Saturday, 6 November 2010


Right now in heaven there are those who have laboured for and with Christ who have entered into their eternal reward. Many of these people paid a high price to extend the Church of Jesus Christ. One day we will meet them. In the meantime, they serve as a 'cloud of great witnesses' to what Christ is doing in today's Church. This can be the Church's finest hour and we have a cloud of witnesses cheering us on.
¶ Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...
Hebrews 12:1

Has God given you a dream for how your life can make the world a better place?

Jesus Christ cast a vision for a better world and called His Kingdom. His Kingdom was not to be like this world, He tols us. It would be a Kingdom in which those who entered it would become a part of a community of followers called the Church. Jesus now uses the Church to deliver His hope to a hurting, broken world. When followers of Christ assemble to worship and give attention to the Word, the Church becomes a witness of Christ's magnificent saving beauty. Every believer gathered is a statement of enormous significance. Never think that when you come to church you are merely a spectator! You are a witness contributing to the case being presented to the world that Christ is a Saviour worth living and dying for.

No single drip thinks it is responsible for the flood!

It was around 63AD when Hebrews was written. Jewish Christians had grown weary of waiting for the Christ to return and establish His Davidic Throne in Jerusalem. Jewish opponents of Christianity were ridiculing their former religious colleagues as fools for having abandoned the traditions of their fathers and for following this imposter - Jesus. The unnamed writer to the Hebrews urges his readers not to give up. I know you're weary, but stay the course. I know you're being persecuted, but keep trusting Christ as Saviour. I know you've suffered economic hardship, but don't love heart. I know you've lost your passion for souls and the Great Commission, but Christ is interceding for you now to get it back.

For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
Hebrews 3:14

Jesus Christ is utterly worthy of your full devotion right now. How does He want to use you to make Him known to the world today? The writer to the Hebrew Christians lays a teaching foundation dealing with the superiority of Christ. In chapter 1, Christ is superior to angels. In Hebrews 2, Christ is superior to any man. In chapter 3, Jesus is superior to Moses. In chapter 4 He is superior to the sabbath. In chapter 5, He is superior to the High Priest. In chapter 6, Jesus is superior to Melchisadek. In Hebrews 7, Christ is superior to the sacrifices - He is the Ultimate Sacrifice. In Hebrews 8, Jesus provided a covenant superior to the Old Covenant. In Hebrews chapter 9, Jesus is superior to the Tabernacle. Therefore-
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Heb. 10:24-25
Many of the Jewish Christians were just about ready to give up. They had grown weary. Some had even turned their backs on Jesus. Hebrews was written to remind them that Christ was indeed Saviour, Lord, but most especially - Messiah. Hebrews closes with an encouragement to have the kind of faith that persists under trial and adversity (chapter 11), and an admonition to intpret difficulties as God's chastening (Hebrews 12) then finally, a practical application of living for Christ (Hebrews 13).
It is in chapter 12 that Hebrews reminds its readers that we are surrounded by a 'cloud of witnesses'. These witnesses are the ones who have served God in the midst extreme opposition and eventually died faithful. We too are surrounded by 'a cloud of witnesses' - those who have faithfully served Christ and even given their lives in doing so. In the past century the cloud has taken new members. Many great servants of Christ and His church, such as Deitrich Bonhoeffer, have joined this cloud. These people found that in following Christ they began to share in His love for His cause - His Church. Now they are described as heavenly spectators of the Church today.
    ¶ Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
    Oh God, rekindle our passion for You, Your Glory, and Your Cause. May our hearts pound with Your love for others. Ignite afresh the dreams we once held to make Your Name famous in our generation. Fill our spiritual vison with a picture of what we can achieve for You. Help us to be a church that changes this world by bringing people into Your Kingdom. Give us a deep love for others and help us to care like Christ for their welfare. Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ps. Andrew

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