Quest for Hope
Faithful in Belief 2-17-16 Intro
Yesterday, we were filled with gratitude as we read about how Jesus defeated death by offering himself as a perfect sacrifice for our sin. The cross is really a symbol of love; the love of God for all humanity. God is determined to make a way to have a relationship with His creation. We simply need to accept His terms; the cross. In our quest for hope this morning, we are going to look at some wisdom from the book of Hebrews on how to stay strong and faithful in our belief in the work of Christ. Jesus said, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29). If we do so, we can enter into God’s rest, because human effort accomplishes nothing eternal (John 6:63).
“That is why the Holy Spirit says,
Today when you hear his voice,
don’t harden your hearts
as Israel did when they rebelled,
when they tested me in the wilderness.
There your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
even though they saw my miracles for forty years.
So I was angry with them, and I said,
‘Their hearts always turn away from me.
They refuse to do what I tell them.’
So in my anger I took an oath:
‘They will never enter my place of rest.’
Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.
Remember what it says:
‘Today when you hear his voice,
don’t harden your hearts
as Israel did when they rebelled.’”
I will be teaching on this passage from Hebrews in our worship service tonight and will post the whole lesson following. In the meantime, I would like to put out a few questions to get you praying, thinking about this passage, and what you believe about your relationship with God:
- If we have accepted by faith the work of Jesus on the cross and have asked him to cover our humanness—forgive our sins by his pure sacrificial blood—are we always saved from the wrath of God? Are we saved to enjoy peace with God?
- This wisdom tells us to search our hearts for evil and unbelief. What does that mean to you?
- How do we harden our hearts against the Holy Spirit who gives eternal life and “rest”? Can we harden our hearts without making a conscious decision to do so?
- If Jesus defeated sin and death, how does evil remain an issue for the believer?
- Do you think trust and perseverance has something to do with our success in being faithful? Please give some examples.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we ponder this word from Hebrews today in preparation for our lesson tonight, please guide us and lead us to truth about our hearts and what You require. In Jesus’ name. Amen.