Remaining Faithful in the Face of Temptation to Fall Away
Use an appropriate illustration or example, perhaps one about how sedimentary rocks are formed by slowly by extended pressure over time to illustrate the concept of hardening ones’ heart.
- Read Hebrews 3:1-6.
- Why does the writer to the Hebrews compare Jesus to Moses?
- It seems pretty obvious to us that Jesus and the new covenant is better than Moses? Why then do you think the Hebrews were finding the old covenant more appealing? External societal pressure, Christianity not popular, threat of death from the Roman state, shunning by neighbors for their faith. Missing rituals and the feeling that you are doing something for your salvation.
- How is Jesus presented as being better than Moses? What makes the house that Moses built inferior to the house that Jesus is building? Hebrews 10:23.
- Read Hebrews 3:7-19
- How did the Israelites rebel against God? (Exodus 17:7, Numbers 20)
- Hebrews 3:12 is a concerning warning. What do you think leads to a hardened, unbelieving, evil heart? Is hardening of the heart an instantaneous event or a process?
- What was the effect of the Israelites hardening their hearts?
- How does the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints match up to verse 12? Is it possible to lose your salvation? John 6:39, Phil 1:6, 1 John 2:19, 1 Peter 1:5, 1 John 3:9, Romans 8:38
- Read Hebrews 4:1-13
- Verse 1 says that the promise of entering God’s rest still remains. What rest were the Israelites promised and how did they fail to enter it?
- Even when they did eventually get into Canaan, how do we know that they never fully attained God’s rest?
- What rest does God promise all believers (past, present and future) under the new covenant?
- Verse 11 encourages us to “strive” to enter, which implies some form of hard work. How does this gel with your understanding of Ephesians 2:8-10? Ref. 2 Peter 1:10.
- How can you counter the possibility that your heart will itself be hardened?
- What does it mean in verses 11-13 that God’s word is “living, active…piercing..and discerning”? What examples can you think of where you see it doing exactly that? How does that encourage you in your “striving” to enter God’s rest? Philippians 2:12-13.
Unbelief is a danger that we can all fall into. It is not something that happens in an instant but it is the result of repeated acts of faithlessness that eventually cause you to stop trusting in God, stop seeing his goodness and stop believing in his existence. So work hard to practice, live out and act out your faith continuously so that you will stand strong, knowing that you are helped on by the power of Christ who works in you by his Spirit and his Word.