The Church Strengthens My Faith In Jesus

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 (NKJV)

The call to hold fast is very important considering the opposition the original readers were facing. The confession of their hope that they were to hold fast to was their confession about Jesus.

This was their confession that Jesus was the Christ the Son of the Living God.

It was their confession that Jesus died on the cross for their sins and rose victoriously over the grave.

It was their confession that Jesus’ death and resurrection was the only plea they had in seeking the forgiveness of sins.

Their return to Judaism would have meant an abandonment of this hope. The encouragement is for them not to do this but to instead hold fast to their confession of this hope. To hold fast means they would need to keep on keeping on in their confession about Jesus despite the opposition they were facing and would continue to face. They must press on through persecution and abuse, through hardship and discouragement and through the lies of false teachers and the allurements of the world. They were to hold fast to the confession of their hope in Jesus no matter what was thrown at them.

The reason they are to hold fast to their hope is that He who promised is faithful. The author was encouraging these believers to hold on to their hope because of the faithfulness of God. God had promised that faith in Jesus’ sacrifice was all they needed. God had promised that faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection was sufficient to pay the penalty for their sins and secure their salvation. What they needed to do at this point was to keep trusting Jesus. They needed to do this despite the fact that the world at large attacked and undermined their faith and commitment to Jesus.

While the world we live in is very different from theirs, there are also great similarities. We live in a world that by its very nature is hostile toward Jesus and works to destroy faith in Him and commitment to Him. We face the same spiritual enemy that these Hebrew Christians did and his goal hasn’t changed in thousands of years. He still hates those that are made in the image of God and have been redeemed by Jesus. As Peter says Satan is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). As such he actively works to destroy faith and commitment to Jesus.

We may not face the same physical attacks they did to maintain faith and commitment to Jesus, but the attacks are still there. This doesn’t come as a shock to Jesus. He’s not in heaven wringing His hands saying, “Oh my goodness. I had no idea there would be such opposition to me and to people believing me and being committed to doing my will. I wish I would have created something to strengthen their relationship with Me.” He did create something to strengthen our relationship with Him. It’s called the Church. A part of what the church does is strengthen our relationship with Jesus by strengthening our faith in Jesus. How does the church do this?

The church does this by reminding us of the greatness, power and faithfulness of Jesus.

We are reminded of these things as we sing songs praising Jesus for His greatness, power and faithfulness.

We are reminded of these things as we study His Word and see how Jesus has demonstrated His greatness, power and faithfulness in history.

We are reminded of these things as we talk with other believers and listen to their testimonies of Jesus’ greatness, power and faithfulness in their lives.

The church strengthens our relationship with Jesus by reminding us of Jesus’ faithfulness in the past and encouraging us to trust Him in the present and with the future. This strengthens our faith in Jesus.

I can look over my life and see the Church strengthening my faith in Jesus when my faith in Jesus was barely there.

My faith in Jesus was strengthened through the Church as a small child in Sunday school where my teacher faithfully taught me about Jesus.

My faith in Jesus was strengthened through the Church when I was a soldier who was living in sin who desperately needed to recommit his life to Jesus. During this time there was the on base Church that reached out to me, accepted me, taught me, and reminded me that Jesus loved me.

My faith in Jesus was strengthened through the Church when my newborn daughter’s health turned bad and we didn’t know if she’d live or die. The Church cared for us, encouraged us, prayed for us, taught us the Word, and showed us what it meant to weep with those who were weeping, and to rejoice with those who were rejoicing.

I am thankful for the church because it has, and continues, to strengthen my faith in Jesus.

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Thankful For The Church

This week we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving. A day set aside to give thanks. Many people on social media use the entire month of November to share something they are thankful each day of the month. While I’ve never actually done this, I think it’s a great idea. It’s good for us to focus on things that we are thankful for, rather than on all the things that hack us off. Another reason I think this is a great idea is that it should turn our hearts toward God. Thanksgiving, should always ultimately be directed to God for what He has done in us, through us, and for us. Scripture teaches that every good and perfect thing in our lives is a gift from God (James 1:17). Anytime we are giving thanks, we should be careful to remember thank God “from whom all blessings flow.”

To that end, I want to use this week on my blog to give thanks to God for one of His great blessings to the world. The blessing I’m going to focus on is The Church.  I feel this is really important because we live in a day when so many question why the church is needed. It’s not uncommon for people today to say that they have their own personal relationship with God, therefore they don’t really need the church. We also live in a day where so many are critical of the church. The church today is blamed for everything from poverty to global warming. Very often the idea in these sorts of comments is that the church is a hindrance, a nuisance, and just an overall drain. This is certainly not the way Jesus intends anyone, particularly those who have committed their lives to Him, to see the church. It’s certainly not the way Jesus sees the Church.

Jesus Started The Church– “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18 (ESV)

Jesus Is The Head Of The Church– “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.” Ephesians 5:23 (NKJV)

Jesus Loves The Church– “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,” Ephesians 5:25 (NKJV)

Jesus Died For The Church-“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,” Ephesians 5:25 (NKJV)

Jesus Works To Make A Glorious Church-“that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:27 (NKJV)

 Jesus Used His Blood To Purchase The Church– “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28 (NKJV)

Is the church important to Jesus? Yes it is. Is Jesus committed to the church? Yes He is. Does Jesus expect those who follow Him to be committed to the church? Yes He does. As Christians, we are not only meant to believe in Jesus but we are also meant to belong to His Church. The rugged individualist Christian is non-existent in the Bible. The only Christian the Bible speaks of is the one that is a committed part of the church of Jesus Christ.

The church is one of Jesus’ good gifts to us and should be a reason we are thankful. This week I’ll give some reasons I am thankful for the Church.

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