Hebrews 2

Hebrews 2

2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,


  “What is man, that you are mindful of him,
    or the son of man, that you care for him?
  You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
    you have crowned him with glory and honor,
    putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,


  “I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

13 And again,


  “I will put my trust in him.”

And again,


  “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

(ESV)

Hebrews 1

Hebrews 1

1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say,


  “You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you”?

Or again,


  “I will be to him a father,
    and he shall be to me a son”?

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,


  “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Of the angels he says,


  “He makes his angels winds,
    and his ministers a flame of fire.”

But of the Son he says,


  “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
    the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
  You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
  therefore God, your God, has anointed you
    with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

10 And,


  “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11   they will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment,
12   like a robe you will roll them up,
    like a garment they will be changed.
  But you are the same,
    and your years will have no end.”

13 And to which of the angels has he ever said,


  “Sit at my right hand
    until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

(ESV)

Matthew 28

Matthew 28

28:1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

(ESV)

Matthew 27

Matthew 27

27:1 When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor.

Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” 14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16 And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. 19 Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

24 So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” 25 And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. 28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. 37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

55 There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

(ESV)

Going Deeper

Going Deeper

Matthew 22-26 (4.20.19)

*Before we jump into this week’s scripture. I want to acknowledge that it’s the morning after the cross of Christ. What a somber morning is was for those who loved Him and for those who witnessed his brutal death. We have the privilege of knowing death couldn’t contain Him.  That It was truly finished on Friday night and what was coming was resurrection. Not only for Jesus, but for all who repent and trust in Him.  May it be so for you and yours.  Sunday’s coming!

Grab your Bible and let’s go deeper into Matthew 22.

Matthew 22:37-38 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.

Love the Lord your God with “all”. Does that mean sometimes? Does that mean part way? Does that mean when you feel like it? Does that mean give Him some of your heart?

No, it means all. It means all the time. It means all the way. It means when you don’t feel like it. It means He gets the best you have to give. It means He is the greatest love of your life.

Do you love God with all of your heart?

This can be something we say, but in the end, is not backed up by how we live our lives.

The great commandment is really about worship. For what do you live? What causes your heart to beat? What makes your soul ache? What consumes your thoughts?

God should be the far-above-all-else answer for these things, but the reality is that for many of us He simply is not. We want Him to be, but He isn’t. So, how do we address this problem? If this is the greatest command of God for our lives and we know we are not fulfilling it, how do we begin to take it seriously?

I have come to understand that to tell myself I need to love God more than anything else can begin to feel like a religious weight on my shoulders that I just can’t seem to ever address. The way I have found to help is to ask myself another question. Do I enjoy God? Is He the source of my deepest satisfaction? Is God my treasure?

If the great commandment is really a worship thing, then the truth is that authentic worship is fueled by what we enjoy.

Let me explain. The pursuit of joy and satisfaction is a God-given desire deeply driving each one of us. To find happiness, satisfaction, and joy, we will do a lot of things and, as a result, put our worship onto a lot of things. For most of us, this results in some form of hedonism.

Hedonism = the pursuit of pleasure; it is self-indulgence. It’s the theory that pleasure is the highest good and aim of human life.

The problem is that hedonism couldn’t be further from God’s will for our lives. Essentially, hedonism by itself is heathenism!

In 2 Timothy 3:4, Paul warned in the last days men would be “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” Surely, we are in those days. This passage seems to help us begin to see the root of what affects our love for God.

Now, let me make an observation. Satisfaction, enjoyment, and pleasure are good, God-given things! I believe the Bible teaches us that the desire to be happy is God-given and should not be denied.

Before I lose you, the key here is that it must be directed to God who ultimately is the only one who can truly satisfy.

Our ultimate purpose in life is to worship God and give Him Glory! The command is to love Him above all else!

1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

True, authentic praise flows from the mouth of one who has found great enjoyment in something. If you do not truly enjoy something or love it, then your praise for it is quite possibly based on something fake or mechanical. This is the kind of love that is begrudging or mandatory. No one gets excited about worship that is forced or obligated—including God!

I know my wife doesn’t. If I take her out on an amazing date and wine and dine her to the hilt and then at the end of the night say, “It was my obligation to do this for you.” She will in no way appreciate nor receive that from me. Nor should she!

But if I take her out on an amazing date and wine and dine her to the hilt because it truly is my pleasure to do so, then she knows that she has been enjoyed and loved deeply.

Do you see the difference? It is no different with God! If you and I show up to church simply because it is our obligation, or our duty as good Christians, would He look at the worship we sing to Him on that day as authentic or even real?

Our critical error lies not in the fact that we long to be happy and enjoy life, but in the intensity of our desire to be happy. Why? Because we settle for and chase after temporary, mundane, fleshly things to satisfy us instead of chasing a greater desire that is met in the One who truly can satisfy and make us eternally full of joy and love—God himself.

C.S. Lewis says it so well in “The Weight of Glory!”

“… it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

In our flesh and sin, we dream about scraps. We try to find deep, lasting pleasure in fast motorcycles, big screen TVs, and tasty meals.

Pascal brings to light how this traps us if left alone as our only pursuit! He says, “But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself.”

The point is this:

All the daily things we have been trying to gain satisfaction from can be great things that are given to us by God to be enjoyed. But, if that is all we have dreamed of and learned to enjoy, then we have settled for a distant second.

If worship of God’s glory is our highest purpose, then our lack of satisfaction in God is our biggest failure.

John Piper says it best in his most famous quote, “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in him.”

So, when we are looking for the best way to live out our biggest purpose in life, which is to love and worship God with all our heart, mind, and soul, we don’t accomplish this by trying really hard to be a “good Christian.” We accomplish this by feasting deeply in Him instead of all the counterfeit things for which we have been chasing or longing.

As a result, we will overflow with praise and glory that will terminate, not on us and our temporary pleasures, but on Him and His eternal supremacy!

The highest calling of our life, and the reason why we are given our next breath to breathe, is to give Him glory and praise Him. This can only happen authentically and unceasingly if He is the source of our joy! God is not worshiped where He is not treasured and enjoyed!

Consider these scriptures:

Psalm 37:4Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 63:1 “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

Psalm 36:8 “They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.”

Over and over again we read in the Psalms that God is the “all-satisfying object.” Only in Him do we find the source of complete and unending pleasure, which always draws us to deep love and real praise.

God is the treasure and the satisfaction that trumps all others!

Here is what is so awesome: He willingly came to a people who choose to worship His creation instead of Him as the creator and instead of leveling us with His just and eternal wrath, He showed us amazing grace and love!

It is this grace that causes us to sing and worship, that allows our hearts to be satisfied in Him, and that makes us want to live all our life for Him.

Soldiers, I plead with you to consider not just working harder to love God more, but to really consider what you are treasuring in this life, what you are chasing or longing for, and what consumes your schedule or thoughts or desires. We must repent and turn from our over-pursuit of these things and back to God. We must cling to Him, dig into His word to stir our hearts for Him, and surround ourselves with men who will constantly remind us that Jesus is better!

“God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him.”

For further study on this topic and a great guide for the Christian life, I encourage you to get a copy of John Piper’s book Desiring God. Next to the Scriptures, this book has helped ignite and deepen my faith-walk with God like no other. Read it slowly and read it thoughtfully.

When your satisfaction and joy are in God, your love for Him will be all! Put down the mud pies and let’s go sailing!

By His grace and for His glory,

-Shepherd

Soldiers for Jesus MC