Go to Christ

Hebrews 13:8-14

What passes for Christianity and the Christian church in much of our country is critically ill. Supreme Court decision, attempting to redefine marriage, helped make it obvious.

“homosexuality and Christianity don’t have to be in conflict in any church anywhere. That many Christians regard them as incompatible is understandable, an example not so much of hatred’s pull as of tradition’s sway. Beliefs ossified over centuries aren’t easily shaken. But in the end, the continued view of gays, lesbians and bisexuals as sinners is a decision. It’s a choice. It prioritizes scattered passages of ancient texts over all that has been learned since — as if time had stood still, as if the advances of science and knowledge meant nothing. It disregards the degree to which all writings reflect the biases and blind spots of their authors, cultures and eras. It ignores the extent to which interpretation is subjective, debatable.” Frank Bruni, NY Times, 04/03/15

Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church, United Church of Christ have already expressed agreement, others on the way. In reality, position on homosexuality represents another symptom of foundational problem – inspiration and authority of the Bible. Is there a God? Has he spoken to us through his word the Bible? If so, better pay attention to what he’s said.

If everything to left of Hebrews 13 is God’s perfect revelation to us, then central character is Lord Jesus. Road to Emmaus, two disciples, Luke 24:27And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Jesus also the focus, Rev. 1:17-18 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

A. who is the brightest? biggest? best? v.8

Jesus – brings light to all situations

“true light which gives light to every man” John 1:9

source of all light, from creation on, both natural and spiritual – a certain light, unwavering, revealed more fully from Protoevangelium onward through prophets, finally in Jesus

Jesus – bigger than any obstacle or opposition

the one who “fills all things” (Eph. 4:10)

when focus is on obstacle, tends to completely fill field of view and obscure all else… including greatness of God

truth remains: no matter how huge obstacle, how powerful opposition, Jesus is unchangeably immense – focus on Jesus puts all else into perspective

will always be true – nothing came before him, nothing will outlast him, he will never diminish or weaken

Jesus – first and best of beings

only one who remains same… eternally – “before Abraham was, I AM” John 8:58

supposedly, according to anthropologists, are in what is called postmodern period – in many ways just recycled skepticism

no metanarratives, no absolute truths, and list goes on – is a morally/intellectually bankrupt way of thinking… no answers

Jesus is one who shapes metanarrative, he is source of real truth in all its forms, he has answers to all of life’s questions

if church is to remain relevant, must stay rooted in God’s unchanging truth, Gospel’s unchanging message

what people choose to do with God’s truth another matter – our job to proclaim it clearly and winsomely

don’t need to defend it: would you defend a Lion? let Lion defend himself, Lion of tribe of Judah, born in city of David

when your world is upside down, need Someone to cling to, to depend on, who never changes

B. do you believe it? then… v.9

stay focused on truth

John 14:6 Jesus is the same, the way is the same, the truth is the same, the life is the same

no new ways to God, no alternative ways to God, no alternatives to God – one God, one way, one Savior

“looking unto Jesus” – only works when Jesus not a moving target

need to be looking to right Jesus, one plainly revealed in Bible, not some other version inventive men have devised

to follow exhortation requires Jesus to be either continuously communicating new information or… unchanging

otherwise, would be like playing game with child… who keeps changing rules – never know what next move should be

if it’s new and exciting… be skeptical… especially when related to what Bible teaches

Jer. 6:16Thus says the LORD: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.”

to be convinced there is new way of understanding God’s truth means Christ’s church has been missing / lacking something essential for 2000 years

are we really more theologically astute than apostles? students of apostles? other gifted and godly believers? ask for old paths

don’t buy the lies… for example:

“as if time had stood still, as if the advances of science and knowledge meant nothing” – evolutionary framework

principles expressed in God’s word flow from God’s character and are timeless, unchanging… because He is

“all writings reflect the biases and blind spots of their authors, cultures and eras” – denial of inspiration

God the Holy Spirit has no bias or blind spots, made sure finished product has none – Bible says precisely what God intended

“interpretation is subjective, debatable” – truth is relative

any portion of God’s word has one and only one correct interpretation… many applications; our goal is to find right one

bottom line: if you are committed to living Christian life, Jesus and the grace he supplies are all you need

don’t forget how he supplies that grace: by his Spirit, accompanied by his Word, in the setting of his Church

C. what has he done? v.10-12

has accomplished our reconciliation to God – now a kingdom of priests

we have privileges OT saints did not – no one not a priest could enter the tent… either room; only high priest in Most Holy Place

true believers, one with Jesus by faith – access through Jesus to real Holy of Holies, God’s presence

has fulfilled all that OT sacrifice / rituals pointed to

Lev. 16:11, 15, 20-22, 27 bull for Aaron, goat for people, scapegoat to wilderness… yearly – all those satisfied by Jesus

Passover lamb – blood on lintel and doorpost, angel of death “passed over”: 1 Cor. 5:7 “indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”

has endured full penalty for sin, made full satisfaction

Heb. 7:26-27; 9:12 “he did this once for all”; “he entered once for all… by means of his own blood, …securing an eternal redemption”

perfect Lamb of God a suitable and final sacrifice… but had to be a real sacrifice, not just appearance of one

had to bear full load of sin, its curse, its penalty – didn’t just show us how to save ourselves, He accomplished our redemption

made obvious by manner and place of death: common criminal, most degrading manner of death, outside the city

D. how do you respond? v.13-14

seek Jesus – go to him

to benefit from God’s promise, must go… not to baby in manger, to Christ on cross; babe in manger necessary means to end, but most everyone can like him

Christ on cross – where we see reality of our sin, awfulness of its penalty, greatness of God’s love, most important: our utter inability

identify with Jesus – bear his reproach

Matt. 5:11-12“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

live and act and speak so that all around you will know there is a God and he has changed your life

follow Jesus – push toward the city to come

someone was once asked “what’s your favorite statement in Bible?” => “It came to pass”… didn’t come to stay

true about things of this world – we have no lasting city… here; do have one, in heaven, where Lord Jesus stands to greet us

all we do here should contribute to what awaits us there – lay up treasures in heaven, not Gorham Savings Bank, Wall Street

Where does it all end? Worship… in his presence. Is Lord Jesus, our Savior, Redeemer, brother and conquering King who makes heaven worthwhile and desirable. Sure, lots of other appealing things, but… all empty without Jesus.

NY Daily News, 12/03/15 front page, large bold lettering proclaimed: “God Isn’t Fixing This”, responding to murderous situation San Bernadino, CA. First line of cover story: “Prayers aren’t working.” In course of human history, God made first move to fix mankind’s sin problem when he chased down Adam, promised a Redeemer. Redeemer came, satisfied all conditions necessary for sinners to be reconciled to holy God. Next… and final Divine act: Jesus’ second advent, once and for all fix everything. As exciting and heart-warming as that hope is, there is awful truth associated with it: every single individual who rejects the Redeemer inescapably condemned to suffer penalty for own sin.

Steve Jobs, near death: “What is the most expensive bed in the world? – “Sick bed” … You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear the sickness for you.”

when it’s fatal sickness of sin, yes, you can have “someone bear the sickness for you”

Don’t gloat, don’t feel superior – only by God’s grace you are one of his, not one of them. Pray for God’s enemies – would hear Gospel… and receive it, turn from sin, cling to Christ. Pray that they along with you would celebrate birth of Christ child, then worship King Jesus on his throne. “O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”


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