Everlasting God • Everlasting Love

Romans 8:31-39 (KJV)
31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
33  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Main Point

Nothing will ever separate us from God’s everlasting love.

Introduction

Who are the people you love most in this world? What do you love about them?

Is there anything that could keep you from loving these people? Why or why not?

Your spouse, your children, your family, your closest friends, these are the most significant relationships in your life. If asked what you love about these people, you could probably come up with endless reasons, but ultimately you don’t need a reason to love them, you just love them because you do. Likewise, God loves you because He chose to. There is no intrinsic reason for God to love you. Instead, in His grace, He set His affection on you. If you are a follow of Christ, God is for you, and He is for you because He loves you. Because God is everlasting in His nature, God is everlasting in His character. While your love will diminish and grow with time, God is ever the same and love is always the same for you because nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

It is good to be back home. Thank you for your prayers as we traveled. We look forward to seeing you this Sunday Morning. God Bless and have a great weekend.

Randy & Kelly

Everlasting God • God’s Everlasting Nature

Psalm 90:2 (KJV)
2  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

Main Point

God’s everlasting nature means He has no beginning or end; He has always existed and will always exist.

Introduction

Consider the following questions.

What is one of your favorite memories from childhood? Why is it so significant to you?

What is an event you are looking forward to in the future?

The fact that we create memories and think about our past and future highlights that human beings exist in time. There is a point where our lives begin and a point where our lives will end. But while we are finite, God is infinite. God’s everlasting nature means there was never a time when God did not exist, nor will there ever be a time He ceases to exist. Unlike us, God has no beginning and no end. While we grow and learn and change, God knows all things and never changes. Time, from God’s perspective, is a continuous present. Though God is timeless, He created creatures who exist in time. Because God is everlasting, we can trust that God is continually working all of time for our good and His glory (Rom 8:28).

Romans 8:28 (KJV)
28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God Bless and have an awesome weekend. Happy Father’s Day to all og the Dads. See you Sunday at 9:30am.

The Hebrews Initiative • A New Kind of Community

Hebrews 12:18-24 (KJV)
18  For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
19  And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
20  (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
21  And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
22  But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23  To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24  And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Main Point

The new covenant in Christ allows believers to relate to both God and others in peace and freedom.

Introduction

Do you have any strange fears? What are they?

Has there ever been anything that you were once afraid of but you now enjoy? How did it change?

Common fears or phobias include spiders or snakes, tight or high places, and public speaking. Psychologists note these fears fit into large categories, such as illness or body damage, loss of control, separation or abandonment, and humiliation or shame. Approaching God under the old covenant was a time of dread and fear. Today’s study contrasts the old covenant with the new covenant, when believers can joyfully approach God and relate to each other in community.

See you Sunday!

The Hebrews Initiative • The Discipline of Suffering

Hebrews 12:1-7 (KJV)
1  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3  For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
4  Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
5  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

Main Point

If we want to finish the race of life well, we must have our focus fixed on the right thing.

Introduction

Have you ever run in a race? How did you do?

What were the keys to finishing well in your race?

If you could choose, which would you prefer, and why: lightning-bolt sprinter’s speed or a marathon champion’s endurance?

The Scriptures teach us that the Christian life is more like a marathon than a sprint. The key measure is endurance in faith. The goal is to finish well. And the prize is to hear the Lord Jesus Christ say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” But running the race of faith isn’t easy. We must train diligently and practice daily. We must embrace God’s discipline. We must keep our focus on Jesus. This was the “pep talk” of faith that the writer of Hebrews delivered to his first readers. If we want to finish the race of life well, we must have our focus fixed on the right thing.

See you Sunday!

The Hebrews Initiative • Faith Defined

Hebrews 11:1-7 (KJV)
1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2  For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
4  By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
5  By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
7  By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Main Point

Faith more than anything is what God is looking for to characterize the lives of His people.

Introduction

Are you prone to taking risks? Why or why not?

What is the biggest risk you have ever taken? What influenced you to do it? What was the outcome?

Does your opinion about risk say anything about the way you view faith? Why or why not?

Some people confuse taking risks with having faith. Risks generally have no basis for success but faith is characterized by assurance that comes from trusting God. Faith is a biblical concept in which we trust in God with all of our lives, including our future. Faith, more than anything else, is what God is looking for to characterize the lives of His people.

Something to think about.

How would you explain faith to another person?

We look forward to this Sunday morning. God bless and have a great weekend!

The Hebrews Initiative • The Perfect Offering

Hebrews 9:11-15 (KJV)
11  But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12  Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
13  For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
14  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15  And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

Main Point

Jesus frees us from guilt and ritual and enables us to live in freedom before God.

Introduction

As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.

What’s your favorite part of your daily routine? Why?

If you could eliminate one part of your daily routine, what would it be and why?

We accept routines as a part of life, but they can be restricting and tiresome. Some people become attached to rituals and resist change, even when change is positive. Ritualistic religion can become a routine where actions are done by rote and without consideration of their meaning. The readers of Hebrews came from a religion based on rituals. Christ provides freedom from rituals and offers a clear conscience that moves believers to serve Him with a pure heart.

We hope everyone enjoyed our new classroom. Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday Morning at 9:30am.

The Hebrews Initiative • Only Jesus Transforms

Reading: Hebrews 8:1-13

Hebrews 8:1-13 (KJV)
1  Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
2  A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
3  For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.
4  For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:
5  Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
6  But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
7  For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
8  For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
9  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
10  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11  And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
13  In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Main Point

Jesus established a new covenant based upon God’s good promises.

Introduction

Have you ever had a great idea for an invention? What was it? What prompted your idea?

What invention has had the greatest impact on your life? Why?

The most significant inventions are those that meet a need and/or enable us to do what we cannot do on our own. God “invented” the new covenant to meet our need. We are unable to keep the law on our own. Only Christ can remove our sins and transform us. Through faith in Him, we can begin to live a life that demonstrates righteousness.

See you Sunday!

The Hebrews Initiative • Only Jesus Saves

Reading• Hebrews 7:23-28

Hebrews 7:23-28 (KJV)
23  And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
24  But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
25  Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
26  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
27  Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
28  For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Main Point

Jesus is the only One able to save us.

Introduction

What’s the best handmade gift you ever received? Why?

How does a handmade gift compare with one purchased in a store?

Handmade gifts represent something of the giver. These gifts are unique. Purchased gifts are mass-produced and can be obtained in many ways. They are not made for any specific person but are applicable to many. Salvation is the greatest, most personal “handmade” gift of all time. Recall the visual of Jesus with His hands outstretched on the cross. Salvation comes through God’s divine love and the sacrifice of His divine Son. It is a gift only God can provide.

The Hebrews Initiative • Don’t Walk Away

Bible Reading

Hebrews 6:1-8 (KJV)
1  Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
2  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
3  And this will we do, if God permit.
4  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
7  For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
8  But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

Main Point

Rejecting Christ leads to hopelessness.

Introduction

What were some of the things that, as a kid, you were excited about that would come with growing up?

How is being a grown up different than what you imagined it to be like as a kid?

Is there a difference between grown up and being mature? What is it?

People sometimes confuse being grown up, which usually refers to physical growth, with maturity. Physical growth occurs naturally. Maturity requires effort. Spiritual maturity is a goal for believers—but not an endpoint. The theme of moving constantly toward spiritual maturity in Christ takes center stage in the Book of Hebrews. If we as believers press on toward maturity in Christ, we’ll rejoice in the way He strengthens us. Those who fall away from devotion to Christ because of life’s difficulties or because of opposition to the faith prove one of two realities. One: they show that they are spiritually immature and thus are easily drawn into disobedience; they need to grow in their faith. Or two: they show by walking away from Christ that they never have truly received salvation in Him; they need to be saved.

Stay safe and we look forward to seeing you Sunday morning.

The Hebrews Initiative • Secured with Confidence

READING:

Hebrews 4:14-16 (KJV)
14  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 5:1-6 (KJV)
1  For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:
2  Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.
3  And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.
4  And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
5  So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
6  As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Main Point

No matter what life brings, we can live in a state of confidence because Jesus secured our salvation and acceptance before God.

Introduction

Have you ever met anyone famous? Who was it? What were the circumstances?

How did you feel before, during, and after that meeting?

What is one thing that might have made you more confident during that experience?

Some people equate approaching God with meeting an earthly VIP (very important person). As a result, they feel intimidated or hesitant to approach God. But God wants us to know that we can approach Him confidently and boldly, not because of what we have done but because of what Jesus has done. No matter what life brings, we can live in a state of confidence because Jesus secured our salvation and acceptance before God.

We look forward to seeing you Sunday Morning in the Gym. God Bless and we wiil see you there!