May 7, 2023 - Preparing for the Lord's DayMay 7, 2023 Preparing for the Lord's Day
Preparing for the Lord's Day
Jesus is Better
He was my closest Christian friend in college. I vividly remember one conversation we had when I was a freshman in which we discussed matters of the gospel and following Christ. It was a pivotal moment in my spiritual growth and eventual call to ministry. Over the next four years, we would spend hours studying and sharing, growing and praying, evangelizing and worshipping together. He had the habit of carrying several versions of the Bible with him at a time so that he could cross-reference different translations. He had more Scripture memorized than anyone I had ever met. We shared a home together during college. He stood as the best man at my wedding and I at his wedding. He went off to seminary and a year later I went to seminary. I believed that if anyone was a Christian, it was him.
But slowly things began to change. He started questioning the inerrancy of the Bible. He started having marital issues that led to an eventual divorce. By the time he graduated from seminary his goal was not to teach people the truth of the gospel but rather, by his own confession, he wanted to help people see the falsehood of the gospel. I still keep in contact with my friend. And I still hope and pray that he will return to the faith. However, as it stands, he has fallen away from the faith. He is an unbeliever.
I know that each one reading this has had a similar experience. You have a friend or a family member who once showed every indication that they were a believer. They had a clear testimony of faith in Christ, they studied God’s word and shared the gospel with others. They were filled with love and faith and good works. But something changed.
The author of Hebrews is very concerned to address the issue of those who seem to be Christians outwardly, but over time fall away from the faith. What we will see this week is that every Christian must take the warnings of Scripture seriously when it comes to the threat of falling away from the faith. While those who are truly in Christ can never fall away, the heart is deceitful above all things. And those who believe themselves to be in Christ might actually have a hardened, wandering, and unbelieving heart. To come prepared for the sermon take time this week to read and to meditate upon Hebrews 3:7-12, Numbers 14, Psalm 95, Jeremiah 17:9, Mark 13:13, Philippians 2:12-13, 1 Timothy 1:18-20, and this article on falling away from the faith.
This week we will celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper during our worship service. As we receive the elements of bread and wine look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ. For as we physically receive the signs of the Lord’s body and blood, spiritually we feed upon him and all his benefits. Our hymns for this week include “Holy God, We Praise Your Name,” “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus!,” and “How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place.”
Text: Hebrews 3:7-12
Title: The Heart of the Matter
- Hear the Clear Warnings of a Hardened Heart (vv. 7-8)
- Acknowledge the Numerous Examples of a Wandering Heart (vv. 9-10)
- See the Dire Consequences of an Unbelieving Heart (vv. 11-12)