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Stay Confident In Christ heb3

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STAY CONFIDENT IN CHRIST

HEB.3:1-19

INTRO: (EX: SOME YRS AGO A MAN WHO LIVED ON LONG ISLAND BOUGHT EXPENSIVE BAROMETER-UT WHEN HE GOT HOME THE NEEDLE WAS STUCK ON THE SECTION MARKED HURRICANE.  HE SHOOK IT SEVERAL TIMES—IT DIDN’T BUDGE—SO HE WROTE LETTER TO STORE HE BOUGHT IT FROM AND PUT IT IN MAIL NEXT MORN FROM N.Y.—THAT NIGHT WHEN HE GOT HOME HE FOUND NOT ONLY THE BARAMETER MISSING—BUT ALSO HIS HOME—THERE HAD BEEN A HURRICANE!)  HOW OFTEN HAVE PEOPLE REPEATEDLY DISREGARDED THE MESSAGE & WARNINGS GOD HAS GIVEN THEM?  IN NOAH’S DAY NO ONE LISTENED—IN LOTS DAY NO ONE LISTENED—STRANGELY THE PEOPLE OF NINEVEH DID LISTEN WHEN JONAH FINALLY GOT THERE!  GOD DOESN’T DELIGHT IN DEATH OF WICKED (EZEK.33:11)---MANY OF THOSE TO WHOM THIS LETTER WAS WRITTEN FOUND IT TOUGH TO LIVE FOR CHRIST—PERSECUTION—TRIALS—MANY THOUGHT IF THEY STOPPED FOLLOWING JESUS & WENT BACK TO JEWISH RELIGION THINGS WOULD BE BETTER.  BUT THE AUTHOR WARNS THEM TURNING BACK WOULD BE TRAGIC MISTAKE—NO RELIGION CAN COMPARE TO GODS “IN PERSON” MESSAGE THROUGH HIS SON JESUS—SAME TRUE TODAY IN OUR WORLD OF PRESSURE FROM JOBS, FAMILY, MATERIALISM, GREED, PLEASURES—IS IT WORTH IT TO KEEP FOLLOWING JESUS?

I.                  HOW CAN I STAY CONFIDENT IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE?

A. KEEP MY EYES ON JESUS—“THEREFORE”—IN LIGHT OF JESUS HIGH PRIESTHOOD (2:17)—HE IS SUPERIOR TO PROPHETS/ANGELS/PRIESTS AND TO MOSES!  NONE OF THEM COULD SAVE YOU—DON’T GO BACK!  JESUS IS “APOSTLE” & “HIGH PRIEST” OF OUR CONFESSION---KEEP ON “CONSIDERING” JESUS—THAT MEANS TO MEDITATE ON HIS CHARACTER & NATURE—JESUS WAS FAITHFUL IN ALL FATHER GAVE HIM TO DO—AND HE CONTINUES TO BE----WILL YOU BE?  SEE MATT.10:32 “HE WHO CONTINUES TO CONFESS ME BEFORE MEN—I WILL CONFESS ONCE & FOR ALL BEFORE THE FATHER”

MOSES WAS FAITHFUL IN ALL GOD GAVE HIM TO DO—HE DELIVERD GODS MESSAGES TO THE PEOPLE—MOSES WAS STILL A SERVANT IN “GODS HOUSE” (ISRSAEL IN O.T.)—BUT JESUS IS THE SON—AND BUILDER OF THE HOUSE (CHURCH) –HE PURCHASED THE CHURCH BY HIS BLOOD.  THE AUTHOR SAYS JESUS IS EQUAL WITH GOD!  SEVERAL PLACES IN SCRIPTURE STATE THIS CLEARLY—BY CONFESSING JESUS AS LORD WE COME OUT OF THE THINKING & WAYS OF LIVING OF THE WORLD –DON’T GET TOO COMFORTABLE IN THIS LIFE—THERE IS A BETTER PROMISE/HOME/FUTURE  (EX: THE WILD GEESE & TAME MALLARDS—GOT FAT,LAZY ON CORN & DESIRE TO FLY JUST MADE THEM UNCOMFORTABLE)  THE AUTHOR URGED HIS READERS (AND US) TO KEEP OUR EYES ON JESUS---(EX: CHURCHILL INSISTED AIRFIELD BE FREE OF FOG!)

II.               KEEP MY HEART SOFT

“THEREFORE”  (V.7) SINCE JESUS IS SUPERIOR TO MOSES & WE ARE TO HOLD TO OUR CONFIDDENCE—REFLECT ON THE WORDS OF PS.95 WHICH GO BACK TO ISRAEL IN WILDERNESS—THE SENSE OF V.7-12 IS: “THEREFORE JUST AS THE HOLY SPIRIT SAYS IN PS.95 TAKE CARE BRETHREN” –IN PS.95 DAVID INVITES PEOPLE TO WORSHIP GOD—HE IS ABOVE ALL—BUT AN ENTIRE GENERATION OF ISRAELITES MISSED BLESSINGS OF CANAAN BY REJECTING GODS WORD (PS.95:8-11)—WHEN I GET HIT WITH DESPAIR/DEFEAT/REJECTION/HURT I CAN GET CYNICAL & HARD-HEARTED—AND HOLY SPIRIT CANT GET THROUGH.  TODAY (NOW IS TIME) TO LISTEN TO GODS WORD & OBEY IT.  THE HEART HERE IS OUR THINKING OR WILL—TO HARDEN IS TO REFUSE TO LISTEN. ISRAEL DID THAT—THEY PROVOKED HIM AND PUT HIM TO THE TEST.  THERE ARE MANY EX. IN THOSE 40 YRS IN WILDERNESS—(EX.17---NUM.14:11) EVEN MOSES DISOBEYED AND STRUCK ROCK—AND HE COULDN’T ENTER CANAAN---SO GOD WAS OFFENDED/DISPLEASED WITH THEM THRU THE 40 YRS.  THEY DID NOT LOVE OR APPROVE OR GODS WAYS---DESPITE ALL GOD HAD DONE THEY DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH PROOF—IN EX.17:7 THEY ASKED “IS THE LORD AMONG US OR NOT?” –

THEY WERE GUILTY OF DISOBEDIENCE/REBELLION.  PS.95:11 IS VERY EMPHATIC: “THEY WILL NOT (IN ANY WAY) ENTER MY REST!”  (EX: MOODY OFTEN ENDED HIS MESSAGE BY TELLING PEOPLE TO GO HOME AND THINK ABOUT WHAT WAS SAID—BUT ONE NIGHT HE SAID THAT WAS NIGHT OF CHICAGO FIRE AND SOME IN CONG.DIED—IT WAS LAST TIME HE EVER SAID THAT!)   (EX: IF YOU TRY TO MOLD LUMP OF CLAY THAT HAS ALREADY HARDENED IT WILL RESIST YOUR EFFORTS & CRUMBLE—POTTERS KEEP CLAY SOFT WITH WATER IN ORDER TO BE MOLDABLE.  IT IS IMPORTANT I KEEP MY HEART SOFT/OPEN TO GODS TRUTH & HIS SPIRIT.  (EVEN DISCIPLES HAD HARD HEARTS—MK.6:51,52.  I MUST KEEP A HUNGER/THRIST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. 

III.           KEEP ALERT TO SIN’S DECEIT

A. ENCOURAGE OTHER BELEIVERS: THE READERS WERE WARNED ABOUT A SIMILAR FATE TO ISRAEL IN WILDERNESS. “TAKE HEED”—(PRES. IMEPRATIVE)—KEEP DOING THIS. KEEP CHECKING YOUR SPIRITUAL CONDITION---UNBELIEF IS WHAT MAKES THE HEART EVIL—THAT LEADS TO REBELLION  OR APOSTASY.   SO WE ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER “EVERY DAY”—THERE IS NO TIME TO LET UP. REPSOND WHILE HEART IS SENSITIVE—SPIRIT CANT PENETRATE A CALLOUS HEART.  SIN IS DECEITFUL—WE CAN DECEIVE OURSELVES & OTHERS—LIES GET TOLD TO COVER OTHER LIES & THEN WE RATIONALIZE & MAKE EXCUSES TO AVOID TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR BEHAVIOR. (EX: BIRDS EATING FISH IN FROZEN ICE)   NO WONDER JAMES WROTE “CONFESS YOUR SINS TO ONE ANOTHER & PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER THAT YOU MAY BE HEALED”---SIN LOVES TO PUT ON A MASK (THE SAME SUN THAT MELTS WAX ALSO HARDENS CLAY)   IF OUR HEARTS ARE  NOT MELTED IN FAITH THEY WILL BE HARDENED IN UNBELIEF. JESUS SAID “IF YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES YOU WILL ABIDE IN MY WORD”  WE MUST KEEP ON ENCOURAGING EACH OTHER.

B. HOLD FAST YOUR HOPE: THE GRK WORD IN V.14 (CONFIDENCE/ASSURANCE) IS DIFF. WORD FROM V.6—BUT IT IS SAME WORD USED IN 11:1---ITS BASIC MEANING IS “STAND UP UNDER”  --SO HOLD FAST TO THIS REALITY OF FAITH OR YOU MIGHT MISS GODS PROMISED REST.  ISRAEL DELIBERATELY TESTED GOD AND REJECTED HIS GOODNESS (ITS VERY HARD TO DEAL WITH SOMEONE WHO IS UNGRATEFUL—A CHILD(ADULT) WHO REFUSES TO BE SATISFIED IS HARD TO LIVE WITH & HARDER TO LOVE)  THIS IS WHY WE MUST KEEP GIVING THANKS & FORGET NOT HIS BLESSINGS.  THERE ARE A SERIES OF 3 QUESTIONS THAT REFER BACK TO PS.95—THOSE WHO LEFT EGYPT UNDER MOSES—WHO  HAD ALL THOSE MIRACLES—PROVOKED GOD AND REJECTED HIS LOVE.  ISRAEL REBELLED (V.16), SINNED (V.17) AND WERE DISOBEDIENT (V.18). THE WORD DISOBEDIENCE IN V.18 AND UNBELIEF IN V.19 IS SAME ROOT WORD.  GOD WAS READY TO GIVE ISRAEL RICH BLESSINGS—BUT THAT GENERATION MISSED IT ALL—SO READERS HOLD FAST YOUR HOPE/CONFIDENCE TILL THE END.  JESUS SAID IF YOU REMAIN FAITHFUL TILL DEATH YOU WILL RECEIVE THE CROWN OF LIFE. 

CONCLUSION:  ELIJAH ASKED ISRAEL IN HIS DAY IN THAT CONFRONTATION WITH PROPHETS OF BAAL---“HOW LONG WILL YOU HALT BETWEEN TWO OPINIONS” OR LIT. “HOBBLE ALONG ON BOTH KNEES”—IF GOD IS GOD THEN SERVE HIM—IF BAAL IS GOD THEN SERVE HIM.  DECIDE WHO IS LORD.   WILL WE TAKE GOD SERIOUSLY?  WILL WE HOLD FAST OUR CONFESSION TILL THE END?  (EX: TENANTS WHO WOULD  NOT BELIEVE)

 

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