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Thanks to Pastor J. for the Church Photo - Check out his blog - Lillie-Put: http://josephelonlillie.com/

When I started this pondering about the Sabbath, I really thought – two or three posts – I had no idea of going 2 weeks. Monday I start Christmas I promise, and later this morning you can be looking for a quickie birth announcement, as my first grand-baby is coming this morning.

There is one last passage that I want to toss briefly into the mix. It's in Hebrews. Actually half of the third chapter and all of the fourth deal with Sabbath and entering into the rest prepared for us. We could have a lengthy Bible study on this passage, and it would be really worthwhile going verse by verse, but I do not have time here and now to dig in. Perhaps in the new year. For now – a couple key concepts.

The rest God offers is entered by faith.

For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. - Hebrews 4:2

This faith was demonstrated in obedience, or perhaps I should say lack of faith was demonstrated by disobedience.

Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, - Hebrews 4:6

There is yet a place of rest available for our entry.

So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. - Hebrews 4:9

We must find this tension of living in the rest God has provided and striving for a rest yet to be entered.

Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. - Hebrews 4:11

In this letter to the Hebrew Christians, the writer exhorts them toward faith, diligence and obedience.

Lest you be compelled into some legalistic observance of old law, I want you to understand that these three are one.

We are not called to believe facts and creeds, and enter by the sweat of our brow in religious labor, and the keeping of hundreds of ceremonial laws.

The “work” you (we) are called to, is faith, and what faith looks like is abiding. Living in Christ, living, seated in heavenly places in and with Christ. Hearing His voice and responding to it daily. This is the call.

Loving Him and His people, these are the commands He has given, and this is what faith looks like.

Love is the path to rest. [Tweet This]

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Have a blessed day

And for now you can call me

Grampa Ben (watch for the announcement later today [big smile])

 

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

1)    The gospel was preached
2)    The gospel was received
3)    Those who receive stand
4)    Those who receive are saved
5)    Those who receive hold fast

The past 2 days we have looked at the first three implications of the gospel in the Church of Corinth. Today we will finish up with the last two.

Those who receive are saved

I grew up in and around Church all my life. This word “saved” has always been part of my vocabulary. At a very young age I asked Jesus to save me

When I was a kid and even into my twenties, the meaning of the word “saved” was pretty simply rescued from a future burning in hell.

I grew up in a generation of evangelism that focused heavily on the punishment of unbelievers. They for sure understood what Jude was talking about when he said,

 save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. ~ Jude:23

Then I started to study this word “saved” and found it to be one of the most fascinating and compelling words in scripture.

The Greek word here is ‘sozo’ and its meaning are very similar to that of the Hebrew word ‘shalom.’ I know when you hear the word shalom, you may be thinking peace – especially since it is used as a day to day greeting, it can lose its meaning pretty quickly. But the simplest and most profound definition I have heard for shalom is ‘whole – complete – nothing broken and nothing missing.’ I love that!

Sozo is like that. It is not simply that when you enter a covenant relationship with Jesus that He saves you from hell (and He does) but He also makes you whole.

In the gospels this word, sozo, is translated, saved, healed, delivered, and made whole.

I love the phrase the writer to the Hebrews uses:

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. ~ Hebrews 7:25

So then – those who receive Him, who come to Him, He saves to the uttermost! Hallelujah!

Those who receive hold fast

So what does it mean to hold fast? Is this some kind of work of the flesh Paul is foisting on us? I don’t think so. No deed of the flesh can hold us or attach us to that which was given to us supernaturally.

Picture this:

There is an jumbo jet  - let’s call it a concord jet – one of those supersonic babies from the 90’s. It is flying across the pond headed to France. God has a plan to get you to France for a meeting He wants you to attend. So He reaches out of heaven (picture a giant Mickey Mouse glove) delicately picks you up by the collar and places you on the jet – not in but on. Then He tells you, “Ok, it is My will that you go to Paris and preach at Notre Dame. I have gotten you on the plane, all you have to do is hold on till you land in Paris. It should only be 3 hours.”

Hold On, We're almost there!

Yeah – no – I am pretty sure that in this strictly supernatural journey we are on there is no amount of our own holding on that will keep up on the plane. Jesus holds us!

So what are we holding fast?

He is talking about holding on to the truth - to the gospel – contending for the faith – holding what is true, and letting everything else go.

When I say holding the truth – there is an element of protecting it, but I believe the bigger job is protecting ourselves from the lies. Even lies like – you have to hold on to Jesus or you’ll end up in hell.

If we could hold on, we would not have needed Jesus to die and rise and present His precious blood to the Father.

Next we will look at the gospel in its simplest form.

Ben NelsonCome back Monday

See you then.

Tomorrow there are some great questions to toss around – don’t miss it.

Ben

three_crosses_on_kreuzberg_mountain_bavaria_germanyThink of Jesus' last 24 hours before the cross.

  • He was slapped
  • He was spit upon
  • He was despised
  • They plucked out His beard
  • They pressed thorns into His head
  • They mocked Him
  • They whipped Him with a cat and nine
  • They forced Him to drag that massive cross through the streets
  • They pounded nails into His hands and feet

He could have prayed and the Father would have scrubbed the mission and annihilated the nations of Israel and Rome in one fell swoop.

But like a lamb to the slaughter He was quiet, and continued to turn the other cheek.

Why?

Why?

Why are you silent, O precious Lamb of God?

Why do you heal the wounds of your attackers?

Why do you pray for the forgiveness of those who tear you apart?

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. ~ Hebrews 12:2-3 

Part of that joy was reconciliation with the very ones who beat Him.

BenSee you

Ben

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