04 Hebrews Homiletics: Hebrews 4

Aim: You are invited “Today” to join the people of God and have eternal, Holy rest

I. The invitation is open again today to enter eternal Sabbath rest w/ God

1. Rest promise still stand, don’t fall short
2. We and the exodused both have heard the good news – they lacked faith & obedience
3-5. God rests from creation work, believers joint that rest, disobedient don’t
6a. There are some still to enter rest
6b-8. The exodused  didn’t enter w/ Joshua. New invitation from God through David – Enter Today.
9. Offer remains: Sabbath rest for people of God
10. Enter God’s rest = rest from work
11. Make every effort to enter rest, not perish like the exodused.

Truths:

  1. Some will enter Sabbath rest
  2. Some will not because of unbelief and disobedience

Applications:

  1. Who do I know who has not heard the good news like I have?  Today is the day to tell them!
  2. How have I heard God’s voice today?  How have I witnessed his “good news” today?
  3. Do I want rest? (BTW: The answer is yes!)  If so, what is my strategy for receiving that rest?  Do I try to earn it?  Do I blindly hope it will just appear?  Or, am I putting my  efforts into obedience and belief – not to earn rest, but out of love and respect for the one who created rest and paid the price for entrance for me?

II. We all must give an account to the Word of God: Alive, active, sees & knows all, is the Judge.

12-13. Must give account to Word of God: Alive, active, penetrated body/soul/spirit, judges through/attitudes, sees all.

Truths:

  1. All will be judged by the Word of God
  2. Nothing is hidden from the Word of God
  3. The Word of God is Alive
  4. The Word of God is Active

Applications:

  1. Am I preparing for my “eternity” review?  Am I prepared to give an account to the Word of God?
  2. Do I treat the Word of God as “then and there” or as “here and now”?
  3. Do I read and pray the Word of God as something Alive and Active?
  4. How has the Word of God penetrated my body/spirit/soul – is it evident to others?

III. Approach the Throne with confidence and receive blessings because of your empathetic Great High Priest (GHP), Jesus

14. Hold firm to faith – Jesus = GHP in Heaven
15. Jesus can empathize – Tempted but no sin
16. Approach with confidence => receive mercy, find grace = help in time of need

Truths:

  1. Jesus is our GHP
  2. Jesus was tempted but did not sin
  3. Hold firm to faith
  4. Approach Throne with confidence

Applications:

  1. Do I approach the Throne of God with confidence?  Am I confident in my prayers?  Am I confident in being welcomed?
  2. I will take time today to recognize the many ways I have received God’s mercy, God’s grace and God’s help in times of need through Jesus – And I will say thank you!!!
  3. In times of need – my own and others – is my first action to approach the throne of God with confidence to receive His mercy and grace?

Summary Statement:

All will be judged by the Word of God – Believers can have confidence in an eternal Sabbath rest with Jesus.

Additional Comments:

Is it too late to become a Christian?  I think some people may think that way.  They didn’t grow up in the church or they did and had a bad experience or fell away.  Faith didn’t take for them.  Or maybe they’ve done things they don’t want to confess, they don’t believe there is anyway they could forgive themselves, much less receive forgiveness from “God”.  Some look at the wrath God poured out on the disobedient and unfaithful and decide they don’t want any part of “that kind of God” who directed the killing of entire groups of people, including their men, women, children and livestock. Some see the evil in the world, the Hitlers and Sadams and the terrorists and child abusers and murders and they haven’t seen enough of God’s wrath in action.

All of that looks to the past. For example, this chapter specifically addresses one such event from the past – the exodus.  Jeremiah 31 helps shed further light on this from God’s perspective.  God made a covenant with these people.  He would bring them out of bondage.  They would be His people and He would be their God.  Jer 31:32 tells us that God viewed this covenant as a marriage.  “I was a husband to them”.  But they rejected God and broke the covenant.  What would you see as being the right response to an adulterous spouse who rejects their vows and promises and rejects their spouse?  God did the only just thing – he became angry and denied them participation in His holy rest.

But that anger and rejection of those people of that day does not mean the door is closed.  The writer of Hebrews explains the words of the Psalm that the invitation is open Today. It is not that the past is not important, but we are not tied to the past – Today is Today.

Through Christ, God created a new covenant.  This is also prophesied in Jer 31, “I will forgive their sin and their iniquity I will remember no more.”  Christ’s suffering and death was payment of all for all.  It is sufficient to cover every sin ever committed or that will ever be committed.

The accounting we must give on judgement day starts with the selection of 1 of 2 boxes on the one question entrance exam.  Do you choose to be judged based on your works or base on the work of Jesus?  The invitation to chose is offered today.  As long as today is today you can choose.  But, don’t be fooled – every day is not today, and on that final day, the choice will not be offered on that day.

Choose this day whom you will serve.  As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

The key questions are (1) do you want rest or not and (2) are you prepared to give an account to the Word of God?

03 Hebrews Homiletics: Hebrews 3

Aim: Holy Spirit calls us each day to avoid sin and an unbelieving heart

I. Moses was faithful IN but Jesus is faithful OVER the body of believers

1. Called, fix thought son apostle & High Priest Jesus
2. Jesus & Moses both faithful to the Appointer
3, 4. Jesus > Moses, Builder > House, God builds all
5, 6a. Moses faithful in House, Jesus over house
6b. The faithful = the House

Truths:

  1. Focus on Jesus
  2. Jesus is an apostle (from God to us)
  3. Jesus is the High Priest (from us to God)
  4. Jesus > Moses
  5. The faithful are the House of God

Application:

  1. Do I elevate Jesus above all else in my life?
  2. Like beams and rafters, how am I connecting with, supporting and being supported by other faithful in the House of God?
  3. Are there things or people in my life I am relying on more than Christ?

II. Daily obedience and a believing heart, not heritage, are keys to our share in Christ

7-9. Holy Spirit: Don’t harden heart like those in the wilderness
10-11 (1) Going astray (2) not knowing ways => anger => rest denied
12. Avoid a sinful, unbelieving heart
13-15. Encourage each other to stay true Today (one day at a time)
16. Those chosen for exodus heard but rebelled
17-18. Same sinned, disobeyed, died, rest denied
19. Unbelief => wrath

Truths:

  1. Going astray = sin
  2. Not knowing God’s ways = unbelieving heart
  3. Result of sin and unbelieving heart is God’s wrath = rest denied

Applications:

  1. How am I encouraging others to stay true Today
  2. Am I taking my faith walk one day at a time, focusing on being obedient and faithful TODAY?
  3. How strong is my conviction?  Am I holding firmly to the very end or do I weaken and waiver?

Summary Statement:

This letter to the Hebrews warns all that Jesus is over Moses (or any other man) and daily faith and obedience, not our heritage, determines our heavenly confidence.

Additional commentary:

I really fell in love with Hebrews 3:13, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

This verse epitomizes the Christian version of “Carpe Diem.”  We are called to sieze the day, but not for our own gain, not for our own satisfaction or elevation, but instead to encourage one another.  Society tells us to grab and take.  Hebrews 3:13 tells us to grab and hold fast to each other.  Verse 14 expands on this idea with the idea that we “share in Christ.”  and to “hold our conviction firmly to the very end.”

We, the faithful, like Moses and every other believer are in God’s house.  And like the beams and rafters, we stand stronger on the firm foundation of Christ’s sacrifice by connecting with, supporting and being supported by others who also are in the House.  What an amazing and beautiful house, Jesus, the master over the house, is building with each addition.  But If I allow my faith to be warped, if I weaken my hold on the convictions of faith, if I pull away from the foundation, I weaken not only myself but the others I should be connecting with.  My focus needs to be on “Today”.  Not what I did or didn’t do last week; not on what I will or won’t do tomorrow or next year, but on being obedient and holding fast to faith Today.

 

02 Hebrews Homiletics: Hebrews 2

AIM: Jesus is the perfect pioneer, pastor and priest

I. Drifting from salvation is sin

1. Pay attention, don’t drift
2-3a. Drift from salvation worse than drifting from the Law

a. How do I “drift from salvation”?
b. Do I live each moment of each day as someone who has been saved?
c. Do I rely on my self for direction instead of my guide?

II. Jesus is the perfect pioneer who crossed through death into glory

3b-4. Salvation: Lord announced, witnesses confirmed, God signs/miracles, Holy Spirit gifts
5-8. New world will be subject to men not angels (physical vs. spiritual)
9. See Jesus there now: made man, tasted death for all, crowned glory
10. God made perfect pioneer through suffering bring many to glory
11-13. Maker and Man are the same family
14-15. Man Jesus broke the power of death – Mankind has freedom path

a. Do I want glory? If so, why am I so slow in following the one path?
b. Do I treat God as family?  He did so for me.
c. Am I living as a relative to the perfect pioneer?
d. Do I try to “blaze my own path” only to drift from the one true course?

III. Jesus continues as our guide/pastor and intercessor/priest to help drifters

16-17. Became flesh to be the high priest for flesh, not angels/spirit
18. Jesus suffered temptation so He can help the tempted

a. Do I delineate physical things from spiritual things?  If so, in which do I put Jesus?
b. Am I living a life as one who is free of death?  Why do I worry?
c. The best way to honor the “perfect pioneer” is to follow His path – am I doing that or just meandering about or settling in?
d. Do I think of Jesus as far away at the end of the line or as a living guide and protector with me along the journey?