Have you had to hold onto something in order to survive? The image that comes to mind is an action movie wherein the hero is dangling from a helicopter or some other contraption and they have to either hold on until safety or pull themselves up. I haven’t done that – you probably guessed that. I have had to hold onto something for dear life though. My mom and I had taken the boys to the beach. I had each boy in his own float and we were out in about four and a half feet of water. Suddenly someone closer to the shore yelled, “Hey lady! There’s something large in the water swimming toward you!” I’m not the sort to want to wait and find out what it was, so I grabbed both boys and I don’t know that I had ever held them so tight before then or since then. I also don’t think I’d swam that fast ever before, well as best as one can swim while trying to hold two infants. Turns out I wasn’t fast enough. While I clutched both boys and tried to swim quickly I looked down and saw the large creature coming toward me. It was a manatee. In an instant I went from thinking we were about to be shark bait to laughing way too hard when I realized it was only a manatee. Thank God there’s no such thing as a killer manatee!
This week we begin a new sermon series. We will be studying the book of Hebrews together in more of an expository-style way (verse by verse). If you haven’t read Hebrews before I strongly encourage you to follow along with the reading plan that we will have available each week. The series is titled “Hold Fast.” As you read and as we study together you will hear God using the author of Hebrews to remind us to hold fast to what is essential. Hold fast to the message of Christ. In a world that will pull us in every direction except the one we need to go, it is important to know what the essential message is and to cling to it with all we have.
What we know as “Hebrews” is actually a sermon or exhortation that was written for the early church and so we’re preaching a sermon series on a sermon. Why Hebrews? Hebrews has such an important message that doesn’t just speak to the time it was written but to us now. Hebrews helps us understand who God is and what God is doing. Is the God of the Old Testament the same God as the Father of Jesus? What does it mean for Jesus to be Priest and Savior? What do we do with all of the stuff from the Old Testament? AND most importantly – who is Jesus and what does the life of Jesus have to do with our own lives? So as we embark on this journey I pray that you will be equipped to hold on, for dear life, to the essentials of the Good News of Jesus Christ.