Jesus, Pushing us to Grow Up – 9-16-22

saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” Hebrews 6:14 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Hebrews chapter 6 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The Peril of Not Progressing

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to [a]perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this [b]we will do if God permits.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, [c]if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

A Better Estimate

But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. 10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and [d]labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become [e]sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

God’s Infallible Purpose in Christ

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. 17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the [f]immutability of His counsel, [g]confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two [h]immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we [i]might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Footnotes

  1. Hebrews 6:1 maturity
  2. Hebrews 6:3 M let us do
  3. Hebrews 6:6 Or and have fallen away
  4. Hebrews 6:10 NU omits labor of
  5. Hebrews 6:12 lazy
  6. Hebrews 6:17 unchangeableness of His purpose
  7. Hebrews 6:17 guaranteed
  8. Hebrews 6:18 unchangeable
  9. Hebrews 6:18 M omits might

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
Ephesians 1:7- 

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Today, let us once again begin in a prayer of humility and repentance. As we read yesterday it is very important to live a life of daily repentance so we can give heed to what the Lord is revealing. Let us bath and become clean before we enter Jesus’s classroom and ask Him to show us something today:

Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with any and all unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me for those things I did even though I knew better. And please forgive me for those things you count as sin, that I am unaware of and have not learned yet – and open my eyes to see them as sins so I can stop participating in them. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you, and fall in love with you in a new and deeper way. Open my ears to hear you and learn of your plan for my life and why you made me. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

Now that we are clean, let us enter the HOLY classroom of our Lord and learn what He has for us today in a chapter about the perils of not growing in Christ and the purpose of Christ. 
I once heard a preacher say that if you are not moving forward in your Christian growth, and you think you are safely standing still, then you are actually sliding slowly backwards. Because there is no such thing as holding still.
I have given his words a lot of thought. Must we always be growing? Is it possible to hit a plateau and stop and rest for a minute? And at some point in my pondering, I came across this passage about the dangers of not progressing and I discovered we might be focused on the wrong thing here. Let’s read it:

1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.

It clearly states here that these things are the things of foundation and for babies in Christ. I always wonder why people look at me as a mature believer and say so when I feel as much of a hot mess as the next person. But then I realize – the average Christian in our modern church is not even to the baby stage!!! Maybe they were at one point, but they aren’t now.
Teaching daily repentance is still incredibly necessary! I cannot tell you how many people I speak to do not know it is a lifestyle and a daily activity. Jesus put it in the Lord’s Prayer teaching us to pray daily like that (asking forgiveness).
Teaching what are dead works and what are works of obedience is never taught – I mean in the last 3 years I have not heard one lesson on it. AND I have heard hundreds of people ask what we can and should be doing as Christians in our modern world and circumstances to make a difference and change the world. Then over and over I’ve heard pastors tell them to ask God (when they have not been taught to hear from God). Why can’t we just teach them what to do from the Bible? Why can’t we just tell them that daily studies in the Bible will permit Jesus to reveal His will? A recent poll was taken and about 1/3rd of senior pastors in the US believe you can get to heaven by being good – through dead works.
Everyone preaches faith – because it is hope that we might have our prayers answered, it is hope that keeps people coming to church and giving money, and when our prayers are not answered we never ask if there is unrepented sin – instead we encourage them in their faith and tell them to just believe a little more. (And never assume it is the leader’s lack of faith.)
We preach baptism and sing joyous old hymns and cheer – with some making a mockery of the death of self, and proclamation of new life, by failing to teach the daily need for such practices – like repenting daily even though we are only baptized once. But baptisms are good for the business of church – makes the people feel like they are participateing in something.
Laying on of hands – it has been months since someone anointed me with oil and prayed for me. If this was not a blog and we met in person I would lay hands on and pray for each of you every day! Like I pray over all who read this. The sick will not recover, if we do not start laying hands on them. The oppressed, depressed and possessed will not find deliverance until we lay hands on them. This is NOT the job of the pastor solely, but he should lead by example. Every church service should have the opportunity to come for prayer and be prayed for.
Heaven is seldom preached. I know people who literally think we will float around with harps and that sounds boring and stupid. When heaven is exciting!
And on that same note – no one preaches hell. Well, hang on because this book does and so will I. It is a very real place that was made for the fallen angels and not for humans. We can avoid going there. We can be saved!
And when we meet someone who does preach and live by these things we see them as so mature, but after being a baby come being a child, then a teen, and then eventually mature.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”

For it is impossible. I can show you how in Greek and translated back, doesn’t mean it is impossible. If it did, why would Jesus talk about the lost sheep, the one who was with the flock and wandered off? Or why would he teach us the parable of the prodigal son? I believe the translators meant is as with man it is impossible. BUT grace found me when I strayed – and I had a profound experience with grace. I came to fully understand that I caused Jesus shame and had to partake of His blood again. I was on a slippery slope – but I never renounced Him. If you renounce Him, tell Him to stop chasing you down and protecting you, and tell Him you do not want Him – if you cut the ties, He will let you be. He will cry and grieve. And it is believed by many that you cannot come back from that. There is lots of speculation on this topic. I try to present only facts and tell you if it is speculation so you can prayerfully figure out what to believe.
What do I think? I think it is easier to lose your salvation over complacency and dead works than it is to get God to stop chasing you down and to refuse to permit you to repent. Worry more about your own pride and thinking you are perfect, while continuing in sins you refuse to acknowledge or have yet to realize are sins.

For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

The rain falls on the just and unjust. You can produce fruit, or in those case herbs, or you can produce thorns and briers. Thornes and briers are burnt up, either by a farmer who finds them or by God in brush fires. But the herbs are blessed. I do not know about you – But I want the blessing and not the eternal fires of damnation, aka Hell.
Take note that this message – including the hell part is written to believers.
Also note – hell is a scary place to be avoided at all costs, but never is the Bible or me trying to make you serve God out of fear of hell.  I know a man that is so afraid of heal, he said the salvation prayer and will never deny Christ. But sadly he does not fear God. Therefore he lives in sin and disobedience. I keep telling him the truth, but sadly, he may find himself in hell someday. So fear of hell is no reason to turn to God. We are to serve God out of our Love for Him, because He loved us and made a way of salvation for us as a display of His great love.

But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. 10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

The author takes not that the audience are a little more mature than a baby – they are past these foundational things. They need reassurance that the good works (not the dead works) and love are remembered by God – that they are producing fruit. And the author encourages them to press ahead, keep going and not become sluggish and finish the course.
Basically reassuring as to say – if you are feeling convicted – do not be condemned. Seek repentance and get back on the course. The time is too short to get sluggish or wallow in self-pity. Let’s get a move on.

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. 17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.”

Jesus came to earth and died for our sins as the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham to make him the father of many nations. This is how I as a gentile can come into the family by adoption. When God promises, He cannot lie. And when you and I flee into the hands of our lord for refuge, His promises, every word, in blessing we’ll be blessed and in multiplying we will be multiplied! It is our HOPE in glory.

19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

You want to know how to stand boldly and steadfast – Jesus has gone before us and has made a way. We can come into Jesus’s presence and He’ll take it before the Father in the most holy place where we, still in our earthy bodies having touched filth, are too dirty to enter.
But it is because of Jesus, our promises, and our faith we have confidence to grow and progress and mature beyond foundational skills like healing people and casting out demons and move on to the things of the mature believer.

Please have a blessed weekend and join us for some wisdom reading from the Song of Solomon. Then come back Monday and we will pick back up on our study of the book of Hebrews.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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