Thursday, October 24, 2013

This is War!

I was reading Hebrews this morning and I noted the number of times the author mentioned his concern for his brothers and sisters to persevere in the faith so as not to prove themselves part of a group of people reminiscent of rebelliant Israel of old. He was worried about their failure to continue in the faith, so much so that in a couple of chapters gave numerous warnings and instructions on how to avoid it. We must heed the same warnings.  The danger is no less in our day to fall away than it was then.  The enemy is no less vigilant now than he was then.  The Christian life is not a game, it is a war to maintain your passion and pursuit of Him, thus verifying the authenticity of your conversion.  So I am exhorting you to FIGHT!  Let the Word strengthen your soul as it did mine.

He mentions it in Hebrews 3:7, but the first way he gives to deal with it in verses 12-14 where he says, "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end." One of the safeguards to this slipping in our Christian warfare is the mutual exhortation of the saints.  Each one of us must do our part in encouraging other believers close to us (assumption is that we have those that we are walking closely with, already working on the next blog post on this one) to stay in the faith.  We are to help keep up their pursuit of Christ.  We are to help fix their gaze on Christ.  Who are you doing this for?  Have you done it today? We are commanded here to do it "daily".

In Heb 4:1-3, he exhorts them to fight so that it doesn't seem that you are among those who hear the gospel and do not obey it.  Two ways he gives to fight for our faith are: to remember and relish the rest God provides in Christ, and obey by faith.  Our joy will be full and our rest complete in Christ, and it is offered to us to fight for our faith to hold out.  Secondly, obedience to the commands of Christ doesn't earn our salvation, but it displays that we aren't among "those who did not listen." We must get back to the truth that disciples are those that have been taught to obey "all that I have commanded you." -Matthew 28:20  We might also do well to remember that both of these things are best done in community.  Reflection on Christ and his joy and rest and peace, as well as accountability to his commands is done well with authenticity among others walking in close fellowship.

Finally in v. 11-12, he gives a verse that is often taken out of context, but here we see it afresh. "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Still riding the theme of missing the rest because of disobedience, he offers a solution of the word of God.  Each one of us must use the weapon of the word to fight for our faith and the perseverance of others as well.  Not only personal intake from many sources, but all of us have the responsibility to speak it into the lives of others to help them fight for their own endurance. The word has power.  Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word!

So do you exhort others daily toward faith?  Do you dwell upon the rest that awaits us?  Do you take the word in through reading, books, sermons, memorization, etc.?  Can you, do you speak it to others?  So let us fight for our faith together.

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