Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jesus, Our Great High Priest

During the months of September, October, & November we will be doing an in depth study into the book of Hebrews.  This will be during our 8.45am & 11am worship services.

The more that I study the book of Hebrews the more I realize I do not know as much about this book as I thought.  It has some beautiful passages that I remember memorizing as a child.  Passages like Hebrews 4.12: "Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."  But then it has areas of the book that I don't understand ----- like how the word cross is only used one time in the entire book ----- even though it is filled with imagery of sacrifice.

As we have been studying this book we have learned that a large portion of this book is a sermon.  Or maybe a better way to describe it is as a sermon of sermons.  The preacher uses the Old Testament to preach these sermons.  We learned through our studying that we need to have a better grasp of the book of Leviticus in order to better understand Hebrews.  Below you will find a reading guide that will help you study Leviticus and Hebrews side-by-side ------ week after week.

Finally, what we will find throughout the book of Hebrews is an urgent call by a pastor to a congregation to not give up!  To persevere in the faith.  Thomas G. Long describes Hebrews this way: "The preacher is not preaching into a vacuum; he is addressing a real and urgent pastoral problem, one that seems astonishingly contemporary.  His congregation is exhausted.  They are tired----tired of serving the world, tired of worship, tired of Christian education, tired of being peculiar and whispered about in society, tired of spiritual struggle, tired of trying to keep their prayer life going, tired even of Jesus ....... Tired of walking the walk, many of them are considering taking a walk, leaving the community and falling away from the faith."  In the midst of this lethargy and ambiguity toward church ----- the preacher does something interesting.  Long continues by writing: "The Preacher does not appeal to improved group dynamics, conflict management techniques, reorganization of the mission structures, or snappy worship services.  Rather, he preaches----preaches to the congregation in complex theological terms about the nature and meaning of Jesus Christ."

We would like to invite you to dive in deeply into the book of Hebrews.  Let us learn together how Jesus is our Great High Priest.

  • Sept. 2nd : Sermon based on Hebrews 1
    • Read: Hebrews 1 & Leviticus 1-3
    • See also: Heb:10:4-9 & 5:10; Ps. 2:7; 2 Sam. 7:14; Deut. 32:43; Ps. 104:4; Ps. 45:6-7; Ps. 102:25-27; Ps.110:1.
  • Sept. 9th: Sermon based on Hebrews 2
    • Read: Hebrews 2 & Leviticus 4-5
    • See also: Ps. 8:4-6, 22:22; Isa. 8:17-18
  • Sept. 16th: Sermon based on Hebrews 3:1-6
    • Read: Hebrews 3 & Leviticus 6-7
    • See also: Heb. 9:11-16; Num. 12; Lev. 8; Ps. 95:7-11; Jer. 17:5; Num. 14:1-4, 34, 41.
  • Sept. 23rd: Sermon based on Hebrews 4:12-16
    • Read: Hebrews 4 & Leviticus 8-9
    • See also: Lev.4:1-12; Num.13:30-14:10; Ps.95:7-10; Gen. 2:2; Ex. 28:1; Ps. 2:7, 110;
  • Sept. 30th: Sermon based on Hebrews 5:1-10
    • Read: Hebrews 5 & Leviticus 10-11
    • See also: Gen. 22:16-18; Ex. 26:31-35; Lev. 16:2
  • Oct. 7th: Sermon based on Hebrews 7
    • Read: Hebrews 6-7 & Leviticus 12-14
    • See also: Lev. 7:22-38,; Ps. 110:4; Gen. 14; Num. 18:21-24; Deut. 26:12; 1 Chron. 2:3-15; Matt. 1:1-17.
  • Oct. 14th: Sermon based on Hebrews 9:11-28
    • Read: Hebrews 8-9 & Leviticus 15-16
    • See also: Read Heb. 9 and Lev. 16 together carefully. Ps.110; Lev. 5:11-13, 4:1-12, 9; Jer. 31:31-34; Ex. 16:32-34, 24:3-8, 25-26, 30:6; Lev. 24:5; Num. 17:1-10, 19:1-10; Isa. 53:12.
  • Oct. 21st: Sermon based on Hebrews 10:11-25
    • Read: Hebrews 10 & Leviticus 16-17
    • See also: Ps. 40:6-8, 50:8-15, 110; Lev. 4; 1 Sam. 15:22; Isa. 1:10-17, 26:20; Jer. 7:21-26, 31:33-34; Hos. 6:6; Deut. 17:2-6, 32:35-36; Hab. 2:3-4.
  • Oct. 28th: Sermon based on Hebrews 11:1-19
    • Read: Hebrews 11 & Leviticus 18-19
    • See also: Ps. 33:6, 89:52; Gen. 4:3-10, 5:21-24, 6:13-22, 15:5-6, 12:1-8, 17:19, 18:11-14, 21:2-12, 22:1-17, 27:27-40, 32:12, 47:31-50:25, Ex. 2:2-15, 12:21-30,13:9, 14:21-30; Jos. 2:1-21, 6:12-25; Judg. 4-8, 11-12, 13-16; Dan. 3 & 6; 1 Kings 17:17-24, 2 Kings 4:25-37; 2 Chron. 24:20-22; Jer. 26:23.
  • Nov. 4th: Sermon based on Hebrews 12:1-4
    • Read: Hebrews 12 & Leviticus 20-21
    • See also: Ps.110;
  • Nov. 11th: Sermon based on Hebrews 12:5-17
    • Read: Leviticus 22-23
    • See also: Prov. 3:11-12; Num. 16:22; Rev. 22:6; Isa. 35:3; Deut. 29:18; Gen. 25:29-34, 27:30-40.
  • Nov. 18th: Sermon based on Hebrews 12:18-29
    • Read: Leviticus 24-25
    • See also: Deut. 4:11-24, 5:22-27; 9:3-19; Gen. 4:1-10; Ex. 19:12-22, 20:18-21; Hag. 2:6.
  • Nov. 25th: Sermon based on Hebrews 13
    • Read: Hebrews 13 & Leviticus 26-27
    • See also: Lev. 4:3-12, 7:12, 16:27; Gen 18:1-8, 19:1; Jos. 1:5; Ps. 50:14-23, 118:6; Hos. 14:2; Isa. 63:11; Jn. 19:20


Sunday, August 26, 2012

1 Kings 8.1-43

This Sunday we will be focusing on 1 Kings 8.1-43.  This is the end of our sermon series on the life of David.  We began this series at the beginning of June and now we are ending it at the end of August.  During this time we have looked over the life of King David.  We have learned what it means to be "a man after God's own heart" [1 Samuel 13.14].  We have learned that David is a character that had awesome faith and trust in the Lord to guide him through great adversity.  But, we also find David to be a man that struggled with a personal hell that he brought upon himself, by trying to get what he wanted.  This was opposed to what God wanted for him. 

Today's passage from 1 Kings 8 is the culmination of David's life work.  This culmination is found in his son Solomon and what he was able to achieve.  If you recall, David desired to build a temple for the Lord to dwell in.  God did not want David to build that temple because he had been a man of war.  Instead, the Lord had Solomon build the temple.  In this passage we see the Lord as the actor in the thick cloud that filled the house of the Lord [1 Kings 8.11].  Solomon responds to God's actions by interpreting to the people what is going on and then blessing the Temple.  In this response he reminds the people of Israel that this started with his father David and now this throne of David would continue. 

One verse that really stuck out to me was v23 where Solomon prays: "O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart."  What does it mean to walk before the Lord with all our hearts?  This seems like it is an acknowledgement that we are relying and trusting on the Lord to be our source and our hope.  If we are to trust in the Lord and surrender to him all of our heart ----- what happens when we do not do that?  In this passage from 1 Kings 8 we get an opportunity to learn how to repent and to trust in God's wonderful grace.  Continue reading vv46-50 and you will get a better sense of this repentance and forgiveness. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

1 Kings 2.10-3.14

We come to the end of King David's life. In reflection on his life we see great peaks and valleys.  In the midst of all of these peaks and valleys we have to cling to the fact that David was a man after God's own heart.  In his death we remember this great shepherd boy who rises to power through God's wonderful grace.  He was anointed now to be the shepherd of Israel.  A shepherd who would care for God's people.  Now we see that Solomon has gained the seat of power.  Solomon ----- the son of David and Bathsheba securely seals his kingship.  And this security involves a great deal of death and pain. 

In the midst of Solomon's rise to power God meets Solomon in a dream.  In 1 Kings 3.5 it says: "At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night."  The Lord asks Solomon what his desire is.  And Solomon answers rightly.  He asks for an understanding mind ----- so that he can rightly govern the people of Israel.  After making his request known it says in v10: "It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this."  What greater words can be written about any of us ----- then to please the Lord.  Therefore, the gift is given to Solomon ----- but we must remember that a gift must be opened and used.  This gift has a condition attached to it ----- that Solomon must live into being a king that has an understanding mind. 

Have we pleased the Lord?  Have we pleased the Lord by using the gifts that God has given to us? 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

This is our story.......

This coming Sunday, August 12th at 5:30pm we will be starting a four-week study on "This is our story..."  In this study you will be given the opportunity to grow in your understanding of the story of Christianity.  This study will be an exploration of scripture, along with a focus on hospitality and invitation as the retelling of the story of Christianity.  Finally, we will end with learning how we can then tell the story ourselves. 

This will be held in our fellowship hall and it will be part of our Sunday evening worship service called Common Table.  Please plan to stay for dinner as well.  This Sunday, August 12th Amy Henderson will be cooking.  If you have any questions you are welcome to contact Pastor Philip Chryst at 336.592.3400.