The Key Moment of the Daily Christian Life (Hebrews Sermon 10 of 74)
November 21, 2010 | Andrew Davis
The Holy Spirit, The Doctrine of Scripture
The Voice of Lord
"Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the Lord has spoken," Isaiah 1:2. from the beginning of time, the universe has been shaped by one awesome powerful creative force and that is the Word of God. "And God said 'Let there be light' and there was light." Genesis 1:3. Throughout Genesis, you see the voice of the Lord, the word of the Lord shaping and crafting the developing universe like the skillful hands of the potter shaping the clay. God's word from the very beginning, ringing throughout the creation, shaping it, making it what he wanted it to be. On Mount Sinai, the voice of the Lord was like, a thunder, it says, and the people were so terrified of it that they begged Moses, that they not hear this voice any more, lest they should die.
But another time, Elijah the prophet fleeing for his life from the wrath of Jezebel, hid in a cave on Mount Horeb, the Mountain of God, and God came to speak with him and had him stand before the Lord and first a great strong wind came by and God was not in the wind. And then a violent earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake and then a raging fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And then at last a still small voice, a low gentle whisper and when Elijah, heard it, he covered his face. He was hearing God speak.
And so the range of the voice of God is an awesome thing. God wanted to speak in a thunder on Mount Sinai. And he wanted to speak in a whisper on Mount Horeb. And I say to you that as we come to Hebrews 3:7-11, we come to the key moment of the daily Christian life, hearing God speak to us hearing the voice of God. And I think as we come to that key moment, we therefore come to a fork in the road, always a fork in the road. One way will lead to greater growth, greater fruitfulness in Christ, greater intimacy with him, greater heavenly rewards. The other way leads, well the other way. Less fruitfulness, growing distance between us and Christ, a colder, harder heart more unresponsive to God.
And what is that critical moment? I tell you, it's the moment of hearing God's voice, speaking to you by the Word and by the Spirit. It's the moment that the word of God hits your mind and you hear him speaking to you through that word of God. That moment is, now. The moment is today.
Now today as a pastor, as a man, as a brother in Christ, I'm going to bring you to that fork in the road again. The essence of the rest of your life in Christ, the rest of your life in Christ will be made up of this moment. This crucial moment, this awesome moment God speaking to you, speaking directly to your heart, by the Holy Spirit, based on some text of Scripture or another. Hebrews 3:7-8 tells you what to do at that moment. Actually it tells you what not to do. So as the Holy Spirit says "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…" And so today I want to exhort you with everything in my being to develop within you, a sensitive heart toward God the Holy Spirit speaking to you directly by the written word. So that number one, you will recognize God's voice speaking to you as you read some psalm or a passage from the Gospel of Matthew or some section of Romans, or something from Ezekiel, you're going to hear it as it actually is, the word of God and secondly, when you hear God speaking to you, you will not harden your heart, but rather do what your king is commanding you to do. It's the rest of your Christian life, right here. That's what we're talking about. So this moment of God speaking to you by the Spirit in the Bible, is the key moment of every day. This thing mysteriously called, today.
The rest of your Christian lives are going to be a tapestry woven by threads called today and today and today that's what you get. And if you can develop an ear for hearing Christ speaking to you today, and if you can develop a soft yielded submissive heart, that obeys the voice of your king, it will lead to the most blessed life you can live in this world, the most fruitful life and it will lead to eternal life, hereafter.
I. “So”: A Telescoped Context
So we come to this text, Hebrews 3, and we come right away, in the NIV, to the word, "so". Right away to the word, "so". And so it brings us to the question of context, we always want to ask the question of context, how does Hebrews 3L7-11, fit into Hebrews. How can we understand it? And I think questions of context are never more fascinating than in this passage here. This is a remarkable context. It's like a telescope really, with four different levels of context.
Let's start with ourselves, us, we are here reading the text aren't we? We're in 21st century America, we're here at First Baptist Church, in Durham that's who we are, that's where we are in space and time we are reading the Bible together. First level of context, what's our context, what's going on with us? What's happening with you today, what's going on in your life, how is it going with Jesus, how is it going in your marriage, how is it going in your witnessing life? How is it going in your prayer life? What is your context? Let's start there. Questions of context.
Multiple Layers of Contexts in this Text
But as we're doing that, we're recognizing, we're reading in an old book. We're reading the book of Hebrews. 2000 years old, that brings us back to the second level of context, one step removed from us, and that is the author to Hebrews and the Hebrew people he was writing to. The context of the epistle, itself. Remember, these are as we've been saying, Jewish people who had made an outward profession of faith in Christ, they probably testified to that by water Baptism. Confessed Jesus as their messiah, they've been baptized in his name, but now they were under terrible persecution, they were under pressure from their Jewish family and friends and neighbors and rabbis. They were under economic pressure. They were under legal pressure. And the pressure was pushing them in one direction that was to renounce their faith in Christ and turned back to Old Covenant Judaism. To say "no" to Jesus and "yes" to Moses. So the author to Hebrews is reaching, reaching, out to them. And speaking to them in that context, that was their context. And so he writes Hebrews. But he does so by reaching back in time, relative to him to Psalm 95.
He reaches for David speaking a thousand years before them to his own generation. David speaking to the people who were alive in his day, about 1000 BC, something like that. And so he writes Psalm 95, the author to Hebrews here is quoting Psalm 95. What you heard Tony read for the most part, was just Psalm 95. And so that's a third step of context. What was David's context, what was going on in his life, what was going on in his generation, what was he trying to say to the people that lived in his day? And as he was thinking about it, in about 1000 BC, he goes back even further in time, 500 years back, to the time of the Exodus, to the time of Moses, and the Jews and what was going on with them. And as they left Egypt, and as they went through the Red Sea and on the other side of the Sea, in the desert, two million of them in the desert. They start to doubt and question God, and they start to have problems and they start to quarrel, and argue with God. What was the context for that generation, the Jews under Moses is there in the Exodus. Four levels of context.
But I have faith in you, you can handle it. You can handle the multiple levels of context here, Amen. That's what you have to do to understand what's going on in Hebrews 3:7-11. But you know what, the interesting thing is it's the same word to every generation. Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. It's the same message to everyone in every generation the same thing.
David’s Meditation on the Wilderness Rebellion
And so David was thinking as he's writing Psalm 95, about the Jews, they had seen God do those awesome miracles. The ten plagues. You remember all of the displays of the power of God and the greatest of them all, the Red Sea crossing. I still think it's the most visually spectacular miracle in the Bible. What could top it? I think creation itself, I suppose, if you want to call that a miracle, but I mean the Red Sea crossing, they made it to the other side and they found two million strong on the other side, a desert. And the thing about a desert, there's just not much water there and there's not much to eat.
And so this huge nation of two million people began to quarrel with Moses, Exodus 17 and say, "'Give us water to drink.' Moses replied. 'Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?'" So they're crying out, the people are against Moses and against God, and doubting God. God commanded Moses to take his staff and strike a rock there in the desert and when he did a miraculous flow of water came out of that rock and the people were able to drink from that water and live. And he called the place Massa and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, is the Lord among us or not?
Now Massa, in the Hebrew language means rebellion and Meribah in the Hebrew language means testing. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, which the author to Hebrews is using, they don't use the words Massa and Meribah. They just say, rebellion, and testing. And so if you look at verse 8, do not harden your heart as you did in the rebellion during the time of testing, that's Massa and Meribah when the Jews said, "Is God really going to be able to finish the job, is he really going to be able to bring us through all of this trouble into the promised land. And they tested God, and quarreled against him, they rebelled. It was a great insult, and that the consummation of that in that generation that churning rebellion, came when the spies came back and brought a good report about the land, but a negative report about the inhabitants of the land, and the people questioned whether they could go in and their eyes are fixed on the Anakites and how strong they were, and how tall, and they forgot about God and they wanted to stone Moses and go back to Egypt, at least they had a steady supply of food there and slavery. Forgetting God entirely.
So they rebelled. It says, in Numbers 14, 10 times they disobeyed God, 10 times, they tested him and God was angry at them for their lack of faith for their unbelief. And so David living in 1000 BC, maybe 500 years later looking back on that whole heritage. We'll talk more about at the end of Hebrews 3. But Looking back on it says, "Let's learn from history. Let's learn what they did and not do it, let's see what happened to them and not let it happen to us. So "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massa in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me though they had seen what I did. For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, 'They are people whose hearts go astray and they have not known my ways.' So I declared on oath in my anger, 'they shall never enter my rest.'" Don't be like them. That God then is set against you and declares on oath you will not enter his rest." And he's going to continue to meditate on this through into chapter four. So we need to learn from history. We begin in verse seven, with the word "so" or "therefore" or "wherefore" or something like that, whenever you see that you're going to look back to what we just covered and what did we just cover in Hebrews 3:1-6.
Christ Greater than Moses
We learned the lesson last time that Jesus is greater than Moses. He's greater than Moses. Moses was faithful in the mission that God sent him to do. Faithful as a servant in God's house. But Jesus is faithful as a Son over God's house, and he's worthy of greater honor than Moses and his mission is greater than Moses' mission. Moses' mission was to bring the Jews out of physical bondage, in a physical nation of Egypt and bring them into a physical promised land where they could live out the rest of their physical days and die in peace in their bed surrounded by their grandkids. That's Moses' mission.
Jesus has a greater mission friends. Greater mission. His Exodus is a greater Exodus. He wants to take you out of bondage to sin and bring you to heaven where you'll never die and you'll be surrounded by people, forever and ever, where your sins will be forgiven and in order to accomplish that mission, he did far more than Moses. His blood was shed under the wrath of God on the cross so that unbelievers like us can become believers. We can trust in Christ and have our sins forgiven. It's a greater mission. And the Gospel message is, if you just... If you'll just repent and turn to Christ, all your sins will be forgiven.
So I'm crying out to you today. I know there must be some visitors there must be some unbelievers hearing me today. And my first level of application to you is simple, if today you hear the Gospel, don't harden your hearts, come to faith in Jesus, look to him now for the forgiveness of sins, trust in him while you still have time. Today, if you hear Jesus calling to you, then come and believe. His blood is sufficient for you and God didn't leave him dead in the tomb, he raised him from the dead on the third day. And so also shall you be raised. All you have to do is believe in Jesus and you'll live forever. It's the Gospel. You've heard it before, but today if you hear it don't harden your heart. Believe in Jesus, trust in him. I plead with you.
And I think the authors pleading with these Jews, he's saying, "You know, failure today is greater than failure then. The real question kind of as it was back in the days of the generation of the Exodus. So it is today. Are you going to stay with the leader that God has appointed all the way for the rest of the journey? Are you going to stay with Jesus until he brings you to heaven or are you going to turn your back on him through unbelief and wickedness, and go back to your life of sin?
A Uniting Theme of Failure to Believe
The uniting theme of failure here between the Jews of Moses' time and the Jews of David's time, and the Jews of the author to Hebrews time, and then us in the 21st century. It's the same cycle over and over. We hear God's word we don't believe it, we are afraid of the consequences of faithfulness, and of obedience, afraid of what's going to come and so, we disobey and turn in our hearts, away from the living God. And so, we face the same key issue today that they did back in those generations. "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." So, that's context.
II. How the Holy Spirit Speaks
So, now let's look at the details here. So as the Holy Spirit says, what a fascinating way to introduce an Old Testament quote. Who is this Holy Spirit? While we believe the Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity, Father, Son and Spirit, we worship one God in three persons, an infinite mystery, but clearly taught in the Bible, the Holy Spirit, then is God, God the Holy Spirit equal to God the Father and God the Son within the Trinity. He first appears in Scripture in Genesis 1:2. It says he was hovering over the face of the waters of creation, and he has never changed, he's exactly the same today as he was then.
How the Spirit Speaks: Through the Scripture
He is the unchanging God. And the Spirit speaks, he communicates, he speaks through Scripture. The author ascribes Psalm 95:7-11 to the Holy Spirit. So "as the Holy Spirit says" and then you have in your English Bibles a little quotation mark there. And it's probably set off in a little bit different way. The way that the editors of English Bibles tend to set off Old Testament quotations visually from the page. So, you're looking at an Old Testament quotation, Psalm 95. And so the author introduces a quote from Psalm 95 and ascribes it to the Holy Spirit. The author's key idea is Scripture is the Holy Spirit speaking to you, that's what he's getting at. Again, notice how he minimizes human authorship. The encounter with God is maximized, the encounter with David is minimized. Now, he's going to mention David later. It's not like David doesn't mean anything, but he's not serving the author's purpose here. It doesn't really matter that it was David that wrote it. The issue here is that it's the Holy Spirit who's speaking. And so we come to the idea in the creed, he has spoken through the prophets. Speaking of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit has spoken, through the prophets.
Let's say King David, for example, the author of many of the Psalms, the Holy Spirit would come upon him and he would prophesy. He would speak the words of God and so he says, in 2 Samuel 23:2, "The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me, his word is on my tongue." And so, when David would write a Psalm, like Psalm 95 it was really the Holy Spirit speaking directly through David. Frequently, the expression was used in the Old Covenant, the word of the Lord came to so and so. So the word of the Lord came to Isaiah or the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel. In the New Testament we learn from a couple of key verses from Peter, this doctrine of the Holy Spirit's involvement in the written Word of God. For example, 1 Peter 1 says that The prophets who were speaking about the salvation that was coming to us in Christ "searched intently with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances, to which the Spirit of Christ was pointing in them when he predicted the sufferings of Christ…"
The Spirit of Christ, then was in the writing prophets, enabling them to write the words that they wrote; the Holy Spirit was. And then in 2nd Peter 1 it says, "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture ever came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man. But men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." Jesus in the New Testament promised that the Holy Spirit would come on the apostles and the Holy Spirit would come on the apostles in a significant way to help them finish the Bible, I think; to give us the written New Testament. And so it says in John 16, "When he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own. He will speak only what he hears and he will tell you what is yet to come." And then on that grand, glorious day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down on the whole church. The gift of the Holy Spirit poured out like a river of blessing on all of the believers in Christ, and not only that, but Peter in his Pentecost sermon, made the promise for everyone that would believe in Jesus, from that generation, and forever. From that point on unto the end of redemptive history.
He said, "The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off." That's us Gentiles by the way. We were far off. Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And so we have this incredible gift. But what about us today?
Does the Holy Spirit Still speak to Us Today?
Does the Holy Spirit still speak to us today? Well what does the Scripture say right here? "So as the Holy Spirit says…" Isn't that interesting? "The Holy Spirit says." Notice that it doesn't say, "so as King David said" and it also doesn't say, "so as the Holy Spirit said." All of those things would be true but the author is not emphasizing that. He's saying the Holy Spirit is speaking when? Right now. Today. How? By Psalm 95. And so yes the Holy Spirit does speak, to us today.
Does the Holy Spirit speak apart from Scripture? The answer is yes, the Holy Spirit can and does frequently speak apart from direct text of Scripture. For example, in Romans 8:16, it says, "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirits that we are the children of God." That is the Holy Spirit speaking directly to your heart that you are a child of God.
Jesus said in John 10. "My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me." How can we follow Jesus? Except by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So yes, the Holy Spirit speaks many things apart from direct chapter and verse of the Scripture. The Apostle Paul, when he was with his companions in Acts 16, traveling about from place to place was kept by the Holy Spirit from going into one place so that he could preach the Gospel in another place. But I say to you that this speaking of the Holy Spirit, the vital of the Christian life is less clear than the way that the Holy Spirit speaks by Scripture. Less clear, the inner prompting of the Spirit are not perceived by all people but only by that person to whom it is given. The Scripture however, can be read clearly by everyone by simple laws of grammar that everyone has understood the conventions of language. If it's a good translation, the word of God comes across. And so we can read those nouns and verbs and adjectives we can understand, and with a growing database of history of biblical context we can get the interpretation right.
Some people, I think, in various circles of the Christian church, put a tremendous amount of stock in the Holy Spirit's direct communication to their hearts. They speak of the gift of discernment, or the word of knowledge, feel they have the ability to know things in the spiritual realms. It's possible and can't be ruled out biblically. Others believe the gift of prophecy is still going on today and they are able to say, "Thus says the Lord with the same authority is a biblical prophet. Again, it's possible, and can't be ruled out biblically.
But in any case, the Scripture tells us that we must test the spirits to see whether they're from God, or not. The private impressions that individual people get may or may not be actually the Holy Spirit speaking to that person. And so, in 1 John 4:1, it says, "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." Or again, it says in 1 Thessalonians 5, "Do not quench the Spirit, do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything, hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil."
How then do we test the spirits? How do you test those private impressions or senses you get of the Holy Spirit. Well, I say it's by the Scripture. You test the private prompting of the Spirit by the Scripture. Westminster Confession of Faith, puts it this way, "The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men and private spirits are to be examined, and in whose sentence, we are to rest, can be no other than the Holy Spirit speaking in Scripture."
Now, you lift up that expression "private spirits", and I think that means these private impressions that you have through the Holy Spirit. Friends, it is not the Spirit-filled person who's afire or aglow with the Spirit and hearing the Spirit speaking directly vs the cold dead letter people. We're going to the cold, dead letter of the Bible… That's not it dear friends. It's the Holy Spirit speaking through Scripture and, not vs but... And the Holy Spirit speaking individually and personally to individual Christians. They're not in contradiction if they are than the private impression is wrong.
It is so easy to go to extremes here to quench the Spirit. So you don't trust any inner prompting of the Spirit would be wrong and lead you to fruitlessness. But to test the inner promptings of the Spirit above Scripture or before Scripture etcetera, is wrong, and leads us to heresies, we must be careful. So the Holy Spirit is speaking to us today, he's speaking to us right now, as the Holy Spirit says. So does the Holy Spirit speak apart from Scripture? Yes. Does the Holy Spirit speak contrary to Scripture? Never. And again, I say never. And then four more times. Never, never, never and never. He never speaks contrary to Scripture, why because he's never going to be contrary to himself.
So what is the application point for us here? Well simply put, when you get the Bible open it up and pray to God and say, "God, Would you please speak to me now speak to me directly speak to my heart now by the Holy Spirit as I read some psalm or something from Isaiah or something from Genesis or something from Romans, I want to hear your voice." And so Psalm 119, verse 18 says, "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law." And then 1 Samuel 3:9, "Speak O Lord, for your servant is listening." The Holy Spirit speaks then when we open the Bible. He's speaking to us right now.
Every reading of the Scripture should be an immediate encounter with the living God as though you were there at the foot of Mount Sinai hearing God speak as in a thunder. Hear that thunder in your soul when you read Exodus 19 and 20. As if you were there with Elijah on Mount Horeb, and you could hear that still, small voice that gentle whisper. Listen for the whisper of the Holy Spirit when you read the scriptures. As though you were there with Peter, John, and James and Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, and the bright cloud envelopes them and you hear the voice from the cloud speaking. "This is my beloved Son, with him I am well pleased, listen to him." And then you can hear Jesus speaking to you. Scripture is not a dead letter, not at all. Scripture is alive, it's powerful.
III. When the Holy Spirit Speaks
Now, the author is taking Psalm 95, and he's going to work it over, dear friends. He's going to be working on it for two chapters, working and working on Psalm 95 7-11, picking individual words up and thinking about them and working on them. And at the end of all that working on Psalm 95, at the end of chapter four this is what he says, it's like he interrupts himself, where he says, "Okay, I've done everything I need from Psalm 95." I just want to tell you what I think about the written word. Hebrews 4:12, "For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword. It penetrates even to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Listen to the words, it's living, it's active, it's penetrating it's dividing its judging, it's a powerful change agent in your life, it's the Holy Spirit speaking to you. And I think this is the mark of a truly saved heart. If you're genuinely saved, you're coming to the written word with this one attitude this thought, this is not the word of men, this is the word of God to me today, right now.
So it says in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, "We also thank God continually because when you receive the word of God what you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as it actually is, the Word of God at work among you who believe." It's awesome, isn't it? So do you want an encounter with the living God today? Please say yes. Oh yes, I want an encounter with the living God. And go in or into your room and close the door and get the Bible out, open it up, pray a prayer, a simple prayer, saying "God speak to me" and then listen to what he says. There's your encounter with the living God.
IV. Today, If You Hear His Voice
And what should you do when you get it? Well, the Scripture says, "today, if you hear his voice." Now, I have a lot to say about today, because Hebrew 3 and 4 has a lot to say about today. Look at verse 12-13, "See to it brothers that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily. As long as it is called today." That's an interesting expression. "As long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."
Or again, in verse 15 of the same chapter. "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." And then in 4:7, he kind of unfolds this whole theology of today. That's why the NIV editors decided to capitalize the word "today" in this chapter. It's like this special kind of glowing thing, this thing called "today". "So therefore, God again set a certain day calling it today, when a long time later, he spoke through David as we said before, today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."
So what is this thing called today? Well, right from the very beginning of creation, God set up a rhythm, a kind of a rhythm to life. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. And there was evening and there was morning the second day. There was evening, and there was morning, the third day. On the fourth day, God delegated that whole thing to the sun. So now, we speak in terms of sunrise and sunsets, but the same rhythm has been going on. This rhythm of day after day after day today.
And so the Bible uses the word "days" to refer to the time of your life. So, in Plasm 90:9-10, Moses said this, "All our days pass away into your wrath. We finish our years with a moan. The length of our days is seventy years or eighty, if we have the strength, yet the span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass and we fly away."
Your Life is a Tapestry of Todays
So he goes back and forth between days and years, days and years, your years are made up of days dear friends. Your life is like a tapestry and every day, God pulls out a thread and weaves it in his loom. And that's another thread of today, that's what you have, you have today.
So what is today? Today is November 21st, 2010, here we are, Sunday, November 21st, 2010. We will never have it again. We'll never have it again. It's right here, right now, today. You'll see it again on Judgment Day, but you'll never have this day again. And so, you have today, and it's all you'll ever have. You had yesterday, you had it, but at that point it was called "today", you remember? Saturday November 20th 2010, you had it and you did what you did, whatever that was. You ate certain foods, drank certain drinks, went to certain places, talked to certain people, did certain things, thought certain thoughts, that was it. God noted at all it's all written down. Record is complete and perfect, and cannot be changed. There's nothing you can do about it at all. Yesterday is gone. You'll never see it again until Judgment Day.
Tomorrow. Now that's an interesting topic, isn't it? Tomorrow. Tomorrow, is... Well, what is it? November 22 2010, you know what the Bible says about tomorrow? May never come. You should not presume on tomorrow, it may actually never come. Book of James says you ought to say If the Lord wills, we'll get tomorrow, but when you get it, you know, where you're going to call it, it's going to have a new name, it's going to be called today. It's kind of the way it works. And so all you can do with yesterday is remember, it's lessons so that you can live today in glory to God. And all you can do with tomorrow is prepared for its battles and the Bible says go to the ant O sluggard, lay up treasure or store for yourselves… You're not supposed to say, "Hey look, tomorrow may never come so let's eat, drink, and be merry. Tomorrow we might die." That's the wrong attitude you should prepare for tomorrow. You know how you prepare for tomorrow best? Be maximally fruitful and faithful today.
Don't acquire a new sin habit that will burden tomorrow with wickedness. So you understand yesterday, today, tomorrow. Yesterday is for learning, it's lessons. Tomorrow is for trusting God in preparation, but today is all you're ever going to have.
V. Do Not Harden Your Hearts
And so what should you do? Well today if you hear his voice, don't harden your heart, don't harden your heart. What does it mean to harden your heart? Well, hardening your heart means that the word of God comes to you, meaning to change you, it's meaning to shape you, it's meaning to alter you and you say a simple word to it, "No, no, I will not do what you want me to do, I will not witness to that neighbor. I will not give that money. I will not use my spiritual gift in that way, I will not go to that brother or sister and show him or her compassion, I will not forgive that person, who has sinned again, I'm just no!" And you may not say it that baldly, but that's in effect what's happening. Today if you hear him telling you something, don't say no to God.
It has a synonym in the Old Testament and that is "stiffen your neck". So, a hard-hearted person, is a stiff neck person. It means the same thing. It means to not humble yourself before your king and not do what he says. And we're going to talk more about the hardened heart and how it comes about, in the next little section, but what is the destination of a hardened heart? Well, the destination is you get an oath from God declared in his anger that you'll never enter his rest. God says a word over you in anger, wrath that you will not enter his rest. And the issues here in Hebrews three and four are heaven and hell. That's what we're dealing with here. It's a greater mission that Jesus is on than Moses, he's talking about greater issues and the greater issue is heaven and hell. And the ultimate destination of a hardened heart that will not listen to God speaking in the word is hell. To hear this sentence, "Depart from me. You were cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." That's the destination of a hardened heart.
Friends, I plead with you not to go there. Instead when you hear God speak, just do what he says, listen to him, follow him in any area, it could be a sin habit that's in your life, God is speaking to you. He wants that sin put to death by the power of the Spirit, by the word of God, he wants it put to death, then put it to death. He wants you to use your spiritual gifts fruitfully in ministry, then use them. He wants a rich marriage between you and your spouse, then make it rich. Through love and forgiveness, and the giving and receiving of blessings. Today if you hear his voice, don't harden your heart.
Now we're going to go to the Lord's Supper. I asked a few moments ago, does the Lord speak apart from Scripture? Absolutely, this is one of the clearest ways that God speaks to me apart from Scripture. It's commanded in Scripture but I have prayed already that the Holy Spirit will fill this place that we will have an experience of Christ crucified and risen, and ascended, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit today as we partake in the Lord's supper. This is meant for believers, who have trusted in Christ, that you have repented, you have trusted in him. You've expressed that through water baptism. If so, you're welcome at the table if not, please refrain, lest you eat and drink judgment on yourself. But just know it's waiting for you, if you'll just repent and believe, as I said before, you can be there next time we'd love to have you. But if you're a Christian, struggling with sin, this is a good time to repent and partake of the Lord supper.
Let's pray. Father, we thank you for the time that we've had to study your word. And now as we go to the table, we pray, O Lord, that you would speak to us through the Holy Spirit. Fill this sanctuary with a strong presence of the Spirit of Christ, that Christ's merits might shine in our hearts, his achievement on the cross. And that we might understand the message of the Lord's supper, as you speak to us Holy Spirit we pray in Jesus name.