Called to Faithfully Love

Great to see all of you this morning. I am curious who was at camp this week? I like to just see hands. Oh, the brave souls. Wow. Thank you guys for serving and thank you for those who participated. I know it has to be a great time and I’m sure we’ll get to hear a lot more about the great things that happened up there, so amen. It’s great to be together. Welcome to all of you who are here in the auditorium. Welcome to all of you who are watching online. It’s great to have the opportunity to do this. I continue to be amazed at the technology that I can be here in Florida and can have a meeting with someone in Paris at the same time. It’s just sort of crazy like that. But thank God for the technology. We’re going to continue with Hebrews today. It’s been a rich study. I hope you’ve gotten a lot from it. I really do. For those who have not been with us, the letter to the Hebrews was written to a Jewish audience and hence the name Hebrews.

It was written to a Jewish audience and it was written to emphasize the superiority of Christianity over the Old Testament system. And so you go through the book and he talks about Jesus being so much better than the angels. He’s better than Moses, his tabernacle is better, his covenant is better. And on every front, Jesus is better. And so we continue to hammer that theme home, and we’re going to practice it one more time. Theme of the book is Jesus is Better. All right. If you don’t learn anything else, you got the main reason for reading the book. All right, you’re good there. But after the Hebrew writer has done a great job of just kind of laying out all the reasons why Jesus is better, then he gets to Chapter 13, which is almost exclusively practical applications. He takes the time to tell them practically what it’s going to look like to live the Christian life in this day and time. And so the title of the lesson, you can say Real Christian, but I like the subtitle even more that we’re called to faithfully love. Called to faithfully love. And every point that I make here with you today will have love as part of it.

And you’ll see that in Hebrews 13. Now, the idea of being called to faithfully love, I don’t know what that does to you, but if you stop and you think about it, that’s a bigger deal than maybe we acknowledge. And the reason for that is that there’s so much hatred and bitterness and envy and bad stuff going on in homes. It happens in the church, it happens in our neighborhoods. It happens on our job. And so this idea of being called to faithfully love is very important. Even in the last couple of weeks, we’ve had the whole abortion issues come up with the Roe versus Wade being overturned. And it’s the kind of thing where, and I will say this upfront, I believe abortion is taking a life. Okay? I will just say that’s what I’ve always believed. I’ve never been in favor of abortion. But the thing I want to point out to you by way of helping introduce this subject is I want you to think about what if you know someone, a woman who’s on the other side of that issue? Maybe it is perhaps an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. Now, don’t take me saying the wrong thing here.

I’m not saying I’m in favor of abortion, but I’m trying to help us to realize that we need to see what love would look like in those situations. We need to think about it. I know of a sister who was a part of our church who got raped. What do you do with that if she comes up pregnant when it’s not something that she’s planning on? And I’m just throwing it out for your consideration. I think we need to have a lot more compassion sometimes with people rather than just being judgmental and what is wrong with you? And you’re going to hell. I mean, someone after the first service, they said same thing with the LGBTQ community. I’ve got some great friends who are a part of that community. They’re not disciples. They’re not part of our fellowship, but we are great friends. I believe at the end of the day, I’m not going to convert them through my religious positions. I’m going to convert them through love. And that’s all I’m talking about, is we need to have a lot more compassion. So that’s just my introduction, all right? That’s not the sermon. Amen.

Thank you for that. We need to have a lot more compassion. So we’re going to talk about this thing about being called to faithfully love, because this is a big deal. It’s bigger than I think we realized. So Hebrews 13, verse one, we’re going to start reading there and you can follow along with me. In verse one, he says, keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing, some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure. For God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. Love is the fulfillment of the law. Love is the fulfillment of the law. And the Hebrew writer here gives five essential marks of true discipleship of a loving Christian before Christ.

And we’re going to look at those right now, the five are and I’m going to make sure I say them all with that word love, because I want to make it easy for you to recall. But first of all, we’ve got to love one another as brothers and sisters. We’ve got to love one another as brothers and sisters. Secondly, we’ve got to love strangers by being hospitable. We’ve got to love strangers. And I’ll just throw this out. One sister told me at the end of the first service, she said, with this whole abortion thing and all that’s going on, I decided I’m going to volunteer at a clinic just to help. I think it’s great for us disciples to think what is a loving thing to do, and there may be some strangers that you will be able to help along the way. Thirdly, we’ve got to love those who are oppressed and suffering. We need to show Jesus’s sympathy and be helpful. Fourth, we’ve got to love our spouse. The marriage bed is to be sexually pure. And fifth, we have to love and be content with God’s gifts to us. Got to love and be content.

So we’re going to go ahead, we’re going to get into what this looks like. You see that little picture of these two little guys? You got to love kids. You just got to love kids. I mean, if you don’t love kids, I’m going to tell you, you don’t have a place in heaven. I’m just going to throw it out there. But you got to love little kids. I actually saw a video of this, and they show these two guys running up each other and hugging each other. And it’s so cool because they don’t care about race and they don’t care about how much money you have. They don’t care about the argument they had five minutes ago. They’re good, they’re ready to go. And he said, We’ve got to keep on loving each other as brothers. We’ve got to do that. God calls us to that. And the kind of love he’s talking about here is agape love. And we know this term, if you’ve been around for a while, we talk about agape love. This is the highest form of love. It’s love regardless of the circumstance that’s going on. And when you think about that kind of love, you could start listing a bunch of things.

You could say, well, the loving thing to do would be to pay my brother Carlos for doing a great job of painting my house. Pay him what he’s worth. I mean, I’m not an Ad for Carlos, but he’s a great painter. He did paint my house, by the way. And I remember he wanted to show me some love, and I said, no, bro, don’t give me a discount. I want to treat you fairly, okay? I can put down that’s a loving thing to do. We got people that do various trades in the church. The loving thing to do, I think, is to treat them fairly, okay? You borrow their equipment, you don’t return it broken. I had somebody do that with me, and I don’t have a bad attitude, I really don’t. But I remember I loaned someone something of mine, and I’m not going to tell you what it was because somebody may feel indicted, but I lost something of mine and it came back broken, and nobody told me. I got to open it up and find out. That’s not loving. We can list a bunch of quote unquote loving things to do, or we can just decide to be loving, whatever that means.

And that’s the point of this section. And you got to know first corinthians 13 love is what it’s patient. Love is kind. It doesn’t envy, it doesn’t boast, it’s not rude, it’s not selfseeking. Love doesn’t delight in evil, but it rejoices in the truth. Love keeps no record of wrong. Guys, you can’t do that if you don’t have agape love. I can’t be patient with somebody I’m mad with if I don’t have the love of God going on in my heart. And that’s why I want to encourage all of us as disciples the kind of love I’m talking about today. Everybody here can do it. If you’ve got God’s spirit. I say if you’ve got God’s spirit. Romans five, verse five. You can just write a couple of references down. God says that kind of love has been poured into our hearts. That’s in Romans five, verse five. Also in one, John 419, he says, we love because he first loved us. God shows us what love is all about. That’s why we can love. But I really like one Peter 122, where it says, seeing that you’ve been purified so that you have a sincere love for your brothers, he says, now, love one another deeply from the heart.

God shows us what love is so we can do this. And I want to encourage you with that. And not only that, Jesus sets us an example. In John 13 I love this. I’m going to read just the first verse. John 13, verse one. It says, It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. What it says here is that Jesus knew who he was, and yet he still chose to serve them. He takes on this lowest job of washing feet. He takes on the job that the servant of the house was supposed to do. Apparently, no one took the time to do it. These guys probably sat around looking at their feet, looking at each other with a sheepish grin like, wow, nobody’s doing it. And Jesus just gets up and he takes time to wash your feet. Now, the thing that blows me away is that he washed Judas’s feet. Now, he’s the Son of God. He knows what Judas is going to do.

He knows Judas is going to betray him. He also knows, and sometimes we forget this little fact about Judas, that Judas regularly helped himself to what was in the treasury. So Judas was also a thief. So you got Jesus, who is fully aware of whose feet he’s coming to. And now if I’m Jesus, I’d probably get there and want to twist that ankle a little bit. I’m just keeping it real, you bum. I know what you’re up to. I know what’s on your mind. I mean, how can you sit there looking all innocent? Because I know what you’re thinking. I know exactly what you know. Whatever. Or maybe I get that little bowl of water and I just pour it on his feet and then go to the next person and I do nothing for him. Jesus didn’t do that. He still washed his feet. And my belief is that he probably washed Judas’s feet even better than the other guys. That’s the kind of love God has poured into your heart, into my heart. We can do this. So we got to love the brothers and sisters. We got to have that kind of love for each other.

Second Corinthians 514 says, for the love of Christ controls us, compels us, constrains us. The love of Christ is what gets us going. And keeps us going. That’s what God expects. So in addition to loving our brothers and sisters, we’ve got to love strangers. We got to love strangers. Let’s go ahead and read Hebrews 13, verse two. Yep, I’m at the right one. Okay. He says, do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing, some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Now, broadly defined, hospitality is the act of being friendly. And welcoming to guests and visitors. It’s helping a stranger in need. It’s a reception of guests and strangers. And the Hebrew writer says, love strangers. Show them hospitality. And he said, in the process, some of you entertain angels, and we’re unaware of it. And, you know, I know every now and then you might have someone who comes up to you and they’ll say, well, I met this woman today, and I believe she was an angel. I don’t think that’s out of the realm of possibility. I think it totally happen. I think it happens probably a lot more than we are aware of.

In Genesis 18, you remember the three guys that showed up to tell Abraham and Sarah about having Isaac, and they’re interacting and feeding them food and all this stuff, and they realize God is among them. And I think it’s Judges 13. Manoa, Samson’s dad angel appeared to Manoa’s wife to tell her, you’re going to have a son. You’re going to have Samson. They didn’t know. And that’s all I want you to keep in mind about an angel. You don’t know if you’re entertaining an angel. You may be entertaining an angel, but the point the Hebrew writer is making is, love strangers, show hospitality. Let God sort out who you are with. But you need to have a mindset of loving strangers and showing them hospitality. So we love our brothers and sisters. We love strangers. We show hospitality. Thirdly, you got to love those who are oppressed and suffering. Love those who are oppressed and suffering. Hebrews 13, verse three. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison and those who were mistreated, as if you yourselves were suffering. He says, I want you to remember Christians in prison.

I want you to remember them. I want you to think about them. Show them sympathy. Show sympathy to disciples who are suffering. Show empathy. Empathy is to get inside and feel what somebody is feeling. Some of you are so good at that, and I appreciate that. You’re the kind of person that man somebody hangs out, you’re going to feel a lot better after they leave you. That’s just the way you are. That’s the way you communicate. And I appreciate that. There are some examples in the New Testament. There are a couple of ways I’ll just throw out. If you want to learn to be more sympathetic and show more empathy, you can first of all decide, I’m just going to be present. I’m just going to be present in that all somebody wants. When there’s a loved one who’s lost, isn’t that all Job of his three friends? Just sit here, guys. Stay quiet. Don’t open your mouth, or else you’re going to be in the Bible to show you what shouldn’t be said. I mean, sometimes all we have to do is be present. And I love in Timothy what it says here. Paul says he says, may the Lord show mercy to the household of Onisipherous, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.

On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day. You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus. Paul says, man, this guy refreshed me. He got it wrong. He searched for me. He searched for me until he found me. He was there for me. And sometimes that’s all we need is for someone to be present. Look at what Paul said in Philippians. Philippians four, verses 14. Another way we can show love and sympathy is simply by doing what you can do. It says, yes, it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the Gospel, when I set out for Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only. For even when I was in thessaloniaca you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. You have a situation where Paul is in need. He had needs, and these guys went out of their way to meet that need.

In other words, if you love someone, you don’t have to spell out here’s what love means. You got to do this and this. It’s kind of like the husbands are told to love our wives. God doesn’t give them all his feet. Well, you get up in the morning, you got to give her a kiss. You got to acknowledge her when you get home at night you have to let her use her 30,000 words by talking to you. And you just got to go through it, guys. You don’t have to go through all of that. Just do the right thing. Just love her, man. Just do what I told you to do. And I better keep going before I get us guys in too much trouble. Let’s look at Romans chapter 13, Romans 13. And this is what Paul gets at here in Romans 13, verse eight, he says that no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another. For whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and whatever other command there may be are summed up in this one command, love your neighbor as yourself. He said, you don’t have to list out all of these, here are the to-dos. Just love your neighbor as yourself. So talked about loving our brothers and sisters, loving strangers and what did I just say? Okay, yeah. Loving those who are oppressed and suffering. And now loving your spouse. Loving your spouse. And we need to talk about this briefly. Hebrews 13, verse four. Let’s read this. It says, marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Our society has gone crazy sexually. Nowadays, what does a guy tell a girl? Well, if you love me and then you fill in the blank. Now, if you love me, you will protect my purity. If you love me, you will protect my holiness. That’s what God calls us to. That is real love. I remember once sharing first, Timothy five, two with a brother. And there was a situation where he was out of line in terms of sexuality. And I said, this verse says that you are to treat your sisters with absolute purity. Absolute purity. I said, how would you like it if someone treated your daughter the way you’re looking at this sister?

And he said, I would kill him. It was sobering. He shocked me. Because you want people to get it, you want to understand. But he totally got it. He realized that it’s wrong. God wants us to flee sexual sin. You all remember the story of Joseph and Potiphar in the Old Testament, in Genesis? This woman kept saying, Come sleep with me, sleep with me. And he would get in that house and out of that house, he would do his job. And he kept on going. He said, look, my masters put me over everything around here except you, because you’re his wife. How can I do such a thing in sin against God? He simply would not. Finally, one day he’s in there, she grabs onto his cloak and then she accused him of trying to rape her. Got him in trouble throwing in prison. Sometimes doing the right thing can hurt, sadly. But God says, you got to flee. He ran out of there. He said, I got to get out of here and I don’t know what it is for you. It may be pornography, it could be lust, it could be masturbation, it could be orgies, it could be any of a number of sexual sins.

But God says flee immorality, you got to get away from it. You got to run. God wants the marriage bed to be pure. God wants the marriage bed pure. There should be mutual fulfillment in marriage. You are there for each other. And when it comes to sexual matters, the husband and wife only have each other to meet that need. So sexual purity. Number five, he says, we need to learn to love God’s gifts to each one of us and not be guilty of covetousness. Okay, yeah, perfect. I can’t read in the back, which you can read up front hopefully, so I have to make sure I’m at the right spot. But Hevrews 13. Verse five. I love this. It says, Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. The Bible says we’re to love the gifts God has given to us and to avoid covetousness. There are so many warnings in the Bible about that. But I want to ask you about show of hands and those of you online, you can raise your hand, we can’t see you anyway.

But how many of you have ever had anyone come to you and confess the sin of greed? Let me see the hands. So we have about four people or five. Yeah, we don’t hear that very much. Most people don’t talk about greed even though we all struggle with, we want the bigger car, we want the nicer car, we want the promotion. We just go down to that. We want more money. We don’t have enough. And he’s just saying, look at it. You got to guard your heart against being covetous. Now, I’m not saying don’t have ambition.

You can be the CEO of a company and you rather flip burgers at Wendy’s. Not that I’m going to posts to Wendy’s. Then I think you’re selling yourself short. You need to do more. And I want to embarrass him. But we have a brother in our midst right now who a brother reached out to me and said, hey, want somebody from church to work? I gave him his brother’s name and since then his brother’s gotten promotion after promotion after doing extremely well. I’m super proud of him. I think we need to be ambitious. Not selfishly ambitious, but be ambitious. Go after be the best that you can be. But what he’s talking about here is don’t be covetous, don’t be greedy, don’t be the kind of people you can’t learn to be content where you are. One Timothy six, verse six says, Godliness with contentment is great gain. You have to be able to get to a point where you can say, you know what, God, I’m doing the best I can where I’m at, but I love what I have and I’m grateful for what I have. And what’s amazing is that he is very likely talking to some people who have lost everything.

And that’s why I want to read you Hebrews ten, verse 32. It says, remember those earlier days after you’ve received a light when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution, and other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted what? The confiscation of your property because you knew that you yourself had better and lasting possession. So do not throw away your confidence. It will be richly rewarded. The good news here today is that if you have Jesus, you have it all. You are okay. You are not lacking anything if you have the Son of God in your heart and life. And I wanted to ask you, you remember the Old Testament, the story of Balam greed got him to a lot of trouble. You remember the story of Aiken? Aiken stole some of the devoted things, he hid them in his tent and ended up he and his family died as a result. Of course, we know about Judas. Judas ended up going the way of destruction because of his greed.

And who could ever forget Ananias and Sapphira? Guys, covetousness is bad news and God takes it very seriously. Don’t have a love of money. Money is not sinful, but don’t have a love of money because that is wrong. So after talking about all these areas of love, he kind of shifts gears here in Hebrews 13, and we’re going to wrap up here in a few minutes, but he talks about love for faithful leaders. Let’s read. Hebrews 13, verse seven and eight. And then we’ll read 17 to 19. He said, Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. In verse 17, have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority because they keep watch over you, as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. I particularly urge you to pray so that I might be restored to you soon.

And you know that last verse, he wants to be restored. So it shows that the Hebrew writer had a connection with them. Apparently he was with them at one point, and he looks forward to being restored to them. But I want to just say in general, before I look at a couple of things here, I just want to say how much I appreciate the support that Lepatic and I get as leaders in this church from all of you. I really am grateful for that. If you lead at any level, whether you’re a mom leading in the home, or you got a business online or you’re a family group leader, or you’re a church leader, as we are, leading is challenging because people are challenging. And some of you know, I’ve shared this joke when I worked at Links many years ago. One of the drivers said something that made the CEO of the company trying to think like, okay, what are you thinking? He said, I would really love my job driving the bus if it weren’t for the people. And the CEO kind of looked at it like, do you realize you wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for the people?

But that is one of the challenges of leading, is that once you’re dealing with people, guess what? We’re all sinful. And James says, we all stumble in many ways. Not a few ways. First of all, it says we all stumble. Then it says in a whole bunch of ways. And guess what, married people, you’re with someone who stumbles in many ways. And guess what, folks? With a roommate, you’re with someone who stumbles in many ways. So we may as well accept it for what it is. But I know in spite of all that, I really have felt the love and support of all of these years from all of you. And I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart. Because at times it is challenging and we’ve been through some highs and lows. We’ve had some moments of great ecstasy and great events and great fun, but we’ve also had the valleys. We’ve literally been in the valley of the shadow of death sometimes. Some of you know, we had the funeral yesterday here for Jose Roche, and I was blown away because this room was filled to the brim. And we started bringing in chairs.

We filled up that aisle by the wall. So we took away access out of here and we filled up that aisle with chairs, and we put another row of chairs in the middle. We put more chairs in the back, and people were still standing. And then we had 50 more chairs set up in the fellowship hall. We literally use every available seat for those there that were here yesterday and people were still standing. And I said, only in the kingdom of God can you have those kinds of relationships and friendships and connections with people who are outside of Christ. You wouldn’t know and wouldn’t care, but yet in the church, it’s amazing. And in a couple of weeks, we’re going to have a similar set up here, probably for Don McKinley, right here in the same auditorium. But I am grateful even for those challenging low points, because you guys have made us feel loved. You supported us. And I’m a people pleaser. I like being liked. I can go to a weird place if you don’t like me, but that doesn’t mean you don’t tell me the truth. I want to know the truth because that will make me a better leader.

But at the end of the day, we’re super grateful. And he talks here about how you got to remember your leaders. Here’s a little secret. Everything that happened in the past wasn’t all good, but it wasn’t all bad either. Some of you are Christians today, your disciples because of someone who’s probably not even around anymore, I know the guy who helped me and studied with me, he’s not even around anymore. But I love Him dearly because he shared Jesus Christ with me. So everything that happened in the past wasn’t all bad. But the other thing he says here that I think we have to take note of. He says, Remember your lead you spoke to consider the outcome of the way of life. And then the next one, he says, have confidence and submit to their authority. Now, I was on my heart, don’t believe he has to tell them submit to their authority if they weren’t tempted to not submit. But let’s face it, if you agree, it’s not submission. Come on, wise, god says, Submit to your husband. Well, if he treated me right, if he was a good husband, if he was awesome like Patrick Hall, then it’d be easy to submit to Him.

You know what I’m saying? I mean, submission implies that there might have been some tension there, but you have to learn to submit anyway. And so what is he calling for? For the leaders. He said to the members, obedience, we need you to obey. Make our work a joy by obeying. But then he also says, Pray for us. Really pray for us, because we really need all the prayer we can get. We’re going to hit this last section of Hebrews Nine before we take Communion. And when we get to that point, if you need a communion cup, the ushers will give that to you. But I want to read this section together. Loving Christ also means identifying with Jesus and offering a right sacrifice. And that’s what this section gets at. It says, do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. The high priest carries the blood of animals into the most holy place as a sin offering.

But the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us then go to Him outside the camp bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come through Jesus. Therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices, God is pleased. We don’t have near enough time to sort of unpack all of this, but this is one of those places if you do daily Bible reading, you can sort of get through and say, okay, I read a God. I don’t want any clue of what that’s all about, but I at least read it. So bless my heart for reading it, and I think there will be a blessing that we read it. But let me just point out a couple of things. He warns them against being carried away by strange teachings. And if you look at the very beginning, he talks about how it’s good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods.

So apparently in the church there was some sort of teaching going on that was promoting this idea of eating certain foods. And that’s how you really get close to God. Some think that because of all those Jewish laws in the Old Testament, that maybe some of the brothers and sisters were being tempted to go back and kind of be under that old system again. Then the others that feel like, okay, there were Greeks there. They had a lot of strange teachings about food. Some of those teachings about reincarnation that they believe that when you die, you reincarnate, you come back in another body, then you come back in another body, and eventually you finally merit release, and you’re no longer in that cycle. And so in the meantime, for you to hasten that release, you have to be austere with your body. You didn’t eat meat. You had to do certain things. In other words, talk about strange teachings. Who knows? Maybe that’s what the Hebrew writer had in mind. There was some strange teachings. But I think the big picture point of this particular session is that God wants us to be enamored with Jesus.

And he refers back to the day of Atonement. He talks about how the blood would be spilled and it would be poured out, it would be taken and the Holy of Holies and all that. But the sin offering, the sacrificial offering would happen where? Outside the camp. And so he said, Let’s be like Jesus. Jesus suffered outside Jerusalem. Jesus suffered on the hill of Calvary. He suffered a death of criminals. And he says, let’s join in his death. And I think it’s his way of just reminding Him all the stuff I’ve said to you about the better tabernacle, the better covenant, the better sacrifice, better priesthood, better than Melchizadek, just remember that’s what this is all about. So let’s suffer with Jesus outside the camp. Let’s not get caught up in this world. Let’s be willing to connect with Him. And that’s a very elementary kind of a quick view of this. I would encourage you to study it more, but there’s a lot of good meat there. So to wrap this up before we take communion, just to remind you, faithful love. Faithfully love. We got a faithfully love, brothers and sisters.

We got a faithfully love strangers, we need to faithfully love those who are oppressed, we need to faithfully love our spouse. And if you’re not married, your future spouse. I’ll just throw that in there. And we got to be loving of the gifts that God has given us, but let’s also love our leadership. Let’s make their work a joy, and let’s love the sacrifice of Jesus. So as we get ready to take Communion, verse 13, I’ll remind you of that. It says, let us then go to Him outside the camp bearing the disgrace that he bore. Jesus suffered a horrible death. It was a disgraceful death to be hung on a tree. The Old Testament even talks about that, and he just reminds of God. That’s where we want to meet Jesus, right out there. Let’s meet Him outside. Let’s meet Him at the Hill of Calvary. Let’s take on his humiliation, his isolation. Let’s take on what he took on. And guys, every time we take Communion, it’s a good reminder that we get to identify with Jesus’s death and to continue to proclaim his life to this world. So let’s go ahead and pray, and we’ll take Communion.

Almighty God, thank you so much that we are blessed to have the privilege and the honor of suffering with Jesus. I think back to our baptism and how baptism, you said we actually got to participate in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And thank you for the forgiveness of sins that came about as a result of that. Thank you for the newness of life that we have because of that. Thank you so much that every single day you’re continuing to make us holy, that we’re being more and more made like Jesus. We’re being sanctified. And right now, Father, you bless us with an opportunity. Remember Jesus death, burial and resurrection. Again, as we take these emblems the bread which is his body, the wine which is his blood, father, he spilled his blood. He poured out his life so that we could have a relationship with you. And thank you for the opportunity of remembering Him, and thank you for this day to worship together. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Can You Feel the Heat?

We’re going to get into our lesson for today. And what have we been studying for a long time now? Hebrews. Hebrews. But as you can see, the title of today’s lesson is can you Feel the Heat? Because we’re going to talk about the discipline of God. Now, last time we kind of jumped ahead of this section and we talked about the two mountains, mount Zion and Mount Sinai. That was purposeful. We had Tyler, who talked us about twelve one through four, we jumped to 18 to 29.

Now we’re coming back to do chapter twelve, verses five through 17, talking about God’s discipline. Now, when you mention God’s discipline, when you think about it, what do you think about? We think about, Oh, God is mad at me, what have I done? God is upset. In other words, we look at discipline and it’s a negative thing. But guys, I’m hoping that by the end of this service you’ll see that God’s discipline is a discipline of a loving father. Discipline is a good thing. Correction and training and direction from God is a very good thing. And so I’m looking forward to talking about this today. So let’s say a prayer and we’ll dive in. Dear God, thank you so much for the opportunity to be together today. Thank you for Your word. Thank you for the direction that it gives us, for the hope that it gives us. Thank you so much that we can know what your will is as we ponder Your law. Bless us as we get into it today, as we talk about Your discipline and the kind of love that you have for us, help this to be meaningful to us, to make a difference to all of us who are here in person and for those who are listening online, father, we love you. We praise you in Jesus name, amen.

And as we’ve been going through this, we’ve talked a lot. We know the theme and say it with me. Jesus is better. He’s better than Moses. He has a better priesthood and he has a better sacrifice, and he’s a mediator of a better covenant. You can just go down the line. He’s better than the angels. He’s better than everything. And so we’ve been summarizing that Jesus is better. So if you’ve got a relationship with God, you already win. You’re ahead of the game. All right? So I’ll encourage you with that. We’re going to be going through this, but we’re going to go ahead and start at the beginning of chapter twelve, because I want you to catch the flow of this section as we get into verse five. So let’s go at the very beginning of Hebrews twelve, verse one. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance, the race marked out for us.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endures such opposition from sinners so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved or corrected by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastises every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons, for what son is there whom His Father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they discipline us for a short time, as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good that we may share his holiness.

For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields a peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. May God bless the reading of His Word. At the beginning here of Hebrews twelve, he talks about how Jesus for the joy set before Him in bringing many sons and daughters into God’s glory. He endured the cross. Jesus endured incredible suffering so that we could have a relationship with God. He had the faith. The Bible calls Him the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Jesus had the faith that if he endured what he was going through, that it was going to lead to a good end. And certainly it has. That’s why we are here today. And so the first thing I want to put before you is that I want you to encourage your own heart to have the kind of faith to endure what God brings your way. We’ve got to have that kind of faith or else we’ll get this discouraged. There are two reasons he gives for having that kind of faith. One, because Jesus has that kind of faith, he considered what he was going through worth the suffering.

He had the faith to keep on going. And if Jesus felt that way and his faith led to his death, no one here has shed your blood for the cause of Christ. If he could go through it and lose his life, then certainly we can go through it for the pains that come our way as well. But the second reason here that we got embraced times of testing is God uses those times of testing as discipline to make us more like Jesus. We need to learn to embrace suffering, correction, challenge, difficulties. We’ve got to learn to embrace that. It saddens my heart, and I’ll say more about this in a moment, but it saddens my heart that sometimes I see people that are going through a difficult time and they get angry with God and they’re mad with God, and they forget that this simply shows that God loves you. He is treating you as a son. The great saints of the Old Testament went through a ton. By faith, Abraham left and went to a place that he didn’t know if. By faith, Abraham sacrificed Isaac. By faith, Noah built an ark. By faith, and you can just go on and on and on about these great men of God who had the faith to endure some challenging things, but now they’re part of that great heroes of the faith that we read about in Hebrews eleven. God wants us to embrace suffering. One, because they did. But two, here it says in the beginning of chapter twelve, we haven’t resisted to the point that Jesus has. We haven’t had to go through anything quite like what he’s gone through. So any suffering we go through is nothing compared to what Jesus went through. But in this section and our focus today, he talks about how we’ve got to learn to bear hardship and affliction and suffering and correction, because this comes from the hands of a loving and gracious father. God loves you, and any good dad disciplines his child. Let’s just face it. I went on Facebook and it was just kind of cool to look at different Facebook pages and see dads with kids. I think I saw one with Tristan with little Arya, his little two year old. I saw another one with Drew Deering and his son Benjamin on his shoulders. I see these pictures and these little cute cuddly bundles of joy. They grow up, yes, they do. But before they grow up, they hit the twos.

And they call it the Terrible twos for a reason. But then they hit age nine and they go through stuff, and then they hit age 13 and they go through stuff. I’m telling you right now, it’s not loving to let these little bundles of joy do whatever they want to do. It’s not loving to do that. It is loving to set directions, to give them some boundaries, to give them some correction when they need it from time to time. And it was really cool. One brother came to me after the early service and he said, Eddie, what you said today was so on point, because we have been trying to work on that with our kids. Because, you see, if you’re an illegitimate father, if a child is not your child, then you don’t care. I mean, I go out on the street, I see some little kid out of line. Now, I care in a general sense of humanity. That okay, I’m not going to let him go do something stupid that’s going to be hurtful for somebody else. But at the end of the day, I’m not there to train him because he’s not my child.

And that’s what the Hebrew writer says here. He said, look, guys, if you don’t accept this as God’s discipline, then really you’re saying you’re an illegitimate child, that God doesn’t care. But God does care, and that’s why he disciplines us for our good. But one of the things I wanted to share with you is this concept patria potestas. Back in the first century, and this has to do with the Romans, let me tell you what this is all about, because he’s talking about God as a father and the discipline he brings. Well, this is something that would have had kind of a double impact for them, because this idea of patria potestas, a Roman father, by law, had absolute authority over his family. Absolute authority. If a son gets married and he starts to have grandkids and all that good stuff, guess what? The father still has absolute authority over him. A Roman dad could keep or discard his newborn child. Yeah, that’s what I think. What? Praise God we don’t live in that time anymore. But he could sell them into slavery, and ultimately he even had a right to execute his kid. Now, praise God, over time, society and all that kind of changed that a little bit.

But the main thing I want you to understand about this, patria potestas is that a Roman son never outgrew that influence. He could grow up, he could become President of the United States, he could be some world famous figure, but he was still under the thumb of his dad. Now, why is that important? These guys were here. The Hebrew writer talking about God is our father and him being a loving father and it had to be an encouraging thing when you consider, well, praise God, I’m not under some arbitrary, sinful person who has that kind of authority over me. He is saying the cool thing about God is that he’s not an illegitimate father. He is a good dad. He loves you, and the things he brings your way are for your benefit. They are to help you help us and enable you to be more like Christ. So to prove his point, he refers back to proverbs three quoted in the Old Testament. It says, my son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof. Again, his correction. For the Lord reproves him whom he loves as a father, the Son, and whom he delights.

God loves you. And I know for a lot of us, because I don’t think I’m atypical when you’re going through something tough and you don’t quite understand it and it doesn’t make sense to you, typically where I can first go is, okay, God, what’s wrong? I don’t get it. I don’t like this. This isn’t right. And we’re going to say more about this in a moment. You can approach the discipline in a weird sort of way if you don’t really look at it the way God intends. So let’s talk about this. How should we look at discipline? Got five different ways I want to put before you. You can look at this one and just accept it, and your mindset is more que sera sera what will be, will be. I have no control. Anything that happens in this world happens because it’s God’s will. So I just saw it accepted. In other words, you accept it, but it’s kind of a defeated acceptance. I don’t have a choice. I’m stuck. A second way you can look at it. You can have this grim sense of determination that let’s just get it over with as soon as possible.

Let’s just get it over with. I’m in it. You struggle, you’re defiant, but again, there’s no gratitude for what’s going on. There’s just defiance about it. A third way. And in some respects, this is the saddest one that I’m presenting to you, is that you can accept it, but with self pity. There are people in our world who look at what they’re going through and they feel like they are the only person in the entire known world going through what they’ve been through. And it’s, oh, woe is me. My life is just horrible. My life is ruined. God, why me? I mean, you can have a person like this. There can be a death in the family, someone who’s just passed away, or you can have someone with a debilitating illness or sickness, maybe a roommate or a friend, and all they can think about is themselves. It’s all about self pity and it’s really sad. This will destroy. But there are people that feel that way. Unfortunately, I think you have people out there who look at discipline and say, it’s punishment I deserve from a vindictive God. God hates me. I have literally heard people say that that with what I’m going through, it just shows that God doesn’t love me at all.

And they just look at it as a form of punishment. Well, obviously the best way to look at discipline is that it comes from the hand of a loving father. You look at it, you recognize, I don’t quite understand it, God. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know how to deal with this. I’m not sure what to make of this. I don’t quite understand. But you know what? I love you, God. I know you love me. I know you’re a gracious father because you’re remaining involved with me. You haven’t kicked me to the curb. So I know somehow, some way, it’s going to work out. Somehow your will will become known to me. What I’m saying to you today is I know that even today some of you are going through stuff and you can have one of these views of it. You can get mad at God, you can get caught up in self pity. You can have this force resignation that I just got to put up with it. Or you can decide, okay, like Jesus, I’m going to have the faith that for the joy set before me, I’ll keep on going.

I’m going to keep on trusting God. That’s what I’m encouraging you to do today. Once you make the decision that you’re going to trust God no matter what, that’s what Jesus did. I mean, when Jesus went to the garden and he is praying, he’s trying to get himself ready to go through the most horrific event in human history. He had to go to God once and pray, and he had to go again and pray and go again a third time. And he’d go back to his friends and they’re falling asleep. He said, I’m about to go through something that’s going to be incredible and all you guys can do is sleep. But Jesus got his heart in mind. He said, God, I will have faith. And God, I know I for one and my character and I share this, I’m an adult child of an alcoholic. All right, if you look up that terminology, some of the counseling people know there are certain tendencies that we have. I can easily get down on myself. I can easily feel like, yeah, God doesn’t love me. So I have to tell myself, I have to train myself to know God does love me.

The fact that I’m going through this shows that he cares, and that’s what I’m trying to encourage you to do. So once you get your faith where it needs to be, you say to yourself, okay, the patriarchs have faith. When they went through tough times. Jesus wasn’t mentioned in Hebrews eleven, but he’s mentioned in Hebrews twelve. Jesus had faith with what he went through and for the joy set before him he kept going. God wants me to now have faith and to believe regardless of what’s going on. Now, God, what do you want me to do? And that’s kind of what he gets into in the next section of Hebrews. The last section will hear today in Hebrews twelve, verse twelve, let’s read this together. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms he’s getting into some practicals. He’s giving them some direction. Okay, now that you’re thinking is right, now that you’re looking at things in a Godly way, here’s what you need to do. He says, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet so that the lane may not be disabled, but rather healed. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy.

Without holiness, no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral or is Godless like Esau, who for a single meal, sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son? Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done. Okay, like I said, the Hebrew writer is now turning his thoughts towards some practical things that we can think about. He knows that there are going to be times in the Christian life where you’re flying like an eagle. Life is good, you’re happy, you’re excited, you’re loving life. Things are going great. There going to be those times when you run and not grow weary. You’re walking, not faint. But then there are other times when it’s going to be a struggle just to go one day at a time. And I think that’s why in Luke we’re told if any man will come after Christ, he must take up his cross daily because there are times when we have to do it that way.

Now, the two extremes you got to avoid. First, you got to avoid the extreme where you ignore or you minimize God’s discipline. Okay, what am I talking about? I’m talking about how sometimes God is trying to get you to see something, and so he does this. And you don’t listen and so God says, and you’re still not listening. And finally God says, Oh, you’re talking to me? Sometimes I think God does that with us as husbands. I’ve been married a long time. I know I have my time when I’ve been pretty stubborn and my wife has had to put up with me. And I tell her, I said, babe, I’m sorry you’re stuck. And she would come back and she said, No, I’m glued. So we know who’s the spiritual one in my house. She’d have the right kind of thinking. What I’m saying to you is that if God’s trying to get your attention, you better listen, because he loves you. You are his child. If you are a child of God, he loves you. He’s trying to get something over to you. You got to listen or else the banging will get harder. But the other thing you don’t want to do is you don’t want to go to the other extreme where you’re too hard on yourself.

And some of you I know, I like that you so beat yourself up. I mean, God is trying to get you to see something. You feel like you’re the worst thing on earth and how can God love me? How can I even be a Christian? I must be going to hell because this wouldn’t be, no, he said, don’t do that. I don’t think you need to go to that extreme. He’s trying to help us with some responsibilities that we need to have towards each other. Okay. I think there’s a two fold responsibility we all have. Jesus said the greatest command is to love God and to love others. In the church, we’re always going to have people who are weak and struggling and not doing as well. And one of the best things you can do is to come alongside them. For me to say to Malik Bro, I know you’re going through some stuff right now, but we’re friends and you know I love you and I am here for you and let me encourage, let me put courage into you. That’s one of the most gratifying things you can do. Some of you do that routinely for others and there’s nothing said from the pulpit because you wouldn’t want that.

You don’t do it for the fanfare and for the adoration and for the accolades. You do it simply because you care. We’ve got to be that way with each other. We will have people who are faltering in their faith and we’ve got to be there for them. I think one of the best things we can do for each other is to walk worthy of our calling. How does that relate to this? He talks to you about making sure the pathway is level and your feet aren’t lame and that you’re able to go. I think one of the best things we can do for each other is to set a good example. And some of you know what I’m talking about. Some of you know my story. I share with you sometimes for the sake of dealing with my purity. And I’m driving down the road and I see something that maybe I know I don’t need to take a second look at. I’ll imagine, what if Jake Jensen was sitting beside me in the car? Would I want him to see me take this second look? And that is biblical, guys, I really think. And I’ll give you a couple of reference you can study out.

We are our brothers keeper. Romans 14 says I shouldn’t do anything that’s going to cause a brother to stumble. Even a freedom you have in Christ. He says you shouldn’t do that if it’s going to cause your brother to stumble. One Corinthians Twelve talks about how we’re all members of one another. When one part suffers, we all suffer. When one part rejoices, we all rejoice. I don’t have a right to isolate myself and be a Lone Ranger disciple. There’s no such thing. Matthew 18 Jesus said if you cause a brother to stumble, then you need to have a millstone neck tie wrapped around your neck and thrown into the sea. That’s how serious God is about us caring for each other. So he’s reminded us we have a Christian duty. We have a duty to each other. We have a duty to God. We offer God our heart. We offered each other a great example and a walk with Him. Let’s go and look at another thought here, and this is very important. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord. I don’t know where your mind goes.

Like he says, make every effort. Every already messes with me. And he says to live at peace with everybody. Not with some, not with just the people you like. In other words, you are after the highest good for the whole body. You’re doing all that you can to deal with things. Now I think the real key to that is your own personal obedience. And let me just share a verse here from Proverbs three, verse one and two. It says, My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart for they will prolong your life many years. And do what? And bring you peace and prosperity. God says through our obedience to his word, it will lead to peace and prosperity. When you’re aiming at peace, you’re after the highest good for everyone. You’re after what leads to their welfare. Question I will put before all of us here this morning is there anyone that you can think of right now that you are not at peace with? Is there anyone? That’s a rhetorical question I definitely don’t want you to answer. But if there is anyone, then you need to have the motivation to go.

He says make every effort. You go to them. Now what does the Bible say? And as much as it depends on you, you live at peace with all men. All you can do is your part. You know what I’m saying? If a person rejects you and they don’t want to listen, then at least you’ve done what you can. Okay? But there should be a mindset that I’ll take the initiative, I will make whatever effort I can to resolve this. Very important stuff. Key here, he says, is complete obedience. Now once we start doing that, we’re going to have forgiveness flowing. We’re going to have forbearance going on. We’ll have each other going the extra mile to care for each other. You’ll not be as easily bothered and not nearly as touchy about things. But the main thing I want you to understand about this is that this takes effort. He said make every effort. This kind of thing just won’t happen in the church. It will not happen. It’s a lot easier to just pretend I’m okay. And some of you I know I like me, rather than embrace that conflict, ah, it’s not really bothering me that much.

Yeah, it bothered me at the time, but I’m okay. And everybody around you is like, liar. You know, you’re not okay. You got to make it right. God says, do the best you can. Now, the other thing he talks about here is holiness. He said, we have got to aim at holiness. He said, aim at peace with everybody, do all that you can, make every effort, but aim at holiness, too. And holiness comes from this word is hagiosimos. But the adjective form is hagios, which means different, it means other, it means sacred, it means holy. So the man or the woman whose hagios must in one sense always be different from the world. You’re always set apart from the world. Your standards are different, your conduct is different, your ideals are different. And your goal is to stand well with God, even if you don’t stand well with men. That’s what it means to be holy. So he calls for that. He says, Aim for peace, aim for holiness, be separate, be apart, be what God wants you to be. And then in verse 15 of Hebrews Twelve, he says, and see to it that no one falls short of the grace of God, and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

And again he says, Okay, make every effort to live at peace with everyone. Now, he’s saying, make sure no one falls short of the grace of God. You kind of get the impression that God wants everybody at his party. You don’t want anybody to be left out. He says, I don’t want anyone to miss the grace of God. And one commentator said that he really believes that it would be similar to a well, the idea is that we don’t want anyone to fail to keep up with God’s grace. And it will be similar to travelers on the road back then that you have a bunch of people, they’re all traveling, they’re going in one direction, and every now and then they would just stop to make sure everyone was there. Did anyone get left behind? Did we leave anyone back in the wayside? Who knows? That maybe why they noticed that Jesus was not there. You remember they had gone to Jerusalem to worship and all of a sudden they realized, Where’s Jesus? And they checked one little van and they checked the Mercedes after that, and he’s not there. And they said, well, where’s Jesus?

And then they realized he was missing. God goes after the straggler. He wants everybody to make it and be right with Him. I believe God appoints the times and places so that we’ll seek Him Acts 17. But I believe God also appoints just the right people around us to help keep us faithful and we need to be aware of that. So we don’t want anyone to miss the grace of God. He also doesn’t want anyone doesn’t want a bitter root to come up in his church. Okay, what are we talking about with a bitter root? Deuteronomy 29 gives us an explanation, I believe, of that. It says, make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of these nations. Make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison. And a definition of this idea of that root and I wrote this down a root of bitterness is any false and corrupting influence that damages relationships with God and others. It begins with just wrong thinking. You can have this view, okay, I don’t like that.

I don’t go along with that. And then you start going to other people. This wasn’t just an Old Testament problem. Paul refers to this in Acts 20, and look at what he says. I know that after I leave now, Paul is talking to the elders from Ephesus. He says, I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock even from your own number. Men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw the disciples after them. Now, I want you to think about this, and I hope I can bring this home to you. Paul is talking to elders. He’s talking to a group of men who have been vetted. The church is taking the time to consider them to look at the outcome of their life. God gives four or five places in the New Testament where he says, here are the qualifications for anyone who serves in this role. He must be above reproach. He must be blameless husband of one wife, not giving them much wine. You can just go through the list. Here are the defining characteristics of an elder. We have several men in our church that we have been talking to and working with to try to train for eldership.

So you have people like that who have now been put in this role to help shepherd and oversee the church. And Paul looks at them and he says, even from your number, a bitter roots is going to grow up. There are going to be people, even from among you, that are trying to draw away his own following. And he says, it’s not to happen in God’s church. God does not want a bitter root to grow up at all. One of the ways this bitter root manifests itself, sometimes we can have people in the body who they look at the church, maybe the church feels too strict to them, and they think back to their old life and they say, okay, it wasn’t so bad, and why can’t we allow immorality in the church? And why can’t we do this or that? And I think that’s why he puts this last section in here that I’ll read for you again. He says see to it that no one is sexually immoral or is Godless like Esau who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing he was rejected.

Even though he sought the blessing with tears he could not change what he had done. He refers back to Esau. He says see to it that no one’s sexually immoral. He refers back to Esau. He uses Genesis 25. I’ll give you these references. Genesis 25 28 to 34. That’s the place where Esau is out in the field. He comes in, he’s famished. He’s really hungry. He goes to his brother Jacob and he says hey give me some of that stew that you have. And Jacob said well sell me your birthright and then I’ll give you some stew. I mean you got a guy who is so central, he’s so driven by his feelings, by what’s going on that he’s willing to sell what he has as the birthright of the oldest son just to have some food. Now unless you think, okay, it can’t be that bad. Well we have people who sell their souls for drugs. We have people who sell their souls for alcohol. We have people willing to sell their souls for sexual morality. And I think that’s why he puts that in here. There are people who are willing to do that and we need to understand that it’s not just the thing where we need to put down Esau.

We are Esau sometimes. And he said but that’s not to be the case in the church. So the bottom line guys, of a lot of this stuff and I want to summarize just a couple of thoughts before we take communion. Esau wanted to change what he had done but he could not. There is a certain finality to life. There are certain things that once done can’t be undone. A young man who gives up his purity can’t recapture that. A young woman who gives up her virginity can’t recapture that. It can never be done. God will forgive. I believe God will forgive. That’s the gracious loving God we have, he will forgive. But even God won’t turn back the clock to undo what you’ve done. And that’s what happened with Esau. He saw it with tears but it was too late. But praise God he will still forgive us. To summarize just a couple of thoughts from today. You got to live a life of faith if you’re going to understand the discipline of God. You got to live a life of faith or else you’ll be despondent, you’ll be sad. You just feel like I can’t do life.

You got to live a life of faith to understand his discipline. You also need to walk worthy of his calling, not only for your sake, but for your brothers and sisters. That’s God’s expectation. We are to aim for peace and holiness. That needs to be your every effort. I’m going to make things right. I will do what I can to make things right. I’m going to strive for holiness. He also says, I don’t want you to miss the grace of God. I don’t want you to get left behind. I don’t want you to get left behind. Then he says, and you don’t need to make any allowance for bitter roots in the Church. Got to deal with that. The right of Hebrews, the sermon preacher of Hebrews, brings us to a choice, and that is, will we go back to always a life and reject Jesus? Or who is a mediator of a new and better covenant? Or will we walk forward in faith towards Christ, towards Mount Zion? We can do that today. We can do that today. You can make that decision. Our God is still a consuming fire. Now, as a disciple, we are blessed to have the heat of God refining us, correcting us, molding us, making us more like Jesus.

But one day he’s going to be a consuming fire to those who have not submitted to his discipline. Praise God if you’re a part of that, and I hope you are. And that’s why when it comes to taking the communion, it’s really a great time to be reminded that, wow, Jesus suffered for me. He went through a lot. He showed me what real faith is all about, despite difficulties. Jesus did this for me and God. I am so thankful. And so when you get ready, take the emblems. And if you need those Ray is in the back, Ray if you head up this towards the front. If you don’t have a communion cup and you want to take that Ray King and Gil will get that to you. But we’re going to go ahead and say a prayer because for the joy set before Him. And I’ll read a portion to the verse. For the joy set before Him, he endured the cross, scorning his shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endures such opposition from sinners so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Let’s pray together.

Almighty God, Father, we thank you. We thank you so very much that we have times like this where we can think about and meditate on Jesus, where we can think about Your incredible love. I pray, Father, that we will walk with you closely, that we’ll have the kind of faith that says, you know what? God loves me. He’s my father. I’m struggling with what I’m going through right now. I’m being tempted to think about it in wrong ways. I’m tempted to have resentment and self pity and all of that. But God help me to see what’s going on as Your loving discipline and help us, God, to embrace that every single day. Help us for the joy set before us. And maybe that joy won’t even completely surface in this life. It may be when we get to face you for eternity and you take us to our well prepared room by Jesus. Father, help us to humble ourselves before you now and to really trust you to lead us and guide us and give us what we need. Father, thank you for the emblems that we take, the bread and the wine, the body and blood of Jesus. Help us to be grateful as we do that now we pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Two Mountains

All right, let’s go ahead and get ready for our lesson this morning. It’s good to see everyone. Happy Father’s Day. I’m very thankful to be a dad today. Grateful I can share these pictures with you. I didn’t even check with my kids. Usually I always check with them before I include them on a slide, but I think I’m going to just take the right of Father’s Day and put these pictures up there. But that’s me and my son Nate. Very thankful for him. Grateful to be his dad. I love him a ton. And of course, these are my girls, my beautiful women, in addition to my wife, of course. But these are my daughters from a recent picture from last week of some time we were able to spend together at the beach. Love, Ella. Love, Charlotte. Such a privilege to be a father and looking back, extremely grateful for my own dad for 28 years before he passed away. And if my mom’s watching this online, I love you, mom. Love you and dad. So thankful that you have been my parents. Feel very blessed and grateful for you. Happy Father’s Day to everyone. I know it elicits different feelings for different people, but it’s just good to be together as the family of God.

Today, we’re going to dive into the word. Ladies and gentlemen. It’s hard to believe, but we’ve reached the final four in Hebrews. What I mean is we’re down to the final four sermons in our series. You know the theme, Jesus is better and the preacher of Hebrews is unknown. He or she definitely an old Testament gunslinger. We see that in every single lesson, every text we look at. The original audience, we have Christians that are drifting away from Jesus, and it’s a very real danger for us today, for us this year, for several reasons. The scattering of the church because of the pandemic, the worries and busyness that can chip away at our faith, and really our culture just constantly telling us that life is better if we live our own truth. And that’s what we face. So with this in mind, today we continue in Hebrews, chapter twelve. Eddie Francis will cover the topic of discipline next week in verses five through 17. We’re going to skip ahead today. By the way, Eddie and Lapadik are in Oviedo today at their Park Service. That’s where they’re at. So we’re missing them, but we’re happy that they’re in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Oviedo.

Eddie will be back next week preaching on verses five through 17 of Hebrews, chapter twelve. But this morning again, we skip down to verse 18, and our sermon title is this: Two Mountains. Let’s look at Hebrews twelve, verse 18. This is the crescendo of the original sermon. Verse 18. For you have not come to what may be touched. A blazing fire, and darkness and gloom, and a tempest, the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. Verse 20. For they could not endure the order that was given. If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned. Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, I tremble with fear. So again, the writer takes us back to the old days, the old covenant, and these words would have just clicked immediately with the original audience. And I think for us, maybe not so much. What the Hebrew writer has just described was the holiest event in Jewish history. It’s when Moses received the Ten Commandments as they camped at the foot of Mount Sinai. The author sets the scene here at Mount Sinai and it’s terrifying.

This is a picture of what historians believe is modern day Mount Sinai, very imposing mountain. In verses 18 through 21, this is a flashback to the Jews in their first encounter with the Almighty God. And from the beginning of this relationship, God establishes a holy distance between himself and his people for their own safety. Let’s read the backstory of this scary event. Exodus 19:10. The Lord said to Moses, you go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Let them wash their garments. In other words, make sure that people clean and purify themselves for their first meeting with God. Verse eleven. And be ready for the third day. For the third day, the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the site of all the people, and you shall set limits or build this fence for the people all around saying, take care not to go up into the mountain or even touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. No hand shall touch that person, but he shall be stoned or shot with an arrow. Whether beast or man, he shall not live. When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.

So, soon after these instructions, that third day comes. Moses goes up to Mount Sinai while all the people watch from a safe distance. God then comes down and fire and smoke and lightning, and even then through angels, okay, God meets with Moses and he gives him the Ten Commandments. Is this a casual, fun day in the park for God’s people? Do you envision just God’s people singing Elevation worship and hill song and getting their praise and Sunday worship on here? No, this is frightening, horrifying. And if you disobeyed in the presence of God, you died. That’s it. Let’s read some more. Exodus 20, verse 18. Now, when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off. And get this, they said to Moses, you speak to us, Moses, and we will listen. But please do not let God speak to us lest we die. Moses said to the people, do not fear. Easier said than done, right? Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of God may be before you, that you may not sin.

The people stood far off while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. So this is a scene on Mount Sinai that the writer describes in Hebrews Twelve, verses 18 through 21. He’s telling his audience, he’s telling us today, if you follow Jesus, mount Sinai is not your mountain anymore. Now, let’s be clear. God has not changed. But because of Jesus, your relationship with God has now changed. So if you were able to get the handout here, we’ll take a look at that. And for those watching online, AV crew, if you can go full screen on this one for those watching at home, you see it on the left side of your handout and you see it on the slide. Mount Sinai is an earthly mountain. There’s fire, there’s smoke, there’s darkness, gloom and doom when you encounter God. And when God speaks through the angels, even Moses trembles with fear. And if you touch Mount Sinai, you die. No excuses, no sentimentality. That’s it. You can only approach God’s mountain if you’re completely clean physically. Why? Because God is holy and you’re not. We’re far, far from it. In fact, we’re stained by evil.

So again, this is a vital part of who God is. Notice the present tense I’m using. This is who God is. And this is very cringe for us. I mean, most of the new Christian songs we sing don’t really emphasize God’s fierce holiness. If you were raised in recent American Christianity, which I think most of us were, or the Church of Christ, most of the time we only view God as our friend and as our Father, rather than fearing God as this all consuming fire of holy judgment. Now, of course, God is all three: friend, father, and consuming fire. Check out the picture here. To this day, many Orthodox Jews, they won’t even write out the full name of God. Many won’t even say the name Yahweh out loud. They simply refer to him as the Name. That’s because they were raised with this holy fear of the Almighty God. It’s the song that we sang at the very beginning. Stand in awe with trembling and fear. As a culture, we don’t like this part of God, right? We don’t get it. God’s holiness, God’s wrath. It’s not fun to talk about. Many times we’re unwilling to see Him this way, and you start to think, we put God on the hot seat.

Why is God so intolerant and God seems so judgemental? And why the distance? Why can’t God just get over it and be with me with all my flaws? We think this, we go there, these are good questions. And then we, well, what about God’s love and God’s grace? How do we reconcile these things? God is holy. And the word holy has very negative connotations in English, unfortunately, lost in the translation. Who wants to be known as holy? Look at him, he thinks he’s so holy. I think also we often define holy strictly as the moral behavior of religious people. But you see, with God and biblical holiness, it’s so much more than that. When we say God is holy, some of that, or some of what that means is God is unique. God is one of a kind. God is completely and utterly pure. God is set apart. God is other. God is just different. Holy means he’s the source, he’s the creator. God is the reality of all things. God has no beginning and God has no end. No one created God. Now, if you think about that for more than 30 seconds, mind blown. His power is holy. His power is completely other.

So when you come in contact with God’s holiness, let’s say you read a command in God’s word, you instantly realize how small, weak and broken you are. And it’s terrifying. When you encounter God’s holiness, you have no idea if you’ll even survive. When confronted by God’s holiness in Isaiah six, the prophet said, what? Whoa to me. I am undone. In other words, woe to me, I am so lost. Isaiah thought he was going to die. Over the years, my go to illustration on this is the sun. In our solar system, in a sense, the sun is holy. Here’s what I mean. For us, the sun is the source of all life. Without the sun, we all die. The sun sustains us. We completely depend on it. We take it for granted, right? It’s there. And there’s nothing that compares to the raw power and the energy of the sun. Nothing. And think on this we’re 93 million miles away from the sun. But what happens if you stare at it too long? It will blind you. Again, we take this for granted. It’s 93 million miles away and you can’t even stare at it. That’s the raw, unadulterated power of the sun.

That’s why we invented sunglasses. What if you just sit outside in the sun too long? You get burned. We need sunscreen for protection. What if you had a crazy idea to build a rocket and you wanted to fly too close to the sun? Maybe you have this great idea that I’m going to have a picnic on the sun. No, you’re toast. Literally. So is the sun an intolerant jerk when it hurts us? Is the sun judgemental? And is the sun mean because we can’t get too close to it? Is the sun your buddy? Is the sun a bad thing? No, the sun is completely good. But you must humbly, fear and respect the sun, right? Again. In the presence of this holy other power of the sun, our weaknesses are exposed. So I’d say in the same way, the message of God’s holiness is often scandalous and offensive because it exposes us. It exposes our weaknesses, our sin and all of that idolatry that’s hidden away in our hearts. Write this down, take a picture of this, wrestle with this statement. I believe this is the truth for all of us. Maybe the problem isn’t God’s intolerance after all.

The problem is us. When God’s holiness begins to press in on us and God has found something unclean in our lives, when God’s found a rebellious stronghold in our lives, often our gut instinct is to fight and scratch and claw, to hold onto that very thing. I know because I’ve done it. As a younger man, when God’s holy standard of absolute purity pressed in on me, I rebelled against it. God’s holy command of one man, one woman only in marriage exposed my idolatry. For years I fought God on this. I pursued sensual pleasure and happiness my own way and it nearly destroyed me and the people in my path. God’s holiness can offend us because it exposes us. And sex is just one example of this. There are many, many more, but to the point of sex, when confronted by God’s word, to deny immoral sexual attractions, sexual desires, impulses, what do we do? In our arrogance, humanity pushes back. We’re offended. We think we deserve sexual happiness whenever, however and with whomever we want. Love is love. As broken humans, that’s where we go. That’s our anything goes definition of love. Now think about it.

Love is love. We’re now defining a word by the same word. That’s the best we can do as broken humanity. Meanwhile, the timeless truth and the Bible is this: God is love. God created love. God defines the sexual boundaries of love. Then we just come along, we plagiarize what God created, and then we have the audacity to say, no, that’s real love. Our version is weak and powerless compared to the standard of God’s holy love. Love and sex. And that’s just one example of how God’s holiness could rub us the wrong way. Bottom line, I don’t know what it is for you today. Wrestle with this, will you humble yourself when God’s holiness triggers something in you. Because even the best of us here, we cannot get to the mountain of grace without first stopping at Mount Sinai to have our sin exposed by God’s fierce holiness. Speaking of, who would like to move to the second mountain? Let’s go to the second mountain in verse 22. This is where you want to live. Verse 22. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels and festal gathering, and to the assembly or the church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven.

And to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, verse 24. And to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Now, this mountain is very different than the first. If you follow Jesus, this is your mountain. This is where you want to live, Mount Zion. This is the mountain you and I must choose. And it is a choice. You don’t automatically just find yourself on this mountain, okay? It’s a choice. Choose Mount Zion. And on this mountain, get this, you encountered the same holy God as the first mountain, but this time there’s a party going on. This is a picture here of modern day mountain Zion in Jerusalem. It’s a real place. It’s the hill on which Jerusalem is built, and it’s a place of safety, God’s presence, celebration. But it always pointed to something more than just the earthly location. It’s the city of the living God. It’s our future home in heaven. And there are so many hymns about Mount Zion, and hopefully now it’ll start to make sense a little more why the writers would write so many songs about Mount Zion.

That’s because Zion symbolizes victory. So go back to this handout again. You see on the right hand side. You see on the right hand side Mount Zion. And if and when you follow Jesus, this is the mountain of the New Covenant. Instead of covering your ears and trembling as the angel spoke for God on this mountain, now you have angels, thousands upon thousands of angels actually throwing the party. On this mountain, you, the Church, becomes the firstborn, which means you have first born rights, which means the eternal inheritance of Jesus is now yours. As we said before, what’s true of Jesus is now true of you. This is the mountain, as Tyler taught us three weeks ago, where you are being made perfect. This is the mountain where the holy and awesome God is now completely approachable. And one incredible day, dare I say, the holy God will even be touchable and huggable. So how is this even possible? How can the same God who was so distant on Mount Sinai now becomes so welcoming and so close on Mount Zion? Jesus. Jesus is on Mount Zion. We see in verse 24, it tells us we’ve come to Mount Zion, where Jesus is now the mediator of the New Covenant into the sprinkled blood that Jesus speaks is a better word than the blood of Abel.

This here is the climax of all we’ve learned in Hebrews up to this point. Jesus is better and Jesus awaits you on the better mountain. Jesus is the mediator on Mount Zion. Jesus is our go between, our peacemaker, our indestructible high priest, the resurrected Jesus reigns victorious on Mount Zion. We can now approach the throne of the Almighty God because of Jesus with confidence. What is true of Jesus is now true of you on Mount Zion. Again, God has not changed. But because of Jesus, the dynamic of your relationship with God has changed. John Newton put it this way and John Newton wrote a small song called Amazing Grace. You may have heard that one. John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace, one of his other songs, he articulates this concept this way, the blood of Jesus has hushed the laws loud thunder let that sink in. The blood of Jesus has hushed the laws loud thunder. Today is Juneteenth. It’s a new national holiday in the United States. And on June 19 every year, we now commemorate the freedom of enslaved African Americans. And there’s no sugarcoating this in our country. The institution of slavery vividly represents the injustice, the evil and the brokenness of our humanity as a people that were created originally in the image of God.

The blood of millions of African Americans cries out from the ground for generations of injustice. Slavery, it’s just one example of our broken humanity that’s exposed at the foot of Mount Sinai. It’s terrifying. But here’s the good news. We see the very best of humanity on Mount Zion. We see Jesus. Here’s the contrast: on Mount Zion, the blood of Jesus speaks a better word to us than the blood of Abel. Abel’s blood screams brokenness, injustice and murder. As we sang earlier, Abel’s blood for vengeance. But the blood of Jesus speaks to us the good news of redemption, of justice and freedom. So I ask you, with such a great salvation spoken by the blood of Jesus, how will you respond? The preacher of Hebrews shows us how in verse 25. Let’s read it. Verse 25. See to it that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven? At that time, referring to Mount Sinai, at that time, God’s voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, yet once more, I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens. This phrase yet once more indicates the removal of things that are shaken, that is, things that have been made in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.

Therefore, let us be grateful, grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken and thus less offered to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe. For our God is a consuming fire. When God shook the earth and shook the Mount at Sinai, you think that was scary? You ain’t seen nothing yet. He quotes the prophet Haggai. He warns us that this cosmic earthquake is coming. Judgment Day is on the way, and this time God’s going to shake up both the heavens and the earth. And for some, this is going to be the greatest day of celebration. For those on Mount Zion, this is going to be an amazing time. Because when God shakes things up and burns away all the idols, burns away all the sin, burns away all the conflicts and the hurts and the pains and the tears, and all that remains is what is pure and what is of God. It’s going to be this incredible celebration. It’s what we want. But for others, this will be a time of terror, regret and condemnation. It is what it is, and that’s what it is. On Judgment Day, God will shake away all of our idols in this world.

All that has been exposed is unholy, will burn in the holiness of God’s consuming fire. Yeah, I admit that’s a scary message, but at the same time, it’s inspiring because this is how God works. This is how God gives us true life. He’s blowing that chaff away. He’s burning the chaff. He’s getting rid of all the wickedness. He shakes away and he burns away all that’s been exposed that has been hurting us. On the day of this cosmic earthquake, only the things that cannot be shaken will remain. So what is that? What is it that can never be shaken? What’s the only thing that will survive Judgment Day? Verse 28. The kingdom of Jesus can never, ever be shaken. And this should give us motivation. Do not pursue happiness in all the wrong things. Don’t chase after the wind. It’s going to burn. It’s going to die. It’s not going to last. Those things will burn on Judgment Day. Never give up your life for something that death can take away. Do not refuse the voice of Jesus. On Judgment Day, only the kingdom of Jesus will survive and thrive. And I encourage our fathers it’s Father’s Day. A word for the fathers. Let’s lead the way as leaders of our families. Let’s lead the way in building our family on the solid rock of the kingdom. Let’s build our families on true strength. The kingdom of God. Therefore, the author now makes it very clear how to respond to Jesus in verse 28. Therefore, number one, let us be grateful. Gratitude is the true mark of a disciple of Jesus. It’s not one of those things you kind of add in, like, oh, I’d be a better person if I was more grateful and I stopped complaining. No, check out the scriptures here. Write these scriptures down. Look at them. Gratitude is expected and commanded. If you claim to follow Jesus, it’s a decision. Check out every conversion we see in the Book of Acts. Everyone is grateful, every single baptism. Gratitude is the mark of someone who has been truly converted for the long haul in Jesus. Good news always remains really good news. So give some thought of this. A lot of times we hear this, I need to be more grateful, or you need to be more grateful, or Where’s my gratitude? Got to dig deeper on this.

When you’re grateful, what does it look like? What does it look like for you at work, at school, with your family? If you’re really grateful, what does it sound like in your speech? Your speech of gratitude should mark you as different and other wherever you go. How do you take care of something that you’re really grateful for? How much time and attention and energy do you give something that you’re really, truly grateful for? I think two of our greatest examples of gratitude in this church are our elders. I think Eddie and Lepatic Francis. I think of Barry and Debbie Mattox, been disciples for decades and leadership in front of us for many, many years. Yes, they have tremendous skills. They can solve problems. But if you think about it, they’re incredibly grateful people, and that’s why they’re built to last, and that’s why they’re out in front of us, leading the way. They’re solid because they’re grateful. And the good news remains good news to them. Not a coincidence that these men and women lead us. Gratitude, on the other hand, to be ungrateful is a sin against God. It’s not just a take it or leave it thing.

Second Timothy three teaches that religious people who are ungrateful have a form of Godliness, but deny its power. If you complain on the regular, if you complain about your life, if you complain about other people, if you’re complaining about the church I don’t know how to say it, but you are drifting, and gratitude is a sign of the unbeliever. Let’s be grateful. I’m trying to work on it. I’m not there yet, but I’m pressing forward because I know this is vital for me to be on Mount Zion, I must be grateful. Number two, worship God with reverence and awe for our gods and consuming fire. That’s the other response we’re called to here to Jesus. Worship God with reverence and awe. And this goes hand in hand with gratitude, right? It’s hard to worship if you’re constantly thinking about, well, I’m getting the short end of the stick here, right? It’s hard to worship when you feel sorry for yourself or you play the victim. It’s hard to worship God when there’s self worship going on. I do want to say this worship is so much more than singing in music here or at home.

It’s more than just singing in these church services. This is just an hour and a half. That’s why I hesitate to call our singers and musicians the worship team. I think that’s fine, but I just don’t always go there. The Hebrew word for worship is to prostrate oneself before God. Do you know what this is? This is literally laying face down on the ground, in the dirt, on the floor, getting down and dirty and talking to God and bowing before God. I did it this morning for the first time in a long time. I tell you what, it’s very humbling. It’s humiliating. It’s exactly what I needed. When was the last time you got on your knees at least? We get so casual in our relationship with God because Jesus has given us that freedom to approach the throne of grace with confidence. We must approach God and remember to do that with reverence in awe. Worship is 24/7. It’s living in the presence of God all the time. Paul defines worship this way in Romans twelve, verse one, present your body, present your body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship.

Worship is countercultural. Worship means self denial. Worship means you put yourself on the cross every day and you choose Jesus over personal pleasure. Worship means you live in the holy fear of God. And you look back with sobriety to what it was like on Mount Sinai. When it comes to worship, these Sunday mornings are great. This is a weekly gourmet meal. But we all need a daily diet of private worship. So here it is. To summarize our response to Jesus, the living water challenges, I put these in the form of questions so we can wrestle with these. Wrestle yourself, get with other people. Let’s talk about these three questions. How will this passage change the way you worship? Number two how will you express gratitude this week for Mount Zion? How will you repent and become a grateful person? And we’ll end with number three. And this circles us back to the beginning. The question at number three is when God’s holiness exposes your sin, when God’s holiness exposes your brokenness and the idols that are down deep in your heart, which mountain will you choose? Today we’re a sunrise closer to the return of King Jesus.

You realize that? All of us have a choice. All of us can live on one of two mountains. If you’re stuck on Mount Sinai, God’s going to feel very distant. You see God’s holiness, you may be around some holy people you know God’s commands. You do know God’s expectations for your life, but for some reason, you just keep pushing back. Maybe you’re blaming God or you’re holding on to what God has exposed in you and you don’t like it. And because of that, your actions begin to demonstrate what you’re really saying is, no, I’m doing it my way. This is how I’ll find happiness and true life. I’m doing it my way. Deep down, I bet Judgment Day terrifies you because you’re camped at Mount Sinai. Old Christians, new Christians, not sure if you’re a Christian. Today I appeal to all of us. Let’s choose Mount Zion. When you feel God’s holiness pressing in on you, when God’s holiness and God’s word exposes your sin and your brokenness, when friends confront you on your sin, or family members confront you on your sin, don’t get offended. Don’t push back. Don’t go to Mount Sinai. Instead, humble yourself today.

Get with someone. Get with someone today. Get with someone this week. Open the Bible. Have a heart to heart talk. Admit who you are before it’s too late. And who are you? Who am I? A broken person with broken idols who desperately needs the saving blood of Jesus and the leadership of Jesus in my life. We’ll close with this. Therefore, in light of all that Jesus has done for you, therefore, let us be grateful. Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And thus let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Let’s now pray together as we celebrate the saving blood of Jesus.

Father in Heaven, thank you that we can take communion together at this time. Thank you, Father, that you’ve always given us a choice. And through Jesus, it’s always been your plan to make yourself completely approachable, lovable. Thank you, God, for your mercy, your grace, and your forgiveness. Thank you so much for the unshakeable kingdom that all of us have access to. I pray that you help us to share this with others. God, I also ask you this time that you increase our faith.

The world is all around us. It attacks us and it sounds so good and we get caught up in it. Father, increase our faith in Mount Zion. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for his blood. That speaks a better word than anything in this world. Thank you for his blood. Thank you for his body. We celebrate our relationship with him at this time. Draw us near to you. We pray all these things in Jesus name. Amen.