WELCOME TO A NEW STUDY ON HEBREWS!
AGAIN AND AGAIN DURING THE INTERVIEWS FOR IDOL LIES LAST WEEK I WAS ASKED,
“OKAY — I’M SEEING IDOLS RUNNING THROUGH MY LIFE,
BUT HOW DO I GET RID OF THEM?”
AGAIN AND AGAIN I SAID,
“IDOLS CANNOT BE REMOVED, ONLY REPLACED”
SO HERE WE GO — WE ARE GOING TO BEHOLD CHRIST IN A BOOK
THAT WILL MAKE YOUR HEART HOT FOR HIM
LOVE FOR HIM WILL RISE
EXPELLING THOSE IDOLS
TIM KELLER CALLS THE OPENING OF HEBREWS
BECAUSE HE IS SO HIGH AND EXALTED
IT MAKES YOUR NOSE BLEED
BUT IT DOES SOMETHING ELSE
IT CHANGES YOU
THIS BOOK IS ALL ABOUT JESUS
AND WHY HE IS BETTER
THAN ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
I AM EXCITED TO TELL YOU
HOW GOD HAS LED ME HERE
AND WHY I KNOW YOU WILL BE BLESSED
IF YOU FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS
AND FINISH THE RACE
FOR THOSE JOINING US FOR THE FIRST TIME:
We are so glad to have you here and pray that you will “run this race with endurance!” The author of Hebrews says to cast off every weight so that you can. I want to warn you about some hurdles you will need to jump to finish well:
- Your idols of comfort, affirmation, and control will call out to stop you. Fix your eyes on Jesus and do not let them win.
- You may feel this is such a close knit group you cannot get in — but that’s a lie. THIS GROUP IS NOT LIKE THAT. We will welcome you and if you stay and contribute, you will become a part of this close knit group.
- Go at your own pace — guidelines are given. I would rather you chew carefully than gulp — even if you don’t finish that week. Just begin at the beginning the next week.
- Purchase the sermons. There are 14, and they are on sale at Redeemer.com. Only 22.75 for 14 stellar Keller mp-3 sermons! No more purchases until next year! Here’s the link. (If you cannot afford the sermons but commit to actively participating with us through this year, we’ll find a way to help you. Just let Rebecca know at [email protected])
- We will start on the first sermon next week — this week I want to whet your taste for why we are doing what is often considered a very challenging book. Pray you start well, continue well, and finish well!
Personally I want to thank you so much for last week and your encouragement to me as Idol Lies was launched. The title on my home page is “Is it possible to experience God in a place like this?” I could add to that, “Is it possible to experience real fellowship in a place like this?” YES! YES! YES! EVIDENCE FROM LAST WEEK –
Cyndi started a cyberparty, complete with dance and music, to celebrate what God was doing with Idol Lies — the book you have been so much a part of. She reminded me of David, dancing before the Lord. Soon Elizabeth, Chris, Joyce and more were joining in, contributing song (and dance) suggestions! You were SO supportive — even when I made big gaffs on the air. My worst was on Janet Parshall when I said I had a former assistant who was Gay — I meant her name was Gaye! OHHHHH. I got e-mails. “Why would you mention her sexual preference?” But love covers over a multitude of gaffes — and you covered me well.
This week on Thursday the broadcast we did in Chattanooga will be aired nationally. You can hear it on Thursday at noon central or by Friday you can hear it online. I pray that what I felt that day in Chattanooga will somehow come across — for the presence of God was so strong — I leaned over and said to Anita, “Do you sense Him here?” And she nodded in awe. Why should He work through us when we are so sinful? Because He loves His children — and wants to rid them of their idols so that they can experience Him. This week you will also watch a 7 minute clip from Jennie Allen — on the change in her life as she is seeing God more and more for WHO HE IS and surrendering to Him. I’ll be giving you links.
Last week Renee and Joyce had an interesting discussion, as caregivers who have witnessed dementia, at how memorizing scripture can help keep our minds sharp. It can also change our hearts, conforming us to Him. We will be memorizing a few key passages — and this week we’ll start with Hebrews 1:1-3. That will be the heart of our study this week — and yes, it may give you a nosebleed. Just seeing WHO HE IS! Hebrews, because it is a sermon, has a flow, often like a string of pearls, that lends itself to memory. Write out these three verses and put them a couple of places you tend to be: the car, the treadmill, the mirror… Word by word or phrase by phrase — it will begin to move your heart and take you up the mountain.
How was I led to lead us through Hebrews? I knew I wanted something that would fix our eyes on Jesus so that idols could be replaced. I prayed and had a good conversation with Elizabeth on why Hebrews was her favorite book (she’ll share below), then I saw that Hebrews is the series that is on sale this month at Redeemer. I studied the book at Covenant Seminary, found it challenging, but also exciting. We read a commentary by William Lane that was very good. He said something so interesting to me. Hebrews is not a letter (as most people, even Keller refer to it) but a sermon. He gives great support, which we look at next week. But the reason this is so interesting to me is that a letter may not get your heart hot, but a sermon, ESPECIALLY A SERMON WRITTEN BY GOD, will! That’s what a good sermon does. As Keller says, unless a sermon gets an individual’s heart hot for God during the message, transformation may never take place — for despite the best of intentions, he may never apply it if heart transformation has not begun. This is a book designed to CHANGE US! TO KNOCK THOSE IDOLS TO SMITHEREENS.
AND SO, GOD HAD LED US TO HEBREWS.
Are you ready for “nosebleed Christology?” I am! Let’s start up the mountain, fixing our eyes on Jesus.
1. Are you going to join us and stay with us? If so, why?
2. What comments do you have on the above and why?
Monday-Thursday: Incentives to Climb The Mountain!
1. BEGIN MEMORIZING HEBREWS 1:1-3 IN YOUR FAVORITE TRANSLATION. TAKE A WORD AT A TIME, AND MEDITATE AS YOU MEMORIZE. IF ANYTHING QUICKENS YOU, STOP. SHARE.
I want you to hear from Jennie Allen – one of the women who stood out to me at the Women Gospel Coalition because of her humility and heart. For example, she wrote this after listening to John Piper:
God was showing himself to a room full of women, and staring at the carpet felt like the right thing to do.
Piper said, “If you love the glory of man you do not love the glory of God.” I started shaking, but the room was already trembling. We weren’t trembling before a man, we were trembling at our souls before God. Scary thoughts raced through me as he spoke.
Do I even love God?
Why do I crave everyone’s approval?
I want to fear you, God, above all else.
I want to tremble before you every day.
PLEASE WATCH 7 MINUTES OF JENNIE AND NOTICE WHAT IT WAS THAT CHANGED HER ANEW — FOR IT IS SO RELEVANT TO OUR STUDY:
2. What comments do you have on this video? What arrested Jennie so she re-surrendered?
In the book/movie Blue Like Jazz, the Christian who had retreated watched a Christian so bold that he was changed. When we watch a surrendered life, it impacts us. But even more, when we behold Christ, the ultimate surrendered life, we become like him.
- Andrew Murray said: Brother! beholding Jesus and His glory, you can confidently expect to become like Him
- John Piper said: Beholding is becoming
3. They are basing their thoughts on 2 Corinthians 3:18. What does Paul say beholding the glory of the Lord will do?
4. Why is this an incentive to study Hebrews?
5. Keep memorizing Hebrews 1:1-3. Share any thoughts.
I was visiting with Elizabeth who told me Hebrews was her favorite book. I asked her why — and in part, she responded:
The whirlwinds of suffering and trials come in many forms but most often are unexpected, and always uninvited. When I feel completely ineffective as a parent or exasperated by physical suffering, I experience a desperate need for something more. An urgency to believe that there is something unshakeable, unalterable by the pain and sin in this world.
Hebrews reminds me of my True Hope. I have an eternal hope, a kingdom that IS unshakeable. But I also have hope for today—hope in Christ who reigns over my circumstances, over my pain. He is not a high priest who does not understand—but One who empathizes with me in every way. And this hope, is not earthly hope, it is not a “wish” or a dreamy desire. It is a PROMISE—of a future inheritance—and for today, I am never forsaken. In this place between what is now and what is not yet, Lord, strengthen my faith. That I may cling to that hope as an anchor, trusting that no matter what happens in my earthly life, my anchor of hope will bring me safely Home.
6. Share any thoughts on Elizabeth’s entry.
7. Without looking, write out Hebrews 1:1-3. (Practice first — but then do it here!)
Thursday-Friday I’d love for you to listen to Midday — either live on Thursday at noon central or online on Friday. You’ll have to hear my same old story again in the beginning, but then there are fresh things — and what I pray you will sense is the presence of God.
Here’s the link: http://www.moodyradio.org/middayconnection/
8. Comments or questions after listening?
9. What’s your take-a-way and why!
Next week — we officially begin Hebrews! Pray!