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Faith Completed (FaithWorks 6)

Faith Completed (FaithWorks 6)

. 6 min read

FaithWorks
(6): Faith Completed
 

2013/08/18 Christ
Church

Prayer, Psalm 115.1-11

Children, Genesis 18.1-15 (Abraham & the three visitors;
Rublev’s icon)

Message, Hebrews 13.1-25

Review:

            Extended
sermon, though he concludes: “written briefly” (13.22)

            Faith
Commended

                        Risks
(Abraham)

                        Abused
(Moses)

                        Endures
(the race set before us)

                        Connects
(in peace and holiness)

            Today,
faith completed:

Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our
Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal
covenant,  21
make you
complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that
which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory
forever and ever. Amen. (13.20-21)

Faith completed … sounds majestic and glorious.  Why the potpourri of advice in the final
chapter?  Show hospitality.  Remember those in prison.  Honor marriage.  Obey your leaders.  Pray for us. 
It sounds less like faith completed and more like the parting advice of
moms and dads: drive safely, always use protection, respect your teachers,
brush your teeth, don’t forget to call home at least once a week.

Faith completed IS majestic and glorious.  It’s also practical.  Did you catch the phrase: “make you complete
in EVERYTHING GOOD”?  And, while the
catch-all series of exhortations is a typical way to close the letters in the
New Testament, each letter has its own context. 
For Hebrews, the context is FAITH. 
And the exhortations are given with the understanding that living by
faith makes us into faith-ful people. 
Faith fills and saturates every part of our life.

Hebrew word
for faith: “aman”.  It is a word that
speaks of nourishment and support – and is the root for the terms “foster
father” and “foster mother”.  It is a
word that speaks of firmness and reliability – and is the root for the term “pillar”,
like the pillars in my basement that hold up my house.  And the term shows up over and over in the
New Testament and in the prayer life of God’s people as “amen”.  When we put our faith in Jesus, we become
more supportive, more reliable people. 
It is a qualitative change that comes as we put our faith the one who is
reliable … we become reliable as well. 
As we put our faith in the one who supports … we become supportive as
well.

1.         Hospitality – especially about the
nourishment & support of faith

            To
strangers – visiting a church in OC,
MD

                       
in the public arena, new to the neighborhood, outsiders

                       
grateful for your welcome

            To those in
prison and tortured, “remember”

                       
injustice in the justice system

                       
the persecuted church (Ingrid’s story)

                       
responsibility to care for one another (original focus)

                                    “As
though you were with them”

                                    “Remember
those who are in hospitals, nursing homes”

                                    Monthly
service at Smith, opportunity for visitation ministry

As we put our faith in the one who supports … we become
supportive …

2.         Reliability – especially about the
firmness, the pillar

            In marriage
– the bed “undefiled”

                        Language
for worship (defiled ant. holy)

            In money

                        “Free
from the love of money, and be content with what you have

                        for
he has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’”

                       
money is not trust-worthy

                       
money makes no promise of supporting you

                       
money won’t love you back, no matter how much you love it

                        BUT
we can rely on Jesus!

As we put our faith in the one who is reliable … we become
reliable …

3.         Novelty
(in this case, a negative statement of the theme)

            Negative
side: do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings

            Positive
side: remember, consider, imitate, obey leaders

                        Dianne
Bjornberg’s father broke the ground for this building

                        Les
& Gary Shupp’s father provided the first trees for the property

            Link: “Jesus
Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (13.8)

Not an argument against change from one generation to
another, but a reminder that our faith is focused on one particular person,
Jesus Christ our Lord.  In every age
there are “strange teachings”, generally a recycled and repackaged version of
the heresies of the primitive church. 
Don’t be carried away by the novelty, the supposed benefits, the “superior”
scholarship, the secret knowledge, the greater liberty.  It’s just not there.  Instead, be carried away to Jesus.  “Let us then go to him outside the camp and
bear the abuse he endured” (13.13).

Put your
faith in Jesus, and use as a model those leaders whose lives have borne it out –
people who have become reliable and supportive just like the Lord we trust.

“Now may the God of peace …”