Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Watch Out!

My Sept. 28 lesson ...

Memory Verse: Hebrews 3:13a - But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today...

Main Idea: Believers must encourage each other to firmly hold to Jesus.

FIRST THOUGHTS

Warning signs are everywhere! Think of how many you see that you ignore. Every year there is a contest to find the most ridiculous warning labels. Here are some compiled by Forbes.com:

~ The Jabra Drive ‘N’ Talk is a Bluetooth speakerphone accessory for cellphones to be used in the car. The Drive ‘N’ Talk carries this contradictory warning label: “Never operate your speakerphone while driving.”

~ Nytol sleeping pills says "may cause drowsiness."

~ Picture on a chainsaw says, "Do not hold the wrong side of a chainsaw."

~ On gas caps for personal recreational vehicles such as jet skis and ATVs it says "Never use a lit match or open flame to check fuel level."

~ Vidal Sassoon hair dryer says, "Do not use while sleeping."

~ A letter opener for Staples said, "Safety goggles recommended."

~ Razor scooter says, "This product moves when used."

~ Finally ... Midol Menstrual Complete has a warning not to use it if you have difficulty urinating due to an enlarged prostate. ... ((((I'll let that one sink in ...))))

*** Now, spiritually speaking, what kind of warnings do you wish were in place for your spiritual journey with Christ?

--- The writer of Hebrews delivered a warning, calling on the readers to learn from history. We will discover a lesson from history and two actions we are to take to avoid the same mistakes made by the Israelites.

KNOW YOUR HISTORY (HEB. 3:7-11)

7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear His voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works 10 for 40 years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation and said, “They always go astray in their hearts, and they have not known My ways.” 11 So I swore in My anger, “They will not enter My rest.”

*** 1. Fix your thoughts on Jesus.

--- A. Verses 1 through 6 in the chapter relate that Jesus is greater than Moses, just "as a builder of a house is greater than the house itself."

--- B. The author of Hebrews is quoting from Psalm 95 in these verses to show how just as Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and delivered them through the wilderness and into the promised land, Jesus leads His followers of our the bondage of sin and into eternal life.

--- C. The Israelites lost focus. They didn't keep their eyes on the prize. They dropped the ball. We are called to think about and meditate on Jesus and the Bible. The hymn says it all:

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace."

*** 2. Rebellion leaves you distant from God.

--- A. The Israelites grumbled about a lack of water (Exodus 17:1-7), about a lack of meat (Exodus 16), and eventually even refused to go into the promised land at the given time because only two men - Joshua and Caleb- were ready to act on faith. (Numbers 14)

--- B. Is there a time in your life you were rebelling against God?

*** 3. Be faithful as He is faithful.

--- A. Even as the Israelites rebelled, God continued to guide them, to provide for them and protect them.

--- B. Can you think of someone who helped you out during your rebellion and didn't give up?

HEED THE WARNING (HEB. 3:12)

12 Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God.

*** 1. Watch out.

--- A. Unbelief can sneak into your life and take hold. Take concern for other believers.

--- B. God’s grace is sufficient to forgive us of our sins as we confess them (see 1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.). However, any professing Christians who develop a pattern of disobedience and retreat from their confession of Christ as Savior and Lord are warned to make sure, to watch out, to see to it that their faith in Christ is genuine.

--- C. Since we are to keep watch over our hearts, how do you do this in your own life? How might we keep one another accountable in a Bible study group or even in a church congregation?

--- D. Do you think there are any observable signs or indicators that a person is developing a rebellious heart. If so, what are they?

--- E. Paul gave a similar warning in 2 Corinthians 13:5 when he challenged the Corinthians to examine themselves to see if they were truly in the faith: Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER (HEB. 3:13-15)

13 But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. 14 For we have become companions of the Messiah if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start. 15 As it is said: Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.

*** 1. Encourage each other.

--- A. Memory verse! 3:13a: "But encourage each other daily..."

--- Do you know someone who needs less discouragement and more encouragement?

--- B. In John 13:34-45 Jesus says that loving one another is not optional: A new command I give you, love one another. As I have loved you, you must love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.

We could all be as positive as Texas high school running back Apollos Hester, who has a grasp of what's important and how to have a winning attitude:

“It’s a mindset, yes ma’am, Hey, you can do anything you put your mind to. Never give up on your dreams. Keep smiling. No matter what you’re going through, you fall down, just get up. If you can’t get up, your friends are there to help you up, your mama’s there, your daddy’s there, God’s there, hey I’m there to help you up, you’re there!”

--- C. As believers were are to encourage one another. To do so glorifies Jesus.

1 Pet. 4:8-10 – 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

*** D. Question - What does daily encouragement in the faith look like? Can you think of at least one way you can encourage someone in the faith this week? Whom do you know who needs a call, a visit, an email, and your prayers?

*** 2. Persevere now and until the end and you will be in Him.

--- A. Verse 14: For we have become companions of the Messiah if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start says that if have genuine faith it must endure. This verse means that if someone does not have faith that endures, then it is not genuine faith.

*** 3. ”It was then that I carried you.”

--- A. Verse 15: "As it is said: Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."

--- B. God’s grace carries us through the difficult seasons of life. Keep your heart ready to accept His help.

It’s like the poem “Footprints,” hanging in every grandmother's bathroom: “During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

Our faith grows because we see how God’s grace carries us through the difficult seasons of life.

TAKE-AWAY POINTS

*** 1. Rely on, or find, an accountability partner. Use them for support, encouragement and to talk about areas where you need to make sure your faith is solid.

*** 2. Encourage Pastor David and other church leaders. Use emails, handwritten notes, and other mediums to let the pastor and other leaders know that your group is praying for them.

*** 3. Think of our memory verse - Hebrews 3:13a - this week.

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