Jump Start # 3095
Hebrews 13:9 “Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were thus occupied were not benefited.”
Our verse today contains both a straightforward warning and a wonderful reminder of encouragement. The warning is about false teaching. Here it is stated as, “varied and strange teaching.” What makes it strange is not that it is about flying saucers and things like that. It’s strange because it doesn’t follow with N.T. teaching. It’s different. And, that’s right where some want to be. They want to be unique, different, one of a kind, unusual and that drive often takes a person to strange beliefs and crooked teachings. After all these years, there’s not much that is new anymore. The N.T. has been gone through with careful eyes. Words have been explained. Concepts connecting to the O.T. have been shown. Now, something may be new to us, because we’ve never learned it before, but to say no one has ever seen this is bold, arrogant and most likely not true.
Not only are we to be careful about strange teachings, we are not be carried away by them. Carried where? Away. Away from Jesus. Away from the apostles teaching. Away from truth. That’s where strange things will take you. I’ve known far too many, who were very talented, but got sideways with this or that and before long they were not only believing strange things, they were the force and the voice behind them. Don’t let that happen to you.
But the great words of encouragement here are found in the expression, “it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace.” Strong hearts. Hearts wrapped around and embracing grace. God’s wonderful grace. The grace that offered us a second chance. The grace that invited forgiveness into our lives. The grace that now comes from our lips and fills our hearts. Let your heart be strengthened by grace. That is a good thing.
And, this contrast is important to us. Consider:
First, some spend a lifetime in the land of the negative. Something is always wrong. Something always needs to be fixed, improved and changed. If something is out of place, the eyes of the negative are the first to catch it. Quick to complain, the strange teachings has an appeal to some like this. Never satisfied, hard to please, always looking for the next fad, the heart of the unsettled moves towards things not established by God.
It certainly looks like the early Christians were satisfied and content with God’s way of doing things. They believed if God said it, it would work. Nothing needed to be improved upon except their hearts. The church as God established it was capable of doing everything God wanted it to do. Sufficient is the word. The word of God was sufficient to bring Christ into our lives. The purpose and function of the church was sufficient to carry out all that God intended for it. Those first Christians didn’t need something else. They had God’s word.
Second, a heart strengthened by grace is good. It’s good because God said it was. It is good because of the outcome. It is good because it is built around the love of Jesus Christ. A heart strengthened, what a wonderful thought. A weak heart is trouble. A weak heart can’t do much. But a heart that is strong, can keep going and going.
A long time ago, I got to see the race horse Secretariat up close. He was grazing in a fenced in field in Lexington, Ky. We got right up to him and took some great pictures. Typically, when a winning horse dies, the head, heart and hoofs are buried. But with the champion Secretariat, he was embalmed and buried whole. An autopsy preformed revealed that this winning horse had a heart that was larger than most horses. That allowed the blood to flow and for him to run fast. His heart was strong.
A heart strengthened by grace. Such a heart will be quicker to forgive. Such a heart will be eager to encourage. Such a heart will stop the devil in his tracks. Such a heart will demonstrate Jesus. A heart strengthened by grace.
How does one get such a heart? Don’t rely upon others. Don’t expect the church to do it. Don’t wait for the right sermon to do it. It’s accomplished by your daily connection with the Lord. Daily talk with the Lord. Daily seek His word. Daily make a difference. Daily ask for forgiveness. Daily forgive others. Keep doing those things, over and over and you’ll find a much stronger heart in you.
I wonder if a spiritual autopsy was done on a disciple, if the Lord would find that his heart was larger than most. That wouldn’t surprise me. A heart that is strengthened by grace will grow.