Sunday June 26th 2011
The Letter to the Hebrews
1). Heb 2:16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. 3:1 ? Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, 2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. 3 For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.
a). We had seen last week how our Lord had taken upon Himself the form and nature of a human being for the purpose of experientially understanding the struggle and the anguish that is involved in the enduring of temptation - 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted,
b). In fact we had seen that taking the human condition upon Himself is something the Lord was obligated to do as He had embraced the role of laying hold of those struggling to overcome the world, the flesh and devil in order to be their actively compassionate helper; to help them be victorious in this life long battle.
c). Not only does He make ?propitiation for the sins of the people? by cleansing us from all unrighteousness by His own blood in His role as High Priest, but He also provides the grace that we need in time of trouble to enable us to endure the testing we are experiencing - Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
d). We might also remember that the word translated ?tempted? means to be tested to see what good or evil is present in the one being tested, and over time came to mean that which most people would associate with the word today ? a solicitation to do evil and we had seen that the Lord had experienced both meanings of the word tempted during His time on the earth.
e). Now, we live in a fallen world under a curse, ruled over by Satan and his fallen angels, the very embodiment of wickedness, in a body of flesh and blood that has a nature predisposed towards sin. That we are in a constant fight against
sin is then hardly surprising. However, as a result of our eternal salvation we are no longer slaves to sin and have a choice to live for righteousness instead ?
Ro 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
f). We have then the constant tension that exists between obedience to the word of God that leads to righteousness and giving in to our sin nature. And our obedience is the way we express our trust in God, our having faith ? and the faith we have is believing that which God has said concerning His plans and purpose for us and His Son during the 7th Day. It really comes down to setting our hearts and mind on that future Day and then governing our lives accordingly so that we may be found worthy to participate in it or focusing on gratifying the passions of our sin nature in the here and now with no thought to the future.
g). So, how would we know that we believe God, other than what we believe is put to the test? - 1Pe 1:7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
h). Let?s remember that which we had studied further on in 1 Peter ?
1Pe 4:12 ? Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
i). 1 Peter Chapter 4 then ends with this - 1Pe 4:19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
j). Committing our souls to Him in doing good and coming boldly to the throne of grace to find help in time of need are one and the same thing. And in both instances once again we can see that God is faithful to respond to us according to His word as we place our trust in Him.
2). 1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
a). Then here again in 1 Corinthians Chapter 10 we see that God is faithful ? and within our scripture verse He is faithful, He can be trusted, to do two things - Firstly, He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able ? And
secondly, with the temptation He will make the way of escape so that we can endure through it.
b). So let?s be clear here ? God does not allow us to experience any testing that would be so great as to make it impossible for us to remain faithful in the midst of it and this is because along with the testing He provides ?the way of escape? that we can hold up under it. And this of course begs the question, ?what is the way of escape?? ? Well we already have the answer from Hebrews 4:16 ? we can boldly go to the throne of grace to find grace to help in time of need.
c). An example of this in practice we can see in - 2Co 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
d). In v8 we see Paul going boldly to the throne of grace pleading with the Lord to take the ?thorn in the flesh? from Him ? the Lord?s response however, is not to take this thing from Paul, but rather to give him the grace to be able to endure it as it is in our weakness that the power of God on our behalf, the nature of His character is shown to be complete.
e). So let?s pull all of this together for a moment ? Now we know according to 1 Corinthians Chapter 10 that there is no temptation except such as is common to man, therefore Paul?s ?thorn in the flesh? is not peculiar to Paul, but would rather be that which would be common to us all; this was not a test beyond which he was able and the Lord had provided the way of escape. We also know from Hebrews 2:18 that the Lord suffered, being tempted, and was tempted in all points as we are and would therefore understand Paul?s struggle with the ?thorn in the flesh?. As a result of the Lord?s experiencing temptation He is able to aid those who are tempted, as He sympathizes with our weaknesses, by providing His grace in time of need, which is sufficient.
f). This is exactly what we see here with Paul which leads him to write ?
2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure [lit. think well] in infirmities [weaknesses], in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
g). Paul then was able to trust God, to ?think well? in the midst of whatever circumstance he found himself, which is exactly what we find recorded in ?
Php 4:11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
h). So how does Christ strengthen him so that he can be content in all things? By the provision of His grace in time of need.
i). 1Ti 6:6 ? Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
j). So how can we ?do all things?; be content with whatever circumstance we find ourselves in? In exactly the same way - through the provision of Christ?s grace to help in time of need ? in our weakness He is strong on our behalf.
k). With this marvelous provision why is it that we fail so often in our weaknesses? Well if we look to the scriptures it will be for one of three reasons ? either we have believed the lie that the testing we are going through is just too great for us to bear, or we just enjoy that particular sin so much that we willingly give in to it, or we do not go boldly to the throne of grace to find grace to help in time of need. We don?t have the Lord?s strength on our behalf then because we don?t ask for it.
l). Because of our old man we have a propensity to sin that will never change this side of the salvation of our soul, Paul?s ?thorn in the flesh? remained with him throughout his life, and in the garden of Gethsemane our Lord chose to subject His human will to that of His Father, enduring the separation that comes through sin. We can patiently endure for the same reason that Paul could patiently endure, which is the same reason that Christ patiently endured ? because God is faithful.
m). Look at what Hebrews records with regards to Abraham - Heb 6:15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
n). And of course it is no different for us - Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
3). And so with all this in mind Hebrews Chapter 3 begins with ?
Heb 3:1 ? Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, 2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.
a). ?Therefore? ? because of all that has gone before, the ?holy brethren?, those who have been separated out, who are also referred to as ?partakers of the heavenly calling? are to ?consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession?
b). The word translated ?partakers? literally means ?companions? or ?fellows? and so within our context would be those who are the many sons to be brought to glory, those who are about to inherit salvation.
c). The heavenly calling would of course be the call of God to a position of rulership with Christ in the Kingdom of the Heavens during the Millennial Kingdom ?Php 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those
things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
d). And it is of course rulership in the age to come that is the subject of the Book of Hebrews - Heb 2:5 ? For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.
e). And it is or course rulership in the age to come that is the subject of the whole of Chapter 1, which forms the very foundation of the Book, the very thing we are admonished to take particularly seriously ? Heb 2:1 ? Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.
f). Now with respect to the age to come Jesus, as we have already seen, took on the form and nature of His creation, Man, for the purpose of experiencing temptation and the suffering of death, so as to provide the means necessary for us to be successful in the race of faith. And it is Christ Jesus who we are told to ?consider?.
g). Consider = Greek ? ?katanoeo?, kat-an-o-eh'-o = to fix one?s eyes or mind upon, to observe fully.
h). And we are to fix our eyes upon the Lord as the ?Apostle and High Priest of our confession?
i). Confession = Greek ? ?homologia?, hom-ol-og-ee'-ah = to speak the same thing as another.
j). So then Christ is the Apostle of that thing which we speak the same as another and is the High Priest of the same.
k). And so for us to speak the same thing as another would be very easy to understand. We are to speak the same thing that God has spoken concerning His Son and His Son?s companions with respect to the age to come.
l). This would be the same as we saw in - 1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
m). And this is not just a verbal assertion, but rather the embracing of an absolute certainty that would cause us to change the whole course of our lives.
n). Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 ? Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
o). And of course within this context of the age to come we would also need to speak the same thing to one another, thereby being in agreement with one another with respect to the truth of scripture and the rules which govern our race of faith - 1Co 1:10 ? Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
p). Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
4). Now Jesus is referred to as the Apostle of our confession as He is the One sent for a purpose. The word Apostle is the English spelling of the Greek word ?apostolos? which comes from the verb, ?apostello? which means the act of sending someone off on a commission to do something having been provided with the senders credentials.
a). And this of course is exactly what we see of Jesus - Joh 5:36 "But I have a greater witness than John's; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish--the very works that I do--bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.
37 "And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me.
b). And so, to take this back to where we were earlier, we see the reason for the Lord being sent in - Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. 10 ? For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
c). The reason for the Lord being sent, the purpose of His incarnation, was to complete that which was necessary to bring to fulfillment God?s plans and purposes for the ages for and through His Son - Eph 1:9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
d). In other words Christ came with the message concerning Himself and the coming Kingdom that has now become our confession ? the thing that we speak the same as another. In His death and resurrection are the credentials of His ministry and in the presence of the Holy Spirit whom He sent is the guarantee of our inheritance.
e). Now not only did the Lord come as the Apostle of our confession, bringing to us the good news of the age to come, but, according to our scripture, He is also the High Priest of that same confession.
f). And as we have seen over the last weeks it is absolutely essential for us to have a High Priest to minister on our behalf because of our unrelenting sin nature.
g). So not only did the Lord come to the earth with great and precious promises, but He has also, by the sacrifice of Himself and His present ministry, made possible the acquisition of those promises even though we have a corrupt nature and live in a fallen world. And right here we would understand why we would see the Lord as the author and finisher of our faith.
5). Heb 3:2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.
a). And so having established that we are to fix our eyes firmly upon our Lord as He is both the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, He being the One who has shown us the way, who has set the example, who is the forerunner and the first of the many sons to be brought to glory and now makes propitiation for our sins; the Holy Spirit then calls our attention to the fact that Jesus ?was faithful to Him who appointed Him?, just ?as Moses also was faithful in all house?. Moses is the type and Jesus is the antitype.
b). Moses was faithful to God with respect to Israel and the earthly realm of the Kingdom and Jesus is faithful to God with respect to the many sons and the heavenly realm of the Kingdom.
c). And in v2 here we see an important shift in emphasis ? here we are addressing faithfulness to God rather than the faithfulness of God.
d). God?s faithfulness has been established without question through the OT scriptures referenced by our writer ? and so, because God is faithful to do that which He has said He will do we can see the importance of those who would share in the fulfillment of His plans exercising faithfulness towards Him. We are speaking of our old friend faithful obedience.
6). Hebrews Chapter 3 then continues - Heb 3:3 For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.
a). Moses then has been counted worthy of glory as a result of being a faithful servant in God?s house, but Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses as He is responsible for building the house in which Moses was a servant. And of course when we are speaking of a house we are talking of a family; just as we would see in the expression ?the house of Israel? or ?the house of David?.
b). V4 then tells us that every house is built by someone and we can understand this in that the House of Israel was in one sense built by Jacob as those who made up the 12 tribes all emanated from his loins ? but in the broader picture God is responsible for building all things, even the House of Israel - Joh 1:1 ? In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
7). Heb 3:5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, 6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
a). Moses then was indeed ?faithful in all His house as a servant?, and Moses? faithfulness was ?for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterwards?.
b). Now interestingly the word translated ?servant? in v5 is not the word ?dulos? ? a bondservant, that we might come to expect.
c). Servant = Greek ? ?therapon?, ther-ap'-ohn = to take care of
d). This is a word that has to do with taking care of that entrusted to you in the way that a doctor would take care of the sick, and as it is used here would denote the closeness of the relationship between God and Moses, wherein Moses? faithful service was highly valued by God.
e). God Himself validated Moses? faithfulness in - Nu 12:7 Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. 8 I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD.
f). What we see here then is that because of Moses faithfulness God speaks with him ?face to face?. God speaks ?plainly? to him ?and not in dark sayings?.
g). So the point is this ? God testifies to Moses faithfulness which gives testimony to the fact that ?those things which would be spoken afterwards?, those things that Moses would record that God revealed to him were recorded with the utmost accuracy ? Moses wrote it just as God told it.
h). And all of this is important to establish why? Well, what did Moses write? Genesis. And what is contained in Genesis? The foundational picture of everything that has to do with Christ and His coming Kingdom. The very thing that is the subject of our book - Lu 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
i). V6 then draws a comparison between Christ and Moses. Moses was faithful as a servant in God?s house and Christ is faithful as a Son over His own house.
j). Then the rest of v6 makes clear to us who will comprise Christ?s house - whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
k). So then, we are Christ?s house ? IF.
l). We are to ?hold fast? = Greek ? ?katecho?, kat-ekh'-o = hold one?s course toward.
m). This word is used in Acts 27:40 where a storm tossed ship held its course towards to shore ? and this would be a good analogy for our holding fast.
n). And we are to hold fast ?the confidence? of the hope. The word translated ?confidence? is the same word translated ?boldly? in Hebrews 4:16 ?come boldly to the throne of grace?, which we will remember meant ?with all outspokenness? ? without fear and without ambiguity.
o). And we are to hold fast ?the rejoicing of the hope?.
p). Rejoicing = Greek ? ?kauchema?, kow'-khay-mah = a boast (properly, the object; by implication, the act) in a good or a bad sense:--boasting, (whereof) to glory (of), glorying, rejoice(-ing).
q). This is not then a boasting with regards to the position that we may occupy in the Kingdom. But rather a boasting in that which God has done, is doing and is about to do with regards to the Kingdom - Ps 34:2 My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
r). Ga 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
s). And according to our scripture we are to hold fast our confidence and our rejoicing in the hope ?firm to the end? ? we are to be steadfast, we are to be immovable from the first day we enter the race until the day we reach its end ?
Col 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight-- 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
8). And it is right here that the Holy Spirit now brings us to our second warning ?
Heb 3:7 ? Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years.
a). And here if the Lord is willing, is where we will continue next week.