10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.
You are going to have to think with me on this one. When the sin offering was brought to the temple and the sin of the people was symbolically transferred from the people to the sacrifice lamb, that lamb, filled with the sin of others, was to be taken outside of the camp and burned. It was not to be eaten by the priests but taken out away from all others. In this passage today we learn that Jesus, once filled with our sin, was taken outside of the city suffering apart from others.
The writer of Hebrews then makes a careful analogy for us: As Jesus did not belong in the city because of our sin upon Him, so we bearing the reproach of Christ do not belong in the city of this world. Those crucifying Jesus did not want Him crucified inside their city; crucifixion was a nasty work to be done outside of their “fair” town. Jesus suffered away from the crowds He cared for as He bore their reproach and ours. In essence, Jesus did not belong in the city; He did not fit there. He was too righteous for them and they wanted Him out.
We, those who have given Christ our sin, now bear His imprint upon our lives. We no longer fit in the city of this world. Our lives, imitating Christ, are a reproach to the people of this city. We are OK with this because we are looking forward to a heavenly city, our eternal home with Christ. Are we OK with not being a part of the city of this world? Are we OK being outside of the mainstream of society as we identify with our Savior?
Pray for a neighbor of the church who is having cancer surgery this week. Pray for my friend Tom who is undergoing cancer treatment. Pray for the souls of those around you who need the Savior. We must, as light-bearers, be aware of the darkness in other’s souls and care for them.
Have a great day in the Lord,
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.
What great confidence we have in the unchangeableness of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every attribute of Him always has been and always will be. When we go to our Lord we know what to expect because in His holiness, He never changes. In this Christ is always truth, He is always just, He is always merciful, He is always forgiving, He is always kind and gentle, He is always light to show us the way. Jesus never changes.
As such, the Word of the Lord Jesus never changes neither is it open to man’s freedom of interpretation. The Word of God means what God meant when He gave it. It never changes. The truths found in its pages are timeless and don’t need to be made relevant for they have always been relevant.
The religions of man morph with society. Edicts come down from the top, the leaders of the religions, with new allowances, new interpretations or new revelations. That which was dogma can be set aside for new dogma. Not so with Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I find far greater security in a Lord/Leader who never changes. Therefore, we are not carried about with various doctrines establishing foods and days to make us more spiritual. No, we are established by grace, the grace of our Lord Jesus who never changes and desires that all be saved and brought to the truth. Be secure today in the unchangeableness of our God.
Be aware of the louder voice of the minority. Realize that in a pure democracy, the rule of the people, the mob can be wrong. Remember that one day a mob decided to crucify an innocent Man and the mob overruled the wisdom of the authority in charge. I am not in favor of the mobs of people thinking that they represent the majority of the country nor of all of our values. Be a person of wisdom who thinks above the mob.
Ken’s mom went to be with the Lord last night. The last time he was down to see her she gave Ken a clear testimony of having trusted the Savior. Pray for Ken and his family as they work through the grief and the funeral.
Join us in church tonight for prayer. We are storming the throne of God to give us men and women and young people this year who leaving their sin will come to the Savior.
Have a great day in the Lord,
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
The word “conduct” indicates our entire life. This is not limited to Sunday mornings, or special retreats of the church. No, the conduct of our lives is to be how we live every waking hour of our lives. And so the Lord instructs here that we live our entire lives without covetousness. Covetousness is a general discontent with what we have and a regular desire for what others have. Covetousness is, in essence, telling God that His plan for your life is not sufficient for you, you want more or different than He has chosen for you.
In the heart of the follower of Jesus Christ there is to be contentedness in Christ. He has not left us nor has He forsaken us. Are you content in Christ? Are you at peace with what God has given you and has enabled you to make and provide? Are you at peace with your gifts and your abilities from God? Are you content with all that God has given you?
Those who have more of this world often have less of Christ. Please know that the riches of Christ are more tangible than the riches of this life. To be content in Christ is to live without covetousness. To be content in Christ is to be content in what He has given us. To be content in Christ is to live in the reality of His abiding presence. So that we may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
I must say that I am thankful for our church. Our annual meeting was so peaceful, so God-honoring. I am thankful that we do not have a spirit of discontent in our church nor is there a spirit of division. We are all working together to know God, to love God, and to serve Him with the gifts that God has given to us. We are seeking God this year to save souls of men and women and teens and children right here in Naperville. Join us in this prayer today and every day. Labor in this prayer. Beg God to save the hard cases. Let us see God do what only He can do this year.
Have a great day in the Lord,
25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.
For all of us who love the mercy of God and the love of God this chapter of Hebrews ends abruptly and harshly. So let’s take a look at it. Earlier in the chapter the writer reminds the readers of the day when God brought the Law at Mount Sinai. It was a great day for Israel but the most fearful day of their history. The mountain shook, the skies darkened, smoke ascended from the mountain; they were in the fearful presence of Almighty God. Today, he says, we are called to Mount Zion, the heavenly city of God which stands in stark contrast to Mount Sinai. Zion is a place of victory, peace, and grace.
However, we who enjoy God’s grace and peace must never forget who God is and what He had to do to those who refused to hear His word at Sinai. If you remember, those who built the golden calf and worshipped it were killed. Others who rejected the word of God had the earth open up and swallow them. As we read earlier, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
You see, God wants to show us mercy. James wrote that mercy triumphs over judgment and boy are we ever glad for that! But those who take advantage of mercy and use mercy as a cloak for their disobedience to God need to wake up and realize just Who they are disobeying. God does not take disobedience lightly for yes, when it comes to judgment, He is a consuming fire. Therefore, we must serve God acceptably with reverence and with godly fear. The works of faith are the works that God calls us to. Here God calls us, the people of faith in Him, to serve Him in full understanding of who He is. This is acceptable to Him.
Sunday is our annual meeting for the church. We will be voting on the budget for 2017 and will be voting on the slate of officers presented last Sunday. If you have questions about the budget you can call a deacon or an elder. If you have a question about the slate of officers call an elder. During lunch, which the church is providing, we will hear reports from the different ministries of our church. Please plan to stay and enjoy the lunch and the reports.
Have a great day in the Lord,
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
Pursuing peace with all people and pursuing holiness are in the same sentence as not falling short of the grace of God and letting bitterness spring up within, cause trouble and defile us.
I have trouble going to meetings that don’t end up with action plans. Meeting just for the sake of having a meeting is boring and a waste of time. Meetings should have an agenda and then something to do after the meeting. Prayers for peace without acting toward holiness and greater forgiveness are wasted prayers. I can pray all day for peace with my wife but if I don’t change how I act toward her and continue to hold bitterness against her my prayers won’t do any good.
Hear me on this, if you want to follow this teaching from Hebrews 12 and if you want to be at peace with as many people as possible, then you must act in holiness toward them and practice a forgiving lifestyle every day. There is no place for unkindness, arrogance, selfishness, self-will, nor revenge in the Holy Spirit led life. Spirit-filled living treats people as Christ treated those in His lifetime.
Then, if you want to be a peace with others, you must life a daily life of forgiveness toward all people. Any time that you hold a grudge, hold anger, refuse to forgive, or just let an offense fester, you are harboring bitterness. I think that bitterness is Satan’s grand tool to destroy Christian’s lives. For while the grace of God is eternal, its effects can be lost when someone let’s their bitterness control them, trouble them, and defile them.
Pursue peace with all around you, strive to treat them in a holy manner, and never go to bed with a bitter spirit toward another person. Satan will be defeated, God will be honored, and we will have greater peace.
This Sunday is Pro-Life Sunday. I am 100% pro-life! There is only one Author and only one Taker of life and that is our Creator God who made every one of us in His image to bear His likeness in this life. Taking lives either in the womb or out of the womb is something that God himself calls “murder.” I stand with all groups that are fighting abortion and am thankful for this current opportunity to defund Planned Parenthood (which is the biggest oxymoron of the day – they do not provide prenatal care, they do not provide breast exams, their biggest cash-cow is killing infants inside their mother’s wombs thus taking would-be moms away from being parents). Pray for the abolition of abortion in this country first and others to follow.
I, for one, my wife, my children, Victory Academy, and New Life Baptist Church are all glad that my mother did not abort me. Who is glad that your mom did not abort you? All lives matter, all races, all ages, and all lives in the womb. Thank God for being the Supreme Life Giver that He is.
Have a great day in the Lord,
7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Those whom God loves He chastens. As a dad I really understand this. Before I was a dad disobedient kids were a nuisance. Why didn’t their parents correct them? What was wrong with those people who let their kids pitch a fit in public? I know what I would do if I were their parent. Humph.
Then I had children of my own and then I understood how love for my children was behind my correction. I understood that my embarrassment in public wasn’t the issue; their hearts were the issue. In my embarrassment I might change their actions but in my love I desired to change their hearts.
God loves us far more than we could ever love our children. This is evidenced in God sending His Son for the sacrifice for our sins while we were still sinners. In God’s love for us He wants our hearts changed, not just our behavior. So we might embarrass God in public and get away with it but in private He is going to speak to our hearts.
God’s chastening of us is never abusive nor excessive but it is what we need. When He chastens us it is with His full loving heart and with the exact chastening we need to bring us to partake with His holiness. “Thank you Lord for your loving chastening.”
No, chastening is not a blessing, it is painful and is meant to be. But the end of it is the training of our hearts to produce the peaceable fruit of God’s righteousness. Thank God for His corrective hand and let Him shape you into the child that He wants you to be.
I hope to see you tonight for prayer. We sure do need the Lord to step in and to do His miraculous work of salvation in many hearts.
Pray for Mike as he prepares a message for our teens and for the kids4truth as we seek to impact the hearts of our children.
Sunday is our annual meeting. Please plan to stay with us for lunch as we hear reports from the different ministries and consider our church plans for this year.
Have a great day in the Lord,
For some great short clips on why women should have their children, go to this link and scroll through. It will take you two minutes and will encourage your pro-life position.