Don't Settle for less Than

Greater than  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  25:49
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Do your remember in Math Class learning the greater than and less than and equal too equations.… We had these symbols that represented < less than = Equal too and then > greater than…
And then our teacher would play this game with us - where they would put a number on each side of the equation… and ask which number is greater than or equal too.
10 < = > 3 Greater than .... Well this is the game that the author of Hebrews likes to play… From Chapter One we see that Christ is > (greater) than the prophets.... Christ is > (greaterO Angel.... Christ is Great than Moses… And we get into chapter 6-7 He is going tell us Why Christ is greater than Aaron and the priesthood.... and key phrase that come up is Better than..
The audience that the preacher of Hebrews is addressing are tempted to go backwards and return to Judaism… So the book of Hebrews is a sermon about the importance of persevering in Salvation… continue to the end… The Christian life is not a half Marathon its is the full 26 miles… and you have to reach the finish line… perseverance to the end.
But it is worth the effort because what we have in Christ is Better than anything.... The main reason why Christ is better than everything that proceeded Him in Judaism is because Christ is the fulfillment of everything in the OT.
Everything that is concealed in the old is revealed in the New… and that is the encouragement that the preacher of the Sermon of hebrews is Giving… As you go deeper in Christ you find that everything is better so Don’t settle for anything that is less than.. One of the reasons that we settle is simply because we run out of steam… it’s a momentum issue.
it takes energy to get ahead… and we get tired.
John Newton discovered that:
Momentum is the product of the mass (weight) and velocity (speed) of an object.
A big, heavy, dead-weight object can have huge momentum at very slow speed — if you can ever get it going. But so can a small, light object at higher speed -- and you can get it going much easier…
Key to momentum is movement…what happens when we settle is we loose velocity and therefore we loose momentum --
How do we loose Momentum? There are three ways that I briefly touch on...
1. When we get overwhelmed… Sometimes the Cares of life start taking there toll on us and we begin to get a spirit of heaviness…Instead of handing our burdens over to God we start to carry them ourselves.. Sometimes its the little things over time.... it like holding your hands out like this… you have absolutely no weight…
initially ---you say to yourself Ive got it.... but if I asked you to it for the next 10 minutes… we start dropping - out because of exhaustion.
T/s We loose momentum when we get overwhelmed...
2. When we loose sight of our goals… By Goals I mean a God honoring vision…It’s a preferred future… Settling for less than God’s best.
C.S. Lewis says - we get so busy playing in the sandpit and settle for making mud pies.. and miss that God offers us a whole beach to vacation on.
Another way we loose momentum is
3. making comparisons with others.
Have you ever been doing something along time and someone younger and more agile just blows past you… The thought is why bother?? We forget that everyone is on a different path and journey… Every situation is unique.
- Lisa Bevere “Don't settle for the crumbs of comparison when God has invited you to His table”
In the previous 8 verses the message was one of warning…about dangers of drifting away from faith… to the point where one actually loose your moorings and drift away from faith… and we could if possible even drift away from Salvation itself...but now the preacher now changes his focus on the positive… or the reality of the condition of these Christians… they were not at the point of abandoning everything… but rather they had just lost their way...
Hebrews 6:9–10 ESV
9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.
INGRESION: In this text the preacher changes his tactics from — giving warnings --- to offering encouragement… He offers soothing, encouraging, and hope-filled statements of confidence. He calls them beloved and he talks about having confidence in Better Things..
The encouragement is to not settle for less than and so there are three things to pay attention … The first point is that..

1. Don't Discount your Past or ignore your Future

Warnings are useful because they get our attention…but...
One of the mistakes that we make in motivating people as leaders - parents.. coaches is warning without encouraging. We have do this as parents - we give all the warnings and threats — if you don’t do this… this going to happen.. There is the thinking that belittling someone would increase the determination toward better effort
The problem is that with out positive reinforcement people tend to think of themselves as incapable … And even worse it can lead thinking that someone has given up on them…
He sets the tone by saying we are sure/ confident… of Better things ahead....
the Greek word Pepeismetha…has the root word peisma is the ships cable…He compares His confidence compared to Strong Cables…cables that are secure and able to hold us..
Now we don’t think about cables often…
Think about the last time you stepped into to an elevator… You probably weren’t aware of the the cables pulling you up and down.... We just interested in getting to the floor we need… When I was a teenager my mom and I got stuck in an elevator and that’s when you begin to wonder about what’s holding you… It took a while and we had to pry open the doors and climb out.... Think we took stairs then next few times...
The preacher assures these young Christians of Better things ahead… things that belong to Salvation…They better because the cable is secured to eternal value..
The better here is in reference to a Better provision there is better way that we draw closer to Christ… there is a better Hope and promises that come with Christ. It’s not that God did not use the past… because all that God did in the past has led to this moment where it is no longer law based but grace based… better means improved or more effective...
Have you notice that when you fail… it almost feels like the game of Jenga… you nocked over everything…and you have to pick up all the pieces and start again.. Well God doesn’t say you have to start again… I don’t know how many times I went forward as child for salvation… because I felt I had failed… I got saved at least three times...
These Christians were drifting… He says you don’t have lay the foundations again… in fact it’s impossible to do that because Christ already did that…
Here is the thing is that
God is Good… He is intrinsically good and just in his nature… And God does not overlook or discount the past… God has seen your work… and your love that you have shown while serving each other faithfully…
And don’t let your failures hold you back…
Ever since the Reformation in the sixteenth century we have been taught, quite rightly, that nothing we can do can earn God’s favour. Grace remains grace; God loves us because he loves us, not because we manage to do a few things to impress him, or to notch up a few points on some heavenly scorecard...
We need to understand Grace… Grace is unmerited and underserved favor…
But at the same time the whole New Testament, from the teaching of Jesus in the gospels, through the message of Paul in his letters, and on to letters like Hebrews .... insists that what Christians do… there is something to be done…
It means having been grasped by God’s free love and grace, and relying in faith on further grace for every step of the way, matters a great deal. But here is the thing...
Living as a Christian is never a matter of settling back and ‘letting God do it all’.
God has ordained that some of his purposes be fulfilled through the co-operation (conscious or unconscious) of human beings.
The picture of Christian life in verse 10 is attractive: a community devoted to each other practicing love and serving each other… This is central to genuine Christian faith… But here is the thing in order to have a cohesive community that functions like this...
it translates into... Every manifestation (IN THE VISIBLE WORLD) is the resulted from work n. —
In other words every visible product produced through the effort, activity, or agency of a person or thing.
Notice in vrs 10 the plural — your work… it’s together sharing in Christ and it is sharing together in the work of the Lord… It’s a joint venture...
NT Wright says… “But the normal Christian life is one of energy, enthusiasm, faithful effort and patient hard work.”
Work was ordained by God as a means of fulfilment, service and praise.
But there is are several distinct phases to process work that we need to recognize..
There is the initial burst of enthusiasm of something New. We all like the excitement of a new project… Everyone of us starts a new job with enthusiasm…but there is always going to be detrition..
Then there is the gradual seeping away of energy and we reach the hard grind of carrying on…which can from weeks to even years. The last phase
Diminished energy -
These Jewish Christians had an impressive record… of service to God… It is interesting that they most tempted to retreat and drift when after they had expended energy. The Movement is from Enthusiasm to diminished energy… We need to understand the pattern… because often we want to quit when what we need is rest…and a renewed and commitment to perseverance..
Key to perseverance… is to understand that God’s at work as we work ---
When Paul tells the Philippians to ‘work out their own salvation with fear and trembling’, he at once adds, ‘because God is at work in you’
Philippians 2:12–13 ESV
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
The energy to do all that we are called to do comes itself from God working within us in the power of the holy spirit. The spirit applies to our lives the promises of God in the past (that’s the subject of the next section) and the completed work of Jesus the Messiah.
When work is done correctly it should have healthy rhythms of sabbath..and work….
There should be joy in the serving… but it takes persistence and perseverance to serve one another. And perseverance is till then end… in other words...
they themselves must make every effort, must avoid all temptations to be lazy, must continue with the life of faith and patience ‘until it be thoroughly finished
INGRESSION: The heart of the preacher is that they are moving forward and growing that they don’t fall short of God’s best… Together as a community they reach their potential.
Hebrews 6:11–16 ESV
11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation.
ingression--- If we are not going to settle for less we need to do three things..
1. Don't Discount your Past or ignore your Future

2. Don't Forget to Model Those who Practice Faith

The desire of the preacher is that they reach the place of full assurance… It is this place of having confidence in Salvation… Standing securely on what you know and experienced.
This confidence comes because of the nature of God’s promises… they are given as Oaths… An oath is greater than a promise because there are consequences attached to not fulfilling an oath...
Oaths are in fact frequently used, for example, in law courts as a form of evidence.
Philo writes, about oaths, “Uncertain things are confirmed and things lacking conviction receive confirmation by means of oaths.”
He uses the example of Abraham to make the point that God does not make idle promises and what He makes He keeps. In Genesis Chapter 12 we have the Abrahamic Covenant or promise… It was three fold in nature..
(1) that God would give Abraham offspring as numerous as the stars or the sands of the sea;
(2) that God would provide those offspring with a land of their own, a good land flowing with milk and honey; and
(3) that God would bless all the nations of the earth through these offspring (Gen. 12:1–3).
God ratifies that promise again after Abraham has been willing to offer his miracle son as a sacrifice to God, showing his complete and utter trust of Him (Gen. 22:15–18)..
The promise comes in the form of an Oath.. Is the most binding of promises that can be made… We see Oaths made between Kings… and often if broken they came with dire consequences
God adds to His promise and oath in order to secure it even more firmly in the mind of Abraham and those who come after. It cannot change, regardless of the circumstances that swarm about God’s people.
The basis of an oath’s validity was the unchangeableness of the things by which one swore. If one were to swear by some unchangeable object, then it would be blaspheming that object if the oath were not carried through…
Here God not only promises to bless and multiply Abraham, but He also swears to accomplish it. Thus there is a double certainty. It is impossible for God to lie under any circumstances and certainly under this double guarantee. The promise is secure.
The fulfillment of the promise, however, was not immediate…Abraham actually became concerned and Sarah suggested Abraham to have a Child with her handmaid…
It was not until Abraham was one hundred years old that the promise was fulfilled, a decade and a half after it was first given....
Abraham becomes this example of how to inherit promises… Often there is this gap between promise and fulfillment…
Now, Abraham’s was not completely obedient… took matters into his own hands… but God had made an oath… Interesting that Abraham is used as example of patience… Even as Abraham waited patiently and was rewarded for his faith, so too, believers of this time must wait patiently and not lose heart…
look again at the instruction… Walk with confidence… why...
12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
We have plenty of examples both in scripture and those in history and life who put to test God’s promises…
People who trusted and waited for God patiently… We have examples to imitate… In Hebrews Chapter 11 we are given a whole list of people in the scriptures of examples of Heros of Faith...
What are we looking for in people to emulate?
Those who through patience inherited the promises...
Everything is moving faster today… an the goal is to spend less time waiting… I was reading a survey from 2006… and I thing we have changed since then.. This was a study done by the Associated press...
• While waiting in line at an office or store, most people take an average of seventeen minutes to lose their patience....
(try 5 minutes)
• On hold on the phone most people lose their patience in nine minutes....
I find myself getting impatient at a traffic light...
What we need to know is that Faith grows through patient perseverance..
The Heros of the Faith are not necessary the people standing on the podiums… but rather those who are in the trenches… The Abrahams and Sarahs of the world …that messed up.... they didn’t get … but they kept believing anyway..
When it comes to your own spiritual formation and growth… you are not going to see anything from week to week. Spiritual growth takes place beneath the surface…Deep change and a deep level..
INGRESSION --- The preacher tells us how to inherit the promises.... and then he tells us why we can hold on with assurance.
Hebrews 6:17–20 ESV
17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
1. Don't Discount your Past or ignore your Future
2. Don't Forget to Model Those who Practice Faith

3. Don’t Underestimate the Potential of God’s Promises.

What are two unchangeable things?
This refers to God’s oath and God’s promise God’s word is our assurance…The picture of Assurance (confidence) is that of a chain… the picture of hope is that of anchor…
An anchor” was an ancient Christian symbol for safety, security, and hope. It has been found on the walls of the Roman catacombs.... Anchor is Synboll of Hope...
To be honest there are a lot of Anchors out there… there are anchors of self sufficiency.... Anchors of dependency and interdependency…There are Anchors in Relationships and Anchors in money… family… on and on…
Hope in the ancient world was used differently from what we call hope today… Hope is often synonymous with crossing your fingers wishing for the best.
The oxford dictionary tells us that the grounds for hope is believing that something may happen. Biblical hope on the other hand is a sure WORD, it is a confident expectation that God will be faithful both now in the future… It is based on the Character of God… It is the immutability of God… where he is unable to tell a lie…
There were cities of Refuge where if you were being pursued you could find protection…
Biblical hope is life-shaping certainty about the future. Or, put another way, biblical hope is living now in a way that’s completely changed because of what you know will happen in the future. That’s hope, being certain about the future, something that’s not here yet, but being affected by it now
Hope, to be sure, is not a kite at the mercy of the changing winds, but ‘a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul’, penetrating deep into the invisible eternal world
It’s not just enough to know the hope with your head; you have to be completely absorbed and saturated with the hope in your life. That’s how important hope is. He’s
Anchors go where we can’t Go…
Strange Metaphor..
Anchors belong on the sea bed, not behind a curtain! What on earth is he talking about?
What he is talking about is another realm - this heavenly Realm… Every year on the day of atonement the High-priest would go behind the curtain into into the innermost sanctuary of the Temple, the ‘holy of holies’. There, on what they believed was the holiest spot on earth, the place where you were as close as possible to God himself, the high priest would make atonement for the people...
Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

4. Don’t stop Marveling at the Work of Christ

It interesting when you come across a verse like this in the NT because we find NT writers interpreting what is happening in the OT… it is fascinating.... This Melchizedek is mentioned briefly in Genesis 14 when Abraham went after 4 kings who became War Lords… Abraham basically defeated these Armies with 300 men…
Then he comes across this priest called Melchizek who has no background…no royal linage… nothing… we are told that ...
He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever...
But Abraham recongized in Melchizedek an eternal priest hood. bows before him and pays him tithes out of the spoils of war...
Hebrews 7:1–3 ESV
1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. 3 He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.
The preacher muses who this could have been… this mysterious priest that appears out of nowhere… obscure verse.. Who could this be? He spectulates… by looking at the clues from bis name… King of Salem… King of Peace.... surely this resembles Jesus the Son of God who continues to be a priest forever...
What makes this significant is this was before... This is before Moses and Aaron and the levitical priesthood.... Jesus is compared to this eternal priest Melchizadek...
Was Mel… greater than Aaron?
Yes he was…because… as we read on we see that through the seed of Abraham --- the levitical priesthood through Abraham paying homage to something greater.
Hebrews 7:5–10 ESV
And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham. But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.


The ship may not need an anchor in calm waters, when upon a broad ocean a little drifting may not be a very serious matter: but there are conditions of weather in which an anchor becomes altogether essential. When a gale is rushing towards the shore, blowing great guns, and the vessel cannot hold her course
As long as we don’t let go of the cable, we are anchored to the presence of God; all the winds, tides and storms that may come can’t shift us.
Be confident in the Promises that God has given you.. We have good examples to follow...Learn Faith... learn Patience...and don't settle for anything less than his Inheritance.
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