Summary: A Life of Love and Hospitality, Service, Marriage, Faith
FAITH OVER FEAR - The Lord Is My Helper
Hebrews 13:1-6 (p. 845) November 5, 2017
There’s an old story told by a farmer which explains how cows end up on the road, lost:
A cow is nibbling on a tuft of grass in the middle of a field moving from one tuft to the next, and before you know it he ends up at some grass next to the fence. Noticing a nice clump of green grass on the other side of the fence, the cow stumbles through an old tear in the fence and finds himself outside on the road. “Cows don’t intend to get lost, “ the farmer explained, “they just nibble their way to lostness!”
The farmer, in his amazing wisdom was talking about more than just cows. None of us intends to wander from the green pasture of God’s plan…but then comes the tuft of a relationship…and the tuft of success…and then the tuft of leisure and comfort…and before we know it we discover we have nibbled our way to lostness…and we are a long way from God.
Our text this morning in Hebrews starts out with these words…“Keep on loving.” “Do not forget to show hospitality.” “Continue to remember those in prison.”
Keep on…Don’t forget…Continue…Remember.
Isaiah doesn’t compare us to cows. He compares us to sheep when he says “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way.” (Isaiah 53:6)
It’s the same story…just different animals. Human beings, by nature (a sinful one) are prone to go their own way…prone to nibble their way away from God…and this is true whether we’ve been born again through God’s Spirit or not. Our nature…our independent spirit continually fights to have it’s own way and go it’s own way.
If God’s Spirit lives in you He will work to keep you and I holy. He’ll yell “STOP”… “DON’T”…“QUIT.” But truth be told, we like Paul, many times know what we shouldn’t do and do it anyway…and we know what we should do…and don’t do it.”
Let me give you some good news about what it means to follow Christ as His disciple…He knows this about us…He experienced every single tempting tuft of grass…He was tempted in every way to turn His own way…and He overcame every temptation…and God’s Word doesn’t say…He thinks we’re stupid…or weak…or worthless…It says:
HEBREWS 4:14-16 (p. 840)
We no longer need an earthly priest to be our go between in regard to God. Jesus is now our go between. He is next to the father, at his right hand…interceding for His followers…Romans 8 asks “Who can be against us?” “Who can condemn us?” And the answer: “No one.” And then it says, “The only one who could, Christ Jesus, who died - and more than that was raised to life - is at the right hand of God interceding for us!” (Romans 8:34)?
Jesus isn’t our enemy…or accuser…He is our advocate…He is our helper and it’s His Spirit that lives within us…It’s His Spirit that listens to His words and plan for our lives and fights so desperately against our “go your own way” nature.
He is an amazing Helper, but something we should always remember if we are in Christ and He is in us…
I. OUR LIVES MUST BE OTHERS FOCUSED
The writer of Hebrews mentions 4 specific “others.”
The first is:
1. The Church: (Keep on loving one another as brothers and sister)
“Our mission statement here at Gardenside is “A family committed to loving Jesus and others so our neighbors, community and world can experience good news.”
If we can’t keep on loving each other as family…as brothers and sisters then how in the world can others believe God’s love is real?
Jesus said, “And they’ll know you are my disciples by the love you have for one another.” (John 13:35)
Yes, sometimes it’s hard to love even our brothers and sisters…sometimes they are stubborn, selfish, and mean…but guess what? Sometimes we’re stubborn, selfish, and mean.
And it doesn’t say keep on loving just the brothers and sisters you like, or have always been your friends, or part of your clique.
As families grow, new people are loved into them. Babies are nurtured, deaths are grieved, victories are celebrated.
Love is always a verb…it’s shown by encouragement, service, and generosity…when love becomes the filter, our family grows and becomes a place of safety and encouragement for all our brothers and sisters…but our lives and love cannot just be focused inward on other disciples…they also must focus on:
2. Showing hospitality to strangers
The writer even suggests that when we do this we might even be entertaining angels. Abraham and Sarah did when God sent 3 messengers to give them amazing news about Isaac’s birth.