“Drawing Near” (Hebrews 10:11-25)

Twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost
November 18, 2018

“Drawing Near” (Hebrews 10:11-25)

“The day is surely drawing near,” we sang in our opening hymn. And our Epistle reading today, from Hebrews 10, closes with similar words: “as you see the Day drawing near.” “The Day”? What day? Notice, it’s “the” Day. Sounds important. So let’s find out what that “day” is. And let’s also consider what the implications are for us as we see that day approaching. For our text also tells us about another type of “drawing near.” It says that we should “draw near.” “Let us draw near,” it says. Thus our theme this morning: “Drawing Near.”

(more…)

Advertisements
Published in: on November 16, 2018 at 11:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“A Caravan of Pilgrims–with Homeland Security!” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

All Saints’ Day (Observed)
November 4, 2018

“A Caravan of Pilgrims–with Homeland Security!” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about “the caravan.” I’m referring of course to the migrant caravan working its way up through Mexico, heading for the border with the U.S.A. These are not U.S. citizens. Now many of them may be seeking a better life here in America and have good intentions. But there could also be MS-13 gang members, criminals, drug dealers, terrorists, and others who do not want to enter legally, mixed in the crowd. Therefore, immigration officials and Homeland Security would have to screen these people before they let them in. And with such a huge number of them, it may not be manageable.

So the question is: What will happen to the people in the caravan when they get there? Some think we should just let them in. Others say we cannot just let people waltz right in. If they want to enter, they will need to get in line, wait to be processed, and then, if they qualify, they can enter, legally. We’ll see what happens.

Now today, dear friends, I want to talk to you about another caravan. This too is a large group of people all traveling together, all heading in the same direction. And guess what? You are part of this caravan! Yes, you, if you are a believer in Christ and a member of his church. A great caravan–“a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages.” We are all moving together, heading for a better country. And when we get there, we will not be stopped. Rather, we will be gladly welcomed in. For you and I are already citizens of that homeland. We already have security clearance. Right now, we’re just passing through, heading on our way there. Thus our theme on this All Saints’ Day: “A Caravan of Pilgrims–with Homeland Security!”

(more…)

Published in: on November 3, 2018 at 12:03 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

“A Citizenship Even Bigger than Texas” (Hebrews 11:13-16; John 14:1-6; Philippians 3:20-21)

Funeral Service
Saturday, October 13, 2018

“A Citizenship Even Bigger than Texas” (Hebrews 11:13-16; John 14:1-6; Philippians 3:20-21)

His name was “Emerick,” but everybody called him “Tex.” That was our brother Emerick “Tex” Labus. He went by “Tex” for as long as I’ve known him, and that’s been over ten years. Even though he lived here in Missouri for I don’t know how long, people still called him Tex. I guess you can take the boy out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the boy.

I’ve observed over the years that people from Texas are very proud of being from Texas. And they’ll let you know it. Maybe you’ve noticed that too. They’ll talk about how Texas once was its own country, before it joined the United States. They’ll tell you about how Texas is #1 in this or #1 in that. About how everything is bigger in Texas.

And, well, maybe Texas does have a lot to be proud of, I don’t know. But we do know that for our brother Emerick, he was happy to be called “Tex.” He was always a Texan, even while he lived here in Missouri.

But today I want to tell you about another identity Tex had. Another citizenship. Another homeland. One far greater and better than even being from Texas. And now after Missouri, this will be his next stop. His eternal homeland. Because Tex had “A Citizenship Even Bigger than Texas.”

(more…)

Published in: on October 13, 2018 at 8:47 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

“Therefore Let Us Draw Near, Hold Fast, and Stir Up” (Hebrews 10:11-25)

Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost
November 15, 2015

“Therefore Let Us Draw Near, Hold Fast, and Stir Up” (Hebrews 10:11-25)

Last week we looked at Hebrews 9, where we are told that Christ is our high priest. Today we continue on into Hebrews 10, where the writer expands on what it means that Christ is our high priest and then goes on to say what the implications of that are for our life. And we can sum those up this morning in three ways. Since Christ is our high priest, “Therefore Let Us Draw Near, Hold Fast, and Stir Up.”

(more…)

Published in: on November 15, 2015 at 3:39 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“Christ Is Our High Priest” (Hebrews 9:24-28)

Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost
November 8, 2015

“Christ Is Our High Priest” (Hebrews 9:24-28)

Our Epistle reading today from the Book of Hebrews talks about a high priest entering into holy places made with hands. It talks about this high priest entering these holy places every year with blood not his own. And when we hear these kinds of references, which are all over the place in the Book of Hebrews, we may be asking ourselves, “What is all this ‘high priest’ business? Where are these ‘holy places’? And what does this have to do with me?” Well, hang on, we’ll explain these things and what they have to do with us, because the point that Hebrews is making is that “Christ Is Our High Priest.”

(more…)

Published in: on November 8, 2015 at 7:34 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“Entering His Rest” (Hebrews 4:1-13)

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
October 18, 2015

“Entering His Rest” (Hebrews 4:1-13)

If you’ve ever had to work and work and work, if you’ve ever been worn out and exhausted, when you feel like you can’t go on but you have to, when you’re drained and tired and spent–at times like those, you know how refreshing it is, and what a relief it is, to finally get a rest.

Rest: It can be such a welcome word. To be able to just kick back and relax. The pressure is off, the burden is lifted. Take a load off and chillax, bro! A little R & R is so welcome after an arduous ordeal.

And so our Epistle reading for today, from Hebrews 4, is about being able to get that kind of a rest. In fact, it’s about an even greater kind of rest. God’s rest. The rest that he has for us, in Christ. And so our theme this morning: “Entering His Rest.”

(more…)

Published in: on October 18, 2015 at 1:13 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“Receive the Kingdom of God like a Child” (Mark 10:2-16; Hebrews 2:1-18)

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
October 4, 2015

“Receive the Kingdom of God like a Child” (Mark 10:2-16; Hebrews 2:1-18)

How would you like to enter the kingdom of God? I know I would. After all–literally, after all–the kingdom of God will be the only thing going. It is an everlasting kingdom, filled with peace and joy and life and blessing, and it will last forever. So who would not want to enter it? You’d have to be a fool not to. No, the kingdom of God–it’s the best thing going, and there’s nothing else like it.

So the question arises: How do you get in? How do you enter the kingdom of God? Today Jesus tells us. Basically it comes down to this. To enter, you need to “Receive the Kingdom of God like a Child.”

(more…)

Published in: on October 4, 2015 at 4:10 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

“The Miracle of Faith” (Genesis 15:1-6; Hebrews 11:1-16)

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
August 11, 2013

“The Miracle of Faith” (Genesis 15:1-6; Hebrews 11:1-16)

Sometimes I think about the impossibility of faith. I mean, if you stop and think about all the things that are working against faith, it’s amazing that any of us have it. To believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ and all that that involves, to trust in the goodness and the promises of God, in spite of all that would cause us to not believe–it’s simply amazing. And so today we’re going to talk about “The Miracle of Faith.”

(more…)

Published in: on August 10, 2013 at 9:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

“Jesus Is Our Great High Priest–Now What?” (Hebrews 10:11-25)

Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost
November 18, 2012

“Jesus Is Our Great High Priest–Now What?” (Hebrews 10:11-25)

Today is the seventh straight Sunday when the assigned Epistle for the day comes from the Letter of Hebrews. We lost a couple of those readings due to observing Reformation and All Saints, but even so, we’ve been hearing a lot of Hebrews. I used Hebrews as a sermon text a couple of times back in October, once on the verse, “Today, if you hear his voice,” and once on Jesus as our Sabbath rest. But there is a major aspect of this epistle I haven’t touched on yet, and that is, Jesus as our great high priest. I’ve been saving up that for today.

That Jesus is our high priest is indeed a major theme in the Epistle of Hebrews. The word “priest” occurs over thirty times in Hebrews, whereas it occurs maybe three times, total, in all the other epistles of the New Testament combined.

Now since we 21st century Gentiles are not as familiar with the office of the high priest as Jews in the first century would have been, and since we didn’t touch on this topic earlier, let’s now get up to speed by looking at how Hebrews has been describing Jesus as our great high priest. Please turn to your insert, where you’ll see a few excerpts from the previous weeks’ readings, concluding with our reading for today.

(more…)

Published in: on November 17, 2012 at 9:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise” (Hebrews 4:1-16; Mark 10:23-31; Ecclesiastes 5:10-20)

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
October 21, 2012

“Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise” (Hebrews 4:1-16; Mark 10:23-31; Ecclesiastes 5:10-20)

You’ve all heard the old saying:

Early to bed
And early to rise
Makes a man healthy,
Wealthy, and wise.

And there’s some truth to that–although, right now, it’s a little hard to get “early to bed” when you’ve got three-and-a-half-hour playoff games to watch! Even so, the point remains: A good, self-disciplined routine of rest and work, each in its own proper place, can lead to an increased opportunity for the good life.

But today I want to speak to you about something more than just “the good life,” as commonly defined–in other words, as simply a happy, successful life in this world. No, I want to speak to you about something more important and more long-lasting than that–although it will have great meaning also for our life in this world and how we live it. “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise”: yes, but in a far greater way than the saying suggests. It’s the health and the wealth and the wisdom that God provides us with, which is good for both this life and the next. And so I must amend our little poem to fit the theme, as follows:

Surely what God
Most surely supplies
Makes a man healthy,
Wealthy, and wise.

(more…)

Published in: on October 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,