Saturday, September 17, 2011
Hebrews Chapter 5:11-6:20
vs. 5:11-6:3 MILK TO MEAT
- My heading for this section says “A Call to Spiritual Growth.”
- “There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don't seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God's word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn't know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.”
- The readers were growing stagnant. They were being fed the same basic concepts that they'd started with. Granted, sometimes it is good to go back and review some of the basic things... as a reminder or a refresher. But to just dwell on the basics... doesn't get you anywhere.
- God has not called us to be stagnant waters... He's called us to be living water... flowing into the lives of other people so they too can have life.
- Instead... footnote- “These Jewish Christians were immature. Some of them should have been teaching others, but they had not even applied the basics to their own lives. They were reluctant to move beyond age-old traditions, established doctrines, and discussion of the basics. They wouldn't be able to understand the high-priestly role of Christ unless they moved out of their comfortable position, cut some of their Jewish ties, and stopped trying to blend in with their culture. Commitment to Christ moves people out of their comfort zones.”
-Have you ever heard this philosophy on religion? Basically, the belief is that “yeah... sure... there's a superior being. Maybe even a God. And if that Being wants something to do with my life, then that's fine... but I'm not gonna spend my time working toward anything more than that. Relationship with something you can't see? What's the point in that? I'm going to live my life the way I want and if God wants to help me out occasionally... that's fine.”
- There's no commitment in something like that. And there are Christians... who live their lives like that.
- “Yes God... I'll come to church, I'll put money in the plate, but don't ask me to pray... don't ask me to change my job... don't ask me to do something I'm not comfortable with... I'm just here for fire insurance... keep me out of hell and I'll give the church some money and a few hours a week...”
- Our pastor's been doing a set of sermons titled “Little Jesus, Big Me. Big Jesus, Little Me”.
- The main idea throughout has been making Jesus center of our lives in all things. Sometimes we make Jesus an accessory. We only take Him out when we really need Him. Mike used a sweeper as a prop one Sunday... a sweeper comes with all of these accessory attachments... and so he gave each attachment a name... and one of the attachments was Christ. And you know... when we live our lives based around us... we are the main sweeper... and Jesus... is just something we use every once in a while when the dust is in a corner we just can't quite reach...
- Like when our life starts spiraling out of control and we just can't seem to regain our hold on the wheel... like when somebody gets sick, or dies, or we lose our job, or our job is just getting crazier by the day, or our kids are doing crazy things and we don't know how to deal with them... those are the times when we come to the end of ourselves that we call for God. “Oh GOD! I need help! I'll do anything you want me to do! But I just really need help right now please!?”
- In John 3, John the Baptist said that “He must increase, and I must decrease.”
- okay so stay with me for a second... In the 1500's, Ferdinand Magellan sailed from the Atlantic Ocean, into the Pacific Ocean. Proving that the earth was round.
- Had Magellan not gone... or had other explorers not gone out to find out what else was in their world... we still would have thought that the earth was flat...
- You can live in your world... see everything around you... and yes I think you could believe the world was flat. The sky... the trees... the ground... nothing screams sphere... You can even take a journey... I can cross from one end of the US to the other... and never really see a spherical shape.
- Until you take a trip AROUND the world and come back to the place you started from... your world will stay 2 dimensional.
- The same applies to our Christian walk. If we stay in our comfort zone and never take a step out into faith... we will stay in our 2 dimensional world. God will never be bigger in our lives than He was in the beginning.
- So are you still drinking milk? Or are you moving on to solid food? How about a 4 course meal? Ready to move on to meat? Move past the 2 dimensional... “God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.”
- I Corinthians 13:8-13
- I Peter 2:1-12
- Ephesians 4:1-16
- Luke 8:14-15
vs. 6:4-8- ONE SACRIFICE
- “For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the power of the age to come—and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing Him to the cross once again and holding Him up to public shame.”
- This passage sounds SO condemning at face value...
- footnote- “In the first century, a pagan who investigated Christianity and then went back to paganism made a clean break with the church. But for Jewish Christians who decided to return to Judaism, the break was less obvious. Their lifestyle remained relatively unchanged. But by deliberately turning away from Christ, they were cutting themselves off from God's forgiveness. Those who persevere in believing are true saints; those who continue to reject Christ are unbelievers, no matter how well they behave.”
- In Hebrews 10:26-27, it says “Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God's judgment and the raging fire that will consume His enemies.”
- In Hebrews 9:11-28 speaks about Christ's sacrifice for sin.
- Christ's sacrifice was the only sacrifice that covers sin. The only thing that rids us of our sin. Nothing else washes us clean. When we KNOW this... when we have walked this walk... and THEN choose to turn and walk away from the One thing that can save our souls... there's no more sacrifice! Nothing else washes us clean! And when we choose to walk away... that's it. There's no hope. We are just as lost as we ever were.
- Doesn't mean we can't come back... think about the story of the prodigal Son. The father stood waiting and watching for the wayward one to come home...
- However, as the footnote stated, no matter how good a life you live... if Christ isn't in your heart and you haven't been washed in the blood... you're still headed for an eternity in hell. You can be the best person ever... but without Christ as your savior... there's no hope after you die...
- “When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God's blessing. But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it.”
- Even if we look like we're being productive... God knows what kind of fruit we're really producing... and if our lives aren't founded in Christ... then we're just producing thistles and thorns. We're not producing anything edible or useful...
- Our hearts are open books before the throne of God...
- Romans 8:1-17; 3:9-28
- John 15:1-17
vs. 6:9-12- PRESSING ON
- “Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don't believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for Him and how you have shown your love to Him by caring for other believers, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God's promises because of their faith and endurance.”
- In other words... even though the author(s) are speaking in way of a reprimand or reminder... don't get discouraged. Continue in the work. Even though sometimes it may seem like you're not making much progress... God doesn't forget you. Even if you do feel stagnant sometimes... God's still there... so if we continue in the work and continue to press on, then we will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. We will move past this stage of stagnancy and press on to the inheritance. (This is not an excuse to become stagnant for a time... everybody has low spots... but when you find yourself in a low spot... don't give up. Press upward and onward... no matter how easy it would be to just quit or take a break.)
- I Timothy 4:15-16
vs. 6:13-20- WAY PREPARED
- So what are God's promises? What exactly are we inheriting?
- “For example, there was God's promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in His own Name, saying: “I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.”
- This next verse cracks me up... not going to lie... “Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.”
- Seriously!? They left out the part about God showing up and reminding Abraham of the promise like 5 times... and the fact that Sarah didn't really believe it was gonna happen... and Abraham saying “God... we're old! We can't have kids!” And how about Hagar? Was that whole situation waiting patiently? I mean that verse makes it sound like once Abraham heard from God he just sat down and waited quietly until the fruition of the promise came... lol
- Abraham waited for 25 years for the promise to come about... and during that time... he wasn't always the most patient of men...
- However, Abraham did wait. And he did trust... and even in his moments of doubt... he turned to God for confirmation. God's timing is not our timing... Hardly ever does God do something on our time schedule. Lol Actually make that... never...
- But the point is that God always holds true to His promises... even when it seems like he's forgotten about them.
- “Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. God also bound Himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that He would never change His mind. So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.”
- The idea of oaths was that once you took an oath, you were bound by it. There was no getting out of it. And so when you took an oath, you got somebody who had more power than you, to hold you to the oath. In case you wanted to back out... you had somebody there who wouldn't let you.
- Well... God has no one greater than Himself... so when He makes a promise... He is making the oath by Himself. And God doesn't lie... He can't... it's not part of who He is... So when God makes a promise... you can be sure that it's going to come through.
- Thus, we can be sure that “in Whom we have believed”... is sure to save us. Christ has already gone on before us to make sure that the way is ready. He's become our High Priest through His sacrifice and death. He's paved the way... and He's promised that we can enter in...
- So come won't you? Accept His promise... even if you have to wait a little while for it...
- Galatians 3:15-22
- II Peter 3:3-16
- Luke 1:37