Yesterday in church, we finished studying the book of Hebrews together. What a rich book it is! There is so much imagery and comfort and unpacking of the gospel in it. Reading Hebrews helps me to understand Christ’s sacrifice so much better and also His love and care for us, His church.
The last chapter of Hebrews is very practical and yesterday we heard about building relationships. It is easy to neglect local relationship-building these days when we can connect with so many people all over the world on facebook, twitter, email groups, blogs, etc. However, it is also easy to project a sanitized image of yourself in the digital world and not reveal your weaknesses, sinful tendencies, and failures. However, it is near impossible to hide your weaknesses, sins, and failures with your spouse, your children, and your close friends in real life. They see all of you–good and bad–which is why it is so important to have those “real life” relationships. All of us need people who will challenge us to grow in Christ and whom we can challenge to do the same.
Yesterday, I was encouraged to share the burdens of my closest friends as well as share time together, to have integrity (wholeness) in my daily life, and to empower others in their growth in walking with Jesus. My favorite part of the sermon, though, was in the last few minutes when we read this passage:
20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21
How rich this passage is! Our ability to walk with Christ, to grow in holiness, to deal with our sins, to build relationships, to work for the Lord’s kingdom all flow from what the Lord has done for us, much of which is stated in this passage.
First, we have peace with God. What a blessing this is. We are no longer His enemies but His beloved children, because of Jesus’s taking our sins on Himself.
Second, we have the same power from God which He demonstrated by raising Jesus from the dead. That’s an amazing power and the Lord gives us that same power by His Spirit within us to live our lives in a manner worthy of Him.
Third, Jesus is our Shepherd. He knows us intimately, cares for us every minute of every day, leads us in the paths that take us to green pastures and quiet waters, and protects us from our enemies. No one will ever love us as Jesus loves us. He is our good Shepherd.
Fourth, He has promised us in His covenant to never let us go. We need not worry that we can somehow lose our salvation because we’re not good enough or because we’ve sinned one too many times. His covenant means that God Himself has seen that we are incapable of keeping any promises so He has promised for Himself and for us that we will always be His precious children.
Fifth, He has made us complete to do His will and He is working our sanctification in us, every minute of every day, so that we may walk in the way He means for us to go.
Those are amazing promises and knowing that we have such an amazing God and so great a salvation, can we not seek Him out and ask Him to show us which relationships in our lives need work, how we can deepen the relationships we have currently, whether there are new people with whom we can begin to develop friendships, and how He desires us to live and grow today and every day.