Guest speaker Yan Handley spoke on the dangers of drifting on Sunday evening, from Hebrews 2:1-4. This passage is addressed to God’s people and we need to heed the solemn question ‘How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?’

The dangers of drifting apply to all of us (‘we’ is used 5 times in these verses.) No one is immune from the danger. This warning is not given to frighten us, but to encourage us to be faithful to God. Our great salvation means we are saved from sin, sickness and from Satan’s power, giving us a sure and certain hope in the new life God gives. Jesus’s sacrifice was worth so much (see 1 Pet 1:18-19) and therefore we respond not simply out of obligation or duty but out of love: as C. T. Studd said, “no sacrifice is too great for me to make for Him, because His sacrifice was so great for us.”

The verses in Hebrews go on to tell us that God’s witness was declared by Jesus, confirmed by those who heard it and was testified to by God Himself through signs, wonders and various miracles. Jesus declared that we needed to repent, for the Kingdom of God was near (Mark 1:15). Repentance involves complete submission, acknowledging God’s Word as having the ultimate authority in our lives. The kingdom is the ‘pearl of great price’, worth everything. Those who heard that life-giving gospel gave a total commitment to Jesus. The radical nature of the gospel means that we forsake everything for God and deny ourselves, for with the measure that we give, it will be given to us (Luke 6:38). We also need God’s own witness to the gospel in the shape of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to enable us to enter into the fullness of the life God has for us. This requires our absolute dependence on the Holy Spirit, not on our own methodology or ideas.

Yan also looked at:

(1) the causes of drifting.
It’s a human tendency to blame others or circumstances for whatever happens to us, but we have to admit that the weakness of our own human natures leads us astray. We neglect, or ignore, God’s salvation at our peril. Carelessness, compromise and complacency can cause us to drift from God. We need to choose to draw near to God (James 4:7-8), disciplining ourselves in prayer, Bible study, evangelism and fellowship. As anyone who has ever been on an inflatable water bed can testify, it requires no effort to drift, whereas a godly life requires effort and commitment. Samson pleased himself, rather than God, and drifted badly. Solomon, the wisest man on the earth, drifted because he wanted to please other people rather than God. Drifting occurs little by little but can easily happen if we are not attentive and vigilant.

(2) the consequences of drifting
We have an enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion (1 Pet 5:8) and if we drift, we ruin our potential, lose joy and peace and power and make ourselves more vulnerable to demonic powers. We are urged not to give the devil any foothold in our lives (Eph 4:21) and need to find the place of righteousness in God where the enemy has no authority over us (see John 14:30). Drifting leads to a hardening of the heart, to possessing a ‘sinful, unbelieving heart’ (Heb 3:12-14), whereas the fear of the Lord will keep us from drifting. We don’t want to be like the foolish virgins (who were unprepared for the arrival of the Bridegroom, despite having once had oil), or the foolish steward (who was unwilling to use what the Master had given him to the best of his abilities) or the foolish builder (who was unconcerned about the foundations of his building.)

(3) the cure for drifting.
The cure for drifting is a firm anchor (Heb 6:19) which depends on the steadfast love and faithfulness of God (Lam 3:22-23, Rom 8: 35-39). As with any relationship, however, we need to respond to God’s love and build ourselves up, praying in the Holy Spirit and keeping ourselves in God’s love (Jude v 20-21). We also need our love to be manifested in practical obedience.

When we pay more careful attention to what we have heard, there is a sense of urgency in our lives. We don’t pretend, but honestly confess our own sins, taking responsibility for them (as did the Prodigal Son), repenting from the heart (Revelation 3:19) and diligently committing ourselves to God (2 Pet 1:5), making every effort to add to our faith the characteristics God requires of maturity. That way, we can stand firm and not let ourselves be burdened again with a yoke of slavery (Gal 5:1).