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Hebrews 6:9-11 by Robert Dean
Series:Hebrews (2005)
Duration:57 mins 20 secs

Hebrews Lesson 72    December 14, 2006

 

NKJ Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

 

Last week we continued our studies in Hebrews 6:9-11.  In verse 9 we read…

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

 

As we look at this set of four verses in a sort of bird's eye view, we notice that the direction that the author's thought is moving is in the direction of talking about inheritance. And in verse 12 the focus is on those imitating those who through faith and endurance there literally, (not patience, patience is makrothumiaor long on anger literally.) This is that concept of patience and waiting. This is the idea of endurance which is a different concept. It is related, but endurance is a different concept. It is staying under the pressure, staying in the adversity using the problem solving devices to implement all of God's assets that He has given us, all of our spiritual assets with a goal towards inheriting the promises. So we look at verse 12 and it is moving toward inheritance, something future. You look at verse 11 in the first part. Verse 11 and verse 12 are one sentence in the original. And in the first part of the sentence the writer expresses his desire.

 

We desire that each one of you show the same diligence to a particular end.

 

There is a goal. There is a purpose. There is a function. That is the assurance of hope until the end. So again it is a forward looking proposition there. It is looking forward to what is going to come, the ultimate fulfillment in the Christian life. 

 

Now as we come to that first verse I pointed out last time that he is stating that we can have confidence that despite failure God's grace always provides recovery. Whatever happens, whatever we do, however complacent we become in the Christian life, if we become distracted with the details of life for a year, two years, five years, ten years, 15, 20, 30 years as long as we are alive God still has a plan for our lives. The writer starts off stating this in very strong terms in verse 9. 

 

But, contrast to the fact that in the previous verses he has really reamed them out. He has given them a verbal rebuke and reproof because of their complacency. He said that it got to the point that they needed milk and not solid food. They have become dull or sluggish in hearing back in verse 11. They needed to go back and eat spiritual applesauce and baby food because they had become so complacent in the spiritual life that they had actually regressed.

 

Then there is this extremely serious, almost threatening warning that if they continue this way it will in human terms almost be impossible to reverse course unless God permits. 

 

Verse 3 emphasizes grace. God permits. God provides the means to recovery. The trouble is people can get so reversed in their spiritual life and end up living, thinking and acting like an unbeliever. It just becomes like concrete on their souls. It does become virtually impossible to recover because of the whole mechanics of carnality.   

 

But he is confident of them that they haven't gone that far. There is potential. There is grace and they can recover. 

 

He addresses them here with a term of endearment, agapetos, which is translated beloved. It comes from the verb agapao which is one of the two verbs used for love in the New Testament. It is a word that is always used of an audience that is composed of believers. These are not unbelievers which is the view that a lot of Arminians have about this passage. Arminian theology is the theology that rejects eternal security. That takes us back to a very lengthy ongoing debate that has occurred down through the centuries between people on the one hand who stress and overstress the sovereign control of God and on the other extreme you have those who stress and overstress the individual responsibility and freedom of man. When you start pushing either of these positions to their ultimate conclusion, you end up in some tremendous heresy. For example on the Arminian side (we usually refer to it today by the term Arminianism), it comes from the founder of Dutch theologian who began to modify and change his views on Calvinism. His name is Jacob Arminius. He didn't hold to a lot of things his followers hold to today. But that whole debate took place in the early 1600's. But it really goes back even further, back to the 4th century AD. There was a debate Augustin or Augustine (depending on whether you are a Catholic or Protestant how you pronounce that) who was the bishop of Hippo in North Africa and a British monk by the name of Pelagius. Pelagius held that every human being is born in the same state that Adam was born in – totally free, no corruption from sin whatsoever. So there was no inherited Adam's original sin, no Adam's original sin being imputed to them. They were therefore totally free to choose righteousness and could indeed do so. 

 

The other extreme is hyper Calvinism and high Calvinism where you have limited atonement and Christ died only for the elect. The hyper Calvinist view is you don't even have to evangelize. The hyper Calvinist position was most clearly articulated by a group of independent Baptist pastors in the late 1700's when a missionary came back from India. His name escapes me right now. What was his name? He was the father of modern missions. William Carey. When William Carey came back from India he wanted to challenge the British to send missionaries. 

 

After he gave his report to a group of pastors, one highly respected independent Baptist pastor back in England at that time. The independent Baptists were all hyper Calvinists.

 

He stood up and said, "Young man that is all fine and good, but if God intended them to be saved, He would do it without your help or mine. 

 

That was their position that God directly saved people, not indirectly through the means of individuals. Now today we get into different manifestations of this whole debate.  One of those manifestations is the Lordship debate versus what has come to be called the free grace gospel. Free grace is almost a redundancy. The term free was added because everybody talks about grace. The Roman Catholics talk about grace. Legalists talk about grace. All kinds of people talk about grace and they don't have any idea what it means. So the term free was added in that current debate today in order to reinforce the idea that there are no strings attached to grace. It is a free gift. People still have trouble understanding a free gift. 

 

Back when I was pastoring in a church where we had a lot of kids years ago, I used to do children's sermons about once a month. I would have all the little kids come down and we would do a little object lesson. I used to pull out a bill. Due to inflation, today I would probably take a $5 bill.

 

I would says, "Who wants this $5 bill?"

 

Finally some kid would say, "I'll take it."

 

I would give it to him and say, "Fine. It is yours."

 

They just couldn't believe it. Of course that is the whole issue with the offering for the gospel of salvation. It is a free gift - no strings attached. So there has developed a debate in the last twenty or thirty years that has really focused on these issues. Lordship salvation comes out of the 5th letter P in TULIP related to Calvinism. 

 

The T stands for total inability (in the high Calvinist sense) as opposed to total depravity. Total inability means man can't do anything at all and doesn't respond at all even to common grace.

 

U stands for unconditional election. 

 

L stands for limited atonement. 

 

I for irresistible grace. 

 

The P is for the perseverance of the saints. 

 

In a high Calvinist Lordship view, the T means that if you are truly regenerate then you will not commit certain sins, fall away permanently or for a lengthy period of time or have any kind of extreme carnality in your life. The real test of knowing that you are truly saved and in the faith and regenerate is that you don't turn your back on Christ or you don't commit certain sins. In fact there is one well-known Calvinist Bible teacher. He is on the radio a lot. He is on the radio here in Houston. He is a 5-point Calvinist and he has stated that if you are committing sins and you die while you are committing those sins then you were never saved. You are not part of the elect. It is not that you lose your salvation; you just never had it.  Because, if you were truly regenerate; then you would not have been doing that. The example that he uses is that if you were traveling somewhere, a lengthy distance on the Sabbath (remember under the Mosaic Law. See they had problems with the Mosaic Law too.) Let's say you were flying from here to New York on the Sabbath and the plane went down and you died, then you weren't saved. You can't know that something like that won't happen until you die. So there is no assurance of salvation. 

There is no certainty of salvation. We ended last time talking about the fact that there are many people today who lack confidence, lack certainty. This Greek word that is used here (peitho) is a word that indicates absolute certainty. 

 

We live in an era today where people aren't certain. They aren't sure about anything. Intellectuals for the last 100 – 150 years (or we could call them pseudo intellectuals) deny the certainty of knowledge. They don't have an omniscient God who can speak to them so they can't know anything for sure.  But we can know things for sure. I pointed out last time that this word is used in Romans 8:38-39.

 

NKJ Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,

 

NKJ Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,

 

So this word peitho indicates a strong level of confidence or assurance. 

 

We have the whole issue of assurance of salvation and how much do you have to understand about assurance of salvation and about eternal security in order to be saved. Some of you don't know this, but in recent years a debate has developed within the free grace camp. I am going to try to chart this out. Over here we have had this battle between Lordship and over here you have free grace. Now the problem with Lordship is they add something to faith alone in Christ alone. 

 

So they would say, in fact some of them will come right out and say, "We believe that it is faith alone in Christ." 

 

But it is not alone because they are going to bring works into the backdoor, not the front door. The front door is like a legalistic Baptist who says you have to be baptized and you can't smoke, drink, chew or go with girls who do or dance or any of those things. So it is up front. In the Church of Christ you have to believe and be baptized in order to be saved. That is front door. This is backdoor. You have to believe in Christ and if it is real faith, it will bring about certain necessary consequent works. So it is not until you see the evidence of that genuine faith that you can be sure that you are saved. You may not know until you die that you haven't turned you back on Christ. So it is a back door works here. It is unstated. This is insidious. So they are actually adding to the gospel. So they are truly teaching a different kind of gospel.

 

In Galatians 1 Paul says twice that they would be accursed if they would teach another gospel.

 

NKJ Galatians 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

 

There the Greek word is heteros meaning another of a different kind. So it is adding something to the gospel. At the free grace camp we have had another insidious development take place. You have to be aware. I was talking with some friends both at Pre-Trib and ETS and it seems like in the last 30 years there are 1,000 more and different movements, icks, acts and spasms in the evangelical church than there were 30 years ago when we were in seminary. 

 

Free grace started off with a wonderful statement. I don't know who came up with it, but their motto was faith alone in Christ alone - faith alone, no works associated with it. All you have to do to have salvation is to believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins. It's not faith plus baptism, faith plus any kind of ritual, faith plus commitment, faith plus inviting Jesus into your heart, walking an aisle, repenting; none of those things. Over the last 20-25 years some of the leaders in the Free Grace Movement have done some fabulous work emphasizing the importance of faith alone in Christ alone. No works! You are not going to buy into this false statement that you often hear. Some of you may have heard this: "While we are saved by faith alone, the faith that saves is never alone." Let me say that again. While we are saved by faith alone, the faith that saves is never alone. Has anybody ever heard that? It is that subtle backdoor works again. While we are saved by faith alone, if it is genuine real saving faith then it is going to be accompanied with works. It is never alone. 

 

Now what has happened in recent years, if you go back and you read in some of the literature this has always been there (But see a lot of us were so focused on dealing with the Lordship issue that we didn't spot that there was something subtle going on in the background in a lot of the free grace writings that kind of came up on us and bit us hard) is that faith alone in Christ alone isn't good enough. You have to have faith alone in Christ alone with an understanding that you are getting eternal life. Eternal is the key word there because what they are loading – just like the faith alone in Christ crowd - the Lordship crowd sneaks works in there through the back door. What happens here is they are loading up the word eternal with some concept that it can't be lost.  So there is the emphasis that there is some sense of eternal security or assurance of salvation no matter how nebulous or implicit it may be. If it is not there you really didn't get saved. So this has created a lot of problems in certain circles. It has become very divisive because you see the crowd that is now teaching this I would say has added just like the faith alone in Christ alone crowd has added that was wrong added evidential works. This crowd is adding eternal life to the equation. They do it in a subtle backdoor manner. The result is that if you believe in faith alone in Christ alone and you don't bring in the sense that you are accepting Christ for the result which is eternal life, then you have an insufficient gospel. You are not giving people enough information. 

So this has created a problem in our own backdoor with Chaffer Seminary. One of the faculty members was emphasizing this and we had to deal with that a lot this last year. Those are long processes to try to deal with any kind of subtle error that creeps in. We have to keep the gospel pure. What they are doing is adding to the gospel the notion of eternal life. It is not enough to believe in Jesus for justification. I trust in Christ for the forgiveness of my sins, I don't have eternal life. I didn't mention it so I am not going to get saved. If I just believe in Jesus for justification with no mention of eternal life, then I am not going to get saved. 

 

I believe that God in His omniscience is so great that He knows what I am trusting in my thinking for salvation. Even if I don't say it the right way, even if I pray a silly prayer like inviting Jesus into my heart (that's not biblically correct) but if in my thinking I am trusting in Christ alone for salvation God is going to save me. He doesn't come down and say that you have got to be a theologian with a PhD in Greek and Hebrew and say the right words in the right order in order to get saved. What is important is that in your thinking, in your volition you are trusting in Christ alone. You are recognizing that He is the only way to salvation. So you don't have to front load the gospel with assurance of salvation. In fact we were talking about this. 

 

The multiplication of organizations is without end. That is a paraphrase of Solomon in Ecclesiastes who says. "To the making of books there is no end." 

 

I was talking to Fred Liebrand who is the pastor of North Eastern Bible Church in San Antonio. I don't know what his title is – director, executive director of the Free Grace Alliance. We were talking about this last week and then an older pastor (I respect him because of what he has done. He has done a lot of things. He is a great guy, a nice guy. He is the one guy who comes to the Pre-Trib every year. He is the pastor of an Assembly of God church in Charlotte, North Carolina) His name is Joe Chambers. Joe will tell you right off the bat that he is a classic Pentecostal. He does not believe in eternal security. He believes that Christ died for his sins. So according to this view, he is not saved because he doesn't understand eternal security. If you go into the mission field and you go into Eastern Europe, 90% of the Christians in the former Soviet Union were never taught eternal security. They didn't believe it. They are as Arminian as they can be. You can lose your salvation. So that means that none of those people who trusted in Christ are ever going to go to heaven because they didn't understand eternal security. This is the most absurd thing in the world. It is something that we have to be aware of so that we can fight it. 

 

Now there is no sense of any of this in Hebrews. The writer of Hebrews is encouraging them that even though they have failed miserably, it doesn't mean that they need to re-examine themselves to see if they are in the faith. They know that they are saved because they trusted in Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the promised Savior from the Old Testament. 

 

So because of that they are saved and he is confident that God's grace can solve their problems of carnality and they can recover. 

 

The question here becomes, what is the significance of these better things. Better than what? Better things have a future orientation.   

 

The better things are the things that accompany salvation. 

 

Here is a corrected translation of the verse. We hit this last time.

 

Literal translation: But beloved concerning you we are convinced of better things that are related to your salvation.

 

So the better things are related to soteria. We ran into that word back in the first chapter of Hebrews in Hebrews 1:14.  We ran into it again in Hebrews 2:3 where the writer makes the statement…

 

NKJ Hebrews 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation,

 

In those passages I said the writer's focus is not on being saved from the penalty of sin today, but the focus is future realizing the full salvation including future rewards and inheritance. That fits the thrust of this passage in verses 9 and 10. So he says that we are convinced of better things that are related to your destiny. That salvation destiny that God has for every single believer in the realization of his future position and rewards as a king and priest in the coming kingdom. 

 

So this brings into our discussion the whole issue of rewards. II Corinthians 5:10 says...

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

 

I want you to pay attention to this word here. The word here that is translated deeds is a word that we are going to study in a minute. It is the Greek wordergon. It means works. I pointed out last time as we wrapped up that Christians always have a problem with works because we are saved by grace and not by works. So works are bad. But, are they always bad? No, they are not always bad. When you are fighting a battle against people who are constantly emphasizing works it is really easy to think that works are always bad. But the word ergon as we will see is a neutral word. Right here we are going to be recompensed. That is a positive word meaning that we are going to receive reward for works. That is not talking about salvation. 

 

NKJ Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

 

NKJ Ephesians 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.   

 

This is talking about production that occurs after salvation. So they will be recompensed for works in the body according to what he has done. Literally there is the Greek word prasso meaning what he has practiced whether good or bad. This is a reference to the judgment seat, the Bema Seat. 

 

This is a well known site in Corinth, the site of the Bema seat where the magistrate would sit and hear cases and make decisions. In the background you see the Accra Corinth which is the high point of Corinth where they have the ruins of the temple up on top. So it is the raised or elevated seat where the magistrate or tribunal would sit and make decisions. But I don't really think that Paul is thinking about the judicial bema seat as much as he is thinking about the athletic one. 

 

This is a picture of the stadium at Delphi where they have the famous Oracle of Delphi.  Located in the middle of the stadium there are some different looking seats. This was the bema seat at Delphi where the judges would sit and judge the athletes. Remember in I Corinthians 9 Paul uses the running of a race as a metaphor for receiving rewards. He who runs well receives rewards. He who doesn't becomes disqualified. So the athletic judges would sit on a bema seat also. I think that is probably the metaphor for the Judgment Seat of Christ more than the judicial – not that it doesn't have a judicial impact. Remember justification is resolved at the cross. This has to do with rewards and awards for excellence in the Christian life.

 

The context of II Corinthians 5 is the walk of the Christian life.  In verse 6 we read…   

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 5:6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

 

We what? We walk by faith and not by sight. Then in the next verse it talks about our walk is going to be evaluated. It is this walk by faith that is so important for us to understand. That is the Christian life. How do we walk by faith in the Christian life rather than on the basis of empiricism? Verse 8 reads…

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 5:9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.

 

So that should be our motivation as we want to please the Lord. 

 

Now let's go back to our text. The background for all of this discussion on rewards is the Bema Seat of Christ. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

 

Let's put that together with verse 9.  In verse 9 he says…

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.

 

How can he be confident? Well, he is going to give you an explanation. That is that first word "for". In the Greek it is the Greek word gar indicating - I have made a statement. Now I am going to explain why I can make that statement. 

 

The explanation is based on the character of God. It is based on the fact that God is. Then we have a double negative. God is not unjust. In the English two negatives cancel out each other and make it a positive. But by using the negative he really strengthens the statement. 

 

He is saying, "God is righteous and just." 

 

He is emphasizing that for his hearers. It is on the basis of God's absolute perfect justice that we know He is not going to forget whatever it is that we have done positive in terms of our walk by the Spirit, being filled with the Spirit, producing divine good - that the divine good that we did in the past even if we fail miserably and go into carnality - that divine good is still divine good and it is still ours.  It is not taken away from us.  God does not unjust to forget our work and labor of love. 

 

That is where we get into this word "work" again. But now it is compounded with a synonym kopos meaning labor. It is not just doing something in terms of work. It is laborious. It is putting forth a significant effort and it is qualified of course by the word love. So we have work and labor there. Then at the end he brings in twice the idea of service with the word minister in that you have ministered to the saints and do minister. They have been ministering in the past and they are still doing that. 

 

So let's break this down. We look at the essence of God.

 

Essence of God

 

Sovereign

 

Righteousness – standard of His character

 

Justice - the application of that standard

 

This makes up the cornerstone of His integrity. 

 

Love – that is the expression of that standard toward mankind so that these are not contradictory to one another at all. 

 

Eternal life

 

Omniscience - He knows all the facts, all the data, all the factors. Nothing escapes His attention.

 

Omnipresence - He is present to His creation all the time.

 

Omnipotence – He is able to do that which He intends to do.

 

Veracity - He is absolute truth. That is the fourth element in His integrity. Righteousness and justice as the psalmist says "are the foundation of your throne.  Mercy and truth go out from it." That is the core, the bedrock of God's integrity.

 

Immutability - He never changes. That is another element that is closely related to righteousness and justice. His faithfulness, that He never changes. He is always faithful to His Word.

 

So as we look at these concepts, we have to start with God. That is his argumentation. As he is thinking about how to encourage them, he takes them to God himself, to God's essence. He doesn't start off with some sort of abstract principle. He doesn't start off by encouraging them from something in their day-to-day experience. 

 

He starts off by saying, "Let's go back to the absolute character of God. God is not unjust."

 

  1. So the starting point of all thought has to be God – whatever it is. Whatever you do in life, if you want to sit down and think about why you do what you do, you need to push it back, push it back, and push it back until you come to God. God provides that foundation. If you are involved in any kind of work whatsoever ultimately it goes back to God as the original craftsman, the original workman, the original creator. God thinks in terms of numbers and formulas and mathematics.  God thinks in terms of language. Language isn't temporal. Language is eternal. God always thought. He always communicated. Jesus Christ is the eternal logos which means word. So language isn't something that God created. Language is something that God always had. Implicit in language is logic. That is why not only does logos mean word, but logos also is the root for our English word logic. Language to communicate has to be inherently logical. So all thought has to start with God.
  1. The only way we can know anything substantive about God is through revelation. You can't just look inside yourself. I mean some people do. They go out and chew on a peyote button and smoke dope or they go out in the hills or they sit on a pillar or walk on a bed of nails or whatever to try to generate some sort of religious experience so they can get some insight about God. But the only way that we can know anything for sure about God is if He reveals Himself to us. So we have to go back to the basic doctrine of bibliology and revelation.   
  2. Two categories of revelation which we have studied in the past. There is general and there is special revelation. These are much better terms. 

Some people refer to general revelation as natural revelation because it is through nature. That is not a good term at all. It has too many negative nuances. It is general revelation.

  1. What is general revelation? General revelation is first of all non-verbal. It is non-verbal, nonspecific, and nondirective. 

 

NKJ Psalm 19:1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.

 

Romans 1 talks about the fact that we see God's invisible attributes. His invisible attributes are displayed through the creation. We see His power and it is enough to convict man of the truth of such that he has inescapable responsibility in responding to that revelation that he is held accountable for. But it doesn't tell you anything more. You can't look up at the stars and tell what is right and what is wrong. It includes God, man, and nature. Non-verbal revelation deals with God. It deals with man. It deals with nature. It must be interpreted though by means of special revelation.  What do I mean by that? That general revelation has to be interpreted by means of special revelation. If you go to the writer of Proverbs, the writer of Proverbs is always going to nature to draw certain analogies. 

 

One of the analogies that he goes to for teaching industriousness and hard work and saving for the future is the ant. I don't know how many of you had those great little ant colonies things growing up. I didn't but some of you people enjoyed that. You can observe a lot of things about the ant colonies social structure just by observing them. One of the things that the writer of Proverbs observes is that they are very industrious – all day, in season and out of season they work hard and they are constantly storing things for the future. So he goes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to that one aspect of the ant's social structure and he utilizes that as an analogy to encourage people to work hard, to be industrious and to save for the future. But he does it because under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he is told what he can legitimately use and tie in as an analogy. There are a lot of things about ant social structure that you wouldn't want to use. You have one queen and a whole lot of guys. You don't want to take that and bring that over into application to marriage. So you have to have a framework for discerning how you interpret general revelation. So, special revelation is verbal. It is specific and it gives us the ability to interpret general revelation. But what we do know is that the Scripture is clear that we can know enough from special revelation so that man is without excuse in terms of the knowledge of God. 

 

NKJ Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

 

NKJ Romans 1:19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

 

NKJ Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

 

Have you ever seen something that is invisible? Sure you did. When you became God conscious. From the world around you, you clearly saw the invisible attributes of God.  

 

  1. Special revelation – There are two types of special revelation. There is recorded special revelation and there is non-recorded special revelation. 

In other words there is canonical and non canonical revelation. By non-canonical I mean that there was information that God revealed to Jeremiah and to Ezekiel and Daniel and even further back to David and to Abraham that was not intended to be inscripturated and preserved through the centuries. But nevertheless because it came from God it was just as inerrant and infallible and true as if it were inscripturated. In other words revelation doesn't have to be inscripturated for it to be infallible and inerrant. So there are two types of special revelation that which is recorded and that which is not recorded. Special revelation covers the same parameters as general revelation. It talks about God. It talks about man and it talks about nature. But special revelation is communicated propositionally. Now what do I mean by that? We lose these terms. Nobody today talks this way. A proposition in logic is a statement that can be falsified or verified. That is what a proposition is. A question is not a proposition. Is it going to rain tomorrow? You can't prove that one way or the other. It is going to rain tomorrow. Now you see that is a proposition. You can prove it. It is either going to rain tomorrow or it is not going to rain tomorrow. Go to the store. That is a command; that is not a proposition. Can you prove it or disprove it? No, you can't. But a proposition makes a statement about the nature of reality. Another word for that is truth. So the Bible communicates propositionally. It is not there to generate emotions in you. 

 

It is not there to give you a big warm fuzzy so that you can go to an emerging church and sit around on a sofa and have a big group hug and all go home and say, "Wasn't it good to have been in church today?" That is where things are headed. 

  1. So in special revelation what we have is that God has revealed to us who He is, not exhaustively because He is infinite. You can never know God exhaustively. Ten billion years from now when we have been in heaven for a billion years, we are still going to be learning things about God because He is infinite. We will never be infinite. So our knowledge about God is never going to be exhaustive; but it will be true. Some people have a hard time wrapping their mind around that. We can have a true knowledge of God, but we don't know everything there is to know about God. 

The problem with autonomous arrogant man is man wants to say, "I have to know everything about something before I can believe it." 

 

He will never believe anything. 

 

So we look at the essence of God. The focus in Hebrews 6 here is on the righteousness and justice of God that God is just. You have problems in your spiritual life. You have failed. You have disappointed God. You have committed who knows what kinds of sin. Nothing is irreversible. God's grace is always present if God permits as we read back in verse 3. 

 

It is His justice. He is going to deal with you in light of what you have done. There is the Greek word epilanthano which means basically to forget or not to remember or to ignore something. So God is not unjust to forget. It applies to the word adikios which is that word unjust. Adikios comes from the root dike meaning righteous or just. We get dikiosune, dikaioo, that whole word group for justice, righteousness, and justification. 

 

Now God remembers three things here in this passage. He remembers your work first of all. So work is a good thing. It is the kind of work. You always have to look at that qualification.  The second thing He remembers is your labor of love. This is an interesting phrase here. You can look at this. It is a genitive phrase.  It could have the idea of loving labor where the genitive is describing the kind of labor. I don't think that is what it is doing here because then it seems redundant to work - your work and your loving labor and then later on ministry. Then another way that this genitive could be understood is a labor resulting from love. I think that is what it is talking about here. Because Jesus made the statement that the new commandment for the Church Age is that we should love other believers as Christ loved us. So this is a labor that is motivated by love for God first and foremost. As we develop that love for God then we mature in our love for people. So we have personal love for God and then unconditional love for all mankind. So it is a labor resulting from love. 

 

This leads to ministry in the congregation. That word translated ministry is the Greek word diakoneo. That is the verb diakonos. It is a noun which relates to service. It indicates someone who is functioning in a capacity of helping others to perform duties, assisting them. It refers to people in the body of Christ who are carrying out special duties in the body of Christ – for example those who teach the Word, those who are in offices. We call them deacons today. They carry out various responsibilities within the local church.  So to understand this we have to understand how these three things work together.  So that leads us to the doctrine of work.  So we will start off looking at the basic word here.

 

Doctrine of Work

 

  1. The word is ergon. It is a neutral word. It simply means work, performance, the result or object of employment, making something or working. It is applied to labor, business, employment, anything to be done. It is work. It is in many cases meritorious but not all cases. The word for work can mean that which is good. In other words that which has eternal value. That which has spiritual significance and results in the glory of God.  So it is neither sinful nor righteous in and of itself.
  2. The word "work" can mean that which is good. That is it has eternal value, spiritual value, results or that which has no eternal value or is sinful or self righteousness. Just seeing the word "work" there doesn't tell us whether it is necessarily good or bad. We have to look at the qualifiers and look at the context. For example Matthew 5:16 says… 

 

NKJ Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

So there is a place for good works (This is divine good) that brings glory to God not self-glorification. 

 

  1. Now there are also passages that talk about work as sin. For example Luke 11:48. 

 

NKJ Luke 11:48 "In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs.

 

"Fathers" refers to the previous generations of Jews. "Them" is the prophets.

 

So these were sinful deeds.

 

Galatians 5:19 talks about the works or the deeds of the flesh. It is that same word ergon.

 

NKJ Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,

 

So works here describes sinful works.

 

NKJ John 3:19 "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

 

So here you have evil works.

 

You also have the term works modified by the genitive phrase law. 

 

NKJ Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

 

The works of the law are moral or immoral? They are moral. The law is good. It is holy and righteous Paul says in Romans 7. So you can do morality that has no value. It is just good. It is just moral. There is nothing wrong with it. It has no spiritual significance. It is not going to get you saved and it is not going to get you anywhere, because it is generated by the flesh. 

 

Matthew 23:5 talks about the religious works of the Pharisees. They were good people. They were the religious conservatives of their day. They do all of their deeds to be noticed by men. So they have wrong motivation. They are concerned about religious activities, but they had no eternal value. 

 

4.  Then we have works used for spiritually positive things that are produced in a man's life. Works in I Corinthians 3:13-15 is actually used in different senses. 

 

NKJ 1 Corinthians 3:13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.

 

That is his production. That is the totality of everything that you think, say, and do. Each man's work will be evident at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

 

So twice in that passage it is used to refer to the totality of their production, both good and bad.

 

NKJ 1 Corinthians 3:14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.

 

That is divine good. That is the work that is produced by the Holy Spirit in our lives that has ongoing value so it is rewardable. But it is still work. It is laborious at times. Ministry can be laborious at times.

 

NKJ 1 Corinthians 3:15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

 

This is the negative. This is the human good. It could be sinful or it could be human good. It just burns up. 

 

Now a couple of more passages related to works in the believer's life.

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

 

In other words God has given all you would ever need through His word and through His Spirit. 

 

So there is nothing wrong with doing good deeds if they are done in obedience to the Word of God and in the power of the Holy Spirit because that is divine good.

 

Remember Ephesians 2:8-9.

 

NKJ Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

 

NKJ Ephesians 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

 

Stop there and you think works aren't any good. But look at the next verse. 

 

NKJ Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

 

Our works didn't get us created in Christ Jesus. Salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, but we are created for a purpose, to perform divine good, to walk by the Spirit, to apply the Word of God which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. 

 

NKJ Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

 

NKJ Ephesians 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

 

You see the pastor is to equip the saints to work. What kind of work? Work of service. That is the same word we find in our passage in Hebrews 2:10, diakonia. So the pastor through the teaching of doctrine builds up and matures the body of Christ so that they can be engaged in ministry. 

 

Then one last verse here. 

 

NKJ Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

 

So once again we go back to "don't participate in unfruitful deeds but participate in fruitful deeds." All of these are connected together in I Thessalonians 1:3 the same way we have in Hebrews 5:10. 

 

NKJ 1 Thessalonians 1:3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,

 

That sounds like an oxymoron doesn't it? 

 

It's work that comes from faith. Because we trust God we are going to do what God says to do and serve others and a labor of love because we are motivated by personal love for God. We are going to labor in the ministry – whatever that ministry is that God has given each one of us, not necessarily the ministry of the local church because there are a lot of different ways in which you utilize whatever gifts the Lord has given you in different ways. Then the writer of Hebrews connects that to steadfastness of hope, that future focus which is what we will come back to talk about next time as we get into verses 11 and 12.

 

Illustrations