Sermon:  Dealing with Distractions

Summary:  Since Jesus is superior to everything we might lean on, we need to pay closer 
attention to his message so we do not drift from it.  If we stick closely with Christ, 
we can be assured his salvation will enable us to escape from eternal doom because his 
message of salvation is the only thing that is reliable.  Paying closer attention simply 
means to read, apply, and respond to God's message.

Know:  Spending lots of time with God's word helps to keep us from drifting away from our 

Feel:  A thirst and love for the scriptures

Do:  Discuss ways and scenarios that might cause Christians to drift away from the faith 
and name some of the causes of it.  Identify the ways this passage helps to fend of the 
danger of drifting away from the faith.  Reflect on what it means to pay closer attention 
and not neglect the message of salvation and on the place of punishment in Christian 
exhortation and teaching.  Also reflect on other ways to keep from drifting that may not 
be mentioned in the passage and commit to ways that will help you stay the course.

Text:  Hebrews 2:1-4

Scripture Reading:  2 Peter 3:9-10

1.  Distractions - Teaching younger elementary class
2.  Etymology of "distraction" - To be pulled in different directions
	a.  What a descriptive image - Pulled in various directions
	b.  This is what the Hebrews were facing
		- Huge distractions - Family loyalty vs. Christian loyalty
		- Persecution, financial ruin, outcasts in their community
		- Lost of standing and respect, ridicule
		- Do I stay the course, or do I take it easy?
	c.  You feel like you are being pulled in different directions?
		- People need you at work, at home, friends need you
		- Maybe challenges in life demanding your attention
		- Don't seem to have time for Christ, family, work, other?
		- Maybe feel your passion for Christ has cooled off some
	d.  Hebrews 1 focuses on the one thing that will get you through it
		- Text had been talking about the superiority of Christ
		- He is God's final message, is God, reliable and dependable, victor
		- He is all those things, everything else is not
		- Then, the message moves into what we should be doing
3.  (Heb 2:1-4)
	a.  Begins with - "For this reason" or "Therefore"
		- Points back to chapter one
		- Jesus is God, reliable, dependable, victor
		- There is something we should do, a "therefore"
	b.  We must play much closer attention to the message of Christ
		- This doesn't mean just acknowledgment of the message
		- What does it mean to play close attention?
			= Grk - To give oneself to
			= Same word in 1 Tim 3 - Elders not be "addicted" to wine
			= Be given/devoted in a greater way to what you heard 
		- This is a challenge to recommit ourselves to Him greater
		- Especially if our fire for him has started to cool off
	c.  You feel that way, fire for Christ has cooled off some?
		- Maybe feeling a little apathetic, not really care, not passionate
		- Feel powerless, tired, lethargic, little motivation?
4.  Well, then as the text says, pay close attention
	a. Not just a casual acknowledgement
	b. Text gives us three reasons why we must pay closer attention

I.  Because we might drift away from Him
	A.  Drifting is a real possibility if you are not careful
	B.  The image the text use is of something slipping away
		1.  Pararreo - To slip away, drift away
			a.  Used of a ring slipping off a finger
			b.  Used of a boat drifting away
		2.  Image is of something non-intentional
			a.  Most do not make sudden decisions to turn from God
			b.  Usually it is a process that happens over time
		3.  There are some biblical examples of this drift
			a.  Many examples
				- People of Israel in the book of judges
					= Pagan peoples became a snare to them
					= They started serving other gods
					= Drifted away from God, God not protect
					= Enemy oppressed them
				- King Saul, who drifted from God
					= At first, a good king
					= Eventually started focusing on himself
					= Became disobedient to God
				- King Solomon, who drifted from God
					= Married foreign wives
					= Eventually started worshipping their gods
			b.  2 King 22 - During the kingship of Josiah
				- Wanted to repair the temple
				- Found a book of the law there, had been forgotten
				- Heard the word of God from it, tore his clothes
				- They had drifted so far away from God
			c.  Drifting away doesn't happen overnight
		4.  Many are barely aware when they start to drift
	C.  ILL:  It is like driving on a very long trip
		1.  I remember driving from Nebraska to Texas a long time ago
			a.  No stops, late at night, begin to get the road stares
			b.  I don't know if I was still awake or had dozed, but I drifted
			c.  Tire went off the side, and jarred me awake, lost traction
			d.  Spun around in the median, so bad I didn't know which 
			     was north or south afterward
		2.  There are steps to take to keep it from happening, I didn't do it
			a.  Stop periodically, drink, snack, conversation, etc.
			b.  You need to be responsible to keep it from happening
		3.  In the same way, we need to take steps to keep from drifting in 
		     our walk with Christ
			a.  Many people have drifted away over the years
			b.  Many faces used to be here that no longer are
			c.  Some have drifted away from God, and from church
	D.  We need to take steps to keep from drifting away.  What kind of steps?
		1.  Text says to "pay closer attention/be more devoted" to what you 
		      have heard
			a.  God given us everything we need for life and godliness
			b.  He will not force it on us, we need to utilize it
		2.  Several steps to take
			a.  Habit of Bible reading - Word of God is living and active
			b.  Accountability - Do not forsake assembling, encourage
			c.  Consider Jesus often - Hebrews focuses on Jesus, the 
			     author and pioneer of our faith
			d.  Prayer, self reflection, especially
		3.  Don't wait until a crises comes, start taking these steps now

II.  Because we cannot escape without Him
	A.  Bible doesn't pull punches, without Christ's salvation we are doomed
	B.  Look at what the text reminds us 
		1.  God is righteous
			a.  Every transgression disobedience received a just penalty
			b.  Many examples throughout scripture
				- Judgment on Egypt, Pharaoh, for oppressing Israel 
				- Judgment on Assyria & Babylon for trying to be god
				- Judgment on Israel in judges for pagan practices
				- Judgment on Israel for oppression, wickedness, 
				   disobedience, led to exile in Babylon
			c.  Judgment on the Amelekites for attacking Israel 
			d.  None of them escaped, Pharoah, Amelekites, Israel, etc.
		2.  Rhetorical question - How WE escape if neglect salvation?
			a.  Obvious answer, there is no escape without it
			b.  We need his salvation
		3.  Another question - Escape from what?  
			a.  Ultimately we are talking about eternal damnation
				- Bible describes this in many ways
				- Eternal darkness, Fires of Hell, City dump
				- Lake that burns with fire and brimstone
				- Place of weeping and gnashing of teeth
			b.  Some have a huge problem with punishment
				- Deny God punishes anyone
				- They imply that God gets sick pleasure from it
				- May turn away from God as being barbaric
				- But is God really barbaric?
			c.  Take a look at some passages
				- (2 Pet 3:9) - not wishing any to perish, but for all to 
				  come to repentance, to change and be saved
				- (Rom 1:18, 24) - Wrath of God is being revealed
					= Present tense, not "will be" revealed
					= Turn away from God, God gave them over
					= They suffer the natural result of sin
					= This is how wrath of God is revealed
				- Does that sound barbaric?  No
			d.  Our Lord came to this earth died for us, provide salvation
				- God so loved the world that he did this
				- He provided a way to escape eternal doom
		4.  Exhortation here - Do not neglect this salvation
			a.  Syn:  Disregard, indifference, ignore, carelessness
			b.  If you neglect it, implies you can lose it
			c.  If you lose salvation, then you will receive a just penalty
			d.  But I thought you didn't earn your salvation??
	C.  ILL:  Remember talking about kids appreciating gifts
		1.  If work and buy own car, appreciate it more than one given
			a.  If just give car, may not maintain it, will fall apart
			b.  If earn it, will maintain, clean, etc.
		2.  Makes you want to make people "earn" salvation
			a.  If earn it, appreciate it more, value your Christianity
			b.  Not take for granted, not neglect it
		3.  But, we do not earn salvation, it is the gift of God - Rom 6:23
			a.  Jesus earned it for us - brings it to us, offers it as a gift
			b.  Sometimes we blow it off, take for granted
			c.  Like child who not appreciate and maintain car, neglect it
			d.  Salvation seems doomed to neglect due to being a gift
		4.  Problem is not that it is gift, but when we not invest anything in it  
			a.  Like a relationship with spouse - not earn it
			b.  Spouse chooses to love you, even when unlovable
			c.  You don't earn your marriage, but you invest a great deal 
			     into it into maintaining it
	D.  Need to make full investment into your salvation
		1.  If you neglect it, may lose it
		2.  If you lose it, there is no escape, Jesus is the only way
		3.  Do not neglect your salvation
		4.  His salvation is sure

III.  Because the message is reliable
	A.  Everything of this world wearing out, not reliable
		1.  But every word of God unalterable/steadfast/reliable/effective
		2.  God's word does not come back to him empty
		3.  God is truth, his word is truth
		4.  What God says comes to pass
	B. Lord's message of salvation is reliable and powerful
		1.  It was first spoken by the Lord
			a.  Mark 1 - Jesus - "Repent, Kingdom of God is at hand"
			b.  Went about preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom
			c.  Long awaited message of salvation was here
		2.  Confirmed to us by those who heard - eyewitnesses
			a. Multitudes of people heard Jesus teach
			b. Apostles commissioned to preach after Jesus gone
			c. Words preserved in writing in the New Testament
		3.  God also testifying with miracles and gifts of Holy Spirit
			a. Jesus performed "signs" showing he was from God
			b. Apostles also performed signs, show they from God
			c. Validated their messages as being from God		
		4.  That was a major role of miraculous manifestations
			a.  Every notice the nature of the signs?
				- Not like magic tricks, rabbit out of a hat
				- Signs attacked the handiwork of sin
				- Healing sick, raising dead, casting out demons
				- Directed at righting the things that are wrong
			b.  Demonstrates Jesus is from God and doing his work
			c.  Shows his apostles were from Jesus, doing his work
			d.  Shows Jesus is making right was has been twisted by sin
	C.  ILL: Only God knows the way out and can lead you there
		1.  Remember a skit we did with the kids a few years ago
		2.  Trying to tell one of the kids the way to go
			a.  Adult was standing at the back of the room telling him
			b.  The other kids were around him telling him other things
			c.  So many voices, didn't know the right way
		3.  Gave the kid a two way radio - Listened to the voice and went
	D.  That is how it is with us
		1. In one ear, we have God's message instructing us
		2. In the other ear are many other voices in the world
			a.  Many messages about what is important, right, wrong
			b.  Many messages about what the solutions are
			c.  They are all saying different things, none of them work
		3. Only the message of salvation from God is reliable
			a.  We need to tune in on God's message
			b. Only his solutions will work
			c.  Only his message will help you escape
			d.  Only his message will lead you to abundant, eternal life

1.  So, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard
2.  So easy to get distracted, so easy to start drifting of course
3.  How do we pay attention?  
	a.  Read generous portions of scripture every day and pray
	b.  Spend time reflecting on your activities and God given purpose
	c.  Do this with a Christian brother or sister
	d.  Not complicated


Small Group Notes:  Dealing with Distractions

Summary:  Since Jesus is superior to everything we might lean on, we need to pay closer 
attention to his message so we do not drift from it.  If we stick closely with Christ, 
we can be assured his salvation will enable us to escape from eternal doom because his 
message of salvation is the only thing that is reliable.  Paying closer attention simply 
means to read, apply, and respond to God's message.

- Have you ever gotten into trouble for not paying attention?

Explore (Hebrews 2:1-4)

1.  This passages begins with "Therefore..." or "For this reason..." Summarize the teaching 
that this is referring to

2.  What were the readers in danger of doing?  What is the difference between "drifting" and 
simply making a sudden decision to turn away?  

3.  Discuss the teachings and exhortations this passage uses in order to deal with the problem 
of drifting away.

4.  Discuss ways and scenarios that might cause Christians to drift away from the faith and name 
some of the causes of it.  


5.  Have you or do you ever feel like you may be drifting?  If so, in what way(s)?

6.  What things cause you to be in danger of drifting?

7.  What are some ways for you to pay closer attention as this passage says?  What will/does 
help you to stay on course?

8.  What can you do to help your brethren to stay on course?