Author: Ron Graham


How the Hebrew Christians Forgot
—And why some were falling away

The book of Hebrews was written to Christians who were not remembering God. In this lesson we look at portions of the book of Hebrews where the Hebrew writer warns and exhorts the Hebrew Christians to pay more attention to the word of Christ and to remember what they had been taught. We notice five things which the Hebrew Christians forgot.

What the Hebrews forgot can be summarised with five action-attitude words each starting with H like the name of the book we are studying in this lesson.

HEED all that you have been taught
HUNGER for every word of God
HASTEN to every meeting of the church
HATE every tendency to backslide
HOLD to Jesus for strength.

1 Failed to heed what they were taught

Hebrews 2:1-3

We can never listen too intently to God's word. We need to "give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away" (Hebrews 2:1) and lest we "neglect so great a salvation" (Hebrews 2:3). We are building either on sand or on rock (Matthew 7:24-27). Giving heed means being "doers of the word and not hearers only" (James 1:22).

2 Did not grow spiritually

Hebrews 5:11-14Hebrews 6:1-3

There needs to be a hunger and a thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6). The Hebrew Christians had lost this desire for God's word. They were "dull of hearing" and their spiritual food was only "milk and not solid food" (Hebrews 5:11-12). They had not spiritually matured. They had gone back to being babes. Christians should be "adders". They should add to their faith the qualities of spiritual growth (2Peter 1:5-11).

3 Forsook the assembly

Hebrews 10:23-25

Some of the Hebrew Christians had formed the habit of "forsaking the assembling" (Hebrews 10:25). In contrast, the first converts to Christ, those in Jerusalem, "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread and in prayers" (Acts 2:42). It was normal practice for Christians from place to place to assemble. In Troas for example, "on the first day of the week the disciples gathered together to break bread" (Acts 20:7). We should always remember our appointment with the Lord when the disciples meet, and be there.

4 Were falling away after having been blessed

Hebrews 3:12-19 Hebrews 4:1-3

The Hebrew Christians were warned against "departing from the living God" (Hebrews 3:12). They were reminded of God's "promise of entering his rest" and warned not to "come short of it" (Hebrews 4:1).

Hebrews 6:4-6

The Hebrew writer warns the Hebrew Christians that it is possible for those who have become "partakers of the Holy Spirit" to "fall away" and they can fall to the extent that "it is impossible to renew them again" (Hebrews 6:4-6).

Hebrews 10:26-32

The warnings to the Hebrew Christians grow more severe as the letter to them progresses. By the time we get to chapter ten, the warning is extreme. They are in danger of trampling on God's Son and of insulting the Spirit of grace, and of being devoured by God's fiery indignation and wrath.

5 Forgot the principles of discipline

Hebrews 12:5-11

A saying of one of Australia's prime ministers became a byword among Australians: "Life wasn't meant to be easy". This is certainly true of the Christian life. The Hebrew Christians had forgotten the need for discipline and endurance. We should not resent God's allowing us to suffer trials, but should endure them, knowing that this trains us and strengthens us. The Hebrew Christians had forgotten that there's no easy way to get to heaven.

Short Quiz

1. What did the first converts in Jerusalem do, which the Hebrew Christians forgot?"

2. What bad habit had some of the Hebrew Christians got into?

3. The Hebrew Christians had partaken of the Holy Spirit, yet were in what danger?

4. What was the problem with the spiritual diet of the Hebrew Christians?

5. What had the Hebrews forgotten about a father’s love?

6. The Hebrew Christians did not H _ _ _ what they had been taught.

7. The Hebrew Christians did not H _ _ _ _ _ for every word of God.

8. The Hebrew Christians did not H _ _ _ _ _ to every meeting of the church.

9. The Hebrew Christians did not H _ _ _ every tendency to backslide.

10. The Hebrew Christians did not H _ _ _ on to their faith, growing stronger every day.