Hebrews 2:1-4 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things
which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
2 For if the Word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward;
3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him;
4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will?
I want to talk to you about the opportunity we have. We have an opportunity: the writer of the Book of Hebrews says, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” When he talks about the “so great salvation” he is talking about something more than having your sins forgiven and being justified. He is talking about a so great salvation beyond where we are now.
We have an opportunity. In Mark 12:29 Jesus was asked what was the foremost commandment. He said, “The first commandment is, Hear, O Israel!” That is the first commandment – hear! We are the Israel to whom He is talking. If you don’t hear, you won’t know the opportunity you have. Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Mark 12:29-31. That’s very difficult, because it isn’t in human nature to love the Lord. Human nature is God’s enemy. It will not submit to the Word of God. It is not that the nature of man just doesn’t want to, it actually can’t. It won’t because it can’t (Romans 8:7). That is why we need to be born again. God is not looking for human love anyway. Our love for Him must be divine love, but divine love is not inherent within the nature of man. So what do we do? We have to first appropriate His love and then love Him back with His love. That is what John meant when he said, "We love Him, because He first loved us” (I John 4:19). We have the opportunity to be the people that love Him with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength – but it doesn’t just happen. We have to appropriate His love. What a tragedy to have this opportunity and miss it.
When we learn how to appropriate the love of God, then we have the opportunity for the Lord to love others through us. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:44 that we should love our enemies and bless those who curse us. Human nature can’t do that; it wants to retaliate. What Jesus is really saying is “Let Me love them and bless them through you.” His love and blessing can make an enemy a disciple, like Saul who became Paul. If we have hatred and resentment in our hearts, though, His love and blessing can’t flow through us. We have the opportunity to become channels for His love and blessing others. We have the opportunity to be a unique people, a people through whom the Lord ministers, changing His enemies into disciples.
Human nature doesn’t want to serve the Lord. I rejected my first opportunity to accept Christ as my Savior, but thank God I was given another opportunity. Once when I was in high school I went to church with a friend. I was under conviction during the sermon. I was young and ignorant of the Scriptures. I knew nothing of being born again. The Pastor sensed that the Holy Spirit was dealing with me and came over to talk with me after the service. I pretended to accept Christ just to get rid of him. I missed an opportunity.
Some years later I was in a real bad auto accident. In fact, they didn’t expect me to live. I was in a head-on collision in an Econoline van. I was sitting on the engine in between the two front seats and in a head-on collision my legs were broken up really bad. I was in the Baptist Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina. The Baptist chaplain used to come by and visit me every day and talk with me for awhile, but he never spoke to me about God or religion. During that time I laid on that bed with casts up to my waist on both legs. I couldn’t move; I was virtually helpless. One day I felt like my life was being turned upside down. I know now that the Holy Spirit was drawing me. At the time I didn’t know what was happening to me. I didn’t know what to do or what I was feeling, but I knew one thing, I was troubled and I needed to talk to someone. I waited for the chaplain to come around again. Finally, He came and as he stood by my bedside I poured out my heart. I unloaded and he said, “Well, everything will be okay” and turned around and walked out. I don’t feel that missed opportunity was completely my fault, but it was a missed opportunity. About four years later I got another opportunity and that one I did not miss. The Holy Spirit finally overcame the resistance of my nature.
Mark 1:9-13 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of
Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
10 And straightway coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him:
11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
12 And immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.
13 And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto Him.
Matthew and Luke also record this account of Jesus going into the wilderness to be tempted of Satan. Matthew says “Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (Matthew 4:1). Luke says that “Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Luke 4:1). Each of them says that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, but Mark says that the Spirit “drove” Him into the wilderness. I have prayed to be driven by the Holy Spirit many times because I was aware of the resistance in my own nature. “God, let Thy Spirit drive me. Drive me into what I know I should be, what I should become, my service unto You, to worship You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.” I knew I couldn’t do it. It wasn’t in me to do it, but I knew the Spirit of the Lord could drive me and put that something in my heart that I needed. There is no greater gift that God can give you than the desire to know Him, to walk with Him, to really love Him. It is very easy to settle for a substitute. “Well, I do a lot of good works. Surely that will please the Lord and I won’t have to give Him all of my heart. I’ll do good deeds. I’ll even go out and witness. I’ll give a lot of money to the church.” It’s easy to give money to the church in place of real dedication. God is not looking for a substitute. He’s looking for someone who will love Him with a whole heart. We have the opportunity to be that people.
John 4:23-24 The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall
worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth: for the Father seeketh such to
24 God is Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
God is Spirit! They that worship “must” worship Him in Spirit and truth. Must means must. That’s the way it has to be. You can’t substitute something else. You must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. But then He says, “For such the Father seeketh.” I haven’t found many Scriptures in the Bible saying that God is seeking something. He is looking for worshippers that will worship Him in Spirit and in truth, and He is looking for them because there aren’t many of them. They are hard to find. But we have the opportunity to be among the few that do worship Him in Spirit and in truth. We have the opportunity to be the people God is seeking.
People who do not walk with the Lord don’t know what they are missing. This is life, real life. What you see in the world is not life. Think about it! We have the opportunity to walk with God. We have the opportunity, but how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? As we were worshiping it kept coming to my heart “an opportunity, an opportunity.” I don’t want to miss it! Do you want to miss your opportunity?
Hebrews 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
There is a day of rest that remains. David didn’t enter it and neither did Joshua (Hebrews 4:7, 8). So there is a day of rest that remains for a people. We are talking about the Kingdom of God, a relationship with the Lord beyond what has been known. Any generation before us could have entered it but did not because of unbelief (Hebrews 4:6). We have the same opportunity, but if we do not enter in, it will remain for another generation. Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. Hebrews 4:1. How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation…? Hebrews 2:3.
Copyright © 2003 by Henry DuBose