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September 7, 2020: The Peril and the Partnership- Pastor Perry Windecker

“See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion’”

(Hebrews 3:12-15 NIV).


Reflection


Today, yes today, is the day to hear God’s voice and heed the warning given here in these verses. The Israelites tested God too much, they are not allowed to enter into His rest.[1] So, the heed stands, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” The hardening of or hearts and unbelief is of course a deliberate and intentional act of rejecting Christ as the Israelites did in the wilderness. To hear and do nothing. In a world of today with blurring and ever stretching boundaries we need to even more so to listen to God’s voice and heed what is right and truthful.[2] Where consequences appear to be absent, we must even more listen and heed truth everlasting.


In stark contrast to these warnings of peril at both the beginning and end of these passages is the truth nestled like a gem to find in the middle. It is the partnership with Christ and the encouragement to hold on. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that ... We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.” We share in Christ, because He first shared in us! He shared in our suffering and death, defeating death once and for all. Adopting us into His family allowing us to share in God’s holiness and perfect love.[3]


Am I my Brother or Sister’s keeper? Since the days of Cain and Able we have been asked this question. Here in these passages we are told the answer emphatically as; Yes!


In these passages not only give us a contrast in hearing and heeding God’s voice we are encouraged, to “see to it” and even given the responsibility to see to it that none may turn away to sin and its deceitfulness as long as it is called today—daily to see to it.[4] Listen, believe, and align yourself with Christ is our daily call, [5] and call to share with all. So, yes, we are our brother and sister’s keeper, but even more so Jesus redefines the meaning of brother and sister in the adoption of all who believe in Him—lest we forget the Israelite’s failure in the wilderness. Which may be hard for some to take in this day of “never offending.” But as C. S. Lewis alluded to in his The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, God is not a safe God, but He is a good God.[6]

· How does these warnings and call to encourage make you feel?

· Why is it that C.S. Lewis said, “God was not a safe God”?

· How do you see our partnership with Christ as Sharing in Christ?

_________________________________________________________________________ [1] Kevin L. Anderson, Hebrews: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, ed. Alex Varughese, Roger Hahn, and George Lyons, New Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2013), 127 [2] Ibid, 127 [3] Kevin L. Anderson, Hebrews: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, ed. Alex Varughese, Roger Hahn, and George Lyons, New Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2013), 124-125 [4] Ibid, 123. [5] Ibid, 127. [6] Ibid, 127

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