Hold On! Part 2 – Hebrews 12:28-29

HoldOn“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29, HCSB).

In Part 1 of this meditation on grace, we saw how the Hebrews writer assembled an argument showing that God’s grace demonstrated to us through Christ is superior to the Old Testament law and temple worship because Christ was its culmination.

So, the new covenant is superior to the old because now we enter into God’s presence through a relationship or covenant based on receiving His grace through Christ (what the Hebrews writer called approaching Mt. Zion), not on adherence to the law (what the Hebrews writer called approaching Mt. Sinai).

When we receive God’s grace through believing in Christ as our Savior, we must hold on to it! And then, the grace of God becomes the source of our strength for serving God and His Kingdom.

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Heavenly Discipline – Hebrews 12:10

discipline“But he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.” (Hebrews 12:10, ESV).

Just as our earthly parents disciplined us and we respected them for it, so God disciplines us and we should respect Him as well.

God’s discipline proves that He considers believers to be his children.

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The Road From Faith to Faithfulness, Part 2: Happy Endings – John 4:46-54

Faith_Sign“Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son lives.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living… and he himself believed and his whole household. This is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee” (John 4:50-51,53-54, NASB).

In Part 1 of this meditation I compared and contrasted the predicament of the royal official in this story imploring Jesus to heal his dying son with my own pleas for God to heal my dying wife of terminal cancer.

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The Road From Faith to Faithfulness, Part 1: The Destination – John 4:46-54

Faith_Sign“Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son lives.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living… and he himself believed and his whole household. This is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee” (John 4:50-51,53-54, NASB).

While Jesus was in Cana of Galilee, a royal official from Capernaum approached Jesus and asked Him to come to Capernaum and heal his son who was dying. Rather than accompanying the official the twenty miles to Capernaum, Jesus declared the boy was healed: “Go, your son lives” (vs. 50) and the man believed the words that Jesus spoke and returned to Capernaum on his own.

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Deeply Rooted – Jeremiah 17:7-8

tree_by_river“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”  (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NLT).

The prophet Jeremiah paints a beautiful word picture to describe people who lead lives of faithfulness to God!

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Give Me That Old-Time Religion – Jeremiah 6:16

Old-Time-Religion“This is what the Lord says: Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16, NLT).

God, through the prophet Jeremiah, chided the people of Israel and Judah to repent and warned them of the terrible consequences that awaited them if they refused. He admonished them to follow the tried and true ways of God’s laws, which would lead to rest for their souls.

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What Really Matters- Romans 14:16-17

whatmatters“So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:16-17, ESV).

According to the Apostle Paul living in God’s Kingdom is not about doing good. It’s not about formulating a set of rules and regulations for good behavior. It’s not about finding happiness or success.

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Faith and Faithfulness – Ruth 1:16-17

Ruth_Gleaning_Grain“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!'” (Ruth 1:16-17, NLT).

Ruth was a foreigner from Moab who married into an Israelite family from Bethlehem.

The Israelite family had moved to Moab during a severe famine in Judah. All the men of this Israelite family died in Moab, leaving behind three widows—Ruth, her mother-in-law Naomi, and her sister-in-law Orpah.

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Holy Slavery – Luke 17:5-10

Waiter“When you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, ‘We are good-for-nothing slaves; we’ve only done our duty.’” (Luke 17: 10, HCSB)

Slavery in the first century Roman world was much different from slavery in early American history. Roman slaves were either taken as the spoils of war or were slaves because they sold themselves into slavery, called bond-servants.

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