A Faith That Pleases God (Part 2)

faith9Whose faith does yours resemble?
Is it like Abraham’s? A faith that obeys God regardless of cost.
Is it like Isaac’s? A faith that brings you back into God’s will after straying.
Is it like Jacob’s? A faith that leads you to worship God when facing death.
Is it like Joseph’s? A faith that acts despite the impossible.
Is it like Moses’ parents, Amram and Jochebed? A fearless faith that obeyed despite opposition.
Is it like Moses’ faith? A sacrificial faith that leads you to chose God over worldly pleasure.
Or is it like the faith of the Israelites? A faith that leads you to follow God’s command when you are backed into a corner, and it is all that is left.

Again, does your faith please God?

Hebrews 11:17-29

Bible study of Hebrews 11

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A Faith That Pleases God (Pt. 1)

Hebrews 11:1 is a verse that every Christian knows even if they don’t know that it is Hebrews 11:1.
Faith1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

We see that verse on signs, wall decorations, cups, and t-shirts. We see it on cards and, people use it as encouragement when they, or someone they know, is going through something that makes no sense.

It’s a great verse and a wonderful message, but like so many verses, it’s one that we take and run with for comfort but seldom consider its deeper meaning. How often, when we think about Hebrews 11:1, do we also consider Hebrews 11:2?

If we are going to move from milk to meat, we must take the time to read the verses around the verses that mean so much to us and learn what the authors were trying to teach us. There is so very much more than we think; there is so much more that we need to know. There’s so much more that we should want to learn instead of remaining comfortable with a milk diet, and it breaks my heart that we don’t seem to want to learn.

Hebrews 11:1-16

Bible Study of Hebrews 11

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No Shrinking Violets

Are there times you feel led to share your faith with someone but don’t because you don’t have the confidence to do so? The Jewish believers that the author of Hebrews was writing to seem to have been feeling the violetsame. They had withstood the insults and persecution for their faith for so long, but now, they are tired and have lost their boldness; they are not standing as strong as they once had stood.
The writer tells them (and us) that now is not the time to stand down, reclaim your confidence and boldly speak of Jesus Christ, who gives salvation to all who ask for it. Jesus is coming back, and we need to be telling people about His saving grace.

Hebrews 6:13-10:39 Study

Hebrews 10:32-39

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Enlightenment

Spiritual maturityThe text for this sermon has some of the most difficult to understand verses in the entire bible.Many of my commentaries skip Hebrews 6:4-12; the lectionary skips the entire chapter altogether. Why? Because these verses are hard to understand, and there is a lot of disagreement on them. Last week, the writer of Hebrews told us that it was time to move from milk to meat; it’s time to move from the elementary understandings of our faith and become mature disciples of Jesus Christ. Since saying that, he has wasted no time in moving to the meat of our faith. In fact, he has done so with exceptional quickness.

Understanding these verses means we must be willing to move from a faith that focuses solely on what Christ did for us and incorporate into our thinking what we do to Christ. That’s a hard transition! But, it is a transition we must make if we are going to begin taking our faith, commitment, and calling as Christians seriously.

If you care to, you can read the study materials for this sermon here. There is a ten question quiz on the text on that page or, if you want to skip the reading, you can go straight to the quiz here.

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It’s Time to Grow

Where are you on the maturity scale? All Christians know that faith and repentance are the building blocks for becoming the people God calls us to be. We know where we stand with God. We know that God loves us, and we know that our salvation is maturing Christiansecure. But, where are we in our progression? Yes, Jesus, love me this I know for the bible tells me so.

However, would smile and sing Jesus Loves Me if the lyrics said Jesus loves the homeless? Would we sing Jesus Loves Me if the lyrics said Jesus loves the gay person? What if the verse was Jesus loves the drug addict or the prostitute? What if it was Jesus loves the person who votes differently from me?

Growing in our faith means we set our self-absorption aside. Becoming disciples requires us to understand it’s not all about “me.”

Hebrews 5:11-6:3

Study of Hebrews 4:12-6:3

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God’s Rest

faithfulnessThe writer of Hebrews would argue with Franklin D. Roosevelt declaration that the only thing to fear is fear itself. The main point of our text this week is we must fear faithlessness to God. The Israelites did not trust God’s protection and refused to enter the land God prepared for them. Their lack of trust, their lack of faithfulness, led to God refusing to let them enter.
Some Jewish believers had doubts about whether the life God promised in Christ was available to them. They thought they had been born too late to enter into God’s rest, forgetting that each day of creation had a specific beginning and a specific ending except the seventh day! God’s rest remains open and available (as He told David in Psalm 95) today.
Are you faithful to God? If so, you can rest in the knowledge that you will enter into God’s rest. If you are not, it is not too late. Choose faithfulness to God today.

Hebrews 4:1-11

Bible Study for Sermon

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Fix Your Thoughts

Are you looking at God through something other than God? The Israelites had a hard time keeping their focus on God because they were looking through Moses. Because they didn’t focus on God, they spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness and only their children and descendants were allowed to go into the promised land.

focusHebrews 3:1 states, “fix your thoughts on Jesus.” The word translated as “fix” means much more than just “looking” at Jesus. How many times in a day do we look at a thing and not actually see it? This word means to perceive, to note. Instead of just looking at a thing, it means to put your whole mind toward it, to try to understand it. It is the same word that Jesus uses in Luke 12:24. He wanted us to understand the lesson we can learn from the ravens. We, as believers, have an invitation from God to God. We cannot afford to just glance at the invitation; we must put our whole mind toward it.

Hebrews 3:1-6

Bible Study for Hebrews 2:5-3:6

How Strong is Our Faith?

What would you do if, because you are a Christian, you got a letter that said, “We know where you are, and we know what you’re doing.” Christians in Afghanistan received a letter like that this week. The Taliban is also going house to house looking for those that they consider enemies. This includes members of the Afghan military, American allies, and, yes, Christians.black and white 1282260 640
You may be wondering how the Taliban knows who professes Christ as Savior. Afghan citizens have a national ID card. These cards often show religious affiliation. Two years ago, members of the Christian church changed their affiliation, so the government had that information, and, now, so does the Taliban.
Christians in Afghanistan are being hunted and killed because of their faith. Even facing torture and beheading, they aren’t turning their backs on Jesus. They remain true to their faith.
In a discussion this week, the general consensus was that we don’t know what we would do if we were faced with the same situation. We can hope that we would profess Christ, but we don’t really know. The more I thought about that consensus, the more I decided that it was wrong.
If we don’t know what we would do, then there is a pretty good chance that we have drifted as warned about in today’s text. If we – personally and collectively – aren’t living, breathing, sharing, and guarding the message of Jesus Christ, we are drifting away from it.
If we are not living the message of Jesus Christ, we will not die for it.

Hebrews 2:1-4

Study of Hebrews 1:4-2:4

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God the Son

While the exhortations were written to Jewish believers in their context, there is a lot of encouragement and comfort for us. There are also warnings that we need to take to heart. One statement I read really resonates with the reason I wanted us to go through Hebrews. “This book leads one from superficial thinking to profound depths concerning the person and work of Christ.” The deeper we can think about and understand our Lord, the more like Him we can be.

WordsHebrews 1:1-4

Today we are going to start going through the book of Hebrews like we did Romans last year. The difference is that I will try to post my research for the sermons online each week. To get to the exegetical work, click on the “Bible Study” tab in the menu and select the book of the bible to see an overview of the book and a link to the information on each sermon. Each sermon will also have a link to the exegesis for the week.

While I will be the first to admit that I can geek out on translation and background and all that stuff, there’s not enough time in a sermon to cover all of it. I’m hoping that this will help those who are interested in going deeper into the text get a little geeky with me. And, folks that don’t get all geeky over it won’t hear as much of it in the sermon, so it’ll prevent their eyes from glazing over.

While I will try to have the info available early in the week of the sermon, where if you care to, you can read it over before Sunday, I cannot guarantee that I will always get it done as early as I would like. I ask that you bear with me and extend grace when necessary. This is something that I genuinely feel that God is placing on my heart to do, and I’m doing it, but I admit, until I get a few weeks into doing it, I am flying blind. I am also very open to suggestions and comments, so feel free to email me with either.

Exegesis of Hebrews 1:1-3

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Imitators of God

Paul tells us that we are to “put off” the person we were before we came to Christ. But, how do we know if we have? The measure that we Jesus reflectioncan use to determine whether we have or not is our reflection. When people see us, do they see Christ or, instead, see a person in whom Christ is an afterthought?
When you are in a disagreement with someone, do they see Christ?
When you are stuck in traffic, do people see Christ?
When you are inconvenienced, do you show the mannerisms of Christ?
When you see someone in need, do you act like Christ?

These are just a few of the questions that you can ask yourself. God calls us to a radically different life from those in the world. We are to put off our old self, put on the new self, and be like God created us to be.

Ephesians 4:17-32

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