Better Morals

Hebrews 13:1-8
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

This passage includes several moral instructions.

1. Love Each Other. v. 1

1 John 4:7-8
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

2. Take care of strangers. v. 2 (cf. Luke 10.25-37, The Good Samaritan)

3. Care for prisoners and the mistreated. v. 3 (Matthew 25.37-40)

4. Be sexually pure. v. 4

5. Don't be greedy. v. 5

There is a promise that makes this all possible:

Hebrews 13:5-6
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

And we know this promise is true because...

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

A Better Discipleship

Punishment - a penalty inflicted for an offense.

Discipline - activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.
"Discipline is the training necessary to lead a child to maturity."

Disciple - activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.

What is the 'therefore' there for?

The great, faithful and faith-filled leaders of Hebrews 11 are an inspiration.

The Christian life is a race- not a sprint, but a marathon.

Part I: Set aside anything that causes you to lose focus.

Throw off distractions, sins, obstacles, relationships that keep you from Jesus.

Part II: Focus on Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 4:6-8 NIV
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

1. The discipline of God comes from a place of love. v. 6

Romans 8:28 NIV
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

2. The discipline of God is spiritual in nature. v.  9

3. The discipline of God leads to holiness and peace. v. 11

v. 14 "Make every effort..."
Discipleship can be tiring and takes a long time.

v. 15 "See to it..."
Keep going. Don't give up.

Discipleship is a two-way proposition.
God does things for us, but we also do things to support our faith.

(Some) Spiritual Disciplines:
Bible reading
Bible study
Prayer
Journaling
Hymn singing
Meditation
Fasting
Silence
Fellowship
Contemplation
Worship
Stewardship

 

A Better Sacrifice

The key to this passage (and to all of the Scripture) can be found in the last phrase of Hebrews 9.28: "to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."

Philippians 2:6-11 NIV
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Downgraded six times.

1. He gave up his divinity. v. 6

2. He became a human. v. 7

3. He took a "lower" form of humanity. v. 7 He became a servant.

4. He submitted to death. v. 8

5. He was executed as a criminal. v. 8

6. He was executed in worst possible way. v. 8

Galatians 3:13 NIV
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

And all of this sacrifice so that we can be saved.

God does not want more sacrifices or more religious observances from us.

Hebrews 10:8 NIV
First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law.

1 Samuel 15:22 NIV
But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Romans 10:9 NIV
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

A Better Covenant

The tent (Tabernacle) in the wilderness was sacred.
The building (Temple) in Jerusalem was sacred.
But only the sanctuary (holy place) in heaven is made by God.

Hebrews 8:1-2

Covenant vs. Testament
Covenant= an agreement between two parties
Testament= will; the desires of a single party

The word used in this passage is the same as "last will and testament."
It is put into effect by the sacrificial death of Jesus.

The covenant of Moses was replaced because it was "inadequate" and "incomplete."

It revealed sin, but could not remove it.
It demanded obedience, but didn't provide power to be obedient.

The promises of the new covenant:
1. "I will put my laws in their hearts..." v. 10

Jeremiah 31:33

2. "I will be their God..." v. 10

3. "...they will know me..." v. 11

Jeremiah 31:34

4. "I will forgive their wickedness..." v. 12

 

A New Priest

The greater (priest) blesses the lesser (people);the lesser gives to the greater.

Hebrews 7:2 NIV
and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.”

Jesus is "our righteousness."

Jeremiah 23:6 NIV
In his days Judah will be savedand Israel will live in safety.This is the name by which he will be called:The Lord Our Righteous Savior.

Jesus is the "Prince of Peace."

Isaiah 9:6 NIV
For to us a child is born,to us a son is given,and the government will be on his shoulders.And he will be calledWonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The new priest is not from Levi, or Aaron.

Like Melchizedek, Jesus has no beginning or end.

The sacrifices needed to be repeated and pointed to Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice.

1. Jesus, the new priest, has a priesthood that is not stopped by death.

2. Jesus, the new priest, is able to save.

Hebrews 7:25 NIV
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

3. Jesus, the new priest, intecedes for us.cf. Luke 22.32; John 17.9

Better Than Priesthood

Hebrews 4:15

Jesus is a special priest because of the incarnation.
He is 100% God and 100% human.

Jesus was tempted in every way that you have been.
Yet Jesus never succumbed to temptation and sinned.

Hebrews 5:2

Jesus was tempted in every way that you have been.
Yet Jesus never succumbed to temptation and sinned.

Hebrews 5:3-4

Jesus is better than the priesthood because he didn't have to make a sacrifice for his own sins. (Leviticus 16)

Jesus is better than the priesthood because he is the one who does the calling.

Jesus is better than the priesthood because he only had to make the sacrifice once.

Jesus is better than the priesthood because his sacrifice fulfilled the entire sacrificial system.

Jesus is better than the priesthood because he is in the line of Melchizedek, not Aaron.

Genesis 14:18

Aaron is the priest - Jesus is priest and king.

 

Finding Peace

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Jim Elliot

God rested on the seventh day of creation.

Genesis 2:2

Exodus 20:11

Exodus 31:17

What is this rest? Does God need rest?
Surely God doesn't get tired.

Isaiah 40:28

Surely he doesn't stop working.

John 5:17

This rest can best be described as now, and not yet peace.
Now - Being filled with the refreshing presence of the Holy Spirit
Not Yet - Anticipating the fulfillment of God's peace in eternity

The Word of God: vv. Hebrews 4:12-13

Living and active
We must not limit God to our interpretation of him.
He is alive and involved in our world.

Soul and spirit.
The soul - The part of our inner life where our desires and will reside.
The spirit - this is where our spiritual life exists; our relationship with God.

The rest of God, his peace, is living in relationship with him that we may have peace in this life, and rest in the life that is to come.

Better Than Moses

Hebrews 3:1-6

  • Moses gave the law; Jesus fulfilled it.
  • Moses gave five books, Jesus preached five sermons.
  • Moses got the law on a mountain, Jesus interpreted the law on a mountain.

Jesus is better because he is the Apostle…

Apostle: A missionary; one who preaches to all nations; one sent by God with a message; the first missionary, church-planter in an area; a spiritual father, one who raises spiritual sons and daughters and exists to affirm them.

Jesus is better because he is the High Priest…

Moses gave the instructions on sacrifices. Jesus fulfilled them.

Jesus is better because he is the builder of the house…

Jesus is better because he is the Son…

    

v. 13- Encourage one another daily. 

    Worship regularly

    Build each other up

 

Better Than: The Father's Son

Author: Unknown, possibly Apollos or Barnabas. Probably not Paul.

Date: Around 70AD. Before the destruction of the Temple.

Audience: Jewish Christians.

Theme: Jesus is better than anything.

Characteristics: Hebrews shows that Christianity is superior to other faiths by quoting extensively from the Old Testament.

  1. God speaks to people through the prophets and through his Son. (1.1-2)
  2. Jesus is greater because:
    1. He is the heir of the Father (owner)
    2. He is the creator of all. (Colossians 1.16)
    3. He radiates God’s glory.
    4. He is an exact representation of the Faither.
    5. He sustains all things.
    6. He provides purification from sin.
    7. He is at the right hand of God.
  3. Jesus is better than the angels. (1.4)
  4. Jesus has been given a great name. (Philippians 2.10-11)

Old Testament Influence:

There are Old Testament quotations in every chapter of Hebrews. In chapter one there are seven.

Signs, Wonders and Miracles… (2.4)

Confirmation (v. 3) is a legal term. It implies that there is evidence.

  • Signs: An event or action that would point a person to ‘meaning’ or source.
  • Wonders: The effects of a miracle.
  • Miracles: Supernatural occurrences that originate with God.

Toward 20/20 Vision

20/20 vision is the ability to see clearly

2020 is also the year 19 months from now

We need to see clearly what God wants us to be in the future.

Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Mission comes from the same root word as "missile."
We should think of the church's mission the way the military thinks of its missiles.

1. Missiles require planning.

There are plans to build a missile/ mission.

Luke 10:3-9 NIV
3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. 5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. 8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

There are plans for operating a missile/ mission.

Luke 10:17-20 NIV
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” 18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

2. Missiles require support.

A missile is supported by the military chain of command.
The mission is supported by the whole church.

3. A missile is powered.

Acts 1:8 NIV
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

4. A missile has a specific target.

Luke 19:10 NKJV
10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

"If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time." – Zig Ziglar

Likewise, if we aim at everyone we will be much less effective.

Our Faith

Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Disciple comes from the same word as discipline.
It is about your lifestyle.

Discipleship should not be equated with education, or information.

We need to think about discipleship in a new way.
We should turn traditional discipleship thinking upside down.

1. Belonging is the first step to discipleship.

Acts 4:23
On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.

2. Believing is the second step to discipleship.

Romans 10:9
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

3. Behaving is the final step to discipleship.

Discipleship Pathway

We need to streamline the pathway/membership process

  • Membership class will be offered twice each year
  • Confirmation classes will be offered to teens in even numbered years

There will be baptisms as needed.

We will keep the current Discipleship Pathway classes:

  • Reading the Bible for Life
  • Contagious Christian 
  • Spiritual Gifts

We will offer them in different ways.
    They will be offered in Connect Groups
    We will also begin to offer them on Sunday mornings
       10:15 am at Lapel
       10:00 am at TLC