WARNING - Work in Progress

WARNING - Work in Progress
WARNING - Work in Progress

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Offer to God - 10/22/18


Hebrews 13:15

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-the fruit of lips that confess his name."

The epistle (letter) of Hebrews was originally thought to have been written by the Apostle Paul because of the ending but scholars have concluded that the majority of the original Greek grammar and structure was not like the writing of Paul at all, so now it is commonly accepted that the authorship of the letter is unknown.  While author identity is in many ways important for understanding and translation, what's really important is understanding that the truth of what's written is given by God.

The letter of Hebrews is written to Jews and is combating an immediate threat among those called Christian at that time and in that place.  Chapters 1 & 2 are directly arguing again some form of angel worship and seemingly dismantling the idea that Jesus is an angel or any form of angel.  I don't know what the people of the time thought of angel worship but I know it is prevalent today in many ways as people are constantly trusting in their "guardian angel" or their deceased loved one who has become their "guardian angel" after their death.  Through chapters 1 & 2 the Hebrews writer points out that Jesus is not an angel and that he is much more superior to them because of his Cross and Resurrection.  

Chapter 3 begin with a call to those who "who share in the heavenly calling" to "fix your thoughts on Jesus the apostle and high priest whom we confess."

Chapters 3-10 are filled with much that we Gentiles should learn but it is largely instructional to the Jews who know what a High Priest is and have a good understanding of Jewish Scriptural History.  For the writer uses their Scripture to show that Jesus is their Jewish Messiah and has becoming their High Priest who is seated at the right hand of God making intercession for us.

Chapter 11 is the famous faith chapter as it points out how only faith in Jewish history was accepted by God and how now only faith is accepted by God.  

Chapter 12 talks about enduring hardships in their faith leading into the final chapter 13 with two things that I want to point out.

First, 13:9 the writer says "Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings."  And second, 13:15 "...offer to God a sacrifice of praise."

The idea the writer is making here is not about strange teachings as in Ripley's Believe it or Not sort of strange, but rather strange here comes from two Greek words (translated diverse and foreign) which are used in relation to the topic of the Christian orthodoxy that he has spent 12 chapters explaining to them: not to believe that Jesus is an angel (for that idea is certainly foreign lay strange).

In today's culture we Americans believe many strange teachings about Jesus, and I include myself in this accusation; it's impossible to not have influenced by them.  The devil whose job it is to destroy our faith and cause us to not have faith in Jesus is sly so we need to be aware.  Books and books have been written against such teachings but I simplify it reducing everything to this: if our attention is distracted from faith in Jesus alone then we need to address whatever is distracting us.  And this is most easily seen in the writer's next call for us to offer the sacrifice of praise to God.

In 13:15 we are called to, "through Jesus," to continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God.

Here's a test.  Go to Church someplace, anyplace, and during the worship, focus singularly on God through Jesus Christ.  On His attributes alone, on His goodness alone, on Him and His goodness alone.  Don't focus on what He has done for you, don't focus on what you want Him to do for you, and don't focus on whether you like the style of music, the music leader, or the people around you.  Just focus on God for who God is and worship him!

My guess is that you cannot do it for 15 minutes, I know I can't.  Try as I might I always seem to find myself thinking about myself, my situations (good or bad), and my loved ones.  Heck, I even find myself thinking about the football game after church, lunch, or what might be in the mail on Sunday.  I am so easily distracted that I rarely get a chance to focus just on God when I worship.

Maybe I am alone in this but I'm going to bet that I am not.

So what am I to Do?
Romans 7:24

"What a wretched man I am, who will save me from this body of death?" 

Well, as Paul identifies in Romans 7, we are not going to be able to succeed though we try (as we must) but we do have one who saves us despite our own inabilities and shortcomings.  He refers to Jesus, the same one the Hebrew writer spent 13 chapters convincing us to know and have faith in.  

It is Jesus who died on the cross defeating sin and death thus saving us, it is Jesus who was dead for three days in the grave that resurrected back to physical feed me and feel me life, it is Jesus through whom we now are called to continually offer praise from our lips to God, and It is Jesus who is now seated at the right hand of the father making intercession for us.

Do we believe it?  With even a little bit of faith, the size of a mustard seed?  For if you do/will, then you are not alone as you navigate your life's journey.

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