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Tag: look

Jesus is Better Than Anything

As we learn in the book of Hebrews, Jesus offers us better hope, better promises and more.

Written by GodLife on 20/08/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Bible, Jesus, Better, Hebrews
Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.

Hebrews 6:9
What was the point of Jesus coming to our sinful world? And how did He accomplish everything we needed in order to be reconciled to God?

We get answers to these questions in the book of Hebrews. And it starts in Hebrews 6:9 — “Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.”

What are these better things, though?

Better hope — “For the law made nothing perfect; but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.” (Hebrews 7:19)
Jesus is first introduced as a better hope in Hebrews 7:19. He is compared to the law, which ‘made nothing perfect,’ but he, the better hope, is the way in which we can draw near to God. His priesthood, as opposed to the priests of the Old Testament, gives us the ability to be made perfect, through His death and resurrection (not by our own works).
Better covenant — “This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.” (Hebrews 7:22)
The first covenant, which came with the law, could not be perfectly upheld, because the priests and followers were themselves not perfect. But Jesus can save the ‘uttermost’ (Hebrews 7:25) because of His perfection and sacrificial death and resurrection. The covenant that included the law was good but ultimately impossible to uphold, but the new covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25) is perfect because God Himself (Jesus) fulfills every requirement.
Better promises — “But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.”  (Hebrews 8:6)
We are also told in Hebrews that this new, better covenant was ‘enacted on better promises.’ What does this mean? Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 37:26-28 both show that within the Old Testament was the expectation of another covenant. This new covenant promised that He would “write his law on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33), all His people would know Him and He would no longer remember their sins against them (Jeremiah 31:34), it would be “everlasting” (Ezekiel 37:26), and He would live among His people (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
Better sacrifice — “For then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Hebrews 9:26)
Jesus died after living a perfect life, which allows His death to stand once and for all as a saving sacrifice. Before, in the old covenant, there was a requirement for spotless animals to be sacrificed over and over again, with no end in sight. But Jesus’ perfect sacrifice allows us to rest in His finished work.
Better possession — “For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.” (Hebrews 10:34)
Our possession — which is eternal life through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection — is infinitely more valuable than any possessions we could have on Earth. In this verse, the writer of Hebrews is saying that nothing in this world is worth giving up the possession we have of eternal life in Jesus. The writer calls it ‘lasting.’
Better country — "But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city." (Hebrews 11:16)
Does this mean that Jesus gives us a great country here on Earth? No! We receive a heavenly country in the future. Jesus offers us a perfect community — though the church is not perfect here on Earth — in heaven to look forward to.
Better resurrection — “Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.” (Hebrews 11:35)
This whole chapter is really God’s definition of faith (Hebrews 11:1, 6). It reads like the evidence log of God’s courtroom, into which He has entered men and women who trusted Him enough to overcome the world by their faith (1 John 5:4). Several of them seemed to supernaturally know details that would only be revealed in the New Testament. In the case of the martyrs this chapter mentions, it seems God has revealed the message of 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 to them: they looked forward to work that would survive the fire of testing.
Jesus is the ‘something better’ that we are all looking for. If you want to learn more about Jesus, including the miracles He performed, the prophecies He fulfilled and more, visit our sister site: somethingbetter.us.

Pray this week:
Lord, show me how to trust you to be the perfect sacrifice for me. Thank you so much that you have done what I could not — follow the law perfectly — and then be sentenced to death for my sins. I praise you for your resurrection, Jesus, and for how your work on the cross and in the grave has saved me from destruction. I love you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Do you act as if you can earn your salvation outside of the work Jesus did on your behalf? What does Hebrews tell you that goes against that thought?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Is Online Church Enough?

Online church services are a great resource — make sure they don’t become your only community

Written by GodLife on 04/09/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Church, Church And Community, Fellowship, Online Church
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:24-25
Balancing Online and Physical Church 
My husband and I found a great church. This place has excellent, Bible-based teaching, opportunities to serve, with a young, growing membership. The church offers multiple service times and great music. Unfortunately, we ended up moving. “No problem”, we both thought. “We can just go online and watch the services. At least that way we can still get great teaching while we look for a church in our new town.” 

Here’s what we discovered. Finding a church can be hard! Especially when the one you attended before was so great. Some weeks it was easy to say, “let’s just watch online today.” That counts, right? 
No matter where you live, you have to decide what to do about church and community, both online and in-person. The reality today is the online church community has so much to offer and may feel like an easier place to fit in. Many people are a part of multiple communities, online and offline. How do you balance them? Can one substitute for the other? 

The purpose of going to church
Notice I didn’t say “the purpose of church” because ‘church’ is not a physical place. the church is made up of people who follow Jesus. As Christians, we work together as “the church” to share the love of Jesus with others. Acts 2:42 provides some of the reasons for church. “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” 

You can do many of the same things online and offline. You can share Jesus’ love, learn about Jesus, and read the Bible. With so many sermons and studies online, it is easy to find just about any material you need to help you grow spiritually. Online church allows you to build community fellowship globally and expand your perspective, while your local church may be limiting your connections to people who are just like you. So why go to a physical church rather than bonding and worshipping only in an online community? Physical touch, serving and gathering are just three reasons.

Physical touch
Britain recently appointed its first ‘minister for loneliness’ acknowledging how isolated many people have become. Part of that isolation is not simply mental loneliness but a lack of connection physically, too. I remember my mom saying several years after my father died that one of the hardest things she faced was not having daily physical contact with anyone — hugging, a touch on the hand, and just close proximity to another person in the room. There were those around Jesus who needed to hear His message in this way because there are people who are best wired to receive communication about love by physical touch. "And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, 'Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.' And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, 'I will; be clean.' And immediately his leprosy was cleansed." (Matthew 8:2–3)

Going to church is a way to physically connect to followers of Jesus and remind ourselves that we are not just mental or spiritual beings but we exist together and have a common purpose. 

Serving in your community
Sure, you can give money through your phone to help others — even those in your neighborhood. The community church makes it more personal. As the church opens its doors in times of disaster or through helping local families with specific needs, Jesus can shine through your face when you participate in service. James 1:27 tells us: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” 

Gathering
We are here to gather with other believers in Christian fellowship, and a smartphone can never completely replace that. The term “church” in Greek (ekklesia) means a called assembly. In ancient times when a city called its people together for a certain purpose, this was always called an ekklesia. My husband and I once had a “Skype dinner” with some friends who had moved away. We just wanted to see their faces and eat together like we did when they lived near us. While it was fun, it wasn’t the same as being together. 

Balancing your online church practices with your physical ones can be a challenge. Both have so much to offer, it can be tempting to replace one for the other. How you use those resources God provided in a balanced way is a decision you have to make. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise.” (Ephesians 5:15)

Pray this week:
Father, show me how to serve you. Lead me to more fully be a part of the church in all areas, through worship, teaching, giving, fellowship and prayer.

Do you struggle with balancing your life online and offline? Do you view your community church differently than online church?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member