What do we think of when we think of being disciplined by the Lord? Do we think of punishment? This past Sunday we looked at Hebrews 12:1-11 and the idea of discipline in Jesus' life and our own. Jesus endured many hardships during his life, the greatest of which was to endure death on a cross for the sin of others. It appears that the Christians the writer is speaking to had forgotten the inheritance God had given them because of Jesus' sacrifice. In verse 5, he reminds his brothers and sisters that they are sons and daughters of God and that God treats us as children whom he loves. Too often we can look at this passage and think that the discipline is God reacting to our mistakes, a punishment to be administered when we do wrong. We forget the context of this passage and completely forget how Jesus fits in to the picture. We believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and he was disciplined by his father. In Hebrews 5:8 , it says that Jesus learned obedience from his sufferings. Jesus understood that his suffering was helping him learn obedience, a reliance on God for strength, security, and comfort. How do we see suffering? Is it a "I must have done something wrong to deserve this" viewpoint? Do we ask "Why me"? Shouldn't we instead see suffering as an opportunity to grow as a child of God? When we go through difficult times and endure hardship, God is treating us as His sons and daughters!As we go about our day to day lives, let us remember Jesus and WHY he did what he did. Let us remember that the "source and perfecter of our faith" was looking to a time where he could be reunited with his God. Let us remember that this same hope, the hope of a bodily resurrection and being with God forever, is ours as well.
Last Sunday was the day before Memorial Day in the U.S. as well as Pentecost Sunday. For Christians, every Sunday is memorial day, as we join together to celebrate the Lord's Supper.
It was an encouraging time of meeting for the Augusta Church! We had several sisters from the Atlanta and Columbia churches come join our agape feast. In celebration of Pentecost and in the spirit of 1 Corinthians 14:27, a brother said a prayer of thanksgiving for the Holy Spirit in Russian and his wife translated. Another brother prayed for our enemies and that they would see that violent actions perpetuated against innocents in God's isn't pleasing to God and would turn from doing evil in the name of that which is good.
We continued with The Lord's Supper and discussed Psalm 95 and the author of Hebrews speaking directly to portions of this psalm in chapters 3 and 4 by arguing that returning to the old covenant won't bring the rest that God promised his people.
In using this psalm to point to the author's time (and beyond), the author says:
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God's people. For the person who has entered His rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from His. Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.
For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens — Jesus the Son of God — let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. (Hebrews 4:8-16, HCSB)
Jesus, the one true high priest, is the reason we have hope to someday enter the rest God promised to the Israelites so long ago. As long as we hold on to what we believed when we first chose to follow Christ and be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins, we can enter the true promised land, the new Jerusalem!
The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 HCSB)
The suburban group recently discussed Jesus' words and the power they can have in our lives. Much more powerful than any positive article we may read in the paper or any great philosopher's writings, the words of Jesus are transformative and give life; they are the very words of God. God's word can't just be a source of do's and don'ts; it should dwell within us, be a part of us. Jesus came to show us that God ultimately wants each of us to be His temple, a place for His Holy Spirit to dwell (1 Corinthians 3:16). When we choose to follow Jesus, it is his word (along with the constant guidance of the Holy Spirit for those disciples who have accepted the message of Jesus and are baptized) that can continue to effect change in our lives and, God willing, bring others to Christ.