BiblicalMastery Buddy's bible blog

February 11, 2016

Christianity in Practice

Filed under: Hebrews — admin @ 6:25 PM

Lesson 20

Christianity in Practice

Hebrews 13:1-25

February 14, 2016

 

How-to books are probably some of the biggest sellers in this country. Not only do we have books but whole channels available on TV telling us how to be a master in home repairs. They all make it sound so easy, but when I begin to try to follow the instructions that are given I find that the task is never as easy as the experts make it look. I am one who even has had trouble with putting toys together over the years. Practice is always harder than the rules or instructions than we have available to us.

 

The Bible of course is the good news of salvation and the narrative of the God/man Jesus Christ. It is also the one place where we find the full revelation of the standards God has set for mankind from the very beginning. He has called man to obey Him and then told them and us the way we are to obey. It is obvious that I, as well as every other human being, has failed in the effort to do so. Time and again throughout the Old and New Testament are the stories of men and women who disobeyed God and suffered the consequences of the sins committed. I find it interesting that no sooner had the people received the Ten Commandments than they sinned by building a golden calf and worshipped the idol.   There is one danger for each one of us who call ourselves followers of Christ. Trying to keep God’s standards may cause a person to become legalistic. God has never condoned such an attitude. Everything I do should be built on the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Out of the love I have for Him and those He loves I will strive to carry out His mandate to try to make disciples of those that He brings into my path.

 

The church has been given the full revelation of God in the Bible. It is the news of God working in the lives of Believers for thousands of years. One of the reasons that the church no longer feels threatened by what is in the Book is it does not pay attention to the words found in its pages. We cannot be a factor in a society where the vast majority of people no longer believe God’s word as totally true. The issue becomes how to teach what we do not know. Also, how do we evangelize and disciple when we lack a message to bring to them? Finally, can we act like Christians if we do not know the standards God has set for us? Ignorance is never the excuse because we have God’s word more available to us in more translations now than at any other period in history. What the writer lays out for us in chapter 13 are the practical ways that the world can identify a person as a follower of Christ.

 

Hebrews 13:1-3

The writer begins by calling the recipients of the letter to first of all to continue in the love they had for the fellow believers. By turning their backs on the church they would indicate their lack of love for other believers. Those who showed love for others would:

  • Show hospitality to strangers. The writer must have been thinking of the visitation by the angels and the Lord to Abraham. Other examples would have been the appearance of the Lord to Manoah and his wife, the parents of Samson or the visit to Gideon. In a time when public facilities were less than desirable places to stay Christian hospitality was very important.
  • Remember those who had been imprisoned because of their faith.
  • Remember also those who were mistreated for the same reasons.

 

  1. Why did the writer base the treatment of others on the need for the

recipients of the letter to continue to love others? (Treatment of others is always based on love.)

  1. What examples do we have from Scripture of those who were hospitable?
  2. What were the results of their acts?
  3. In what ways can you show your love for those who are suffering?

 

Hebrews 13:4

Those in the church needed to be warned of the same situation that exists today. There was to be fidelity in the marriage. If the family breaks down so do churches and nations. Sadly, the divorce rate is almost the same between those who are church members and those who are not. The writer called on the people to be faithful. God would judge the offenders.

  1. Why is it so important for families to stay together? (They are the

backbone of society and the church.)

  1. What is happening in society today?
  2. What happens to those who violate God’s law on marriage?
  3. How can those of us who are married work to make sure that we remain faithful to our spouse?

 

Hebrews 13:5-6

Greed destroys the character of a person. The love of money is an idol that is worshipped by so many. The people were being encouraged to trust God for the things that they needed. They needed to learn that they could fully depend on Him. Jesus had said not to worry about material things. Paul had spoken about contentment with what one has. To be content allowed them to focus on God not things of this earth.

 

  1. Why does the love of material things destroy the character of a man?
  2. How can we keep from becoming greedy or covetous?
  3. What does God truly desire from man? (Trust in Him to provide our   needs.)
  4. What other references are there where this idea is expressed in the Bible? (Jesus, Paul and Timothy all spoke of this.)

 

Hebrews 13:7-8

The people were to remember and respect those who had provided godly leadership. He spoke especially of those who had stayed true to the teaching of God’s word. They were to imitate them because of their conduct and faith. Their model is the One about whom the author said, He “is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

 

  1. In your mind what is the most important task leaders in a church have?
  2. How do we honor and show respect to the leaders of the church?
  3. What is it about them that we should want to imitate?
  4. What would you hope to learn from leaders?
  5. Why do people not respect those in authority today?
  6. Upon whom is the leader to model his life?
  7. What is the nature of that model? (Christ never changes in all that He taught and the way He lived.)

 

Hebrews 13:9

The problem that existed in the life of the church to which the writer wrote was the desire to fall back into their old lifestyle. They were considering going back to the teachings of the old covenant and no longer being faithful to the church of Jesus Christ. He explained to them once again that the eating of animals sacrificed to God and the keeping of all the holy days would not benefit them at all. Grace would be the only way to have their hearts strengthened in righteousness.

 

  1. What was happening in the life of the people to whom the writer was addressing his letter? (They were considering a return to Judaism.)
  2. What does it indicate about us when we drift away from church?
  3. What benefit would they get from doing so?
  4. What is the one thing that will provide the relationship with the Father? (His grace and not the sacrifices and celebrations of the old covenant.)

 

Hebrews 13:10-13

In verses 10-13 there is a stark contrast between the old and new covenant. The cross of Jesus Christ is the altar that excludes those who adamantly adhere to the old sacrificial laws. There is no place for grace in the lives of those who choose to live by the law. The blood for sin offering was poured out on the altar but the presenters were not allowed to eat the sacrifice. It was burned outside the city. Jesus poured out His blood on the cross, placed outside the city walls. All those who are willing to go out to Him and identify with the reproach of the cross will be sanctified. The writer was calling to the men who might fall away to turn their backs on the meaningless sacrifices and go out to Jesus.

  1. What benefit would those who were considering returning to the Jewish faith receive from the offerings made? (They received no satisfaction from the sacrifice.)
  2. What was the difference between the sacrifice of animals and that of Jesus? (Their blood was poured out on an altar and the flesh was burned outside the gate and could not be eaten. Jesus poured out His blood on the cross and all who will turn to Him will gain salvation and continuing sanctification.)
  3. In what ways have you identified with the sacrifice made by Jesus?
  4. What did the writer mean by sanctification? (Salvation and becoming holy in the actions and attitudes of life. In other words becoming more like Jesus.)

 

Hebrews 13:14

Every believer since Abel who has remained faithful has one thing in common. He or she does not look at earth as his permanent home. All who follow Christ are aliens and sojourners who are just passing through on the way to their eternal city. That city has not come to the believer yet but he can be assured it is on the way because God has promised the reality of it.

 

  • Who is in the company of those who are waiting for the eternal city that is to come?
  • What does it take to be in that company?
  • What does it mean to be an alien or sojourner?
  • How do we know that the city we seek is going to come?

 

Hebrews 13:15-16

Because of all Christ had done for mankind the writer called the people to offer up praise that showed they offering themselves as holy sacrifice to God. See Romans 12:1-2 to see what the writer wanted the people to understand. Praise is never to be superficial but from the heart. He called such praise the fruit of the lips that in his mind was giving thanks to Him. One way to please God was to continue to do good and share what one had.

 

  1. How should we respond to what Christ has done for us?
  2. What is praise that is sacrificial?
  3. How is it different from thanksgiving?
  4. What did the writer mean by praise is the fruit of the lips?
  5. How do we please God?
  6. How do you go about doing the things the writer called the people to do?

 

Hebrews 13:17

Leaders were to be obeyed. Those under their authority were to submit to them. The reason that the leaders were to receive that respect was they were watching over the souls of the people in their care. All leaders will be held accountable for the task given to them. Because of the accountability they were to perform their responsibilities with joy. To be negative would be of no help to the body.

 

  1. Why are leaders to be obeyed?
  2. In what ways do we submit to them?
  3. What is the major task for leaders? (To watch over the souls of men.)
  4. What kind of attitude should the leader possess? Why?

 

Hebrews 13:18-19

No matter who a person is prayer is needed. All of those with the writer asked to be remembered before God. He thought that they

  • Had a clear conscience that they had done nothing that would displease God.
  • Wanted to continue to conduct themselves in an honorable way.

He asked all of them to pray that the writer could once again be returned to them.

 

  1. What is the one thing you would want your fellow brothers and sisters to do for you?
  2. What do you want people to see in you?
  3. Why is prayer important for those who have no control of their circumstances?

 

Hebrews 13:20-21

Like many of the books in the New Testament the writer pronounces a benediction. It contained the following:

  • He called God the God of peace
  • God raised Christ who is the head Shepherd of the church from the dead.
  • The new covenant came through the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • The fact that it was Jesus who gave a person the ability to do His will.
  • He was working in each person in such a way that what is done is pleasing in His sight.
  • All of this was done by Jesus Christ, to whom all glory is due forever, amen.

 

  1. In what ways can we model our prayers the way the writer ended his letter?
  2. What is the important message to be received from this benediction?
  3. In what ways can we praise God using this benediction?
  4. How do you believe you have been gifted by Jesus to do His will?

 

Hebrews 13:22-24

Like any speech, sermon, or letter the last thing said may be what leaves a lasting impression in the minds of people. The writer ends with reference to what he has tried to do with the letter. I would think that he would hope the people would refer to what he had said.   He wanted them to give the good news of Timothy’s release from prison. The writer and Timothy would then travel to see them. Until they came all of the leaders and believers were to be greeted. Everyone who was with the writer greeted the church possibly in Ephesus.

 

  1. Why is the last point someone makes so important?
  2. What did the writer want the people to remember? (Only the new covenant   had meaning in their lives.)
  3. Why was it important to the writer that he and Timothy travel together? (Timothy was well known in Ephesus.)
  4. What did you gain most from this study of Hebrews?

 

Hebrews 13:25

The writer wanted to leave with the people God’s unmerited favor.

 

  • As the book of Hebrews has shown the Bible is not just a group of stories but it offers some practical lessons for you to live by.
  • Submit yourselves to the leadership of the church knowing they have been chosen to serve you and to look out for the wellbeing of your soul.
  • Leaders, you are to serve with joy.
  • Pray for those in need and also for encouragement of others.
  • Always desire that God’s unmerited favor be upon all who are part of God’s kingdom.

 

Throughout this book the writer has done everything he could to make sure the weak maintained their faith in the face of difficult circumstances. We in the church are experiencing an onslaught of challenges from every side. We may not at this point be called to endure physical persecution but that does not mean that the world is friendly towards us. From public education to government society is doing every in its power to undermine the family and the church. We are now being called as never before to be faithful to Jesus Christ. The only way to do that is to follow the teachings found in God’s word. For far too long the church has been able to coast along in life and not be bothered. Today it is more important than ever that we become true students of the Bible. Only by discovering the message found in its pages are we going to be able to be victorious in our lives, the family and the church. Let us not wait another day because the longer we delay the more people will succumb to the temptations of this world and drift in an eternity without God.

 

 

 

 

February 3, 2016

Unapproachable?

Filed under: Hebrews — admin @ 8:01 PM

  Lesson 19

Unapproachable?

Hebrews 12:18-29

February 7, 2016

 

I sure would enjoy having the opportunity to sit down and talk with ________________ and to be able to ask them a lot of questions. The truth is, even though I have said this many times, if I had such an opportunity there would be more stammering and stuttering than any questions being asked. There are many people I admire who are living now that fit that category, but there are also those who have passed on from this world with whom I will never get to talk. Biographies can only tell us so much because of the limited number of pages that one can write or a person will read.

 

Even though I did not really get to know my great-grandfather, while he was alive. I think I was somewhat intimidated by him because of the stories my mother had told about him. He was a very strict disciplinarian which was evidently more prevalent in his day than we find in families now. As I have looked back I think about all of the opportunities I missed of learning what it was like after the War Between the States. He was born about the time the war began and died at either 94 or 95 years of age. Just imagine the stories he could have told me if I had just had the sense to spend time with him. Although I was just a young person some things never change. There are some individuals who intimidate me even more than my great-grandfather. I would find them just as unapproachable. Many of us see God in the same light. I recently spoke with someone who is having trouble becoming a Christian because a person in his or her position cannot first forgive him or herself. This would make God seem to be beyond reach for man. Fortunately, none of us have to view God this way. Our study in Hebrews has emphasized the fact that we can enter into the holy of holies in the heavenly tabernacle because of what Jesus has done for us.

 

“Oh that they had a such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it would be well with them and with their sons forever.” (Deuteronomy 5:29) These were the words spoken to Moses by God after He had appeared to the people on Mt. Sinai and gave them the Ten Commandments. They had promised Moses that they would follow all that God had commanded. They like us did not obey what God had said very long. The awe and reverence for the great God of creation did not last long at all and they soon fell back into the same routine of murmuring that constantly got them into trouble with God.

 

The same words that God spoke to them that day could be said of us today. We seemed to have lost that awe and wonder of God and in many cases treat Him like an old shoe rather than the majestic God He is. How do we know this is happening? All we have to do look at the subject of many of the books out today to see how even the church has drifted away. There is one book titled “Practical Atheist.” Another asks why are so many millennials leaving the church many never to return. The problem today is not that God is unapproachable and unavailable to us but that we do not come into His presence with the kind of reverence He demands. Just look in on Bible study classes or the worship service and look at the focus of the people. God demands our attention because what is being shared is for our eternal benefit. When we find texting more important than He then we are nothing coming into His presence with thanksgiving as Psalm 100 tells us. We must come back to the place of truly worshipping Him. I think that we are more intimidated by those things that are temporary, like government, than we are by God. The writer of Hebrews will once again explain what the infinite all powerful God has provided for us.

 

Hebrews 12:18-20

It is interesting that the writer used a negative to emphasize the point he was trying to make. Rather than speaking of the picture in the Old Testament of Mt. Sinai all aflame and shaking, he used it as a metaphor of the God who was approachable. What happened in the Old Testament can be found in Exodus 19 and Deuteronomy 5.   It was such a fearful experience that the people feared for their lives if God spoke to them any longer.

 

  1. Why does looking at a subject from the negative sometimes give greater emphasis to the positive picture the author is trying to paint for us?
  2. Looking at the picture of Mt. Sinai as described in these verses and the Old Testament account, how different is our approach to God today? (God is approachable through His Son.)
  3. Why were the people so fearful?
  4. Why have we lost this sense of reverence today?
  5. What did they not have to fear? (Destruction at the hand of God. God only wanted them to know that the One who they were to follow is beyond complete comprehension in His Sovereignty and power.)
  6. What is the importance today of seeing God in that way? (Knowing that we serve an all-powerful God that we do not need to fear anything on this earth.)

 

Hebrews 12:21

The event to which the writer referred in this verse actually occurred when Moses appeared before God after the golden calf incident. Moses then returned to God on the mountain. He was fearful that God might completely destroy the people because of their sin. Only after Moses intervened for the people did God back off from His plan to destroy Aaron and all of the people who had participated in disobeying the very commandments they had just received from Him at Mount Sinai.

 

  1. What is the greatest consequence of sin? (To have God’s wrath fall on man.)
  2. Why do we sin so shortly after being in God’s word?
  3. What are the two things that should make us fear and tremble? (Our own salvation and that of others.)
  4. Why was it necessary for Moses to make intercession for the people?
  5. In what ways is intercessory prayer still important for us today?

 

Hebrews 12:22-24

Just opposite of the place where the law was given, man came to the place representing grace, Mount Zion. The writer described it as the “City of the living God.” That city is the heavenly Jerusalem. Those found there consist of:

  • Myriads of angels
  • The assembly of the people
  • Church of the firstborn already enrolled in heaven. Those who were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
  • God Himself who is the Judge of all.
  • The sprits of the righteous ones who have already gone before the time of the writing who have been made perfect awaiting those were to follow.
  • Jesus the mediator of the new covenant
  • The shedding of the blood of Christ who bought man’s salvation.

 

  1. How different is Mount Sinai compared to Mount Zion? (The people were not even allowed to touch Mount Sinai showing the fact that God could not be approached because of His holiness.)
  2. What does Mount Zion represent? (The heavenly New Jerusalem.)
  3. Who are to be found there?
  4. What does the writer say that gives us hope because of who is to be found there?

 

Hebrews 12:25-26

The One who spoke from Mount Sinai with a warning was the very same One who was speaking at the time Hebrews was written. If judgment came to those who were warned by Him at Sinai then the same could be expected for those who were now about to turn their backs on God. At the beginning God’s voice caused the Mountain to shake and His power to change things had not diminished at all. He promised that once again at some point everything would be shaken again.

 

  1. Why did God present the original giving of the Law in such a dramatic way? (It was important for the very existence of man.)
  2. What did the giving of Law mean? (The way man had lived previously was being dramatically altered. There would no longer be any excuse of living as they had done up to that point in time.)
  3. In what ways has God shaken your life?
  4. If not, why?

 

Hebrews 12:27-28

The reality of what can be shaken boils down to whatever has been created by God. He can change all that is in the universe by just speaking a word. There are those things that He will never change. They are eternal in nature. Salvation cannot be lost. The New Jerusalem will not be altered. The new covenant, as opposed to the old, will never end. The writer indicates that the kingdom will not be shaken or changed. Followers of Christ now have a permanent place in that kingdom. Because man has received salvation he is to be grateful and offer to God acceptable service with reverence and awe.

 

  1. What are the things that can be shaken by God?
  2. What cannot be changed?
  3. How should a person who has received what can never be ended respond to the promises presented in these verses?
  4. What is the ultimate example of what cannot be shaken? (The heavenly Jerusalem.)

 

Hebrews 12:29

All who are opposed to God will meet His final and complete judgment. If one thinks about it fire is probably the most complete destruction of matter. God desires His people to serve and love Him. To do otherwise will bring about the final judgment. The recipients of the letter were in danger of facing the condemnation of God because of their apostasy. Apostasy is an indicator that one has never truly given his heart to Christ. The judgment is not God’s plan or desire for man but comes as a result of the choices man makes for himself.

 

  1. What does the thought of consuming fire mean in your mind?
  2. What will bring about the complete judgment of God?
  3. What does apostasy mean?
  4. Why would this be a reason for God to bring judgment on that person? (It is a good possibility that one who falls away from the church was never a true believer in the first place because a true follower of Christ cannot lose his salvation.)

 

  • You are to remember that God is not unapproachable but must be feared and reverenced when you come into His presence.
  • Know for a fact that the one thing that cannot be lost is one’s salvation to fall away from the church may be and indication that one was never saved in the first place.
  • Christ is the guarantor of the new covenant for you.
  • You are and will be in fantastic company in the kingdom of God. It is available to you right now.
  • Know for a fact that God’s kingdom is where He reigns. Does He reign in your heart?

 

God has given to each of us a warning and hope for the future. He has made Himself approachable to all who desire to have a relationship with Him through His Son. This has been the point that the writer has been trying to make to the recipients of the letter and to us as well. This life and our future holds nothing but promises guaranteed by Him. We, however, should never make the relationship any less than it is meant to be. Sadly our attitude and behavior show a lack of acknowledging Him as greater than ourselves. The God who is available is still the creator and sustainer of the universe. He should be viewed with the reverence He deserves. He has allowed us into His presence by the saving work of His Son. Our entry into His kingdom has come a great price.

 

Let us come into His presence to honor and glorify Him with our worship and service. Psalm 100 mentioned above speaks to much of what we have learned from Hebrews. It says, “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 27, 2016

Discipline of a Loving Father

Filed under: Hebrews — admin @ 7:06 PM

Lesson 18

Discipline of a Loving Father

Hebrews 12:1-17

January 31, 2016

 

We live in a culture so much different from the one in which I grew up. Today there is no accountability for the behavior of those in society. We have even heard a new term recently. It is “Affluenza.” This is a condition brought on by having so much of the material things of this world that a person no longer knows the difference from right or wrong. The moral chaos in which we find ourselves comes from the lack of discipline in the family structure. There was a recent article by J.T. O’Donnell titled “3 Reasons Millennials Are Getting Fired.” She states that,

  1. Employers don’t want to be parents. Millennials expect to be continually coached in the areas of their deficiencies.
  2. The anti-work attitude isn’t appreciated (or tolerated). Millennials want to work only the minimum number of hours expected of them and want all kinds of flexibility in the hours they work so they can pursue other interests. They are also disrespectful of those who do not give in to their demands.
  3. They also have the expectation of the workplace being one of fun. They are asking for all kinds of perks such as gym memberships, onsite healthy meals, house parties among others they can get. Even with all of these it is difficult to keep them happy. This attitude is upsetting their employers because it brings with it a sense of entitlement.

 

We no longer live in the Age of Aquarius but one of entitlement. All one has to do is listen to the politicians of today who want to provide everything from education to healthcare with no cost to those receiving those services. Where is the idea that one needs to work for what he or she gets? We have become a world of takers and not makers. All of this has occurred because the parents have not held the children accountable for their actions. Everyone and everything is blamed if a child fails, except the fact that the failure often comes because there was no discipline given out. When I was growing up accountability came at the end of an arm holding a paddle.

 

This kind of attitude has spilled over into the church. Once upon a time a congregation disciplined those who sinned in such a way as to bring disgrace on the body. Matthew 18:15-18 provides the guidelines for dealing with a sinner. Membership in a church is no longer regarded as something important in one’s life. There are four aspects that should be considered if one is to be considered a member of a church. They are

  • Regular and consistent attendance
  • Participation in a small group
  • Serving according to your gifts
  • Supporting the body financially.

With over two thirds of our members inactive I would say that we are not taking membership seriously. We shall see that God disciplines those He loves. Why are we to do less?

 

Hebrews 12:1

The beginning of this verse has two possible interpretations. One way of looking at it is the way that has been put forth for years. The great cloud of witnesses are considered to be those who are now in heaven who are watching over all the activities of man and encouraging them as they live out their lives on earth. The second would indicate that the witness is based on the lives of the men about whom chapter 11 was written. They have set the example by which all men are to live. As they conquered sin every follower of Christ is also to lay aside any thing that keeps him trapped or entangled in sin. Man is to take the path that God has laid out before him.

 

  1. What are the two possibilities that this verse holds out for us? (Both the example of those who have gone on before us, and the encouragement we have received from them.)
  2. Why do we need encouragement from God’s word?
  3. What are the things that keep you from living the life that God intended?
  4. What does it mean by running the race with endurance?

 

Hebrews 12:2-3

Man’s focus is to be on Jesus Christ who completed all that is required for man’s faith. The writer provides a description of what Jesus experienced for mankind. In John 13 Jesus told his disciples that He was going to return to His Father. Before that He was to face unspeakable physical agony. Greater than that was the humiliation that was His because of man’s sin. The writer shared that Jesus despised the reason that put Him on the cross. Now He has His reward and is seated at the right hand of His Farther. Christ suffered that man would not grow weary or lose heart.

 

  1. Why is our entire life to be focused on Jesus? (He is the author and finisher of our faith.)
  2. What did He have to endure to finish the task?
  3. What does it mean to say that Jesus despised the shame? (He hated the very reason that He had to go to the cross. It was the sin of mankind.)
  4. What was the reward He received for the completion of the task?
  5. What does it mean for us that He completed the task?
  6. How should we feel because of the great cost to Christ?

 

Hebrews 12:4-6

Those who were considering falling away were admonished to think about those who had sacrificed so much for them. The writer stated that their level of suffering had not come close to those who had gone before them. Many of their predecessors had resisted sin even to the point of death. Although as learned individuals they should have remembered the instruction of Solomon in Proverbs 3:11-12 concerning discipline they somehow had forgotten what he had written in their time of distress. It was important for them to understand in the face of trials that God loves those He disciplines.

 

  1. How were the people alive in the days of the writer falling short in their faith? (In time of persecution they were turning their backs on Christianity.)
  2. How were the people falling short of what the heroes of faith described in chapter 11 had been willing to endure?
  3. When you think about your own faith to what lengths do you go in resisting sin?
  4. What are we to remember when God disciplines us because of our sin? (God disciplines those He loves.)
  5. In your understanding what does it mean to be disciplined by God?

 

Hebrews 12:7-8

It was clear in the mind of the writer that followers of Christ were expected to endure the loving discipline of God. His discipline was proof that each of them was a son of the Father. If the person lacked discipline then it was obvious that they were not true children of God, but illegitimate. Here again it should have been clear that because they were being disciplined they were children of God.

  1. Why are we not to rebel against God’s discipline? (We should expect it because of our sinful nature.)
  2. What happens to a person where there is no discipline in his life?
  3. Why would God let a person live an undisciplined life?
  4. How can we accept the fact that the discipline we are receiving is not a bad thing?

 

Hebrews 12:9-11

The discipline one receives from his earthly father is a picture of that which God gives. Even though discipline is hardly ever pleasant, the one receiving it respects the one performing it. If one respects the earthly father when he disciplines his son how much more should he respect God who is doing it for his eternal benefit? Man only disciplines his son for a short period of time. Once he has reached maturity he is no longer under his father’s instruction. It is not the same with God. Man never reaches the point of complete holiness so he is forever in need of God’s correction and exhortation. Man will only find joy and righteousness as he submits to God.

 

  1. How is the discipline one receives from an earthly father a picture of what God does for His children?
  2. At what point does a child no longer need the kind of discipline meted out by his earthly father?
  3. Why does God’s discipline continue throughout a person’s lifetime?
  4. What qualities result from accepting the discipline of God?
  5. What does it say about a person if he receives no discipline from either his human father or God?

 

Hebrews 12:12-13

Those who had been disciplined and grown in their faith, according to the writer, had a responsibility to aid those who are still having difficulty resisting sin. They were to:

  • Strengthen the hands of those who were weak
  • Strengthen the knees that were feeble
  • Make straight paths for the people

These were to be done so the limb of the lame, rather than being put out of joint, would be healed.

 

  1. What has prepared you to help those with spiritual needs?
  2. Who are those who need what is described above?
  3. In what ways can those who are strong in their faith help those who are weaker?
  4. How do the things done for others help them in life? (Prepare them to run the race of life as strong individuals.)

 

Hebrews 12:14

The writer gave one last command to those who had come into a relationship with the Father. They were to pursue peace with their fellow man. That peace would have included those who were persecuting them. Not only was man to live at peace with others but he must also work toward holiness. Without holiness no one can truly see God at work in his life.

 

  1. With whom is a man to pursue peace?
  2. What does it mean when the writer commands the people to pursue peace?
  3. What does sanctification mean? (It means that we are to become holy in our walk before the Lord.)
  4. Why is it difficult if not impossible to see God if we do not pursue holiness in our life?

 

Hebrews 12:15-16

Three things were very important to the writer. His desire for the all people was that they:

  • Not to come up short of the grace of God
  • Not become bitter so as to bring division among believers.
  • Not to become a person like Esau who was willing to give up what was rightfully his for one meal. His attitude led to not only losing his inheritance but had the blessing due him taken away. Underlying all of this was his unfitness for a relationship with God. The writer went on to say there was no place for repentance even though he begged his father with tears to bless him. He missed out on the joy that God could have brought into his life.

 

  1. How does one come up short of God’s grace? (By turning his back on God when difficult times come.)
  2. What does bitterness do to the relationship with God and between men?
  3. How did Esau differ from the people mentioned in chapter 11?
  4. What brought about his loss of the birthright and subsequently his blessing? (He was considered unworthy of receiving either one.)

 

  • Do not look at church membership as an entitlement but be willing to be a full participant, which means, attending worship on a regular basis, being part of a small group, serving in some capacity and supporting the ministries of the church financially.
  • Pray that God will give you the strength to resist sin.
  • Understand the cost the Christ paid in order for you to have eternal life.
  • Realize that the discipline from God is not punishment for sin but to point you onto the right path.
  • Stay faithful so you will not fall out of the relationship with the Father that leads to joy and righteous in your life.

 

Although society seems to be turning its back on Christianity in reality believers have never been in a majority in this world. It may be difficult to live a strong Christian life but we know that God is doing everything to provide us with the tools to stay true to Him. One of those tools is discipline. Whenever we get out of line He sometimes uses strong ways to bring us back in line. All we have to do is look at Job and the nation of Israel to see the measures He has used. We have been given a book of instructions called God’s word to see the standards by which we are to live.

I do not believe that any of us sitting in the class to day want to miss out on the joy comes from fellowship with Him.

 

January 13, 2016

Faith That Lasts

Filed under: Hebrews — admin @ 8:55 PM

Lesson 17

Hebrews 11:8-40

Faith That Lasts

January 17, 2016

 

Why did time past so slowly when I was a kid. It seemed that things like summer vacation, Christmas and birthdays would never come. I never understood why what was called the shortest day of the year; the first day of winter, always lasted longer than any of the other 364. Today the days and months and years go by really fast. I have a theory that is not scientific but works for me. When I was young there was always anticipation of things that were to come therefore the time never seemed to arrive. As I have grown older who anticipates birthdays. I just accept them as they come. The same is true of summers or holidays. Just knowing that I have time off does not have the same meaning as knowing that I will have almost three months to do as I wish. Of course I know that out in the future there is going to be eternity. I have the assurance of this unlimited time to spend with Christ and all of the saints who have gone on before me. The wait is worth it. It is faith that keeps that hope ever before me.

 

Churches all too often do not have the patience to work out changes that will lead to growth in the health of the body. Many young church leaders come into a church just bursting with ideas of how to change the church for the better only to find opposition from older members who like the status quo. If any leadership thinks that they have the right ideas to help a church faith will play a major part in whether the leaders can bring those changes to fruition. One author once wrote that it takes approximately seven years for the church to become new in the way it thinks and acts. This does not happen because the normal tenure of a pastor today is only eighteen to twenty-four months. According to statistics the most productive time for a Teaching Elder is between ten to fourteen years. We can see by these two facts why churches are floundering today. There is both a lack of faith of the people in the abilities of the leader and the leader that the church can or is willing to become what God intended for it to be.

 

The people we will study this week had no such reservations. Their trust was in a God who was sovereign and therefore could accomplish all that He promised. It may not be according to their time schedule but to the carrying out His purpose in their lives.

 

Last week we looked at Abel, Enoch and Noah. This Sunday we will begin with the patriarchs.

 

Hebrews 11:8-10

In a way the fate of both the Hebrew nation and mankind in general are dependent on the faith of Abraham. His walk with God began with his willingness to leave his place of birth in Ur of Chaldees, present day Saudi Arabia, and travel with his family to present day Syria. From there God called him to travel into Canaan. Abraham obeyed the commands of God even though he did not know where it would carry him. God promised him that the land in which he lived would be given to him and his descendants forever. Although he was to inherit the land he, Isaac and Jacob were all aliens in that very land. The writer seem to indicate that they knew that their future lay not on what they could possess physically but the spiritual relationship with God that was not of this world.

 

  1. In what ways did Abraham show his faith in God?
  2. Why did God not give the inheritance promised to Abraham immediately? (God had to prepare the nation to be ready and able to conquer the land.)
  3. How did Abraham know that he was not going to receive the land during his lifetime? (See Genesis 15:13-16)
  4. How would you feel if God promised you something but told you it would not be received in your lifetime but it would be given to your family?
  5. What other people were involved in the promise?
  6. In what way can we identify with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? (We are aliens in this world as they were in the land of Canaan.)

 

Hebrews 11:11-12

As Genesis 18 points out it had to be difficult for both Sarah and Abraham to believe that they could have a child when Sarah was well beyond the age in which women can have children. She would be ninety and Abraham would be one hundred when the promised child would be born. To reinforce His promise God even gave them the name by which the child would be called. God promised Abraham that through Isaac, his descendants would be more than could be counted. In Genesis 17:16 Moses wrote that Abraham descendants would include kings.

 

  1. Why would both Abraham’s and Sarah’s faith both be tested at the announcement that Sarah would have a baby boy?
  2. What was one assurance that the promise would come true? (She was given the name by which he would be called.)
  3. What in your life are some of the things that are hard to believe will come true?
  4. How much more difficult would it be for you, the promise like one given to Abraham and Sarah or that God has given you the means to obtain eternal life?
  5. How are we included in the promise made to Abraham? (Through his seed, Jesus we are all descendants of the promise.)

 

Hebrews 11:13

Each of the people mentioned by the writer died. Although their faith remained strong to the end they never saw the promise of a homeland or the blessings that would come to the whole earth through them fulfilled. Somehow they knew that the final promise could not be fulfilled here on earth for them. The writer said they were really seeking a heavenly country from which they would not return. If they had only been looking for an actual place on earth they could have returned to it at any point. For instance Abraham could have easily returned to Ur. Even when he was seeking a bride for Isaac he commanded his servant not to take Isaac to Haran where his relatives lived. Because of their faith the Bible said, “God is not ashamed to be called their God.” (Hebrews 11:16) As Jesus said in John 14 a place has been prepared for every believer in the Old Testament to the present day.

 

  1. What happened to each of the patriarchs and their families?
  2. What kept them going ahead even though the promise given to them never came to fruition in their life times? (Faith in God)
  3. When was the promise to be completed? (When all time comes to an end and each of us live in a new world in Christ.)
  4. What does it take for God not to be ashamed of us?
  5. What will happen to each of us who remain faithful to the very end of our lives?

 

Hebrews 11:17-19

The writer then returned to one of the turning points in Abraham’s life. He was called on to sacrifice the child of promise, Isaac. Abraham believed that even though he actually carried out the sacrifice that God would return Isaac to him. This event was a fore shadow of what God would do in Christ almost two thousand years later. This totaled commitment of his love for God brought forth a declaration of praise for Abraham. (See Genesis 22:1-10 for background material.)

 

  1. How did Abraham prove his total love for God?
  2. By your life how does He know that you love Him completely?
  3. What kind of faith did it also take for Isaac to allow himself to be sacrificed? (His trust in his father’s words.)
  4. What is the reward for a life sold out to God?

 

Hebrews 11:20-21

Both Isaac and Jacob passed on the faith in God’s promises as each of them blessed their children in turn. Joseph, the son of Jacob believed that what his father had said to them was true. When he was dying he commanded his brothers to take his bones back to Canaan when they returned from their time in Egypt.

 

  1. How do we know that Isaac and Jacob believed the promises of God?
  2. What are we to do to pass on to others what God has promised us? (Witness to the gospel.)
  3. How long would the Israelites have to wait to fulfill the request of Joseph? (Over 300 years, the rest of the time in Egypt plus the 40 years in the desert.)
  4. Why are we so impatient when we make a request to God?
  5. Why does God sometimes make us wait before answering our prayers?

 

Hebrews 11:23-28

The writer emphasized both the faith of his parents and that of Moses himself. He wrote by faith:

  • His parents hid him sensing that it was what God wanted them to do.
  • Moses identified with his fellow Israelites who were in bondage rather than the Egyptians.
  • He feared God more than the Pharaoh and took his people out of Egypt in masse.
  • He kept the Passover. It was a sign of God’s protection for His people.

 

  1. What did each of the events in Moses’ life indicate about him?
  2. Why were the actions of his parents so important?
  3. Where did he learn the faith that would sustain him later as he faced difficult situations?
  4. What or who has been the source of your faith?

 

Hebrews 11:29

The people of God became the focus of what the writer wanted to impart to his listeners. He wrote of the faith it took to follow Moses through the Red Sea. Part of their motivation was fear of the Egyptians, but it had the positive benefit of moving them forward. Even though Moses led them through the water they had to trust him enough to follow.

 

  1. What part did faith play in passing through the Red Sea? (The options they were to be captured by the Egyptian army or going forward through the Red Sea having faith enough that the man who had brought them out of Egypt would see them through.)
  2. In what way did the writer give the people more credit than they deserved? (Fear was the motivator not faith.)
  3. When has been the case when the consequences of not taking action been greater than stepping out on faith?
  4. What is the driving force in your walk with the Lord fear or faith?
  5. Why were they willing to trust Moses? (They had already seen God work through him?
  6. Who is someone you would follow even though the journey may be difficult or dangerous?

 

Hebrews 11:31

Two separate events that are related took place at Jericho. The people gained confidence after they heard the report of the spies. Unlike the situation 38 years earlier they had the faith to move forward and follow the instructions of Joshua that led to the defeat of the city. One of the citizens of the city believed that her city was doomed and chose to join the side of the Israelites. That woman was Rahab who was in the lineage of Jesus.

 

  1. What was the final piece that gave the Israelites the courage to attack the city of Jericho?
  2. How different was this than the event that had occurred 38 years earlier? (See Numbers 14)
  3. What chances did Rahab take by joining with the Israelites? (If they failed she would probably have been executed.)
  4. When has there been a time in your life when you knew making a choice could result in a problem for you?

 

Hebrews 11:32-37

Important people in the history of Israel were just listed without further discussion. Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets were all men of faith even though some lacked character. He goes on to give a litany of their accomplishments. They:

  • Conquered kingdoms
  • Performed acts of righteousness
  • Obtained promises
  • Shut the mouths of lions
  • Quenched the power of fire
  • Escaped the edge of the sword
  • From weakness were made strong
  • Became mighty in war
  • Put foreign armies to flight

The women of these individuals

  • Received back their dead by resurrection.

Many others experienced

  • Mockings
  • Sourgings
  • Imprisonments and chains
  • Stoning
  • Being sawn in two
  • Temptations
  • Death at the hands of their enemies
  • Being destitute with only sheepskins and goatskins for clothing
  • Affliction
  • Ill-treatment.

 

  1. What might men and women of faith accomplish?
  2. What may be some negative experiences that believers have faced in history?
  3. Which has been more prevalent in your life accomplishments or persecutions?

 

Hebrews 11:38

While some of the Christians were contemplating returning to the Jewish faith the writer shared the tremendous cost it took of those who remain faithful in the most difficult of times for them to have the opportunity to become Christians in the first place. If the world had accomplished its goal of wiping out the Jew then Christ would never have been born. Those who were following into apostasy were not even worthy to be compared to those who had suffered so much.

 

  1. If you were comparing those among the recipients of this letter with those who had gone on before them what would be your reaction?
  2. In what ways can we never be worthy to be named along side those mentioned above?
  3. Why were the men and women of the Old Testament willing to suffer so much?
  4. Where would we be without their commitment?

 

Hebrews 11:39-40

God all the time had a better plan for those who were believers in Christ. Hebrews over and over repeated the theme that the old covenant accomplished nothing when compared to the sacrifice of Christ ushering in the new covenant. His was a better and more perfect sacrifice. The important factor is that what they did would be meaningless unless the church continues to be strong today.

 

  1. What was God’s promise and plan from the beginning of time?
  2. How was the new covenant better than the old?
  3. How does the church fit into what God began in the Old Testament?
  4. What would it mean for the church to fail today? (All of the work and sacrifice of those who have preceded us would be meaningless.)

 

  • Learn to be patient. God moves at His own pace and is not answerable to us.
  • Trust in the leaders of the church to make the right decisions as they represent each church member.
  • Remember faith is the key understanding that God is working out everything for your benefit. (See Romans 8:28-290
  • God is depending you to carry on the work of the church that began long before you were born.
  • Study church history to observe what it took to make the church what it is today.

 

The church can only grow if its members continue in the faith. So many are looking more for a place of entertainment, ease and comfort forgetting the difficult task of those who came before them. If there is to be a church for the next generation we need to commit ourselves to stay the course until God either calls us home or the Rapture takes place. We need to stop trying to take the easy road but going through the narrow gate. Jesus promised that the gates of hell could not stand up to the onslaught of those who remained faithful to the gospel. Let us decide to part of that force who remains faithful until the job is done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 9, 2016

How Much Faith Does It Take?

Filed under: Hebrews — admin @ 1:47 PM

Lesson 16

How Much Faith Does It Take?

Hebrews 10:35-11:7

January 9, 2016

 

One of the smartest things to do is to need nothing to chance. I can vouch for that statement. There have been many times that entered into some kind of contest and begin to visualize what I might do with the prize, whatever it might be. The truth is a person cannot build a life on wishful thinking. I often joke that if mine was the only entry form in a box that it would get stuck to bottom. We have sayings that evidently have come from too much playing games of chance or buying a lottery ticket or even entering a raffle. Two of my favorites are:

  • Don’t count your chickens before they hatch
  • A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

James tells us that we not to even to make predictions about what we think we can accomplish over the next year. There is no guarantee that things will work out as we expect. I have just been reading Hebrews again and found that there are a number of verses that speak of the guarantees that God has given those who remain true to the commitment they have made to Him. They are:

  • Christ was faithful as a Son over His house – Whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. (3:6)
  • We have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end. (3:14)
  • We desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end. (6:11)
  • We who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one, which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us. (6:18-20a)
  • Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (10:23)

 

Seeing what God has to say makes me even more aware of the importance in my life my to take no chances with my eternal state. I am going to live somewhere forever. God has a provided me with a plan and a guarantee that I would be foolish to forfeit.

 

There are people who sit in the pews of churches for years who are committing spiritual suicide. They hear enough of God’s word to keep them coming back but not enough to convict of their sins and cause them to turn their lives over to Christ. One of the reasons that this happens is that we assume that because they have been coming for years that they are okay. There are two ways that this happens. First, there are not enough thirty-five minutes sermons that can provide the complete picture of the message they need to hear. It takes additional time in God’s word in private study and involvement and spending time in the assembling together in some type of small group. Secondly, no one has ever bothered to ask them what they believe or have they given their lives to Christ. Many of them will never know their spiritual state until it is too late. It is our responsibility to know where our fellow churchgoers stand. It is better to offend them than for them to spend and eternity separated from God. Hebrews will continue building on the hope that the writer has already offered.

 

Hebrews 10:35-36

The former Jewish religious leaders had already endured a great deal because of their faith. Now the writer once again encourages them not to lose the confidence that they have had in Christ that will end with the promise of a reward. He is very clear that it will only take place if they endure in doing the will of God.

 

  1. What was the danger to the Pharisees by having gone through so much difficulty? (They may lose confidence in the promises of Christ.)
  2. How from what we have already seen has the writer continued to encourage them? (By constantly pointing to the in results of staying faithful.)
  3. What must they do to receive the reward awaiting them?
  4. How do we show in our own lives how we are committed to Christ for the long haul?
  5. Why do we need continual encouragement?

 

Hebrews 10:37-39

There was a reason that the writer was sharing all of this with hearers of his letter. Christ is coming and could come at any time. Therefore it was important that they understood the definition of those who would be ready at His coming. It was the righteous who continued to trust in the promises that would not shrink back from serving Him. God would never take any pleasure in those who fell from faith. Those like the writer and hopefully his listeners were not party to those shrinking back to their own destruction. He was part of those who kept their faith and therefore preserved their souls.

 

  1. Why did the writer believe his message was so urgent?
  2. How did he want Christ to find them upon His return?
  3. How does that fit what we are to be at His coming?
  4. What makes a person righteous? (Continually letting his relationship with Christ affect his every day activities)
  5. What are the consequences of falling away from the faith?
  6. How do we go about making sure we are not shrinking from the faith but remaining faithful to the end?

 

Hebrews 11:1-3

Once again the writer wrote to reinforce their understanding of faith. It was not the wishful thinking of so many today just hoping something good is going to take place. It is the conviction that what God has promised will with a shadow of a doubt take place. Men and women of the Old Testament had less revealed to them than is available to man today but trusted God explicitly.   Opposite to what man is being told today there was no doubt in their minds that God was the creator of everything and did not need any material with which to work. He created it all out of nothing.

 

  1. How do you use the idea of hope?
  2. How does what the writer differ from the ways you think?
  3. What are the key words that help you understand what he believed?
  4. How are we different from those of the Old Testament time? (We have the full revelation of God’s plan for us in His word. They only had a shadow of all that was going to occur.)
  5. How do what the writer believed and what some scientists try to tell us differ?

 

Hebrews 11:4

There are all kinds of theories of why God accepted the offering from Abel and rejected the one from Cain. Whatever the reason it can be said that it is the prerogative of God to set the standards for what is acceptable to Him. From the story in Genesis it is obvious that the heart of Abel was pure while the heart of Cain was evil. Abel’s attitude about life had to carry over to what he brought to God in worship. His example has lived far beyond his actual time on earth.

 

  1. What were the differences between the offerings brought by the two brothers?
  2. From the story in Genesis and what the writer of Hebrews have shared how would you describe a person who pleases God?
  3. What kind of attitude you have when you approach God in worship?
  4. Why has the story lived on for the thousands of years?

 

Hebrews 11:5

Enoch was a righteous man who spent his 300 of his 365 years serving God. In a time when man did not call on God Enoch was different. God determined because of his tremendous faith he would not experience death. The Bible says, He walk with God and was no more, for God took him. He was translated into heaven without dying.

 

  1. Why do you think singled out Enoch for the special treatment by God? (God saw how his lifestyle contrasted to everyone else.)
  2. Who might be an example for you who lives a lifestyle that makes them pleasing to God?
  3. What does your daily walk look like?
  4. How true do you stay to your faith?

 

Hebrews 11:6

The writer said three things that are very important for every believer to heed. He wrote:

  • A person must have faith to please God.
  • The person who comes to God must truly believe that He is real.
  • Must believe that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him.

 

  1. What the three things that every person must realize in his relationship with God?
  2. Why does it take faith to please God?
  3. What would you say to a person who says that God is dead?
  4. What is the result that comes from truly believing?
  5. Who are the recipients of the rewards that God wants to provide for mankind?

 

Hebrews 11:7

Of the pre patriarchal group of faithful men, the writer spoke of Noah. Noah was the man called by God to be a witness before a wicked world. He was commanded to build a boat in the middle of desert for an event that was not going to occur for a hundred plus year. His faith resulted in salvation for his family, eight total people including himself. During all those years his righteousness was a witness to a decadent world that would be destroyed.

 

  1. What impresses you about Noah?
  2. How would you respond if God commanded you do something that would not get any results for years and years?
  3. What may be the results of your complete devotion to God?
  4. Which is more important living a comfortable life or taking risks for God?

 

  • Before you can expect that God will do anything in your life you must have faith that He is true.
  • God will not do all we might want but will definitely accomplish what He has promised.
  • Understand that to live a righteous life will put you at odds with many people who do not believe.
  • Remember that your life will continue to impact others after you have died.

 

Be steadfast in your faith. Do not fall away from the confession and commitment that you have made at some point in your life. Your life is meant to be for the service of God and others. As the world looks at us it may not like what it sees until trouble strikes them. It will be at that point they will turn to us for counsel because Christ has made a difference in our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 30, 2015

Opportunity Cost

Filed under: Hebrews — admin @ 5:04 PM

Lesson 15

Opportunity Cost

Hebrews 10:19-39

January 3, 2016

 

One of the practices every business uses is what is called, “opportunity cost.” It is the idea that to choose one alternative over another leads to either a gain or loss of revenue etc. when making that choice. It is all about making decisions and weighing the consequences in deciding one way or another. Even to do nothing will lead to gains or losses. Unlike many of you I have made choices in my life without any thought being given to what it might cost me in the future. There have been times when the grass has looked greener on the other side of the fence only to find when I would get there the grass was brown and dry. Any decision made without spending time in God’s word and prayer will lead all too often in disaster. I once took a job that looked good on paper and offered more pay. The five and one half years I spent with that organization were very difficult. The structure of the position was such that a person could not win. I was in charge of a storeroom with an open environment that allowed free access to the material on a twenty-four hour basis. It was impossible to maintain an accurate inventory under those circumstances. In my personal life I have done things that if done differently would led to more productive results. There is one decision that has the greatest gain. No other one even comes close. It is the day that I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I know that I can never lose because I am His. Of course even in that relationship I have to make sure that the process of discipleship on which I have embarked must be according God’s word.

We as the body of Christ cannot escape the principles found in “opportunity cost.” Many churches are plateaued or are dying because they have pretty much decided to continue to be the same church as they been in the past. They exist in a world that is changing so rapidly but yet refuse to realize that they are being passed by. Those who understand that the church cannot live in the twentieth century or before will revitalize themselves to meet the needs of people today. One final thought that is relevant to the situation in the church today is the dwindling attendance. One evidence of this condition can be found in the so-called inactive member’s list. The people on this list have chosen to disassociate themselves from the body of believers for any number of reasons. By leaving the fellowship they are saying that the gospel of Christ and being part of His followers are no longer important to them. The last part of Hebrews 10 speaks very emphatically to all of us that great care must be taken to maintain one’s solid connection to Christ or suffer the consequences of not doing so.

Hebrews 10:19-2

It should have been obvious to all by the point that the sacrifice of Christ had opened the way to direct access to the Father. The truth that the new and better covenant gave the follower of Christ the confidence he needed to enter into the holy of holies. Under the old covenant the high priest had to enter the holy of holies through the veil that was located in front of the Ark of the Covenant. The new covenant also had a veil it was the body of Jesus. In the way the old veil had been torn by God from top to bottom, so also as the body of Jesus had been broken at His crucifixion, man now had direct access inside the veil.

  1. What issue did the writer indicate had been settled? (Christ’s sacrifice had opened the way into the presence of the Father.)
  2. What did that do for the follower of Christ? (Gave him the confidence to enter in the presence of God.)
  3. How was the veil in the temple that was torn from top to bottom a picture of what Christ did with His fleshly body? (See Ephesians 2:14-15

 

Hebrews 10:21-22

With the knowledge that man has a high priest he is able to approach Him with a heart:

  • Heart in full assurance of faith
  • Heart clean from an evil conscience
  • Body washed with pure water.

 

  1. How are we able to approach the Father? (Through the assurance that we have a high priest in Jesus interceding for us.)
  2. What are the characteristics are to possess as we approach the throne of God?
  3. Why does the writer begin with faith?
  4. What does it mean not to have an evil conscience? (Because of forgiveness we do not have guilt hanging over us.)
  5. What would you consider the writer means by pure water?

 

Hebrews 10:23

The writer exhorts his readers to be steady concerning the hope to which they had committed themselves. Each of them could do so because Christ is the One who promised them eternal life.

 

  1. What are some of the verses that you know upon which the writer came to this conclusion? (See John 3:16 and 17:3 for starters.)
  2. What was the exhortation he made before them?
  3. Why was he able to make such a bold request?
  4. How does this help you when you are witnessing to someone? (You are guaranteed by Jesus, Himself, that you can rely on His promises.

 

Hebrews 10:24-25

The two following characteristics are to be present in every church. They both come from a desire to encourage and exhort each other. Followers of Jesus are to stimulate or encourage others in loving one another and performing good deeds.

The way one shows that he or she is serious about the commitment that will result in the above is to be consistent in attendance in the body of Christ. Sadly the writer has to say that some had drifted away. This becomes more important when the church sees the world crumbling all about it and possibly moving ever closer to the day of judgment. Therefore it is imperative that each member be part of encouraging others.

 

  1. What two responsibilities that flow from the love of Christ does each member have towards others in the church?
  2. How do we go about accomplishing those tasks?
  3. What are the evidences when we do not see this happening?
  4. What does it do to you when you see those who attend sporadically or who have stopped attending at all?
  5. What do you think it does to others if you are not part of the fellowship on a consistent basis?

 

Hebrews 10:26-31

For the person who willfully sinned by rejecting the Son of God after having heard the gospel and becoming a part of the body of Christ, the writer had a harsh warning. They could no longer expect forgiveness from sacrifices but only the most terrifying of judgments. He then made a comparison between the severity of breaking the law and turning their backs on Jesus. Breaking of the Mosaic Law resulted in physical death. The writer wanted the people to understand that the punishment would be much harsher for those who considered Jesus as worthless. He used the example of walking all over Him. The blood of Christ meant nothing to such individuals. To do so would result in God’s vengeance toward such people. He then ends with a statement that became a title of a Jonathan Edwards sermon titled “Sinners in the hands of a angry God.” That sermon was one of the sparks that started the Great Awakening in the 18th century. It is still available online.

 

  1. What is the difference in willfully sinning that leads to the judgment of God and those that will be forgiven? (To willfully sin according to the writer is to totally deny Jesus Christ and reject Him completely.)
  2. What happens to those who reject Christ?
  3. How did the judgment under the old covenant compare with that referred to by the writer?
  4. What is the final judgment God will bring against those who reject His son? (They will receive the full fury of His vengeance as repayment for their behavior.)
  5. How do you keep from falling into the hands of a living God as the writer described Him?
  6. What is the writer saying in the last statement? (If God is alive then Christ is real because the Father testified of His Son in numerous places.)
  7. How should this thought help you in your witnessing with others?

 

Hebrews 10:32-34

The writer wanted the people to think about their past experiences before turning back to Judaism. He reminded them of the things they had already endured after becoming followers of Christ. The things that had happened to them were:

  • Great conflict of sufferings
  • Being made public spectacles
  • Being reproached
  • Passing through times of tribulations
  • Sharing with others who were experiencing the same treatment
  • Showing sympathy to prisoners
  • Accepting the seizure of property because they believed they had an eternal inheritance that was greater than any physical possessions here on earth.

 

  1. Have you experienced any of these hardships because of your faith?
  2. Why do you think that there is a possibility of facing such trials might even strengthen your faith?
  3. Have you actually given any thought or spent time in prayer asking God to prepare you for hardships you may encounter?
  4. What would you add to this list the things you might be suffering or could suffer for your faith in society today?

 

  • From these verses understand that Jesus has promised those have believed eternal life.
  • Approach worship with faith, a conscience that is clear and a life that has been washed with the pure water of baptism and His word.
  • Realize how important it is to belong to a local body Christ and to be consistent in your participation in attendance.
  • Be an encourager to fellow believers to love other and serve in the body of Christ.
  • Remember, to be inactive displays a distain for the work Christ did on the cross.

 

We need to understand that every decision made by us leaves other options out. The writer was very clear that God has offered us so much including access to Him through His Son. We have to remember however how much free will plays a part in the direction our lives take. We can either heed the words of the Bible that holds such much for us as followers of Christ or we can trivialize them by our actions. Our concern should be that we do not seem to take our commitment to be a part of Christ’s body seriously. All we have to do is look attendance records of most churches to see that many are in decline. In one of his video series Thom Rainer, President of Lifeway made a disturbing assessment of the Southern Baptist Convention. He said that out of the sixteen million Southern Baptists on the roles of the church we would be hard pressed to find more than six million in attendance on any given Sunday. Jesus at one pointed to know that when He returned to earth would He find anyone with a steadfast faith. Our commitment to Christ is very important not only for eternal security for ourselves but to help others grow in their faith. We must not drift away from the body but recommit ourselves in a greater way.

 

 

 

 

 

December 19, 2015

Worth Repeating

Filed under: Hebrews — admin @ 11:42 AM

Lesson 14

Hebrews 10:1-18

Worth Repeating

December 20, 2015

 

The book is better than the movie or so the saying goes. It may be a case that it is just different. A number of years ago I read a book called “The Bridge.” It was a novel about an owner of a bookstore and a young couple. I will not take time to tell the story. The point is that a movie was made about the events in the lives of those individuals. As I began to watch I felt that the movie was not the same as the book and therefore was disappointed that the story line had been changed so much. To satisfy my perspective I read the book once again. To my dismay I was wrong. The movie had stayed true to what was found on the pages of the book. I had just forgotten what had occurred having not taken the time to read the book before watching the movie. All this goes to say that it is important to continue to have what has meaning to each of us over and over again lest we forget the content. You might say that I made to big a deal of making sure entertainment was accurate. It is totally another thing to try to understand the message that God has for me that will change the way I look at life and follow His teachings.

 

Great care must be taken in the Church to follow the words of Christ in the way we practice Christianity. We can get so caught up in putting practices into place that may make us comfortable or allow us to rewrite what Church means. We can get to the point that what we do does not resemble the teachings of Christ in any way. Our worship may become self-centered, evangelism may be neglected and discipleship may become all about taking the easy road. By now one may begin to say that the writer of Hebrews must be stuck in a rut with his discussions with so much repetition. The reason that we have the teaching of the writer and the other sixty-five books is our tendency to forget what is in its pages. The church has become weak because we do not spend the time required to grow as disciples. The message is worth repeating so let’s hear it again.

 

Hebrews 10:1-4

Since the Law could never do what Christ did for mankind. In comparison they were like a shadow that represented the real but without the substance to be found in the genuine sacrifice of Christ. Therefore, all the repetition of the sacrifices year after year could never take away or perfect anyone.  If they had been able to do what Christ did then they would have ceased after the initial offering. The problem they were a constant reminder that man was sinful and therefore never truly free from the guilt of his sin. It is very clear to the writer that animals cannot remove sin.

 

  1. How did the writer compare the Law and Jesus? (The law was just a weak representative of what Christ was sent to accomplish.)
  2. What was the problem with the continual sacrifices? (They never took away sin.)
  3. What did the writer mean by saying that the sinner still had the consciousness of sin? (Every time he brought a sacrifice he was reminded of his sinful nature all over again.)
  4. What the result of the work of Christ? (The perfection of man.)
  5. What was his final point? (Animals do not take away sin.)

 

Hebrews 10:5-7

To further drive home his point the writer quoted Psalm 40:6-8. In it he found the way that God viewed the sacrifices made according to the Law. The Psalmist indicated under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that:

  • The sacrifice of animals had lost its meaning because it was only done out of obligation not a change of heart.
  • The true sacrifice was to come in the form of a man.
  • God took no pleasure in meaningless sacrifices
  • One who would truly carry out God’s will for man have been prophesized about from the beginning of time.

 

  1. What was God’s view of the sacrifices made under the Law?
  2. Besides being ineffective what other shortcomings were inherent in them? (They did nothing to change the hearts of man.)
  3. In what form was the true sacrifice to come? (In the body of a man.)
  4. Why was it important for this to take place? (Only a representative of man could be a sacrifice of man.)
  5. How did the writer know that was God’s plan? (It had been prophesied from the very beginning.)

 

Hebrews 10:8-10

Taking parts of the above Psalm he makes a contrast between what the law did and the life of Christ.

  • God’s desire for man did not rest in the sacrifices of animals that could not take away sin.
  • The things sacrificed according to the law did not bring any pleasure to God.
  • What pleased God was the fact that Christ came to do His will.
  • By doing so Christ did away with the first and put into place the second covenant.
  • The new covenant established by the sacrifice of Jesus brought about the sanctified of man.

 

  1. What has always been the desire of God for mankind?
  2. Why did the sacrifices of animals mean nothing to God?
  3. In what way did Christ please God? (He came to do His will.)
  4. What did Christ accomplish for man?

 

Hebrews 10:11-14

While the work of the priests was an endless meaningless task of offering the same sacrifices every single day what Christ accomplished had a real eternal purpose to it. Once He had sat down at the right hand of God until He would defeat all of God’s enemies at the end of time. By His work He had done a complete work in the hearts of every person who had been saved.

 

  1. What could the priest never accomplish with the sacrifices according to the Law?
  2. What did Christ do for mankind?
  3. Where is Jesus at this point?
  4. What is Christ doing now?
  5. What will be the final actions taken to bring about the final resolution of the enemies?

 

Hebrews 10:15-16

Once again the writer returns to Jeremiah 31:31-34 that began this discussion. He interjects that it was the Holy Spirit who carries on the work of Christ with the emphasis on what the new covenant would accomplish. He did reverse the wording by stating the law would be put upon the heart of man and put on his mind.

 

  1. What is the source of the old and new covenant?
  2. How did we get that word?
  3. Who is responsible for our understanding of that word?
  4. How can we keep from having the word put into our minds and written our hearts?

 

Hebrews 10:17-18

Under the new covenant God will forget about the lawless deeds. Total forgiveness came into being by the once for all sacrifice of Jesus. With His sacrifice the need for further ones have been eliminated.

 

  1. How does God now view the lawless deeds of mankind? (Through the lens of Christ’s work on the cross.)
  2. What does it mean to have total forgiveness?
  3. What stopped with the work of Christ on the cross?

 

  • Notice in this lesson and throughout Scripture how often the writers look back and reference passages found earlier.
  • Take seriously the fact that in order for the God’s word to make a great impact on your life, it has to be read and studied.
  • Be assured that the work done by Christ provides for forgiveness each of you need for eternal life.
  • Take as your responsibility to know and tell the entire story of Christ because it is “worth repeating.”
  • Salvation for each of you comes only through Christ and cannot be won by anything you can do.

 

This lesson is especially appropriate for this time of year. Christ came into a world locked in despair because of the law and oppression of earthly powers. What He brought was hope that the old covenant could not give. It is a story worth repeating because the new life that came that Christmas provides new life to each of us. Where the priests of the old covenant were obligated to carry out the law Jesus brought the new covenant to be put into our minds and written on our change. His grace brought about the transformation unavailable to those found in the Old Testament. Let’s give thanks for life meant to be a substitute for our sin.

 

 

 

December 10, 2015

A Better Tabernacle

Filed under: Hebrews — admin @ 5:04 PM

Lesson 13

A Better Tabernacle

Hebrews 9:1-28

December 13, 2015

 

Humanly speaking we can never reach a state of perfection no matter how hard we try. I used to like to color, and still do. In one of my coloring books there was a picture of a horse. Being very careful I stayed in the lines. To my dismay I had colored a part of the picture the same color as the horse that was meant to be another object. Of course the crayon I had used was black. When I discovered my mistake I did everything I could to cover up that black. Nothing worked. I even tried scraping the wax off he paper, which also did not remove it. The picture that started off with great promise turned out in my young mind to be a disaster. My life like everyone else is like that picture. Each of us is born with a sin nature that before very long is manifested in our actions. Christ, thankfully, is able to take that spot called sin that we cannot erase and make it white as snow by His sacrifice on the cross.

 

There are more self help books being published today telling about successful churches and their programs. There is nothing wrong with books. The problem, even with the caveats given, comes when we try to implement what has worked for them as our road to success. First of all no church is perfect as Willow Creek discovered after building the church on the idea of being seeker friendly. They discovered later that they were getting people into the church but they were not maturing in Christ. We forget that every church is involved in the culture that is different than in other locales. There are always better ways to grow toward what Christ means for a church to be. Our problem is that we look to man made methods rather than the path that God wants us to take. There is only one perfect way for an individual and the church in which they are involved. The Jews never learned the lesson any better than many of us.

 

Hebrews 9:1-7

The reader of the letter would have been very familiar with the layout of the tabernacle. Therefore, it was not so much to refresh their memories as to get to the point that the tabernacle represented the old covenant. It was a temporary structure to one day be replaced by the true tabernacle found in heaven. He pointed out there was a ritual associated with it that was performed by the priest each day including keeping the lamps lit, burning incense and changing out the showbread once a week. Then one time a year on the day of atonement the priest was allowed into the most sacred part called the holy of holies to burn incense and sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat to remove the his sins and those of the people. Each part of the tabernacle came to represent something related to Christ. It was not the point of the writer to go into detail of what called the types of Christ but to use it as a contrast to Christ and the true tabernacle in heaven.

 

  1. Why did the writer omit the meaning behind the furnishings of the tabernacle? (It was not his purpose to do so because he was only using the tabernacle as a shadow of the real.)
  2. What were the rituals performed by the priests?
  3. Why did God command the building of the tabernacle? (It was for the Israelites to know that God was present with them as they travelled in the wilderness for the forty years and to be a place of worship)
  4. What does it mean to say that the structure was temporary?
  5. What was the most important article in the tabernacle?
  6. What was the most important ritual that took place in the tabernacle? Why?

 

Hebrews 9:8-10

The point of all of the description was to show that the entrance into the true holy of holies was not possible as long as the representation of the old covenant, the tabernacle, existed. The gifts and offering made in the outdated structure did not accomplish making the presenter free from the guilt that he still possessed. They only provided for external cleansing and did nothing to change one’s heart. Nothing would change until Christ’s coming to bring about true repentance.

 

  1. What was the point of the writer? (Nothing would change for man as long as the old covenant remained intact represented by the tabernacle.)
  2. What did the offers, sacrifices, washings and regulations of the old covenant accomplish?
  3. What would it take to bring about a change?
  4. In what ways do you hold on to the practices of the old covenant in your own life?
  5. What has been the result of your efforts?

 

Hebrews 9:11

The coming of Christ was a contrast to the old. He was the future not the past. He entered into a permanent perfect tabernacle created by God, not one built out of material of this world that would eventually become worn out.

 

  1. What point did the writer want to get across? (Christ replaced the old with the new covenant.)
  2. What did He do to accomplish it? (He made the old tabernacle obsolete when He entered into the greater and perfect one in heaven.)
  3. What does this mean for us? (We do not have to depend on that which is passing away, but is eternal.)
  4. If what we see is temporary why do we hold on to it so desperately?

 

Hebrews 9:12-14

The writer presented some contrasts between the old system and the new covenant. The old one of:

  • Blood offerings of goats and calves that had been sacrificed for sins
  • Ashes from the unblemished red heifer mixed with water sprinkled on those who had become defiled to provide cleansing of the flesh to restore them to the fellowship of the nation of Israel.

 

Jesus on the other hand:

  • Entered into the perfect tabernacle through the shedding of His own blood
  • Rather than a temporary fix obtained eternal redemption.
  • Was a sacrifice truly unblemished who was able to totally cleanse a person of all guilt found in dead works to serve God.

 

  1. What contrasts are there between the old covenant and the work of Christ?
  2. What were the old practices unable to accomplish? (A permanent solution to the problems of man.)
  3. What did Christ accomplish for you and me?
  4. What is the key word in verse 14 that guarantees Christ’s fitness as a sacrifice for us? (Unblemished)

 

Hebrews 9:15-18

Death occurred to put in force the benefits of both the old and new covenant. The difference is that Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant having established by His death that took away the sins committed under the old rules. According to the writer a covenant is only valid when the one making it is dead. With His death He completed the conditions of the covenant, which provided for the forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life.

 

  1. What did it take for each covenant to be put into place? (Death.)
  2. How did Jesus fulfill the requirements of the covenant?
  3. What does it mean for you that He has fulfilled all of the requirements?

 

Hebrews 9:19-22

To reinforce his argument He shared what followed the writing down of the Law. Moses took the blood of calves and goats, water, scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled the book of the Law and the people to establish the covenant. (See Exodus 24:8). Then to consecrate the tabernacle and the items to be used in the ministry of the tabernacle he also sprinkled blood on them. Bringing this discussion to a conclusion He then wrote a verse that is so familiar to many. He stated that in his mind that it takes the shedding of blood to be cleansed and bring about forgiveness. Only One person was qualified to accomplish that. It took the blood of Jesus to re-establish the relationship with God lost in the Garden of Eden.

 

  1. In the mind of the writer, what did it take to establish the covenant?
  2. What action did Moses take to reinforce this idea?
  3. What was the conclusion that the writer reached? (See verse 22.)
  4. Who was the only one qualified to shed His blood for mankind?
  5. What did His sacrifice accomplish? (Re-established the relationship lost in the Garden of Eden.)

 

Hebrews 9:23-26

The writer ended this chapter with another series of contrasts.

  • Earthly copies needed to be cleansed with the blood of animals
  • The high priests had to enter the holy of holies year after year to make atonement with the blood of animals for their sins and those of the people.

 

Conversely Jesus

  • Made the greater sacrifice offering His own blood to cleanse all of mankind from His position in the heavenly holy place.
  • Only had to offer Himself one time for the sins of mankind
  • Does not have to repeat the suffering through which He went for us.

 

  1. How does what Jesus did contrast with the work of the priests?
  2. What does it mean that Jesus only died once for all eternity?
  3. Going back to the idea of mediator how does it relate to these verses? (In His exalted state given to Him because of His one time sacrifice He is able to be our perfect representative before the Father.)
  4. What does the idea that Jesus does not have to suffer over and over mean to you? (He accomplished the defeat of sin and death at one time. To have to do it over and over meant He did not get it right the first time.)

 

Hebrews 9:27-28

Jesus set the example for mankind. There is a moment of physical death for every man including Jesus. With His death He judged sin for all times. He never can again face that kind of judgment. After this life is over every person will go on living somewhere. There will come a judgment through which all believers have already passed. Depending on man’s commitment to Christ he will either spend eternity with Him or face the penalty of a life separated from God in hell. Christ died once for the sins of all mankind during His first appearance. He is coming again for the fulfillment of the promised salvation “to those who eagerly await Him.”

 

  1. In what way was Jesus the forerunner of what faces every man?
  2. What does it mean for a believer to hear the words to die once and then be judged? (For followers of Christ there is nothing to fear. When we became believers we died in our sins and were reborn into a new life that does not hold judgment for us.)
  3. What does this verse mean for the lost?
  4. What guarantee is given to us in verse 28? (The process of salvation will be completed)
  5. What other assurance do we have? (Christ is coming again.)

 

 

  • You need to understand that we do not live in a perfect world. Everything around us is only temporary and a mere shadow of the world we will know for eternity.
  • Especially at this time of year be thankful that you have a mediator in heaven interceding for you who understands you better than you know yourself.
  • Take a good look at your life to see if you truly believe in the One who died once that you do not have to be separated from the Father forever.
  • Get rid of those things in your life that hinder you from knowing what is truly real.
  • Trust that God’s word is true and the promises He made in it will come to reality.

 

We only need one book in our library that points to all that God has done for us. We can get so caught in what even the best of authors have to say that we make ill- advised decisions for the church. There are those who promote the health and wealth agenda for churches. We certainly do not want to get caught up in the idea that Christianity did not come in to being without a great cost to God. Salvation came to us only because the perfect Son of God was willing to die for each of us. The works of the Old Testament never got the Jews anywhere because salvation cannot be earned. God promised throughout His word that the serving suffering Messiah was going to come. All of the promises made of the Old Testament concerning Jesus either have fulfilled or will come to fruition in the future. That very idea should give each of us great hope. It began with Christmas and will end with the second coming of Christ when our salvation will be finalized.

 

 

December 3, 2015

Good News Worth Repeating

Filed under: Hebrews — admin @ 8:24 PM

Lesson 12

Hebrews 8:1-13

Good News Worth Repeating

December 6, 2015

 

With the birth of each of my children and grandchildren I could not wait to tell everyone I knew about those special events. I never got tired, even though my listeners might have, of repeating the news over and over again. I also still like to show pictures of them to anyone who asks about them. I discover a long time ago that there is something more important to share than a growing family. It is the message of Jesus Christ found in the pages of God’s word beginning with the book of Genesis. Although I have not done much lately, one way to be prepared to share the good news is to memorize verses, passages or books of the Bible. Only as a person hides God’s word will he be able to pass it on to others. I have been impacted in this study of Hebrews with how the author felt it necessary to repeat the lessons he wanted to instill in others layer upon layer and concept upon concept and truth upon truth until the recipients understood and responded to his words. No one can say that he understands God’s word with the hard work that goes into determining the meaning found in its pages. Scripture is totally true and accurate in the gospel it presents. This book is certainly no exception is definitely a word for a lost world today.

 

Back in the 1940’s C.S. Lewis wrote a book called “The Great Divorce.” In it the residents of hell or purgatory were offered an excursion to the out skirts of Heaven. What they discovered in ghostly or spirit state was that the reality of heaven was far greater than their limited minds could conceive. Everything, including a blade of grass was heavier than they could lift. Sadly, rather than accepting an invitation to explore heaven more deeply they chose to return to the city from which they had come.

 

So many of us today view God’s kingdom with a very limited viewpoint. In our worship and daily walk we are often a poor imitation of what is real. We cannot understand the reality of living a truly spiritual life because our senses have been dulled by all the static the world puts in our way. Many in church today go through the motions of responding to the fullness of what God has to offer. In effect we are no different than the characters in C.S. Lewis’ book. God has some new and exciting to offer each of us when we desire and take part in the process of having our hearts changed. That is the point of all that God has done, the change of our ongoing relationship with Him.

 

Hebrews 8:1-2

The point that the writer was trying to get across to those slipping away was the fact that they had a true high priest. That was all that needed to be said but he went on to describe Him in greater detail.   Their high priest, who was Jesus, was ministering along with His Father in the true sanctuary and perfect tabernacle of His own making in heaven. He wanted it to be clear that the place where man’s high priest lived was not the temporary dwelling found among the people of Israel and built by them. In fact by the time of David the tent of the meeting was no longer used.

 

  1. What was the point the writer was trying to get across to those who were backsliding? (They had a high priest who was permanently located in heaven?
  2. What does it mean that He was seated at the right hand of God? (Position of authority in carrying our the commands of God.)
  3. What does this mean for mankind? (Christ is in a position to intercede for us all the time.)
  4. What is the difference between where Christ reigns and the institutions man builds?
  5. What example do you have from the Bible that proves this fact?

 

Hebrews 8:3

One of the function of the high priest was to offer up the gifts and sacrifices on behalf of himself and the people. In order for Christ to be viewed as a high priest He also was obligated to have something to offer. Of course the offerings of man were according to the Law.

 

  1. What was one of the main functions of the high priest?
  2. What other tasks did the carry out for the people? (Judged the disputes among the people.)
  3. What qualification did Jesus need to have in order to be designated a priest?

 

Hebrews 8:4-5

Once again the writer points out the differences between Jesus and the other high priests. Although, He had something to offer He would not be allowed to be a priest because He was not born of the tribe of Levi and a descendent of Aaron. It is pointed out that what the earthly priests were performed according to the Law in the tabernacle built specifically as God had instructed as a copy of what exists in heaven.

 

  1. What was different between the ministry of the high priests and that of Jesus? (They were under the law.)
  2. What kept Jesus from being an earthly priest?
  3. What commands were given to Moses concerning the tabernacle construction?

 

Hebrews 8:6

Everything that was done in the tabernacle and later in the Temple was according to the Law. Jesus, of course, because of what He accomplished offering Himself provides for man a permanent and greater ministry not limited by finiteness of man.

 

He brought about a new covenant not based on the law but on grace. God through the new covenant has promised salvation and eternal life that cannot be abolished.

 

  1. Why did God command Moses to build the tabernacle? (It represented the presence of God in the midst of the people.)
  2. What was the one thing that could be accomplished in the tabernacle? (Atonement for sin.)
  3. Who was allowed to enter into the earthly tabernacle and how often?
  4. How does this differ from what occurred under the new covenant? (Access into the holy of holies is available to believers at all times?
  5. What is the basis of the new covenant?

 

Hebrews 8:7-10

For all of the formality associated with the old covenant the writer wanted the readers of his letter to understand that by the time of Jeremiah that God’s word indicated that it had major shortcomings. It is obvious that a new covenant would not have been put in place if the first had worked. Jeremiah shared in 31:31-34what would occur when the new covenant was implemented. It would not be according to the law that affected external behavior. When God instituted the new covenant He would:

  • Put His laws into their minds
  • Write them on their hearts
  • Be the God of Israel
  • Make the people to be His.

 

  1. Why did the writer indicate that a new covenant was necessary?
  2. What were the shortcomings of the old covenant? (It did nothing to guarantee a relationship with God.)
  3. What was to occur under the new covenant?
  4. What is the difference that you see between the old and the new? (Old external the new changed the heart of man.)

 

Hebrews 8:11

There would come a day that has not arrived yet when each follower of Christ would be so in tune with the Father that he or she would not have to be taught God’s law any longer,

 

  1. What will God provide to end the need for one neighbor to teach another? (Commit to following the commands of God.)
  2. What does it take to become a mature follower of Christ?
  3. What effort are you making to become a true disciple of Christ?
  4. What is comparable to the law of Israel for a Christian?

 

Hebrews 8:12

Under the new covenant sins would truly be forgiven and forgotten by God because of His great mercy. Under the old the best one could expect was atonement or covering of one’s sins.

  1. What would the new covenant that was offered under the old?
  2. Why would God be willing to forgive and forget? (Because of His mercy.)
  3. Although not mentioned here what is the responsibility of man to have his sins forgiven?
  4. In what way have you put yourself in a position to receive forgiveness?

 

Hebrews 8:13

With the words of God spoken to Jeremiah concerning the new covenant the old became obsolete. That which is obsolete will soon completely disappear as it is replaced with the new.

 

  1. What are some of the things in your life that you consider obsolete?
  2. What do you want to find in your life that will replace those things that are becoming obsolete?
  3. What does this indicate that is taking place in your life?
  4. Why is important that God made the old covenant obsolete?

 

  • Understand that the covenant of works is dead and salvation cannot be found by trying to keep it alive. Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ who is the ministry of he new and perfect covenant.
  • Study and meditate on God’s words so they will be written on your heart as if with indelible ink.
  • Fill your mind with God’s word every day leaving no room for the influences of the world.
  • Understand that forgiveness of sins only come through God’s mercy.

 

It is more important today than maybe any time in history that we make the Bible the true source of living. The world is trying in everyway it can to make the gospel obsolete. Hebrews says that which has no value is the very thing that is becoming obsolete. All around us we see the evidences of people who are rejecting the good news of the new covenant established through Jesus Christ. I do not know about you but I want to be part of a people who are so in tune with the Father that His message is very clear to me. We cannot live what we do not know. Every effort needs to be made to fill our minds with the good and righteous and filter out the bad and unrighteous. We talk a lot about unity but the only way that is going to happen is for all us to be united in Jesus Christ. Paul put into proper perspective what having God’s word written on our hearts should look like. He said, “Being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” Only with that spirit can we impact the world with the good news.

 

 

 

 

November 24, 2015

Out with the Old and in with the Beneficial

Filed under: Hebrews — admin @ 8:49 PM

Lesson 11

Hebrews 7:11-28

Out with the Old and In with the Beneficial

November 29, 2015

 

If I have heard it once in all of my years the same chorus has been sung in all kinds of environments. It is, “change is inevitable.” No matter even if we know this is true, I like everyone else fights change especially when it affects me directly. Someone brought to mind just the other day another saying that indicates that, change will not be accepted until the pain of remaining the same exceeds the pain that comes with the change. Of course there are changes that come with the passage of time. Until we begin to reach a certain age we do not realize the consequences of some our behavior of earlier years. I know that some of the aches and pains that I am experiencing now come from the wear and tear on my body when I was younger. There are many others that we could discuss but you know what they are for you personally. I would like to think that there are areas of my life where I am better today than yesterday. Our relationship with the Father is one where I need to keep growing or my spirit will atrophy. Another one that affects everyone is the importance of being a life long learner. I am a proponent of using one’s mind to keep it strong like every other muscle. This will only come as I see the need to be open to new ideas being forth all the time.

 

Probably, because it is made up by people with all kinds of ideas of how it should function the church is the last place that wants to change. When those who are in positions of leadership speak about looking at the church in a different way they are not thinking about ways to alter the teachings of God’s Word. The foundation of Scripture must remain firmly in place or the church is no longer the bride of God, but just another organization. Because there are multiple generations attending church at any given time we learn to adapt to new ways of thinking that will reach every different age group. There is a danger however that we find ourselves chasing after every new fad or method that some mega church has made work for them. Again some of those are not based on putting God’s Word at the forefront of what we do but getting crowds in the door. God is not into being a crowd pleaser but life changer.

 

Our lesson today addresses the real need for change. When something is a hindrance to people becoming a true disciple of Christ God will institute a new way of reaching people. For instance we can longer use the methods of evangelizing that once worked but the business of the church is still about reaching people for Christ. Let us not use the old ways of being a church as an excuse to discontinue witnessing to the lost. If God closes a door He certainly can open a window of opportunity for us.

 

Hebrews 7:11

Now the issue of the inadequacy of the priesthood among the Levites is brought to the light. They were incapable of making a person complete through the sacrifices and offering brought to them. Something needed to change to accomplish what they could not do. There needed to be someone who was not part of the system to affect the change in a person’s life that was needed. In the old system of the Aaronic priesthood, Melchizedek would never have been a priest at all. Like Jesus he was an outsider who held his priesthood forever.

 

  1. Why were the practices of the Levitical priests inadequate to affect change in a person’s life?
  2. If the laws of Moses were inadequate what needed to take place?
  3. Why was Melchizedek an example of what needed to occur? (His priesthood was not based on the law or genealogy, but eternal in nature.)
  4. Why in your own life are works incapable of getting you closer to God?
  5. To whom do we turn to bring about the forgiveness of sins?
  6. What changes have you had to make in order to have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ?
  7. Why does our old life before rebirth not work for us?

 

Hebrews 7:12

When it came to the point that the sacrificial system set up in the Old Testament proved insufficient to accomplish the purpose for which it was established then there needed to something to replace it. This meant the kind of priesthood that carried out the law would also need to be changed. Melchizedek was a picture of the new order of things. He was not part of the family of Levi who presided at the altar.

 

In fact, as has been mentioned before his family heritage was completely unknown even to Moses who wrote Genesis. He was a complete outsider and never would have been a priest in the nation of Israel.

 

  1. What was the point that the author was trying to make here? (Major changes needed to occur)
  2. What was the major change that was to take place? (A priest like Melchizedek would supersede the priests from the tribe of Levi.)
  3. How was Melchizedek different than those operating according to Levitical law?

 

Hebrews 7:13-17

According to the Old Testament, Jesus would have never been considered a candidate for the priesthood. From all that has been presented in Scripture it is a fact well verified that Jesus was a descendant of Jesse who was of the family of Judah. The writer emphasizes that Jesus qualified for the priesthood not because of family ties but because God in His word had declared Him to be a priest like Melchizedek with an oath. Both Jesus and Melchizedek have one thing in common. Because they are eternal their priesthood is indestructible.

 

  1. What would have disqualified Jesus from being a priest?
  2. What actually was the qualifying characteristic of Jesus?
  3. What does it mean that someone is a type of Christ in the Old Testament? (One has some characteristic or quality that would later turn up in Christ.)
  4. What did Jesus and Melchizedek have in common?
  5. Why do we believe what the writer of Hebrews had to say about these two men? (God’s word is infallible. We do not have to understand everything written in its pages but because we believe the source of its words we accept it as true.)

 

Hebrews 7:18-22

Hebrews is all about contrasts. The author continued that theme here in these verses. He began with old law being put aside because it was as he wrote weak and useless. It could in no way bring about the perfect relationship with God. The Father had a better plan that gave eternal hope to man. It was brought about by an oath spoken by Him. He said, “ The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, “You are a priest forever.” (Psalm 110:4) Of the priests according to the law who held the position as descendants of Aaron, He made no such oath pronouncement. In Christ God established a new covenant for man who became the priest because of God’s oath.

 

  1. How was what God did through Jesus different than what could be accomplished through Aaron’s descendants?
  2. What was the reason God set aside the Old Covenant?
  3. What was the hope Jesus brought to man?
  4. What is the guarantee we have that Jesus is a priest forever? (God declared it.)

 

Hebrews 7:23-25

The writer continued with his contrast of Jesus and the Aaronic priests. He stated that the reason there were so many priests because they were mortal men. Each of them died and had to be replaced by the next generation. Jesus on the other hand lives forever therefore He never needs someone to take His place. He has His position permanently.

 

Because of His status He is able to provide eternal life to those who believe in the Father through Him. He now carries out the functions of the priests as he makes intercession for all men.

 

  1. Why did the writer emphasize the fact that there were more priests under the old covenant than the new?
  2. What does the new covenant mean for each of us?
  3. What is Christ’s role today?
  4. Why is it so important for us?

 

Hebrews 7:26-27

In order to restore man to God as a new creation, he needed a savior and priest like Jesus. The qualities of the perfect priest were:

  • Holiness as used here is the word hosios. It means goodness that is so great that it is pure in the presence of God.
  • It is the man who has never brought any harm to any man. It would be the picture of the Servant of God written about in Isaiah 42:1-5.
  • He was undefiled in any way that would keep Him from the presence of His Father
  • In his human form He was different from other men because He never sinned.
  • Being exalted or lifted up to the highest of heavens where He is eternally with His Father.

 

Because He possessed all of the qualities that made Him complete He did not have to offer sacrifices continually first for Himself and then for the sins of all people. He no longer had to carry out that ritual because He offered Himself once and for all times as a perfect sacrifice on behalf of mankind.

 

  1. What are the qualities that made Jesus perfect and complete in the eyes of God and of man?
  2. What did have those qualities mean for Him and all of us?
  3. What one act did Jesus do that no other priest could accomplish?
  4. What does it mean for us?

 

Hebrews 7:28

One last contrast is shared here. Under the law the men who were appointed priest were sinners therefore to weak to provide and answer for the lost condition of any man. On the other hand the priest according to the oath is the Son of God who is perfect forever.

 

  1. What is the characteristic that the writer points out about the priests under the Law?
  2. How did that weakness play out in their lives? (Their sacrifices had no affect on their relationship with God.)
  3. How was Jesus different? (He was the priest according to the oath of God.)
  4. What does that mean to us? (He is our perfect bridge builder forever.)

 

  • Understand that the change that God brought about with the birth of Christ was and is for your benefit.
  • Know in your heart that unless you accept the change that can take place in your heart Christ died in vain.
  • Know that rebirth is only the beginning of the new life of being a disciple.
  • Understand that God’s Word can be trusted even when you do not completely know what each book means.

 

Having studied this chapter should make each of us so thankful for what God has done for those who are truly part of His church. Just think about the fact that for several thousand years people had to wait for the salvation they never could obtain by obeying the laws and sacrificing animals. The laws of sacrifice found in Leviticus were only a prelude to the one perfect offering of His Son that God was going to provide for all nations. We should never take for granted all that He has accomplished for us. We now live in a culture that is turning its back on our Savior because they have lost touch with the reality of their sins. It is the task of the Church to present the old story in ways that will touch the very heart of those who have rejected Him but being fooled by the what the world has to offer as a poor substitute. The Bible tells us that, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul.” (Matthew 10:39) To do so we have to realize that although God’s word never changes that we must accept new ways of reaching a world that is so different than it was twenty or thirty years ago. A recent statistic says that seventy-three percent of those born since 1980 do not attend church. Somehow these young people need to hear the word presented to them in a way that they will once again respond to the invitation of Christ to a new life. Christ has no plan B. We are His plan A and must accept that responsibility with gladness of heart.

 

 

 

 

 

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