June 20, 2017

Serious Hope

Serious Hope: Week 1

This summer, our Serious Hope series studies the book of Hebrews. There is no book that more thoroughly explains our hope as Christians than Hebrews. It shows us just how Serious this Hope of ours is.   

To take this study further, spend 15 minutes this week reading chapters 1 and 2. Then, grab a friend or think through the following questions on your own:

  1. Why is hope in a God who created and sustains everything a different kind of hope than most of us are used to?
  2. Is something in your life a struggle right now? Where are you placing your hope?
  3. How does knowing that Jesus came to help you change things and give you hope?
  4. What does it look like, in practical ways, to look to Jesus for help?

Serious Hope: Week 2

To take this Serious Hope study of Hebrews further, spend 15 minutes this week reading chapter 3.

In this chapter, Hebrews reminds the reader, who originally were Jewish Christians, that Jesus is greater than Moses (Jesus > Moses). As we read that Jesus is greater than Moses, it should translate to what in our lives Jesus is greater than.  Because the truth that Hebrews is pointing to is that Jesus is greater than Moses and any other hope we could possibly cling to.

Serious Hope = Jesus

Questions to reflect on:

  1. In your life, what are you tempted to put your hope in more than Jesus?
  2. In verse 14, Hebrews talks about what we will share because of our faith and hope. How does that compare to what we will share because of the hope we have in other things?

Serious Hope Study: Week 3

Read Chapter 4 of Hebrews

Chapter 4 of Hebrews is filled with tons of promises of God’s rest and warnings about not attaining it. By verse 13, the warnings seem more overwhelming than the promises, but beginning with verse 14 we begin to see an even bigger picture of just how big of a deal this hope we have in Jesus is. Enjoy reading this chapter and take lots of extra encouragement from the final few verses.

  1. What keeps you from experiencing God’s rest right now?
  2. What does it mean in your life to boldly go to God’s throne and receive His mercy?

Serious Hope Study: Week 4

Read Chapter 5 of Hebrews

Chapter 5 of Hebrews describes the system of worship and atonement practiced by the Jewish nation. It shows how Jesus has replaced that system with a new covenant. He’s replaced that system by becoming the sacrifice himself. This chapter ends with some harsh words for the reader about growing their faith. To take this chapter further, check out the questions below:

 

  1. Are you living your life in “maintenance mode” – doing just enough to get by – or are you growing your faith? What would it take for you to take a step past “maintenance mode” in your life?
  2. Jesus has once, for all time, covered your sin with His sacrifice. It’s gone. What guilt do you need to stop walking around holding onto?

Serious Hope Study: Week 5

Read Chapter 6 of Hebrews.

Filled with one of the most difficult passages in the bible, this chapter warns of letting pride get in the way of following Jesus. The free gift that Jesus offers us is not for purchase and when we experience the good things of Heaven, but then, because of pride, believe Jesus’ act on our behalf isn’t enough, we’re in a dangerous place. However, Hebrews remains optimistic and encourages us to let the work done by God through Jesus continue to work in us. It encourages us to love others like we’ve been loved. This is how God’s free gift to us from Jesus transforms us.

  1. Where’s the meat (the signs of maturity) in this passage? Which verses? Is that surprising to you?
  2. The Hebrew people this letter was written to had considered going back to paying for their sins through the traditional sacrificial system after they’d accepted Jesus’  gift of atonement. How have you been tempted to abandon your faith in Jesus? What do you think would have resulted?  
  3. Hebrews talks about being “meant for better things” (v. 6:9). How do those better things grow in our life as our faith matures?

Serious Hope Study: Week 6

Like a movie director giving commentary on their masterpiece, Hebrews chapter 7 details how God orchestrated and laid the groundwork for Jesus. It was not a flippant, last-minute choice. It was part of the plan since the beginning.

In this chapter, Hebrews shows us how unique Jesus is. Not only did He live a perfect life, He is also a priest in the order of Melchizedek. Chapter 7 gives us a picture of just how extensive God’s plans were for bringing Jesus into the world.

Read chapter 7 of Hebrews. Then answer the following questions:

  1. As you read these verses, list some of the ways Jesus is set apart and unique to the traditional priests of the Law and sacrificial system.
  2. Considering the lengths God went to bring salvation to us through Jesus (He laid the groundwork over the course of thousands of years), what does that say about the plans God has for you?
  3. Can you trust Jesus as the leader (Priest, King, and Messiah) in your life? Why?

Serious Hope Study: Week 7

In these two chapters, we see the far-reaching distinctions between the Old Covenant (the one with the Law, given to Moses) and the New Covenant, (the one Jesus instituted). We see how Jesus’ sacrifice is an everlasting sacrifice; one that never needs to be repeated.

Old versus New is an age-old debate. But in this case, it’s clear that Jesus’ new covenant is superior in every way!

Read chapters 8 and 9 of Hebrews and answer the following questions:

  1. While you may have accepted the New Covenant (You’ve been forgiven by Jesus and follow Him with your life), you may still be holding onto the way you used to live. What’s something from your old way of doing things that you still need to let go of?
  2. What’s something in the New Covenant that you haven’t fully embraced yet? How would embracing that part of the New Covenant change your life?

Serious Hope: Week 8

What are you living for? That’s the question that chapters 10 and 11 ask over and over again. Do you have a hope and a faith worth living for like the examples given in chapter 11 do? If so, how is that shaping and changing your life in the here and now? It’s so easy to get caught up in your immediate circumstances. Chapter 10 and 11 point to a faith and hope that satisfy infinitely more than anything your present circumstances can offer.

 

Read chapters 10 and 11, then consider the following questions:

  1. In chapter 10, verses 23-25 it gives instructions on how we can live with this faith now, what are the instructions?
  2. In chapter 11 we see examples of people’s faith and how they were rewarded for it in the present. We also see that some with faith were not rewarded now, but instead looked ahead to something greater. For you, why is enduring suffering now because of your faith worth it?
  3. What are you living for?