Man, sometimes life can feel like you are walking through hot coals. What have been the coals in your life? Loneliness, depression, loss, fear? This week, I want to remind you of two things, you are not alone, and there is something greater that awaits you. Tune in and listen to be encouraged. Need prayer? visit my.oswegochristian.com/pray to post a request.Subscribe to our podcast on your phone to automatically have new messages downloaded weekly: in iTunes (http://my.oswegochristian.com/iTunes) or Android (http://my.oswegochristian.com/Google)
OPENING ILLUSTRATION: Siblings can be cruel to each other. I remember I had to go into our back yard to get someone thing one time, and my brother and his buddy came out and dumped over the coals in the grill to cover the path back to the door way. I had gone out without my shoes, and unfortunately I was a kid and it didn’t occur to me to just wait until the coals had died down to come back in. Instead, I ran as fast as I could and tried to stay light on my feet to run through the coals back to the house… I don’t think it was that bad, because I don’t remember having to get my feet treated, but I can remember the feeling of searing heat on my feet…
Have you ever had a “walking over hot coals” moment in your life? What have those things been for you?
-A deep loneliness – you’ve had to walk through feelings and pains that are just as real, if not more real than coals on a foot -the pain of realizing, your relationship really is as dead as you thought – hot coals -or the hurt of being told you’re no longer needed and feeling like your world got pulled out from under you
There are a million ways we can walk on coals in this life -but you’re not alone in this…
Listen…Hebrews 10:32-3532 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. What about that word, endured -It means to bear up under something
We don’t know what these people endured exactly although in the verses to come we get some idea, but what we do know is that they were a people of endurance
Endurance is a word that has marked Christians for thousands of years.
ILLUSTRATION:I have heard so many Christians talking about our rights and freedoms taken from churches, but this isn’t something Christians should be afraid of – it’s actually the “Norm” for Christianity – even Jesus was rejected.
It is unusual for Christians to be accepted, to have rights… -it’s only in the last few centuries that Christians have had these privileges anywhere.. -now, I don’t want to lose our freedom, don’t hear that – but what I do want is for us as Christians to put on the old hat of the old Christians
They endured. The stood up under. Listen to what they stood under… with no rights…
33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. These Christians knew what it was to walk through the coals -imagine being publicly exposed to insult and persecution -imagine having the entire town roused against you -people dragging you out of your home, mocking you
And yet, as these Christians were forced to walk through the coals of persecution, they didn’t run -they stood… they stood side by side, they stood with each other -they suffered with one another… They had there things stolen from them, had their houses pillaged
And how did they do it? the scripture says joyfully…
How can that be?ILLUSTRATION: Have you ever met someone who is dying of cancer or some other crazy disease and they seem so at peace, so, joyful even? There is only one way to find joy in the face of such circumstances – it is by understanding that there is more going on in this life than what you see… The author of Hebrews says they could experience all of this joyfully because they knew that they had a better and lasting possessions.
Did you hear the word that the author used at the very beginning of this passage? “Remember”
He said remember, because the reality is, you and I can find ourselves in another one of those moments of having to walk through coals and feel totally inadequate to make it through to the other side -we can feel like there’s not another step we can take
He’s wanting to remind them that they have done this before -they’ve endured -they’ve lost and still gained -they’ve hurt and still laughed -they’ve made it through
and it’s into this moment, where he’s reminding them that he says this to them…
35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
Oh my, if there was ever a statement that needs to be embedded in your heart, it’s this
Don’t throw away your confidence, it will be richly rewarded
Don’t you know who’s you are? In the book of Hebrews, He’s literally been going through and showing how Jesus is better than everything the Jewish people trusted in
Jesus is better, Jesus is better Jesus is better
and He is still better -because He offers life that exists beyond this life…
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION: Imagine the us getting a vaccine for the virus and the all clear is called, but one of your friends won’t leave their house – their so afraid of losing what they have… They’ve been so conditioned by living in a world with a virus, that they can’t see beyond it…
Friends, what the author of Hebrews is calling to you and I is to not let your world be so conditioned by living in a world reigned by the virus of death that you give up your confidence.
Not that God will remove the pain of this moment, but that God will ultimately redeem it all and richly reward you.
He offers for you to step out into the glorious light of His Son! True Hope, true freedom. To joyfully walk through the coals of this life, knowing that what awaits you is a better reward than ANYTHING this world can offer…
And, so, I want to challenge you to do one thing this week Don’t throw away your confidence – find a way to remind yourself of the hope you have in Jesus -every time you pour yourself a cup of coffee, thank God for something with every sip -pray for your neighbors -read the scriptures -do something to remind yourself of the great cloud of witnesses you join when you join in with Christ…
He’s better you better believe it!