April 17, 2016
First Presbyterian Church – Coeur d’Alene
Message Series: Potluck Worship
Message: Part 3
Scripture Text: Hebrews 4:14-16
1. Did you come to last Sunday’s potluck lunch?
a. So you know a potluck is a beautiful thing,
when you have a big feast and everyone provides some kind of dish to share, and its best in the purest form of no pre-planning so you don’t know what or how much is going to show up.
b. Last week I said there are five essential potluck food groups: deviled eggs, potato casserole, salad with fruit, brownies, and Jello with vegetables in it –
i. But the potato casserole and Jello didn’t show up! That means there will be nothing but those things next time!
ii. But kudos to whoever brought the fried chicken. That’s my essential!
2. Our idea is that when the church gathers to worship it’s a lot like a Potluck Supper. No matter where you go essential things always happen, and it’s always a group thing.
a. A church in the late 60’s AD, struggling to hold on to their faith in a world increasingly hostile to their religious beliefs, needed some encouragement about how helpful gathering together for worship was for facing these challenges because they were starting to check out.
b. Read scripture Hebrews 4:14-16.
c. Followers of Jesus can worship with confidence because it’s a time for finding mercy, grace and help
3. How do you need help today? Did you come today wondering if this would be helpful?
a. The word “help” in this verse means “critical assistant meeting an urgent situation delivering very needed aid.”
b. I pray that is what you discover today.
4. Call to Worship
VIDEO INTRO –
1. To explore the meaning of worship we are turning to the NT Book of Hebrews
a. Its one of the most beautifully written books of the NT. Its use of Greek language is highly technical and difficult to translate.
b. It’s basically an argument for the superiority of Christ. If Christ is superior, then you can trust Him to keep his promises.
c. The writer says a key way Christ is superior because he’s a perfect high priest.
i. In Jewish theology, the Aaronic High Priest was mainly an intercessor; a mediator between God and the people by supervising the sacrifices and making atonement for their sin.
ii. The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus is a High Priest on a higher order, whose sacrifice is only needed once and whose atonement for forgiveness is perfect.
iii. But the writer wants to say that
Jesus, through his humanity, also knows the help we need and connects us with the power of God.
iv. Look at the verses in chapter 4 again, this time using “Message” translation.
2. What help do you most need?
a. You’re in crisis and need help to pull you out of the pit. You’re worried about the future and need help to face it. You’re facing a struggle and need help to know what to do. You’re confused about what’s happening and need help to think it through.
3. The Bible says God helps.
a. Psalm 33:20 and Isaiah 41:10.
b. Great news. But as a Pastor I’ve talked to a lot of people inside and outside the church who, honestly, are pretty frustrated with God’s lack of help in the way they hoped.
4. So how does God help?
a. This Hebrews verse says that the most important help is to be connected to God’s mercy and grace; also sometimes called the “good news.”
i. Our cry for help often comes from desperation that we feel alone, with no answers, powerless, or
even undeserving of help.
ii. God, through the message of Jesus, answers our cry with “I love you, I want to care for you, you can trust me with your life. Believe that and accept my help”
b. Psalm 18:6 says another way God helps is by listening.
i. Sometimes the most powerful help someone can give us is by hearing us out and telling us we’re not stupid, or weak, or wrong to have the need we have.
ii. God hears our prayers and says,
“I love you. I am your Helper and your Strength, don’t be afraid.”
c. But God also acts to bring tangible, real help. In fact, that’s God’s mission- demonstrated vividly by Jesus’ life and work.
i. But God’s goal in helping is to give you want you most need: remove you from a path leading away from him and place you on a path which draws near to him.
1. You may want a fire-putter-outer, or problem-solver, or problem-fixer, who then leaves you alone. That’s not the way God helps.
ii. And God is working to help you but not only you – so you may find yourself
helped to become a helper for someone else who also needs help.
1. Like in Titus 3:14.
d. God helps us through us.
i. I once led a worship where a 2 sided rolling bulletin board was brought in and everyone was given
2 index cards. On one they wrote something they needed. On the other they wrote a way they could help someone else. We put the “needs” on one side of the board and the “helps” on the other. Guess what? When people looked at both sides they found the needs and the helps matched up perfectly.
5. You see, the great thing about gathering for worship is that it brings all these things together – it’s one stop shopping!
a. Every week, the grace and love of Jesus Christ is proclaimed, you’re given a sanctuary for crying out to God and hearing his reply, and brought together with people who are helping and needing help.
b. And best of all, whenever people who follow Christ come together there is also
the presence of the one he called “The Helper” – the Holy Spirit working in and through everything that happens, proclaiming, listening and motivating.
c. Need help? You’ve come to the right place!
7. Plate Exercise – above the center, write something you need help with. Below the center, write something in you God can use to bring help to someone else.