BSF Acts: Week 12, Day 4: Hebrews 9:11–28

Hebrews 9:11–28.

Summary:

For restitution and restoration with God, death was required, blood was required because life is in blood.  But Jesus, by making himself a living sacrifice, pure and without blemish, paid the price once and for all.  He did not walk into anything man-made to lay down this offering to the Father, He walked into the sanctuary of heaven and gave it freely, defeating death for all eternity. 

Questions:

a. God gave man the gift of life to spend in glory with Him.  Man rejected God through sin as a result we owe back the gift of life.  God provided His own Son, Jesus, to pay that price, giving up His life to redeem us from sin.

b. We were reunited with God on a personal level.  He could again look at us and see the joy of His Son.  We became brothers with Christ adopted into God’s family.  The curtain was torn. The old, inadequate methods of partial restitution were voided by the new – the price was paid in full.

c. I work to do His will.  I come up short every day, but I pray for strength.  I serve Him through the love and prayer I provide for others, through teaching, modeling, living a life that is different.

10. a. The original deal was made when God breathed life into man.  When man violated his end, through disobedience of the one requirement in the garden, he owed back the original item received.  Any avenue of return to the original relationship with God by man must include death since man cannot create life.

b. (Challenge) Lev 17:11 – For the life of a creature is in the blood… it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.

11. Read Hebrews 10:1–10. The law and the sacrificial system are spoken of as shadows.

a. Like an X-Ray, a shadow or image provides a view so that we can understand the way things.  The sacrifice of animals in the earthly tabernacle and the cleansing with the blood of animals was just an elementary image of what was ultimately required.  However, a man was incapable of buying back his own life with his death.  In dying, he only gave back what was given, nothing more.

b. God’s will.  Jesus was God and gave this gift as a man because he held the love for man that only God could.

12. Once – done.  The price is paid it is time for rejoicing not deal making.

Conclusions:

I will be amazed when I get to heaven to see if God has any hair or if He has pulled it all out because of me. 

Think of it this way (not a perfect analogy, but it will make the point).  You buy your child a new coat and give it to them as a present.  It is beautiful and exactly what they need.  The next day they come up to you and say, I’ll give you $2 if you let me wear that new coat.  You explain, it is paid for, it is a gift, wear it, enjoy it.  The next day they come in and say, I’ll make my bed all next week if I can wear the new coat.  Again, you explain.  Day after day, they attempt to make deal after deal. 

But isn’t that what we try to do with God.  Thanks for washing away all my sins and clothing me in the love of your son.  I’ll promise to go to church and actually pay attention if you just let me be clean for the mess I made.  We try to make deals and promises for something that we have already been given as a gift.

If I were God I would have pulled all my hair out long ago.

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 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 10, Day 3,

Hebrews 3:1–6

Summary:

Focus on our high priest in heaven.  Jesus and Moses were both faithful to God, but Jesus, as the Son of God, is greater than Moses.

Questions:

9. a. Pray, remember our sins and repent of them, seek forgiveness and restitution for wrongs, accept the gift of grace
b. When we are tempted.  We can turn to many different things when we face temptation, but only one has the ability to help us: Jesus.

10. Transcendental meditation (which has its roots in the Hindu religion) and other common forms of meditation that some use for stress relief have a focus on becoming empty.  Someone would focus on a mantra (normally a nonsensical word) and empty themselves of thought.  Christian meditation is a focus on becoming filled.  We meditate to be filled with the Spirit or to be filled with the Word or to be filled with God’s grace and forgiveness.  Here are a few examples:

Jos 1:8 Do not let the book of the law depart from your lips, meditate on it day and night

Psalm 48:9 Meditate on your unfailing love

Psalm 77:12 meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds

Psal 119:15 meditate on your precepts and consider your ways

Psalm 119:27 meditate on your wonders

11. Differences: Jesus is God (the Son of God), Moses wasn’t; Jesus built the house, Moses was in the house.  Similarities: Both men, both faithful to God.

Conclusion:

The high priest was charged with making the atoning sacrifice for the children of God.  Jesus not only took on that task once and for all, but he, himself, also became that sacrifice.  He gave himself freely as an offering of love for His father and for His fallen brothers who were enslaved by sin.

All men are born with a God sized hole in them.  We all feel longing, incompleteness, emptiness, a void from time to time.  While emptying your mind of thoughts may provide a temporary relief from stress, much like some attempt to find through the numbing effects of drugs or alcohol.  But becoming more empty is never going to be the long term answer to a feeling of emptiness and longing.  The only solution is to be filled: filled with the Holy Spirit, filled with the love of our creator, filled with the word of the Lord.  Now that is something to meditate on!

BSF Acts: Week 10, Day 2, Hebrews 2:5–18

Hebrews 2:5–18.

Summary:

The author of Hebrews again picks up the discussion of Jesus and the angels.  Jesus became man, lower than the angels, perfected by suffering to call those he saves brothers.

Questions

4. a. I think “the world to come” refers to a world totally under salvation totally subjecting itself to Christ.  For the elect I think it starts on the day we accept Christ as our savior, but I think it is complete when all do, when Christ comes again and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess.
b. In Genesis 1 God subjected the earth to man’s dominion.  The fallen earth continues in that covenant.  In these verses the writer confirms that the saved world also falls under that gift from God.

5. While fully man, Jesus took on the sins of the world and suffered death, becoming the author of salvation and rising to glory in heaven

6.Death (or fear of death), the devil, Sin, Temptation

7. (Challenge) The world is comprised of believers and non-believers.  Jesus defeated death for all, but it is not forced on all, it is a gift free given that can be received or rejected.  In Mark 16:16 the gospel says “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned”.  Satan is still in this world because free-will to sin is still in the world.  As long as sin remains, Satan remains.  But Satan is still defeated because he no longer holds power over the believers (Eph 2:1-9) who are no longer dead to transgression but alive in salvation.  At a time to come, all will know that Christ is Lord and every knee shall bow (Rom 14:11)

8. Hebrews 2:17, Jesus made like man in every way.  This is in perspective of Hebrews 1:3 stating that Jesus is the exact reflection of God.

Conclusion:

Was Jesus part man and part God?  God inside and man outside?  1/2 man 1/2 God?  Hebrews clears this up.  While we may have difficulty understanding it: Jesus was, at the same time, fully man and fully God.  It clears up that as fully man Jesus suffered when he was tempted, but as fully God he was able to remain completely without sin.

I have heard it said that Jesus could not sin because He was God.  However, if you are not able to sin then what would be the sting of temptation?  From these passages we see the amazing sacrifice that he made, to become lower than the angels and put himself in a position of suffering the same temptations and trials that we as men face, but in his divine nature He did something no other man has been able to: resist always and stay focused only on the will of God the Father.

Hebrews is a book of encouragement.  We see in chapter one the place and power of Jesus relative to men and angels and in this chapter we begin seeing the sacrifice that He made to be able to call us brother in every way.

BSF Acts, Week 10, Day 1

2. I thought the notes did a good job of explaining why our study is taking this detour in the middle of Acts to jump to the Letter to the Hebrews (besides the fact that it is strategically placed in between the chapter when Paul fights against requiring circumcision and the next chapter when he circumcises Timothy.)  On the first page it raises the question: if someone claims to be a Christian, are they?  If not necessarily, then what decides.  Hebrews explains that this isn’t a buffet line where you pick some things but leave others about faith in Christ.  You don’t rely totally on Him for your salvation but also try to do it on your own, just in case.  Jesus died, the work is done.  You are either inside the house or outside.  There is no screened in deck.  You get to choose: in or out.  I choose in!

p.s.: hold onto page 3, Homiletcs division are provided through then end of December in the table.

BSF Acts: Bible Lesson 10, Hebrews 1:1-2:4, Lecture

Aim: The choice we make in accepting Christ in this life is an eternity-long decision

Introduction:

Our lessons the last couple of weeks have been very interesting.  See, the road map is changing.  Prior to Jesus and Peter, Paul and Barnabas, the path you took in life and beyond was largely based on the path you were born on.  There were many different paths, heading many different directions, but they seldom crossed.  You rarely got the opportunity to choose your path.  (I’m going to draw some lines, some straight, almost parallel, but mostly winding in different directions.)  But even then there was only one path to God.

But with Jesus paying the price for the sins of the whole world it has changed.  Everybody is at the same point, we’ll call it NOW (I’m going to draw something that looks like a wheel hub and spokes).  But here is the difference, we all get to choose which path we take.  Any path gets us to the end (where we die), but only one path keeps going after that to spend forever with God.  But you get the choose.  It isn’t what family you were born to or what language you speak, it is how you decide.

So where does it all start, well let’s look at our lesson this week, we start in Hebrews 1:1

First division: Hebrews 1:1-3 – Jesus is the only son of God

1:1-2a God speaks to us through the prophets and now through His Son Jesus

1:2b-3a Jesus is heir of all, creator of all, the radiance and exact image of God’s glory, and sustainer of all

1:3b Jesus saved us from sin and reigns in heaven at the right hand

Principle: To know Jesus is to know God

Illustration: I’m going to bring in a chest X-ray and show a picture of my heart.  This is the only way I can see my heart.  In a similar way Jesus is an exact image of God.  He isn’t like God, like this X-ray isn’t like my heart.  He is God the same way that this is my heart.

Application: Do you know about Jesus or do you know Jesus?  If someone asked you to describe Jesus would it be as an acquaintance, friend or a member of the family?  How long could you talk to someone about your Lord?

Division 2: Hebrews 1:4-14 Angels are messengers and ministering spirits.  Jesus is both the giver of the gift and the gift itself.  He is God.

1:4-5 Jesus is superior to angels by name and birthright

1: 6 Angels worship Jesus

1:7-13 Jesus was the creator and He is eternal, God, Ruler

1:14 All angels are ministering spirits to the elect

Principle: Angels serve, Jesus saves

Illustration: If you were captured in a foreign country and  thrown into prison, it would be great to have people from your homeland that come and help you and protect you and bring messages from home.  But it is even better when the “big guy” comes and gets you out of prison.  All believers (current and future) are foreigners on this earth.  This is just a temporary home.  Angels are sent by God to help and protect us, but only Jesus sets us free.

Application: Do you think of angels as messengers of God or in some other way?  Do you thank God for the angels he sends to minister to you? 

Third Division: Hebrews 2:1-4 Warning to pay heed

2:1 Pay attention so you don’t drift away

2:2-3a Aside from salvation we can’t have justification

2:3b-4 Jesus announced salvation, Apostles taught it, God showed it (signs/miracles) we experience it in the Gifts of the Spirit.  There are no excuse for not believing!

Illustration: I think about a little boat tied to a big boat.  Now, if I like the comfort of being able to participate in some stuff on the big boat, I may tie my small boat to it.  But maybe I don’t want to be too associated with the big boat.  May be some of my friends aren’t tied to the boat at all and I don’t want to be different, so I might still tie onto the big boat, but not too tightly and not too close.  And while things are calm, that may have no repercussions.  But things don’t stay calm in life.  They get stormy and when they do and I’m way far away with a really long rope, I start to drift and I might just drift right up into rocks or other dangers.  The only safe place is being directly connected to God’s ship.

Application: what are you waiting for to tie the knot?  How tightly are you cinched up to God’s boat?  What areas of your life are still adrift?  Who do you need to throw a rope to that is drifting into the rocks?

Conclusion:

Jesus has fulfilled a new covenant.  Salvation is through faith in Him alone and we all get to choose.  If you are unsure about your choice and whether you are on the right path, BSF has a pamphlet called the “Steps to Assurance.”  Read it.  This isn’t something you want to be pretty sure about since it last forever.  Be certain in your salvation.