Hebrews 6:1-12 (ESV)
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,  and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.  And this we will do if God permits.  For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,  and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,  if they then fall away, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.  For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.  But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
 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 so unjust as to overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake 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.
As we begin this morning we must pay very close attention to this text. Most of the Bible is clear cut and easy to understand. Some, like this text, require a little more work. Last week we learned about those in the church the author of Hebrews referred to as those who were living on the milk of the Word rather than meat. Now he is placing before the entire church the idea that for some, it may be a whole lot more serious than simply being an immature Christian. There may be some who are not a Christian at all.
Scripture clearly teaches that it is God who saves. He alone grants repentance. He alone opens hearts to believe and He alone keeps His children.
There are two basic groups the writer is concerned with. First, there is the group he’s writing to. These are true believers who need to move on toward maturity. Then there is a second group who need to be saved. For the true Christians, his words become encouragement, however, to the false disciples his words are a serious caution. Read More
Grace for Today
Jonah’s Great Commission (Part 2)
Last week we left Jonah right after he received his “missionary marching orders” from God. The Lord commanded this Israelite prophet to go and prophecy to a gentile nation.
***Please turn to Jonah and read verses 1:1-6.
It was as if the Lord said to Jonah, Pack your bags Jonah, I’m sending you on your first mission trip. I want you to go straight to where the king of Assyria lives and tell his people, the Ninevites, that I’m about to poor out My wrath on their city. I can almost hear Jonah, Wait a minute God; I’m a hometown boy from Galilee. That doesn’t compute. You must be mistaken, You want me to go to the heathen Ninevites and preach to them because of their sin?
Centuries later the Apostle Paul would call this type of activity on God’s part a mystery because in a sense it didn’t compute with him either.
***Please read Colossians 1:26-27 Read More
A Case Study in Christian Immaturity
Hebrews 5:11-6:3 (ESV)
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,  for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of
righteousness, since he is a child.  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,  and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.  And this we will do if God permits.
I remember when I would preach in Bible College and seminary around at various churches. Whenever the sermon topic would be directly evangelistic, after it was finished, I would be assured that the sermon topic was well picked and exactly what the church needed to hear. I want to share with you today that the Gospel should make an appearance in every sermon in some form or other. However, if all the church hears is the basics of the Gospel and it never hears any more than that, the church will be at best filled with baby Christians. Immaturity will be the mark of the church. Consequently, whenever I would preach on a doctrine from the Bible I would often get blank stares. Read More
Grace for Today
Jonah’s Great Commission (Part 1)
Thank you for joining us for the new weekly article called Grace for Today. Each week, we’ll choose a book from the Bible and move through it verse by verse. The goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the truths found in each text of Scripture selected and then look together at how these truths may be applied and lived out. So, if you’re interested in a closer walk with Christ please join each week and together we’ll draw closer to the Lord. I pray the Lord is glorified through our study and our lives.
The first book we’ll focus on is the Book of Jonah. Jonah is found in the Old Testament in the section where the Minor Prophets are collected. As we study, we come to see through the book that God is sovereign over the created universe and that He often uses less than the most desirable folks to accomplish His will, that’s good news for us.
***Please open your Bibles to the Book of Jonah and read (Jonah 1:1-6). Our study for today is entitled, Jonah’s Great Commission.
Many years ago in Chicago a murder trial was underway. The trial had gone on a long time and the defense lawyer found himself up against a wall. The defense attorney Clarence Barrow, who was an open agnostic made this comment as a last ditch effort to try and turn the jurors. He said, Why a person could as easily believe this man’s testimony as he could believe that the whale swallowed Jonah.
To begin with, if the Word of God is going to affect us, we must submit to its authority and believe that it’s true and accurate. Jonah is a true account. Jonah is documented in Scripture. Jesus believed Jonah was a real person (Luke 11:29). Many scholars today would like us to believe the book of Jonah is simply a parable or allegory. They are wrong. It’s more than a children’s tale.
There was an Old Testament prophet who thought he could escape the Long arm of the Lord. Jonah was his name. The book of Jonah is situated among the Prophets in our Bibles. However, it doesn’t contain much prophecy, only one verse to be exact. It is a narrative, except for the poetic nature of Jonah’s prayer in verse two, which very much resembles a psalm.
Usually, when a book is written, it is written about the prophecy, not the prophet. This book is different; it focuses mainly on the prophet.
To introduce Jonah we should first go to the Book of 2 Kings which we only find one verse that really tells us anything about this prophet. From this passage we do get an idea of Jonah’s frame of mind. Read More
Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV)
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The last couple of weeks have left us wondering what went wrong in the lives of the Hebrews who left Egypt to travel and enter the Promised Land. God has warned us over these few weeks from these passages that He doesn’t want us to be like them. They could not enter His rest because they didn’t believe His Words. We learned last week that there is no escaping God’s all penetrating gaze and to grumble and complain is to do it in God’s presence. Read More
A Church on the Move
Grace Community Church is about 16 months old and we are moving from 41 South Paint Street, Chillicothe, Ohio to 313 West 2nd Street, Waverly, Ohio. We are a church plant that started in the Southern Ohio area. We are currently in the process of purchasing a building in which to worship. Please pray that the details work out for God’s glory. We are also in the process of raising funds for the down payment etc.
The building will meet our needs quite nicely and give us adequate space to grow and minister to our folks. We look forward to impacting the Waverly area and seeking to become a strong part of the community.
Pray that the Lord would open doors for evangelism and discipleship for us in Waverly.
If you or your church would be interested in helping us as a sponsor or a sponsoring church please e-mail me at email@example.com
Grace and Peace,
Strive to Enter God’s Rest
Hebrews 4:11-13 (ESV)
Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
So far through this section of Hebrews, we’ve learned that there were those who, because of unbelief, could not enter into God’s rest. This is an eternal rest, one that is a symbolic reference to heaven. The writer of Hebrews wants the church to be aware of the danger that exists in coming up short. Only true Christians will enter into God’s rest. A true Christian, as described in Scripture, is one who knows Jesus Christ and obeys His Word. The knowing is proven by the obedience to His Word. Read More
Entering God’s Rest
Hebrews 4:1-10 (ESV)
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.  For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.  For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,
“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’ “
although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.  For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.”  And again in this passage he said,
“They shall not enter my rest.”
 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience,  again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on.  So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,  for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
Last week we looked at a generation of Israelites who failed to enter into the Promised Land because of unbelief. There lack of faith kept them from entering what is referred to as God’s rest.
The Lord issued the invitation for them to enter and they did not listen. They forfeited their opportunity to enter. Rather than worshipping the Rock known as Jesus Christ and seeking refuge in Him, they looked back to Egypt for comfort. This wasn’t a one time thing, but they were doing this for 40 years.
The Almighty swore in His wrath that they would not enter into His rest.
The Lord’s invitation to enter into His rest is still valid today. The message is the same today as it was in those days. We must enter into that eternal rest by faith. Read More
Unbelief, the Deadly Sin
Hebrews 3:7-19 (ESV)
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
 where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works  for forty years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
 As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’ “
 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.  But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.  As it is said,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses?  And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?  And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?  So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
In the first section of Bunyan’s work Pilgrim’s Progress, we are introduced to a man who lacks faith and conviction. His name is Obstinate. John Bunyan names his characters after their character. Read More