Summary: When the going gets tough… Jesus’ disciples get going to corporate worship
We live in a world where it is increasingly difficult to live as a disciple of Jesus. In many places around the world, and now even here in the United States, people are routinely killed for holding fast to their professed faith in Jesus. As Don so rightly pointed out a few weeks ago, because of the evil that is present in this world, we now have a Supreme Court which consistently issues opinions that basically make laws that clearly violate God’s Word. We now live in a country where when people choose to live according to their Biblical convictions and refuse to participate in what they consider to be sin, they are hit with huge fines. And Christians are routinely ridiculed and made to look like buffoons on TV and in the movies.
So how do we hold on to our faith in a culture that is increasingly hostile to the Bible, Jesus, and His Bride, the church? We’re probably all familiar with the modern proverb that has been attributed to either Joseph P. Kennedy or Knute Rockne:
When the going gets tough… [Let people finish the phrase]
the tough get going.
But the Bible makes it clear that approach really doesn’t work when it comes to living out our faith in a world that makes it difficult to live as a disciple of Jesus.
Sometimes we think that we’re the first generation or the first culture that has faced this kind of opposition. But history reveals that is certainly not the case. In fact, the first century church probably faced even more hostility than we do today, especially here in the United States.
So one of the early church leaders, whose identity is unknown, wrote a letter to primarily Hebrew Christians to urge them to hold fast to their faith. That letter comprises the book of Hebrews in our Bibles. Those mostly Jewish disciples to whom the letter was written faced strong opposition on two fronts.
First of all, like all of Jesus’ disciples in the first century, they faced persecution merely because of their faith in Jesus.
But perhaps even more challenging was the opposition from their fellow Jews who were urging them to reject Jesus and return to their Jewish roots. So the author wrote a letter to show in great detail why Jesus was superior to their Jewish faith in order to encourage them to remain faithful to Him. Those arguments comprise the first nine and a half chapters of the book. Then, beginning in Hebrews 10, verse 19, the author describes how the superiority of Jesus should impact the way they lived their day-to-day lives.
We’re going to look at the beginning of that section of Hebrews this morning and determine one crucial thing we can do in order to be able to persevere when the going gets tough. But before we do that, let me take a moment to review what we learned last week and see how this week’s message fits into our current sermon series.
Last week we concluded that…
It is impossible to love Jesus
and not love His church
I love my church because Jesus loves the church. We saw how Jesus loves His Bride, the church, so much that He sacrificed for her, sanctifies her and sustains her. And if we determined that if I really love Jesus, then I will love the church like that, too.