The End of the Journey Series:
Hardness of Heart or Faith
(Hebrews 3:7-19, Page 1872)
I love to go to a park by the beach to read the Bible with friends and pray with them. As I sit in the pavilion, I have many opportunities to meet people at the beach. I meet people from all over the world. Some folks live nearby, and others have come from foreign lands, with very different cultures and religions. Some of them visit the beach on vacation, while others come every day. As I talk with people, many of them tell me they are on a spiritual journey, seeking spiritual life. In this series from the Bible, we will see that Jesus provides the end of the spiritual journey, because He alone is the way, the truth and life. Jesus promised that everyone who comes to Him will never be disappointed or need to journey further.
The Hardened Heart
I love to read the Bible with people. When people begin to read the Bible for themselves, especially when they have someone to explain the text to them, they often start to learn more about God by hearing God talk directly to them from the pages of the Bible. Why does this happen? Jesus said that He would draw all men to Himself. ((In John 12:32, page 1681, Jesus said that He would draw all men to Himself, if He were lifted up. Jesus meant that He was going to be crucified, and give His life a ransom for all men (John 12:33, page 1681).)) In Hebrews 3:7, page 1872, we read about people who hear the voice of Holy Spirit.
Are you hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit today? When you are on the journey, you should realize that the Holy Spirit speaks directly to the hearts of people on the journey. The only question will be: “Will you listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to you today?” In Hebrews 3:7, page 1872, we learn from God that the Holy Spirit is speaking to people just like you on the journey. The Holy Spirit is speaking to your today about your journey. Well, what is the Holy Spirit saying today?
The Holy Spirit warns everyone today about hardness of heart. Specifically, the Holy Spirit speaks to everyone on the journey seeking spiritual life about the threat of unbelief. The Holy Spirit warns you today that you may harden your own heart against finding spiritual life. Notice that you harden your own heart. You are fully responsible for your own spiritual decisions that harden your heart. You cannot blame anyone else. But, what does it mean to have a hard spiritual heart?
In the Book of Exodus, God delivered the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt. He took them into the wilderness and then over to the borders of the promised land. At that border, they sent twelve spies into the land. Ten of the spies returned and told the people of Israel that giants lived in the promised land, dwelling in giant cities protected by giant walls. Ten of the spies caused the people of Israel to lose faith in God and their hearts melted within them. Two of the spies, however, named Joshua and Caleb, told the people of Israel that God would overpower all the giants, crush all the walls, and bring victory. The people rejected the plan of God and hardened their hearts against God’s plan. God intended for them to end their spiritual journey by following His voice into the promised land. Instead, they disregarded the voice of God, hardened their hearts, and wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Notice that God said those people tested God. Testing God means that you command God to do things your way, at your command. In other words, when you act selfishly with God, He will remain true and faithful to Himself, and show you that testing God brings trouble to your life. In this case, the people continued to wander in the wilderness for forty years after God turned them away from entering the promised land. In essence, God said, you do not believe I am powerful enough to deal with giants in the promised land? O.k., then I will show you my power in the wilderness for forty years. Plus, every man over twenty years old will die out here in the wilderness for their unbelief in the power of God. Hardness of heart means that you refused to listen to the voice of God leading you to trust Him and His power. Do you really want to continue to wander in the wilderness today? God gets angry with people who do not listen to His voice.
Please notice three things here about people who continued on their journey while they ignored the voice of God speaking to them. First, God became angry with them for rejecting His command to follow Him. Second, those people went astray in their hearts. Third, they did not know the ways of God. In this verse God carefully explained what happens inside of people who continue the journey after hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to them. Do you really want to continue with the anger of God resting upon you, ready to revealed to you the moment you die? Do you know that you go astray from God when you refuse to listen to His voice? Many of my friends seek to control their own lives by refusing to listen to the commands of God directing their lives into goodness, peace and happiness with Him. Finally, why do you prefer your own ways over the ways of God? We learn the ways of God by listening to the voice of God. God promises rest to everyone who listens to His voice and obeys Him.
God revealed that the people who continue on their journey without Him will never enter His rest. Instead, they will live and die under the extreme anger of God for their hardened heart. God seeks to save men from His wrath. He invites all men to enter His rest. Will you listen to His voice today?
The Holy Spirit then applied this quotation from the Old Testament to the people of his day. First, The Holy Spirit urged them to “Take care.” The Holy Spirit reminds each one of us today to “Take care.” Take care means that we stop, pray and ask God to show us in our own hearts where we stand with Him. The Holy Spirit wrote this verse to people who gathered with believers and lived with believers, but were never believers themselves. So, the Holy Spirit looked at them and urged them pray to God about their hearts. As we pray, we must examine ourselves and see if we have an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. How do I know about my heart? Well, two things. First, God will show you your heart from this passage. Second, you will know by listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to you in your heart, as He applies this passage to you. One thing you can know for sure: as long as you remain on your journey to find spiritual life, you are testing God and hardening your heart against God as He speaks to you today through this passage. God does want to be angry with you. He loves you and wants you to trust Him to control your life, bring rest into your life, and live with Him every day, learning His ways and loving Him.
God commanded every believer to encourage every other person to be sure that no one has a heart hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. When you are on the spiritual journey, you are actually deceived by your sin. Jesus told a group of people that He knew they were spiritually blind because they said they see. When you see Jesus work miracles around you, and still deny that He is Lord of your life, then you have been deceived by sin. The journey without Jesus is the journey to hell and living under the intense anger of God. Your spiritual friends must remind you to turn away from the deceitfulness of sin and give your life to Jesus Christ. As long it is still called “Today,” you still have time to believe in Jesus Christ and trust Him alone for salvation. He gave His life on the cross to pay the death penalty for all your sins. If you ask in faith for forgiveness, and believe in your heart that He died for you and rose again from the dead, then God will save you because He promised to save you. God loves you today and urges you to end the journey of seeking spiritual life today. Trust Jesus to help you and save you today.
Every person on the journey seeking spiritual life lacks assurance of salvation and forfeits rest in God. When we believe in Jesus and His death on the cross for salvation, then we become partakers of Him. When we hold fast to Jesus, we have assurance of salvation. If you have ever become a partaker of Jesus Christ, by believing He died for you on that cross, and was resurrected by God, then you will have assurance of salvation and end your journey seeking eternal life. Jesus wants everyone to have assurance that they have eternal life in Him. They no longer need to journey forward, because they know that Jesus has given them rest in their souls. Jesus wants us to hold that assurance of His salvation firm until the end.
When you hear the good news that Jesus loves you, and invites you to receive salvation as a free gift, then you have heard His voice. Jesus calls you today to receive Him and know His forgiveness for sins. You must repent of your sins and turn to Him. As God, He must rule your life as a loving Lord. In Hebrews 3:15, page 1872, be sure that you do not harden your heart against the voice of Jesus calling to you. When you hear His voice, but do not obey Jesus calling to you in love, then you begin to harden your heart against Him. We all have hardened our hearts against someone. You hear that person talking to you, but you begin to ignore that voice. Over time, you do not want to hear that voice again. You may even get mad when you hear that person talking to you. Jesus said that people tend to ignore His voice, and His love. When you journey on without Jesus, then Jesus said you provoke Him.
Jesus taught that He was angry with the people of Israel who hardened their hearts by ignoring His voice. You provoke Jesus to anger when you hear His voice, and then completely ignore Him by continuing on your spiritual journey seeking spiritual life. When Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt, those people heard the voice of God and saw many miracles. Even so, those people hardened their hearts and provoked Jesus to great anger. You may want to consider the John 3:36, page 1659: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him.” Because I love you, I must warn you that Jesus gets very angry with people who harden their hearts, but He still loves them and calls them to repent and turn to Him for a new heart and eternal life.
For forty years the anger of Jesus Christ burned against the people of Israel who heard His voice, but rejected His call upon their lives. Because of their sinful unbelief and spiritual deafness, their bodies fell in the wilderness. When you continue your spiritual journey and ignore the voice of Jesus, then you can be sure that your body will also fall in the spiritual wilderness of sin. Jesus urges you stop the journey, listen to His voice, and follow His lead into a wonderful life.
Jesus swore that the people of Israel would have to continue their journey in the wilderness for another forty years because they ignored His voice and hardened their hearts. Jesus swore in His anger that those people would not enter His rest. We must learn from that history that disobedience leads to spiritual death. Jesus commands us to trust Him alone for salvation, and follow Him alone in our spiritual lives. When we ignore His voice, continue on our journey, and live for ourselves, then we disobey Jesus. Instead of disobedience, listen and obey Jesus, who loves you and gave His life for yours. He paid the death penalty for you on the cross. Through Him you will find rest for your souls.
March 3, 2015 │ The End of the Journey Today │Hebrews 3:12-19
The people of Israel did not enter the promised land because of unbelief. Jesus always knows how to get down to real issues in life. Every person must make a spiritual choice. Choice One: believe that Jesus loves you and seeks to deliver you from sin. Choice Two: believe you can control your life and ignore the voice of Jesus. One way you trust the infinite, loving God of this universe who gave His life for you, paid the death penalty for your sins, rose from the grave, and performs miracles every day. Or, you can trust yourself, ignore His loving voice, harden your heart, and continue your journey through the wilderness until your body finally drops dead, and then you will truly experience the full wrath of God for eternity. Choose to end the journey, rest in the love of Jesus Christ, and learn from Him. You will never be disappointed.
So, we learn that Jesus alone provides rest for everyone on a spiritual journey.
Application for Today
As you walk through life today with Jesus, will you listen to His voice, end your spiritual journey seeking spiritual life, and rest in Him today? As a child, I heard the voice of Jesus and believed that He paid the death penalty for all my sins. I ended my spiritual journey seeking life and found rest for my soul. Will you obey the voice of Jesus today and receive by faith the gift of eternal life from Jesus?