First UMC
Downtown Worship, October 10, 2021
Holding Fast and Being Bold
Locations & Times
  • First United Methodist Church of Lexington - Downtown
    200 W High St, Lexington, KY 40507, USA
    Sunday 8:30 AM, Sunday 11:00 AM
The book of Hebrews is written to a second generation Christian community.

Close enough to see the flame. Far enough away to not feel the warmth.

We could perhaps look at Hebrews as a Christian introduction to the Old Testament. Israel’s scriptures were always looking ahead to something - a new covenant, new priesthood, new altar, a better sacrifice, a city to which the present Jerusalem would only be a signpost. We could summarize Hebrews this way - the scriptures had always pointed ahead to something new and better, and it has now arrived in Jesus. -N.T. Wright

The background needed to better understand today’s passage comes from Numbers 14 and Psalm 95:7-11. The Israelites have been delivered by God through Moses from Egypt to the doorstep of Canaan (aka. The Promised Land). What happens next is puzzling for a group who have seen God’s great miracles and signs.
We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.
Numbers 13:31

O that today you would listen to his voice! Do not harden your hearts They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they do not regard my ways. They shall not enter my rest.
Psalm 95:7b-11 excerpt

God’s rest is the promises being fulfilled to secure a permanent place to reside and a bountiful land from which to be fed. The rest mentioned in Hebrews chapter 3 and 4 is both the eternal reality of heaven and the current reality of daily bread. It is the not yet of eternity and the already of a current condition from which makes life livable.
Signs and wonders do not work! Oh, they get our attention, but they fail to keep it. So rather than signs and wonders, God hatched another plan to give us every opportunity to not miss his rest. And his name is Jesus.

Jesus is the high priest who is both capable and willing to make sure we are offered every opportunity to enter his rest.

The encouragement is then two-fold: hold fast, and be bold.

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