The Church: A Place of Refuge

In our Scripture reading, we read from Hebrews 6.13-20. Let’s focus on 6.18b – we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. What does that tell us about God? Our God is the saving God. He is the God that has made a way for our protection and safety. The words here describe the haste and intensity with which we have taken our hope.  We were in a desperate situation. And we’ve run to the only place that would provide real hope and safety.

I. Joshua 20.1-9 – cities of refuge:

  1. God instructed Joshua to tell people to build six cities of refuge.
  2. Genesis 9.5-6 – After the flood, God made it clear that life is sacred. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.
  3. Deuteronomy 19.4-6 – Set up for instances when life was taken accidentally.
  4. Joshua 20.1-9 – If a manslaughter happened, and you were the perpetrator, you were to flee to the nearest city of refuge. There your case would be decided.

II. How OT History remains relevant today:

  1. God cares about life, personally. Every human life matters.
  2. God values a justice system.

III. Spiritually, Jesus is our refuge.

  1. Hebrews 6.18. We have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. Spiritually, we have fled to God for refuge. From what?
  2. There are many comparisons between the cities of refuge and Jesus. For example:
    1. They were appointed by God.
    2. They were accessible to all (even non-Jews).
    3. Crisis drove people to these cities.
    4. They were well marked and easy to get to.
    5. The gates were never locked.
    6. They were well stocked with food and provisions.
  3. Finally, if a manslayer did not flee to the place of refuge, he had no hope of protection.

IV. Implications for God’s Church

  1. Psalm 143.3-4 – Life can beat us up. See also Psalm 88.3 – my soul is full of troubles and my life draws near to Sheol.
  2. Psalm 143.8a- for what do we yearn? 143.8b-10 – for what do we ask? 143.12 – in who/what do we trust?

V. How God’s church Serves as a Place of Refuge Today:

  1. Accessibility for all. See Joshua 20.9; 1 Timothy 1.13-15.
  2. People will come in crisis. See 1 Thessalonians 5.14. This is how we respond.
  3. Always show the way to Jesus. See 2 Corinthians 13.11 – Aim for restoration.
  4. Always ready to help. See Galatians 6.9-10.  Let us do good to everyone…
  5. Prepare for various contingencies.
  6. Crisis comes to every person.


  1. Kettering is a place that is about building bridges. We help people hope and dream again. We are a friend to the hurting. We demonstrate the love of Christ.
  2. Psalm 46.1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

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