Morning Musing: Amos 3:5-6

“Does a bird land in a trap on the ground if there is no bait for it? Does a trap spring from the ground when it has caught nothing? If a ram’s horn is blown in a city, aren’t people afraid? If a disaster occurs in a city, hasn’t the Lord done it?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Occasionally, I’ll tell one of my kids to stop doing something, and they’ll retort back that they weren’t doing whatever it is. My standard response to this is that if they hadn’t been doing it, then I wouldn’t have said anything to them about it. Because I did, they obviously were. Amos was prophesying God’s judgment against the people of Israel. In response, some of them may have been tempted to question what they had done that was worthy of judgment. Let’s talk about Amos’ response and what it might have to do with us.

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 6:1

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward with your Father in heaven.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

For the last several weeks, I have been working through the Gospel of Matthew with our Wednesday night Bible study group. It has been an absolute delight taking our time examining the story of Jesus as told by the converted tax collector. In particular, for the last few weeks we have been wading through the Sermon on the Mount. In the second part of Jesus’ most famous sermon, He talks about giving, praying, and fasting. And if you’re not paying close attention, it seems like those three things are really the focus of His comments. But they aren’t. Instead, Jesus is using those three things to talk about something that afflicts all of us. As we wrapped up our look at this section this past Wednesday night, I spent some time unpacking His larger (and more significant) point here. This morning, I’d like to share with you some thoughts on what Jesus had to say about self-righteousness.

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrew 10:26-31

“For if we deliberately go on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries. Anyone who disregarded the law of Moses died without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, who has regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know the one who has said, ‘Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever had one of those moments when you knew you had lost, and you were just waiting for the defeat to be completed? I’ve had lots of those moments while playing video games over the years. Honestly, most of the time I responded by simply turning the game off. If I’m watching one of my sports teams lose – especially in a big game – I’ll turn off the TV. Why bother sticking around when you know the results aren’t going to be what you had hoped? In life, though, that’s not an option. And with Jesus, grace and redemption are always possible. What the author of Hebrews is talking about here, however, is a situation when a terrible loss becomes unavoidable. Let’s wrestle today with what may be the most disturbing warning of the letter. Hang on tight for this one, and don’t look away until we reach the end. You’ll not want to miss this.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 10:15-18

“The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. For after he says, ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after those days,’ the Lord says, ‘I will put my laws on their hearts and write them on their minds, and I will never again remember their sins and their lawless acts.’ Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

God wants a relationship with us. That’s part of why he made us. We were created uniquely relative to the rest of creation. No other creature in the world is capable of relationships the way we are. This is because we of all the creatures on earth were created in His image. Yet sin mars this relationship. Actually, that’s not strong enough. It makes it impossible. As long as there is sin between us and God, we cannot be in a relationship with Him. So, God began to work toward fixing that. Before it came time for the real solution, though, He put in place a stopgap measure that allowed for us to get close, but it never quite got us where we wanted to go. Let’s talk this morning about how God fixed that.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 10:11-14

“Every priest stands day after day ministering and offering the same sacrifices time after time, which can never take away sins. But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. He is now waiting until his enemies are made his footstool. For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

A few years ago, and still on billboards in at least the southeast, there was an ad campaign called, “Pass It On.” Each ad highlighted a different character virtue in some encouraging, fun, and creative way. One of my favorite commercials features parents who have taken their little boy to a piano concert. They realize the child is missing when the curtain goes up and they see him on stage…at the piano…pecking out Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Suddenly, the master pianist walks out on stage, reaches around the boy, and adds his own incredible flourish as everyone cheers. The kid thought himself good, but only when the master filled out his skills did he create something truly masterful. Jesus was the master. We’re the novices. This is what the author explores here. Let’s join him.

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