BSF Acts: Week 11, Day 5: Hebrews 6:4–20

Hebrews 6:4–20

Summary:

The author speaks now to the mature believer.  Fruit is expected of the mature believer.  The time we spend as a believer on this earth will be judged.  Our salvation and eternal life are not at risk or in question, those are secured by the sacrifice our eternal high priest made for us.  His offer of bread and wine is everlasting for eternal communion with him.

Questions:

13. a.  to be  enlightened, to taste the heavenly gift, to share in the Holy Spirit, to taste the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, to be brought back to repentance

b. Apostasy: renunciation of faith

c. (Challenge)  2Cor 5:17, Anyone in Christ is a new creation the old is gone;  1 John 2:19 If they were in Christ they could not have gone out from Christ. John 10:28 no one will snatch them from Christ’s hand

14. Mature faith leads to the production of fruit (the salvation and aid of others).  However, it is not the result or even the work to produce the result that is greatest importance, it is the spirit in which the work is done.  That done purely to benefit the kingdom is recognized and rewarded.  That done out of or for treasure is not.  I am encouraged because it is a noble pursuit, I am concerned because of the risk of being self serving and prideful.

15. a. Eternal life in and as a part of His house.  God is the eternal God.

b. My eternal life is not in question or at risk, how I begin my eternal life while still on this earth is put in part in my hands and I will be held accountable for my actions.

Conclusions:

The ends justify the means does not fly in God’s house.  God expects results from His chosen people.  He expects teaching, he expects sharing the word.  How can we who are saved, grasping the condemnation of those who are not, idly stand by.  If someone is about to step onto a tack, would you not warn them? Why would God expect less of us when it comes to eternal life.  This isn’t easy.  When all around us Christianity is watered down to non-committal traditions without meaning.

What these verses remind us is that God has made his promise, He stands by His word and we will spend eternity in His house.  But we are given the gift of time on this earth and we need to choose what we do with that time.  Even more importantly to God is not what we accomplish or even what we do, but the attitude with which we do it.  That done is a pure spirit for the glory of God is pleasing, that done for personal pride and gain is not.

BSF Acts: Week 11, Day 4: Hebrews 5:11–6:3

Hebrews 5:11–6:3

Summary:

Believers are encouraged to move forward (mature) in their faith, progressing from the basic tenants of faith to depth of knowledge and understanding.

Questions:

9. a. Resistance to let go of old ways and old understanding (paradigms).  The first 4 chapters of Hebrews have addressed these issues of carry forward from old teachings, but there is a time to let go and grasp the new reality.

b. (Personal) Many of my areas of spiritual immaturity stem from misunderstandings of what the scriptures really say.  So much of the bible that we learn, even from regular church attendance, only skim the waves.  BSF provides an avenue of maturing through studying verse by verse word by word.

10. To not distinguishing right from wrong

11. The word of God, but more specifically meditating on the word: being filled with it in mind and spirit through prayer and study and communion with others.

12. a. (Challenge)

Repentance from acts that lead to death: Rom 6:23 – The wages of sin is death

Faith in God: John 3:16 – Whoever believes in him shall not perish

Instruction about baptisms: Mar 16:16 – Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved

The laying on of hands: Luke 4:40 – people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them

The resurrection of the dead: John 11:25 – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” , 1 Cor 15:52 – For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

Eternal judgment: Rev 20:15 – If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire

b. (Personal) I believe I am ready – I would like to spend time studying Revelation, but I feel I am prepared to teach others.

Conclusions:

I wonder how many school teachers have Hebrews 5:11 on their classroom wall?  “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.”

But, joking aside, it is an important reminder that we are to progress not only in our knowledge but in our spirit and our faith.  One of the things I love about the children’s program in BSF is the memory verse time.  By the end of the year the children have 30 precious verses hidden in their heart.  I am amazed at how many times I rely on these memory verses as I face the thoughts and challenges of life and faith.

BSF Acts: Week 11, Day 3: Hebrews 5:1–10

Hebrews 5:1–10

Summary:

Being a priest is not just a job, it is a calling by God.  Jesus was called by God to be our eternal high priest and the source of our eternal salvation

Questions:

6. (1) Selected among men and appointed to represent them, (2) Able to deal gently with others, (3) must be called by God (not self appointed)

I think there would be amazing benefits if christian leaders held to these same standards, particularly the third.  A lot of issues come from those who take on a leadership role for reasons other than being called to it by God.

7. v5, Son of God; v5, appointed by the Father; v6, named by God as a priest forever; v7, while Jesus did not sin, He did pray particularly regarding death; v7, reverent submission; v8, suffered; v9, perfect; v9, source of eternal salvation; v10, designated by God as high priest forever

8. a. eternal salvation

b. While disobedient in many ways, many of my ongoing temptations are health related.  I don’t eat as I should, exercise as I should, etc.  The obvious result of my disobedience (of following the calling of my stomach rather than being obedient) is that I am shortening my days on the earth.  The blessing to others of greater obedience would be more days that I could be encouraging, loving and caring for them.

Conclusions:

Gen 14:18-20: Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And praise be to God Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

In the next several weeks of the study we will see Melchizedek’s name a few more times.  Prior to Hebrews he is referenced only in this Genesis passage and then again in Psalm 110 in a Messianic prophecy (Psalm 110 is only 7 verses long).  Here are a few interesting notes to keep in mind:

  1. He was the only priest of God who was also a king noted in the bible
  2. As the king of Salem he was literally the “king of peace”
  3. His name is comprised of two word meaning “king of righteousness”
  4. He predates the Levitical line by at least 5 generations
  5. He gave Abram bread and wine and blessed him (there will be discussion to follow about how the greater provides a blessing to the lesser)

BSF Acts: Week 11, Day 2: Hebrews 4:14–16

 

Hebrews 4:14–16.

Summary:

The previous verses emphasize how the word of God is alive and active and sharper than a double edge sword.  It convicts us of our sin, cutting down to the bone of our being.  But the good news is in these verses.  Not only do we have (like family, like a husband and wife) a high priest in heaven, but we have one who understands and sympathizes.  So much so, that when we show up at the alter empty handed he already provided the sacrifice necessary to cleanse us of our sin.

Questions:

3. a. a great high priest

b. joined together with – According to Strong’s: those joined to any one by the bonds of natural blood or marriage or friendship or duty or law etc, of attendance or companionship

4. a. The temptation to not stay fully man.  Jesus was fully man and fully God.  At any point he could have pulled out his God card, but he didn’t – he suffered as a man

b. (Personal) Chocolate – OK, it ranks up there, but probably not my biggest temptation.  As I think about it, mine is the opposite of Jesus.  Jesus was tempted to rely on his divine nature, I am tempted to rely on my human nature and pride.  All too often I act like a bossy child and fight God saying “me do it”, rather than thanking Him for His love and what He gives me.  I think of my possessions as mine, my knowledge and wits as mine and my time as mine – when really it is all God’s to begin with.

c. It helps in 2 ways: (1) the one making atonement on my behalf understands and sympathizes – he isn’t ever going to give up on me (2) yet, while totally a man and not relying on his divinity, Jesus resisted all temptation – there is hope to do better, it is not an impossible struggle

5. a. The sacrificial offering for forgiveness of sin was made in the courtyard of the tabernacle, the dwelling place of God while with the Israelites. The grace is that we approach this need for washing away of our sins empty handed, yet, our high priest provides himself as the perfect offering

b. I think it is very important for each of us, every day, to recognize that we are in need of forgiveness and yet we have absolutely nothing to offer to earn that need.  It is only by grace that we are saved through faith.

Conclusion:

I love the way the author of Hebrews is so clearly answering the questions that the early Jewish converts must have had.  How does Jesus fit in with God and angels and man?  What was He doing on earth?  Why did he need to be here?  What about the law and Moses?  And in today’s lesson, what about the high priest and sacrifices?  While it answered their questions it give assurance and comfort to us.  We are not cut by the word of God so that we may feel pain and bleed, but so that we recognize the grace with which the Son of God took on all the pain and bleeding ever required to atone for our sins.

BSF Acts: Week 11, Day 1

The Notes:

What is the greatest sin?  What is the chief sin someone can commit? Not that sin is ever “great”, but if we were to think about sin on a scale, like we do breaking human law, we think of some as misdemeanors and some as felonies.  Like the difference between saying a curse word in anger or murdering someone. 

So it opened my eyes in the notes when it said, “refusal to believe God is the chief sin.”  At first I thought, really?  Doubting the bible compared to abusing a child – no comparison, right?  But then I realized the second only happens after the first.  God is evident in all of creation.  At least where we live there is no one who has not had some exposure to God.  Granted, it may have been a very inaccurate representation by someone who may have been CINO (Christian in name only).  But, even then, I doubt there is anyone who thinks the bible condones any of the horrific crimes that are committed.  So, to commit any other crime, frankly any other sin, is to first refuse to believe God.

God’s word is alive, it is active.  When you read the scriptures and God’s absolute intolerance for disobedience and sin, it cuts, sharply, to the bone.  When you understand that there is absolutely nothing hidden from God, no action, to intention, no thought – the only way you fall into sin is to not believe God. 

Maybe He wasn’t really serious about that stuff?  Maybe He doesn’t care if I sin a little – everybody does, right?  Maybe He won’t notice.  Maybe He expects me to faultier.  What a bunch of _____.  (It probably wouldn’t be good in this rant to fill in that word, eh?)

This was a difficult couple of chapters for me.  But, I so appreciate the message that flows throughout these challenging verses.  God’ promise of rest.  God’s welcoming invitation to fellowship with Him.  God’s gift to come down, suffer, to die.  What am I, just a man.  What is a man? And here is where it gets interesting.  By becoming a brother to Jesus through His grace of coming down to be lower than the angels with us, we become part of His family and, as such, holy. 

What better day is there than today to stop disbelieving and start being holy?  (struggling with that last line?  I understand, but I don’t see any other way to read Hebrews 2:11)