We're so glad you've decided to join our online class!
This week, we are at the Washington County Fair for worship.
When we meet in person, we share our joys and concerns together. If you have any prayer requests for us during Sunday School, please feel free to add a comment to this post. When you are ready, use the prayer below (source) to get started.
Your ways are beyond our comprehension and Your wisdom exceeds the utmost of our understanding. Allow us to fully surrender unto you, trusting in the path you have set us on. We may not fully understand our troubles, but we know that in Your immeasurable wisdom You have planned things perfectly and You have our best interests in mind. Allow us, I pray, to draw from Your wisdom that we may see things from Your perspective and be strengthened to continue pursuing Your will.
This week's lesson is on Hebrews 10:23-36.
I want to first give you the definition of apostasy. It is an act of refusing to continue to follow, obey or recognize a religious faith. An abandonment of a previous loyalty. This word is used throughout our lesson today.
It is not mentioned who wrote Hebrews but it is believed to be Apostle Paul.
Swerving from the faith, and therefore falling into apostasy, was exactly the danger that motivates Paul to deliver this message in the first place. But we should not understand him just pointing his finger at his audience. He understood their circumstances and how strong the temptation to waiver, to give up the fight for them. So he pointed them to Jesus , reminding them to their faithfulness could not be based on their own meager strength. Rather, it has to be rooted in the prior faithfulness of Jesus himself.
We as Christians should focus on helping one another. The Christian life cannot be solely an individual affair. We do not follow the path of discipleship on the basis of our individual determination alone. We have help, support and encouragement to each other and for ourselves along the way.
This is not simply a call for helpfulness. Believers are to spur one another on towards love and good deeds and the worship assembly. We cannot isolate one of the three and hold it as the sole focus of the Christian life.
After over a year of not being able to physically meet together at Church because of COVID I realize how true this is. I felt so isolated from my Church family even though I would watch the sermons online. Physically meeting together gives you a feeling of fellowship and sharing of our mutual faith. I pray that sometime in the near future all our members will feel comfortable in physically attending church again. I pray for the end of this virus. Praying that some of our members haven’t left the church all together. I pray about this often and would like you to pray for the strengthening of our church and all of our members.
Paul was speaking to Christian that were being pressured by family and society to turn away from their faith.
To sin deliberately after having come to Christ carries the grave consequences of being cut off from the positive benefits of Christ’s sacrifice for sins. We assume Paul is speaking to wavering believers who want to return to Judaism. Having been in Christ, they have come to know that animal sacrifices did not purify. So how could any sacrifice for sins remain for them?
Those who continue to turn their backs on Jesus can anticipate judgement and a raging fire on Judgement Day. Disobeying God should put people in fear because they have become his enemies in their own actions.
If the punishment for an Israelite in the Old Testament who was doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God in violation of his covenant by committing idolatry. Such a person was to be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses. If the consequences of apostasy were dire under the old covenant, consider how much worse those consequences are under the new covenant of Jesus Christ. Apostasy is a rejection of the Spirit of grace and is the same as having trampled the Son of God underfoot. Grace empowers us to take up our crosses and follow Christ, giving us the strength to undertake the path of discipleship and service to others in his name. Think of all that is given up when one rejects the Spirit of grace.
Paul goes on to tell the early Christians that they have gone through suffering before and that they can do it again. The ability to persevere will result in retaining the promise of resurrection and eternal life with Jesus. If we live by faith and die in faith , our souls will be safe forever.
Conclusion: The Challenge for Every Age
The story of the audience of the letter to the Hebrews is the story of God’s people throughout history. From the days after Pharaoh released the Hebrews from bondage onward, we see fickleness in God’s people in remaining faithful. In many ways, it was no different for the first century church.
And it is no different for us today. Cultural pressures may vary from place to place and across the centuries, but the challenge of faithfulness remains. By keeping our eyes trained on God’s promises in hope, we can remain faithful to the very end and receive everything God desires for us. “Let’s us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race mark out for us.”
Father, in the midst of strong pressures, grant us strength to remain faithful to your Son through the Spirit of grace. May we seek each day to live a life worthy of our calling in him. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
This week's benediction is from the God's Word translation.
Next week's lesson will be on 1 John 4:2-3, 13-17; 5:4-5.
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.