Central Christian Church Message Podcast

A Better Hope | Something Better | Pastor Eric Ehmann

April 23, 2023 Central Christian Church of Arizona
Central Christian Church Message Podcast
A Better Hope | Something Better | Pastor Eric Ehmann
Show Notes Transcript

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Uh, well, welcome Central Family. Good to see you this morning. Uh, that's a lot of shade from your senior leader right there. Uh, you know, I, uh, Coronado, they have a Coronado High School people. They have, they really take that stuff seriously. I had the opportunity and honor actually, just, uh, a month or so ago to do a funeral for somebody who graduated from, uh, Coronado High School. And her family all went there. She was raised in Scottsdale. And when I said that it's just an honor to be here as somebody from Saguaro, uh, they booed. Uh, so they take that stuff seriously. I've never been booed at a funeral before, and so, uh, that's going on my LinkedIn profile. That's, that's gonna be something I'm gonna hold onto for some time. Uh oh, there you go. That's what I need. One's, one Saguaro fan in room. Uh, so, uh, we've been in a series about something better, something better. And, uh, people are, may ask you, they may ask me, they say, why do you follow Jesus? Why do you teach about Jesus? Uh, why is the gospel so, Well, to me it's that Jesus provides something better for mankind. And I believe God is always drawing humanity closer to him for something better. This series about is about the better that Jesus provides. So we're gonna be in the book Hebrews, and if you have your Bibles, you can turn to Hebrews chapter seven. Uh, we're gonna get there in a little bit. Uh, this is, uh, a story about. Uh, I love the epistles. I love the writer of the Hebrews and the way they talk about what they're engaging the church in. Cuz really what they're doing is they're telling us how to live out our Christian faith. Uh, all these writers do this and, and one of the, specifically the writer of Hebrews is calling something out of us. I like what Seth Godin is. He's a marketer and author and he says, people like us do things like this when he talks about tribes and the importance of. And in the church, this is what the writers are saying. People like us do things like this. We believe things like this. We live out things like this. We love things like this. So I believe that there is a huge difference. In your life when you have confidence. Now, everybody, I believe, has struggled with confidence. At some point when you were little, you definitely struggled with confidence. You think back to the first time you drove a car by yourself. You know, you may brag about how confident you were to drive, but when you got in that car on the road by yourself, you're like, I am going to die today. You think about the, the first time you went to school or the first time you had your first job, just the lack of confidence you had on that first day thinking, I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know how to get there. Or, or even the first time you played sports with somebody, this even happened biblically. We see Peter, he was walking on the water, seemingly confident. Then he saw waves and he lost all of his. Moses was going to lead God's people to freedom, and he was so lack confidence in his ability to communicate and to speak. He said, I just, I can't do it. Even a guy named Gideon who was considered a great warrior at the end of his life when he was found in the Angels said, I want to do something with you. He was hiding. We all struggle with confidence, and for the first time in our life doing anything, we struggle with confidence, and this is, this is just how that goes. I had a, the first time I ever spoke at a church, uh, I was a student pastor and they asked me to speak in worship service, so I, I struggled with confidence. On the day of, but before, man, I'm telling you, I was a roaring lion. I knew I was gonna bring the heat to that church. They were gonna have revival start from this. I had like 45 minutes of material. I was waiting for God to do something spectacular and amazing and when I preached it at home, I'm like, this, this is how preaching should be done. Then the day of was different. Uh, I, uh, I was shaking so bad when I was up at the pulpit and then, uh, I remember turning the pages and it's, it was so quiet in the room, you could hear the rustling of the pages, like it was a book, you know, shelf falling over in a library. It was terrible. And I, I preached fire and I preached passionately and I took my 45 minutes and I crammed it into 15. I'm pretty sure the church was super excited about that, that day. Uh, that's not gonna happen today by the. But I just had no confidence in what I was doing. But confidence rarely comes right away. It comes through relationship, it comes through practice. It even comes when you watch other people accomplish something, right? Because you see that it's possible. And I believe that writer of Hebrews challenges us to live out confidence, and he calls it hope. And it's one of the greatest gifts I think the church gets to give to the world because it's the great, one of the greatest gifts that God gave the church to be hopeful. And we got to witness the beginning of hope last week at our church with our baptism weekend. Over 150 people got baptized on all of our campuses. This, yes, this is a big thing. This is a changing of culture for somebody. This is a changing of life for somebody they're stepping into. So if you have your Bibles in your, at Hebrews chapter seven, we're gonna look at verse 19. And this is what the writer says, for the law made nothing perfect and better hope is introduced by which we draw near to God. The law made nothing perfect. This is a big statement that he's saying to the Jewish community because the law was. Well, he says, A better hope is introduced. This is not Star Wars. This is not a new hope. This is not some whiny kid on a desert planet. This is a better hope. This is a significant, this has actually been a hope that's been around, that's being brought forward and will be eternal. The word here, hope is used to describe expectation, trust, and confidence. The dictionary says that hope is an expectation of what is. Now, the reason this is impactful to me is I think I've gotten hope wrong my whole life. I couldn't hope, but feel like hope has always been wishful thinking to me. You know, I hope it happens. I hope I get that gift. I hope this relationship works out. I hope I get this job or this promotion. I'm wishing something happened because we like wishing. I like wishing cuz it's easy confidence takes work and effort and it's not as, But we live in a world I think that uses hope against us. They market to us. They say, if you get this new house, this new bike, this new car, this new thing, you get new workout equipment, your life will be full and you will have hope. But the problem is, even if we attain this, we're left filling hopeless because it doesn't satisfied and we're looking for something else to follow. I was looking up the, uh, amount of money that gets spent by AD campaigns in our country. And in 2020 they spent 160 billion on TV advertisement. In 2020, they spent 152 billion on digital marketing through streaming services in your internet and everything else. It's over $300 billion pointed at our country to tell us what to hope in. They are selling it and we are buying. We're buying it without even questioning it. Now, here's what I want you to know, that blending hope of Jesus with wishful, sorry, blending hope of Jesus with wishing, creates an inaccurate depiction of God and his movement on this earth. We make God a kind of Santa clause when we turn him into somebody we wish to. And then if we don't get what we want, we feel like our name is on the naughty list. So we've been bad, so I didn't go to church enough, or I, I didn't act right in a certain way, so therefore I'm bad and God doesn't love. Or if we don't allow the circumstances of our life to shape us and to God to move in those things, we feel like God is bad cuz he doesn't give us what we want because we're a good person and he should just do what we ask whenever we ask it. And yet, we are desperate for hope. We're longing for hope. And as a result, I think we take the easy way out, the immediate way out, the short term way out. And that means we take less. It sounds good. It looks good. Things can even be good, but it's still less than what Jesus is offering us. It rarely draws us closer to God. It only draws us close enough to come back to him right away when we are wishing for something else. But the scripture says in the writer of Hebrews says that Jesus is a better priest. That provides better hope. Now, Cal just talked a couple of weeks ago about the better high priest. And a better high priest came and there are two orders of priests. There is the order of Aaron, which is from the Mosaic law. It is meant he is an incomplete, continually offering sacrifice for himself and for the nation. It's imperfect, it's temporary. It's meant to continually to point to God, but it's meant to be repeated over and over again. These sacrifices until Messiah comes. But what often happens when we get into an environment, A human becomes our hope. They become the focus and they begin to receive the hope, and they stop pointing to God with hope. You know what happens? They gain position, they gain power, and then what often happens is they begin to be exploitive. Or if our just hope is in that person, we become disappointed. We get our heartbroken. We can even become diminished. And what always happens when this takes place in our life, we seek it wrong. We seek the wrong hope. We trust in the wrong source. And somehow, once again, God gets blamed. Look at Hebrews seven 17. This is a quote from Psalm one 10, verse four, which is a prophecy about the Messiah. That's to come. And it says, as Ford is declared, you are the priest forever. In the order of Mel Isek, this is a prophet about, or this is a, a prophecy about the second priest. In the order of Melek, Melek is a form of a foreshadowing of every great story, every great writing has foreshadowing telling of something that will come in the future. Now, he was not eternal this priest, but he represented eternal and unknowable. So if you jump all the way to the first part of the chapter in verses one through three, he describes it here. This melek was king of Salem and priest of God most high. He met Abraham returning from defeat of the kings, and he blessed him and Abraham gave him a 10th of everyth. First, the name Melek means king of righteousness. Then also king of Salem means king of peace without beginning of days or end of life. Resembling the son of God. He remains a priest forever. No beginning, no end. He was eternal and he was complete. He was the foreshadow of who Jesus was gonna be. Now Abraham was the patriarch. He came back from winning a victory. He gave 10% to milk, EK of his plunder. Now, this is before the law was given. That makes the law under Abraham. Abraham submitted to milk. Isek making milk ek more important than Abraham. This is a big deal. This is a big deal in scripture. This is a big deal in the Jewish culture. Abraham and the ironic priesthood is imperfect and complete, and it is temporary. The foreshadow. Of what was to come is the Messiah. He would be higher than the law. Jesus came as a better priest to bring a better hope. But hope is a battle we all battle with self-confidence, don't we? At some point in your life, you have battled with self-confidence. You may start out or, and you gain confidence. You know it rises up, but then you get crushed down by. You get beat down by something where you lose your confidence. You were great at a sport. You changed schools and you weren't great at that sport in that school anymore. You've been driving for 10 years. You get in a car accident, you don't want to get in your car again. It happened for me with dirt bikes over and over again. You get hurt in a relationship. You don't want to get back into a relationship again because you'll get hurt again. You lose your confidence in how to be in a relat. This takes place for all of us. I wanna point you to a story that's in John chapter 11. One of the most interesting stories to me as Jesus was going around the communities and he was teaching in different cities. He was, he was off teaching away from some friends and Jesus had a number of friends and one of his friends name was Lazarus. And Lazarus had two sisters, Maryn, Martha and Lazarus got sick. Martha sent word to Jesus saying, your friend is sick. Can you come? Because they know Jesus heals. So can you come and take care of this? But Jesus. They weren't quite sure why he was delaying, but he delayed. And then eventually Jesus said he was going back. Now there was some heat in the city at the time. There were some people that wanted, uh, to harm Jesus, but Jesus said, I'm going back. He went back and he met Martha. Martha said that Lazarus had died, so I wanted to jump in here at verses 21 through 25. In this chapter it says, this simple exchange, Lord Martha said to Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have. But I know that even now, God will give you whatever you ask. Jesus said to her, your your brother will rise again. Martha answered. I know he will rise again on the resurrection. At the last day, Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even though they die. And whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this? Do you see what Jesus is saying here? He's not saying that resurrection is a far off time in history. He's saying I am resurrection when I am here. Life can begin and be restored and may hold. I am healing. I am hope you can almost hear him telling. You can almost hear Martha wishing just if you were just. If you would just heal my, my pain would go away. If you were just around, I, I wish you would've done what I asked, and you can almost hear Jesus calling out to her. You gotta have hope in me, confidence in me. Now. I know if you're sitting in his room, you have your own battles. You have sorrow. You have broken dreams, you have loss, loss of loved ones, loss of time, loss of resources. You've made bad decisions, and, and you look back on those bad decisions and you think if I could just go back to that time and fix that, my hope would be renewed. My life would be better if that person was just healed. If, if I just had things my way, things would be better. But you see, Jesus is. He redeems even in the loss. But the problem is we can't see what he sees, and that's where our battle is. It's where faith and where hope collide. And what often happens is we step into a lesser hope. Look at verse 18. It says, the former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless. That is some hard language. That's saying the law was weak and useless. I think we spend so much time putting hope in wrong places, in weak places. We're bombarded with the marketing, like I said, telling you where to place your hope. Companies say, Hey, continue to have hope. Inness, they called it brand loyalty every year in our nation teams, from football, to soccer, to basketball, to hockey, all draft with the hope. That we will have a better season. How many years of Cardinal Hope has been out there? I am a Cowboy fan. It has long been since we've had hope, not since. The great prophet Emmett Smith led our people to the Promise Land in the nineties. Did we have any hope? We get glimmers of it, but once the playoffs come, it's over. Just as ridiculous as that, every two to four years in our country, we will put our hope in an elected. Thinking that they will restore things and make it new. When are we gonna learn that lesson that Jesus is our king? Come on. Come on. He is our hope. Yes. Where we get locked in the tyranny of the past. There are churches all over our country that sit empty and they talk about the good old days when God used to do things for them or with them or move in their city. They've lost their. They've lost their confidence, and yet we continue to listen to the wrong voices, and we believe those voices because they sound so convincing. Lesser hope can sound like it's for you even when it's not. A couple of months ago, probably four or five months ago, I was having just one of those days when you get home from work where you're just like, you've thought about like your bed for like a couple of hours and you just want to go to sleep and, and everything kept getting me up. I, I got into bed and then I saw the lights were out in the backyard. So I, I get back, I get back into bed and, and then I, I'm just, just in that groggy about to days off. And then I hear something and I hear Eric kill, hell, it sounded like a bullhorn. I'm like, man, is something weird happening in my neighborhood? I don't need this. I'm sleepy. And, and then I hear what I think is, Eric, come out of the house. And my first thought is the staff in Queen Creek is playing a practical joke on me, and it is plausible for this to happen if you know them at all. And so I, I get about, I'm like, I'm gonna kill Pastor Gill Nele tonight. This is when that's gonna happen. So I get up and I get outta bed and, and I get into my family room and I, two things become evidently clear when I get my family room. I hear Eric come out of the house. We're not leaving until you come out of the house. And I also realize I'm not wearing any pants. And so, but, but I, I start moving toward the door, even though my mind says, go put some pants on. I might, but I just keep moving toward the door and then I start to have a lot of empathy for people who've been caught on cops, and they're always in a t-shirt and, and underwear and it's just like, they're just groggy. They're just groggy. And, and, and so I keep moving into the living room and once I get into the living room, I see lights, red and blue lights flashing, and I hear Eric come out of the house. We're not leaving until you come out of the. That makes me nervous. And then what really makes me nervous is a statement is made that you don't want to hear cuz it makes you nervous. It says, we're not going to hurt you. All of a sudden I thought, why do they wanna hurt me in the first place? I haven't been in my car recently and I may drive fast, but I didn't think it's fast enough to get squad cars at my house. And so I, I, I go to peek out the window cuz I don't want to expose my face. And, and the whole time I was thinking, doesn't anybody just ring a doorbell? Doesn't anybody just ring a doorbell? So I, I see these lights and I look out and there are four squad cars parked out in front of my house. Lights going, Eric, come out of the house. We're not leaving until you come out of the. Then I noticed more clearly there were officers behind each one of the cars with their shotguns out pointed at the house across the street. I met my neighbor earlier and his name is Eric. This is what Lesser Hope does. It says your name. It sounds like it's for you, but it's not. See, God is for you constantly, for you drawing you to you, and we will get sucked into this thing cuz I heard my name. It sounded like it was. It creates doubt and it doesn't create confidence and we keep chasing it, but it's always incomplete, whether it's a job or money or help in the moment. Or even like Martha saying, if you just healed him, then life would be good. But Jesus is not saying, it's not healing Lazarus that makes life good. I make life good. I am your hope. I am your future. The problem of a lesser hope is we're still trying to redo the sacrifice of Aaron. We just keep going. Because we put our hope in good behavior or church services. Jesus tells a story as he, you know, often would he, he called disciples to them and, and sometimes some people approached him to be a disciple. And there's a story in Luke chapter 18 about the rich young ruler. He actually approached Jesus said, Hey, I'd like to follow you, but I just really wanna, I want to know something from you. How do I get to heaven? And he says, well obey the, Jesus knows what he's saying. He knows the law was imperfect, but he says, obey the law. He says, this, I've done, but Jesus knew where his hope really was. He said, sell everything you have and follow me. And the Bible says that the ruler went away sad because all of his hope was in his position, was in his power, was in his resources, and he left hopeless. Your hope is not in the religious tasks. Your hope is in Jesus. The church often lives as Aaron is still our priest. If your hope is not drawing you too closer to God or deepening your faith, it is not a better hope. That's the question you can ask yourself. But we as the church, were called to live in a better hope. We draw near to God is what the verse 19 says, we draw near to God. There's no need for this imperfect priest that we have to be close to, to be close to God. We draw near to God with a perfect priest. The priesthood of a different order is talked about in verse 16. Look at this, uh, passage. I love this cuz this also brings some real good heat. One who has become a priest not on the basis of regulation as to his ancestry, Aaron, but on the basis of the power of an indestructible. Jesus. Where would you rather place your hope? A better priest brings a better hope. A better hope is core to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can be confident that he still changes lives. He knows what he can do through you. He knows what you're going through. There have been times in all of our lives when we've missed out on the confidence of real hope, of good hope. When have you settled for? When have you known that you've settled for less? You've stepped into, maybe some of you are settling for less right now because it's easy and it's right there and I just need to grab it because it makes me feel better. Maybe it was a rush decision in your past. Maybe it was a selfish action, or maybe as simple, simple as fear. Confident hope requires you to participate in your journey of faith. Let's look at Hebrews chapter 10, verse 22. It'll be up on the screen. Let us draw near to God with sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings having a heart sprinkle to cleanse us from guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold un swerving to the hope we profess for He Who Promise is faithful and let us consider how we may spur one another on Toward Love and Good. We could no longer watch from the sidelines as a church, but we need to step into the life of hope with Jesus Christ. You, you need to be a part of your own story. We can't just come and sit in a worship center. We have to be a part of our own story. And when you take part of what's going on, you actually draw closer to God. That's actually what the passage says. And you might say, well, how do you do it? At the end of that verse, it says it, do love, do good deeds and spur others on to do the. And you will find yourself drawing closer to Jesus. Understanding the depth of the hope. See, I believe we were made for more than seeking something just because it asks less of us. God has a purpose for you and a calling for you, and God does ask more of you, but he also offers something so much richer and deeper and. Even in the strain and the pain of life, and even as we see in scripture in the history of Christianity, people are literally thrown to the lions. They were burned, they were stoned to death, but they left a legacy of faith, a path to follow, and a dignity of life. God is telling a much bigger story than the one you see right now or in this moment. Remember that first message I gave that crushed it in 15 minutes? I remember three weeks afterward, um, I was walking outta church one day and this lady came up to me and she said, uh, remember that little server, that message you gave the other day? I'm like, thanks for calling it Little. That's awesome. Uh, she said, um, uh, it had been a long time since I really felt like God loved me or I had value to him, so, You don't know what's God's doing in your scenario, and that is part of the struggle of hope. But God is moving in and through you and will do it even when you don't see it. There's such a difference. That confidence makes better hope, makes us better followers of Jesus, and when we're better followers of Jesus, we become a better church. Hope moves the church to bring kingdom to the world. We bring life to listless live, small thinking and spiritual dullness. We bring better hope. Better hope compels us to be bold, selfless, and engaged in our faith, seeking unexpected possibilities. We stop trifling with temporary things like social media impact or self-medicating online profiles, or who's in office or church prestige, or keeping up with the Jones. Church with Hope has exponential growth and ability to grow in their confidence. The church with hope will heal the sick, restore the broken, and raise the dead spiritually and physically. Revival will shape our culture. We'll witness life change. We'll see redemption take place and we'll watch families be restored. That's what real hope in a real Jesus in real life takes place. Unfortunately, I see this trend in our age. I feel like people are waiting for the end of time so that God can wipe out humanity. Our hope is that he comes again to save us from this myth, but if we have a hope and a confidence in Jesus that he restores and changes lives. We step into others' lives, love them unconditionally, and lead them to a better hope so they can have it too. That's why we're evangelists. That's why we engage in telling people about Jesus because they need it too. They're hopeless as well. The danger we face, I believe, is not in some big. Dragon coming to fly down and to destroy us. Some big epic thing that's coming our way. My concern for the church is that we surrender to lesser hope and wishful thinking. I love what CS Lewis had to say. He said, we are half-hearted creatures fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. I believe we are far too easily pleased with lesser hope that gives lesser life. That's what's being sold to us and we're buying. So I'm gonna leave you with the big idea. Hope in Jesus is not wishful thinking. It is confidence in a living God has something better for you. Confidence, a living God has something better for you even if you can't see it now. Now some of you in this room might be in your darkest season of all time and you're just looking to reach out to anything to hold onto. Antonio, I've been there. I spent five years there aching, wanting to grasp whatever might come my way because I thought it would just sustain me for just a little bit, just to get me down the road a little bit. We're tempted to settle for lesser hope, but God has more for you. You are not abandoned, you're not adrift, you're not alone. God is for you and church that that is something to hope in. Would you pray? Father in heaven as we take this time as your church today, to sit before you, to humble ourselves before you, Lord, I pray that your church turns its hope to you. Not in anything else. You may use a lot of other things that are good things as tools, as resources, as opportunities, Lord, but our hope is in. You restore, you redeem. You make whole. You give life. You are the source. You are the strength of our church. You are the purpose of the church. We are the bride of Christ. Lord, I pray that your church rises up to live as you've called us to live, that we can be bears of hope for the world that is so desperately in need of it. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.