Sunday, September 30, 2018

Hebrews, Day 54: Hebrews 13:11-14 - What Should We Expect in This World?

What Should We Expect in This World? 
Hebrews, Day 54

Audio Version

For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 
- Hebrews 13:11-14, ESV

"Join the Navy! See the World!" 

The recruiting poster caught the young man's eyes and he started dreaming of laying out on beautiful beaches in exotic locations all around the world. Six months later, he found himself peeling potatoes and washing dishes deep in the bowels of a huge ship, helping prepare food for hundreds of hungry sailors. He turned to his kitchen mate and said sarcastically, "'Join the Navy,' they told me. 'See the world,' they said. All I've seen are potatoes and dirty dishes!" 

Expectations are critical in life. When our expectations are disappointed, we feel frustrated. The gap between the good experience we expect and the not-so-good experience we live instead can cause much heartache. 

What did you expect from the Christian life in this world? Did you believe those who promised prosperity and happiness? Have you been disappointed? Did you think that following Jesus would win you friends and admirers, because people would see you as good and respectable? Have you instead been ridiculed or rejected by the world? Did you think the Christian life would get easier as you got older, only to find that you're still dealing with temptations and frustrations that seem overwhelming? 

The Bible is very honest and fair about what we should expect in the Christian life. Following Christ in this world will get us hated by the world and engaged in a lifelong war against our own sinful nature, the rebellious world, and the devil who hates us. Jesus said, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me before it hated you." (John 15:18) Paul said, "Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (2 Tim. 3:12)

In today's Hebrews passage, we have the same message: Christ was rejected and suffered for our sins outside the camp. We need to be prepared to endure the same rejection. We must remember that we have no abiding city here in this fallen world.

We must choose: We can either try to win approval from the world by denying Christ and failing to be faithful to Him, or we can accept the world's scorn for following Christ. We cannot have both the praise of the world and faithfulness to Christ. History is littered with the remains of people and institutions that have chased the approval of the world and abandoned Christ. Harvard, Yale, Brown and Princeton were all founded as Christian universities whose primary calling was to train ministers of the Gospel.

As you face the decision today to choose between Christ and the world, remember this: Jesus rejected the crowds that wanted to make Him king and instead chose to go outside the camp to the shameful death of the cross - for you and for me. Can we say we follow Him if we choose otherwise? 

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