Morning Musing: Hebrews 4:1-2

“Therefore, since the promise to enter his rest remains, let us beware that none of you be found to have fallen short. For we also have received the good news just as they did. But the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever missed out on something because you didn’t believe it was going to happen? Sometimes things seem just too good to be true. And often they are. But occasionally, too good is exactly how they turn out, and if we aren’t willing to grant at least a little belief (or at least slightly suspend our disbelief), we will miss out. As we move into chapter 4 today, we are going to see the author of Hebrews continuing to encourage us to not miss out on something really special because of unbelief. Check this out with me.

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 3:16-19

“For who heard and rebelled? Wasn’t it all who came out of Egypt under Moses? With whom was God angry for forty years? Wasn’t it with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The idea of Hell bothers us. It bothers us a lot. And…it should. The notion that anyone is going to suffer for eternity is an uncomfortable one. Sure, there have been some particularly egregious moral monsters throughout history who we expect to be there, but for most folks (especially including ourselves) we try to justify why they shouldn’t. We look to excuse all manner of sin and bad behavior so that it does not exclude us from whatever version of Heaven we imagine. The author of Hebrews here is talking about a whole generation of Israelites who were separated from God. That’s an uncomfortable enough thought by itself. The reason he gives for their exclusion is even more so. Let’s talk a bit today about the sin of unbelief.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 11:22-24

“Jesus replied to them, ‘Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, “Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for – believe that you have received it and it will be yours.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever watched a really slick Prosperity Gospel preacher deliver his ace sermon? He will take you on a journey. You’ll be laughing one minute, crying the next, and ready to fork over your whole wallet to do your part to sustain the vital ministry the Lord has called him to do so that you can receive the blessings He wants to pour out into your bank account by the end of it. You will feel empowered to name what you want the Lord to give you, and to claim it boldly in prayer. It is a powerful experience, an encouraging experience, a truly religious experience, and a big, fat load of heresy. Verses like this one, though, would seem to disagree. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 9:22-24

“‘And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘”If you can”? Everything is possible for the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do believe; help my unbelief!'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What does it mean to believe something? There’s a nice, deep thought to get you started on your day. It’s worth some pondering, though. It’s worth some pondering if for no other reason than we are on the cusp of celebrating the historical event in which belief grants us eternal life. Or at least, belief pared with a confession of Jesus’ Lordship will. That’s what the apostle Paul said. If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Boom. So, what does it mean to believe? Jesus’ interaction with a father who didn’t here gives us a good opportunity to do some thinking together.

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Digging in Deeper: Isaiah 8:11-13

“For this is what the Lord said to me with great power, to keep me from going the way of this people: Do not call everything a conspiracy these people say is a conspiracy. Do not fear what they fear; do not be terrified. You are to regard only the Lord of Armies as holy. Only he should be feared; only he should be held in awe.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been reading along in the Scriptures and suddenly something grabbed your attention and wouldn’t let go? This passage did that for me this week. I have been starting to get ready for the Christmas series I’ll preach in a few weeks and read these verses as I was reading the context of two of Isaiah’s major prophecies about the coming Messiah. As I did, the Spirit whispered that these verses are really important. Here’s why I think He did.

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