If you're visiting let us know at www.transcendchurch.infoToday we're in Hebrews 10:19-25
Posted by Transcend Church Harrisburg on Sunday, July 15, 2018
You can find our unedited notes from the sermon here:
You know what’s interesting? The way we receive good news. Have you ever gotten good news? How about great news? When I was a kid my mom wanted to show me that the lottery isn’t a sure thing – because I was convinced that if we just came up with the money, we could buy the entire roll of scratch off tickets at the gas station and we’d be up on our money. SO, she agreed to buy me a $1 scratch off ticket. We drove up to the lil giant gas station surrounded by south Florida sand and we marched in – I picked my $1 scratch off and we went back out to the car. As I sipped from my refillable cup – I scratched that ticket. Do you know what happened next? I won $5 – and I wanted to go back that night and buy 5 more. My mom was grossly disappointed by that lesson. This was the late 80’s and people were obsessing with lottery – computers were just getting popularized and you could buy software that would randomly pick lottery numbers from a pool of potential numbers that had NOT yet won (this was pre internet so you had to manually enter ALL the #’s that had won, where as today we’d have that information as an import). We knew a guy with stacks and stacks of tickets that once said, “you know I’m starting to get a little discouraged with this lottery thing”. The odds of winning a lottery like Powerball are insane – here is what a statistician said: “[…]probability of winning the jackpot is 1 in 175,223,510. First purchasing every number combination. In Powerball, a player first picks five different whole numbers between 1 and 59. all the possibilities, starting with (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), (1, 2, 3, 4, 6), and so on all the way through (55, 56, 57, 58, 59). But it would take a long time to make that list, because it has more than five million entries! Indeed, mathematics tells us the number of ways to choose five distinct numbers from 1 to 59 is 5,006,386. After choosing the five numbers between 1 and 59, the player then picks another number between 1 and 35 that is called the Powerball. So, we multiply the 5,006,386 by 35 and see that there are 175,223,510 possible Powerball combinations.” Chances of wining Powerball 1 and 175 million. Here is the problem with odds like 1 and 175 million, I’m poor, I don’t own 175 million anything — 1 and 5 OK, I have at least 5 forks I get those odds. 175,223,510 million pennies would be $1,752,235.1 dollars – so I’m out with penny ownership too. So if you take dollar bills – 175,223,510 of them, and trace the eastern sea board down to Orlando, where I just drove from in a U-Haul with no AC, which took me from 9am to 2am the next day (to any police in the room please don’t do the math on that), lining those dollar bills end to end, you’d have to cut west and move towards San Antonio and LA then up to Portland back through Wyoming and Nebraska Iowa ultimately through NY and up to Maine, you can come BACK to my house (by the way to carry just 175 million bills you’ll fill the back of two Simi truck trailers. Now keep going because to pull this off you do that loop twice because THAT is how far 175/m end to end bills stretch – thanks to Ronald L. Wasserstein for those calculations When you randomly pick one of those bills along the loop around the US laying them end to end, that’s equivalent to a 1 and 175 million odds of winning Powerball – those are steep odds and I bet you’d like the chance at the exercise. Several people have walked across the United States which has taken 6 to 8 months on average so you’re in for at lest a 3-5 year journey I’d say, picking your winning bill – if you get the right one… Of course some people win: Martyn Tott, 33, and his 24-year-old wife from the UK missed out on a $5 million lottery fortune after losing their ticket. They were able to convince officials, but since there is a 30-day time limit on reporting lost tickets, the jackpot became the largest unclaimed amount since the lottery began in 1994. “Thinking you’re going to have all that money is really liberating. Having it taken away has the opposite effect,” Kay Tott told The Daily Mail. “It drains the life from you and puts a terrible strain on your marriage. It was the cruelest torture imaginable.” Evelyn Adams gambled it all away in Atlantic City. Flickr / Jamie McCaffrey Against all odds, in the mid-1980s, Adams won the lottery twice, once in 1985 and again in 1986. The New Jersey native won a cool $5.4 million, but AskMen.com reports that she gambled it away at Atlantic City. Today she resides in a trailer park. How did these folks react when they won all this money, jumping up and down, screaming running around in circles. They’d won – right, they beat the odds. The promise that the writer of Hebrews is now revealing is secured by the work of the very Christ Jesus that has been laid out over these 10.5 chapters – the price is this: Hebrews 10:19–36 (ESV) The Full Assurance of Faith 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, It’s important to notice a few things here – 1) the writer addresses “brothers”, brethren, those of us gathered together in the name of Jesus, saved and redeemed by His blood who claim His righteousness – we already have in the past confidence to enter into Holy Places. What are “Holy Places”? That picture of the temple worship and ceremony holy places are those with the presence of God, reserved for the single priest chosen for that job on the day of atonement – carefully prepared and cleansed, we now as a kingdom of priests. We have access to God, it’s not something we can separate ourselves from: Romans 8:38–39 (ESV) 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. That’s either true or the word of God is a liar. You tell me? Is it true – is God your prize in Christ? But one is true -our prize as God’s child is either secured and fact and truth from God and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord or God is a liar. 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,and 21 since we have a great priest over the house of God, Lets go the God is NOT a liar route (because put this on your cheat sheet, Romans 3:4, & Numbers 23:19). So God is not a liar, our salvation and union to God is secure because of God’s promise and Jesus goodness – church we’ve won the lottery! More than that – because it isn’t squandered, it’s secured – no casino can take it, no one can lose the card Our prize as God’s child is either secured and fact and truth from God and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord or God is a liar. If it’s secure in Jesus the writer-pastor of Hebrews says: 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Please write down these 3 verses 22, 23, 24 and practice these things week, pray over these THIS week, dwell on them. We’ll come back to verses 26-38 next week, this week know this: Our prize as God’s child is either secured and fact and truth from God and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord or God is a liar. We need to sink the answer to this in deeply: Is God a liar? If the answer is no, then you better sink His Word and His promises down deeply. The way we receive good news is interesting. Win the lottery, we rejoice jump up and down and go on a psychotic spending spree, yachts, cars, houses, and fast living – gain access to God in Christ, and we doubt it. We have a tendency to think that God really is still going to judge our sin(s). I remember how my grandfather used to pray at the dinner table every night “God forgive us our Many sins”. And I used to think, “sins” why would you pray that daily if you’re a Christian? We know our motives, and internal selves and in light of knowing God, seeing God, and understanding God’s goodness and perfection it can feel like we’re at an arms distance, like punching at someone who’s got their hand on your forehead. We’re afraid of God’s judgment or that we’re a disappointment to our heavenly father. Verses 19-20 spoke to that, we’re near to God because of Jesus – so be bold. Our prize as God’s child is either secured and fact and truth from God and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our lord or God is a liar. Also, we tend to think we cannot actually have a relationship with God: Hebrews 7:25 (write that down and read it this week) says that Jesus is able to save those who draw near to God through Him). Jesus makes intercession for us, he literally prays FOR us. Have you ever asked someone “pray for me”. We do that all the time, right church? If not – step up your game. Even unbelievers when they want something to happen that seems impossible, say “pray for me”. You KNOW the prayers of your friends are effective James 5:16 encourages that and confessing your sins to each other. Now imagine Jesus praying for you – HE DOES – church you’ve done MORE than won the lottery in Christ you’ve gained access to the God of the universe – this is GREAT news, or God is a liar. Church we need to sink the answer to this question in, Is God a liar. And if not, we need to live this life together: 22 Let us draw near 23 hold fast to your confession 24 let us consider how to stir one another up in good works Home groups talk through these 3 verses “HOW do we do this”, “How do we live this out”, “Have you practiced this this week yet”? If we prayed for one another, confessed privately to one another, and encouraged each other that we’re victors in Christ, that we walk with God and have access to the Holy Place, that we pray for each other and that CHRIST HIMSELF who rests from His saving work, prays on our behalf – guys, our prize as God’s child is either secured and fact and truth from God and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our lord or God is a liar. Walk in that truth this week – and see how it encourages your walk with God. Because in Christ you certainly didn’t defeat the odds, you rigged the game! Our prize as God’s child is either secured and fact and truth from God and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord or God is a liar.