“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:12-13

Sin is deceitful. Sinful human beings have quite a track record of being deceived. There are significant spiritual dangers listed in the exhortation found in these verses:

1. A heart of unbelief leading one to depart from God.
2. Being hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

That is as serious as it can get! The writer says, “take heed!” Be on your guard; watch out; keep a close eye on yourself for these dangers. As I mentioned in the sermon Sunday, we must recognize that there is a constant pull to turn our hearts, minds and desires away from Jesus Christ. In a time of trial, hardship and frustration (like 2020 America) we can become especially vulnerable to such dangers. How might that battle look for us? Ask yourself these diagnostic questions:

Am I enjoying communion with God?
Is my soul being nourished, challenged, and encouraged by spending time in God’s word?
Am I hungry for God’s word, or praying that I would be hungry for it?
Are there sins I am choosing not to repent of and do battle with?
Are there sins I am aware of in my life that don’t trouble me as they once did?
Am I consciously and regularly giving sincere thanks and praise to God?
Do I find myself frequently complaining?
Am I talking myself into doing things I shouldn’t do or excusing certain sin patterns?

Brothers and sisters, these are probing, serious questions. It is uncomfortable to think about some of them. But, let me lovingly urge you to think about them. This is a matter of your soul! The negative is to put off sin, in genuine confession and repentance. The positive is to pursue the One who is far better than deceitful sin: Jesus Christ. The writer of Hebrews repeatedly points to the superiority of Christ throughout this letter. Jesus is the great high priest, the once-for-all sacrifice who takes away sins, the elder brother of His people, the everlasting rest for His people, the access to God for His people, and He is the great example of faithful endurance for His people.

Precious saints, let us guard ourselves from the sinfulness of our hearts and the hardening poison of sin in this world. Let us also guard each other. As the text exhorts us to continually speak truth into each other’s lives. The Lord has designed the church as a means of our spiritual protection, well-being and growth. Therefore, seek to be a means of spiritual edification to your family in the Lord, and seek to receive such from them.