Return to Me

Pastor Jonathan leads this weeks sermon with “Return to Me”, from Amos 4

Amos 4 (ESV)

Israel Has Not Returned to God

Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, “Bring us some drinks!” The Sovereign Lord has sworn by his holiness: “The time will surely come when you will be taken away with hooks, the last of you with fishhooks. You will each go straight out through breaches in the wall, and you will be cast out toward Harmon,” declares the Lord. “Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years. Burn leavened bread as a thank offering and brag about your freewill offerings— boast about them, you Israelites, for this is what you love to do,” declares the Sovereign Lord. “I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord. “I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up. People staggered from town to town for water but did not get enough to drink, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord. “Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards, destroying them with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord. “I sent plagues among you as I did to Egypt. I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord. “I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord. “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, Israel, prepare to meet your God.” He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord God Almighty is his name.

God calls a disobedient people back to right relationship with himself.

  • Israel was in breach of the Mosaic covenant.
    • Israel’s justice was broken.
    • Israel’s worship was broker.
  • Israel  ignored God’s warnings.
  • There will be a reckoning with God.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • Share about a time when someone kept their promise to you.
  • What can we do to get to God on our own?
  • How did Jesus fulfill the Mosaic covenant for us?
  • In this passage, what was God calling Israel to do?

Secure Hope

Pastor Jay continues the series on Hebrews with this week’s sermon “Secure Hope” from Hebrews 6:18-20.

Hebrews 6:18-20 (ESV)

so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Hold fast to your hope.

  • God encourages us to hold fast to it.
  • God sets this hope before us.
  • This hope is our anchor.
  • This hope enters the Holy Place.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • Share about a time when you placed your hope in someone or something.
  • What does it mean to say that God is our shelter?
  • Is what ways will hoping in someone or something outside of God fail us?
  • How is hoping in God an anchor for us at all times?

Promise Takers

Pastor Jay continues the series on Hebrews with this week’s sermon “Promise Takers” from Hebrews 6:12-18.

Hebrews 6:12-18 (ESV)

so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

Be a promise taker.

  • Patiently trust God’s promises.
    • Faith means we trust in and prefer God’s promises.
    • Patience helps define faith.
  • Focus on the promise maker.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What makes you want to trust someone’s promises?
  • Why are we able to trust God’s promises completely?
  • What do faith and patience have to do with one another?
  • How does God tell us to trust in and focus on Him?

A Song for Uncertain Times

This week Pastor Jay will be preaching on Hebrews 6:13-20 and we will reflect together on the absolute confidence we can have in God’s promises. His Word gives us reason to hope, even when circumstances may tempt us to doubt or despair. On Sunday morning we will sing “Christ the Sure and Steady Anchor,” a new hymn by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa. It is based on Hebrews 6:19, and this is what Boswell said about the song’s theme:

Some years ago, theologian Carl Trueman posed the question “What Can Miserable Christians Sing.” This hymn is my response. Trueman was right in his assessment. As a local worship leader, we have few hymns that are vulnerable and honest about the scope of human emotions. Matt Papa and I decided we would write a hymn that would sing hope into the realities of our doubt, despair, depression, and death. As Christians, we have a sure and steady song in the face of every storm.

Listen to this song (below) and let its truths sink into your heart. I look forward to singing it together with you on Sunday! -Pastor Jonathan

Verse 1:
Christ the sure and steady anchor,
In the fury of the storm;
When the winds of doubt blow through me,
When my sails have all been torn.
In the suffering, in the sorrow,
When my sinking hopes are few;
I will hold fast to the anchor,
It will never be removed.

Verse 2:
Christ the sure and steady anchor,
While the tempest rages on;
When temptation claims the battle,
And it seems the night has won.
Deeper still then goes the anchor,
Though I justly stand accused;
I will hold fast to the anchor,
It shall never be removed.

Verse 3:
Christ the sure and steady anchor,
Through the floods of unbelief;
Hopeless somehow, O my soul, now,
Lift your eyes to Calvary.
This my ballast of assurance,
See his love forever proved.
I will hold fast to the anchor,
It will never be removed.

Verse 4:
Christ the sure and steady anchor,
As we face the wave of death;
When these trials give way to glory,
As we draw our final breath.
We will cross that great horizon,
Clouds behind and life secure;
And the calm will be the better,
For the storms that we endure.

Tag:
Christ the sure of our salvation,
Ever faithful, ever true!
We will hold fast to the anchor,
It shall never be removed.

Words & Music: Matt Boswell & Matt Papa
(C) 2014 Doxology & Theology (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.), Love Your Enemies Publishing

Careful Assurance

Pastor Jay continues the series on Hebrews with this week’s sermon “Careful Assurance” from Hebrews 6:9-12.

Hebrews 6:9-12 (ESV)

Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

We should carefully mind our assurance.

  • Take comfort in the evidence.
    • Others will see the evidence.
    • God will see the evidence.
    • We will see the evidence.
  • Take care to persevere to assurance.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • Share about a time when someone has made a promise to you.
  • What does God assure us of in today’s Scripture passage?
  • What does God use to show other people the evidence of our salvation?
  • How are we able to fully trust the salvation that God has promised to us