Summary: As he concludes his letter, the writer to the Hebrews reminds us to give special care to three relationships in our spiritual lives.
1. A game warden catches an unlicensed fisherman in the act.
"You're going to pay a big fine for all those fish in your bucket"
But, officer, I didn't catch these -- they are my pet fish and I just bring them here to swim. When they're done they jump back into the bucket.
"Oh really? This I've got to see. If you can prove it, I'll let you go."
The fisherman empties the bucket into the lake and waits patiently. A few minutes go by and nothing happens.
Game warden: So where are the fish?
Fisherman: What fish?
2. Jokes can be funny for a variety of reasons. The joke is just told has a surprise ending, which is why it is funny — at least to me.
3. But the ending of Hebrews is not joke, so the ending is not a surprise. Instead, it is the writers “Last Raps,” his attempt to leave us with some clear cut direction.
Main Idea: As he concludes his letter, the writer to the Hebrews reminds us to give special care to three relationships in our spiritual lives.
I. Your Relationship to Church LEADERS: Remember, Submit, Care (7, 17-19, 22-23).
A. REMEMBER (7)
I learned many things from my first pastor as a believer. I have learned much from pastor friends who not only have useful information, but they live the life.
Some Christians cannot handle it when they get a new pastor at their church and they begin comparing to a previous favorite. You are not betraying former pastor.
B. SUBMIT (17-19)
It is natural to follow and respect leaders, except, of course, when they are far afield from Scripture. Not what someone thinks the Scripture means, but what it says.
Some people are never really part of a church; the church is “they,” not “we.” They view themselves as critics of what others do, evaluators sitting in judgment from a position of arrogance. And we have learned that “pride goes before a fall.”
People can have such high views of themselves that they expect the church to adjust to them rather than they adjusting to the church.
Other people feel unimportant, like their lives do not count, so they make trouble (often from the sidelines) because it makes them feel like they matter.
Proverbs 18:1, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”
C. Care and PRAY for them (22-23).
Pastors, elders, deacons, deaconesses, and other officers are not just functionaries, but human beings just like you with failings, struggles, worries, fears, heartaches.
II. Your Relationship to Jesus Christ, the FOCUS (8, 20-21)
A. Referring primarily to Jesus from His atoning work(yesterday), His ministry today as High Priest, and then FORWARD into eternity.
B. May also apply to His pre-existence as God the SON
C. We learn about Jesus from the BIBLE.
Andy Stanley is wrong when he writes, “….recently read a blog post by a former worship leader who left the faith after she read a book “proving” contradictions in the Bible. Apparently, she grew up believing the foundation of our faith is a non-contradicting book.
It’s not. Jesus is.
When our faith stands on anything other than Christ, we put ourselves (and others) in position to fall.”
Jim Peet succinctly refutes Stanley’s error, “”And where do find who Jesus is and why it matters? The Bible.”
D. Even the more REMOTE books of the Old Testament relate to Jesus in some way.
E. Jesus wants to EQUIP you now to serve Him here (20-21).
That is part of why we exist as a church. Do you come to church with a desire to be trained to serve the Lord in some way?
1. To DO His will
2. To PLEASE Him
III. Your Relationship to True SPIRITUALITY (8-16)
A. The spiritual may SHOW itself in the physical, and the physical may TEACH us about the spiritual.
Jesus taught many parables about farming, for example, to teach spiritual lessons.
The Lord’s Supper teaches us about the finished work of the cross. Baptism teaches us about the transformation that has occurred within and publicly identifies us with Jesus, but cannot save us.
B. Our souls are not strengthened by eating of the Temple SACRIFICES
It is God’s grace that strengthens us as we pursue our relationship with Him.
In the Middle Ages, the belief was strong that the physical controlled the spiritual; superstition, witchcraft — and Christian theology. Mechanical religion. Reformation.
C. The Day of Atonement practice of burning the sacrifice outside the camp illustrates (by Midrash) the reality that we must be willing to bear REPROACH for the sake of Christ (9-13).
D. This world is not our home, we are just PASSING through (14).
Hard to really live this way. This world is our parking place for a while.