I’d like to begin by asking you a few questions—perhaps questions you have asked yourself or others have posed to you: 

1. How can Christians claim that Christ is the only way to be saved when the majority of the world practices other faiths?

2. Do you believe that God is going to eternally damn the majority of His own chosen people, the Israelites, for not trusting in Christ?

3. How do you explain all of the interest people have in angels? Is this evidence that our nation is becoming more spiritual?

4. What happens to a Christian who renounces his faith? Does he lose his salvation?

5. If God is real, why doesn't He answer my prayer and alleviate the suffering I’m experiencing?

Where in the world do you find the answers to these diverse questions? You will find the answers to those questions and more in the book of Hebrews. Probably next to the book of the Revelation, the book of Hebrews is the most ignored New Testament book by pastors because of its seeming difficulty to comprehend. But it is one of the most theologically rich and yet practical books in the New Testament as well. I believe that a study of Hebrews is particularly suited for the church right now for three specific reasons:

1. The changing composition of our church

I don't have to tell you that our church is growing. I often hear from long-tenured members in our church that they look around and hardly recognize the congregation. But those new faces represent people from various religious backgrounds possessing varying degrees of spiritual maturity. Some of these people have already joined, but many have questions about our beliefs.
There are still others attending our church who have not yet decided to join, they are not even Christians yet, but they are interested in Christianity. And they have a lot of questions.

But in stark contrast to these new Christians and soon-to-be Christians, you have another group in the church: those who are in the process of falling away from the faith. They have been Christians for a long time, but they have lost their spiritual passion. Church and Christianity don't seem relevant to where they are in life.

There is another group in our church I want to mention: those who are going through tremendous trials in their lives. Those trials may involve financial need, difficulties at work, sickness, a broken relationship, or loneliness. If you are in this situation, you may be wondering where God is when you need Him the most. You want to hold on to your faith, but you are finding it increasingly difficult not to let go.

Finally, there are always a remnant of people in any congregation who are in the process of renewing their commitment to Christ. They are tired of being lukewarm and are ready to get serious about their faith. That is a snapshot of the congregation I stand before every Sunday: new Christians, soon-to-be Christians, disobedient Christians, discouraged Christians, and growing Christians.

How can a preacher ever hope to address the multi-faceted needs of such a divergent congregation? Interestingly, the Book of Hebrews is addressed to all the groups of people I just described and speaks to a variety of needs.

2. The tolerance of our culture

I remember hearing Josh McDowell say more than two decades ago that he believed that the greatest threat to Christianity in the twenty-first century would not be drugs, abortion, or immorality. Instead, he believed that the greatest threat to the church is tolerance. Now, there is nothing wrong with tolerance—if you use the historical definition. Originally tolerance referred to showing respect toward people with whom you disagree. That’s good.

But as we discussed in our Twilight’s Last Gleaming series, the definition of tolerance has been changed to that of relativism—the idea that is being drilled into our children's minds that one idea is as good as another. There is no such thing as absolute truth, and therefore one religion is as good as another.

Furthermore, this pseudo tolerance movement leads people to believe that those who are the greatest threat to society are those who are intolerant of others. Josh predicted that this cry for tolerance will eventually usher in a new round of persecution against Christians. If they insist that Christ is the only way to heaven, that will be considered hate speech and no society can tolerate that. 

Christians, by definition, are intolerant—at least according to the new definition of tolerance. We do NOT believe that all beliefs are equally valid. After all, our founder Jesus Christ said, “I am the truth, the way, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me (John 14:6).” 

We are portrayed by the media as "monsters" because we claim to have "the truth." We are put into the same camp as the Islamic fundamentalists and other extremists.

But the theme of Hebrews is that Christianity is superior to every other religion. Why? Because we have a superior priest, Jesus Christ, who offered a superior sacrifice in order to secure a superior salvation (Hebrews 8:1, 6). And I believe it is especially important for us to understand that truth at this point in history.

3. The maturity of our congregation

One reason people become stunted in their spiritual growth is a lack spiritual meat—that is learning the deeper things of God's Word (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).

I think that is especially true in many evangelical churches today. Look at the sermon topics in some of the most successful churches today, and they are about the same: “How to Be a Good Parent,” “How to Have a Successful Marriage,” “How to Manage Your Money,” “How to Make and Keep Friends.”

That's fine up to a point. We have covered some of those same topics. We do need to apply Scripture to everyday life. But there comes a time when you have said everything that can be said about those topics and you need to move on to the deeper things of the faith. 

That was true of those to whom Hebrews 5:12-6:1 was written: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.”

What I love about the book of Hebrews, beginning in the first verse, is that it lifts us out of the mundane affairs of everyday life into a whole different world. Hebrews reminds us that our existence here on earth is just a shadow of the reality that is yet to come (Hebrews 1:1-3).

God, not man, is the center of the universe. And a proper understanding of who God is and what He requires of you is the real answer to whatever problems you are facing today.