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  1. Acceptable Worship (Hebrews 12:18-29)

    September 15, 2013 by Pito

     

       We are to recognize that we have been called to another mountain; not a mountain that can be touched, but a mountain that cannot be shaken. Israel was shaken at Sinai, but God shook the heavens and all the nations at Mt. Zion. God fulfilled His promise that when He did that, the nations would come to the Desire of the nations, even Jesus.

       We are citizens of that Kingdom that will grow and advance until it fills the earth. After the shaking which began on the cross and continues through history, it will be the only one standing. This brings us to the importance of worship as the appointed means that God has assigned to bring about the manifestation of this Kingdom.

       The key note of godly worship is reverence and godly fear. Our worship must not be breezy and casual. God is not our “buddy” in the skies. Even though we have a liturgy that promotes reverence and godly awe, we too can become casual as we come before God. The world can become casual before God with a Rock band and we can become casual without a Rock band. Our danger is familiarity.

       While there are many Christians who prefer private worship, the Bible teaches that worship belongs primarily in the congregation. Psalm 22:22 “I will tell of your name to my brethren. In the midst of the assembly I will praise you.”

       God has given the Church many gifts, including public officers, the Holy Spirit in the assembly, and one day in the week to rest together in the truth of the New Covenant, to rest in Jesus.

      We can be in the building, but fail to go to heaven in our worship. Understanding what Jesus did when he shook the nations should move us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Understanding what godly worship is should evaporate all flippancy and impertinence.

       May the Lord grant that we love our Mother, the Church, another gift from God bought for us on the cross. May we keep our vows to her and to Him as we come to His table. May He grant repentance for our failures to worship Him with godly fear and awe.


  2. Pursue Holiness (Hebrews 12:11-17)

    September 8, 2013 by Pito

     

      In our race of life, the Lord has promised to discipline us so that we might win the race, not looking back but pressing forward. He encourages us to strengthen our determination, to use our full energy to reach the goal.

       As we face the temptation to get weary and to get despondent, He says, pursue peace and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. From God’s point of view our race is a short race of momentary vapor, but from ours, it is a marathon.

       Knowing this we exert effort. We vigorously lift up our hands and feet, we pump them hard for we are in a race with great rewards. We expect agony, conflict and discipline, realizing that the goal of it all is an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.

       We expect victory. We expect that a tried and proven faith will receive glory at the revelation of our Lord. The Lord says that to receive His reward we must not be spiritually paralyzed. We must pursue righteousness with all our might for there are but a few laps to go before crossing the finish line.

      The Hebrew people of our letter were considering a foolish thing indeed. They were thinking about turning around and heading back past the starting line. They were rejecting the heavenly Jerusalem for the earthly Jerusalem. They were rejecting the sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God without spot or blemish, for the blood of bulls and goats. Their sacrifices were not acceptable to God.

        How about ours?  Are we willing to sacrifice our bodies, our time, our resources, for each other? Are we in the habit of making sacrifices for our families? Are we in the habit of making sacrifices for our wives? Are we willing to manifest our faith by running the race by faith. Esau’s faith was in himself and his agenda, his goals. He wanted forgiveness without repentance. He didn’t want to change.

       The Church in America is a lot like Esau. The church fears everything but God. The Church in America is heading back towards the starting line instead of pressing on in the truth. Pray for the Church.

      The Lord’s Table gives us the strength we need to persevere in the race. It supports our weak knees and straightens out our dislocated bones. We revel in His passion and declare that  “We will be ravished only with His love.”
    Therefore, let us ascend and feast with our risen Lord. Through Him we conquer all.


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