The Exclusivism of Christianity: So Great Salvation
 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard,
lest at any time we should let them slip.
 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast,
and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;
which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord,
and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders,
and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
We have spoken recently of the walls of the Holy City and connected those walls to the safety and security of the ancient city, and by way of application of the exclusivism of the Church, and the need for exclusion in the Christian’s life.
D. A. Carson refers to three representative passages of Scripture, and he insists that it is impossible to read them without recognizing that, "...certain beliefs were viewed as nonnegotiable. Outside those beliefs there was no salvation." [footnote 1] In the history of the Church, it has never been more important that we understand this. Today I would like to direct your attention to one of those passages by way of reminder. It is critical that we never let slip what we receive here.
Years ago I preached through the book of Hebrews from this pulpit. Today I would come back once again to this great book. I thank God for the book of Hebrews, for its wonder of its truth, and the awesomeness of its power. I make no apology for returning to it again, when there is so much more in Scripture. There is so much more in this book! There is so much more in Romans! We could spend our lives in either one of them, and not exhaust what is there for us!
We need once again to peel the onion from the inside out - so great salvation (3)
Transition: Where do we look to see the greatness of God’s salvation?
I. The Communication of God’s Great Salvation (3-4)
1. The Revelation of God’s Great Salvation
spoken by the Lord (3)
2. The Confirmation of God’s Great Salvation
confirmed unto us by them that heard him (3)
3. The Verification of God’s Great Salvation
God also bearing them witness,
both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles,
and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will (4)
Transition: Another aspect of the greatness of the salvation referred to here may be seen in the way it embraces the entire span of Biblical history. Get your arms around this!
II. The Description of God’s Great Salvation (5-17)
1. The Greatness of Salvation in the Past (3-17)
1) The Objects of Salvation - Creation (5-7)
The great question of Psalm 8 - The wonder of who we are to God
2) The Captain of Salvation (9-17)
Incarnation (9-10, 14, 17)
Resurrection and Ascension (9, 13)
3) The Revelation of Salvation (3-4)
The greatness of God’s gracious truth granted to men
2. The Greatness of Salvation in the Present (8-18)
What we don’t see (8) - Everything is not in subjection to Him yet - but it will be!
What we do see (9) - Jesus! Crowned! With Glory and Honor!
Where we are being brought to (10) - Glory!
What is happening to us along the way (11) - We are being sanctified by Christ
We are being ministered to by Christ (18)
3. The Greatness of Salvation in the Future (5-17)
Subjection - Everything will be in subjection to Him in the world to come (5, 8)
Destruction - The Destruction of Satan (14)
Reconciliation - The complete deliverance of His people (15, 17)
Glorification - Glory (10)
Transition: There is another aspect of God’s salvation wherein its greatness may be seen.
III. The Obligation of God’s Great Salvation (1, 3)
The greatness of the salvation brings with it a commensurate greatness in the penalty for neglecting it! This great salvation cannot be taken lightly! It will never leave you untouched or unaffected!
Get your arms around this! It is part of the message!
1. This Obligation Demands our Undivided Attention
Take heed! Take earnest heed! Take more earnest heed! (1)
2. This Obligation Insists on our Faithful Perseverance
Don’t let what you have heard slip! (1)
3. This Obligation Requires our Constant Carefulness
Don’t neglect so great salvation! (3)
4. This Obligation Presents our Only Alternative
There is no escape! (3)
How great does this salvation appear to you?
Have you really attempted to embrace it, to get your arms around it?
Has it embraced you? Have you felt the greatness of this salvation in the depths of your soul, in the core of your being, in the very fiber of your existence?
Donald A. Carson, The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), pg. 357. The other two passages that Carson mentions besides Heb. 2:1-2 are Galatians 1:8-9 and 1 John 2:22.
[Sermon preached 1 APR 2007 by Pastor John T. "Jack" Jeffery at Wayside Gospel Chapel, Greentown, PA]