July 20, 2020


Look at the world in which we live… if you are a person of faith you may be standing on shaky ground.  We are currently dealing with a virus causing havoc, protest causing unrest, hateful people lashing out at one another, a political climate that is nasty and broken/ fragmented.  It is hard to live in such a world.  It can easily cause a person to looking for hope, for something or someone to deliver them, to bring a release from the craziness.  Some turn to relationship, thinking that love is the solution.  Some think that answer is found in money and the security it seems to bring.  Some believe the solution can be found in the political realm.  Others want to force order through laws, new or old, thinking this will be the remedy.  Some will look to natural medicines and some to man-made chemical relief.  Some will even look to the supernatural… seeking after any God who will offers a palatable/ agreeable solution.  In one way or another people are looking for temporary, hopefully becoming permanent, solutions… an easy, pleasurable way to escape the craziness.  However, the writer of Hebrews would counter this methodology.  Hebrews 10:35-39 states:

“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”  

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

 (Hebrews 10:35- 39)

So, reader what will it be?  Will you be one who shrinks back and looks to human endeavors and intellect or will you remember the Good News?  Let us dive into the Hebrew text and gain insight.  As we look at the text, let us remember the setting and intended recipients.  The original audience, as to exact congregation, is not given but we can be sure that the author of Hebrews had a personal relationship with those whom receive this letter (13:19-24).  As one looks at Hebrews in its entirety, some characteristics, as to the people, emerge.  For one, it seems as if the audience was made up those with faith in Christ, from traditional Jewish converts to Hellenistic Jews.  However, the book portrays these believers as immature, oppressed, spiritual regressing group.  From the comments on immaturity (5:11-12) and persecution (10:32-34) to the encouragement to remain steadfast avoid the falling away (10:26-27), the author of Hebrews is unmistakably calling for his brothers and sister in the faith endure in this fallen world.  And in doing so, calling us to live our faith!  So, let each of remember whose you are so that we have a faith that endures! 

So, how do we do this? How do we endure?  The writer of Hebrews gives advice as to this by first urging us to remember how God worked in the past (10:32-34).  The text refers to “earlier days” to remind the believers, to whom it is directly speaking, of the how God has faithfully worked in their lives up to this point.  Therefore, you and I must be vigilant and ever careful to never forget how God brought light and life into the darkness and death of our lives. We must think through the truth found in Ephesians 2: 1-2, 4-6, when it states, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience…But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ...”  You see, before gospel message penetrated your heart and my heart, we were living in rebellion, bound for eternal punishment.  Some of us may have said, to ourselves of course, that at least I am better than most or that a loving God would not send anyone to suffer in abyss.  But then God intervened in our lives and we each saw a need for a Savior.  We identify with John Newton, who penned the words of the hymn Amazing Grace and proclaimed, “I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see.”  Also, we must be careful to never forget how God has changed each of us.  How He radically reoriented our lives.  If you are like me, you see clear evidence of the change wrought by the Spirt like those describe in Galatian 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control….”  In addition to recalling our past with God, we must also be those who clearly display confidence in how God will work in the present and future.  In the text, the writer uses words and phrases to point us to faith in God for the present and the future, words and phrases like … confidence, doing the will of God, living by faith, preserving, and a future promise.  These words are encouragement for the believers, a call to stand fast and firm for as he or she serves a God faithful. You see, confidence in Christ is at the core of who we are.  We cannot call ourselves Christians and turn to self or to the world for answers.  We ought not be those who are floundering around drowning in the sin nor should we be those who enjoying wallow in the cesspool of fallen world.  Instead, we must be those whose home is elsewhere.  Thinking like the Apostle Paul when he wrote, in Romans 8:18, 24, that “… I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us… For in this hope we were saved…” or when he, in 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18, proclaimed “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Fellow believers, let us be a light to a world in trouble.  Let us live for the Lord.  Let us spend our time and talent for the Lord.  Let us be those who attitudes and assets are focus on God and His promise.  Let us live as if the Bible is true.  Let us remember the words in Romans 14:8, “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.”  For if we do this, we live for Christ alone, we can change this troubled world.  In his book, Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God's Agenda, Henry T. Blackaby wrote, “If Christians around the world were to suddenly renounce their personal agendas, their life goals and their aspirations, and begin responding in radical obedience to everything God showed them, the world would be turned upside down. How do we know? Because that's what first century Christians did, and the world is still talking about it.”

I want to leave you with a task. I want to encourage you to read a Psalm of David, one which speaks to how he is consumed by his personal relationship with God.  The 60th Psalm speaks to how we ought to be.  And like David, let us remember, we are His and He is ours… individually, intimately, and infinitely.