Been focusing on theme of “Jesus Is the Best” in our study through Hebrews. A lot of doctrine, not as much application as from some portions of scripture… yet. Will come, but meanwhile, what’s the point of Jesus being the best in context of daily life? When we look at the details of the moment, what’s the point? Some great minds say “there is none”.
We are simply cogs in machinery of universe; products of random processes that transformed from slime to living things. The point of all this? None that is discernible – no intelligent being overseeing and governing all things, so no point beyond what we attempt to give life. Is up to us to make life meaningful, to avoid sliding into pit of despair even though “life stinks, then you die”. In that model of things, religion at best unhelpful, at worst incredibly harmful. Whichever it is, can provide nothing of substance to a seeker.
I pray you don’t subscribe to fatalistic view like that. If you do believe that and are consistent, being here is a waste of time. Since you’re all still here, must at least believe atheism and evolution don’t have all the answers. But… what is right answer to our question – what’s the point? What is answer that comes from Bible? that we are sure reflects God’s perspective? Paul in this chapter makes plain: God has a purpose.
Back up to v.3-6 of chapter 1: read. Then verses 9 and 11 tell us of things God has done “according to his purpose”. There is a point to everything, was determined before creation, God is governing his creation and moving all things toward that point. We can know what the point is, even though we’ve not fully reached it yet. Paul prayed for saints in Ephesus (v.17) to have more spiritual wisdom so they could uncover the truth as they grow in knowledge of God.
Then goes on to show how that applies to life: you have spiritual wisdom, ability to uncover the truth – understand God’s revelation, an enlightened understanding – not stumbling around in dark any more, all for this purpose — to the end that you may understand three crucial concepts
the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe
A. the hope of his calling v.18a
because Jesus is the Best, accomplished what he has, called us out of darkness into light, out of this world to better one
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” (1 Pet. 2:9)
“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:14)
disasters remind us our hope is not in this world, what it offers
doesn’t matter the kind of disaster: “natural” (flood, earthquake, hurricane, etc.), financial (market with investments went south), daily life in painful work setting
what’s the point if weather is only gonna take it away; what’s the point if Bernie Madoff made off with my retirement; what’s the point of doing same old thing same old way with same old frustrations day after day
the point is things are that way because of Genesis 3, sin and curse, in this world; but if you are called of God, you are called to better world with better values
the fact we get frustrated with life the way it is lets us know something is wrong, shouldn’t be this way, as long as it is this way we won’t find lasting satisfaction… in things of this world
if Jesus is the Best, how should we respond to disaster, frustration?
“thank you, Jesus, for calling me out of slavery to sin and darkness, hopelessly lost condition, with no future and hope”
“thank you, Jesus, for helping me understand there’s more to life than what I can see with my eyes”
“thank you, Jesus, for preserving my soul, whatever happens to my body, and giving me an eternal hope secure in you that does not depend on this world and its systems”
“praise you, Lord, for your protection, for your provision; may others impacted by situation realize hope is not in what this world offers and seek you”
“help me, Lord, use what you have given me on earth to lay up “treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
B. the riches of the glory of his inheritance v.18b
notice carefully the possessive pronoun – is notour inheritance, is His inheritance in the saints!!
“This phrase does not refer to our inheritance in Christ (Eph. 1:11), but His inheritance in us. This is an amazing truth—that God should look on us as a part of His great wealth! Just as a man’s wealth brings glory to his name, so God will get glory from the church because of what He has invested in us.” Wiersbe
is a glorious inheritance because a glorious investment – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Eph. 5:25)
Jesus looks at the church as his beautiful bride: see Rev. 19:6-8
because Jesus is the Best, is the head of the church, there is a glory to body of Christ unlike any other body
gave himself for her “so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5:27
so what’s the point of that? remember what the church is –
a Bride, made holy by her husband to be the one to whom he is joined in perfect unity for all eternity
a family made up of brothers and sisters in Christ, adopted by Heavenly Father, living under his watchful care
servants commissioned to labor faithfully for their Master, wisely using resources he has entrusted to them until his return
so what do we have? three different spheres of relationship: husband/wife relationshp, family with parent/child and sibling relationships, employer/employee relationship
so what’s the point when your marriage is a train wreck, constant conflict or cold neglect, husband and wife headed in opposing directions? or even if it’s just blah, lifeless and uninteresting with no prospects for an exciting future?
husband and wife get on their knees, repent of their sin, determine with Jesus’ help to love him and one another
the point is: Jesus can say, “look, that’s what the relationship between Me and My church is supposed to be like!” you say, “thank you, Jesus, for wonderful gift you have given”
what’s the point when you’ve done all you can and your child runs away, makes bunch of foolish choices, won’t reply to calls/texts/emails? what’s the point when you’ve acted really badly, sinned grievously against your child, driven them away, just can’t seem to get back together?
you plead with God, “do whatever it takes to reconcile us to each other and you”; repent and seek forgiveness for any sin you have committed
the point is: when God has worked in you and your child to bring about reconciliation, he can say, “look, that is what it looks like when a sinner and his Heavenly Father are reconciled.” you say, “thank you, Jesus, for wonderful gift you have given”
what’s the point when you’re at dead end in job, no longer a challenge or stimulating, boss is real jerk, same-old day after day?
the point is: you may be employed by Wicky Wacky Widget Co., but you work for Lord Jesus, and when you give him good day’s work, he rewards lavishly, far beyond what you deserve
relationship stuff: people to people, parents and children, spouses, especially w/i the body – when they go from dysfunctional to properly functional, Jesus gets the praise… and that’s the point
C. the exceeding greatness of his power v.19a
you in a circumstance where you feel absolutely powerless? at the mercy of malicious people? victim of an awful disease? oppressed by countless burdens of life? if that’s the best life has to offer you, what’s the point?
what’s the point of my cancer? my ex who won’t stay out of the court system? my last abusive church situation? the six things that are broken and 3 appointments and 19 unpaid bills and a headache that won’t quit? what’s the point?
let me remind you of apostle Paul’s experience: “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor. 12:8-9)
because Jesus is the Best, same power that raised him from dead works in and through us – power to bring us through adversity, affliction
notice Jesus did not heal Paul; he enabled Paul to live in the grace and strength he supplied so that Paul would boast in Christ
Jesus may not change your circumstances, but he will change you in and by your circumstances, exercising his resurrection power in you
Jesus’ power is accompanied by Jesus – Isa. 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”
the point is: when we cry out to God for help and strength, he answers our prayer, we respond by giving him the praise and glory
“how did you manage…?” response: “only by power of God, strength he supplied, his more than sufficient grace, to him be the glory”
D. the conclusion of the matter
according to Psychology Today, “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”
how about instead of that foolishness, from POV of world and especially Buddhist beliefs, let’s pursue purposefulness
active attention on our purpose – directing our thoughts and feelings and actions toward our chief purpose: glorifying God
attentiveness to God’s actions in our present moment and responding to him appropriately
living in the light of God’s truth, and realizing that the things of the moment “are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18)
The final point of it all for us is this: one day skies are going to split wide open, Lord Jesus will return to this sin-corrupted world. That might power that God exercised in Christ when he raised Him from the dead will be exercised one last time. Our bodies will be raised, newly made and fit for eternal sinless existence, united with souls made perfect in righteousness and true holiness. Then our salvation will be complete.
Rev. 22:3-5 “And there will no longer be any curse, and the throne of God and the Lamb will be in the city. His servants will worship him,and they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.Night will be no more, and they will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will shine on them, and they will reign forever and ever.” “Then we shall be where we would be, Then we shall be what we should be, Things that are not now, nor could be, [Then] shall be our own.”