Life is a River

“The life of this world is not a lake. It is a river. And it is flowing downward to destruction. If you do not listen earnestly to Jesus and consider him daily and fix your eyes on him hourly, then you will not stand still, you will go backward. You will float by” (John Piper, “The Danger of Drifting from the Word,” preached on April 28, 1996.  You can read it here).

“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1).

Behold the Lamb of God!

“The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

In the 1800’s, Charles Spurgeon was planning to preach at The Crystal Palace in London. He went to the place a day or two before the event to test out the acoustics (they didn’t have any amplification back then). So, he cried out in a loud voice, the words of John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”

Unknown to Spurgeon, there was a worker who was working in one of the galleries. He heard the message, was convicted of his sin, and believed on Christ. Such is an example of the power of the word of God.

Giving Good Reasons

When God calls us to believe and trust and hope in Him, He doesn’t give us something far-fetched to believe. He doesn’t say, “Believe that the moon is made of cheese, and I’ll give you eternal life.” No, he gives us good reasons to believe. He gives us good reasons to place our hope in Him.

We read in Hebrews 6:19-20, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

In other words, God has given us a reason why we can have a sure and steadfast hope in Jesus. Jesus entered heaven as a forerunner for us. He went first with the intent to bring many behind Him. Furthermore, His priesthood is forever. It will never stop. We can anchor our hope in Jesus.

The Big Battle

Tonight is the big game.  The New England Patriots and the New York Giants will battle it out in Indianapolis for Super Bowl XVLI.  It is the biggest battle of the sports year. Well over 100 million Americans will tune into the game.  The game will be broadcast all over the world.  Nobody really knows how many people will be watching worldwide.

However, there was a battle bigger than the Superbowl.  It was the battle in the Judean wilderness between Jesus and Satan, recorded in Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights.  He was fasting and being by the devil.  At the end of His time in the wilderness, Jesus faced three of the strongest temptations known to man.  Satan tempted Him to turn the stones into bread to satisfy His hunger.  Satan tempted Him to jump from a large height to show that angels would rescue Him. Satan tempted Him to worship Satan in exchange for all of the kingdoms of the world.

To each and every temptation, Jesus responded with the Scripture, “It is written, … It is written, … It is written.”  Jesus didn’t turn the stones into bread, because it is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone.”  Jesus didn’t jump from the height, because it is written, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”  Jesus didn’t fall down to worship Satan, because it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”

With these responses, Satan was defeated. Jesus won the great battle. To the best of our knowledge, nobody was watching.

The good news is that “Since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

How to please God

Many people try hard to please God.  They pray and pray.  They are involved in much religious activity. They seek to do good to many.  Those who fervently pursue such things often end up wondering what else they must do to please God.

Hebrews 11:6 gives us a good answer:  “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”  How can you please God?  (1) Believe in His Reality; (2) Believe in His Reward.

Preaching Hebrews 9-10

The above video is of Ryan Ferguson “preaching” Hebrews 9-10. Actually, he was merely quoting the Biblical text (English Standard Version).  This video left two lasting impressions on my life:

1. After watching this video, I came to understand that the book of Hebrews was really a sermon that was written down.
2. After watching this video, I put efforts into memorizing entire books of the Bible.

Covering It Up

I spent much of my day off this week, resealing our driveway.  It has some cracks that needed repair, so that the freezing and thawing of the cold and snow might not destroy the drive way. I purchased some sealer and proceeded to cover my entire driveway to protect was was underneath. As I spread the tar along my driveway, I thought of how many people attempt to cover their sins in a similar way.

In the Old Testament, God commanded the people to offer up sacrifices as a covering for their sin. In our day, people often try to cover up their sin by performing deeds of righteousness. But, such things will only cover up sin. What we need is our sin removed and taken away!

The writer to the Hebrews spoke of the inability of the Old Testament sacrifices to take away our sins. “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4).  The same goes for our good deeds.  We can never have our sins removed by doing good deeds. But, the good news is this, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ can actually take away our sins!  John the Baptist looked to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Let’s be done with trying to cover our sin. Rather, let us trust in Jesus, who can remove our sins far from us.  The Psalmist writes, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).