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Trusting Promises in a Trust-Breaking Culture
The Pivotal Point of Faith - Hebrews 10:11-25
Extinguishing Guilt and Healing Conscience - Hebrews 10:1-10
Sliding Home on Jesus' Sacrifice - Hebrews 9:23-28
The Amazing Cost…of Amazing Grace - Hebrews 9:15-22
Access to God: Upgrade Required! - Hebrews 9:1-14
God’s New Deal - Hebrews 8:7-13
Leaving the Shadowlands - Hebrews 8:1-6
The Last Priest You Will Ever Need - Hebrews 7:20-28
Jesus Rose from the Dead … So What?”
Correcting your final approach…to God - Hebrews 7:1-19
Clinging to Hope! - Hebrews 6:9-20
Developing a … LACTOSE INTOLERANT FAITH -Hebrews 5:11-14
The Abolition of Self-Atonement: Jesus our Great High Priest -Hebrews 5:1-10
Approaching God…Fearlessly - Hebrews 4:12-16
Choosing Rest in a Restless World - Hebrews 4:1-11
The Frightening Cost of Unbelief - Hebrews 3:12-19
The Danger of Letting Go of Jesus - Hebrews 3:1-11
The Smuggled Savior - Hebrews 2:10-18
Ending…The Search for Significance - Hebrews 2:5-9
Spiritual Drift - Hebrews 2:1-4
Jesus! God's Perfect Message - Hebrews 1:1-4
Jesus is no Angel - Hebrews 1:5-14
"Approaching God…the Better Way" (Overview of the book of Hebrews)
Jon Harris delivers a special Father's Day message.
There comes a point in everyone’s life when you have to make pivotal decisions; decisions that will change the trajectory of your life forever. These decisions are pivotal because often there is a stark choice offered you; keep status quo—leave everything exactly as it is—or choose an uncertain future. The decision you make will change the trajectory of your life forever. What information do you need to make the right choice?
Christianity has the solution not only to sin, but to guilt and a guilty conscience. And the brilliance and beauty of it is this: it doesn’t involve you! The problem is so big and so intractable that God had to fix it. And He did. You are only called to place your faith in His fix. Come and learn how to extinguish guilt and heal your conscience!
We were stranded on the bases; we couldn’t get home. We needed someone to sacrifice Himself so that we could make it home. That’s what Jesus did. We slide home on Jesus sacrifice. And this morning we’re going to see the true nature of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. And in the process we are going to see what it takes for us to be able to slide home safely.
Why can’t God just forgive everybody? Why did Jesus have to suffer anyway? Why did there have to be a cost? Why did Jesus have to be a ransom? We are going to see that Jesus didn’t have to die despite God’s love; He had to die because of God’s love. The preacher of Hebrews is going to show the Hebrew Christians (and us) the amazing cost of the amazing grace God has shown us, a grace that reaches far beyond the temporary sufferings of this earth.
The early Hebrew Christians were confused at times by the different systems—the old covenant and the new covenant. So the author is going to explain that God wanted to upgrade our access to Him. This wasn’t a human initiative, it was a divine initiative. God requires all who come to Him today to use the new upgrade. And what an upgrade it is! The upgrade is called the New Covenant and the author and implementer of it is Jesus.
With any new deal, you have to compare it with the old one. The preacher of Hebrews is echoing the theme of “better” that flows throughout all of Hebrews. He will be telling the Hebrew Christians (and us), “What we had was good, but God promised us something better; what we had was true, but there is even more truth to be understood; what we know is good, but there is much more we need to know. And it is all wrapped up and fulfilled in Jesus your Messiah. There is a new deal on the table.
The preacher is trying to explain to these early Hebrew Christians that their wonderful Jewish Temple and religious life were but a mere shadow of a far greater reality. This morning we are going to be challenged, as were these early Hebrew Christians, to leave the Shadowlands behind and begin to understand that we are living in shadows, and looking at copies in so many ways on earth. What we often revere has a shelf life, a built in obsolescence. So this morning let’s join the preacher as he shares how leaving the Shadowlands we will find something far, far better.
For thousands of years God in the OT had assigned priests to intercede for the people of Israel to God. It enabled sinful man to have someone help them come to God through ritual sacrifice and offerings. It was the priesthood, it was part of the Old Covenant God had made with Israel. But the system was imperfect. Then Jesus came and made it obsolete. We are going to learn this morning why Jesus is the last priest you’ll ever need.
Many people think that religious concepts like resurrection often appear to be religious curiosities, but don’t really have anything to do with the things they care about most in life; that keep them up at night. Yet, resurrection speaks to the most critical questions of life, the ones that keep us awake at night, and is not just a theological oddity. There are certain questions all people struggle with at some level that resurrection answers. Come find out what they are…and bring a friend.
The preacher of Hebrews is going to be arguing that the old way of approaching God, while good in its time, had been replaced by something better, safer, and eternal. We are all tempted to return to our old way of approaching God, doing what we’ve always done. God initiated a brand new way to come to Him—Jesus has made the old ways obsolete.
It can be really hard to hang on to our faith when we’re enduring suffering. What we needed is hope, but a very special kind of hope—a hope that makes sense of all we’re going through and that would help us through it all till the end. We need to cling to hope, but we need to know what that actually looks like. Learn how to cling to hope!
Many of us need to take the next step spiritually, to move away from the simple things of Christianity, to the deeper things of the faith. One of the problems is that, like weaning a child, you can’t just introduce solid spiritual food any time you want, their systems aren’t always ready for it yet. In the same way there are things we need to do to prepare us to leave the spiritual milk diet behind.
There is no self-serve station for sin. Jesus is a full serve Savior. Self atonement always fails, because it’s based on our own imperfect memories and an imperfect idea of what the punishment for sin truly requires. In this marvelous passage God is going to explain the abolition of self-atonement by introducing Jesus, the great High Priest. Are you trying to make up for your failures to God? Learn why that’s a dead end…and no longer necessary.
To be in the literal presence of God is awe-inspiringly terrifying. In the Old Testament when a man found himself in God’s presence and his sin was highlighted in the presence of an all righteous God he was terrified. It’s hard to shake these images and ideas from our head. Yet, we come to this passage in Hebrews, so loved by Christians everywhere, where we read that we can come confidently before this same God’s very throne. And we think…wait…but why is it all so different now? Why is it that we can now approach God so fearlessly?
Some preach that Christianity will instantly bring lasting peace and contentment to you—you just have to believe in Jesus. Part of that is true. You will find rest, but you won’t find it apart from Jesus, because He is our rest as we’re going to learn today. And more importantly—you have to choose rest. You have a choice.
This passage is not addressing unbelief in those who never believed, but those who already have faith—and are tempted to let go of it. It takes us back to a nation of believing people—not a doubter or atheist in the lot. Unbelief is certainly a problem for the skeptic or atheist—but we’re going to learn this morning that’s it’s a terrible danger to a believer as well. We’ll see that Israel believed in God…sometimes. However, often they were functioning skeptics, especially when life got hard. What is the frightening cost of unbelief? Listen and find out.
The Hebrew Christians were faced with the choice of return to the sinking ship of their old Judaism, or hold on to Jesus and their new faith. It wasn’t at all an easy choice. So the Preacher of Hebrews is going to ask them to remember some important things so that they could make the right choice. When we are struggling with our faith in Christ and how hard faith can be at times, we also need to remember what the Preacher has to say.
This message is about a smuggling operation to save lives, a divine smuggling operation. The scriptures reveal that we had a Smuggled Savior. God smuggled a Savior into our world, disguised. What the Preacher of Hebrews is going to describe is something that had never been done, a divine search and rescue operation, but it would take a pioneer, a hero, a Captain to pull it off. Come and learn about our “Smuggled Savior.”
Everyone wants to be important. Everyone wants to be significant. We want to be admired, respected, loved, and remembered. It’s why we chase “likes” on Facebook, and re-tweets on Twitter, and other forms of social media. We want our words to leave others speechless, our actions to leave others in awe, our legacy to leave others wanting to know more about us. We want what we so often feel the opposite of. We want to be significant. The preacher of Hebrews is going to help them (and us) end their search for significance, with words of real encouragement.
Most people when they first become Christians are “on fire” for God. They read their Bible, and pray and attend church and get involved and begin to tell others about their newfound life in Christ. They realize something special has happened to them. But over time, pressure, opposition, a desire for an easier life causes some of them to slow down and begin to slowly lose their passion and…drift away. We will learn the danger of spiritual drift and how to avoid it.
Over and over the New Testament repeats the same message. There is no one like Jesus. He can be compared to no one else. This may be why so many have come in history pretending to be the next Jesus, or more recently, pretending to be Jesus. The New Testament describes Jesus over and over again as God’s perfect messenger, and never as clearly, as powerfully, as beautifully, as we will find this morning in our passage in Hebrews. In this ancient creed, probably part of an early hymn of the early church, we see the early church’s view of the resurrected Christ.
Many people today just want to make Jesus another “messenger” from God, like the angels. They want to downsize Jesus so they can fit Him more conveniently in their belief system without having to make any drastic changes. They want a Jesus they can admire, but also if they wish, ignore at no great peril. They want a comfortably inspiring, but safe Jesus. But the New Testament does not give us that kind of Jesus. The Jesus of the New Testament is uncomfortable, unsafe to our old beliefs and prejudices, dangerous to our ingrained cultural values. Jesus is no angel—He is far, far more.
This letter will demonstrate and prove the superiority of Christ over all the other gods and ways of approaching God. It will show how Jesus was God’s plan all along, how all the Old Testament sacrifices and rituals were pointing to Him, to a need for Him. Jesus simplified for the world the better way to approach God; He became the way to approach God!