Sermons on Hebrews (Page 2)

Sermons on Hebrews (Page 2)

Hebrews

The journey of faith

The Christian life is a journey… a journey of faith. And perhaps no one models this better for us than Abraham. He was far from a perfect man (thankfully!), but his continual dependence on God over his lifetime still speaks powerfully to us today. Here was a man who implicitly believed the promises of God and clung to those promises year after year. Some of them were fulfilled in his lifetime. Some were not. Yet his unwavering faith that God would one day fulfil those promises enabled him to live and die a contented man. Even today those who have faith in Jesus Christ are called ‘children of Abraham’. The entire Christian life, ’from first to last’, is a journey of faith as we learn in daily life what it means to love, obey, trust and serve our faithful God.

Faith in everyday life

Hebrews 11 is the best known chapter in the Bible when it comes to the subject of faith. And in this chapter we encounter numerous examples of people from the Old Testament who actually lived by faith in the circumstances they faced. Today we look at two of these people – Enoch and Noah. Despite much sin and godless opposition from the world around them, their faith shone through by the way they continued to trust God and live for Him. In many ways there are parallels for Christians today as we face growing antagonism. As it was then, the answer is to focus on God’s promises (now seen in Jesus Christ) and keep walking by faith in Him.

What is faith?

Whether we realise it or not, we all exercise faith on a daily basis – the chair we sit on, the plain we catch, the tablets we take etc. Likewise, Christian faith is something we exercise as a natural part of our day-to-day dependence on God. In this message Pastor Murray helps us understand what this means in practical terms as it affects our view of the future, things we cannot see or touch, and creation. Ultimately, faith in God, true life-shaping faith, causes us to worship Him, which we see exemplified in the life of Abel. All faith leads us to God whose promises to us find their fulfilment in Jesus Christ.

When the Going Gets Tough

Bad things happen! What’s more, bad things happen to Christians! They happen because of our own sinfulness, because of the sinfulness of others, and because we live in a world seriously damaged by sin. So how does the Christian cope when bad things happen in life? In today’s passage the readers are encouraged in two specific ways to keep themselves from losing heart and falling away from Christ. Real faith is persevering faith. It actually becomes stronger when the going gets tough. Faith rests in the certainties of Christ when circumstances seem hopeless. What are you facing today? Look up: “The righteous person will live by faith”!

The Seriousness of Sin

WARNING! This message contains themes that most people don’t want to hear about… namely sin, judgement and hell. In an age of “warm fuzzies” and non-judgementalism it is not politically correct to even hint that a person’s sin might have consequences. Our passage today is aimed specifically at people who claim to be Christians, and seem to be comfortable mixing in church circles, but have no conscience about deliberately and shamelessly committing certain sins. To do so is to make a mockery of the sacrifice Jesus has made for our forgiveness, and to expose us to the judgement of God. Yes, sin is problem we all face. But that is why we must keep repenting. Blatant ongoing sinning is another matter. Let us never forget that “it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”.

Putting faith into practice

Despite what we sometimes think, doctrine is important. Things like doctrinal statements and creeds set a foundation for our faith. The first 9+ chapters of the book of Hebrews are important, meaty doctrine. But doctrine that is not translated into Christian living is useless. So in today’s message we see a distinct shift in focus to our practical response as we absorb and process all that Christ has done for us. The writer throws out three big challenges, which urge us to think seriously about the way we relate to God, the way we see the future, and the way we care for one another. In particular, Pastor Murray raises the touchy issue of church attendance. Of course, it’s good for us to get to church, but it’s also vitally important because of how it enables us to “spur each other on toward love and good deeds”.

The Final Perfect Sacrifice

To understand the Christian faith we need to understand its core teaching. Today’s message takes to that place. At the very centre we find the one, final, perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the only way sin and guilt can be removed, so we can “draw near” to God. Any other way to God is a fallacy, or at best, only a shadow of this reality. By willingly sacrificing His life for us, Jesus has perfectly fulfilled all God’s demands and promises, removed the curse of all our sins, and opened the way us to have a whole new life under the control of the Holy Spirit. It’s an offer too good to refuse! Is your hope in Jesus Christ? Why not commit your life to Him today?

The perfect sacrifice of blood

Jews were very familiar with animal sacrifices. Sin required a sacrifice, and mostly this meant the death of an animal, which involved the draining of blood from that animal. The blood was a perpetual reminder of the seriousness of sin and also the cost in dealing with that sin …. the death of an animal substitute. Though animal sacrifices under the Old Covenant have now been replaced in the New Covenant, the cost was even greater …. the death of Jesus Christ as our substitute. In today’s message Pastor Murray points out five important implications that flow to us because of the perfect sacrifice Jesus offered on our behalf.

God’s Cure For A Guilty Conscience

Most of us, including most Christians, have a limited understanding of the Old Testament sacrificial system. While a detailed understanding of these things may not be essential to the Christian faith, it certainly adds great richness if we do. The fundamentals of God’s great salvation plan were established in that OT system, but they were only ever meant to be temporary. Animal sacrifices and flawed human priests would never be adequate. In today’s message Pastor Murray explains how the old system worked, what it shows us about how we should approach God, why it was insufficient, and how Jesus replaces it by His own death on our behalf.

God’s free offer of a new heart

Sometimes we like holding on to old things. But there are also times when we have to be ruthless and replace old, worn out things that are no longer doing the job. The old priesthood, sacrifices and covenant that God had established with the Israelites at Mt Sinai 1400 years earlier had failed. A whole new way of coming to God was required. The prophet Jeremiah announced around 600BC that a day would come when God would introduce a new covenant, based on grace, in which God would forgive people’s sins, change their hearts, and relate to them personally. Jesus has made this possible. We all need this inward change of heart, and Jesus it offering it to each of us today. Have you experienced this miracle?

What Melchizedek teaches us about Jesus

Many of us find Hebrews 7 a hard chapter of the Bible to understand. In the terms of Hebrews 5:14, it’s “solid food”! But a little effort is richly rewarded. In this message Pastor Murray works through the passage explaining who Melchizedek is and how God uses him as a model for a whole new way of “drawing near” to Him. No longer do we come to God through a complex system of priests and sacrifices. We come through the one perfect high priest who has offered Himself as the “once for all” sacrifice for sins – Jesus Christ. In every way Jesus is better! He guarantees to “save completely” those who trust in Him. Are you looking for a Saviour? Why not look to Jesus today?

Warnings to Believers

A 5 year old taking a baby’s bottle to school suggests that there is something wrong! Under normal circumstances we expect babies to keep growing and maturing year by year. So it is meant to be with a Christian’s spiritual progress. In the first big challenge from today’s passage the question is asked: Are you growing ? In particular, are you growing in your understanding and living out of God’s word? Because every Christian should be! The second big challenge is to unbelievers, especially to the person who may think he or she is a Christian, yet their life clearly does not reflect this. This is to “fall away” from Christ and face God’s permanent rejection. Is it time to “examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5)?