Contributed on Jan 1, 2021
The issue of Christians who fall away from the faith was present in the New Testament, even as it is today. How can we prevent this from happening, and be vigilant against growing weary of following Christ ourselves?
Today we begin a new message series from the Book of Hebrews which I’ve entitled “The Faith that Endures.” It’s a sobering book because it addresses a sobering topic—an issue that I know that I would prefer not to admit that it exists. It addresses the issue of Christians who are tempted to fall ...read more
Contributed on Jan 7, 2021
What happens when a believer falls away from the faith? What really constitutes as salvation? Where do we get the assurance of our salvation from? Are some falsely assured they are saved? This message addresses these questions.
I received a call from a precious sister in Christ a couple months ago that was intended to encourage me. And it did, in some respects. This sister was calling to share with me that she had used my approach to witness to a friend who had by marriage also become a member of our extended family. ...read more
Contributed on Jan 18, 2021
Life is often a matter of focus? As we follow Christ, we can focus on the struggles and persecution we might endure. Or we can focus on the benefits, eternal and glorious, of continuing to follow Christ. Hebrews 2 encourages us to do the latter.
The Cost of Abandoning Christ Hebrews 2:5-14 A few years ago we had what we called a water bottle outreach at Lazy 5 Recreational Area. It was during one of the music festivals they used to have there, before Covid, on weekday summer evenings. We would hand out water bottles and invitations to ...read more
Contributed on Jan 25, 2021
Have you gotten used to saying "No" to God? It became a habit of the Children of Israel in the wilderness and ultimately resulted in an all-out rebellion against God that disqualified most of them from God's rest.
Author, theologian and Professor Craig Keener tells how his mother asked him if he believed in an after-life at the age of nine, and he replied no. She agreed with him and told him how most intellectuals did as well. So he felt affirmed in his atheism. The problem was that such a worldview left ...read more
Contributed on Feb 1, 2021
The possibility of falling away from Christ is greater than most of us think--no one is entirely immune from this awful outcome. It all begins with how we come to respond to God's voice, when we know He has spoken to us, and even in small things, choose to ignore Him.
One of the great challenges of the pastoral profession is discerning who to help among those who are in evident financial need, and when to help them, and then how much to help them. Despite our best and most sincere efforts, pastors young and old, sometimes fail. I remember well the story of a ...read more
Contributed on Feb 8, 2021
Stories abound of folks who began well in the Christian faith, and in ministry, but failed to finish well. What does the Word of God say about how we can be motivated to follow Jesus faithfully to the end?
I was listening to one of our secular news and talk radio stations one morning this past week. And there was an innocent joke, of all things, about our subject this morning. A married couple was having a debate about who should get out of bed in the mornings to brew the coffee. Finally, the ...read more
Contributed on Feb 15, 2021
Various pseudo-Christian spin offs claim to provide exclusively the priesthood that allows its worshipers to be made right with God. However, Hebrews 5 presents the truth that there is only one priest we will ever need--the Great High Priest Jesus Christ.
In the summer of my 19th year I was excited to take a summer job in Yellowstone National Park working as a dishwasher in Canyon Village. I say I was excited, because I had longed dreamed of the great trout fishing amid all the natural beauty that Yellowstone is famed for. But what I didn’t count ...read more
Contributed on Feb 22, 2021
One of the most sobering warnings in all of Scripture is found in Hebrews 6. There is a great, even awful danger of making an irreversible and eternally destructive choice to abandon Christ. This passage stresses why you don't want to go there.
This past year I faced a bit of a dilemma. My high school class, the class of 1970, was planning to celebrate its 50-year class reunion. I was invited. Would I go? That wasn’t the real dilemma. The real dilemma was that my spiritual father was on the organizing committee—yes, the fellow who ...read more
Contributed on Mar 2, 2021
Tossed to and fro by the difficulties of persevering in the faith? What or whom do we look to for assurance and reassurance? Hebrews 6:9-20 tells us where to find an anchor for our souls.
I imagine as we come to the very middle of the Book of Hebrews it might be legitimate for any of you to ask if I’m ever tempted to quit, to just blow off the Christian life, to abandon Christ. And my answer is not so much that, though I must admit the thought has occurred to me, but always with ...read more
Contributed on Mar 7, 2021
Many so-called Christian churches claim that believers can only maintain a right relationship with God and the hope of heaven through the priests, or mediators, that they have authorized for these purposes. Does God's word support such a teaching. Find out from Hebrews 7:1-19.
About a decade ago, I found a biological dentist who practiced in Southern California who was uniquely able to help me with some dental work that I needed done in relationship to the fatigue and the cancer I had acquired. I made a point of going down to Southern California, having made an ...read more
Contributed on Mar 14, 2021
Do we really need multiple mortal human priest to grant us access to God? What about those churches that claim we do? Hebrews 7:18-28 provides us with a definitive answer.
Have any of you gotten any unwanted phone calls this week? Yes, I assume all of you have! Have any of you gotten any scam calls this week? Yes, those things have become as daily an experience as most any other part of our lives. Have you gotten the one from someone who sounds like they’re ...read more
Contributed on Mar 22, 2021
The New Covenant is an incredible deal available to us from the Lord. It has made the Old Covenant obsolete, and when we consider it, it is a deal we cannot afford to pass up!
My wife Jeanie is a shopper par excellence! She loves to shop. But what she loves to shop for is the great deal—she loves finding and getting something of great value for pennies on the dollar. So she’s an expert garage saler. She’s always checking out the sale racks at the back of stores. ...read more
Contributed on Mar 29, 2021
What was the Old Covenant really all about? Did the Old Testament sacrificial system really take away sins? Why isn't Judaism also a way to be right with God? Hebrews 9:1-14 settles these issues, once and for all.
This last year has been a revelation—a revelation about how you deal with a very contagious and infectious virus that has impacted the entire world and killed millions of people. The big question this past year has been this: How do you stop the virus? How do you prevent it’s spread? How do ...read more
Contributed on Apr 13, 2021
The New Covenant is in effect the last and will and testament of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ's redemption under the New Covenant saves even Old Covenant believers. No new sacrifices are needed!
Sixty–seven-year-old Tomas Martinez was living on the street in Santa Cruz de le Sierra, Bolivia, when he was approached by police officers who had good news for him. His ex-wife (whom he had abandoned years earlier) had died and had left him her fortune of $6 million. However, Martinez thought the ...read more
Contributed on Apr 19, 2021
Many options in the religious and secular world are given for how to deal with our everyday experience of sin, the guilt it brings and the dread of potential ultimate condemnation. The Book of Hebrews is adamant that there is only one solution for sin, and no other substitutes.
The great American psychiatrist Karl Menninger, author of the book, Whatever Became of Sin, once stated that if he could convince patients in psychiatric hospitals that their sins were forgiven, 75% of them could walk out the next day. His statement underscores the struggle that all of us human ...read more
Contributed on Apr 28, 2021
The Heart of the Message to the Hebrews is how to be faithful to Jesus. How can we demonstrate in practical ways our faithfulness to Jesus in light of His faithfulness to us?
I had an unexpected very emotional experience this past week. At a little after 6 on Tuesday morning I came to page 884, the last page of probably the longest book I have ever read apart from the Bible. As I’ve mentioned previously, I have been reading the massive scholarly work written by ...read more
Contributed on May 4, 2021
Jesus assured us in the Parable of the Sower that people falling away from the faith would be a regular part of our experience. However, we certainly don't want it to be our personal experience! An oft-ignored & challenging warning tells us how we can prevent that possibility.
As we have made our way through the book of Hebrews, the single New Testament book devoted to the topic of Christians who are tempted or actually do fall away from the faith, I naturally have been led to sadly contemplate those Christians I have known who have fallen away. These, tragically, were ...read more
Contributed on May 11, 2021
This is a reality check. When you're surprised by the challenges of the Christian life and even tempted to quit, consider how the people who are part of Faith's Hall of Fame lived.
This past week we all heard about another horrific tragedy on the border. Three people died and 25 were injured as smugglers attempted to bring dozens of illegal immigrants into the U.S. via boat along the California Coast. The 40-foot boat broke up on a reef just west of Point Loma off the San ...read more
Contributed on Jun 8, 2021
How we regard difficulties and persecutions will have everything to do with whether we respond positively or negatively to them. Surprising to us, the very things designed by men to destroy faith cause it to thrive, when we have a godly attitude.
Jeanie and I recently read a book with a provocative name—The Insanity of God—by the pseudonymous author Nip Ripken. Of course, the title elicits the question, what is insane about God—a question the author never directly answers, but only becomes evident upon contemplation of his message. It ...read more
Contributed on Jun 8, 2021
Has your walk with Christ deteriorated? Have life's struggles and distractions, even the pandemic, resulted in some backsliding? The writer to the Hebrews has a solution.
Some of you here are familiar with Alex Smith, because he was for a number of years the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. But what many of you may not know is that Alex Smith was recently named the NFL’s 2020 Comeback Player of the Year But the award was actually an ...read more
Contributed on Jun 14, 2021
If you're going to keep the faith, it's necessary to keep the love of Christ as well, especially for one another, and some folks who are likely to be neglected or forgotten. The lifestyle choice is between worldly lust and Christ-lke love.
Jeanie and I watched several segments of the History Channel’s “The Men Who Built America” this past week. We had watched parts of it before and had always wanted to watch it again as a gave a great history about how America has become the land of opportunity it has come to be. However, as we ...read more
Contributed on Jul 5, 2021
Like guardrails and protective barriers around potential dangers, so the writer to the Hebrews attempts to safeguard our Christian walk by noting potential dangers to our Christian life--among them apostate religious institutions
I’m a big fan of Yellowstone National Park, not only because of the great fishing it offers, but also because of the great natural wonders that can be seen. Of course, some of its most famous natural wonders are found in its geyser basins, where Old Faithful can be found among many others, along ...read more