Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Confirmed as a Servant of the Lord

When God announced judgment upon His people through the prophet Jeremiah, He made a rather interesting statement at one point. “Then the LORD said to me, “Even though Moses and Samuel were to stand before Me, My heart would not be with this people; send them away from My presence and let them go!”” (Jeremiah 15:1).

I suppose I could talk about the Lord's obvious displeasure with His people, but I'm more concerned with the fact that He singled out – above all others – Moses and Samuel. Yes, I know that Moses represents the Law and Samuel the prophets, but surely this speaks more of their character than of their representative status.

Exodus 33:11 says that “the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.” High praise indeed! But what about Samuel? Why is he regarded so highly by the Lord? I believe we can find the answer clearly in 1 Samuel 3, which relates how God called Samuel, even while still a youth.

It is a true statement that – of all the things that we do in this life – only what is done for the Lord will last. He wants us … His people … Christians … to be “good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). So why not examine a man like Samuel, with the intent of seeing what separated him spiritually from everyone else.

I believe the first quality made very obvious in the text is his OUTSTANDING DEDICATION.

1 Samuel 3:1 says, “Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.”

Here is a boy, no more than fifteen at the most, who is already committed to a life of outstanding achievement for God. In today's society, a boy like Samuel would be called strange and unusual because of his early attachment to the Lord. Children today – even those raised in religious homes – are too often being allowed to "sow their wild oats" in the hopes that they will "get it out of their system." Satan has convinced many that it’s normal for kids to get into trouble when they're young. So-called experts are teaching that it’s okay if teens take a smoke or a drink ... or watch a dirty movie ... or whatever ... because – according to these intellectual experts – it solves a child's curiosity problem. They say that once a child's curiosity concerning something bad is satisfied, then he or she will not want it anymore.

Seriously? What horrid logic! But unfortunately, that’s the way many adults think. "Don't judge it till you've seen it (… or done it)." “Don’t take a step, until you walk a mile in the other man’s moccasins.”

Now all that may SOUND good from some human perspective, but it is not biblical. Oh, I’ve heard some people say that their encounters with evil strengthened their faith … but as far as I'm concerned, they don’t know anything about real faith. I do not have to stick my hand in the fire to know that it’s hot. I do not have to walk a mile in a prostitute’s shoes to know that it’s sinful behavior. And neither do children have to commit sin in order to know what sin is and what it does.

It is never suggested that young Samuel felt the urge to go and "sow his wild oats." He was too busy being the best he could be for God. Most of the credit has to go to Samuel's mother, Hannah, who was concerned enough about her son that she dedicated him to the service of God even before he was born. She didn’t wait until he was out of college, or until he was old enough to make up his own mind. She began as early as possible to insure that his life would become outstanding for the Lord.

Why would anyone think that God wants only our adult years, and not all of our years? We’ve all known of teenagers who have died in accidents. We’ve heard of youth who have died as a result of things like drug overdoses, gang violence, or suicide. Do you really think that "I was sowing my wild oats" will be an acceptable excuse before God Almighty? Nowhere in Scripture does the Lord say that its all right to sin when you're young, because you'll have plenty of time later to repent and be saved. Nowhere in Scripture do we find the Holy Spirit teaching us to let our kids and grandkids wait until they grow up to choose their own religion.

Maybe every other kid was out causing trouble in the neighborhood, but our text tells us that “the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD.” Such outstanding dedication to the Lord was the first reason why God eventually confirmed Samuel as His servant. And how like Jesus, who – at the tender age of twelve – challenged His earthly parent's understanding, saying, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?” For all the money that has been spent by the modern church over the last forty years in “youth ministry,” where are such righteous results being found?

But in order to see why God singled out a man like Samuel, we also have to consider his OUTSTANDING PREPARATION. Look at vs. 2-10, “It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), [3] and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was, [4] that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” [5] Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down. [6] The LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” [7] Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him. [8] So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy. [9] And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. [10] Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.””

In these verses, we notice that three times the Lord called out to Samuel in a strikingly human voice. In fact, Samuel mistook it for Eli's voice. There were no fireworks ... no flashing lights in the sky ... no strange unknown mystic languages. In fact, there was nothing dramatic about the communication at all. It was just an ordinary voice calling out to the youth, which he confused for his teacher's.

Actually, I believe the fact that Samuel was confused tells us a lot about why he turned out to be such a great man. It all boils down to training. He was in the Temple being trained and prepared as a servant of God. Years of eager and willing obedience had made Samuel alert to the voice that he heard. This call came either at night or at a resting time, because the Scriptures tell us that both of them were lying down ... but that didn’t stop Samuel from being alert.

When the first call came, v. 5 says that Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.”” He showed a responsiveness that not many people today could claim, and not once did he let disappointment dull his ear.

This situation could have turned out to be a "boy who cried wolf" scenario, but it didn't. When Samuel was called a third time, he could have said, "Ah! It's just my imagination. Eli said he didn't call me the first two times, so I'm probably just hearing things." Samuel could have done that, but he didn't. He showed a responsiveness to each call.

Then, after Eli finally figured out what was going on in v. 8, we see another outstanding attribute of Samuel's in vs. 9-10, “Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. [10] Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.””

We saw responsiveness, and now we see obedience. Samuel took it for granted that Eli knew what he was talking about, and never once questioned his instructions. Samuel showed through his actions that he was prepared to be called as a servant of the Lord.

Outstanding dedication … outstanding preparation … and then, finally, we see Samuel’s OUTSTANDING PROCLAMATION. Look at vs. 11-18, “The LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. [12] In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. [13] For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them. [14] Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.” [15] So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. But Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. [16] Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” [17] He said, “What is the word that He spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. May God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the words that He spoke to you.” [18] So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him.”

The job that the Lord gave to Samuel was difficult: To pronounce judgment upon the house of Eli the priest. Not that Eli didn’t deserve it. 1 Samuel 2:12 tells us that “the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the LORD.” Yes, Eli was a priest in the Temple, but he had obviously failed as a father.

God has always had high expectations for those who would be His servants, and especially for those who would serve as leaders. According to 1 Timothy 3:4-5, one who serves as an elder “must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity [5] (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?).” 1 Timothy 3:12 likewise says that “deacons must be ... good managers of their children and their own households.”

But Eli had failed in this regard. His own sons would not listen to him. Thus God was making it clear that Eli could not possibly direct the religious lives of God’s people if he could not even control his own family. So God gave Samuel the very difficult task of announcing His judgment upon Eli. Literally, God sent a boy to do a man's work. But again, we see Samuel's outstanding character.

In v. 15, the Scriptures make it abundantly obvious that Samuel was human ... a kid that was afraid of the job before him. But that didn’t stop him from carrying out the task. After being encouraged by Eli, v. 18 says that Samuel told the old priest everything and hid nothing from him. He once again showed his outstanding obedience. I’m sure it must have been difficult for Samuel to speak the Lord's judgment – especially to someone so close to him – but he did it anyway, because that's what God had commanded.

From the time he was a baby, Samuel had been trained and prepared to respond to the Lord's call … and ultimately, he was confirmed as a man of God. Samuel was divinely appointed for the difficult job of pronouncing judgment upon his mentor. Samuel obeyed … and because of his obedience, vs. 19-20 record that “the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail. [20] All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD.”

No matter what our age, we must pay attention to the call of God through His Word. May we be as responsive as Samuel. May we teach our children and grandchildren from the earliest age possible to do likewise. Just like the prophet, alertness to God's Word and obedience to His commands will develop within us an outstanding character.

Oh, that it can be said of us, "The Lord was with [insert your name here], and all the world from [insert your location] outward recognized [him or her] as a servant of the Lord."

But it will not happen unless we prepare ourselves. In Luke 6:40, Jesus says, “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.” So “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Don't let the world (or, more to the point, Satan) convince you that a little sin is OK. “If anyone cleanses himself from these things , he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21).

The real question is: Do you want to be confirmed as a servant of the Lord?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sunday Sermon Outline: Hebrews 5:10 - 6:8

“Real Christian Growth”
Hebrews 5:10 – 6:8

Introduction: Matthew 18:3; Luke 2:40

I.   A Proper Diet  5:10 – 6:3
      Jesus was “designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. [11] Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. [12] For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. [13] For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. [14] But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. [6:1] Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, [2] of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. [3] And this we will do, if God permits.”

Matthew 5:6

II.  A Focus on Eternal Things  6:4-6
     “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, [5] and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, [6] and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”

Isaiah 29:8; Ephesians 4:14-15

III. A Need to Reproduce  6:7-8
     “For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; [8] but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.”

John 15:8

Conclusion: Ephesians 6:11; 1 Corinthians 13:11; 14:20


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sunday Sermon Outline: Hebrews 4:14 - 5:9

“An Effective High Priest”
Hebrews 4:14 – 5:9

I.  A Great High Priest  4:14-16
     “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. [15] For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. [16] Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

(Ephesians 1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12);  Hebrews 5:8; Matthew 16:23

II. A Perfect High Priest  5:1-9
     Hebrews 5:1-6, “For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; [2] he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; [3] and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. [4] And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was. [5] So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, “YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”; [6] just as He says also in another passage , “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.””

Colossians 1:13-14

     Hebrews 5:7-9, “[7] In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. [8] Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. [9] And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.”

Isaiah 53:12; John 3:16; Matthew 3:17; Luke 9:35; John 1:12-14; Philippians 2:12-13; Hebrews 2:3


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Midweek Lesson Outline: Ruth

"The Virtuous Life"

Introduction: Ruth 1:14-17; 2:8-12 

I.   In Naomi, we see that God rewards faith.

Ruth 1:11-13, 20-21; 4:13-17 

II.  In Ruth, we see that God rewards devotion.

Ruth 1:14-17; 2:11-12; 4:13-17 

III. In Boaz, we see that God rewards generosity.

Ruth 2:8-16; 4:3-10, 13-17


Real Encouragement

Of late, I have been distressed by some of the postings I have seen offered on Facebook. It brought to light a disturbing trend which I have witnessed throughout the years, and particularly in the churches. People are encouraging one another.

“Now, I'm confused, Jonathan. You believe that people encouraging one another is a bad thing?”

Just like a weapon, encouragement can be a useful tool when utilized properly, but can be deadly when mishandled. Let me offer an example:

      Betty is worried because her husband lost his job and they have had trouble paying the bills.
     Wilma – a church friend – encourages her, “Hang in, there! Things will get better. I'm praying for you.”
     Betty appreciates having someone nearby who cares for her. “Thanks, Wilma. I don't know what I would do without you.”
     To which Wilma replies, “That's what we're supposed to do as Christians, to encourage one another!”

Here's one more example:

     Fred is struggling to fit in at work. In order to be recognized and promoted, he feels it necessary to do what everyone else is doing, even though many of those things are sinful. He takes the problem to his minister, Barney.
     After listening to the situation, Barney “encourages” Fred to just be himself. He suggests that Fred's co-workers should accept him for who he is, not who they want him to be. He then prays with Fred, asking the Lord to intervene in his workplace and soften the hearts of Fred's co-workers. Barney then closes by offering a verse of Scripture, “Remember, Fred … God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him!”
     “Thanks for the encouragement, Barney. You're a great minister and a great friend!”

Now, one might look at those two situations and believe that encouragement has in fact taken place. Fred and Betty “felt” better after talking to their friends, right? But “feeling better” is not what Biblical encouragement is at all about. In the Scriptures, encouragement is about pointing you to the Rock (Christ) and exhorting you to stay there until rescued.

The Greek word primarily translated as encourage or encouragement is parakaleo, which comes from two Greek words which mean to call to, or to call beside. What is God doing through Christ? Calling us to Himself. We are “partakers of a heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1). Even though this world is fraught with trials and tribulations, we “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Encouragement then is that which causes us to maintain our conviction that Christ has overcome this world and move forward in the hope that we also will overcome through Him (1 John 5:4). It is solely a by-product of faith in God's word. “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

The reason that encouragement is necessary is because Satan strives to pull us from the narrow way (Matthew 7:14). Therefore, there is no Christian encouragement that does not urge us to return to or remain on that straight path (Acts 13:10). So let's go back to our examples and reconsider them in light of this new information.

Betty was struggling with financial problems, and supposedly Wilma encouraged her. I would challenge such thinking, because it does not fit the Biblical criteria for encouragement, which is to point people back to the word of Christ. Why didn't Wilma remind Betty that Christ has said not to “store up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19), but “in heaven” (Matthew 6:20)?

“That seems awfully insensitive.”

According to whom? Was Christ then insensitive to a people struggling financially under the iron rule and heavy taxation of Rome? His encouragement to them was, “do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25). He reminded the people of God's providence and His upward call by saying, “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

Is there a reason that Wilma did not point Betty back to the word of Christ? Or why didn't she at least urge Betty to remain faithful to the Lord under such trials? When the Christians of Thessalonica were being persecuted by the Jews, Paul sent them Timothy for a single purpose, “to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, [3] so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this. [4] For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know. [5] For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain” (1 Thessalonians 3:2-5).

Personally, I would have encouraged Betty not to be disturbed by trials which are “common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13), and not to allow Satan to tempt her to worry about this physical life or to waver in her faith. I would have followed the example of Barnabas – the son of encouragement – in speaking to a group of Greek Christians in Antioch who had been born out of suffering, as he traveled from Jerusalem “to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord” (Acts 11:23). I would have imitated the pattern of Paul and Barnabas in Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God”” (Acts 14:22).

“But that might not make her feel any better.”

She doesn't have to feel better. She needs to be “firmly rooted” and “built up” in Christ (Colossians 2:7). That's real encouragement.

Then consider Fred. Why didn't his minister – when hearing of a temptation to participate in sinful activities in order to succeed – immediately follow the pattern established in Hebrews 3:12-14? “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. [13] But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. [14] For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.”

What kind of a minister avoids the real issue at hand? (The answer is a false one.) Instead of dealing with Fred's potential sin, Barney turned the whole situation around and made it about Fred's co-workers. THEY were the ones who should accept Fred. Barney's prayer was for the Lord to soften THEIR hearts. Way to shirk your responsibility, Barney!

The Bible tells us what the real minister will do in such a situation. Paul told Timothy, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2). What a great outline for Christian service. Sinners are to be convicted of their sin (reproved) and urged to accept Christ. Upon accepting Him, if they continue in sinful behavior they should be rebuked and pointed back to the Rock. And when temptations arise that would lead someone away from the Lord, they should be exhorted (or encouraged, same Greek word) to remain faithful.

Shame on Barney for not addressing Fred's most basic Christian responsibility. Titus 2:11-12 tells us that “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, [12] instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.” Why didn't that “great” minister remind his Christian disciple of that fact? I would have encouraged Fred to live in a Christ-like fashion, regardless of the behavior or expectations of his co-workers. Christ “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:13-14).

“But if Fred doesn't fit in, he could lose his job!”

You don't think the Lord knew that when revealing His word to man? If Barney had been any kind of a real minister, he would have known the Scriptures and directed Fred's attention away from the physical job and right back to the Rock. “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; [6] not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. [7] With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, [8] knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free” (Ephesians 6:5-8).

It is important to note in this discussion that not everyone needs such encouragement. To those who do not belong to Christ, the only encouragement needed is to leave sin, listen to the upward call of God and accept Christ. For those in Christ though, not all of them need to be persuaded of the Scriptures. Some Christians know well that the difficulties endured are only temporary and that heaven awaits. Some brothers and sisters – despite life's hardships and Satan's temptations – refuse to leave the narrow way. There is no need to point someone back to the Rock to which they are already firmly clinging. Thus wisdom must accompany knowledge.

Solomon writes, “There is an appointed time for everything. … A time to be silent and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7). Perhaps your Christian friend doesn't need you to speak at all. Maybe they just need to know you are there for them. Perhaps the best thing to do is to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15) … and keep your mouth shut.

But if the situation calls for it and you want to be a real encourager, stop focusing people's attention on the physical. You want them concentrating upon Christ and His spiritual blessings. God is calling us heavenward. Remembering that call and reminding your spiritual brother of its insistent righteous pull is the heart of real encouragement. As the apostle has written, “You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; [11] just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, [12] so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12).

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sunday Sermon Outline: Hebrews 4:1-13

“Truth and Good News”
Hebrews 4:1-13

Introduction:  2 Timothy 4:3-4; 1 Corinthians 14:33; 15:2; John 17:17; 8:43-47

     Prophets: Isaiah 59:12-15; Jeremiah 7:25-28; Daniel 9:13
     Psalms: Psalm 119:142-144
     Jesus: John 1:17; 8:31-32
     Apostles: 1 Timothy 2:4; 3:15; 1 John 2:4-5; 4:6

     Romans 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; Romans 1:16-18; Luke 2:10-11; Romans 10:14-16

I.   Disbelief  vs. 1-2

     “Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. [2] For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.”

Jude 5

II.  Disobedience  vs. 3-7

     “For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, "AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST," although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. [4] For He has thus said somewhere concerning the seventh day, "AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS"; [5] and again in this passage, "THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST." [6] Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, [7] He again fixes a certain day, "Today," saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS."

John 9:4

III. Diligence  vs. 8-13

     “For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. [9] There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. [10] For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. [11] Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience. [12] For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. [13] And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”

Conclusion: Hebrews 1:1-2; James 1:18; Ephesians 1:13


Communion Text: John 4:34, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sunday Sermon Outline: Hebrews 3

“Heavenly Confidence”
Hebrews 3

Introduction: Revelation 3:1; Hebrews 2:1

I.   We must consider Jesus.  vs. 1-6

      “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; [2] He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. [3] For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. [4] For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. [5] Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; [6] but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.”

Hebrews 12:2-3; Ephesians 5:23; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:4-5; John 14:6; Hebrews 2:14-18;
Hebrews 1:1-2

II.  We must consider Jesus' word.  vs. 7-12

Genesis 2:16-17; Genesis 3:1

III. We must consider Jesus' timetable.  vs. 12-19

“Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. [13] But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. [14] For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, [15] while it is said, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME.” [16] For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? [17] And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? [18] And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? [19] So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.”

Conclusion: Matthew 7:21-23; 25:21