Has Jesus become a convenience to you? Perhaps He’s a nuisance … Today, we’ll see what the book of Hebrews says regarding Jesus as our brother and takes a look at what our response should be to that.
Good morning. Welcome! If you're new here among us my name is Gene and I serve here at C3 Church as your lead pastor. It was once said that, to our forefathers, our faith was an experience. To our fathers our faith was an inheritance. To us our faith is a convenience. To our children our faith is a nuisance. Speaking of nuisances who here also has a sibling? That wasn't funny, I guess you all get along with your siblings! I was an only child for a while I told you about the only child experience in the past, our daughter is an only child. So she got to about six years old? Four, clever kid. So she was an only child for about four years and we floated the idea about bringing another child into the household. Her response went like this exactly "if if you get another kid, I'll sell it, on eBay for a dollar." that's a real thing, why? Well, for smart kids, they know that they're going to have to split their inheritance. They're going to have to share, they're not used to it. The younger child sometimes is a nuisance. The older child sometimes becomes a convenience. Kind of interesting. We find ourselves today in chapter 2 of the book of Hebrews, our epic Hebrews series. I told you before that there are no chapter or verse numbers in these original books or letters of the Bible, but we do have chapters themes sometimes. They go one two three and then sometimes you have these themes that run over many chapters. So last week we saw that Jesus is superior, to what? The angels! This week we'll see that Jesus is our superior brother. Chapter 3 Jesus is superior to Moses and as an extension to the law of Moses and the old priesthood chapters 4 through 10. 11-13 Jesus is a superior new living way. We don't know who wrote the book of Hebrews. It gets its name because it reads or sounds like a sermon being preached to Jewish Christians who really know the old testament well and therefore we are using it as a lens by which to look at the old testament and some other stuff too. At the very beginning of chapter 2 the author or preacher of Hebrews gives a warning about falling away from the faith. This is part of the context here but we're going to pick that up when we get to chapter 6. Today we are going to see that Jesus is superior to our siblings and how we should react or respond to that even if we like them. He is our superior brother. We saw last week that Jesus is God in the flesh. He became like us, but what does that mean? Hebrews tells us. Hebrews 2 starting at verse 11 "so now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. For he said to God 'I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people.' he also said 'I will put my trust in him.' that is I. And the children God has given me. Because God's children are human beings made of flesh and blood the son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die and only by dying could he break the power of the devil who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. We also know that the son did not come to help the angels. He came to help the descendants of Abraham. Therefore it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us his brothers and sisters. So that he could be our merciful and faithful high priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people since he himself has gone through suffering and testing he is able to help us When we are being tested." Because God's children are human beings made of flesh and blood, the son also became flesh and blood. Now we spoke about David speaking prophetically in the Psalms last week. Also, what isn't really obvious from the text here is that the author or preacher of Hebrews is quoting the old testament. He does that a lot in this letter or book of the Bible. Psalm 22 is quoted here in Hebrews in the backdrop of the crucifixion, so here's what we're going to do throughout this series. There's always a context, so these scriptures are not being quoted accidentally. There's a backdrop that the writer of these new testament books has in mind. Kind of makes them more rich, brings some fullness to the text. So that's what we're going to do here. So Psalm 22 let's back up a little bit from what the author is quoting Psalm 22:16 Remember this is the crucifixion being prophesied "my enemies surround me like a pack of dogs and evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing." Or cast lots for my clothing. This is what is said by David, speaking prophetically by the holy spirit about Jesus's crucifixion. Then despite that suffering he says this Psalm 22:22 "I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people." That is what is quoted there. There's also a quotation of Isaiah 8:18 in the context of Israel's judgment. But there is hope in a future messiah Isaiah 8:17. We'll back up a little bit "I will wait for the lord who has turned away from the descendants of Jacob. I'll put my hope in him. I and the children the lord has given me serve as signs and warnings to Israel for the lord of heaven's armies who dwells in his temple on Mount Zion." now we need to keep reading. Remember there's no chapter numbers, but when we get to chapter 9, we are told that a son, a prince of peace will arrive in Galilee. It says this Isaiah 9:6 "for a child is born to us, A son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders and he will be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, prince of peace." Jesus is the everlasting prince the son of God. As we discussed last week again, Jesus is God with skin on. God in Christ became a living breathing human being. It's important for a lot of reasons because Christ is the perfect leader. He wants to lead you. Christ is the perfect example in the flesh, worth imitating. Christ is the perfect sacrifice, he died for you. Christ is the perfect conqueror, he conquered death to give you eternal life. We who have been set apart for God's service have been cleansed and made holy. Now through Jesus we have the same father he has. Remember last week we looked at the interaction between Jesus and doubting Thomas, poor guy. Gets that name forever and ever, other people doubted too. Well before that there's an interaction with Mary Magdalene. She clings to the resurrected Jesus he says this John 20:17 "'don't cling to me' Jesus said 'for I haven't yet ascended to the father. But go find my brothers and tell them 'I'm ascending to my father and your father. To my God and your God.'" in Hebrews it says this "so now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters." We'll see God as our father in Hebrews 12 as well. Earlier I asked you the question, did you have siblings? A few hands went up, someone was like "well not anymore because I killed them" anyway, I guess it was funny to some people here, if you didn't laugh I'm a little scared right now. Growing up were they annoying? Who had younger siblings? They get on your nerves? Were they a nuisance? Did you have to watch them? Did you feel like a convenience? I kind of felt this way about my sister growing up. I was an only child for six years, six years. Had everything to myself and then all of a sudden she came along. And it wasn't the way I thought it was going to be. It's kind of different right? Now these dreams about oh we're gonna get something that's gonna be so fun we'll play. No we won't, she will destroy my toys and then I will destroy hers. So I used to get revenge on my sister and I got more and more creative as the years went by and technology came along. So I want to take you back to the 80s we're going to rewind right now. Got to teach you guys some things because young people, some of you all don't know what a cassette tape is, it's kind of scary. Anyway, you could rewind it with a pencil, kind of cool. Had a lot of neat features, you could do some neat stuff, including tape over them. But they had those little tabby things right if you're supposed to tape over it, if you're not they don't have them. I think that's the way it goes, anyway, correct me later if I'm wrong, email me or don't. Anyway, in order to tape over the tape you had to put tape over the tape, if the tabby things were gone then you could tape over it. Well I figured it would be funny if I taped over my sister's Debbie Gibson tape. If you're laughing you're old, anyway yeah. So what I did was I put the tape over the tape. I picked her favorite chorus and I put some heavy metal music over it. Yep so as we're cruising along in our Ford Aerostar minivan, had one? We're cruising along and she's B bopping, she bopping along to, I know that's Cyndi Lauper, but anyway she's doing her thing to the music and I'm waiting, waiting. Because we all listen to it way too loud and then all of a sudden...(Loud Music) Yes, ah maybe I was a nuisance. Probably, I was definitely not a good kid. As God's children, Jesus brothers and sisters, what is he to us? Has Jesus become a convenience? Has Jesus become a nuisance? Do we treat him like our earthly brothers and sisters? Or is Jesus superior? Has faith become a convenience to us? Do we do church at our convenience? Kind of funny, we as a staff here at the church answer some of the social media messages collectively, right? So whoever's on the computer or whatever and they see the message come in, we try to answer it, whoever gets to it first/ you get better ratings or something like
that for doing that/ whatever/ I usually don't get to it first because I'm not on there a lot, but Dustin's good about getting most of them. Very polite and friendly, sometimes unlike me, which is good. Anyway there's one message came in, I happen to be there on the Facebook. Message comes in that's a simple question, so I answer it. Really simple about the church, a concern. "Do you have coffee?" "Why yes we do! We have both caffeinated, and decaffeinated (what's the point?) Coffee." So yes that's great. Now I know this is pre covid. Don't worry we're getting the coffee back, we'll be talking about that soon. We have pizza instead, it's better than coffee I think, highly debatable. Anyway another message comes in, also very important "Do you have snacks?" "Yes, well after the service we feed everybody. You can make it through the service I'm sure, I only preach for about a half hour." You're not gonna die, don't worry about it great. Another question comes in, this person is saving them, you know so keep me busy, like I got nothing to do. Anyway another question comes in "What time is your service?" "10 am." "Oh that's too early!" I guess it interfered with her Saturday night plans, if you're picking up what I'm putting down. Is church a nuisance to some people? Is Jesus an inconvenience to some people? Is it too early? Is it too late? Is it too loud? Maybe you want hymns. Maybe you want Chris Tomlin. If you want Debbie Gibson we can do that! If you want heavy metal worship, that would be cool! Maybe you want more cowbell, I don't know. Some people got that, that's funny. Anyway in John chapter four, you know where I'm going if you know your Bible, Jesus talks about worshiping in spirit and truth. We have the interaction with the woman at the well. Some of you may know this, the living water Jesus talks about, all very important, but I want you to look at the background. We're going to go back into the old testament a little and I'm going to paraphrase it because it's a good bit of reading I'd have to do and you know, we don't have snacks, so be here too long. So we're going to make this short and help you guys out. I know I can hear your stomach's growling, people snoring in the background, whatever. The Samaritan woman, now some of you know about this, you understand the force that this gives some of Jesus teaching. So If you know about this, it's Jacob's well and he runs into a Samaritan woman, that's who he's talking to. But it has more force than a lot of people realize, you might know the parable of the good Samaritan right? You might also know in Luke just before it, you have the Samaritan town. James and John want to reign fire like Elijah down on the town. There's a reason that these teachings have a lot of force and it's because of the Samaritans. A lot of people don't know about them. So you have to jump back into the old testament. Talk about David right? So frame of reference if you're totally new. King David wrote a lot of the Psalms, but he's the second-ish king of Israel. So you have Saul then David takes over. He has a son Solomon, you probably heard about him, really smart guy, has a lot of money. After he dies his son Rehoboam, is not as smart as Solomon. Make some bad choices, they have a civil war so to speak make it simple. So you have a northern kingdom and a southern kingdom. In the north you have Israel, in the south you have Judah. So if you're reading the prophets, you get confused who's this who's that? Israel and Judah at that time. Rehoboam is the king in Judah, the capital city there is Jerusalem. In the north Israel at first it's Shechem but then a few kings after Jeroboam you get Omri. And he develops Samaria that becomes the capital in the north. You probably know about his son Ahab and Jezebel, everyone talks about them and how bad they were. But Omri is really the one who set it all up. He's pretty famous in other texts outside the Bible, more so than Ahab. Anyway Omri establishes Samaria as the capital of the northern kingdom Israel. Well they fall first to the Assyrians, later the Babylonians take over the southern kingdom. After they fall the Assyrians take some of them away into captivity. Others stay around, but they're not so good at worship and things like that. They get attacked by lions, they have to send someone in, some crazy stories we'll get into it next year. But anyway, pretty wild. They have to teach them how to worship. But anyway, they intermix, God has told the Israelites they're not supposed to do this with other people. Their worship gets deluded, they worship false Gods it's no good. So the Jews, later on, regard the Samaritans as half breeds essentially. They do not get along, they do not like them. Now it makes sense when you think about the parable of the good Samaritan, right? Who, who is the one who really loved his neighbor? Well not these religious Jews, it's the half breed. So Jesus is really giving the teaching force and now you understand Jesus is talking to this Samaritan woman at the well, kind of interesting that he'd be talking to a woman alone anyway. But to a Samaritan woman? So a hearer or reader of the story back then would be like "Huh?! What?!" so it'd already be kind of bad and she's promiscuous. He calls her out for having five husbands so to speak. So that happens and she responds like this John 4:19 "Sir," the woman said "you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here on Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worship?" Jesus replied "Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming - indeed it's here now - when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth." The woman said, "I know the Messiah is coming - the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." Then Jesus told her, "I am the Messiah!" But the time is coming, indeed it's here now, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit in truth anywhere. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. Is that how we worship him? Even when David was suffering betrayal and defeat, he still worshiped in spirit and in truth. David had more kids than just Solomon and often times they were a nuisance to one another. Some pretty messed up stories, we're going to be looking at the more fully when we look at the rest of the story. But I'll give you one so we can look at the backdrop of what's going on in one of the Psalms, it's kind of important. So David has lots of kids, we don't even know all their names he has so many kids. But two or three in particular have an interesting interaction his son Amnon develops a crush on his half-sister Tamar. I know, kind of gross, but anyway it happens. So with the help of his cousin he concocts a plan to have his way with his sister. Well he does so forcibly. He has his way with her. Her whole brother, I hope you're following me, Absalom gets really upset, so does king David, gets really, really upset. He waits about two years and Absalom kills Amnon for having his way with his sister. Absalom knows David's going to be really, really upset about it, so he takes off and lives with his grandpa for a while. After a while, after another weird story we'll get into later, he comes back through the help of David's general so to speak. He comes back into town spends a little time there but that's not enough for him to be back in the king's court. He starts hatching a plan, a mutiny. Absalom is a pretty handsome guy, he's got about five pounds of hair, that gets him in trouble later if you know the story, that's kind of funny but anyway. No one's laughing, we're going to read our Bibles. Anyway he develops a mutiny. He waits about four years, hatches the plan but David gets word of it. He knows it's happening. So he leaves Jerusalem before they can destroy the city and everything like that, or you can get taken over. Absalom does some pretty horrible things afterward, but this is the backdrop for this Psalm. Think about it for a moment. King David has his kids doing all these, killing each other, doing these horrible things with each other. Imagine the pain caused by just the death of a child, much less them doing these horrible things, then being run out of the city. The anointed king? People are weeping! Interestingly enough he's making his way up to the Mount of Olives, cool stuff there. But king David was definitely inconvenienced, but this is what he does. He worships. Psalm 3 A Psalm of David. Regarding the time David fled from his son Absalom. O lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me, so many are saying, "God will never rescue him!" But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the lord, and he answered me from this holy mountain. I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the lord was watching over me. I'm not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side. Arise, O lord! Rescue me, my God! Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked! Victory comes from you, O lord, may you bless your people." We talked about reading Acts in conjunction with some of these letters, Paul's letters in particular. Because he arrives in these places, now they don't line up or anything like that but it's interesting to take a look. So we're in Ephesians, we looked at Acts 18 through 20ish because it talks about Ephesus.
There you can back up a little bit top of chapter 18, first and second Corinthians if you're reading them. Read that part of Acts. It's kind of a neat thing to do. First or second Thessalonians, Acts 17 Paul is in Thessaloniki Thessalonica, tomato, tomato. When we get to Acts 16 we're in Philippi. We see Lydia the first European convert. In the book of Acts, we also have an interesting interaction with a slave girl. It says about her that she has the spirit of Pythona or python. Now if you're tracking along and you get to Acts 16 16ish you're probably reading and saying "Gene I'm not seeing anything in here about snakes, what are you talking about?" It doesn't say that in any of the English versions, that I know about anyway. We're talking about this at Bible study. If someone claims to you that they're holding a perfect word for word translation from Greek to English, they don't know Greek. You can't do it. You have to explain somethings, so even the best translations have to go thought for thought sometimes. So your version probably says "she has a spirit of divination, a spirit of fortune telling." In the Greek it says Pythona, that's it, spirit of Pythona. Why? Well because a reader back then would understand what that meant. They would know that it comes from Greek mythology. It comes from the oracle of Delphi, probably heard about it. So this python was killed by Apollo and the stench, the fumes from the rotting snake, serpent, python, were coming up through the ground and that's what gave the oracle of Delphi the power to prophesy, to tell the fortunes of people. And so this girl it said of her that she has this spirit in her so she is doing fortune telling for people. What she says of Paul and Silas as they're walking along is true. They're servants of the most high God! That's not the problem the problem is she keeps repeating it over and over and over again for days. Paul gets irritated and so he casts the demon out of her. Usually that's a good thing right? Yay! Nope, not for her owners. There's a problem here, they were making money off of this girl. They get really upset so they take them to the town officials. Paul and Silas are then beaten with rods, not fun. Beaten with rods and then thrown into prison. What did they do there? Pretty inconvenient wouldn't you say? Acts 16:24 "So the jailer after being beaten with rods put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks. Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!" Hey you remember that time we were beaten with rods before church? No? Neither do I. This is not convenient worship, but it's what God wants from us, the Psalmist. Read the backdrop to a lot of these Psalms. These people are not often going through some very nice things. There's Paul and Silas there, it's not convenient. But you know what it is? Genuine, it's genuine worship. Maybe we have good relationships with our earthly siblings. But if Jesus is superior how much more time, attention, devotion should we be honoring him with if he really is superior? If we treat them well how much better should we treat Jesus her superior brother? Has he become a neglected convenience to us, Like our earthly older siblings? Maybe you don't have a sibling but now you do. If you are in Christ Jesus. We are brothers and sisters of the prince of peace and part of the royal family. Mighty counselor, mighty counselor, everlasting Father, prince of peace, lord of lords, king of kings. This should change our posture, our stature, our attitude, our very nature. Everywhere from the workplace to worship. Because this truth, this truth should always be in us and with us. We are part of this royal family. Sons and daughters of God the Father. Princes and princesses of God most high. Princesses. Remember that when you choose your relationships. Princes remember that when you speak to your lady. Change the way we treat people. The way we are treated. People, how does royalty represent their king? And we have something else that no, no other royal family has. We know how it ends. In the end we win. We have the final victory through our king Jesus. Jesus conquered death giving us a victory over death. He's coming back again. Maranatha! Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our lord Jesus. The great shepherd of the sheep and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood. May he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever, Amen!