Why – Stephen Orr 12/08/21

Passage: Hebrew 10:19-25

Background

1 Peter 2 (The Living Stone and a Chosen People)
4 As you come to him, the living Stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him– 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Why?

As a child, in our natural inquisitiveness, and innocence we simply wanted know why something happened, or why someone did something.

The why of something is important. 

Sadly, something happens as we grow up: we ask that question less. Either we think we know it all, or sadly we simply don’t care anymore. 

The why of church?
Why are we part of a church family?
Why do we come here?
Why this emphasis in our church family on spiritual habits and the challenge to show the fruit and use the gifts of the spirit?
Knowing the why keeps us focused.
Hebrews 10:19-25 is very helpful as we consider why we meet together.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing

Why we meet together and are the church is ‘because of Jesus’

As you read through Hebrews 10:19-21, consider how each of the points below point us to what Jesus has achieved for us:

  • we are family
  • we are confident in the presence of God

The importance to the people of God of the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle (the tent of God that was in the middle of the Israelite camp). 

Only the high priest could go in – and only once a year, on the day of atonement

The first High Priest was Aaron, Moses’ brother. He was from the tribe of Levi, from which all the priests would come. He made sacrifices for his own sins and the sins of the people (Lev.16:6,11-14). One of his most important roles was to enter the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement and sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat and before it (Lev.16). He would also symbolically place the people’s sins upon a goat and send it into the wilderness (the scapegoat). (Lev.16:20-22).

Through Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross, God did something new: the blood of Jesus means we can be forgiven through faith in him. 

The writer to the Hebrews wants to make it very clear to the people what Jesus achieved – so he continues… 

That curtain that separated the holy presence of God from the people was torn apart from top to bottom.

Mark 15:378 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

Jesus is the way the truth and the life. His sacrifice on the cross opened the way, a new and living way, for us to come with confidence into the presence of God.

Jesus is our great high priest (v21) Consider this picture:

“It must have been a comfort for some of the youngsters, as they came of age and first began their priestly duty in the solemn courts of the temple, to have a high priest who have been used to it all and could show them just how to comport themselves in the Divine presence. Thank God, as we come into the lofty dwelling place of God, we have a great Priest to take us by the hand and present us at court, and tell us how to comport ourselves before the Majesty in the heavens.”

David Gooding, ‘An Unshakeable Kingdom

As we read on in Hebrews 10:22 we see that because of Jesus:

  • we can draw near to God
  • how are are to do this:
  1. with true hearts
  2. without guilt
  3. clean bodies

Hebrews 10:23-25

In this final section, we see that because of all of the above:

  • We are changed
  1. to hope in our profession
  2. to spur one another on toward love and good deeds
  3. to encourage one another

Here the writer urges us to meet together.

How does meeting together help us in each of these areas?
If we don’t meet together how will it affect our ability to be a changed people?

As a church, what steps can we take to ensure that during our times of gathering (in large or small groups) we seek to do these three things?

And yet, we wonder: What goes missing when your “church” experience is nothing more than a weekly livestream? For starters, you think less about your fellow members. They don’t come to mind. You don’t bump into them and have the quick conversations that lead to longer conversations over dinner. Beyond that, you remove yourself from the path of encouragement, accountability, and love.

Colin Hansen, Jonathan Leeman, Rediscover Church

In light of all we have considered how does this statement continue to challenge you?

“they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12)

Apply

What have I found interesting? 

What has challenged my life, attitudes and actions

How would this habit help me to become more like Jesus?

How would this habit help me to introduce others to Jesus?

What practical steps do I need to take to incorporate this habit into my life?

Is there there anything I need to pray about, explore further or extra help I need?

Is there someone I should to share with, pray with or encourage

Become – Hospitality – Spiritual Gifts – Stephen Orr 27/06/21

Passage: 1 Peter 4

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling

The Power of Hospitality

  • Eating together is good for us
  • People want to be with one another
  • We need one another

The Dictionary definition of Hospitality: the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

In Greek hospitality is a combination of two words Philo: loveto manifest some act or token of kindness or affection; to kiss; to love, regard with affection, have affection for; to like, be fond of, delight in a thing; to cherish inordinately, set store by.

And Xenizo: to receive as a guest

Hospitality helps us to love one another deeply (1 Peter 4:8)

The reality is that hospitality is difficult, let us be aware of the danger of grumbling (1 Peter 4:9)

Hospitality is an avenue through which many of our spiritual gift can be used

1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

Read through the Gifts below and consider how each of these can be used as we practice hospitality.

Prophesy, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, mercy, wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, administration, discernment of spirits, tongues, interpretation, Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Pastors, helping others.

  • In this moment in history, hospitality is vital because now more that ever we need to open our lives, our homes and our hearts to others using the gifts the Holy Spirit has given us!

Hospitality formed the foundation of the Christian movement.

Are we prepared to set aside time each week to eat with others?

Hospitality allow us to love one another and reach out.

There are three ways in which the new Testament complete the sentence, “the son of man came …’ the son of man him not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45) ‘the son of man came to seek and save the lost.’ (Luke 19:10) ‘the son of man has come eating and drinking …’ (Luke 7:34) Robert Karris concludes: ‘in Luke’s Gospel Jesus is either going to a meal, have a meal, or coming from a meal.’ Tim Chester in his book “A Meal with Jesus”

Sharing meals together on a regular basis is one of the most sacred practices we can engage in as believers. Missional hospitality is a tremendous opportunity to extend the kingdom of God. We can literally eat our way into the kingdom of God! If every Christian household regularly invited a stranger or a poor person into their home for a meal once a week, we would literally change the world by eating! Michael Frost in his book “Surprise the World!”

The table ought to be the primary symbol of the Christian gathering. It represents hospitality, inclusivity, generosity, and grace. In many churches today, I suppose, the primary symbol might be the pulpit or the screen. These churches seem to believe that Jesus said, “every time you meet together, listen to a sermon and sing.” Now, I’m not against sermons or singing, but if we took Jesus’ directive seriously, we’d know that the table is a better metaphor for Christian worship. Michael Frost in his book “Surprise the World!”

  • As you consider the importance of hospitality, what do you think about the above quotes and how do they challenge you and the church?
  • In your life how can you use hospitality to minister to others, both Christians and non Christians?

Apply

What have I found interesting? 

What has challenged my life, attitudes and actions

How would this habit help me to become more like Jesus?

How would this habit help me to introduce others to Jesus?

What practical steps do I need to take to incorporate this habit into my life?

Is there there anything I need to pray about, explore further or extra help I need?

Is there someone I should to share with, pray with or encourage