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Saturday, February 4, 2017

HEBREWS 2:2-3

"For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast,
and every transgression and disobedience
received a just recompense of reward..."
(verse 2)


Some believe this is at least in part referring to Genesis 19 when the angels came to Lot in Sodom.
Abraham had prayed for Lot and for the city, and this is what God did in response.
 
"Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom.
When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.  And he said, 'Now behold my lords, please turn aside into your servant's house, and spend the night...Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight?  Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them...he said, ...'Please now my brothers, do not act wickedly...do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.'  But they said, 'Stand aside,'  Furthermore they said, 'This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.;  So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door,  But the men (angels) reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door.  They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway.'  Then the two men said to Lot, 'Whom else have you here?...bring them out of the place; for we are about to destroy this place because their outcry has become so great before the Lord that the Lord sent us to destroy the city."


At first his sons-in-law thought the angels were jesting.  However, the angels had to jerk the women out in order to save them "for the compassion of the Lord was upon him."  "Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven."

Hmm.  Many are still being struck by blindness to the message of God.  How far our society has "evolved" to accept homosexuality has a normal affair.  These beautiful men, angels, were the target of evil desires gone rampant.  Still today people think God is jesting.  There is even in the church those who want to explain away the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as something other than the judgment against homosexuality--I heard a leader preach this at a "conservative" evangelical camp-meeting many years ago.  It caused a little uproar.  The next preacher in turn preached the same passage correctly dividing the word of truth.  God spoke many times through angels as recorded in Scripture, but perhaps none so powerfully with the warning that is still relevant to us today.Go back now and reread Hebrews 2:2.


"How shall we escape,
if we neglect so great a salvation?
After it was at the first 
spoken through the Lord,
it was confirmed to us by those who heard."
(verse 3)

I was raised as an innocent, not understanding what dirty words meant, and never having had homosexuality explained to me.  It was as far from my thoughts as East is from the West having never been exposed to those who practiced it.  So in our first pastorate up in the mountains of Northern California, we were called to a place way back in the woods where we encountered a group of "hippies" who lived together.  Rather than asking for spiritual guidance as we were lead to believe, they wanted to bait my husband on the question of homosexuality by asking, "Do you think there is anything wrong with it?"  I vividly remember with wide eyes, but not completely understanding what the tittering was about, their laughing at us for sticking by the Word of God.   (My husband had to explain it to me later.)  How much more are Christians laughed at and scorned and even attacked for this now.  And I don't apologize for my innocence, for walking and talking with God in the Garden before my eyes were completely opened.


But you see, homosexuality isn't the only sin with judgment: all sin brings judgment.  Adam Clarke says, "If they (Old Testament) who had fewer privileges than we have, to whom God spoke in divers manners by angels and prophets, fell under the displeasure of their Maker, and were often punished with a sore destruction; how shall we escape wrath to the uttermost if we neglect the salvation provided for us, and proclaimed to us by the Son of God?  Their offence was high; ours, indescribably higher...by bringing such an abundance of heavenly light into the world, it saves or delivers men from the kingdom of darkness, ignorance, error, superstition, and idolatry; and provides all the requisite means to free them from the power, guilt, and contamination of sin.  This salvation is great when compared with that granted to the Jews: the Jewish dispensation was provided for the Jews alone; the Christian dispensation for all mankind...the Jewish dispensation referred chiefly to the body and outward state of man--washings, and external cleansings of the flesh; the Christian, to the inward state--purifying the heart and soul, and purging the conscience from dead works..."  (Remember, we are talking about this letter written to the Hebrew Christians.)




He goes on to say, "Those who neglect it, are not only they who oppose or persecute it (the men of Sodom who tried to take the angels by force to practice their homosexual acts) but they who pay no regard to it (Lot's sons-in-law who thought the angels were jesting, not taking God seriously at His word)...who do not concern themselves about it, do not lay it to heart, and consequently do not get their hearts changed by it.  Now these cannot escape the coming judgments of God."


In Barnes commentary he says, "'If we neglect.'  It is not merely if we commit great sins.  Not, if we at murderers, adulterers, thieves, infidels, atheists, scoffers.  It is, if we 'neglect' this salvation--if we do not embrace it...'Neglect' is enough to ruin a man.  A man who is in business need not commit forgery or robbery for it to ruin himself; he has only to 'neglect' his business and his ruin is certain.  A man who is lying on a bed of sickness, need not cut his throat to destroy himself; he has only to 'neglect' the means to restoration, and he will be ruined.  A man floating in a skiff above Niagara, need not move an oar at the proper time, and he will certainly be carried over the cataract.  Most of the calamities of life are caused by 'neglect.'  By 'neglect' of education, children grow up in ignorance; by 'neglect,' a farm grows up in weeds and briars; by 'neglect' a house goes to ruin; by 'neglect' of reaping, the harvest would rot in the fields.  No worldly interest can prosper where there is neglect, and why might it be so in religion?...and why may it not be so with the concern of the soul?"

John Wesley describes it as "A deliverance from so great wickedness and misery, into so great holiness and happiness.."

Andrew Murray says of  "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation?" The gospel does not, as many think, lessen--it increases our danger.  It does not diminish, but will terribly intensify, the soreness of the punishment in those who neglect it...The answer is...'So great salvation,' The insight into the more abundant glory, the divine, the all-surpassing greatness of this salvation, is what will compel men willingly and joyfully to give up all and buy this pearl of great price."

Matthew 22:5, "but they paid no attention..." is another passage which describes neglect, where it is used of those who disregarded or treated with contempt, the invitation to the marriage supper.

Pay attention, don't drift, do not neglect.
This is why He hates lukewarm-ness
and will spit it out of His mouth.







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