Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 49
Turning Your Back Scornfully
We just are always amazed at how many letters we get expressing that for the first time in your life you’re understanding what the Bible is all about. We just praise the Lord for that, and now to continue on with our study in Hebrews. We’re going to be searching the Scriptures, and be comparing Scripture with Scripture. So we’ll begin again in chapter 6, and verse 4.
But first, for a little bit of introductory comment, I started Hebrews chapter 6 with a statement sort of like this, “I feel like I’m almost bungling into an area that even angels fear to tread because this chapter 6 of Hebrews has probably precipitated more questions in our mail and phone calls than almost any other portion of Scripture. It is a portion of Scripture, I think, that has been totally, totally twisted all out of shape. It has caused a lot of people to have fear that shouldn’t. On the other hand, we don’t take away the fact that it is a warning to people who may be taking these things lightly.” Remember, we used that word several programs back that we’re warned not to take these things lightly. These things are serious business because we’re dealing with eternity and we’re dealing with the Living God, as Hebrews puts it.
Now you’ll remember that back up there in chapter 5, several programs back, Paul was lamenting the fact that these Hebrews were still unable to teach others, as they were still on the milk bottle. They were still even like the Corinthian believers, who were carnal. So the problem with these believers was that they had never matured or moved on. And so, as you come into chapter 6 then, that first word “Therefore,” is in response to that. That the admonition to these Hebrews is to move on, don’t stay back there in Christ’s earthly ministry.
Again, I’m going to qualify. I’m going to keep repeating that the book of Hebrews is indeed written first and foremost to Hebrews but don’t count the Book out as being superfluous and of no importance to us. It’s just like the Old Testament and I treat it more or less in that same vein. We don’t throw the Old Testament away because it was written for the Jew nor do we cast off the Book of Hebrews because it’s addressed to the Jew, but on the other hand, to really get an understanding of what Paul is saying here, we have to realize that it is written to Jews. But as Paul writes to Jews, we as Gentiles can learn so much! In fact I’ve stressed it over the years, Paul always writes his letters to believers. Paul never addresses one word to the unsaved world, but, what’s the end result? It reaches to the unsaved world.
Alright, so as we look at these verses now, keep those things in mind. It’s written primarily to Jewish believers who have come out of Christ’s earthly ministry. And they still are not able to comprehend Paul’s Gospel and so I think what the Apostle is trying to do is show these people that his Gospel is not something totally foreign but that it came up through Judaism and the Jewish people.
So we’ll just jump right in now at verse 4. Remember, Paul has stated up in verses 1 and 2 that they were to “leave the words of Christ.” In other words, His earthly ministry and progress on. And I think I made the illustration in our last program. It’s much like when the Scripture tells the young man and his bride to do what with their parents? Leave them. Leave father and mother and cling to your wife. And I made the analogy that it doesn’t mean that they forsake them. That doesn’t mean that they say, “So long, Mom I’ll never see you again, because now I’ve got a bride.” No. It only means that you cut the apron strings and that young couple now move on in their life and they begin to take on responsibilities that they never had when they were back home with their parents.
And it’s the same way spiritually. We have to keep moving on. We don’t stay back there in the elementary things – God wants us to get into the deep things of Scripture, because that’s when it gets exciting. But see, most Sunday School material is elementary because they try to direct everything to the person who knows nothing, and that’s what it really amounts to. They’re just constantly rehashing things that are at the level of the person who knows almost nothing. Well, that isn’t what God wants. He wants us to keep increasing in the knowledge of God. Now finally I think we’re ready for verse 4.
“For (Paul says) it is impossible…” Now I’m going to break the rest of verse 4, 5 and part of 6 down so that you pick up where the thought really goes to and that would be all the way down to verse 6 where it says,
“…to renew them again…” Do you see that? Because after all this is what we’re going to look at. It’s going to be “impossible to renew them again.” And in between we’re going to look at the things that makes it impossible. Now, like I said, this is an area that I suppose angels fear to tread, because there’s so much confusion on these few verses here.
It’s a fact that many people teach that you can be saved and lost and saved and lost. No way! No way! On the other hand, is the Scripture saying that you’re saved and you’ve got nothing to worry about? No way. And so what we’re going to look at is the possibility for people as it says here in verse 4, “who were enlightened” and we started to touch on it a little bit in our last program when we ran out of time.
“For it is impossible for those who have tasted…” Now what does that mean? That they got a brief understanding. They tasted but they never took it in and ingested it. And remember I gave the illustration that if on a hot summer day, somebody comes along with some ice-cold water, are you going to sip it and taste it to see if it’s okay? No, you’re just going to guzzle it down. You know when I was thinking of this last night, I couldn’t help but think of some of our soft drink commercials. My goodness, they can guzzle that whole 12 ounce can in a matter of seconds. Well you see, this is what God expects us to do with Paul’s Gospel. Not just taste it. Not just pick at it. But we’re to just simply embrace it and just ingest it. And that’s what a lot of people have never done. Oh, they’ve tasted it, they’ve picked at it, they’ve had a little bit of an enlightening, they’ve had an experience, but they were never saved.
In fact, this reminds me, I didn’t intend to do this but it just comes to mind. I hadn’t been on television too long here in Oklahoma and I think it was probably in association with my teaching on Noah’s Ark, where I made it so plain that once Noah and the family were in the Ark and God shut the door, that family was what? Safe! Nothing could jerk them back out of that Ark. They were safe, because they were in God’s presence. They had nothing to fear.
But on the other hand, by the same token, I guess I should say, while they were building the Ark there must of have been scores of people that helped Noah and those three sons build that humongous Ark. And they labored years, crawling all over that humongous thing. But, yet when judgment came, were they in the Ark? No. They were outside. Oh they had labored, and helped build the Ark and yet – they were lost. Well, the analogy of course is that this is a lot of Church people. They are active in the Church. They work in the Church. They sing in the choir. They cook in the kitchen. And they do this and they do that, but they have never entered in to a real salvation. And so, that’s what we’re talking about here.
These people aren’t just saved and lost. They’re never saved. Well, about the same time two phone calls came in. One was all upset, he said, “Les am I hearing you right? You believe once saved always saved?” And I said, “Yes and no.” He said, “What do you mean by that?” I said, “For the person that’s truly saved, yes, they are safe. They are set for eternity. But remember there are a lot of people who are not truly saved, they’ve simply tasted. They have simply been enlightened without embracing it.” And I said, “They may make a profession of faith. They may walk the aisle. They may join the church or other denominations may put them through the catechism and the communion rite but they’re never saved.”
And so, then the world wonders. ‘’Well why are these people claiming to be Christians and they live worse than I do.” That’s the pity of it all. Then on the same program almost, at least about the same day another call came in and she said, “Now Les, I don’t know that I can agree with you.” She said, “A few years back we had a pastor, who had been our pastor for a few years. Had a lovely wife and three kids. And all of a sudden one day, he ran off with our church secretary and we’ve never seen him since. You mean he’s still saved?” And without even thinking, I said, “He never was.”
Now I know I can’t be that judgmental but see, this is the way I look at these things. When people do things that you wonder how can a believer behave like that and God does nothing to bring them back, they were never saved in the first place. And remember I’m not saying this to make you doubt your own salvation but on the other hand it is a warning. Peter says, “make your calling and your election sure.” What’d he mean by that?
What do you really base your salvation on? And I get phone call after phone call, “Les, how can I know that I’m saved?” Well, I just ask a few pertinent questions. Do you love the Lord? Do you love His Word? Do you spend time in it day after day? Do you spend time in prayer every day? And then here’s the kicker, would you rather be with God’s people on Saturday night or out there in some nightclub? Now that’s pretty self-evident. And that’s what being a believer determines. It just simply separates us from the chaff.
Alright, so we’re going to look at this. And it’s so scriptural – I’m going to show you that:
“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, “it’s impossible for those who were once enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and were made partakes of the Holy Ghost” (or the Holy Spirit). That’s what it said. They were made partakers. Now I’m not a Greek scholar, not by any stretch of the imagination. But once in while I’ll take a verb or a word and look it up and this word “partaker” does not follow what Paul says, “you have been indwelled by the Holy Spirit,” but a “partaker” was just someone called along side to help. And it was just that. It didn’t really envelop them.
Alright, let’s go back and see what the Scripture says and first, let’s go back to I Samuel and we’re going to look at King Saul. Now I know a lot of people, a lot of Sunday School writers, think that Saul’s going to be in Glory, because they think he was a believer. No-no. Saul is another one of the typical candidates that Hebrews 6 is talking about. He was enlightened. And he spent a period of time under the influence of the Holy Spirit, but it never registered. He ended up turning his back on everything. I Samuel chapter 10, drop in at verse 6, and you all know the story. How that Samuel went and found Saul of the Tribe of Benjamin – a big, tall, good looking fellow – and anointed him King.
I Samuel 10:6-7
“And the Spirit of the LORD (and it’s capitalized, so we’re talking about the Holy Spirit) will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.” (in other words, Saul’s going to be different than he was before) 7. And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.” Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Alright but now let’s go on over to chapter 13 still in I Samuel, and drop in at verse 9. And here it is just a little while later, and here Saul is told to wait for Samuel. And of course, the enemy is approaching, and Saul gets impatient. He doesn’t wait for Samuel and he does something that he had no business doing.
I Samuel 13:9
“And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.”
Did he have any business doing that? No! That was the job of the priest. But what’s he doing? He’s assuming his own importance. That’s not Spirit led. He is acting in the flesh, see? Alright now then, you come on down to verse 13. Now look what Samuel says when he gets there and this has just been done and Samuel says to Saul,
I Samuel 9:13-14a
“Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.” (but because of Saul’s rank disobedience, here it comes.) 14. But now thy kingdom shall not continue:…”
Because of one act of disobedience? Yes. Because it showed that Saul was not really what he thought he was. Now, let’s see what happens as he moves on through his life, which of course, went quite a number of years. I think he reigned 40 years if I’m not mistaken. And let’s come on over to chapter 28, verse 7. Now goodness sakes, even a novice in Scripture would know that this is something that a man of God would never do. And look what he does.
I Samuel 28:7
“Then Saul said unto his servants, Seek me a woman that has a familiar spirit, (what’s he looking for? A fortune-teller, a soothsayer. See? Which was totally forbidden in Israel) that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said, to him, Behold there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.”
And so you know what happened. He sought her out, because he wanted help to determine how he should handle things at hand and so he thought the best way would be to bring up Samuel so he could talk to him. Well, I can’t explain that situation, but we know that in some way or another, Samuel appeared. Alright now let’s just come on over to see the end of this man who became a rebel. Chapter 31, still in I Samuel at verse 3. Now remember what’s been happening. Oh sure, first he was anointed King. He had the Spirit of God upon him. And then it wasn’t long until he took things in his own hands that he shouldn’t have done. Then he goes another step down and instead of going to ask the things of God, he goes to a soothsayer, a fortune-teller and now here’s his end.
I Samuel 31:3-4
“And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. 4. Then said Saul unto his armour bearer, ‘Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith: lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armour bearer would not; for he was sore afraid.” (after all this is the King)Therefore, Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.” What did he do? He committed suicide. That was his end. He committed suicide. And yet here’s a man that began with the Holy Spirit. Also II Samuel 28: 16 tells us: “The LORD had become Saul’s enemy.”
Alright, let’s look at another individual in Scripture that everybody knows everything about, I think. Come all the way up now to the New Testament to John’s Gospel, chapter 6, and I’ll let you guess who I’m going to talk about. Who is another apostate that ends up killing himself? Judas! Now I’m not going to look up all the Scriptures, I’m just going to look at the one in chapter 6, and verse 70.
Now you all know the story of Judas. He was numbered with the Twelve. You read Matthew chapter 10 and it lists the Twelve disciples and Judas Iscariot is in there. Now for three years, what did Judas do? He played the role. The others never caught on that he was an unbeliever and a fake. I always say Judas is the most perfect example of a hypocrite in the whole human race. He played the hypocrite for three years, and even carried the moneybag. That’s how much they trusted him and yet he was never part of them. He just simply played along, like so many do in the Church today.
“Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” Jesus said he was a demon! Well, he didn’t just become a demon in the last month or so. He was one from the beginning. He was just simply playing along.
“He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon; for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.”
Now, Judas then becomes a good example of someone who was enlightened. He tasted and he was a part of the ministry. But what in finality did he do? He turned his back on it and had nothing more to do with it and betrayed the Savior. Oh, it’s a horrible thing, but yes it’s possible. Now Paul gives us an example of one as well in Colossians chapter 4. Now these aren’t men that were at one time saved and totally in – no they were merely walking on the outside, they had never really partaken of the things of God.
Now let’s just drop down to verse 12, so we pick up the flow. Paul is just rehearsing the men that had been working with him.
“Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayer that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13. For I bear him record, (that is Epaphras). that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea and those in Hierapolis. 14. Luke the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.” In other words, they were in his traveling party. They were working with Paul in his evangelistic endeavor. Alright, now let’s go over to II Timothy chapter 4 and verse 10. And what a sad, sad commentary. Let’s just again, for sake of picking up the flow, go up to verse 8. Of course here, Paul now realizes that his life is coming to an end. He will shortly be martyred and his ministry is over. And so he’s writing to Timothy, his farewell letter you might say.
II Timothy 4:8-10a
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only but unto all them also that love his appearing. 9. Do thy diligence (remember he’s writing to Timothy) to come shortly unto me. 10. For Demas (the same one he referred to back there in Colossians) hath (what?)forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;… “
And so yes, this is very, very possible that someone can be enlightened. Back to Hebrews for the minute or two we’ve got left. So, it’s so possible, whether it’s an Old Testament economy or whether it’s in Christ’s earthly ministry or whether it’s now during this Age of Grace, we’ve had instances of people who were enlightened, they tasted, they went along with it, but they never embraced it. I guess we could look at it this way. How about people today that have gone through that same kind of a situation? Well, it’s just like the parable that the Lord gave with the sower. And we touched on that in our last program. Some fell on rocky ground, only had a little bit of topsoil. What happened? It sprung up but as soon as the noonday sun hit it, what happened? It died and it never amounted to anything. Some fell on thorny ground. And nothing happened to it. It had no place to germinate. And some fell on hard, untilled ground and the birds picked it up. But then only a small portion fell on fertile ground and it was able to spring up and bring forth as Jesus Himself uses the terminology. Some fifty fold, some a hundred fold. But there are many who were never truly believers.