Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

Faith sees all the way home
May grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Our text of meditation today is from the last verses of chapter 10 and the first 10 verses of chapter eleven of letter to the Hebrew Christians, who were struggling in the midst of the difficulties that were before them. This is the third sermon that we have preached from this book as we have deemed it important to keep the context in place so as to stay faithful to the meaning of this letter for those for whom it was originally written as well as to apply it to our day today.

We have come to see that this letter was written in the midst of outward persecution (10:34) by the government that was over them as well as inward persecution (2:1-5) from those who were hanging on to that which Christ had fulfilled and was now done away with through Him. We have seen the shadows and types of Jesus Christ and His High Priesthood which were seen in the Mosaic Covenant through the Levitical Priesthood come into the substance in the Incarnate One, Jesus Christ. We have seen that our High Priest, possessing a priesthood after the order of Mechisidec (ch 7) is now on the right hand of our Father, where He ever lives to make intercession for the saints. He prays there that we would grow in the grace and knowledge of the love that is between the Father and His Son. (John 17)

In last week's text, we were given encouragement based what God has done in Christ and who we are in Him, so that we would live in this reality within this world, not forsaking the gathering together of ourselves in the body of Christ. It is important to keep this letter in the context in that it is being written to encourage them in times of extreme persecution and hardship. Last week we shared concerning the following verses.

Hebrews 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

As we move to the next part of this letter, it is important to note that while he was encouraging them, he was warning them that days are coming in which it will be needful to have perserverance, for he writes, "as ye see the day approaching." What is he referring to? Let us see what he says next....


26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

As we said earlier, these Christians were in the midst of an inward persecution as well as an outward one. Inward persecution would be that which works towards taking one away from the foundation that has been laid by Christ Jesus, the only foundation which will stand in the judgment day. He seems to be telling them the same thing that he has previously shared with them at the beginning of chapter 2, in that if they refuse that which has been done through the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ as the grounds of your soul's salvation, how will you then stand in the day of the judgment? He brings back to their minds of the severity of the punishment for the despising of Moses law and compares it with the judgment that will come upon all who reject the saving work of Jesus Christ.
There will be no alternative way to escape the wrath of God and one will pay the debt for their sin in hell forever.


32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.
34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

After warning them, he brings back into their minds of earlier days after their conversion as how they suffered for their faith back then, and at that time they did not separate themselves from the other Christians, but they stuck together, even having compassion on the writer this letter. He reminds them that they took it joyfully when their property was taken away from them, telling them that they knew that in heaven things are better and they never fade away.... Wow..Wow..Wow...

35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

After reminding them that they had endured in the past, he tells them: Do not throw away your confidence, your trust, for in the end the reward is great! But he does not tell them that it will be easy, for he says that you are going to need patience, for after doing that what God wants you to do, that which He has promised will be yours. But it is not time yet, but God will eventually come and that is for sure.

Verses 37-39 are taken from the book of Habbakuk, which is a short book from the Old Testament of three chapters. Habbakuk is asking God why He is not doing something about the evil of the day, God answers him by telling him that He is going to take care of things in due time, even telling Habbakuk that He is going to use a heathen people to bring judgment upon the nation. Here are the first 6 verses...followed by the first 5 of chapter two.

KJV Habakkuk 1:1 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.
2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!
3 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.
4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth. {wrong: or, wrested}
5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.
6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs. {breadth: Heb. breadths}

KJV Habakkuk 2:1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
5 Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people.

Here in verse 4 we see the contrast of those who live for self and those who live by the promise which is grounded in the Promise of the coming of the Just One, Jesus the Christ. The rest of chapter two speaks mostly of the characteristics of one who lives for self, and at the end of the chapter comparison is made of the idols of men with the Only God.

20 But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.

Habakkuk then prays........opening himself before the Lord, praying for revival, but recognizing that the Lord is going to use judgment to bring about revival. Habbakuk reveals his heart of compassion when he prays, "in wrath, remember mercy........." He than goes on to witness of the works of the Lord through the years, and how He controls the events of the world in the midst of a people who consistently go away from Him.

KJV Habakkuk 3:1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.
2 O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.
3 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.....

16 When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself,....

He saw the the Lord coming up unto the people, invading them with his troops, to destroy them. Habbakuk's stomach was trembling, his lips quivered at the voice that he was hearing, his bones were feeling rotten, and he was trembling in himself....but through the eyes of faith he saw through God's eyes. God was God and he was not. Habbakuk, by faith, saw things through God's eyes, he hurt for his fellow human beings, but God was God and he, Habbakuk, was a man who believed God and trusted God. He would not try tell God how to run the world.....Instead, in sorrow, he waited for God to act..for the purpose of judgment unto repentance. He trusted God, and therefore, He was not afraid.

Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us.
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.

Hebrews 10:37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Now we return the the last three verses of Hebrews 10. It seems to be saying that regardless of the obstacle that comes upon them in the future, faith is the only means by which one will perservere through it all. He calls upon them to perservere, to have the attitude of faith that Habbakuk did in the terrible judgment that came upon his people. If Habbakuk could live by faith in that extreme case, you also will be able to endure, but do not draw back, but keep on trusting in God. May we be encouraged today likewise to continue trusting, so that we may rejoice in the Lord, that we may live in the joy of the God of our salvation. We will then live in the victory of Christ, through whom we are more than conquerors.

KJV Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. {yet...: or, is yet spoken of}
5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. {moved...: or, being wary}
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

After giving encouragement, after warning them, and after giving more encouragement through the book of Habbakuk, he now spends the entire 11th chapter of Hebrews teaching of faith, its necessity and giving numerous illustrations of how it was lived out by those in the Old Testament. He starts out by saying three short sentences with a few words, but which have immense meaning and signficance and set the tone for the next two chapters....

KJV Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

They believed God as it was told to them by Him, and they trusted in what He did and said.

In our text, four people are mentioned: Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham. By faith, or because they believed God.... Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, Enoch pleased God, Noah, prepared an ark, Abraham obeyed and went out.

Why did they do so? "For they looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

As we read of the accounts in this chapter of those who believed and trusted God, and as we read more in detail of their lives in the books of the Bible in which it is given, we are encouraged to know that we are not lone rangers, even though we are strangers and pilgrims in this world. All of us could write our own story, of how by faith we are traveling through this world, looking for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Here are a couple of those amongst us who have given me permission to share their testimonies publicly.

By faith Louise Kilpela.......


"Early mornings is a time for me to read God's Word before all the "demands" and "noises" of the day find their way into our minds. One particular quiet morning, I was stopped by a clear voice saying, "Do not be afraid." Puzzled, I sat wondering, then put it in the back of my mind. Sometime later, a week, maybe, I discovered a foreign mass in my body. After all the tests, it was revealed to be cancer. The words resurfaced, "Do not be afraid."......Lord, I am afraid! Fear came in waves over me, but above it was the Voice: "Do not be afraid."

How often in God's Word are we reminded of this. God always goes before us and holds us in the palm of His hand. Sickness, diseases, and trials are no surprise to Him. They all work to bring us closer to work out His will in our lives.

Come to Me, you are are weary and afraid, I will give you strength and courage to face this, too. He lifts the gloom and sends rays of hope and peace to our hearts. One day we will exchange these earthly bodies to glorified ones where no aches or diseases will touch us. We will praise Him with new tongues and sing with all the saints in glory: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come. Praise be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Ghost".


By faith Doug Saukkola....
Pastor Orval has asked me to write an article for the november newsletter and asked that I share with you some of my health struggles. But first I wish to thank you--my dear church family for all of your prayers and support over the years. [ yes....years] It was in Sept. 2001 when I suffered a grand mal siezure that changed my life as I knew it. One minute putting my shoes on about to head off to work, the next minute waking up in an ambulance and being asked by the attendant: Do you know what happened to you? I did not. Another minute later I woke up in a room at the hospital and Sue and Ike were there with me. Then I think an E.R. Doc came in to tell about the different tests they had done. I remember none of what they did. Anyway, that was the beginning of many changes in my life.

As I followed up with a neurologist after that siezure He noticed a tremor in my right hand. Eventually Iwas diagnosed with Parkinson's disease which effects me in many different ways. People who see me walking in public might think me to be intoxicated the way I stumble around. As most of you know I am no longer able to work or to drive a car.[Ireally miss driving] Any way that is about where I am today. I don't know what tomorrow holds. None of us do, but if we look to Him who does know it sure helps to remove fear.

I want to share with you what may have been my mom's favorite verses found in proverbs 3 verses 5 and 6. I can still picture her sitting at the kitchen table reading her bible in the early mornings. As Thanksgiving Day aproaches let's give thanks for christian mom's and dad's and other christian witnesses around us for the examples they live out before us. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the lord with all thine heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths. Verse 5 tells us to trust in the Lord. We live in uncertain times. On the political scene a lot of grand promises are being made. Who are we to trust? What does it say on our currency? IN GOD WE TRUST. proverbs 3:5 tells us to TRUST IN THE LORD with all our heart.
Words from long ago. Are they still true today? Yes they are. God's word is true. God can not lie for He is TRUTH........ When Jesus was teaching in John 6 that He had come to bring and sustain spiritual life, He said in verse 53: Except ye eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood ye have no life in you. v.54, Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life;and I will raise him up at the last day. v.55 For my flesh is meat indeed and my blood is drink indeed. v.56 He that eath my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me and I in him. When Jesus taught these things it tells us that many who heard Him were offended. v.60, Many therefore of His disciples when they heard this said, "This is a hard saying, who can hear it?"

Jesus went on to explain that the words He spoke were spirit and life. Jesus ended by saying in v.65 "therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given him of my Father. And v.66 tells us that "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with him." v.67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? v.68 Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of life. v.69 And we believe and are sure that you are that christ,the son of the living God."

What a perfectly beautiful answer to His question. This story kind of sums up where I am today, as I stated earlier I don't know what tomorrow holds. None of us do . Good thing, or we might live in fear instead of hope. Thanks to God given faith, I and you also, dear believers, can say like Simon Peter, "Lord, there is nowhere else that I can go, there is nowhere else that I would want to go; you have the words of eternal life. And we believe that you are that Christ, The Son of the living God.... Do you know what? I have been waiting for God to show me what's next. Now I know that I am right where I need to be. Safe in the Savior's arms. You and I can serve Him today and every day in our ordinary lives. Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support. Sue and I love you and appreciate you all. Thanks for all the rides to St. Cloud for therapy and Dr. visits. God loves you and I do too! God's peace to you today and always, Doug Saukkola

Both of these individuals have not had it easy in their lives, as they would tell you if you asked them. But both of them would point to the faithfulness of the Lord as the reason for their hope and their confidence through all of their struggles. Just as the lives of Abraham, Moses, Joseph and David all had their trials and tribulations, so we do also. The Apostle Paul wrote to his young co worker these words of encouragement.

KJV 2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day..

KJV Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

Faith enables us to see our lives as through God eyes.....He saved us and He will carry us all the way home.
.May we be as those who do not draw back as times get difficult in our day, instead may we gather together so that there will be mutual encouragement for the rest of the way home. Shall we close with this beautiful hymn that speaks of the far reaching vision that faith gives unto us. It is called "In The Sweet By and By."

There’s a land that is fairer than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.
Refrain:
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.
We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.
To our bountiful Father above,
We will offer our tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days.

Til we get there, I leave you in His grace,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 04 Nov 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Revival and Reformation 10/28/2012
Note: In our continuing discussion of the relationship between the church and the state, two questions have come up which will be discussed today at our Bible Study before our worship service. Here are the questions which will be discussed and answers sought out of the Scriptures. I hope to bring followup to these questions next week, just a few days before the election. Here are the questions, after which will be the sermon script for today's sermon.

1. Under what conditions does God give Christians the right to protest against a government that is not governing according to His will? What is to be the nature of the opposition that is given to the true Christian Church by which they are allowed to depose the government?

2. If one votes for a candidate who stands with issues that are in violation of the moral law of God, is the voter held accountable for the sins of the candidate should she or he be elected?



Dear friends,

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you now and forever, Amen.

Dear congregation, we begin our sermon today by repeating the words that the Apostle Paul wrote to his dear congregation in the town of Colosse, which are words that flow out of his heart because He was united in the Spirit with Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,
5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,
6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing- as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth..

We are united in the effects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Good News which has declared throughout the ages which declares that God has received us back to Himself through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. Throughout the ages the simplicity of the Gospel has been complicated by our fallen nature in that we tend to agree that it is Jesus Christ through whom we are saved, but we then add our requirements on top of Christ's finished work. It is Jesus Christ, but........this, or that, or whatever.

By Grace alone, by Christ alone, by Scripture alone, by Faith alone

Today is the day of the year when the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is observed. It was on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg church in Germany. In doing so he was challenging the authority of the Roman Church, which maintained that it was the true church and its teachings represented the teachings of the Holy Bible.

The church had drifted from the teachings of Jesus Christ, was teaching their own way which was not consistent with the Bible, the Bible was not yet available in the languages of the common people, and therefore people simply believed and lived according to what they were told by the church.

The OT was written in Hebrew and the NT was written in Greek (although parts of Matthew may have been written in Aramaic). Many years before the birth of Jesus, Greek became a common language of the people of the Roman Empire of which Judea and Galilee were part. A Greek translation of the OT Hebrew scriptures was made and called the Septuagint.

People in England and America usually do not understand the Hebrew and Greek languages. Therefore, it is necessary to have the Bible translated into English. The story of how the Bible has been translated into English is long.

John Wycliffe (1320-1384)
Through the combined efforts of John Wyclif and a few of his friends, the work of translating the Bible into English was completed in 1384, the year of his death. This date marked the first time that the entire Bible appeared in the English language. John Wyclif was a great scholar at Oxford, England. He was also a priest in the Roman Catholic Church.

John Wyclif believed that people should be governed by the Bible alone. He dared to state publicly that he wanted the entire Bible translated into the people’s language, a position strongly opposed by the Roman Catholic Church at the time. Many years earlier, the Roman Catholic Church had translated the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures into the Latin language. This translation was used throughout the church and called the Latin Vulgate. Wyclif’s translation of the Bible was based upon this Latin translation.

Oxford University graduates were enlisted by John Wyclif in getting the English Bible into the hands of the people. First, copies had to be made by hand. This needed to be done in secret because of the danger that the church authorities might step in and try to destroy the work.

Within the one hundred fifty years following the death of John Wyclif, three great events took place
that had a great influence in getting the Bible into the hands of the common people.

The first was the invention of the printing press in 1450 by Johann Gutenberg (1396-1468) Until this time, copies of the Bible could only be made by hand. With this new invention many copies could be made more quickly. The first book to come from Gutenberg’s printing press was the Bible in the Latin language.

The second great event was the publishing of the Greek NT in 1516 by a Dutchman named Erasmus (1466-1536). A new interest and knowledge of the Greek manuscripts was growing among Bible scholars. This Greek manuscript was used by many as they translated the Bible into the language of the people.

The third great event was the Protestant Reformation. This event began when Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses (or statements) for debate on the church door at Wittenburg, Germany, on October 31, 1517. This was just a year after Erasmus published his Greek NT.

Martin Luther, a German monk, a priest and university professor, questioned the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. The Ninety-Five Theses were questions which Luther wanted to have debated. Soon a large following also questioned the teachings of the church. The Protestant Reformation came into being through Martin Luther’s witness for Jesus Christ. The Lutheran Church is part of the Protestant Reformation.

The Reformation: By Grace alone, by Christ alone, by Scripture alone, by Faith alone

From study of the Reformation, we can learn a number of valuable lessons
.
1. We can learn what happens when we drift from the Scriptures, whether we are considering our own lives, the lives of our family, or the life of our congregation. (We believe and teach our own understandings of who Jesus Christ is and what His heart is for the world)

2. We can see that outward unity can only be held together by restricting the freedom of those within the group, but that eventually that unity does not prevail.

3. We learn that when people are given the freedom to hear and to read for themselves, there will be an explosion of freedom as people experience joy and peace for the first time in their lives, and this freedom is in Jesus.

4. We observe that along with many coming to freedom will come many different understandings and practices, many of which are not according to the Bible.


Nothing has and will have more bearing on these futures than our understanding of and following the Big Lesson of the Reformation: By Grace alone, by Christ alone, by Scripture alone, by faith alone

There is always a tendency for us to go back to the old way of doing things. I remember when I used to get worried about the future of our business, I would tend to think that I should jump back in to do the work myself, and one of my employees told me, "You would be going backwards and not forward?"

Or a mother or father, when a child is bucky in doing that which they are asked to do, parents will have the temptation to do it themselves, and in so doing stunt the child's growth in maturity.

An athlete, in their drive to increase their skills in an event, may not have the sisu to work at improvement, and simply take the path of least resistance and go back to the old way that he or she was used to doing it.

Or as a congregation, if the way forward seems blocked, there can be a tendency to go back to the old ways, and thereby cut ourselves off from the exercising of faith in our lives as a congregation, which always leads to growth and maturity.

Last week we spoke from the letter to the Jewish Christians, who found themselves struggling with the temptation to go back to what they were used to, the daily and yearly observance of the sacrifices that were offered by the priests and the high priest. They were living somewhere in the year 60-68 AD and were in need of the encouragement which was given to them through this letter that was written. They needed to be reminded that Christ was the fulfilment of the Old Testament/Old Covenant. They needed to be shown through this letter that the NC replaced the OC, so there was no use even thinking about going back to the OC.

Last weeks' sermon text was from Hebrews 5:1-10 and as we begin this sermon which will be from Hebrews 10:16-25, it is important to take note of what follows the text from last week. It is like a parenthesis, in that the writer takes a break from his explanation of who Jesus is in light of the entire Scriptures and says the following.

Hebrews 5:11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,
13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righ teousness, since he is a child.
14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

He then goes on to warn them of the consequences of continuing in this state of mind, in that they have become dull of hearing and that they need to be taught again the main teachings about Jesus Christ in His Superiority to all things of the OT. In chapters 6 through the first part of chapter 10, he writes in detail to them, comparing and contrasting the OT and the NT, and mainly pointing to them that Jesus Christ is their Saviour, their High Priest. He is essentially telling them: If you have Christ, why should you go back to the shadow?

Here are some illustrations to help us understand the relationship between the OT and the NT.

Shadow/Substance/Reality
If the sun is behind you, and a person comes walking up to you, which do you see first, the shadow or the person? The OT sacrificial system with its high priestly office was like the shadow, Christ is the substance or the reality.


Credit/Debit
Those in the OT, observing the sacrifices, were on the credit system. Christ had not come into time as of yet to make payment for sin, so they received the promise on credit. It is somewhat like a credit card, one charges on an account in which there is no money in it. It is important to note that those animal blood sacrifices had no power to forgive sins outside of their connection to the eventual blood shedding of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.

We in the NT are on the debit system. Christ has come into time, has paid our sin debt with his shed blood and by faith we receive the promise.

After explaining in detail for them of these things, he wants to bring application to their lives, he brings his convincing argument to their lives. He says the following things.

What I am telling you has been in the works since the days of your fathers in the days of Jeremiah, 630 BC,
and he quotes partially from Jeremiah 31:31-34

Hebrews 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. (If Christ has come, why use the OT ways any longer?




Christ has opened the way for us to approach God
19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, {boldness: or, liberty}
20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
21 And having an high priest over the house of God;

1. We are encouraged to come to Him in faith.
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

2. We are encouraged to hang to His promise.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

3. We are encouraged to think of ways to encourage others to live out their faith.
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Application:

As we stated earlier, this is the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. From the story of the Hebrew people in our text, from the Reformation in the 1500's, and from our lives today in the church, what can lessons can we learn? The cry of the Reformation was: By Grace alone, by Christ alone, by Scripture alone, by Faith alone

Read and Hear God's Word regularly so that we will be able to discern between truth and error. For all ages this is important, for the purpose that we would hear what God says from His Word.

Believe what God says in His Word. 10:19-21

Yield to the encouragements of God's Word. 10:22-23

Look for ways to encourage others. 10:24-35


Hebrews 13:20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,
21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us1 that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

By Grace alone, by Christ alone, by Scripture alone, by Faith alone


In Christ alone,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 28 Oct 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Faith sees all the way home
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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