Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Believer's Hope In Troubled Times

There's a crispness in the air these days. But the sky is a pure crystal blue with streaming sunlight reflecting off the bright colors of our autumn leaves. Pastor White is on vacation and Pastor Galen Call is preaching this morning. Chuck Vanderscheuren welcomed us and shared a few announcements.

Adventure Club has started again, Wednesday evenings at 6:00 p.m.
There is a sign up sheet in the back for a Quilting/Crafting Weekend October 28-29.
Ted Sexton announced an Iron Sharpening Iron men's group meeting at Clyde Iron Works October 29. Contact Chuck or Jeff if you plan to attend.
Other items of note include our Semi-Annual Congregational Meeting which is slated for October 30.

The quartet led us in worship this morning, adding a new song to the mix, "To Worship You" after which Susan was invited forward with the kids for a "children's moment." She began by sharing that when she thinks of Sunday she spells it Sonday. She then shared a few facts about Sonflowers and how the real sunflowers always face sunward (Sonward) ending with a song about this interesting life insight.

The ushers took the offering while our quartet sang a beautiful song about the healing power of the Great Physician's touch, One Scarred Hand.

Cheryl led us in a time of prayer for the various needs in our church family.

The Believer's Hope in Troubled Times

Pastor Call began by noting that it doesn't take much to see we live in troubled times. Our divisions as a nation, our 20 trillion dollar national debt, the international threats we face all hang over us like a cloud. Then we also have our personal battles and struggles.

The text he chose today was drawn from chapter 9 of Hebrews, beginning with verse 24.

24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

As is readily apparent, the key word in this passage is the word "appear." Pastor Call did not discuss them in the order of their appearance however. He began with the second.

Verse 26 points to Christ's appearing at the end of the ages. This moment of time was the goal of all previous history, His appearing was here on earth, as a man, to become one of us.

We were reminded that Jesus was one person with two natures. He was 100% man, 100% God. He appeared in human form not only to live among us, but also to die among us. This passage addresses the nature of this death.

The Hebrews, well acquainted with the history of the temple, understood well the meaning of this sacrificial death. The Holy of Holies in the temple was so holy that the High Priest would enter one day a year to make this significant sacrifice. It was in the Holy of Holies that the shekinah glory of God was visible enshrined between the cherubim on the mercy seat.

This passage states that Jesus "appeared... to do away with sin." Sin has a legal claim against us, but Jesus came to nullify this claim.

Pastor Call went into detail of the Old Testament sacrifice of the two goats, one put to death and the second carried off into the wilderness, a symbol of God's freeing us from our sins so we no longer need to encounter them again.

In verse 24 the word "appear" is used to describe what Jesus is doing in the present on our behalf, interceding for us before God. Jesus is our advocate before the Father, praying on our behalf. He is praying for you today as your high priest.

In the Old Testament the high priest sacrificed goats and bulls. Our great high priest sacrificed Himself, and intercedes on our behalf.

"When I do not know what words to use, He knows what words to use. Jesus, our Savior, is there in the Father's presence, praying on our behalf," Pastor Call explained.

The third use of the word is in verse 28, a promise of Christ's second appearing. One day, future, Christ will appear a second time for those who are waiting for Him. He has not forgotten us.

This appearing will be different from the first. He will return with a shout. The trumpet of God will sound and the dead in Christ will be raised from their graves. This is the believer's hope.

The reality we live in is this: the world is not going to get better until Jesus returns and makes it better. This last appearing will bring the consummation of our salvation. One day the clouds will open up and Jesus will appear to receive us. This is our anchor and hope in troubled times.

No comments: