We are walking through the New Testament Book of Hebrews this school year. This Sunday we begin with chapter 4 but we already know what the theme is of the Book. Every school aged child in church might suggest the theme being “Jesus.” They would not be wrong. However, there is a more intriguing theme underlying the emphasis of Hebrews. To me, the theme seems especially relevant as I notice the same dynamics in our world. Many of the believers associated with this letter were “drifting.” “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” (Hebrews 2:1) Actually, that points to the fact it was already happening.
Drifting in faith and closeness to Christ are just as real now as it was then. No one would argue with me about the reality of Christianity in American described as drifting. It begins with a diminished love for Christ and continues with a disconnect to the church. The percentage of believers living their Christian life outside the church continues to grow. That was also true of the church that the writer of Hebrews addresses. It began with a lesser view of Jesus and progressed so that many were neglecting the church. I am glad we are preaching on Hebrews because my prayer is that many believers who are drifting will return to New Harvest and even more so to the church of Salem.
We have seen the reason for this drifting in our study. It could be summarized by fear. Fear pushed us to shrink back and eventually run away. The lack of confident and the loss of hope are because of fear. Persecution affected the believers addressed in Hebrews and so did a lack of faith as doubts grip their souls. But moving away from Christ and the church only allows fear to become stronger. Christ’s invitation to us is to live without fear. He is the answer because he can set us free which, in my thinking, is the opposite of fear. When we close ourselves off from others we can feel hopeless. But when we open up and overcome fear, we can go from hopeless to hopeful and start living a life overflowing with joy, grace and compassion. May this be the result of our journey in Hebrews. My prayer is that many will return to the church as Christ’s Body and begin again!