Sermon Archive

This is our 27th and final lesson from the book of Hebrews. Let's think about what we have learned from Hebrews.

Direct download: 2015-0809_hebrews_nelson.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 10:45am PST

Direct download: 2015-0802_hebrews_nelson.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 8:30am PST

Author's final appeal to leave Judaism.

Direct download: 2015-0726_hebrews_nelson.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 8:30am PST

As the Preacher continues to spell out the practicals of the life of faith he instructs his readers to remember and imitate the faith of their church leaders. "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith" (Hebrews 13:7 ESV).

That they are to remember likely indicates these leaders are dead. These leaders may very well have lead them to faith in Jesus. Previously, these folks had been encouraged to imitate the faith of the Old Testament saints listed in chapter 11. In addition they are to remember and imitate the faith of their church leaders. This morning we are going to do just that. Remember with me these spiritual leaders who have lead us and are now with the Lord awaiting the Rapture.

Direct download: 2015-0719_hebrews_nelson.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 8:30am PST

In Hebrews 11 the Preacher emphasized that faith pleases God and those who live by faith are accepted by God. In chapter 12 he exhorts us to run the race of faith with endurance keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Now, in chapter 13, the Preacher spells out what the race of faith looks like. These are the things in which we are to endure.

Direct download: 2015-0712_hebrews_nelson.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 10:45am PST

Especially in times of suffering, the church family is responsible to make sure that no one in the family "fails to obtain the grace of God" (Heb. 12:15; cf. 4:14-16). For the original recipients of Hebrews this was particularly acute on account of the persecution they were suffering. Failure to obtain God's grace would spiral into bitterness; bitterness into spiritual contempt and spiritual contempt into defection back into Judaism (12:15-16).

Esau traded away the covenant and material blessings of his birthright for a bowl of soup. Consumed by hunger, he made a tragic decision. He remained Isaac's son, but received far less than what he might have. Consumed by bitterness, hurting believers are at risk of making a similarly tragic decision.

The church family needs to do all that it can to help strugglers obtain the grace of God lest they spiral past the point of no return as did Esau.

Direct download: 2015-0628_hebrews_nelson.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 10:45am PST

We were running stride for stride when we hit the sand dune. By the time we came out of the dune my opponent had dropped back 40 yards and in the half mile to the finish line was unable to recover. That day, as a high school freshman cross country runner, I came to value more deeply my coaches and the training they required of us. In a workout earlier that week our coaches had us run sprint repeats across that sand dune. It was an incredibly hard workout; I distinctly remember tasting blood from my throat through the last several sprints. But the results on race day made the pain of that workout worthwhile.

We are running the race of faith (Heb. 12:1-2). Our race includes pain and suffering at many levels and in many ways. That is why we must run with patient endurance. And the key to patient endurance is attitude. The point of my running story is that my attitude changed. My attitude prior was not bad. But on that day my belief in the value of our workouts and my commitment to endure the pain of our workouts increased. Rather than thinking, "Oh no, what are they going to make us do today?" my attitude became "Bring it on, let's do this!"

In Hebrews 12:3-11 the Preacher speaks to the attitude of the Hebrew Christians towards their suffering. Whether they become bitter or better will be determined by their attitude towards the suffering which God was allowing them to suffer. The key word in 12:3-11 is discipline. It refers not to punishment nor church discipline but to child rearing. A better word would be training. The Preacher has in mind the parenting process by which a child is brought to maturity. As any good father (and mother) trains his children so also God trains His children.

In 12:3-11 the Preacher shifts from the metaphor of a race to child rearing. Just as a good Father requires hard things of his son in order to bring him to maturity, so God uses suffering/persecution to bring His children to maturity. Though some of us may not have had a father or a good father, we can relate to the comparison through a good coach or teacher who required hard things of us in order to bring us to maturity.

Direct download: 2015-0621_hebrews_nelson.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 10:45am PST

For those of us who do not care for running it probably seems fitting that the Greek term for a foot race is agon from which we derive the term agony. We have a number of marathoners in our church family and they know all about the agony of the race. They are a different breed of human being; much to be admired.

In Hebrews 12 the Preacher likens the life of faith to running a race which I'm sure our marathoners would agree is an apt comparison. Both take discipline, both require endurance of pain and fatigue, both have experiences of intense joy and satisfaction and both are run in hope of reaching the finish line.

Some of those to whom the Preacher wrote were tempted to drop out of the race and return to Judaism. The Preacher's purpose was to strengthen and encourage these Hebrew Christians to continue to run the race with endurance because those who endure inherit the promises of God.

Direct download: 2015-0614_nelson_hebrews.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 10:45am PST

It is a common misconception that people who lived during the Old Testament were saved by keeping the Law of Moses while those who lived after Jesus are saved by grace. This error was perpetuated by the Pharisees in Judaism and later by the Judaizers in the Church. The Apostle Paul combated this error in both Romans and Galatians.

The truth of the matter is that in every dispensation, sinners are reconciled to God by faith. Faith is the basis by which every sinner from Adam & Eve to the last person born in the Millennial Kingdom is justified before God. No sinner has or ever will be declared righteous by God on the basis of keeping the Law or by good works.

Direct download: 150531AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 8:30am PST

In 10:19-39, the Preacher applies, warns and encourages. To fully understand we need to think about a critical incident in the ministry of our Lord recorded in Matthew 12. Prior to Matthew 12, Jesus and His disciples traveled from town to town preaching the good news of the Kingdom and appealing to the nation of Israel to "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand." On the occasion recorded in Matthew 12:22-45, Jesus cast out a demon. When the people asked if Jesus could be "the Son of David" (v.23), that is, the Messiah, their spiritual leaders responded that Jesus was in league with Satan, not God (12:24). This is the unpardonable sin. This is the moment the nation of Israel rejected Messiah. From that point on, Jesus spoke judgment upon that generation (12:38-45; 21:33-46; 23:1-36). He began speaking in parables to hide the truth as an act of judgment (13:10-17). He and His disciples no longer preached the coming of the Kingdom (16:20). Jesus began preparing His disciples for His crucifixion and resurrection (17:9-13, 22-23; 20:17-19). Jesus revealed the judgment that would befall that generation.

Direct download: 150524AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 10:45am PST