One of the main reasons we need the Church is that the church encourages us to trust Jesus. The encouragement to hold fast is very important considering the opposition the original readers of Hebrews were facing. A part of what their opposition insisted they do was return to the ritual sacrifices of Judaism. This would have absolutely undermined the sufficiency of Jesus. The confession of their hope that they were to hold fast to was their confession about Jesus. Their confession about Jesus was the same as our confession about Jesus.
Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God.
Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world.
Jesus physically rose from the tomb.
Jesus ascended into heaven.
Jesus sets at the Father’s right hand making intercession for us.
Jesus will one day return to take His church to heaven.
Jesus’ death and resurrection is the only hope we have in seeking the forgiveness of sins.
Their return to Judaism would have meant an abandonment of this hope. They are being encouraged not to do this but to instead hold fast to their confession of this hope in Jesus.
To hold fast means they would need to keep on keeping on in their confession about Jesus despite the opposition they were facing and would continue to face.
They must press on through persecution and abuse, through hardship and discouragement and through the lies of false teachers and the allurements of the world.
They were to hold fast to the confession of their hope in Jesus no matter what was thrown at them.
The reason they are to hold fast to our hope is that He who promised is faithful. The author was encouraging these believers to hold on to their hope because of the faithfulness of God.
God has promised that faith in Jesus’ sacrifice was all they needed.
God has promised that faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection was sufficient to pay the penalty for their sins and secure their salvation.
What they needed to do at this point was to continue to trust God and trust Jesus. They needed to do this despite the fact that the world at large attacked and undermined their faith and commitment to Jesus.
While the world we live in is very different from theirs, there are also great similarities. We live in a world that by its very nature is hostile toward Jesus and works to destroy faith in Him and commitment to Him. We face the same spiritual enemy that these Hebrew Christians did and his goal hasn’t changed in thousands of years. He still hates those that are made in the image of God and have been redeemed by Jesus. As Peter says Satan is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet 5:8). As such he actively works to destroy faith and commitment to Jesus. We may not face the same physical attacks they did to maintain faith and commitment to Jesus, but the attacks are still there.
The affluence of America can be detrimental to our faith and commitment to Jesus. When Jesus told the parable of the soils He said that one of the soils became overrun with weeds that choked the good seed out and prevented it from bearing fruit. We know that the good seed represents the Word of God and the soil represents our hearts. What we often forget is that the thorns or the weeds that choked out the good seed was the cares, riches, pleasures and desires for the things of this life. One of the main problems with the Laodicean Church was that they rich and thought that they were in need of nothing. The fact is, it was their affluence that led to their becoming lukewarm. While the wealth and possessions we have are gifts from God they can, and often do, war against our faith in and commitment to Jesus.
These things don’t come as a shock to Jesus. He’s not in heaven wringing His hands saying, “Oh my goodness. I had no idea there would be such opposition to me and to people believing me and being committed to doing my will. I wish I would have created something to encourage them stay committed to me.” He did create something to encourage us to stay committed to Him. It’s called the Church.
How does the church do this? The church does this by reminding us of the greatness, power and faithfulness of Jesus. We are reminded of these things as we sing songs praising Jesus for His greatness, power and faithfulness. We are reminded of these things as we study His Word and see how Jesus has demonstrated His greatness, power and faithfulness in history. We are reminded of these things as we talk with other believers and listen to their testimonies of Jesus’ greatness, power and faithfulness in their lives. The church encourages us in our commitment to Jesus by reminding us of Jesus’ faithfulness in the past and encouraging us to trust Him in the present and with the future. We all need the Church to encourage us to trust Jesus.
For further study read Psalm 103.
Is the psalmist writing for himself or for others? What makes you say this?
What does the psalmist encourage us to do?
What are some things the psalmist says God has done?
How does the psalmist describe God?
How do we see this sort of encouragement in our church?
This post was written by Rev Ross. For the original post with comments, go to: http://stacyjross.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/the-church-encourages-me-to-trust-jesus/