Well it is a real blessing for Marlene and I to be back. I believe this is our seventh time. As you can see, I'm getting older and part of the thing of getting older is you don't quite remember like you used to. And not only times and places and events, but people as well. So you may remember us more than we remember you initially, so please don't be offended if you have to tell us your name again.
At least for me that would be very, very helpful. We're very glad that we were able to bring our granddaughter Bethany. She's been our handmaid so far this week. And I like that.
I can see why they had handmaids in the Bible. Especially your old grandpa. It's nice to have somebody who's smart and able and pretty as well. So that's always great.
It is a blessing. We want to bring you greetings from our home church in Binbrook Baptist Church. Binbrook is just on the outskirts of Hamilton. Hamilton is about, I guess similar to Pittsburgh. It's a steel city. Our football team actually wears black and gold as well as Pittsburgh does. And it's about a little over half a million people.
So we've been in the Hamilton area for, oh boy, 42 years. And we thank the Lord for his goodness to us and we do send greetings, bring greetings from our church family. Would you take your Bible again please and turn to the book of Hebrews. Hebrews chapter 5.
I'm reading from the ESV. It's very similar to the New King James. I'm going to read again just verses 11 to 14 and then we will dive in.
Hebrews chapter 5 beginning at verse 11. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food. For everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness since he is a child.
But solid food is for the mature. For those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Now I'm probably going into a passage of scripture this week that probably angels even fear to tread.
But I trust that by the time we're through I won't be stoned and we will all be blessed. We're going to visit a house. Six Hebrews lane for example.
And where we're going this morning is just up to the front porch and to knock on the door. And then beginning in Sunday school to Wednesday night we're going to go into the house and we're going to go through five rooms of the house. And the five rooms of the house will be the difficult part of all of this which is Hebrews chapter 5. Chapter 6. If you were to look in chapter 13 of verse 22 you would see that Hebrews is a written sermon. The pastor, and that's one of the difficulties in this marvelous book, is we don't know.
There have been many suggestions. It may be the apostle Peter, or Paul I should say. It may be Luke. It may be Apollos.
Who knows? And as one of the church fathers said, only God really knows who wrote the book or who preached this sermon from Hebrews. And furthermore we don't technically know who it's preached to. Most of the New Testament letters say Paul or Peter or James, whoever it might be, to the church that is scattered in Cappadocia or wherever it might be. To the church in Corinth, to the church at Philippi. But this sermon just begins as a sermon. He dives right in. No introduction, no greetings from the church or anything like that. He is just diving in because you see the issue is very urgent.
The situation is very serious. If he could, he would be there in person to preach this sermon but he's not able to be there. And obviously they can't live stream the sermon.
They can't send a CD. You can't somehow fool around with one of these devices and pick up the sermon. And we're very glad for that because this sermon has been preached literally thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of time over the last two thousand years. And it's a sermon that every believer needs to hear again and again and again and every congregation needs to hear again and again and again. Now because it's a sermon, we need to study this book like it is a sermon. Sermons consist of two things, at least they should. There is exposition.
There is teaching. There is doctrine. There is explaining. And if you've ever worked through the book of Hebrews or even just read it yourself, and I hope you have, I hope you will this week before we're through, you will see that it is packed full of great biblical theology. And it's not the kind of theology you just, oh yeah, I get it.
You got to go back again and again and again. And part of the difficulty is that this preacher, whoever he is, he is just full of the Bible. He is full of the Old Testament scriptures. And he is saying marvelous things from the Old Testament that I would have never got if the sermon had never been preached.
And I don't think you would have got it either. He explains amazing things, absolutely astounding things, wonderful things, saving things, things that will stand the test of time and things that will impact for all eternity. But sermons are not just exposition. They're not just teaching. The sermons are not lectures at university. A good sermon not only exposes, it does exposition, but it exhorts, it applies. And what we will see as we go through our section, and as I explain as you go through the book of Hebrews, you will see that he goes from teaching to application, teaching to application, teaching to application. A lot of sermons, and that's fine, will teach for 40 minutes and then apply. And that's a good way to preach. Sometimes it's good to apply first and then to teach. Sometimes it's good like this sermon to teach a little, apply, teach a little, apply, teach a little, apply. Because you see to the Hebrew mind, you have not heard until you heed. You don't get it because you can write it down in an exam. You get it when you live it.
That's how we know you got it. And this book is a sermon written to a congregation. We don't know where. They obviously aren't meeting in a building like this. They're probably a house church. They are probably Jewish in their background, both in terms of their race and their religion. And they're living at a time, probably, well obviously somewhere in the Roman Empire where there's persecution. And the irony is that the persecution isn't primarily from the Romans. It's from the Jewish people. And if you read through the book of Acts, you'll see that often Paul's biggest problem was with the Jews, wasn't it? The Romans couldn't care who was in Corinth or any other place. But the Jews cared.
And they'd stir things up and they'd get people going. And so the temptation for this congregation, probably a house church is, man is it really worth it. On a beautiful Sunday like this, in a beautiful part of the country it is. But is it in a Muslim country? Is it in Ukraine?
Is it in Russia? Is it worth pressing on and persevering and hanging in there and not quitting? No matter what it cost you. And we know from this sermon that it's cost them a lot so far. So far nobody in the congregation is missing because they're a martyr. But they've lost their jobs, they've lost possessions, they've been persecuted, they've been mistreated. They've had to associate with others who've been persecuted. And they're wavering, their faith is wavering.
Is it really worth it? You know, all they have to do is just backtrack a little bit and go back to Judaism. And why not? Judaism's in the Bible, isn't it? And the guy who's preaching this sermon says, you can't go back when you've come this far.
You're either in or you're out. There's no middle ground. Nobody, God intended no one to go to the Old Testament and stay there. Now, one other thing about a good sermon.
It should have one theme. There's nothing like a sermon that has importance of tithing, the priesthood of Jesus, and the need to witness at work. Now, the trouble with those points is that they're all good and they're all biblical, except how in the world does that all connect together?
And I learned a long time ago, keep it simple, first of all, because I'm stupid. And secondly, especially on a Sunday morning, some of the congregation's a little dozy. And so you teach one thing. And in this sermon, the preacher's teaching one thing. His buzzword is better. At least 12 times in this book, he uses the word better.
Better covenant, better promises, better inheritance, and so on. And his point in the sermon is, it doesn't get any better than Jesus. Jesus is everything that the Old Testament was pointing towards. Constantly flashing, coming soon to this planet, is a Savior who's out of this world. And He will fulfill all the prophecies and types and pictures and everything that the Old Testament is pointing to.
The Old Testament is not an end in itself. Now, that's the introduction. What we want to see this morning is, first of all, the parenthesis. Secondly, the problem.
And then thirdly, the preventative. First of all, then, the parenthesis. Now, the word parenthesis is not found in the text. But the word is a combination of two Greek words. You know, you crazy glue them together and you can make a new word.
And that's always fun to make new words out of glue and together old words. Pera means alongside. Thesis means thesis or theme or topic. And a parenthesis is something that you throw in alongside the main theme. Now, it should, if it's going to be a good parenthesis, it should contribute towards the main theme and not be something way off.
It is helping you to understand and respond and apply to the main theme. And the main theme is it doesn't get any better than Jesus. And if that was true in the first century, in the middle of the Roman Empire, it's certainly true in the 21st century. In a world that is demonstrating continually, it has nothing to offer.
Everything is bankrupt. God is showing us that the emperor has no clothes. Whether that's in America or Canada or Russia or any place in the world, the emperor has no clothes.
This is a culture like every culture that is lost. Now, we're not mad. We're not angry. You see, God isn't interested in saving America or Canada.
He's interested in saving Americans and Canadians and Ukrainians and Russians and all the people groups of the world. Isn't that marvelous? The church is this wonderful mosaic.
Now, back to the parenthesis. About this in verse 11 is the teaching about Jesus. And in Genesis 14, we meet this mysterious character. He appears and disappears. His name is Melchizedek. And he'll go back to teach about him in chapter 7.
And he's saying that Jesus is of the order and the line of the priestly line, not of Levi, but of Melchizedek. Absolutely astounding stuff. Great stuff. But then he says, time out. I've got a lot to teach you. And some of this is going to take some brain sweat. When I was pastoring full time, I would every once in a while, I don't say it every week because if you say it every week, they don't hear you. But every once in a while, I'd say this would be the most thinking you'll be doing all week. Don't check your brains at the door.
Christianity is the thinking person's religion. I never, I got saved at 17. I've never thought so much as I have from 17 on. I've been saved almost 56 years and I'm thinking and thinking and thinking more than ever. This is an amazing book.
Absolutely astounding book. And it's constantly coming and grappling with me and getting me to reprogram me by the grace of God. So that I will think God's thoughts after him. I don't naturally do that. But he says, in this parenthesis, there's a problem. You see, sermons are designed for the ear gate.
Our culture to some degree has lost that. We think sermons are designed for the eye gate. But they're designed for the ear gate. There is something amazing about the ability to hear things, to go in these things at the side of your head and stuff goes up and rattles around in your head. And it comes out in your hands and your feet. Absolutely astounding.
How God can use the word of God preached and proclaimed and taught so that it changes people. But there's a problem. They've become dull of hearing.
The word dull, there's a very interesting word because what it really means is to be slow or sluggish or lazy or negligent. It's not that there's a buildup of wax. There's not a problem because you've been banged once too often playing football. And the problem is I've just got lazy listening to the word of God. Have you ever got lazy listening to the word of God?
You have, if you've been safe for any length of time. This kind of dullness of hearing is the kind that husbands have sometimes with their wives. You know, yeah, yeah, dear, yeah. Or the kind of hearing the kids sometimes have with their parents, especially guys with their mom. And it's not that you can't hear the words. It's that you're kind of lazy. And you don't want to take the effort of hearing because you know hearing means responding. I'm watching the sports.
I'm flicking through to see what's good on TV. My wife, I think, said something to me and I know if she did say something to me it probably means getting up out of the lazy boy and doing something or at least muting the thing and listening and you get lazy. And you get lazy because you're tired. You're tired of struggling. You're tired of saying no to sin. You're tired of constantly going upstream against a culture that is lost, as lost as this culture is in the first century. You're tired of resisting the devil. You're tired of fighting yourself. You're just tired of the effort and the sweat and the energy that it takes to press on and to persevere and to not quit.
And there's something about this that I'm not sure it's worth the effort anymore. Oh, not the effort to get up and shower and get dressed and come to church. Most of us can do that in our sleep and to listen to a sermon.
Most of us can do that in our sleep as well. But the effort of listening like you've never heard this before. I remember when I was a young Christian, I heard someone say that every time you heard the word of God, you should listen to it like you were listening to a will to see if your name's in it. And the parenthesis says, hey, come on, smarten up, wake up. This isn't just one more sermon rattling on about Jesus. Well, that's the parenthesis. What is interesting is, if you were to read through the whole sermon, that this is the third parenthesis in the sermon and we're only at chapter five. And the kicker is the guy who preached the sermon in chapter 13 says, hey, I hope you'll bear with this short sermon. And the kicker still is that there will be two more parenthesis in this book.
There was one in chapter two, one in chapter four, this one here in five, six, another one in chapter 10, another one in chapter 12. And what I've learned is that if my wife persists in, as I would call it, nagging me, there's probably a good reason. And if the preacher persists in nagging us and bothering us, there's probably a good reason.
Because he says, the real problem is not the wax in your ears from biblical buildup. The real problem is spiritual immaturity. We have 11 grandchildren and what we've observed of all of them, except of course Bethany who is here, is that they've all kind of resisted in some ways to grow up.
They liked the bottle, they liked the breast, they liked not just the food but the warmth and the intimacy and once you've had one or two or four or six kids, they like special time with their mom. And you're patient and you're kind but you have to kind of say, no, you got to grow up. You got to grow up. Now you never say to a two year old, stop acting like a two year old. But you do say to a 12 year old, stop acting like a two year old. And you see, in real life we expect growth, don't we?
We would be shocked if some guy was going through the line at university to get his diploma and he went through like this, sucking his thumb. And said, Mommy, look what I got. We'd say that guy could put a man on the moon but when's he going to grow up? And if that's true in the physical realm, it's especially true in the spiritual realm. You see, the problem is that this congregation is deliberately and willfully not growing up. The preacher says, you know, by now you should be teaching but you've got the need of people teaching you.
And we're talking about the ABCs, the Christianity 101. Now that doesn't mean every Christian should be teaching a Bible class but what it does mean if you've been saved for any length of time, one of the pastors should come to you and say, hey, we have a new convert here. Could you take Susie under your wing? Could you take Charlie under your wing? Could you disciple them?
Could you mentor them? And every believer should be able to do that. Not every believer can get up in the pulpit. Not every believer can teach an adult or a teen class.
But if you've been saved for any length of time, you should be able to reproduce. And you should be able to help younger believers to grow and to mature. And the preacher says, you're not even close.
I hate preachers who bug people. You know, you want to come to church to feel good, don't you? But I'm glad I don't go to a doctor who just wants me to feel good. I'm glad I go to a doctor who wants me to be good, to be good and healthy, to be good and strong.
I would like to live a few more years. And I'm glad for a doctor, I'm glad for a preacher who will come and say, Don, this is what you need to hear. Maybe not what you want to hear. But the problem with you is you're spiritually immature.
Well, what's the preventative? They say that you are what you eat. And that may sort of kind of be true in the physical realm. I see some people skinny as a rail, but boy, they can eat anything.
And they can eat anything almost anytime day or night. And there's others, we just walk by something and we gain. We haven't even put it in our mouth yet. But that never happens in the spiritual life. I've never just walked by a good sermon and kind of by osmosis.
I whipped it and hey, man, have I ever grown. Notice what he says. Verse 13, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness. Since he's a child, he's a baby. But solid food, verse 14, is for the mature.
Those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Now, do you see how this laziness thing kicks in? Because it's by constant practice of being trained. And that's what I get tired of. There's still more to learn. There's still another issue out there. There's still another book to read. There's still another problem. We got our kids through, now it's the grandkids.
And before you know it, it'll be the great grandkids. And you know, I've been saved almost 56 years and I've never had a day in 56 years that I had nothing to pray for. Just praise and worship and thank the Lord.
There's no needs, there's no problems, there's no difficulties. That gets tiring. Because you know, some people you've prayed for 20, 30, 40, 50 years. And going to the word again, another sermon, another book, another issue. It's easy to get tired, isn't it? It's easy to say, who in the world needs this? I've been praying for my country since 1966.
How's it going? I've been praying for people to be saved, some for over 40 years. Wrestling with issues, struggling, and you see, my biggest problem is me. It's not my wife, it's not my grandkids. Believe it or not, it's not even the church.
It's me. And I'm almost 73 and you'd think, well, I'm pretty well through sinning. But I'm not. I'm wrestling with old sins that I've wrestled with all my life. And what you find out as you get older, you've got new sins to wrestle with. I wasn't as grumpy as this when I was 40. I wasn't as tempted to be cynical.
I wasn't as tempted to look down on the younger generation and think they've got nothing going for them. I wasn't tempted as much back then to think, I know more than most people. I go to the right church, I read the right books. And the trouble is that you're always struggling with you, aren't you? You just get tired of it. And you get tired of it. And you just want to give up and give in. There's nothing wrong with being a little baby a little longer, is there?
When it's not your kid, it's kind of cute. But there is something wrong if you're not growing as a spiritual person. If you're still sucking your thumb, if you're still wanting the bottle, if you're not tackling the broccoli and the asparagus and the solid foods of the Word of God, there's something really wrong.
And it's very, very dangerous. Because as we will see, as we knock on the door and go in, the danger is not that I'm just not growing up. The danger is I may apostatize.
And the trouble with spiritual immaturity is it's very hard to tell where that's going to go. My wife and I graduated from Bible College in 1972. The valedictorian of our class was Ravi Zacharias. For 40 years Ravi was the most prominent Christian apologist in the late 20th century and the early 21st century. You can't buy his books anymore.
In fact, there's no RZIM anymore. And you think, boy, how does that happen? And I don't know everything. But I do know this, that when God was speaking to him, he stopped listening. And the great tragedy is that you wouldn't have known that. And I wouldn't have known that.
But he would know that. And so as we come this week and as we next, at Sunday school, we're going to go in the door. And we have to come and we have to hear for ourselves. Not to say, boy, I hope my wife's listening.
Hope Charlie's listening. But this book is for me. If nobody else is listening, the book of Hebrews, the sermon of Hebrews, is for Don Theobald. Because, you see, it's like the Boston Marathon. It isn't who started the race. Everybody pretty well gets off the line. But who crosses the line at the end?
And it's not a given. And as we will see this week as we go through this passage, I can't even let my theology deceive me. I need to be teachable. I need to be learning. I need to be hungry. I need to hear this word every day like I've never heard it before. For the glory of Jesus Christ and for the good of my own soul. While we're on the front door, we're knocking. I can hardly wait to see what we're going to see in the house on 6 Hebrews Lane.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-12 17:15:52 / 2023-05-12 17:26:20 / 10