Let the little chldren come to Jesus

Text Mark 10:13, 14 Time 01 12 08 Place Childs Hill Baptist Church
In Mark 10:13-16 we have a fascinating incident recorded for us in the life of the Lord Jesus. It is recorded in just four verses, most of which are taken up with the saying of Jesus that was connected with the incident. However, before we come to the saying we get a fascinating glimpse of Jesus going about his earthly ministry. We learn firstly something of how people in general saw him and reacted to him, then how the disciples reacted to this and finally how he saw it too. After that comes the interesting and important saying and then the moment when he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. 
It is an interesting incident then from many points of view – the insight it gives into Jesus's earthly ministry, the presence of these children, the misunderstanding of the disciples, the saying that the whole thing provoked. 
So let's look at these verses. I want to say two main things 
1. Consider the people and learn from their attitudes good and bad 
1. Consider the people and their desire to have Jesus touch the children 
First we learn that People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them. We tend to think that celebrity is a new thing but that is not really the case. 
For long ages people have become famous for one reason or another and when they become really famous then people simply want to be connected to them in some way. 
When I was a boy back in the seventies Wales had one of the finest rugby teams in the world. The outside half (10) was a man called Barry John. They used to call him the King. He was one of the greatest players ever. However, in 1972 he retired at the remarkably young age of 27. One of the reasons he stopped playing was the adulation from fans. Mothers would send their children up to him just to touch him. One day he was opening a bank and a little girl curtseyed to him, as if he really was royalty! It was the last straw. 
The Beatles saw similar things. Ringo Starr once described how at concerts disabled people would be “brought backstage to be touched by a Beatle. It was very strange. Also some sad thalidomide kids with little broken bodies and no arms or legs and little feet.” John Lennon really hated the fact that such people would be brought to them in the hope they could be healed. 
Or what about the royal touch or king's touch? French and English monarchs from Mediaeval times down to the time of Queen Anne would touch their subjects, regardless of social class, with the hope of curing them from various diseases and conditions, especially scrofula or the King's Evil. The disease rarely resulted in death and often went into remission on its own, giving the impression that the monarch's touch cured it. 
Now something like that may be operating here. Jesus has healed many people. He is a good and gracious man. The Holy Spirit is upon him. And so these good people bring their little children to Jesus to have him touch them. 
2. Consider the disciples and their stern opposition to this sort of thing 
But says Mark the disciples rebuked them. I don't know what their thinking was. Maybe they thought it was rather superstitious, which perhaps it was a little bit. Perhaps they thought it was a waste of Jesus's time. 
These days a lot of people wouldn't mind. In fact there is an expression kissing babies which is what politicians are said to do to try and increase their vote although it usually just involves complimenting parents on their babies these days. 
That is partly because our whole idea of children is different to theirs. We live after the sentimentalisation of children that came largely in the Victorian age The disciples and their contemporaries didn't tend to ooh and aah over babies. In fact, given that many children didn't survive childhood the general attitude to children could often b quite negative. 
They really did feel that Jesus was not making good use of his time and perhaps we have some sympathy with their point of view. 
3. Consider Jesus and his attitude to the disciples and to the children 
It is at this point, in verses 14 and 15 that we read that When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. 
So Jesus takes the very opposite view of things to the disciples. In fact he was indignant about the way they were behaving. They must not stop the children coming to him and indeed they must do nothing to keep them away. Rather, they must see that the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,and people ought to learn to receive the kingdom like little children. 
4. Consider the children and how they were brought to Jesus and touched and blessed 
We read that he then (16) took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Jesus was happy to welcome them and to touch them as the mothers wished. 

2. Consider what Jesus says and learn about God's kingdom and how to be in it
So at the very least what Jesus says should make us be welcoming to children. We have an important highlight here on what our attitude to children should be. But there is more here. There is something about how we should understand the kingdom of God itself, the rule of God in the hearts of sinners. Three things then 
1. Realise that little children should be allowed to come to Jesus 
1 What that does not mean 
Now our paedobaptist friends would be tempted to say. Look isn't this what we always say. You Baptists won't let people join the church until they are baptised as older people. We are happy to baptise babies and little children. Surely we are right. The trouble here,of course, is that Mark 10 doesn't say one word about baptism. It is not a passage about baptism but about the importance of making children welcome. 
2 What that does mean 
So what can we learn from the passage? The obvious thing here is that though we do not baptise babies we must not, on the other than exclude them from everything so that we give the impression that they are not welcome. No, quite the opposite. Rather, we do everything we can to make the children feel welcome. It is one of the reasons we have a children's talk in the middle of our morning meeting and a Sunday School too. We always want the children to feel welcome, as Jesus himself would. When babies are born we usually give thanks to God publicly for them in order to make this clear. When my first grandson was born his parents were in the congregation and so we got him in front of the people and gave thanks for him. 
2. Understand that God's kingdom belongs to such as these 
When Jesus says for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these it is important that we are clear about what he is saying. Some are tempted to think he might be talking about the innocence or the simplicity of children. In fact what he is talking about is their weakness and their invulnerability. That was the chief thing about a child in those days and it is still an important thing about children today. They are weak and exposed, indefensible and powerless. 
Now it is to those who are weak and poor that the kingdom is accessible. Being strong and powerful is not the way in. Rather, it is meekness and sense of one's own inadequacy that are the key things. 
If you want to know how to become a Christian then the first thing you need to know is that you need to have a strong sense of your own weakness and of your own vulnerability. Without that you will get nowhere. 
Let me ask you that. Do you have a strong sense of your own weakness and need? That is vital if you are ever going to enter the kingdom of God. 
3. See that no-one can enter God's kingdom except by receiving it as a little child 
Think finally of verse 16. Jesus says emphatically I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. 
When we are adults it is hard to remember what it was like to be a child. We an think back then Think of how weak and powerless children are by nature. They need protection. Now to come to Christ we must first see how weak and empty we are by nature. We are absolute nobodies. That is the starting place. Once we see that then coming to Christ for his forgiveness and help should be easy. I urge you to come.

What the Bible is really all about

Text John 5:39 Date 19 03 17 Place Childs Hill Baptist Church
I want us to look this evening at a text that is found in John 5:39, 40. The words are the words of Jesus. He is speaking to Jews in Jerusalem, people who were refusing to trust in him, and he says to them had been an invalid for 38 years. Jesus famously told this man to take up his bed and walk. Because the incident occurred on a Saturday, on the day of a Jewish Sabbath, the Jews were very concerned and accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath laws. This is one of the things they persecuted him for.
In verses 16-18 we read So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defence Jesus said to them, 
"My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working." For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
From verse 19, Jesus speaks to the Jews and explains his intimate relationship with the Father. Then from verse 31 he comes on to the question of why they should believe him. He agrees that if he testifies about myself, his testimony is in some ways not valid. But he says (32) There is another who testifies in my favour, and I know that his testimony about me is true.
This is probably a reference to the testimony of his Father, which was known from time to time. He goes on though to speak about John the Baptist. Verses 33-35 You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. 
Then he says (36) … the works that the Father has given me to finish - the very works that I am doing - testify that the Father has sent me.
Quite apart from that (37, 38) … the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. Their problem is that they have never heard his voice nor seen his form, - nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.
It is then that he says You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, … he adds yet you refuse to come to me to have life. He is pointing to the Scriptures then, to the Bible, as another major source of testimony to him. With these two verses in mind I want to say four things to you

1. Here is a good practice but that in itself can guarantee nothing
Jesus begins by saying You search the Scriptures. By the Scriptures he means, of course, what we now call the Old Testament Scriptures – the Bible, the Word of God as it is. These people did search the Scriptures, they studied them, they worked hard at examining them. And Jesus doesn't object to them doing that. Far from it, that was one of the better characteristics of these people. It is good that people search the Scriptures.
Many people do study the Scriptures. The Pharisees especially were famous for it. There have been many scholars since who do the same thing. Today there still many like that. Some of them are university professors and they write very learned tomes on these things. Others are of a more amateur sort but they study the Scriptures and are able to come up with all sorts of things about the Bible. Some are quite liberal and simply want to debunk traditional views. They look for errors, anything that will undermine the real truth. Others are rather cranky. Remember that book that came out a few years ago and was a bestseller The Bible Code. Many others have claimed to have found secret codes in the Bible as well. You have heard of Kabbalah which became very popular with some a few years ago. The Kabbalists have been coming up with that sort of thing for years.
It is right that we should be encouraged to read the Bible. It does contain wonderful things. Sometimes people are encouraged in this direction by stories like this one (which comes in various forms but is probably based on something that H G Wells wrote many years ago in the nineteenth century).
A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.
As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box. Curious, and somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man's name embossed in gold.
Rather angry, he shouted at his father and said "with all your money, you give me a Bible?" and stormed out of the house.
Many years passed and the young man became successful in business. He had a beautiful home and a wonderful family, but he realised that his father was getting old, and he thought perhaps he should go see him. He had not seen him since that graduation day.
Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.
When he arrived at his father's house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still gift-wrapped Bible, just as he had left it, years before. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt.7:11, And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is in Heaven, give to those who ask Him?
As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had wanted. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words PAID IN FULL!
Now, as far as it goes, the story is good in that it says read the Bible, you don't know what treasure you might be missing out on and I certainly want to encourage you to study the Scriptures. Search them, research them. Do all the study in them you can. Take time to read them every day. Get to know them as well as you can.
However, it's important that you don't see this as an open sesame. Merely searching the Scriptures guarantees nothing in and of itself. These people searched the Scriptures but they didn't benefit from them. It did them no good.
Some people who don't live in London wished they did. The things they would do if only they lived in London – the plays, the musicals, the museums, etc. We live in London and we know that it is not that simple. Just living here is not enough. If you want to do all there is to do you still need time and money and the energy to do it all.
Similarly, reading the Scriptures, searching them, is good but guarantees nothing of itself. So, search the Scriptures but realise that this good practice guarantees nothing.

2. Here is a correct idea but that in itself can guarantee nothing
Jesus goes on by saying for in them you think you have eternal life. Now again they were right and they were wrong. Jesus recognised that they saw the Bible as the key to eternal life. He does not argue with that for one moment. It is in this book that the key is found However, even if you know that you are still not quite there.
Yes, the Jews accepted that there was a coming resurrection to life and they hoped to take part in that world to come but they thought that the way to it was by means of doing good deeds. They thought that because they were Jews and kept the law (they thought they kept the law) this would lead to eternal life.
No doubt there are people today who read the Bible and they read the Bible because they think that it will give them eternal life. However, if you do not know how the Bible will lead you to eternal life then it will be of no use to you.
Did you hear the story of the man who went on the holiday of a lifetime to America and wanted to take good pictures so that he would remember it and be able to share with others. He borrowed his son's Gopro camera. Sadly, he put it in selfie mode and so all his pictures were of himself (except for one selfie he tried to take). At one point he says “Look at that for a view of the mountains. Isn’t it stunning? There’s the Trump Tower – same colour as his hair.”
All you actually see is his face again. The video is on Youtube. 
Now there are people who are doing the same thing with the Bible. They believe it will lead them to eternal life and it will but they are going about things all the wrong way.
I trust you are not making the same mistake.

3. Here is a vital thing to understand if the good practice and the correct idea are to be of any value to you
Jesus then says and these these Scriptures are they which testify of Me. Here is the key to it all. If you fail to see this then all your Scripture reading will be of no use, all your realising that the Bible is the key to eternal life will do you no good.
I happened to flick through the channels on the TV the other day at home and I came across a woman telling a story. It was about how she and some friends of her had got into a party by saying at the door “we are friends of Peter's” which they were not. She was able to get away with it for a while until someone began to ask her questions. “What's your connection with Peter?” she was asked. Instead of opening up she claimed to have been in university with him. Where? In Manchester. Anyway after a few more a painful moments describing her deceit. She explained that in fact this party was a memorial one. Peter had died a year before from cancer. The party was a fund raiser organised by friends who wanted to remember him and raise money for charity. She and her friends felt pretty embarrassed you can imagine.
Now you may read your Bible every day and you may say you think it will lead you to eternal life but if you don't understand what it is really about then you will get nowhere. You need to see that it is all about Jesus
Let me give you some examples
Let's start with Genesis 3:15 where God says And I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. That is what happened at the cross – Satan struck Christ's heel and he did die but at that moment Satan's head was crushed. He will rise no more. This was God's purpose from before the fall.
In Exodus we read of the Passover Lamb by means of which the Israelites escape the Angel of death. John the Baptist points to Jesus and says
Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. 
Think too of the rock which Moses struck in the desert and water flowed. Paul says very boldly in 1 Corinthians 10:4 
they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 
In Leviticus we read of Aaron the High Priest who represented the people. The Book of Hebrews reveals that Christ is our High Pries who has gone not into the Holiest place of the Temple but into heaven itself on behalf of his people.
In Deuteronomy 18:18 God says through Moses 
I will raise up for them a prophet like you like Moses from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. That Prophet is Jesus. 
Have you read that bit in Joshua before the Battle of Jericho (5:13-15) where Joshua sees 
a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, Are you for us or for our enemies? Neither, he replied, but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come. etc
And what did Joshua do next? He fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?" 
He is told by The commander of the LORD's army … Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy. And Joshua did so. He is meeting with none other than the Second Person of the Trinity. 
When you come to the Book of Judges you learn about the judges or saviours who led the people then. They were all flawed individuals. They remind us that Jesus is the Saviour that God's people really need – One like them, raised up by God, filled with God’s Spirit. One who rescues people, who fights for them and defeats their enemies, who provides lasting peace and security for God's people. Jesus is the Saviour the people were longing for. One not flawed like the Judges but better than all the judges put together.
After Judges comes Ruth where we learn how Boaz becomes a guardian and redeemer to the outsider and cast off Ruth. He is referred to as Guardian-redeemer many times in the second half of the book.
Boaz and Ruth are ancestors of David the King, who himself points to his greater Son in so many ways. We saw this morning how he defeated Goliath as representative of his people and fought on their behalf.
There are many other places where we can see this so obviously.
In Job 19:25-27 Job says 
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes - I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Again in Esther you have the idea of one representative of the people, the Jews, who are under threat of extinction. Esther goes into the King and pleads on their behalf, saving not only herself but all the people too.
Psalms is full of prophecies about Christ. We mentioned some this morning. What about Psalm 2:6-9 (God says) I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain. I will proclaim the LORD's decree: He said to me, "You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.
Proverbs teaches us that Christ is our wisdom from heaven. 
In Isaiah 9:6 we read 
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
In Isaiah 53:3 we read He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Jeremiah 23:5 The days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.
Ezekiel 34:23, 24 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken.
It is Jonah's three days and three nights in the great fish that point to the death and rising again of Christ. 
Zechariah 9:9 says Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Malachi 4:2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.
You can argue about exactly how you see Christ in Scripture but he is its theme. That is what it is all about. Have you seen that? It is vital to grasp.
4. Here is a tragic mistake to avoid if you have understood this much
What Jesus actually says to his hearers is You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
Because these men were so opposed to Jesus they refused to come to him. The truth is that the Bible that they claimed they loved so much is full of Jesus Christ but they had decided they would not go to him for eternal life and so in fact they were about to lose it all – Christ, the Bible and eternal life itself.
Don't make that mistake. The Bible is the source of eternal life. It is all about Christ. It is through Christ that eternal life is known. In this same chapter he says (24)
Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. That is the transition we all need to make. It is possible only through Jesus Christ.

How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?

Text Hebrews 2:3a Date 11 02 18 Place Childs Hill Baptist Church

This morning I want us to look at a text. It is found in Hebrews 2:3a. It is a question and the question is this
how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?

We do not know who wrote the letter to the Hebrews - perhaps it was Paul but it is more likely to have been Barnabas or Luke or someone else in that circle. It was written some time before 70 AD. The people to whom the letter is addressed were Jews who had professed faith in Christ but were thinking of going back to being just Jews again. The letter argues that is not possible to do that and urges them rather to seek the Lord more earnestly.
Chapter 1 begins with an exposition of the superiority of Jesus Christ to all angels. That is followed by the words that we find at the beginning of what we call Chapter 2 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels the giving of the 10 Commands was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?
He adds that This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him the apostles. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will mainly to the apostles but also to others.
What is said to these ancient people needs to be heard by us too. We are not tempted to become Jews or follow some other religion I'm sure but that danger of drifting away is ever present and so I want to call on you this morning, if you believe, to consider this vital question - how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?
There are four important words here that we need to understand in order to benefit from this verse. The words are escape, ignore, great and salvation. Let's ask four vital questions then.
1. Do you know what the salvation he speaks about here is?
When the New Testament talks about salvation or safety or deliverance it is referring to the present reality for every true Christian - the fact that a person is saved - saved from their sins, from themselves, from death and from hell.
We can think of salvation as salvation accomplished and salvation applied.
The reason we need to be saved, of course, is because sin has come into the world. A rebellion began before the creation of the world that was led by Satan. This later led to man joining the rebellion and all the consequences that meant for the whole of creation - chaos, sickness, death.
How did God intend to accomplish salvation for his people? Long before, he had decided that it should be through a man. There never would be a man good enough to do such a work and so it was decided that God himself, God the Son, would be that man. Indeed God would become a man. Now if there was to be such a man on earth he had to belong to a certain people and live in a certain place.
And so throughout the Old Testament period you can read of how God chose first one man - Abraham - a man as good as dead the Bible says but who became the father of Isaac who in turn became the father of Jacob or Israel from whom the Twelve Tribes come. These people ended up as slaves down in Egypt but God raised up Moses who led them out through the wilderness to a Promised Land the land of the Canaanites. The Canaanites were godless and so God gave his people the task of destroying them and taking their land. They did this with mixed success. There was also a split between north and south following a civil war. The temptation to turn to Canaanite ways was always strong and the northern tribes were so given to such ways that in God's providence they were taken away by the Assyrians never to return. Eventually the southern kingdom was taken away by the Babylonians too. However, in an amazing turn around God brought them back to the Promised Land.
Finally the Jews were established in their own country with their own language. They were under the Roman yoke but they were there and it was to these people that eventually the Messiah was born - Jesus of Nazareth. Now this Jesus, a you know grew up in obscurity but when he was about thirty he was baptised by John the Baptist and he began a three year ministry of miracles and preaching. At the end of that period, after much persecution he was taken and put to death on a cross, a cruel instrument of torture. Although he died he rose again from the dead before ascending into heaven again his task complete. When he died he took the punishment his people deserved for their rebellion and sin and so he accomplished salvation for them.
Then ten days after Jesus had ascended into heaven he poured out his Holy Spirit on his people. The Holy Spirit is the one who inspired his servants to write down the Scriptures and he is the one who applies salvation to his people. As the Word is preached the Spirit takes hold of a person and they are transformed so that they begin to live for the glory of God. They know and believe that Jesus has died in their place and by the help of the Spirit they live the life that God calls them to on earth until they enter heaven and the glories of that place.
This is the salvation we are talking about then, the deliverance accomplished by Jesus Christ and applied by the Holy Spirit.
2. Why does he call it a great salvation? Do you understand in what sense it is a great salvation?
From an early age in this country you learn that this is Great Britain. That Great is actually a actually a geographical thing Great or Greater Britain or Brittany as opposed to Brittany in France. However, that doesn't stop patriotic Brits from telling you all the reasons why Britain is great not geographically but in other ways. Any number of arguments are given.
You notice secondly that here he calls it a great salvation. In what sense is it great? Not geographically, of course. It's not like great grandparents are great either.
Many things come to mind as to why salvation is great. Most obviously
1. It is a salvation accomplished by a great Saviour
There are various DIY self help remedies out there that claim to be able to do something for you. Forget them all. Once you see this Great Saviour you will give up on yourself. Then there have been various movements that have formed behind charismatic leaders of the past. Such men die and do not rise again. Loo rather to the great and risen Saviour Jesus Christ.
2. It is a salvation applied by the Holy Spirit
Here is another thing that makes it so great. It is not a man centred movement but something God himself does.
3. It is a salvation that is all of grace and does not depend on me
This salvation is all about the grace of God. He does all the work. He is the one who saves us. It is not about righteous things we have done, but about his mercy. Nothing greater than that.
4. It is a salvation that I cannot lose
Once you are saved you are saved forever. That really is great. Jesus says of his sheep I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.
5. It is a salvation that cannot be improved
Sometimes people are tempted to think they can add to it and so improve it but in fact all additions only dilute and obscure it. No this great salvation cannot be improved.
6. It is a salvation that is open to all
It is difficult to think of anything as open and available to anyone and everyone as is the case with salvation in Christ.
You see what a great salvation this is.
3. How can it be possible for me as a professing Christian to ignore such a great salvation?
They say that during the Revolutionary War in America a loyalist spy appeared at the HQ of Colonel Johann Rall, carrying an urgent message. Rall was leading an army from Hess in support of George II. The spy's message was that General George Washington and his Continental army had secretly crossed the Delaware River that morning and were advancing on Trenton, New Jersey where the Hessian army was encamped. The spy was denied an audience with the commander and instead wrote his message on a piece of paper. A porter took the note to Rall who it is said was playing poker. Whatever was the case, he stuffed the unread note into his pocket. Rall still not realise what was happening until his camp guards began firing their muskets in a futile attempt to stop Washington's army. With no time to organise, the Hessian army was captured. The date was December 26, 1776.
Now what the writer here is saying is that these Hebrews are in danger of doing what Rall did - ignoring something vital. The danger they are in is of ignoring this great salvation. How could that be? Why would you ignore such a great salvation? And yet it happens. People become complacent. They take salvation for granted and begin to think that may be they can do better elsewhere.
Do you ever find yourself thinking like that? Are you tempted to think about giving up and just drifting? It is always a danger but it must be avoided.
4. Why does he see no way of escape for those who ignore such a great salvation?
The Great Escape is a 1963 American World War II epic film based on an escape by British and Commonwealth POWs from German POW Camp. It starred Steve McQueen, James Garner and Richard Attenborough. it is a fictionalised account of real events. Now in this case only three of the 76 men who escaped actually got home. Really speaking it should be called The Great near escape. A real escape gets you all the way home.
The whole point of this verse is that if we do ignore such a great salvation then there is no way of escape left. How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? I don't think there is any doubt about the answer the writer would give to the question. Escape? There is no way we will escape if we ignore this great salvation.
Later on in the Book the writer repeats himself (10:28, 29) Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
12:25-29 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken - that is, created things - so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire."
I plead with you not to ignore this great salvation. Trust in Jesus today. God on trusting him always.