A Sympathetic High Priest
Sun, Mar 28, 2021
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12–13 (ESV) As a Sunday school kid, we had 'sword drills'. They were the churchy equivalent of a playground game. A group of kids would sit in a row, Bibles at the ready, and a Bible reference would be called out. It would be a race to find it first, then stand up and read it. You had to know your Bible cover to cover, have quick hands, and a sense of the relative placement of the books. Tabs and bookmarks were cheating. Honestly, I was not very good at it and more than a few pages of my Bible were ripped in my failed attempts at speed. The above verses were the inspiration for the title. After all, you want to be quick with a sword. A sword is used to slice and dice. It's not a very comforting image and it's not meant to be. God's Words are true and piercing. They speak truth to us and cut through the darkness even the darkness we try to hide. That's what the law does. The writer of the book of Hebrews wants us to not just know the place and purpose of the law, but something (or someone) who meets that law with a comforting and glorious reality. Take a few minutes to read through Hebrews 4.
God's Sabbath Rest
Sun, Mar 21, 2021
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. Hebrews 4:9–11 (ESV) I have a confession. I'm bad at resting. I can't sit still. Work and projects are a regular part of life. When the writer of Hebrews begins to talk about rest, I know that I need it but I'm honestly not sure how best to get there. After all the nation of Israel wandered around for 40 years trying to find it. What hope do I have? This week Carson will be opening up Hebrews 4 and we will discover that this rest is not a vacation or some time off or even a Sunday afternoon nap (as great as those are). It's something that is far more important and permanent. Take a few minutes to read through Hebrews 4 to prepare your heart and mind to find this permanent and ultimate rest.
Greater than Moses
Sun, Mar 14, 2021
Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. Hebrews 3:1–2 (ESV) We have all had heroes. Early in your life your hero might have been your parents. As you grow up you, it might have been someone you wanted to be like - the brave fire fighter or the brilliant scientist or the skilled athlete. To the nation of Israel there was no greater hero in it's history than Moses. He was God's instrument to birth a nation through the Exodus. He was the conduit for God's Law to come to the people. He was the leader that took them to the edge of the Promised Land. But the history of Moses was not meant to paint him as the ultimate hero of the story. There was someone beyond Moses. This week we venture into Hebrews 3. It sets this and other stories in the Old Testament into the greater narrative of redemption. And it helps us to more clearly consider how we might fit in this grand story that is still being written. Will you take a few minutes before Sunday to read through Hebrews 3. And allow the ideas and truths there is sink into your heart and mind.
Jesus Our Brother
Sun, Mar 07, 2021
For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, Hebrews 2:11 (ESV) Last week we looked at Christ as the sovereign king of the universe. Hebrews 2 reminded us that He accomplished what Adam failed to do and in doing that he fulfilled the role as God's King over the world. In this moment we struggle to see it. Things are not as they should be, but they are also not as they will be. Christ will return to reign. We also saw that Christ was the author of salvation. We struggle with thinking of Christ as the sovereign king because he was ignored and martyred in his first advent, but even this suffering falls under his sovereignty because he used it to author salvation for us. All of this talk of kings may feel distant. None of us have lived in a palace. We rule nothing and we take no audiences with royalty. It seems very unfamiliar, but the writer tells us something else amazing about Christ. He is our brother. I want to encourage you to read through Hebrews 2 this week as we prepare for worship together. We will see a different and more personal connection to Christ and we will share communion together.
The Sovereign Author of Salvation
Sun, Feb 28, 2021
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:9–10 (ESV)
The Spiritual Coriolis Effect
Sun, Feb 21, 2021
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13–15 (ESV) We will be looking at the first warning passage in Hebrews 2:1-4. I'd encourage you to read through the first chapter and through Hebrews 2:4.
 The Son of God is Better than the Angels
Sun, Feb 14, 2021
But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” Hebrews 1:8–9 (ESV) How do you think about the unseen world? I don't just mean germs and viruses. I am talking about the spiritual unseen world. For some we write it off. When we can't see it, we don't think it exists. It might seem mysterious and untestable. For others the spiritual world seems to be everywhere. Both the blessings and difficulties are seen as being affected by these beings. The Bible tells us that what we see is not all there is. There are other beings that God created. It also tells us we need to keep them in the right perspective. This week we continue looking at Hebrews 1. In this chapter the writer asks us to consider the place and purpose of angels against the place of Christ. Take a few minutes before Sunday to read through the passage. It's got a lot of connections to other parts of Scripture.
The God who Speaks
Sun, Feb 07, 2021
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Hebrews 1:1–2 (ESV) Did you ever wish God would say something? Maybe you have read the accounts in Genesis where Abraham and God had conversations about His plans. Or remember when Moses would meet with God? Do you wonder like I do about the conversations they had? Would you like to see & hear from God like Isaiah did? Sometimes it seems like God is silent. The world is confusing and complex and it seems there are many voices commanding our attention. Some even claim to speak for God. What we really want is for Him to speak for Himself. In fact, He has. This week we begin a study - Shadows - looking at the book of Hebrews. It begins with pointing us to the God that has spoken. It takes a long look back about what God has done and revealed and it shows how those things were only the beginning of greater things.
Jonah 4
Sun, Jan 31, 2021
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:1–3 (ESV) Have you ever seen God work in amazing ways? Maybe it was in the conversion of someone you had been praying for. Maybe it was in His provision for you in an unexpected way. Maybe it was deliverance from a difficult or dangerous situation. What was your reaction? Did you pray? Or Cry? Or just wonder in amazement? Jonah witnessed one of the most amazing revivals in history. After shirking God's mission he preached God's judgement in Ninevah. By God's grace the entire city repented all the way up to the king. Incredible. God's Spirit was moving. What was Jonah's reaction? Pouting anger. In chapter 4, we come to the point of the book. It's a chapter that is often left out of the story, but without it we are just left with a miraculous tale without the bite. Before we get too self-righteous as this Unwilling Prophet, I believe God has something for us to learn as well. Take some time before Sunday to read through Jonah (it's just a couple pages).
Finding Grace in a Whale's Belly
Sun, Jan 17, 2021
Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!” -- Jonah 2:8–9 (ESV) We talk a lot about 'grace'. We write songs about it. We name churches with it. We identify doctrines by it. I wonder if we understand the words that we are using. What is 'grace'? How does God's grace come to us? What do we need to understand to really experience and share that experience with others. This week we continue exploring the familiar story of Jonah. We meet up with him in the belly of a whale. We get to listen in on his prayer. It has something to teach us about this grace we so desperately need. Take a few minutes before Sunday to read through the book again. It's just 4 short chapters.
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