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Be Mobile But Do Not Drift

We live in a mobile society – more so today than at any other time in history.

We move about in our daily lives, going where we need to go to take care of the business of daily life. We have every possible method of travel available to us. It is easy for us to jump in a vehicle and drive across town or across the country. We can use other methods of mobility – planes, trains, bicycles, and motorcycles......We can even walk!

If we are not comfortable where we live and want to move to a better place, we can just decide where we think we could be more comfortable and move.

I did some Googling to find out how often people in the US move in a lifetime. I found this:

  • A person in the United States is expected to move 11.4 times in his lifetime.

  • How long does the average American stay in their home? 13.2 years

  • 35% of homeowners have lived in their homes for 10 to 15 years.

  • 16% have lived in their homes for less than five years.

  • The average length of homeownership years is eight years.

The median homeowner tenure is 13.2 years, a three-year increase over the last decade. So, it seems that the rate of moving is slowing down some.

As I was growing up my family lived in at least 7 different locations. In the 57 years of our marriage Sandy and I lived in 12 different places, in 8 different cities. That means that we moved every 4.75 years. I have lived in my present home now for 25 yrs. I know I am slowing down.

So, we are a country on the move. But today we are going to look at another kind of moving. That is drifting. And, in particular – the drifting of Christians – drifting from the Church.

In so many churches today we see people drifting from major anchors of truth.

Anchors of:

Moral Purity

Marital Commitment

Personal Integrity

Biblical Faithfulness

Some go as far as to rewrite the Biblical standards to suit how they want to live. This is called “rethinking.” Now, I have, and you have too, been in the Bible and in the Church long enough to know that rewriting the Bible is a sin.

But the world says, “Let’s be reasonable about this. If it is pleasant or fits MY thinking, then it is OK to pursue it. “

We might think that kind of behavior and thinking is only found among the more liberal church folk. But it is also present even within the evangelical bodies.

So, let’s look at 1 Timothy 4:1-2 a moment:

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron.”

I want to read also how the Living Bible records those two verses. Now, understand, I don’t consider the Living Bible to be authoritative by any means, but I think its way of saying 1 Timothy 4:1-5 is worth looking at.

“But the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some in the church will turn away from Christ and become eager followers of teachers with devil-inspired ideas. These teachers will tell lies with straight faces and do it so often that their consciences won’t even bother them.

For there is going to come a time when people won’t listen to the truth but will go around looking for teachers who will tell them just what they want to hear. They won’t listen to what the Bible says but will blithely follow their own misguided ideas. You must stay awake and watch out for all these dangers.”

But, you know, this serious situation is not unique to the present time. It was present even in the first century – in the early days of the church. We know that – otherwise, why would Paul be addressing the issue as he writes to Timothy?

The problem of Christians drifting from the truth was so severe that he felt compelled to address it and issue a warning to the church.

First, let’s look at the warning to the Christian. Hebrews 2:1-4 READ.

Now, in the previous chapter, the writer says that Christ is superior to the prophets and to the angels. In verse 14 of that first chapter, he concludes by saying – concerning the angels – “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?”

The word inherit means “to receive a gift.” That is in contrast to receiving that which is a reward. Another word in that verse – salvation – does not simply refer to being born again spiritually, but it refers to the whole experience of being born again and living as a Christian is expected to live.

So, with that being said, let’s look at what the Hebrews writer says in Chapter 2:

“For this reason, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”

We have received a gift that comes to us as an inheritance, and now we must take it seriously. Then, he gives us guidelines for managing this inheritance correctly.

The Command (vs 1)

We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away.

This is a timely warning to a generation of drifters. As it was then, so it is now. Our problem is not a lack of exposure, it is that we don’t take God seriously on the basis of that exposure. Our problem is not the need to get something new, sensational, and fresh to keep us on track, but our problem is that we don’t see the value in the old and apply it, lest we drift.

The term – drifting away – is one used for gliding or passing by, as in being caught in the current of the river and being unable to get an anchor hold on the shoreline. It is a word that suggests inadvertent movement. Drifting and Erosion are pretty much the same thing.

The Argument (vs 2-3)

The writer uses an old rabbinic argument that moves from something lesser to something greater to prove a point. He says: “If the word spoken through angels proved unchangeable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just consequence, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (vss 2-3)

In other words, if something is limited and in need of assistance as the Law brought consequences for disobedience, then how much greater will be the consequences leveled against those who neglect their salvation.

In the remainder of verse 3, the origin of God’s plan of salvation is stated. It was first spoken through the Lord; second, it was confirmed by the Apostles, who heard it directly from Him. God ratified and attested this truth, accompanied by miracles, signs, wonders, and various miracles, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will.

On this basis, we have no reason to struggle with the question of whether or not we have God’s truth about salvation.

The question is – are we neglecting the truth?

Now, what is the response to all of that from the Christian?

The Christian’s Response

If we put the information from Hebrews 2:1-4 into everyday language, we can summarize it in a couple of ways:

1. Absorbing what we have heard is more essential than seeking something new.

2. Overcoming the peril of drifting requires the discipline of application.

We need to avoid these ways:

1. When under pressure, rely on your own knowledge of the Word.

2. When coming to decisions, value human ingenuity and opinion more than God’s truth.

3. When faced with a choice, opt for what is comfortable (though wrong) instead of what is painful (though right).

Obeying God’s deliverance plan is still the only means of lasting satisfaction in life.

Neglecting God’s deliverance plan inevitably leads to inescapable consequences.

It is easy for any of us to drift away from moral purity, marital commitment, personal integrity, or biblical faithfulness.

It is our tendency to buy into the thinking of our times, and to pursue what is comfortable rather than what is right.

There are times when we need to think through matters like this.

If you are a drifter, take the warning – Stop! Get ahold of your life and put it back into the hands of the Holy Spirit.

Avoid “God talk” and instead, take up “God walk”.

To sum all this up – the writer of the letter to the Hebrews is using strong words directed to believers who tend to drift. One sure way to drift is to set your mind on earthly things instead of the things above.

Do you tend to drift toward your own instincts and the so-called wisdom of mankind?

Do you tend to choose what is comfortable and run away from what may be painful, even knowing that the less comfortable way is the right way?

What are your thoughts about God’s provision for salvation? Do you believe it is the only way to achieve lasting satisfaction in life?

Do you believe that neglecting God’s plan inevitably leads to inescapable consequences?

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