Thankful For God’s Blessings

Teaches Me Through His Word

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Helps Me When I Am Weak

2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Answers My Prayers

Matthew 7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Never Changes

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Knows All About Me

Psalm 139:1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.

Saved Me

Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead … we too may live a new life.

Gives Me Gifts

James 1:17  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…

Involves Me In His Work

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Views My Every Step

Proverbs 20:24 A person’s steps are directed by the Lord.

Never Will Forsake Me

Hebrews 13:5b Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.

Gives Me Wisdom When I Need It

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God…


Don’t Miss Grace!

Do Not Miss Grace!


The Hebrews had a troubled faith … steeped in tradition … afraid of freedom …Sure of Jesus but at the same time being lured back into a Jesus-denying religion. Many people today can identify with a troubled faith. All faith is a struggle as we try to live it and have both success and failure. Every great Bible character was flawed, sometimes deeply (Hebrews 11) yet they kept hanging on to God in faith, trust. The answer to a flawed faith is grace – the gift we never deserve but God so richly provides.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Our text says, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God…” The NIV84 says, ‘See to it that no one misses grace’. 

Romans 3:23-24  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

If we reject Jesus … we reject grace. Our Hebrew readers were in that predicament.  Grace is from a word that means ‘gift’ – the undeserved favor of God.  Let’s spend a few minutes looking at the message of grace in the book of Hebrews.

Grace is Given Freely, But it Has a Great Cost.

Hebrews 2:9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

GRACE: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.  It’s easy to treat the church and gospel lightly – but it is not a light matter to God. How much did it cost God to supply the grace to save you? Jesus paid the price. He sacrificed for God’s grace to be ours:

He was made lower than the angels – what must that have been like?

He suffered death – and it was a death of suffering.

He Tasted Death by the grace of God (God’s grace toward us).

He is now crowned with glory and honor.

A great price was paid for grace – do not miss it!

Grace is What We Need For Difficult Days 

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

God’s Throne is called a “throne of Grace”.  Aren’t you glad it’s not throne of works /  rightness / beauty / achievement?  It’s a throne of grace – undeserved, effective, needful, and plenteous. When we approach this throne of God’s grace we can find mercy and help through: prayer, providence, strength, wisdom.  We approach confidently – covered in grace. Grace is what we need for difficult days – do not miss it!

Grace is The Source of Our Strength. 

Hebrews 13:9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so.

The contrast is between keeping the Covenant of Moses, or Covenant of Jesus. Most of us are not trying to keep the Law of Moses, but we do sometimes lean on the idea that if we are good outwardly that God is pleased – no matter what’s going on inwardly. Grace, however, strengthens our hearts. In the book of Hebrews about a dozen times there is mention of the importance of the heart. 

Hebrews 3:8  Do not harden your hearts…

Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings…

Hebrews 12:3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

God wants to strengthen our hearts! The outward only form of obedience is not what He seeks. Grace is the source of our spiritual strength – do not miss it!

A Great Tragedy: A Life that Misses Grace 

Failing to recognize the holy life to which we are called.

Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 

Hebrews 10:29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

A life of bitterness  – it grows and defiles others.

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 

A life of immorality.

Hebrews 12:16 See that no one is sexually immoral…

A life of godlessness like Esau who traded a permanent blessing temporary satisfaction.

Hebrews 12:16b-17 … or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

Those are just examples … the life without grace is hopeless and helpless. Don’t miss Grace!

Hebrews 13:25  Grace be with you all.

 Not ‘just’ a concluding word, but the grandest hope the writer could offer the Hebrews… and us. Grace is provided at a great cost, is what we need for difficult days, and strengthens our hearts. Missing grace is a tragic experience in life. As grand as grace is, God freely gives it to those who love and live for Him.

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God…

The nature of grace is that we CAN’T miss it if we are focused on making Jesus Lord of our lives. Since we can’t earn it, and it’s a gift, and the nature of that gift is to give us what we don’t deserve …

We should make sure we have accepted the gift that God has awaiting us through faith, repentance, baptism.

We should spend each day making every effort to live a holy life that models the teachings of Jesus.

We should trust that God has us in His hands, we do not need to fear he will let us go.

We should help others … see to it … that no one misses this greatest of all gifts: grace!


LifeGroup Discussion for Hebrews 12:15

1. A common complaint is that the Christmas merchandise is out long before we fully acknowledge Thanksgiving. Go around the room and find out …

– Who already has their Christmas tree up

– Who has finished Christmas shopping

– Why buys Christmas presents for their pets

– Who was afraid of Santa Claus as a child

2. Our text focuses on others. “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God…” Let’s brainstorm some ways that we can follow this teaching. How would you ‘see to it’ that no one  misses the grace of God? Individually? As a church? Could Hebrews 12:14 relate to this  question?

3. In the second half of our text the emphasis is focused on the ‘bitter root’ that can cause trouble  and defile.

In what way can bitterness ‘cause trouble’ for the one seeking to grow in grace? 

In what ways are ‘grace’ and ‘bitterness’ opposites?

Again the emphasis is in the idea that we should ‘see to it’ that this bitterness does not develop. What role can we play in keeping bitterness at bay in the lives of others?

4. What are some ways to keep bitterness from taking root ….

– in our church

– in our marriages

– in our relationship with the community

5. Hebrews 12:16-17 uses the story of Esau. What does the Hebrew writer want us to learn from his story? He actually references two different parts of the story of Esau, do you remember what they are? Read through Genesis 25, 27 to refresh  your thinking.

6. Our text is not long after the great ‘Hall of Faith’. Many of these faithful were faulty individuals. Can you scan through the first part of chapter 11 and identify some times when God’s grace was needed to cover the sinful ways of the faithful? What does this tell us about our own faith journey?

7. Read the following verses and talk about how they relate to the idea of not missing grace in our Christian journey:  

Matthew 26:41

2 Timothy 4:5

1 Peter 5:8-9

Galatians 5:4

8. Spiritual Practice: Pray through the song Amazing Grace. Take your time, noting how each phrase relates to your own Christian life.

I Want to Know Christ (3)

Holiest Place in the Universe

The Holiest Place in the Universe



Certain places are considered ‘holy’ by people. “The Holy Lands” Monuments / Famous Tombs, etc.  These places inspire awe for various reasons. Have you ever wondered where the holiest place in the universe might be?

In the wilderness Israel was to construct Tabernacle. Within was the Holy Place,  the Holy of Holies. No ordinary person could enter God’s Dwelling Place. Within was the Ark of the Covenant. A curtain/veil separated the Holy of Holies from Holy Place. It was a “veil” -a screen, divider or separator. Anyone except the high priest who entered the Holy of Holies would die. 

Hebrews 9:7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.

When Jesus died, the curtain in the Jerusalem temple was torn in half, from the top to the bottom. The Jerusalem temple curtain was about 60 feet in height, 30 feet in width and four inches thick. The veil was torn, the Holy of Holies exposed. God’s presence was now accessible to all.

Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus…

We have the privilege of entering the holiest place in the universe: we live in the very presence of God. Once distant and shielded, now open and receiving us because of the  blood of Jesus. Author gives three instructions of life in the holiest place in the universe.

1. Draw Near to God in Faith

Hebrews 10:22  Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

Draw Near With Sincere hearts. Not just going through the motions – use emotions! We draw near to God in prayer, worship, service.

Hebrews 11:6b Anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Ray Stedman: As the wick of a lamp continually draws oil for the light, so let us continually draw from God the strength and grace we need to function.

Draw Near With Full Assurance. We grow in faith as we grow in Scripture. We grow in faith as we operate according to Scripture. When we grow in faith, we grow in assurance.

Draw Near to God as Cleansed People. The sprinkling of blood from a sacrifice is pictured here – passing along guilt away from the sinner. (Exodus 29:21; Lev 8:30). Washing with pure water is baptism. 

Acts 22:16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away,calling on his name.

Ephesians 5:26 …to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,

Titus 3:5 He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…

The full assurance of faith comes from seeking God in repentance and baptism, finding relief from guilt and cleansing of sin.

2. Hold on to Hope 

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Hold Unswervingly.

AMP: Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering

Hebrews 4:14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

Hebrews 19-20  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever…

We have to hold on to hope as it can slip away… When we listen to  mocking, skeptical world. When we fall into temptation and sin and lose hope. When we forget the promises of God (He is faithful!).

3. Love and Help Others Love 

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Living in the holiest place in the universe does not turn us inward, but outward! Love God and Love Others – 2 Greatest Commands. Love and then help spur one another toward love. “Spur”    ‘incite’ ‘stir up’ ‘provoke’.

HCSB: And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works…

“The word ‘provoke’ has an edge of intrusion in it. If we are to provoke one another to good deeds, then we will certainly have to be involved deeply in one another’s lives.” – Elizabeth B. Forney

One of our greatest Christian duties is to do all we can to encourage others toward serving and loving.

About Verse 25:

*Don’t give up meeting together – bad habit!

*Love for others cannot be shown in separation.

*Not just meet – but encourage!

Ray Stedman: Corporate worship is not an option for a Christian; it is a necessity. It certainly includes regular attendance at church meetings, but means more than that. It means a willingness to help struggling faith whenever Christians meet. 

What is your attitude when attending? I’m here – serve me! I’m here – God is happy I made it. I’m here – who can I encourage? You have a great purpose in being here today – you are the ONLY one who will bless SOME one! This is what makes choosing to miss for some lesser purpose so sad.

Life in the holiest place in the universe – in the presence of God – is characterized by Sincere Faith, Unswerving  Hope,  Encouraging Love. These three remain!  Hint of urgency: The Day is Approaching!


LifeGroup Questions

1. A striking statement in today’s text has to do with the developing habit of neglect among some of the Hebrew’s readers. You miss a lot when you miss church. Share with the group something funny or embarrassing that happened while you were at church.

2. Life in the Holiest Place in the Universe is a big concept, but easily forgotten. What are some basic ways you can remind yourself DAILY  (hourly?) that your day is spent in the presence of our Heavenly Father?

3.  The Assurance of Faith often plagues us because we know that we fall short of God’s glory. How can sinners be assured! But God never meant for Christianity to be built upon a giant ‘maybe’. What are some ‘maybes’ that have kept you from being assured of your salvation? Here are a few examples, but feel free to come up with your own:

– Maybe We’re doing this worship thing right.

– Maybe I can one day be what I should be

– Maybe God won’t send me to hell

– Maybe I have a place to serve in the church

– Maybe it’ll be worth the trouble I’ve experienced

– Maybe God really cares about me

– Maybe I’m going to go to heaven.

4. Some were evidently neglecting the assembly – a really bad habit. We are not told why. Lightfoot offered the following thoughts:

– Perhaps some were quitting the services because they felt that the Christian gatherings were generally uninspiring and unattractive, especially when set beside the extravagance of the Jewish ritual.

– It may be that some had become Christians thinking to obtain magical favor, just as they might patronize the mystery cults; and having obtained the favor, they withdrew.

– It is slightly possible that some, with visions of their own intellectual grandeur discounted even the need of common worship; disdaining the ties and responsibilities of brotherhood fellowship.

– More probably, however, is that some had begun to give in to pressure from the outside.

Can you think of some other reasons why the Hebrews were failing to gather for worship? In what ways are these some of the reasons people may give for falling into the habit of neglect today?

5. Brainstorm some specific ways you can seek to be an encourager – spurring others to love and good works – every Sunday.

6. All of this is in the context of an approaching Day. Not everyone agrees what this day is. Lightfoot gives some possibilities:

-The day of Christian worship – elsewhere called “the first day of the week” (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2) and  “the Lords day” (Rev 1:10)

-The destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. A number of older commentators held this view.

– The day – the ‘Day of the Lord’ – the final judgment when Christ comes again.

Which of these possibilities might motivate you the most?

7. Spiritual Practice: Revisit the list of ways one can be an encourager when the Family gathers for worship. Pray through that list and ask God to give you wisdom and courage to implement some of those items each week.

Sermon Remnants that Didn’t Make the Cut!

His congregation is basically tired and discouraged – tired of trying to live the christian life in a  culture that offers no support for it and discouraged about the way evil still seems to persist in the world. As a result, the congregation has begun to question the value of being followers of Christ. attendance at worship has begun to falter (10:25), zeal for mission has waned, and the kind of congregational life that is rich with love and compassion has begun to dissipate (10:24).  – Thomas G. Long, Feasting on the Word

“A chief function of public worship, according to Paul, is the edification of all who come together (1 Cor 14:26ff). But how can men be edified when they absent themselves from the assembly?” – Lightfoot

What Christian does not have a friend whom they have invited to church, only to be told that the person does not need a community of worship? They are content with solitude and personal devotion. If Chris has already died for their sins, then what reasons do they have for going to church? Paul might respond that the community has need of them – for offering encouragement and for bringing fresh ideas for collaboration in the kingdom of God. As far back as Ecclesiastes 4:9 we hear that “two are better than one,” for strength, healing, and support. we also read in acts 2;44 how the early Christian community not only survived but grew strong by holding all things in common and meeting regularly for fellowship, encouragement, prayer, and study. – Elizabeth B. Forney, Feasting on the Word

It is now apparent as we look back over the centuries that it has been the will of God to have each generation feel that it is living in the very last days of civilization. Each century has found the church fearing the  cataclysms of its own time as the last to come. Yet, inexorably, each passing century has moved the world nearer the final end. This sense of imminence is God’s device to keep believers expectant and full of hope in the midst of the world’s darkness. – Ray Stedman


Jesus Christ Today: A commentary on the book of Hebrews by Neil R. Lightfoot

Feasting on the Word, Year B Volume 4

Hebrews: The IVP New Testament Commentary Series by Ray C. Stedman

Revival Series: Terry Rush


As we reach the end of our Fall Revival Series, we realize that revival is something that is ongoing. “Lord, Let Revival Continue” is the theme that Terry Rush will be speaking Wednesday night, November 18th at Forsythe Church of Christ.

Terry Rush comes to us from Tulsa, OK. Terry is no stranger  to Monroe. He has been a speaker at DISCOVER. He worked with Crossview TV and also recorded an evangelistic video series here in town. Some of us have had the pleasure of attending the Tulsa Workshop , which is strongly influenced by Terry. Terry is the longtime preacher for the Memorial Drive Church of Christ in Tulsa . You can hear his sermons on their website.

Terry is well known for his connection to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team and has used that opportunity to minister to professional players. He wrote a book called “Voice of Silver, Heart of Gold” about Cardinals announcer Jack Buck. Other books Terry has written include “The Miracle of Mercy”, “Afraid God Works, Afraid He Doesn’t”, “God Will Make A Way” and “The Holy Spirit Makes No Earthly Sense”.

Keep up with him on his blog HERE. Terry is coming to town to tell us that Revival must Continue!  Friends, let’s FINISH STRONG. We should have a full house to hear Terry Rush. Would you help make that happen?

Pray, Attend, Invite, Pray More!

Hear a message from Terry Rush speaking at this year’s Pepperdine Bible Lectures called GOD’S MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION!

Fall Revival SeriesLet Revival Continue