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Summary: What happens when we fail?

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I’LL BEGIN AGAIN

HEBREWS 2:10-18

IN BRINGING MANY SONS AND DAUGHTERS TO GLORY, IT WAS FITTING THAT GOD, FOR WHOM AND THROUGH WHOM EVERYTHING EXISTS, SHOULD MAKE THE PIONEER OF THEIR SALVATION PERFECT THROUGH WHAT HE SUFFERED. BOTH THE ONE WHO MAKES PEOPLE HOLY AND THOSE WHO ARE MADE HOLY ARE OF THE SAME FAMILY. SO JESUS IS NOT ASHAMED TO CALL THEM BROTHERS AND SISTERS. HE SAYS, I WILL DECLARE YOUR NAME TO MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS; IN THE ASSEMBLY I WILL SING YOUR PRAISES. AND AGAIN, I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM. AND AGAIN HE SAYS, HERE AM I, AND THE CHILDREN GOD, HAS GIVEN ME. SINCE THE CHILDREN HAVE FLESH AND BLOOD, HE TOO SHARED IN THEIR HUMANITY SO THAT BY HIS DEATH HE MIGHT BREAK THE POWER OF HIM WHO HOLDS THE POWER OF DEATH THAT IS, THE DEVIL AND FREE THOSE WHO ALL THEIR LIVES WERE HELD IN SLAVERY BY THEIR FEAR OF DEATH. FOR SURELY IT IS NOT ANGELS HE HELPS, BUT ABRAHAM’S DESCENDANTS. FOR THIS REASON HE HAD TO BE MADE LIKE THEM, FULLY HUMAN IN EVERY WAY, IN ORDER THAT HE MIGHT BECOME A MERCIFUL AND FAITHFUL HIGH PRIEST IN SERVICE TO GOD, AND THAT HE MIGHT MAKE ATONEMENT FOR THE SINS OF THE PEOPLE. BECAUSE HE HIMSELF SUFFERED WHEN HE WAS TEMPTED, HE IS ABLE TO HELP THOSE WHO ARE BEING TEMPTED. EVERY YEAR AT CHRISTMAS, ALL THE CHRISTMAS SPECIALS ARE AIRED ON TELEVISION. ONE OF MY FAVORITES IS THE DICKENS’ STORY “A CHRISTMAS CAROL.” EVERYONE I AM SURE KNOWS THE STORY OF EBENEZER SCROOGE. IN THE BEGINNING OF THE STORY, EBENEZER IS A MISER WHO HATES EVERYONE AND ESPECIALLY HATES CHRISTMAS DAY. ON CHRISTMAS EVE, HE COMES HOME TO FIND HIS FORMER PARTNER’S GHOST WAITING TO WARN HIM OF HIS FATE IF HE CONTINUES ON HIS PRESENT LIFE COURSE AND ALSO TELLS HIM THAT HE WILL BE VISITED BY THREE SPIRITS THAT NIGHT. THE GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE VISIT EBENEZER DURING THE NIGHT AND SHOW HIM HOW HE BECAME THE MAN HE IS AND WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO HIM IF HE DOESN’T CHANGE. AFTER SEEING THE GHOSTS, SCROOGE IS DETERMINED TO CHANGE HIS WAYS. MY FAVORITE ADAPTATION OF THE CHRISTMAS CAROL IS A MUSICAL CALLED SCROOGE. IT STARS ALBERT FINNEY AS EBENEZER, AND AFTER BEING VISITED BY THE THIRD GHOST, HE WAKES UP IN HIS BED CHAMBER TO FIND THAT IT IS CHRISTMAS MORNING AND HE STILL HAS A CHANCE TO CHANGE HIS LIFE. AT THAT TIME HE SINGS THE FOLLOWING SONG. I’M ALIVE! I’M ALIVE! I’VE GOT A CHANCE TO CHANGE AND I WILL NOT BE THE MAN I WAS! I’LL BEGIN AGAIN, I WILL BUILD MY LIFE, I WILL LIVE TO KNOW THAT I FULFILLED MY LIFE. I’LL BEGIN TODAY, THROW AWAY THE PAST. AND THE FUTURE I BUILD WILL BE SOMETHING THAT WILL LAST. I WILL TAKE THE TIME I HAVE LEFT TO LIVE, AND I WILL GIVE IT ALL THAT I HAVE LEFT TO GIVE. I WILL LIVE MY DAYS FOR MY FELLOW MAN, AND I WILL LIVE IN PRAISE OF THAT MOMENT WHEN I WAS ABLE TO BEGIN AGAIN. I WILL START ANEW, I WILL MAKE AMENDS, AND I WILL MAKE QUITE CERTAIN THAT THE STORY ENDS. ON A NOTE OF HOPE, ON A STRONG AMEN! AND I WILL THANK THE WORLD AND REMEMBER WHEN I WAS ABLE TO BEGIN AGAIN! YOU HAVE TO BE HAPPY FOR EBENEZER AT THIS POINT. THIS SONG AND THIS MOMENT IS THE PREFECT EXAMPLE OF WHAT REPENTANCE LOOKS LIKE. AFTER EBENEZER WAS SHOWN THE MISTAKES IN HIS LIFE, HE MAKES A PLEDGE TO CHANGE HIS WAYS AND SERVE HIS LIFE AS A HELP TO HIS FELLOW MAN. HOWEVER, I SEE TWO PROBLEMS WITH EBENEZER’S PLEDGE. FIRST YOU WILL NOTICE THAT THE WORD I OR I’LL IS USED EIGHTEEN TIMES. AND WHILE I THINK IT IS GREAT THAT EBENEZER HAS DECIDED TO CHANGE HIS WAYS, I PRAY THAT HE WILL BE ABLE TO PULL IT OFF. BUT WE ALL KNOW AS THE NEW YEAR IS BEGINNING HOW EASY IT IS TO MAKE A RESOLUTION TO DO ANYTHING, LOSE WEIGHT, GET ORGANIZED, CLEAN THAT ROOM, SERVE OTHERS, OR WHATEVER, AND THE INTENTIONS ARE GOOD AND THE THOUGHTS ARE NOBLE, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO RESOLVE, BACK SLIDING IS SO EASY. AFTER ALL, WHO IS GOING TO KNOW IF YOU KEEP YOUR RESOLUTIONS OR NOT? IT IS LIKE PAUL SAYS IN ROMANS 7 VERSE 15: I DO NOT UNDERSTAND MY OWN ACTIONS. FOR I DO NOT DO WHAT I WANT, BUT I DO THE VERY THING I HATE. AGAIN IN VERSE 19: FOR I DO NOT DO THE GOOD I WANT, BUT THE EVIL I DO NOT WANT IS WHAT I DO! ALSO IN MATTHEW AND MARK JESUS SAYS, FOR THE SPIRIT IS WILLING BUT THE BODY IS WEAK. SO I AM BEHIND YOU EBENEZER, I HOPE YOU CAN DO IT, BUT IT TAKES MORE THAN JUST YOUR RESOLVE TO BEGIN AGAIN, YOU NEED HELP. YOU NEED SOMEONE WHO HAS ALREADY BEEN THERE. AFTER ALL, WE CAN MAKE PLEDGES ALL WE WANT BUT IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO CARRY THEM OUT ON OUR OWN. THE SECOND PROBLEM I SEE IN THE SONG, AT THE END OF IT EBENEZER SAYS, AND I WILL THANK THE WORLD I WAS ABLE TO BEGIN AGAIN! THIS IS THE PART THAT CONCERNS ME MOST. SO MANY PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT TRUSTING IN THEMSELVES AND THE WORLD SURROUNDING THEM WILL BRING THEM THROUGH THE HARD TIMES AND MAKE THEM A DIFFERENT PERSON. THIS IS A DECEPTION WE HAVE BEEN LIVING WITH FOR CENTURIES. HERE, WE LOOK AT OUR LIVES AND SEE THE RICHES WE HAVE AND BELIEVE IT WILL LAST FOREVER. WE BELIEVE AS LONG AS WE HAVE A JOB AND THERE IS MONEY COMING IN, WE CAN PROVIDE FOR OUR FAMILIES AND ALSO LOOK OUT FOR OTHERS. WHEN WE GIVE TO CHARITIES, WE FEEL GOOD, CHARITABLE GIVING ALWAYS INCREASE DURING THE HOLIDAYS. AT THIS TIME OF YEAR, PEOPLE WILL WORK IN SOUP KITCHENS AND PUT MONEY IN THE BUCKETS AND FEEL THEY HAVE DONE THEIR PART. BUT HAVE THEY? IT IS LIKE EBENEZER, HE GOES OUT AND BUYS PRESENTS AND DINNER FOR BOB CRACKET AND HIS FAMILY AND GIVES TO THE POOR AND PLEDGES TO HELP TINY TIM GET BETTER. AND I BELIEVE HE REALLY MEANS IT AT THE TIME. HOWEVER, WHAT HAPPENS IF THE WORLD GET TOUGH? WHAT HAPPENS IF THIS RECESSION IMPACTS HIS BUSINESS AND HE STARTS FINDING OUT IT IS HARD TO MAKE ENDS MEET. WHAT THEN? IF EBENEZER TRUSTS THE WORLD, WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE WORLD LETS HIM DOWN BECAUSE IT IS INEVITABLE THAT THE WORLD WILL? WILL HE BE ABLE TO BEGIN AGAIN, AGAIN, OR WILL HE FALL BACK INTO HIS OLD WAYS? WHAT CAN PROP HIM UP DURING THE TURBULENT TIMES? WILL THE WORLD COME TO HIS AID? AS WAS SO APTLY DEMONSTRATED JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS IN CONGRESS, PROBABLY NOT WITHOUT A LOT OF PRESSURE! HOWEVER, SOMETIMES WE FIND THAT WE ARE FACING THE EXACT SAME QUESTIONS. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO US IF WE DECIDED TO BEGIN AGAIN AND BEGAN TO BACK SLIDE? WHOM CAN WE TURN TO FOR HELP AND ANSWERS? WOULD THE WORLD BE ANY USE TO US? ONCE AGAIN, I AM WILLING TO SAY PROBABLY NOT, BUT IN OUR LESSON THIS MORNING FROM THE BOOK OF HEBREWS WE ARE INTRODUCED TO SOMEONE WHO NOT ONLY CAN CARRY US THROUGH, BUT SOMEONE WHO AS THE SAYING GOES, HAS BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT! HEBREWS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS. NO ONE IS SURE WHO WROTE IT AND WHY, BUT WHAT IS PRETTY MUCH AGREED UPON IS THAT THE THEME OF HEBREWS IS THE SUPERIORITY OF CHRIST. CHRIST IS SUPERIOR TO ANGELS, TO MOSES, TO THE PROPHETS, TO THE LAWS, TO THE PRIESTLY SYSTEM AND TO ABRAHAM. SO THE QUESTION IS HOW CAN CHRIST HELP US. HOW HAS CHRIST BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT BEFORE. I AM GLAD YOU ASKED! IN VERSE 10, THE AUTHOR BEGINS BY SAYING IT WAS FITTING BECAUSE WHAT GOD DID THROUGH JESUS WAS CONSISTENT WITH GOD’S HOLINESS, CHARACTER AND WISDOM. GOD HAD TO FIND A WAY TO BRING US SINNERS TO HIM. HE COULD NOT LET OUR SINS GO UNPUNISHED, SO OUT OF LOVE, HE CAME DOWN TO EARTH IN THE FORM OF A BABY AND PAID FOR OUR SINS HIMSELF. JESUS DYING ON THE CROSS SHOWED GOD’S LOVE FOR US THAT WHEN WE WERE STILL SINNERS; HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON TO REDEEM US. WE ARE THE MANY SONS AND DAUGHTERS DESCRIBED IN OUR READING THIS MORNING. JESUS IS CALLED THE PIONEER, A WORD THAT GIVES THE IDEA OF A TRAIL BLAZER OR SOMEONE WHO INVOLVES OTHERS IN A PROJECT. CHRIST LEADS US INTO SALVATION THROUGH HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS AND HIS RESURRECTION. HOW HARD IS IT IN THIS SEASON OF CHRIST’S BIRTH TO IMAGINE THE BABY THAT MARY BROUGHT INTO THIS WORLD WILL SOMEDAY HAVE HIS HANDS AND FEET NAILED TO A CROSS, A CROWN OF THORNS SMASHED ON HIS HEAD AND HIS SIDE PIERCED BY A SWORD BECAUSE OF OUR SIN? IN ADDITION TO BECOMING OUR SUBSTITUTE AND PIONEER, CHRIST ALSO IS THE ONE WHO MAKES US HOLY. WE ARE MADE HOLY THROUGH HIS SACRIFICE, AND HAVE BECOME PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED HIS BROTHERS AND SISTERS. WE ARE NOW CHRIST’S SIBLINGS BECAUSE WE NOW SHARE IN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. THIS, GIVEN TO US THROUGH THE GIFT OF GRACE BORN IN A MANGER NOT BECAUSE OF ANYTHING WE DID TO DESERVE IT. AS WE GO THROUGH OUR DAILY LIFE, WE TRY TO LIVE UP TO THE DESIGNATION OF FOLLOWERS AND SIBLINGS OF CHRIST. WE HOWEVER, IN THOUGHT AND DEED DO NOT ALWAYS SUCCEED. WE DO KNOW THOUGH THAT CHRIST IS SITTING THERE AT GOD’S RIGHT HAND WILLING TO FORGIVE US WHEN WE CONFESS OUR SIN AND REPENT. HOW DO WE KNOW THAT WE ARE PART OF CHRIST’S SALVATION? IN VERSE 14 WE SEE THAT SINCE WE SHARE IN FLESH AND BLOOD, WHICH CHRIST PUT ON, WE ALL SHARE IN CHRIST’S VICTORY OVER SATAN. THE WORD FOR SHARE IN VERSE 14 MEANS TO HAVE FELLOWSHIP, COMMUNION OR PARTNERSHIP. WE ALL HAVE FLESH AND BLOOD IN COMMON. HOWEVER CHRIST CHOSE TO BECOME A MAN SO THAT HE MIGHT DIE IN OUR PLACE. CHRIST DID THIS SO THAT SATAN’S HOLD OVER OUR FEAR OF DEATH COULD BE BROKEN AND WE CAN BE BROUGHT TO GOD WITH OUR SIN DEBT PAID. SINCE CHRIST WENT TO THE CROSS, WE NO LONGER HAVE TO FEAR DEATH. THE AUTHOR OF HEBREWS THEN CLOSES OUT THIS SECTION TRYING TO ASSURE THE PEOPLE THAT THOUGH CHRIST IS SUPERIOR HE IS STILL HUMAN. ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS TO EXPLAIN TO PEOPLE IS THAT WHILE CHRIST WAS ON EARTH, HE WAS FULLY GOD, BUT AT THE SAME TIME HE WAS ALSO FULLY HUMAN. WHEN PEOPLE ASK ME HOW THAT IS, I SAY LET ME TELL YOU, I DON’T KNOW. THAT IS ONE OF THE THINGS I PLAN TO FIND OUT ABOUT WHEN I GET TO HEAVEN BUT AS A HUMAN JESUS HAD ALL THE PROBLEMS WE HAVE EXCEPT SIN. CHRIST WAS TEMPTED JUST AS WE ARE SO WE CAN IDENTIFY WITH HIM MORE. HE WAS HUNGRY, THIRSTY, AND TIRED JUST AS WE ARE. ALSO, CHRIST GREW FROM A BABY, LEARNED IN THE TEMPLE, BECAME ATTACHED TO PEOPLE, WAS ANGRY AND INDIGNANT, AND WAS ASTONISHED AND SARCASTIC. IN ADDITION, CHRIST PRAYED, READ SCRIPTURES, SWEATED BLOOD, GRIEVED, WAS TROUBLED, WAS OVERCOME BY FUTURE EVENTS, SIGHED IN HIS HEART, AND CRIED WHEN HIS HEART ACHED. ONE THING WE MUST REMEMBER IS THAT CHRIST WAS TEMPTED FAR BEYOND ANYTHING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO ANY OF US AND YET REMAINED FAITHFUL TO GOD IN DENYING EVERYTHING THAT SATAN PUT IN FRONT OF HIM. IN THIS PORTION OF HEBREWS WE ARE INTRODUCED TO A SAVIOR THAT EVEN THOUGH HE WAS GOD, CHOSE TO COME DOWN TO EARTH IN FLESH AND BLOOD TO PROVIDE A WAY FOR US TO SPEND ETERNAL COMMUNION IN HEAVEN. BUT, IN HIS HUMANNESS, JESUS WAS SUBJECTED TO ALL THE FEELINGS AND DESIRES THAT WE HAVE SO HE COULD BE EMPATHETIC WITH US. THERE IS A STORY TOLD ABOUT A LITTLE BOY WHO GOES INTO A PET SHOP TO LOOK AT THE PUPPIES. I’D LIKE TO BUY ONE THE BOY SAYS TO THE PET SHOP OWNER; I HOPE THEY AREN’T TOO EXPENSIVE. WELL SON, REPLIED THE PET SHOP OWNER THEY ARE $25 EACH. THE BOY WAS CRUSHED. I’VE ONLY GOT $2.05, COULD I SEE THEM ANYWAY, OF COURSE SAID THE MAN. THE BOY’S EYES DANCED AT THE SIGHT OF FIVE LITTLE BALLS OF FUR. I HEARD THAT ONE HAS A BAD LEG THE BOY SAID. YES I AM AFRAID THERE IS ONE THAT WILL BE CRIPPLED FOR LIFE, THE OWNER RESPONDED. THE BOY SAID THAT IS THE PUPPY I WANT. COULD I PAY FOR HER A LITTLE AT A TIME? BUT SHE WILL ALWAYS HAVE A LIMP THE MAN RESPONDED. SMILING BRAVELY, THE BOY PULLED UP ONE PANT LEG, REVEALING A BRACE. I DON’T WALK GOOD EITHER. THEN LOOKING AT THE PUPPY THE BOY CONTINUED, I GUESS SHE WILL NEED A LOT OF LOVE AND HELP. I SURE DID. IT IS NOT SO EASY BEING CRIPPLED. HERE TAKE HER SAID THE MAN. I KNOW YOU WILL GIVE HER A GOOD HOME. AND FORGET ABOUT THE MONEY. ANYONE WOULD FEEL SORRY FOR THE CRIPPLED PUPPY, BUT THIS LITTLE BOY WOULD HAVE A SPECIAL ABILITY TO LOVE AND CARE FOR THE PUPPY BECAUSE HE KNOWS, FIRSTHAND WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE CRIPPLED! THIS IS WHAT HEBREWS IS TELLING US. WE HAVE A SAVIOR WHO TOOK ON OUR APPEARANCE SO THAT HE KNEW FIRST HAND WHAT WE WERE GOING THROUGH. THEN THIS PERSON, CHRIST, WILLINGLY WENT TO THE CROSS TO PAY FOR OUR SINS AND THEN CONQUERED DEATH WHEN THE RESURRECTION OCCURRED THREE DAYS LATER. THROUGH CHRIST’S ACTIONS, WE ARE GIVEN EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO BEGIN AGAIN WHENEVER WE MAKE A MISTAKE AND SIN. CHRIST IS ALWAYS STANDING THERE KNOCKING AT OUR DOOR ASKING US TO BE JUST LIKE EBENEZER SCROOGE AND BEGIN AGAIN BY ANSWERING THE DOOR, ACCEPTING CHRIST AND SHARING THE REST OF OUR LIFE WITH HIM. AND WHEN WE FAIL WE HAVE MORE CHANCES TO BEGIN AGAIN. AN UNKNOWN POET DESCRIBED CHRIST IN THIS MANNER; WHEN WE ARE THE NEEDIEST, HE IS THE MOST SUFFICIENT. WHEN WE ARE COMPLETELY HELPLESS, HE IS THE MOST HELPFUL. WHEN WE FEEL TOTALLY DEPENDENT, HE IS ABSOLUTELY DEPENDABLE. WHEN WE ARE THE WEAKEST, HE IS THE MOST ABLE. WHEN WE ARE THE MOST ALONE, HE IS INTIMATELY PRESENT. WHEN WE FEEL WE ARE THE LEAST, HE IS THE GREATEST. WHEN WE FEEL THE MOST USELESS, HE IS PREPARING US. WHEN IT IS THE DARKEST, HE IS THE ONLY LIGHT WE NEED. WHEN WE FEEL LEAST SECURE, HE IS OUR ROCK AND FORTRESS. WHEN WE ARE THE MOST HUMBLE, HE IS THE MOST GRACIOUS. WHEN WE CAN’T HE CAN. AND THAT IS WHY WE CAN ALWAYS BEGIN AGAIN. HOPEFULLY EBENEZER CAN DO IT ON HIS OWN, BUT WE HAVE A GREAT GOD THAT WILL WALK WITH US ALWAYS AND THAT IS WHY WE CAN BEGIN AGAIN. WILL YOU PRAY WITH ME PLEASE?


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Talk about it...

Roger Lewis

commented on May 3, 2014

Impossible to reach. No structure. Sorry.

Roger Lewis

commented on May 3, 2014

to read. Sorry, shouldn't have said anything if I can't be positive. If I could "begin again" I wouldn't say anything. Bless you, my brother.

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