Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 10:1-4

“Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the reality itself of those things, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year. Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered, since the worshipers, purified once and for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in the sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year after year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

For the last several weeks we have been talking through the author of Hebrews’ argument that the new covenant Jesus made between us and God by His sacrificial death is greater than the old covenant God made between Him and Israel and which was rooted in the Law of Moses. The author has offered one look after another into the old covenant’s various points of weakness and shown how the new covenant resolves them. Here in chapter 10, as he is drawing near the end of this line of argument, he starts out with a statement that is perhaps the most direct he’s been so far. It’s hard to fathom how much a shock this would have been to his original audience. Let’s talk about it.

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Loving the Hurting

This week as we continued our series, How to Be Faithful When No One Else Is, we are turning with Daniel’s story in a direction that may be unexpected. When we imagine ourselves standing in faithfulness as the world around us turns away from such a path, we are often tempted to think in very much cultural terms. We imagine ourselves as warriors battling back the forces of evil. Yet being faithful after the way of Jesus looks very different from this. Let’s talk about how and why as we look at another story about a king and a dream.

Loving the Hurting

Let’s do a quick vocabulary poll this morning. This one is definitely a fifty-cent word. How many of you have heard the word “schadenfreude”? Anyone want to throw out a definition or use it in a sentence. It’s actually a really good word to have in your back pocket. It’s probably worth quite a few points in a game of Scrabble. I don’t think I’ve ever actually played a game of Scrabble in my life, so I could be wrong, but it at least has a lot of letters. Schadenfreude, as you might have guessed, is a German word. While a more robust definition is probably available in German, in English it basically translates to taking pleasure at the misfortune of others. We live today in a world where schadenfreude is a common feeling for a lot of people. 

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Digging in Deeper: Romans 13:1-4

“Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the one in authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval. For it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For it is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

If there was ever a passage of Scripture that was misused and misunderstood, it is this one. Especially today. And it’s not hard to see why. Given the state of our political culture, it’s hard to imagine a block of teaching better suited to tick off everybody. And the thing is, who exactly gets riled up about this passage changes from one political administration to another. There are churches who, during the George W. Bush administration, argued that this passage meant Christians absolutely needed to support the war effort in Iraq. Today, those same churches probably aren’t using the same passage to explain why their members need to be more supportive of the various legislative and policy efforts of the Biden administration. There are other churches, though, who have used the same passage in the exact opposite direction. This morning, I don’t want to talk about any of that. Instead, I want to focus our attention on the end of the passage and talk about a group of individuals who tend to be as overlooked as they are underappreciated by our culture. This morning I want to talk about Romans 13 and correctional officers.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 9:27-28

“And just as it is appointed for people to die once — and after this, judgment  —  so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I love trick shot videos. Dude Perfect offers some of the best of these that are out there. I know because my kids have watched all of them. Twice. A week. For the last year. Okay, it’s not quite that bad, but we do watch a lot of Dude Perfect videos around my house. One of the thoughts that runs through my head every time I see a trick shot is, “He couldn’t do that again.” Sometimes when I’ve done something particularly hard, my first thought is, “I wouldn’t want to do that again.” That’s probably what Jesus thought after the ordeal of the cross. Thankfully, as the author of Hebrews explains here, He won’t have to. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 9:25-26

“He did not do this to offer himself many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another. Otherwise, he would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the classic definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Under the old covenant, worshipers offered an endless stream of sacrifices, one after the next, each time expecting them to take away their sins. Yet while those sacrifices did indeed provide the covering they needed in the moment, they never dealt with the root problem. It was crazy to think they could. In the new covenant, Jesus changed all of that. Let’s talk this morning about how.

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