Introduction: Does life sometimes dissolve into boring routine? Do problems and challenges cause us to focus on them instead of God? Does success and wealth turn us away from a dependence on God? Are you tempted sometimes to just leave Christianity behind? We need to be anchored in Jesus so that none of these situations capture us and lead us from our faith in Jesus.  Hebrews 6 addresses this problem. Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1.         Progress in Faith

  1.         Read Hebrews 6:1-2. We are asked to “leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity.”  Does “leave” mean “neglect” or “forget?” (No, neither. This asks us to mature in our understanding of God’s will. It is like telling us to leave elementary school and to advance to the next level of learning.)

  1.         Notice that we are asked to refrain from “laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works.” Repentance from dead works means what? (You repent from reliance on your own works for salvation.)

  1.         Why would we leave righteousness by faith behind?  How is this a problem? (I recall a pastor who preached a variation on righteousness by faith every sermon. The writer of Hebrews asks us to learn that lesson and move on in our Christian experience.)

  1.         If you regularly read these lessons, you know that I repeatedly talk about righteousness by faith alone. Is the writer of Hebrews telling me to stop this repetition? (Hopefully not. In my own life I need to move forward in my understanding of God’s will for me. But, teaching involves students who are at different levels, and some have never properly learned or understand grace. I don’t think this is advice for teachers.)

  1.         Is it advice to the pastor I mentioned who only preached on righteousness by faith? (It likely applies to pastors who are speaking to the same congregation each week. Presumably, there are not too many who have a static congregation.)

  1.         Read Hebrews 6:3. “If God permits?” Why would God not permit moving forward in Christian maturity? (This is a further answer to the questions I just asked about the application of this instruction. The Holy Spirit will help us to understand when we need to move forward.)

  1.         Leaving the Faith

  1.         Read Hebrews 6:4-6. I recall reading this in the past and deciding that it was a waste of time to try bring back members who had left the church. Once they left, it would be “impossible” for them to return. Is that a correct understanding of these verses?

  1.         Read Matthew 10:14-15. Is this the same “you only need to try once” message? If listeners decide to reject the church, leave them to their decision?

  1.         Let’s look more closely at Hebrews 6:4-5. Does this describe people who have heard the gospel only once? (No. It lists five factors that describe those who are lost if they leave. The person is “enlightened,” has “tasted the heavenly gift,” has been guided by the Holy Spirit, and “tasted” of the “goodness of the word of God,” and “the powers of the age to come.”)

  1.         Let’s discuss each of these factors. What do you think it means to be “enlightened?” (To understand the gospel.”)

  1.         What does it mean to have “tasted the heavenly gift?” (To experience the goodness of God.)

  1.         What does it mean to have “shared the Holy Spirit?” (This is not a mere “taste,” this is someone who has experienced the power of the Holy Spirit and shared that with others.)

  1.         What does it mean to have “tasted the goodness of the word of God?” (You have experienced the advantage of following God’s will.)

  1.         What does it mean to have tasted “the powers of the age to come?” (We expect (see Joel 2:28-30) that in the last days there will be a special manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit. This person has “tasted” that.)

  1.         What kind of a Christian meets all five of these factors?

  1.         Read Revelation 2:2-5. These are people who can repent. How do you distinguish them from the five- factor people described in Hebrews 6:4-5?

  1.         Re-read Hebrews 6:6. This gives the reason why the five-factor people are lost when they leave.  What kind of behavior “crucifies” Jesus and holds Him “up to contempt?” (Those who actually crucified Jesus were hostile to Him.  They made fun of Jesus.  That is the kind of behavior described here.)

  1.         In American law we sometimes criminalize behavior that is “reckless” in addition to that which is “intentional.”  Do you think the five-factor people can be lost based on reckless behavior alone?

  1.         Notice that verse six also states that this action of turning from Jesus results in “harm” to the five-factor people. What kind of harm do you think is involved? (Obviously, the harm of being lost. But, I think this is a practical warning. You thought your life would be better if you turned away from Jesus, but life just gets worse.)

  1.         Read Mark 3:28-29. One of the five factors was “shared the Holy Spirit.” Does this text in Mark add anything to our understanding of that factor?

  1.         The context is very important here. Read Mark 3:22-24. What does the context suggest is “blaspheming” the Holy Spirit? (Attributing to Satan the works of the Holy Spirit.)

  1.         Does this add further understanding to this factor? (This adds to our understanding of crucifying Jesus. This person attributes evil to the work of the Holy Spirit.)

  1.         Read Hebrews 10:26-27. Have you sinned deliberately? (We all have.)

  1.         If we all have, how should we understand this text?  Is everyone lost? (I think our discussion of the five factors helps to explain this. The “sinning deliberately” must describe a break-up with Jesus by someone who had a serious relationship with Him before.)

  1.         Hope For the Future

  1.         Read Hebrews 6:9. We have been discussing some fairly frightening warnings! How should we view these warnings? (The writer of Hebrews tells us to be optimists. “Feel sure of better things.”)

  1.         Read Hebrews 6:10. Do our works and our love give us credit with God? (I don’t think this is intended to contradict grace. Instead, this tells us that God is just in all that He does. Before God considers us a lost cause, He takes into account what we are doing for Him.)

  1.         Read Hebrews 6:11-12. What is the most positive way to look at these warnings? (They help us to be earnest and not sluggish. They capture our attention to encourage a greater focus on God.)

  1.         Read Hebrews 6:17-18. Instead of turning away from Jesus, what is God’s goal for us? (He wants to encourage us to hold fast to our hope.)

  1.         Read Hebrews 6:19-20.  Could you use an anchor for your soul? If so, Jesus says that His promises for the future, and what He is doing for us right now as our High Priest, should give us the ultimate encouragement.)

  1.         Friend, Jesus wants to refocus our attention on Him. He not only warns of falling away, but He assures us that His goal is to encourage us, to anchor our hope to Him. Be encouraged. Jesus wants to give us hope!

  1.         Next week: Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant.