Plan 6: Challenges of Holding Fast
5 - Day plan
Walking with God is not easy. When we choose to follow God with our whole heart, things get harder. What keeps us on this path? Why do we choose to journey with Him? Because JESUS IS GREATER! In this plan, Six of Nine, in our journey through Hebrews, we see how our life with Jesus can and will get challenging. Holding on may not always be easy, but it will be worth it.
Hebrews 10:1–10 (ESV)
1For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; 6in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’ ” 8When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Thoughts on the Word
The Shadow vs. The Real
First. What does it take to free me from not just my sin but from always being reminded of my failures?
The problem with the old sacrificial system was that there was always the reminder that we fail. They needed to make another sacrifice every time they failed. God changed that with Jesus. He not only forgave, but Jesus created a new approach to forgiveness. We just have to ask. When we ask, He removes it from us and remembers it no more.
Second, I always wondered at how God could require the death of animals for me. Why did they have to die for our sin? It is still something I cannot answer. Also, I cannot fathom sacrificing my own son to save others either. That cost would be too high for me to consider.
Somehow, we are more special to God than we realize or imagine.
Father, how can we begin to understand how important we are to You? We get caught up in the day to day of living and struggling with life's challenges. I just do not take time to remind myself of Your great passion for me. You did so much. You do so much. You will do even more in the future.
Father, thank You for doing through Jesus what no one else could do for me—make me holy. Change my heart to be like Your heart. There is so much work to be done yet. I struggle with wanting it some days. I struggle with understanding what it means. I struggle with the challenge of doing it consistently. So keep opening my eyes to see what You did for me. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Hebrews 10:11–18 (ESV)
11And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. 15And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” 17then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” 18Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
Thoughts on the Word
Forgiveness Written in Our Hearts
Several key thoughts.
· The old system was very complicated because coming into the presence of the Holy God was not easy. That is all finished.
· We have God's truth written on our hearts—we know what is right. The Holy Spirit in us has written them in our hearts.
· All the sins we have committed will never be remembered by God. HALLELUJAH!
So rejoice that our past is forever covered. Rejoice that we know God's truth—and God's Spirit works in us to teach us the truth.
Just listen carefully.
Father, the book of Hebrews has been a little complicated at times. Still, I see Jesus in ways I never saw before. He is so much greater than anything I might try to hold on to here in this world. Help me to never try to hold on to both Jesus and... something else.
Thank You for making the difficult path to Your presence into a simple path. Sometimes it seems too simple but behind the simple truths are deep and well-prepared strategies.
For today I just take time and thank You that my sin is forgiven, my past removed, and my conscious is free from guilt, I have Your truth in my heart and I live with confidence that I have a blessed eternal future.
All because of Jesus.
Thank You. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Hebrews 10:19–25 (ESV)
19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Thoughts on the Word
The Power of Walking Together
Here is some good advice—always eat your vegetables every day (especially your "let us")!
With all that we have learned about Jesus, the writer now challenges them to let this knowledge affect the way they live each day.
· "let us" draw near to God with a heart of faith.
· "let us" hold fast to our confession and hope.
· "let us" find ways to encourage each other to love and do good works.
· "let us" keep meeting together to worship (especially when it gets tough).
The knowledge of God is meant to challenge us to be more consistent in our walk with God. Knowing more helps us when we do not know what God wants us to do.
Here are the keys: strong faith, clear testimony, holding together as brothers, and meeting together often to help.
Father, there is so much power in the knowledge of Jesus and brothers supporting each other. Help me to take hold of my brothers' hand and walk with them. Help me to bless them—and challenge them. Help them to bless me and challenge me. Together we are able to handle the challenges we face.
You have blessed me with amazing brothers and sisters. Thank You for each one of them. I would be much weaker without them and I would fail much more. They are Your gift to me and I thank You. Help us pull together as brothers and sisters. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Hebrews 10:26–34 (ESV)
26For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.
Thoughts on the Word
Warning #4—Sinning Willfully
This is the fourth warning of Hebrews. It is more serious than the previous three. When we learn more about Jesus and the power of His sacrifice to forgive, set us free, and help us walk in our new life—if we willingly turn our back on this, there is great cost.
There was a cost to reject God's first covenant law—they could die. There is a cost of rejecting God's new covenant—facing an angry God.
Yes, the writer is talking to God's people here. They faced the choice of following Jesus (and suffering) or rejecting Jesus and not face the trouble. They willingly faced this challenge and followed Jesus because He is the Truth and the Life. Now, the writer challenges them—"you willingly faced this before when you first followed Jesus, you can do it again now."
Father, it is so hard to remember that we faced problems that tested our faith before—today's problems always seem the hardest. Help me to remember your faithfulness in the past. Help me remember how much greater Jesus is than what I left behind. Help me to remember the cost You paid to save me. Help me to hold firmly to Jesus.
Father, remind me how others have faced worse—and held tightly to Jesus through it all. Above all, remind me of the joy that comes from obedience. You always make obedience worth it by filling me with Your joy and peace. I may lose much here because I follow You, but the reward will be worth it. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Hebrews 10:35–39 (ESV)
35Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; 38but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” 39But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
Thoughts on the Word
Never, Never, Never Give Up
Most people struggle when we hit a valley—when things are going poorly. That is when we give up or question God. These people are facing the same things—they are facing difficult times and questioning their faith. Never. Never. Never give up!
Next, we begin a long look at what faith is and how the people of old walked by faith.
For a preview read Hebrews 11.
Father we lose sight of things when we are in deep valleys. I forget what I saw on the mountaintop. What made so much sense then, suddenly now does not. You really want us to be a people of faith. It is so hard—we want to see, we want it to make sense.
When I get back to the mountaintop, I know it will make sense. So help me to just be faithful until I get there. Help me to keep doing what is right, doing what honors You, doing what You ask me to do—every day. I want to be someone people can look to for encouragement, just like the people of chapter 11.
In Jesus' name. Amen.