads to apostasy? The pressures are both external and internal. In its early days, the church of the Hebrews experienced great suffering. They gladly gave up their earthly possessions in view of their treasure in heaven (10:32–34). Given their zeal as first-generation Christians, the external pressures only made them stronger.

Internal threats, however, are always more deadly than external ones. Once the persecution eased and the pioneer generation was passing on, second generation undercurrents began to surface. When they should have been teachers, they were still camping around the basics, living on baby food. They stopped learning and listening to God’s Word (5:12-14).

Then the pressure to soft-pedal the Gospel kicked in. And with that, the temptation to compromise their convictions for social and economic gain. Some even abandoned the fellowship (10:22). The author of Hebrews sounds the alarm.

What is the cure for apostasy? Humanly speaking, there is no cure. Only prevention. God did say in Hosea 14:4, I will heal their apostasy. He has done this through Jesus once and for all on the Cross (HEBREWS 7:27). Now, therefore, if we keep on sinning deliberately after knowing the truth and receiving the Cure, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins (10:26-27). When it comes to apostasy, therefore, prevention is absolutely essential.

How then do we prevent apostasy? Hear the Sermon to the Hebrews! Listen again and again. This first-century homily calls every generation of Christians to hold fast to the hope set before us. This hope is an anchor of the soul, reaching into the heart of heaven where Jesus our Great High Priest has gone before us (6:19-20). The storms of life may smash your ship to shreds. But your anchor holds within the veil. Hold fast to your end of the rope. Never let go. This is our only vaccine against apostasy.

POINT OF NO RETURN

HEBREWS 6:4-6 | For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. Please read to verse 20.

What is apostasy? It’s like a divorce. It’s a conscious and calculated decision to terminate one’s relationship with God even after being fully initiated into the faith.

What leads to apostasy? The pressures are both external and internal. In its early days, the church of the Hebrews experienced great suffering. They gladly

 

JULY 6

gave up their earthly possessions in view of their treasure in heaven (10:32–34). Given their zeal as first-generation Christians, the external pressures only made them stronger.

Internal threats, however, are always more deadly than external ones. Once the persecution eased and the pioneer generation was passing on, second generation undercurrents began to surface. When they should have been teachers, they were still camping around the basics, living on baby food. They stopped learning and listening to God’s Word (5:12-14).

Then the pressure to soft-pedal the Gospel kicked in. And with that, the temptation to compromise their convictions for social and economic gain. Some even abandoned the fellowship (10:22). The author of Hebrews sounds the alarm.

What is the cure for apostasy? Humanly speaking, there is no cure. Only prevention. God did say in Hosea 14:4, I will heal their apostasy. He has done this through Jesus once and for all on the Cross (HEBREWS 7:27). Now, therefore, if we keep on sinning deliberately after knowing the truth and receiving the Cure, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins (10:26-27). When it comes to apostasy, therefore, prevention is absolutely essential.

How then do we prevent apostasy? Hear the Sermon to the Hebrews! Listen again and again. This first-century homily calls every generation of Christians to hold fast to the hope set before us. This hope is an anchor of the soul, reaching into the heart of heaven where Jesus our Great High Priest has gone before us (6:19-20). The storms of life may smash your ship to shreds. But your anchor holds within the veil. Hold fast to your end of the rope. Never let go. This is our only vaccine against apostasy.

Prayer Track

■ No one is immune from apostasy. If you think you stand, take heed lest you fall (1 CORINTHIANS 10:12). But how would you know if you committed apostasy? Easy. Just as you would know if you were divorced. Apostasy doesn’t just happen. There is a trajectory. The warning signs in Hebrews are so clear and numerous, they are impossible to miss! We ignore them to our own peril. They include: Drifting (2:1). Neglecting salvation (2:3). Going astray (3:10). Unbelief (3:12). Rebellion (3:16). Testing God (3:17). Disobedience (4:6). Hardness of heart (3:8,13,15; 4:7). Dullness of hearing (5:11). Living on baby food (5:13). Slothfulness (6:12). Wavering (10:23). Quitting church (10:25). Sinning deliberately (10:26). Disregarding discipline (12:5). Despondency (12:12). Sprouting bitterness (12:15). Immorality and indifference (12:16). And running after strange teachings (13:9).

As a spiritual exercise, reflect on the warning signs above. Read the verses in your Bible. Note the ones that describe the state of your spiritual life. Confess to Jesus and make a U-turn. This is the meaning of repentance. Stay as far away from apostasy as you can. Run for your life! Pray: Lord Jesus, thank you for flashing all these warning signs in my face. I am prone to wander. I am vulnerable. Forgive my waywardness. Have mercy on me. I surrender all. You alone are able to keep me from falling (JUDE 24).

■ Apostasy is a sign of the End (1 TIMOTHY 4:1-2). Is someone in your circle skirting the edge of apostasy? You who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted (GALATIANS 6:1). Examine yourself first. Clear the log from your eye (MATTHEW 7:5). Spend much time interceding for that erring brother or sister. If you believe God wants you to restore this person, get counsel from your pastor or cell leader. Then, proceed with caution to snatch your brother or sister out of the fire (JUDE 23). Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God (JAMES 5:20 THE MESSAGE).

■ Only God knows when someone crosses the line. So never give up on anyone, least of all, yourself. Ask God to write his warnings on our hearts and keep us light years from the edge. Turn these lyrics into intercession:

When darkness veils his lovely face, I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand.

(EDWARD MOTE, 1797–1874)

■ God knows. This election, ask God to highly favour people of character, competence, and compassion who seek the long-term good of Singapore — so that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (1 TIMOTHY 2:2).

Prayer Track

■ No one is immune from apostasy. If you think you stand, take heed lest you fall (1 CORINTHIANS 10:12). But how would you know if you committed apostasy? Easy. Just as you would know if you were divorced. Apostasy doesn’t just happen. There is a trajectory. The warning signs in Hebrews are so clear and numerous, they are impossible to miss! We ignore them to our own peril. They include: Drifting (2:1). Neglecting salvation (2:3). Going astray (3:10). Unbelief (3:12). Rebellion (3:16). Testing God (3:17). Disobedience (4:6). Hardness of heart (3:8,13,15; 4:7). Dullness of hearing (5:11). Living on baby food (5:13). Slothfulness (6:12). Wavering (10:23). Quitting church (10:25). Sinning deliberately (10:26). Disregarding discipline (12:5). Despondency (12:12). Sprouting bitterness (12:15). Immorality and indifference (12:16). And running after strange teachings (13:9).

As a spiritual exercise, reflect on the warning signs above. Read the verses in

your Bible. Note the ones that describe the state of your spiritual life. Confess to Jesus and make a U-turn. This is the meaning of repentance. Stay as far away from apostasy as you can. Run for your life! Pray: Lord Jesus, thank you for flashing all these warning signs in my face. I am prone to wander. I am vulnerable. Forgive my waywardness. Have mercy on me. I surrender all. You alone are able to keep me from falling (JUDE 24).

■ Apostasy is a sign of the End (1 TIMOTHY 4:1-2). Is someone in your circle skirting the edge of apostasy? You who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted (GALATIANS 6:1). Examine yourself first. Clear the log from your eye (MATTHEW 7:5). Spend much time interceding for that erring brother or sister. If you believe God wants you to restore this person, get counsel from your pastor or cell leader. Then, proceed with caution to snatch your brother or sister

out of the fire (JUDE 23). Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God (JAMES 5:20 THE MESSAGE).

■ Only God knows when someone crosses the line. So never give up on anyone, least of all, yourself. Ask God to write his warnings on our hearts and keep us light years from the edge. Turn these lyrics into intercession:
When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

(EDWARD MOTE, 1797–1874)

■ God knows. This election, ask God to highly favour people of character, competence, and compassion who seek the long-term good of Singapore — so that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way
(1 TIMOTHY 2:2).