Bible Reading Hebrews 3v1-13 . Text Hebrews 3 v7&8, "Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness
The people to whom these words were written were those who were saved from a Jewish background.
And in this chapter these Hebrew believers were being shown the superiority of Christ over Moses who was the great lawgiver. V3 says, "For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.
Now the reason for this is because the Jews were a people who took great pride in their past privileges as a nation. They thought much of the prophets, the high priest & Moses. They even prided themselves in the fact that they were a nation visited by angels. But here in this chapter they were being told Christ the Son of God was far greater than all these. And being the one who was far superior then His voice & Word was to be heeded above everyone else's.
And this is what is being emphasised in our text in V7 &8 when it says, "To day if ye will hear his voice,8 Harden not your hearts,." These Hebrews were at this time being persecuted & tempted to depart from the ways of God & his Word. Therefore these words in V7&8 are given by the inspired writer with the purpose of exhorting them not to turn away from God & His Word.
And then to reinforce this exhortation the writer tells of how ancient Israel perished in the wilderness and were not able to enter into the promised land of Canaan.
In v8 -11 the writer is actually quoting what God said about this matter from Ps 95.
And in relation to that incident we read of what God said in Hebrews 3v7-11, " Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
And it was because of the unbelief & procrastination of many in ancient Israel that God judged them and they could not enter Canaan .V19 says, "So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief."
Now just as ancient Israel needed to heed God's voice if they were to enter Canaan. And just as these Hebrew Christians need to hearken to Gods Word if they were to enter into all the blessings that God had for them. So in like manner you & I must heed Gods Word if we are to enter into all the blessings of Gods so great salvation and be saved from wrath to come & be sure of heaven.
And it's for such a reason that I want you to consider these words in Hebrews 3 v7 &8.
1. A Special Duty
This special duty is found at the end of V7 where it says, "if ye will hear his voice."
And these words teach us that every sinner has a duty to heed the voice of God in the gospel.
Now it must be said that the Lord has different ways of speaking to the sinner
We are told that God can speak to men through the greatness of his creation.
Psalms 19 v1&2 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. V2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
The light of day reminds us of the light of salvation, which Christ can bring to the sinful heart.
The darkness of night reminds us of the darkness of sin that effects every life and it also reminds of hell itself, that place of outer darkness where the sinner will suffer everlasting punishment for his sin.
Therefore as you think upon the greatness of Gods creation you are made to realise that there is a God in heaven with whom you have to do. On to whom you must give account one day .
Then we can also say that Gods speaks to the sinner by the voice of providence.
He uses trouble, sickness, sorrow, and trials & loss to speak to sinners and draw them to Himself for salvation. We have a wonderful example of this at that time when Lazarus died and was raised to life .
The Bible says, "many of the Jews which came to Mary and had seen the things which Jesus did believed on him."
My friend is it the case that God has been speaking to you at this time through different providential circumstances. Through trial loss suffering you have been reminded as never before of you need of God & his salvation in your life.
Through these thing you have been reminded that there is a heaven for you to gain and a hell to be shunned. . yes you have been reminded of your need to repent of your sin and trust in Christ for salvation.
Then it must also be said that God speaks through the supernatural revelation of His own inspired Word which is the Bible from Gen - Revelation. Romans 10 v17 says Faith cometh by hearing & hearing by the Word of God."
1 Corinthians 10 v11 says, "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
That word admonition means to put into the mind and this shows us that Gods Word has been written so that it might enter into our hearts & minds.
And its by reading the Bible and by hearing it preached that Gods speaks to you heart & mine about our great need of salvation from sin through faith in the finished work of Christ.
John 3 v16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Commenting upon this verse Martin Luther said it was the gospel in the nutshell. This verse tells you that you must trust in Christ as a repenting sinner if you are to obtain everlasting life and enjoy the forgiveness of all your sins.
This is the message, of God throughout the entire Bible. It's this message that you must heed if you are to be saved
Tell me whose voice are you listening to today, is it the voice of unbelief, the voice of Satan and the voice of the world. Well if you are to be saved you must turn away from all these others voices and you must listen only to the voice of God. And that voice says, "Believe on the lord Jesus Christ & thou shalt be saved..
2. A special danger
We read of this danger at the beginning of V8 where it says, "Harden not your hearts. "
The hardening of the heart is the inevitable danger that faces every sinner who continually resists Gods voice that calls them to Christ for salvation. Then mention of the little word "if" in v7 reinforces this truth. There it says "if ye will hear his voice" This tells us that there are some and they will hearken to Gods voice and then there are others who will not heed his voice.
In John 5 v40 Christ speaks of certain religious who resisted his voice to come to him for salvation.
For of such He says, "but ye will not come to me that ye might have life."
The reason they would not come to Him and be saved was because they had hardened their heart against him.
This word "harden" here means to be obstinate or intractable and it portrays the heart of every man, woman and young person who refuses Gods words and Christ as Saviour. It pictures one who will perish in their sin because they have deliberately rejected Christ as the only remedy for their sin sick soul.
And there are many example of this in the scripture. In Exodus we read of Pharaoh hardening his heart against God and perishing in his sin. He said "who is the Lord that I should obey his voice."
Over in Proverbs 29 v1 it says, "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy". These words were literally fulfilled in the life of Pharaoh.
Unsaved friend heed the warning voice of scripture which says, "Harden not your heart."
Donít go on in your sin , refusing Christ as your Saviour. For if you do then you will never enter into the rest of Gods so great salvation. If you go on in your sin and continue to harden your heart against Christ then a time may well come when God will speak no more and leave you to perish in your sin.
Surely this is the warning of Genesis 6 v3 when God says, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man."
Wilbur Chapman tells of a student at Princeton University who was concerned about his sin and need of Christ as saviour in a time of revival. However at that time that student did not yield to Christ
And it is a stated fact that he never again showed any desire to be a Christian. What had happened was that the Spirit of God had ceased to strive in his heart.
Friend may this not be the case with you. Donít let anything or anyone harden your heart and cause you to turn away from the speaking voice of God that calls you to Christ for salvation.
Please understand that the longer you go on in your sin, and the harder your heart becomes then it will be all the more difficult for you to be saved. Over in Proverbs 1 v28 God has another very solemn warning to those who harden their heart against Christ and in that verse he says, "then they shall call upon me but I will not answer" God is saying there that a time may come when you may have an interest in being saved, but despite that interest you will not be saved, and its because you have harden your heart against Christ in the past. Oh beware of the awful consequences of hardening your heart against Christ.,
3. A special time
This time we find at the beginning of our text in V7 where it says, "Today if ye will hear his voice." When it comes to salvation Gods only speaks of one time for the sinner and that time is today.
Today is the time for you to be saved. The Bible says, "Behold now is the accepted timer, behold now is the day of salvation. Now today is the time for you to get right with God because this is the only day that you are guaranteed. You are not guaranteed tomorrow,. Indeed the bible says "boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."
Perhaps you say well I will get saved another time, well how do you know that you will ever see another day. This very night death may come your way, and "thy soul shall be required of thee. "
Think of the brevity of life and the suddenness of death. You may put of you salvation to another day but if death comes then your soul shall be lost in hell forever. And it shall be forever to late for you to be saved.
There is a story told of men who were building a bridge over a rocky chasm in America.
And before the bridge was safely finished they ceased working for a while, with the hope of completing the task at another time. Well before that other time could come a great storm passed through the chasm, and swept the unfinished bridge away. All the past labour of the men was lost, and it was lost because they had put off the day of opportunity for working.
And friend there is a lesson there for your regarding your salvation. You may say well I will get saved another time. You response to the gospel today may be like that of Felix to Paul when he said, "Go thy way for this time, when I have a convenient season I will call for thee. "
You may think that there will be a more convenient season, well what if the storm of death comes suddenly & swiftly you will be lost forever in hell. You will be like the rich man in Luke16 of whom it is said, " that he died and in hell he lift up his eyes being in torment. "
Donít be foolish about this all-important matter of your souls salvation.
Is 55 v6 says, "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Perhaps you say well how do I come to Christ, well you come to him just as you are. And ask him to save you & cleanse you from your sin There hymn writer says, "Just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me" and that thou bidst me come to thee O lamb of God I come . " Follow that example, Christ himself says in, Matthew 11 v28,"come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." We are told in the gospels that people came unto Christ from every quarter. Will you not come and trust him as your saviour today.
For here you will find rest, pardon, peace & heaven.
May you rise up this day from you sin and call upon Christ for salvation. May God help you to do so. Amen.