As you look back on this past year, are you saying to yourself “That was the roughest year of my life.” or “I am glad to end that year.”? Whether you faced unexpected personal trials and challenges or struggled with what happened to the country that our forefathers had worked so hard to establish, we all hope that this new year brings hope of better days.
Hope is powerful. We all need it in sight, in our hearts and minds. Hope of rescue can give us the fuel and fortitude to remain faithful and not give up! Let me give you a challenge for 2022. A challenge to never give up! A Challenge to Remain Faithful!
This past Sunday was the first Sunday of 2022. Some of you began the year with the unexpected challenge of Covid-19. Some of you transitioned to a ‘warmer land’ down south. Some of you rested up from the busy holidays to get ready for a new year. Today, I want to highlight the message I preached this past Sunday.
My message was from Hebrews. In this book (actually, more of a sermon), the writer of Hebrews presents Jesus as supreme. Jesus as greater. The audience is made up of new Jewish converts to Christianity. Making the transition was a bit of a challenge for some, and the writer of Hebrews was assuring them that Jesus was greater than any of the leaders, prophets, and priests who had gone before them. The writer states that Jesus was God’s Son, even greater than the angels!
With that said, chapter 3 looks specifically at Moses, the great leader of the Israelites. God did many mighty acts through Moses to deliver the people from Egypt and to make them a nation – a people set apart for God’s purposes. Regardless of Moses’ greatness, Jesus was greater! Jesus had been counted worthy of more glory than Moses and was worth their allegiance.
From Hebrews 3, I presented three considerations for you as well, to remain faithful to Jesus. Three things to keep in mind when the trials and challenges of life come your way this year.
- Consider Jesus (vs. 1-6) – As he is writing to the Jewish believers, the author tells them not to lose focus on Jesus as He is central to life – especially when times are difficult. Pay attention to the gospel message you were given. Yes, it saved you, but as they say, “Preach the gospel to yourself every day.” Also, focus on the truths and realities of who Jesus is. It is essential to helping you remain faithful!
Why does it matter? Hebrews 2:1 (ESV) Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.
- Consider your heart (vs.7-11) – “Today when you hear His voice, don’t harden your hearts.” When you are hearing God’s Word and His Spirit speaking, do not ignore Him. Don’t grow indifferent, cold, or distracted. Embrace His Word.
Remember what was done because of your selfishness and rebellion. Remember what was done for your salvation. Just like the people of Israel, God had done so much to deliver them from their captivity to the Egyptians. Yet, in the process, when things were hard, they complained and questioned God.
If we are not careful, the same can happen to us. Do not become consumed with the troubles you are facing and even seeing around you. Stay intentionally focused on the truth of His Word. Spend less time listening to news that is ‘spun’ and social media that is simply opinion. What is healthier food for your soul? Remember who God is and what God has done so your heart does not harden.
- Consider one another (vs. 12-19) – The last verses of the chapter take on a different tone. Not just considering how our heart can be unbelieving, evil, and grow hard toward the Lord. But when we lose sight of Jesus and let our circumstances ‘harden our heart’, our response from a hardened heart can negatively impact others in the church. Our heart can also become desensitized toward the needs and cares of others. Compassion, love, and grace will not be evident.
Instead, what we should be doing is encouraging and exhorting one another. “We have Christ! Let’s keep going and trusting!” We must care for one another, love one another, and keep pointing our brothers and sisters to Christ!
As you face the coming days and year, be reminded of these three considerations from Hebrews 3. Remain faithful to Christ. Why? The consequences are serious, and Jesus is Greater!
Walking with you,