Oct. 26: Only Jesus Transforms

By Chuck Williams
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Covington

Focal Passage: Hebrews 8:1-13

Nothing lasts forever. When is the last time you shopped at Woolworths, bought gasoline at a Sinclair station, or tried explaining an 8-track player to someone under 30? Contracts, covenants, and sure things come and go. In today’s world is there a place that is permanent or a person who can truly transform? The writer of Hebrews answers yes when he challenges the readers to see Jesus as the Superior High Priest of the New Covenant.

Verse 1 tells us the priesthood of Christ is real and permanent, while the Hebrew economy was temporary by nature. Christ has been exalted to honor and glory in God’s presence at His right hand. The right hand was regarded as a place of great honor. To be at the right hand of God means that He is exalted to the highest honor in the universe. Of course God has no hands as we do, but the language conveys that He is nearest to God in love and affection. [Read more…]

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Oct. 19: Only Jesus Saves

By Chuck Williams
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Covington

Focal Passage: Hebrews 7:23-28

One time a preacher in the middle of his sermon asked the rhetorical question, “Do you know of anyone who has lived a perfect life?” Surprisingly an older man raised his hand. The pastor asked, “Well, who is this perfect person?” The man calmly replied, “Pastor, that would be my wife’s first husband.”

This man’s weary perception was not true reality, but it is an insight into what we need. Who is going to save us since we all fall short of perfection? The writer tells the new Jewish believers …

Only Jesus saves because He is eternal: vv. 23-24. The Levitical priests had a problem … they died. Therefore they had to transfer their priesthood to someone else. Even though Christ died, His death did not stop Him from continuing as a priest. He died voluntarily. He did not place an animal sacrifice on the altar; rather He placed Himself as victim upon the altar. Death had no power over Him, because He has risen to life again. He can truly say, “O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” [Read more…]

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Oct. 12: Don’t Walk Away

By Chuck Williams
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Covington

Focal Passage: Hebrews 6:1-8

A family who moved to a new neighborhood got a late start one morning. As a result, their 6-year-old girl missed her school bus. Though it would make him late, the father agreed to take her to school if she could give him directions. After going in circles for 20 minutes they finally arrived at school, which turned out to be a few miles from where they lived. Patiently the dad asked why they drove all over the neighborhood. She replied, “That’s how the school bus takes me.”

Sometimes your spiritual life is not making much progress because of detours, circle-going, and constant stops. Hebrews 1-5 encourages the readers to move on to maturity and get off dead center. Because of their Jewish background they want to go back to the ceremonial laws rather than move forward toward the cross. [Read more…]

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Oct. 5: Secured With Confidence

By Chuck Williams
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Covington

Focal Passage: Hebrews 4:14-5:6

This passage is one of the great monuments in this letter. In chapters 1 and 2 the writer discusses the superiority of Christ as King of the angels. In chapter 3 He is shown to be superior to Moses. In this the last part of chapter 4 and the beginning of chapter 5, the writer goes to great length to show that Jesus is superior as a Priest to Aaron.

In verses 14-16 we see doctrine and duty. The doctrine part is that sinful man has always looked for someone to be a priest for him before God. Years ago as a college student, I was preaching a weekend revival at a small church. On my way back to the dorm I was caught speeding and a ticket was written. The next night at the service a man who had found out about my fine gave me an envelope to pay this cost. The feeling of relief and joy was one I still remember today. Christ has gone through the heavenlies and in celestial majesty paid the fine for our sins. Aaron went once a year through the blue veil into the tabernacle; but our High Priest has passed through the first heaven into the heaven of heavens and is seated at the right hand of the Father in glory. [Read more…]

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Sept. 28: Watch Out!

By Chuck Williams
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Covington

Focal Passage: Hebrews 3:7-15

It’s the small decisions which can lead to great consequences. Recently as I was traveling on Interstate 40 I noticed a small turtle on the road to my right. It was easy for me to avoid him, but I knew the more progress he made the quicker his end. My thought, “Pretty soon you are gonna regret making that decision to cross the white line.”

The children of Israel couldn’t see the consequences ahead for them when they decided to ignore God’s direction for their lives. There are three results to be seen in this passage: [Read more…]

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Sept. 21: Why One of Us?

Chuck Williams
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Covington

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage: Hebrews 2:14-18

Years ago as a young preacher, my wife and I packed up our possessions and moved to upstate New York to become a church planter. The work was challenging but rewarding. One of the barriers we faced was our speech. Whenever I would open my mouth and begin to speak, my West Tennessee accent would betray me. The statement would then come, “You aren’t from around here, are you?” In other words, “You aren’t one of us.” Gradually they began to accept us, but some with great reluctance.

Why did Jesus become one of us? [Read more…]

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Sept. 14: Pay Attention

By Chuck Williams
Pastor, First Baptist, Covington

Focal Passage: Hebrews 2:1-4

Before the advent of GPS technology farmers learned to plow a straight furrow by picking out an object at the other end of the field. Whether they plowed with a mule or tractor, they kept their eyes focused to the object. If a rabbit popped up or a bird flew close by, the farmer could not afford to turn to look. A washed out gully was observed accordingly with adjustments made, but the eye would quickly go back to the object.

The writer of Hebrews had something of this in mind when he warns about the danger of drifting from the words of Christ. We all have our daily pressures and problems but as long as we can see Jesus in the same picture, we will be safe.

Chapter 1 refers to the superiority of Jesus’ message to the law. Because He is superior in revelations we ought to listen closely and not drift as the Jews did in the Old Testament. The word “drift” was used of snow slipping off a soldier’s back or of a boat allowed to drift from its mooring. [Read more…]

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Sept. 7: Who is Jesus?

By Chuck Williams
Pastor, First Baptist, Covington

Focal Passage: Hebrews 1:1-4

Very few enjoy standing in line for an extended period of time. One particular man had decided he had waited long enough in the line to purchase an airline ticket. Shoving others aside he plunged to the counter and demanded of the ticket agent, “Don’t you know who I am?” Without hesitation the agent calmly grabbed the microphone and spoke these words over the public address system, “Your attention please. This is an emergency announcement. We have a gentleman here who does not know who he is. Would someone come and identify him for us?” [Read more…]

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