Summary: Second part of Study in Hebrews. 1 of 4. This message is focused on the importance of spiritual maturity in the Christian believer
Is following Jesus a burden or a joy?
Mike Croschere was a young man that started coming to church because a neighbor invited him and his wife – and they came. They came back and eventually he and his wife decided to become followers of Jesus and were baptized into Him. They came to the Family of God class that I taught, became part of a life group and started helping with the children’s ministry. He was a carpenter and I needed help on a deck so he came over to my home and helped me one Saturday afternoon. We were talking a little about church when he suddenly stopped driving nails, looked over at me and said, “Six months ago I only went to church on Christmas or Easter for 45 minutes and I hated every minute – now I’m going Sunday worship, helping in Sunday School for another hour or so, and going to our home group on Wednesdays – and I wish I could go more. If you had told me that this would happen to me back then I would have told you that you were nuts!”
Last week there was a Super Bowl run scheduled from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM right down Kenewa Drive. The plan was to close off Kenewa Drive from all traffic from Dobie Road to Okemos Road – in other words there would be no access to Chippewa Middle School at all – none. Now if you all got here on time – no problem! But that’s fantasy! The reality is that there are always some (and you know who you are) who are scrambling around at the last minute and are lucky to be pulling in a little after 10:00 o’clock.
We worked it out with the police department and the parks and recreation department that had organized the run but what I found interesting was that when we went to the police department one of the responses we heard was – and this is a direct quote – “Why don’t you just give everyone the day off?” The person who said this saw going to church as burden. His perspective was one that saw church people as guilt ridden, unhappy burdened folks that went to Sunday service because they had to. The idea that people would actually come into a worship service because they wanted to be there and that it was the highlight of their week didn’t even register on his radar screen.
The major difference between the Old Testament covenant and the New Testament covenant is that in the OT the people were obliged to obey the law that Moses brought down from the mountain. This law set a high standard that none could reach
This old law was replaced by a new and even higher standard that is embodied in the person of Jesus. But the difference is the Jesus lived it – for us. This higher standard changes everything – including the way we live every day. No longer are we living in fear of breaking the law and being punished. Now we live with the joy of a living because it is our desire to please God.
With the higher standard of a new law there is an expectation for us to grow in to become mature in the ways of God. Just as a child is expected to become an adult and give up childish ways God expects us to grow up and become a complete people and to give up the childish ways of our spiritual infancy. Paul gives us six specific areas that we are expected to understand and move beyond to become mature and whole as followers of Jesus.