The Profound State of Being Understood

Being understood is profound. For example, in a marriage when your spouse understands you, despite all your shortcomings, the relationship thrives in many areas. And, being understood, the rough areas of the relationship prove to be a launch pad for improvement. My wife and I have been married for over 33 years. That’s a long time to study each other.

In recent years I have noticed how my wife makes adjustments in our relationship based on my many shortcomings. She can make these adjustments and avoid consequences because she understands the areas of life in which I don’t do well. Seeing her do this alerts me to the troubled area and allows me to consider making a change for the better. (sometimes I do better than others)

Most people have a fear of the unknown. We don’t know where change will lead, so we struggle to stay where we’re most comfortable.

However, being understood, and knowing we are understood, releases us from fear. Think about it; what if my wife asked me to make a major change in life. Knowing that she understands me empowers me with a confidence to move toward change. I believe it is as powerful as knowing she loves me and wants what is best for me.

Now, take this idea of being understood and apply it to your relationship with Jesus. As we continue our study of the book of Hebrews we are introduced to this same concept in our relationship with the Savior.

Hebrews 2:10 reads,  For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” (ESV) 

We are going to see, as our study continues, that God the Father saw it fitting that Jesus suffer just as we do. In this verse it states that Jesus is leading us to glory. He is not leading us as one who doesn’t understand the way we suffer with sin and fear and doubt. However, He does lead us as one who was perfectly victorious over the things in which we fail daily. Jesus understands us! He is sympathetic to our plight and at the same time victoriously leading us through it.

I find great Joy in the Responsibility that is mine when my Benevolent King, my Sympathetic High Priest, my Victorious Older Brother, namely Jesus, leads me to glory with an understanding heart.

I look forward to our time together next Wednesday December 4th. Have a Happy and Wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Break

No Bible study this week.

Growing up in West Virginia, a place where deer hunting is a way of life not just a sport, Thanksgiving week (the opening week of deer season) was a time when typical daily routines went on hold. Even the grocery stores were manned by skeleton crews (those low in rank and unable to schedule it off). It was a time when nothing but essentials were covered.

It was also a time spent with family. So while we take this week off from our normal Wednesday Bible study, enjoy family!

We will pick up next Wednesday December 4th at our usual times; 11:45am and 6:00pm.

May the Lord richly bless you and your family this Thanksgiving!

Pastor Mike

Synopsis and Homework Week 3

Our Value System

It’s easy to dispose of a spork. Yes, a spork, the mutant half spoon, half fork you get from many fast food restaurants to eat your meal on the go. The spork only holds value to us for a short time. Once the meal is over, all value the spork once held diminishes to the point that we easily toss it in the trash.

Contemplating the value of plastic utensils is easy; things we hold more precious are difficult. When Scripture requires us not to neglect it, what it’s really saying is re-value what you’ve heard.  The bottom-line of our study in Hebrews through chapter two verse nine is this:

Jesus, the highest value in the universe, has spoken the Gospel to us, the highest value to humanity, and promises us joy, the highest value spiritually. Everything else, no matter how precious and good, pales in comparison.

Every Thanksgiving families verbalize the things for which they are thankful. Often times its things like family, health, home, employment, etc.; all things that are good and given as gifts from God. It’s right to be thankful for such.

However, the question remains, how do we value them?   In the “not neglecting so great a salvation” life, what are the pitfalls of placing the wrong value on the temporary and the eternal?

In Scripture, Jesus’ teaching is more concerned about the good things in life causing us to neglect our great salvation than any of the normal sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll choices we make.

Read Luke 14:15-24 The Parable of the Great Banquet

Focus on the excuses offered for neglecting so great a salvation. (I am saying that each of the invited guests were saying to the banquet host [God], “please excuse me from your banquet [heaven, kingdom], my heart is really elsewhere.”)

Answer these questions:

What are the objects of the excuses offered by the invited guests?

Are these objects generally considered good or evil?

What happened when the invited guests placed a value on land [home], oxen [cars and things with wheels], wife [family] higher than banquet attendance [salvation]?

This Thanksgiving, as you give thanks for precious family, home, and dining room table filled with bounty, never grant these things so much value that you treat so great a salvation like a spork.

Teaching Outline Week 3

The Joy in Responsibility

(An In-Depth Study of Hebrews) 

Commentary

Inheritance

Hebrews 2:5-9

Outline

 

Hebrews  1:1-14                                              Set the scene painted by chapter one:

The central theme of chapter one…

Jesus is Superior; this Jesus, the “Son of God” is the final Word spoken in these last days.

 

Vs 2:1-4                                                          Therefore, listen!

God has spoken by His Son, listen, listen very carefully.

You’re either listening or drifting…

You either believe or you don’t…

It is suicide to neglect such a great salvation.

God has given us enough to respond. (no excuses)

 

Now pick up in verse 5 this week…

Vs 5                                                                 Look to the future

Who rules the world to come?

Our salvation is an inheritance (1:14)

Our salvation is past, present and future.

Vs 6-8                                                             Man rules the world to come – Psalm 8

This is too exciting to neglect!

Vs 8b                                                               Big problem at present…

Death reigns and man is subjected to it.

Vs 9                                                                 Good News

Jesus conquered death and established a Co-Heir and Co-reign in the world to come.

(Romans 8:17)

LIFE APPLICATION:

Don’t live out your salvation as if only a past event.

Believe (find joy) in your future.

Say to death – Psalm 8 is my destiny!

The future is too great to neglect; just believe!

 

Don’t Neglect Your Joy!

God is not an ogre. He’s not a tyrant. He’s not egotistical. God gives commands for our good. The authors of the Bible trumpet over and over… He is Steadfast Love and Faithfulness. Every Word of this one and only beautiful Truth is for HIS GLORY. It is His Glory that we crave, even when we don’t realize it. For it is only in His Glory that we can be satisfied. It is only in His Glory we can find Steadfast Love and Faithfulness. It is only in His Glory that we have real and lasting JOY.

As we study Hebrews together remember our first command in chapter 2 verse 1…Listen! Listen to this Jesus tell you how much He loves you. Listen to your only source of joy. God gives commands for our good.

As Americans we must neglect hundreds of people and things each of our waking hours. We have images and data coming at us at the speed of light. We cannot address them all. We must flip by tons of information never giving it a chance to change our lives.

The author of Hebrews asks the question,  “how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” (Hebrew 2:3)

God threatens terrible things if we won’t be filled with joy. So, out of everything you choose to neglect this weekend…

Don’t neglect being loved,

Don’t neglect being forgiven,

Don’t neglect righteousness,

Don’t neglect your Wonderful Father,

Don’t neglect being a Child of Grace.

Blessings,

Pastor Mike

Synopsis and Homework Week 2

Chapter two opens with the word “Therefore” which is the author’s way of pointing us to the portrait of Christ’s eminence and greatness painted in chapter one and, therefore, we ought to listen to what he says. For the higher a person stands in rank, the greater authority he exerts, and the more he demands the listener’s attention.

Verse one of chapter two does not allow for “fence sitting”. It plainly states we are either listening or drifting. We are listening to the Words of Christ and becoming more like Him, or we are drifting right past this most precious salvation.

Verse three of chapter two asks the question, “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?”

Read the following commentary;

3a. How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?

The key word in this part of the sentence, which began with the preceding verse, is “salvation.” The term has already been used in 1:14, in which the readers are told that all angels are ministering spirits that serve believers (the heirs of salvation). The value of salvation ought never be underestimated, for its price was the suffering and death of Jesus. He is called the author of salvation who brings many sons to glory (2:10). Therefore, the believer’s salvation is immeasurably great.

As verse 2 states, the message of the Old Testament could not and cannot be violated without suffering the consequences. How much more, then (this verse says), ought we to treasure our salvation. If we ever ignore the message concerning our redemption, it is impossible for us to escape God’s wrath and subsequent punishment. The more precious the gift, the greater the penalty if it is ignored. [1] 

The only way to neglect something or someone is to de-value them in your heart. If you are neglecting your family or your business you are making the bold statement that other people and things are of more value.

What are the results of neglecting a spouse, children, home, business, garden…nothing good!

What then are the results of neglecting Jesus?

Homework:

Read the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)

Answer the following two questions:

How are the first two servants like one who is listening to the Word’s of Christ?

 

How is the evil servant like one who is drifting?


[1] Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, Exposition of Hebrews, vol. 15, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 58.