AN EVIL HEART
Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Before we begin our lesson on these verses we must take notice of one single word that also goes along with them. It is the word, “Wherefore” that is listed in verse seven just before the passage enclosed by the parenthesis. Let me show you the opening and closing of those parenthesis. They open in verse seven and close at the end of verse eleven.
Hebrews 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Hebrews 3:11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) As you can see, the apostle speaks that one word, “Wherefore” in verse seven, then he turns his attention to the example of those who perished in the wilderness in the Old Testament. But then he returns to take up this same subject to those whom he was addressing, as listed in our verse twelve. So our verse twelve actually reads, Wherefore take heed, brethren, lest there be in you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
Why is this so important? First let us notice the train of thought that was set forth in verse one of this chapter. Hebrews 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Notice that both it, and our corrected verse twelve, (listed just above in the preceding paragraph), are very similar. Both begin with “Wherefore.” Both address the “brethren.” Both refer to the partaking of spiritual revelations. And both set forth the need of a correct and proper relating to the living God, Christ Jesus.
So the apostle is returning directly to the important subject of the need to give full attentiveness to one’s relation to the living God – Christ Jesus.
Another important reason is that focusing only upon the subject covered within the parenthesis – that of others failure to walk with the Lord, gives Satan and our flesh opportunity to separate our gaze from the Lord, and from a proper considering of ourselves in the light of God’s gospel! The apostle intended to have us see a literal example of those who failed to maintain their profession firm until the end. Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
But failing to maintain a spiritual focus upon the Lord Jesus Christ while only looking at others failure produces a dangerous “us” versus “them” attitude! Satan is delighted with those with a pharisaical attitude of being as good, or better than other religionists! 2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Remember, dear Reader, that the day of the coming of the Lord shall be as the days of Noah. And it is said of that population, that although they heard the preaching of righteousness and witnessed the building of that huge ocean-going vessel, they “knew not!” Matthew 24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
Dear ones, the fatal, soul damning disease of apostasy is exclusively found among the professed church! Just as different races, in different locations of the world have unique diseases not found in other races, so apostasy is only found among the realm of professing religionists. For one cannot apostatize from that which he has not first professed!
In Christ’s parable, all four soils received the same seed of the word. (Matthew 13:3-9). Seventy five percent of them brought forth no fruit to perfection, but fell away and withered. Apostates first learn the gospel as tares AMONG the wheat – sitting on the same church benches, singing the same songs, and hearing the same preaching! It takes the same gospel in order to make an antichrist as it does to make a christian! 1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
It takes the same sunshine and rain to grow poison ivy as it does to grow green beans and corn! Hebrews 6:7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
And once the apostasy is matured, there is no possible cure for it! Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Even the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus will not be available to recover an apostate! Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
And just where does the problem lie for the professed religionist to become an irrecoverable apostate? It lies in the same place that the true believer comes to be a born again child of God! – It takes place in the heart!
Listen at these verses in our Hebrews three chapter: Hebrews 3:8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
They did err “in their heart!” But that is where the repentant sinner believes “unto righteousness.” Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Matthew 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
Therefore we are strongly cautioned to guard our hearts very carefully. Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 19 Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.
The heart is desperately wicked, for it is the place where atheistic tendencies appear. Psalm 53:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
The heart that knows no repentance, continually amasses the wrath of God against itself! Romans 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Take note of the progressiveness of the Lord’s displeasure as the apostates develop. First he was grieved. Hebrews 3:10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. But as they continued to grieve him, that grief progressed into full blown wrath! Hebrews 3:11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Romans 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
And how is the heart diligently kept? It can only be kept in holiness and purity by it’s focus upon the Lord Jesus Christ! That is what the apostle is emphasizing to these Hebrew believers in Hebrews 3:1, and in verse 12. And he continues to press this in later chapters. Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
Therefore professing “brethren” are warned to “Take heed,” lest an evil heart be found in them that will eventually cause them to depart from the living God! For remember that apostasy does not grow anywhere else except in the soil of professed religion! Romans 11:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
Esau’s heart was unrepentant even when his eyes were full of tears! And we have a lot of Esau’s today in religion. But there was no repentance in his heart, as he only sought to regain the blessing he had lost! He still cared not for the inherited right of birth to spend his life walking with God! Genesis 25:32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? Like many in todays world of organized religion Esau was physically in the house of Isaac, but not spiritually borned of God! Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Dear One, the faith which was once delivered unto the saints is the same gift available for bringing of one to the Lord in this day. Whether back in Enoch’s day, without the blessing of a bible, or in this day, with the completed revelation, it is faith that pleases God and progresses the believer into his presence.
Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. As it is faith which pleases God, so it is apostasy that renders him no pleasure! Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Romans 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
Its not the starting gate, but the finish line that shall reveal the true believer! Matthew 10:22 …but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. Hebrews 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
Pastor Gene Breed
June 15, 2017