The courage for freedom
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The Courage for Freedom. Hebrews 9. A Strange Thing About Freedom.

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The Courage for Freedom

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The courage for freedom

The Courage for Freedom

Hebrews 9


A strange thing about freedom

A Strange Thing About Freedom

  • Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Colossians 2:16-17 (NASB) If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. Colossians 2:20-23 (NASB)


The courage for freedom

  • Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child.

  • Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist. So now that you know God why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world?

  • You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing. Galatians 4:7-11 (NLT)


The courage for freedom

  • Edward Norbeck: “Great religions have indeed arisen as ethical or philosophical principles for the guidance of man, but once they have become the province of multitudes…they have met a common fate of objectification; that is, of being cast into concrete form so that they may be actively appreciated by the eyes, ears, or other sense organs rather than remaining only abstract ideas and beliefs.” Edward Norbeck, Religion in Primitive Society, (Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, NY. 1961)p. 71

“Objectification in varying degree and form appears in all known religious complexes of primitive peoples and it has been outstanding in the religions of civilized societies.”


The courage for freedom

  • Eliade: “The enclosure, wall, or circle of stones surrounding a sacred place- these are among the most ancient of known forms of man-made sanctuary.” MirceaEliade, Patterns in Comparative Religion. (The World Publishing Co.,Cleveland OH, 1958) p. 370


The courage for freedom

  • “We have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us!”(Acts 6:14)

  • “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against God!” (Acts 6:14)


The courage for freedom

  • " . . . many worshippers . . . seek an 'experience of the holy.'  They come looking for awe and reverence, mystery and transcendence.  Furthermore, many of their sensory faculties need to be engaged: Their senses of sight, sound, touch, and smell are powerful avenues of communication.  One glance at the Old Testament directions for orchestrating temple worship will remove all doubt that this is our task.  Fire, incense, tapestry, and gold joined with ritual activities that reminded the worshiper of the reverent awe demanded of them.  Bells and breastplates provided a visual feast evoking images of God's presence . . . Evangelicals need to reclaim their Old Testament heritage.  We need to unburden ourselves of those reflexes forged during the Reformation . . . that shunned the pageantry and visual media of medieval Catholicism . . .

Gary M. Burge, "Why So Many Are Rediscovering Worship In Other Traditions," Christianity Today, October 6, 1997, Vol. 41, No. 11, p. 20.


A strange thing about freedom1

A Strange Thing About Freedom

  • "The liturgy begins … as a real separation from the world," writes Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann. He continues by saying that in the attempt to "make Christianity understandable to this mythical 'modern' man on the street," we have forgotten this necessary separation.

  • It is precisely the point of the liturgy to take people out of their worlds and usher them into a strange, new world


The courage for freedom

  • This is one reason I thank God for the liturgy. The liturgy does not target any age or cultural subgroup. It does not even target this century. (It does not imagine, as we moderns and postmoderns are tempted to do, that this is the best of all possible ages, the most significant era of history.) Instead, the liturgy draws us into worship that transcends our time and place. Its earliest forms took shape in ancient Israel, and its subsequent development occurred in a variety of cultures and subcultures—Greco-Roman, North African, German, Frankish, Anglo-Saxon, and so on.


The courage for freedom

  • Theologian and pastor Eugene Peterson talked about our desire for relevance in a CT interview a couple of years ago: "I don't think people care a whole lot about what kind of music you have or how you shape the service. They want a place where God is taken seriously, where they're taken seriously."

  • In this regard, the liturgy is more relevant than we can imagine, because it's a place where God is taken seriously, and therefore where we are taken seriously.


The courage for freedom

  • Before he became Pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote, "The grandeur of the liturgy does not rest upon the fact that it offers an interesting entertainment, but in rendering tangible the Totally Other, whom we are not capable of summoning. He comes because He wills."


The courage for freedom

  • In addition, the very rhythm of the service—the liturgy of the Word followed by the liturgy of the Sacrament, the praise that prepares us for the Word, and the confessions and prayers that guide our response to the Word—is a pattern that has not so much been created by the church as discovered. It was a holy pattern that within a couple of centuries began to seem (to take a phrase from the Book of Common Prayer) "very meet, right, and our bounden duty" to practice in just this way.


The courage for freedom

  • But what is interesting is that this liturgical shape became the standard shape of the Western liturgy for the following centuries—which prompts wonder at how this liturgy fit the thousands of cultures the church encountered over the centuries. How in the world has it been relevant in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, the Americas, and Asia? Yet it has been the basic outline in Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and other communions, in many cultures and eras.

  • Why this liturgy? Why this form? Because not only its content but also its shape have ushered people into a transcendent culture, where they meet the Trinitarian God and take their first baby steps in his kingdom.


The courage for freedom

  • The liturgy, from beginning to end, is not about meeting our needs. The liturgy is about God. It's not even about God-as-the-fulfiller-of-our-need-for-spiritual-meaning. It's about God as he is himself: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is not about our blessedness but his. The liturgy immediately signals that our needs are not nearly as relevant as we imagine.


Thesis of hebrews 8 10

Thesis of Hebrews 8-10

  • Liberation is complete because of the finished work of Christ.

    • Last week: OT symbols no longer appropriate.

    • JC: once, for all 7:23,24,27; 9:11,12; 9:25-26; 10:10,12,14;

    • Thus, “Finished Work”: “Perfect forever”


Frightening

Frightening

  • Modern teachers: ‘fornication!’, ‘murder!’

  • Unpredictable Consequences

    • Not just theoretical

    • God isn’t frightened by it

    • Motivates by Love, not Fear/Threat

    • Radical, carte blanche

    • Consider your kids


Frightening1

Frightening

  • Modern teachers: ‘fornication!’, ‘murder!’

  • Unpredictable Consequences

  • The POWER of Manipulation…

    • Throughout HISTORY!

    • cf 1Jn.4:??


Four implications

Four Implications

  • Old Testament Forms are Obsolete

    • Demolishes much of Christian history

    • These forms were only pictures (8:5)

    • There was something wrong with those traditions (8:7)

      • An affront to Judaism, their culture

    • They were always temporary! (8:8-12)

      • Very different: on minds and hearts!

      • Why would God plan this overhaul?


Four implications1

Four Implications

  • Old Testament Forms are Obsolete

    • Demolishes much of Christian history

    • These forms were only pictures (8:5)

    • There was something wrong with those traditions (8:7)

      • An affront to Judaism, their culture

    • They were always temporary! (8:8-12)

    • Today being fulfilled!

    • Makes the first obsolete(8:13) OUCH!!


Four implications2

Four Implications

  • Old Testament Forms are Obsolete

    • Christian church seems unaware of this!

    • Also Col.2:16-17

      • Food / drink /festival / Sabbath (=BIG)

      • No more Sabbath day !?!

      • “A mere shadow” – why needed?

      • IL: a Picture Book (cheap) Vacation


Four implications3

Four Implications

  • Old Testament Forms are Obsolete

    • Christian church seems unaware of this!

    • Also Col.2:16-17

    • Also Gal. 4:9,10

      • “weak” is “observing special days…months..years”


Four implications4

Four Implications

  • Old Testament Forms are Obsolete

    • Christian church seems unaware of this!

    • Also Col.2:16-17

    • Also Gal. 4:9,10

    • Also John 4:20-24

      • “And now IS!”

      • Not a sacred space!

      • Rather: personal relationship of the heart!


Four implications5

Four Implications

  • Old Testament Forms are Obsolete

  • Temples and Holy Places

    • 1 Cor. 3:16 New dwelling of the Holy Spirit

      • Not symbolic!

    • Acts 7:48 No sanctuaries / temples


The church prefers shadows

The church prefers shadows!

  • Altars – the blood.

  • Priests – completely replaced.

    • We’re allpriests, in a way…

    • But Jesus is the High Priest!

    • Protestants no different: clergy, not priests


The church prefers shadows1

The church prefers shadows!

  • Altars – the blood.

  • Priests – completely replaced.

  • Robes – who wears them?

    • Clergy / bishops / etc.

    • Source: the OT ‘ephod’

    • Miter and crown: OT


The church prefers shadows2

The church prefers shadows!

Rom 14 “Weak in faith” … one day above another…

  • Altars – the blood.

  • Priests – completely replaced.

  • Robes – who wears them?

  • Sabbath day

    • “Sabbath-breaking”

    • “Blue Laws” – the legacy of the church.

    • Saturday was “the day” – what changed?


The church prefers shadows3

The church prefers shadows!

  • Altars – the blood.

  • Priests – completely replaced.

  • Robes – who wears them?

  • Sabbath day

  • Sacred calendar

    • Acts: special days? Holy days?

    • Why bother going to church on Easter?


The church prefers shadows4

The church prefers shadows!

  • Altars – the blood.

  • Priests – completely replaced.

  • Robes – who wears them?

  • Sabbath day

  • Sacred calendar

  • Sactuary

    • Latin – sanctus, ‘house of God’

    • Aren’t WE God’s house?


The church prefers shadows5

The church prefers shadows!

  • Altars – the blood.

  • Priests – completely replaced.

  • Robes – who wears them?

  • Sabbath day

  • Sacred calendar

  • Sactuary

  • Worship Service: is Old Testament

“Liturgical order”is now Rom. 12:1Giving to othersRelive others w/ $


The church prefers shadows6

The church prefers shadows!

  • Altars – the blood.

  • Priests – completely replaced.

  • Robes – who wears them?

  • Sabbath day

  • Sacred calendar

  • Sanctuary

  • Worship Service: is Old Testament

  • Infant baptism – what’s it mean?

BIG Problem!


The courage for freedom

  • What’s the harm?

    • “Religiously comfort”

    • Heb. 6:6 Every sacrifice = NAILED AGAIN!

      • I.e., “It’s no good…doesn’t matter”

    • Heb. 10:29

      • Radical Grace –

      • “Let me pay anyway” – an insult


Formalism

Formalism

  • It’s necessary to practice religious forms, or God will be unhappy…

  • “A tendency in religious thought & practice away from the abstract… on the outward forms…”

  • All religions gravitate towards formalism

  • Christianity one of the worse!

  • We want something tangible, to see, engage with our senses…


Formalism1

Formalism

  • It’s necessary to practice religious forms, or God will be unhappy…

  • Dominant in the West

    • “Worship of God involves going to a sanctuary and following a liturgy.”

    • “Where’s the worship service?”

    • “You don’t worship God?”

    • 9:8 Act different in a “holy place” ?

    • Means God is distant from you!


Formalism2

Formalism

  • It’s necessary to practice religious forms, or God will be unhappy…

  • Dominant in the West

  • Is necessarily impersonal

    • “I feel closer to God at that point…”

    • Why does that make you feel closer?

    • The misunderstanding… MOVIE


Questions for ritualists

Questions for Ritualists

  • Why keep repeating the same words?

    • It would ruin a relationship!

  • Why keep repeating the same actions?

    • Jesus: “heard…many words…”

See why they keepthe Bible out ofpeople’s hands?

The historical practice of the church!


Questions for ritualists1

Questions for Ritualists

  • Why keep repeating the same words?

    • It would ruin a relationship!

  • Why keep repeating the same actions?

    • Jesus: “heard…many words…”

  • What value would these things have to God?

  • Has God called on us to do this?

  • Is this kind of relationship personal?


Problems w formalism

Problems w/ Formalism

  • People spend years “serving God” only to admit they never knew him.

  • Formalism makes us think we are doing what God wants.

  • Christian formalism always appeals to the Old Testament


Christian history

Christian History

  • By late 2nd C: most Christians clearly had a magical view of communion

    • Priests could make wine/bread into blood/flesh magically.

  • OT Clergy

Cf. NT: “Have this read”

BIG CHANGE!

Irenius: "We confound all those who in any way, whether for self-pleasing or vain glory or blindness or evil-mindedness, hold unauthorized meetings" (Irenius , “On Tradition and Sucession,” Documents of the Church, [Oxford])

Contrast it with Jesus' statement, “Where ever two or more of you are gathered in my name, there am I with you.”

Death Penalty!

Protestants killed more!


New movements in christianity

New Movements in Christianity

  • “Go back to…liturgy”


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