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  1. Rest for the Weary (Hebrews 4)

    February 26, 2013 by Pito

    By His death on the cross and by His resurrection from the dead, Jesus brought rest to His people. The author of Hebrews recognized that some in the church were not resting because they were not believing. God promised the Old Testament saints in the wilderness that because of their unbelief, they would not enter into His rest. He promises New Testament saints the same.

    Have you found your rest in Jesus? Is your soul at peace or are you anxious, distracted, feeling guilty or full of shame? Our fragmented and frantic culture would mold us into its image, but Christ has come to break that mold and to make us into His image. May we crush our idols of comfort and impatience, for we have been delivered from that bondage. Jesus says,

    “Come unto me all you that are weak and heavy laden, and you will find rest for your souls. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly, and you will find rest for your souls.”

    In a divine twist of wisdom, we are commanded to be diligent to enter into that rest. What can this mean? We have to work to rest?  Yes—God deals with His people by means of a covenant. Therefore, when we live under Him in a covenant fashion we are living in the way that He made us to live. This does not work because “it makes sense to us;” it works because this is how God made us.

    We find our rest in the grace of our Lord Jesus who loved us and gave Himself for us. He has brought us through the changes and challenges of life to wait at His table. He has opened the door of access to His presence, giving us His sacrament as a means of grace. We repent of all that has made our lives so bereft of rest, our darkened sky, our enslaved wills, our lust for comfort. Kneeling at the Cross we wait, humbly invoking His blessing on our thankful hearts. Lord, we believe, help our unbelief.

  2. We Are His House IF….. (Hebrews 3)

    February 20, 2013 by Pito

    Both Moses and Jesus were faithful in the house but Jesus is the Lord of the house. The house that Jesus is building is composed of people—including Moses. We are that house…Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house…”

    We are his house if… There are three classes of people today; those who are never in the house. They have no connection to Christ at all. Some are in the house, but only temporarily. They are covenantally connected to Christ, and the connection is a real one, but they are not elect. They are in the church but the church is not in them.

    The true sons of the house are the elect who abide there forever. “No man can snatch them from my Father’s hand…”

    The author quotes Psalm 95 and applies it to his readers. We need to guard against hardness of heart in just the same way as the Israelites in the wilderness were to guard their hearts, but many did not believe, so they were not allowed to enter into God’s rest. The warning is not hypothetical, but real, as real as the fact that they died because of unbelief.

    We are not to look at our faith but to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. We are to see the evidences of our faith as a basketball player sees the ball, in our peripheral vision. In our peripheral vision we see whether we love the brethren, whether we hate our sin, whether we understand spiritual things, but we look straight forward to Jesus, and not at our faith. We are called to be full of faith, not full of doubt and we are called to encourage faith, not doubt, in our children.

    Being full of faith, they can conquer the spirit of their age in the power  that the Spirit gives them for their generation. Let us draw near that we may go in the power of His name to serve our generation as its feeders, as its revitalizers, in conscious acts of reconciliation. Let us be fed so that we may feed others.

  3. Free from Shame and Guilt (Hebrews 2:10-18)

    February 12, 2013 by Pito

    When it comes to glory and grace, our God throws it around all over the place. It is like the waves of the ocean that never stop pounding on the shore. It just keeps coming. God glorified Jesus as our forerunner, our Captain, as the center of our salvation. Because He is our Captain, he tells us what to do and we do it.

    He is not ashamed to call us brothers. Because He does not hold his nose at our inability, our depravity, or our sin,  we must not be overcome by the sweat of self-flagellation. Neither must we think our sin so trivial as to need just a little bit of grace.

    Jesus was not ashamed of us and neither should we be. The difference between shame and guilt is important. Guilt says I’ve done something wrong. Shame says there is something wrong with me. Guilt says I’ve made a mistake; shame says I am a mistake. With guilt we try to make amends to correct, to heal. With shame, there is just a painful felling of depression, alienation, self-doubt, loneliness, isolation, paranoia, perfectionism, inferiority, failure, helplessness, hopelessness and narcissism.

    The feeling of unbearable shame often brings abuse of our bodies in some way to block out the feelings of worthlessness. Where can modern man find a cure for our shame?

    As we saw last week, in Christ we have been crowned with glory and honor. This is the opposite of shame. We can be clean in Jesus. All other solutions for shame lead us back to the dirt of death while we live.

    We have no shame or fear because on the cross He bore the shame for us. We have no guilt because on the cross He bore the guilt for us.

    As we gather on the Lord’s Day, Jesus sees us and sings for joy. Our response should not be mumbling through the psalms and hymns. We have been saved by someone who does not do this.

    Christ came to destroy Satan as the accuser, to destroy Satan in his office. Christ came to bring forgiveness. The whole meaning of forgiveness is that we remain God’s children despite the fact that we all do kill Him in our hearts at times.

    Christ’s destruction of Satan and his kingdom was a humiliating defeat. He now stands in the midst of the congregation as our High Priest, singing and making melody in His heart over us. We have been freed from guilt and shame because He took it all upon Himself. So let us go walking and leaping and praising God that people will be filled with wonder and amazement at the merciful, healing power of our elder Brother.

  4. Supremacy Establishes Victorious Responsibility (Hebrews 2:5-9)

    February 4, 2013 by Pito

    In the church and in the world, a vision for future victory is belied by pessimism, anxiety, shame and despair. The book of Hebrews has the balm for all of these and more. Because of who Jesus is, we may talk about the “world to come,” the world in which we live, with great confidence.

    Because of our sin in Adam, we are crippled in our ability to exercise our God-ordained dominion mandate. This impotency is healed in Christ. God is bringing His church to maturity and as He does, the world will be transformed. Not only do we as individuals have a glorious future, the whole world has a glorious future, but there will be no fruition apart from Christ.

    How will God bring all of this to pass? How will all the nations come to  bow the knee and confess Christ as Lord? It will not come through political rearrangements of Congress Critters or Executive Orders. It will not come through food stamps or full employment. It will come through the preaching of the gospel from the pulpits of our churches. It will come through men leading their families in the statutes of the Lord, loving and sacrificing for their wives and their children. The bottom line is that it will come by men and women conquered by the cross and our Lord says that the “zeal of the Lord will do it.”

    As we grow in our understanding of the gospel, and as we grow in our knowledge of what Jesus came to do, we will grow up into His image. Jesus came to save the world, not just 19 or 56 people. Because of the promises of God, we can sing “Glory, glory Hallelujah, His truth is marching on,” and we are not talking about the War of Northern Aggression. Jesus has won. Jesus is winning and we are in Him.

    The church must not place her faith in what she can see but in things hoped for. She must have a conviction of things not seen. Our world is so corrupt and wicked it is hard to see God’s truth marching on. In order to purify the church, God may have to put us in a situation similar to that of Job. Do you think Job understood what God was doing to him? It is clear from Job’s testimony that he did not, at least initially. Are you ready for God to show His love to you by doing to you (for you) what He did to Job? If he does, do you think that you will continue to walk by faith?

    God calls us as He has called His people, the Church, throughout history, to count it all joy when we are tried and tested. Because all things are from the Lord, we should be thankful for all things. Our individual trials should not keep us from trusting that God is putting all His enemies under His footstool. On the contrary, they are part of His subduing of all things.

    Let us glory in the promises of our faithful God. Let us partake of Christ that our hearts be strengthened, that our faith may increase, that our joy be multiplied and our faithfulness established on His sure promises of victory in this convoluted world.  He came to save the world and He will do it.

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