12 Hebrews Homiletics Chapter 12

AIM: Believers in Christ will be strengthened through discipline to help others realize God’s glory and grace

I. (1-5, 12-14) So that others may see God, pursue peace & holiness, strengthen self, walk straight path, be healed

1. Others are watching – shed weight of sin & endure
2. Fix eyes on Jesus: pioneer & perfector, cross to glory
3-4. Focus on Jesus’ suffering/endurance: yours =/= bloodshed
5. Don’t scorn God’s discipline or give up
12-13. Strengthen self + walk straight path, be healed
14. Pursue peace + holiness so that others see God

Truths:

  1. Others are watching
  2. Fix eyes on Jesus – how he ran the race
  3. Goal = finish the race = holiness
  4. Train, endure, pursue peace, be healed

 

Applications:

  1. Am I running the race (living out my faith) with the reality that others are watching?
  2. Who do I follow as my life coach?
  3. Am I training as if preparing for a race/marathon or resting?

 

II. (6-11) God disciplines His children to holiness as a father disciplines his loved ones

6. Lord disciplines those He loves and accepts
7. All fathers discipline their sons – God treating you as a son
8. If no discipline => not a son of God
9. We submit to discipline of earthly fathers => same w/ God
10. Earthly fathers disciple to make better, God disciplines to make holy
11. Disciplines is painful @ times but leads to fruit, peace, righteousness

Truths:

  1. Disciplines is done in love for growth
  2. Earthly discipline is for improvement
  3. Holy disciplines is for holiness
  4. There is pain in discipline but the reward is fruit of peace and righteousness

 

Applications:

  1. Is my view of discipline one of love or one of anguish?
  2. In discipline, do I learn and grow or just gripe?  Do look forward through the discipline to see the fruits of peace or righteousness or is my focus only on the discipline itself?
  3. Am I able to distinguish discipline from punishment or am I viewing discipline as punishment?

 

III. (15-29) Help other to not underestimate God’s full glory & grace – He shakes away heaven and earth’s “created things” as a devouring fire, only the unshaken remain.

15. See to it that others don’t become weeds
16-17. See to it that others don’t underestimate God’s blessing
18-19. Faith in God is not small or trite, it is large and powerful
20-21. Israelites could not approach God on Mt. Zion, even Moses trembled
22-24. But you can come directly to God through Christ
25. Take care: Do not refuse, if Israelites did not survive earthly warning, why think survive heavenly
26. His voice shook the earth, now shakes heaven and earth
27. Shaking = purification, but only once more
28a. We will receive an unshakable kingdom
28b. Give thanks, worship, devotion and awe to God
29. Our God is indeed a devouring fire

Truths:

  1. Believers have responsibility for others
  2. Our access to God is unprecedented in history
  3. Take care to not refuse or ignore the warning signs
  4. Heaven & earth will be shaken “once more” to remove that which is shakable
  5. The heaven we inherit is unshakable
  6. Give thanks, worship, devotion and AWE to God

 

Applications:

  1. Do I accept my responsibility as part of other Christians’ faith walk?
  2. Am I “taking care” daily?
  3. Am I unshakable?  Jesus is!

 

Summary: So that others may abide with God, the faithful must endure, be strong and not shaken

 

Additional thoughts:

There are a lot of metaphors in Hebrews 12: running, endurance, training, pioneer, discipline of fathers, bitter roots, shaking and unshakable and comparisons between our relationship with God and that of Abel, Moses and the Israelite nation at Mt. Zion.  But each is woven together in an attempt to adjust the thinking of the Hebrew audience (and ours today).

This life is not the competition to be won.  We don’t come out of it as the winner if we “do better” thank others.  We don’t achieve what God has in store for us by sitting back and taking it easy, taking life “as the sands through the hour glass.”

Life is training camp.  Life is where we accept the jersey to play on the team and train along side others.  Unbelievers are not our opponents, they are those standing on the sideline who have not yet accepted the call to be part of the team.

And like training camp, others are watching.  Other players.  Others on the sidelines.  Our coach and owner.  Training is hard.  And we aren’t training to just be “better”.  Our coach and our owner is training us to become perfect, to become holy.  We are part of a team.  It is not our own performance alone, but our example and leadership and compassion to others on the training field as well.

Our access to our coach, Jesus, is unprecedented in the history of the world.  The chosen people of God and even Moses trembled at the base of the mountain, but Jesus has walked among us and talked with us.  Our ability to see and know and follow His example is an amazing gift, but also one to not be taken lightly.

A time of shaking is coming.  Once more God will shake the heaven and the earth.  That which is shakable/impure, will be cast out, but that which stands strong will inherit the unshakable kingdom.

Train hard.  Train knowing that others are watching, constantly.  Train not as if it were a job, but as if it were your life on the line, and not just this life, but life for all eternity.  The harder you train, the harder the training, but the harder the training, the stronger the ability to stand with arms high.

 

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11 Hebrews Homiletics Chapter 11

AIM: God’s plan is for something better for all the faithful of all time

I. Faith is the confidence in hope and assurance in the unseen

1. Faith: confidence in hope, assurance in unseen

Truths:

  1. Faith is confidence in hope
  2. Faith is assurance in the unseen

Applications:

  1. Do I have confidence in the hope of Christ?
  2. Do I live as one with assurance in the unseen or do I want “to be shown to believe”?

II. Bible is filled with many who lived by faith without receiving the promise

2. Forefather commended for faith
3. Believe in creation by faith
4. Abel’s faith in sacrifice, commendation, still speaks
5. Enoch’s faith: Pleased God, taken to heaven
6. W/o faith =/= please God b/c w/o faith would not approach God
7. Noah’s faith: built ark, heir to righteousness
8-9a. Abraham’s faith: Went to land, made home
9b-10. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob: Tent dwellers looking forward to City
11. Sarah’s faith: old, bore child
12. From this one old man came many descendants/nations
13a. These were living by faith @ death – did not receive Jesus
13b-16. Foreigners looking to eternal home: God prepared City
17-19. Abraham trusted God enough to obey: Isaac as sacrifice
20. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob & Esau
21. By faith Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons
22. By faith Jacob instructed his bones home @ exodus
23. By faith infant Moses was hid
24-26. By faith Moses chose life of Israelite over son of Pharaoh
27. By faith Moses left Egypt
28. By faith Moses kept the passover
29. By faith Israelites crossed Red Sea, Egyptians drowned
30. By faith walls of Jericho fell
31. By faith Rahab saved
32-38. By faith many many many more acts

Truths:

  1. Throughout the ages there have been the faithful
  2. All faithful were commended for their faith
  3. None received what was promised (before Jesus)

Applications:

  1. Is my faith like that of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham?
  2. They lived by faith without Jesus, how is the gift of Christ making me stronger in my faith?
  3. By faith, would I leave my home?  By faith would I shelter others?  By faith, am I giving and receiving blessings?

 

III. God’s plan is for something better so together all faithful “be made perfect”

39-40.Commended for faith – Together w/ us be made perfect

Truths:

  1. God planned something better
  2. Faithful – all together – would be made perfect

Applications:

  1. Am I gratefully accepting God’s “better plan” or am I trying to make my own plans?
  2. Am I yielding daily to God’s transformation of my life to “be made perfect”

 

Additional Comments:

How many times have we heard things like, “If I could only see Jesus, then I would believe.”  or “I just need some proof to have faith.”

But, Hebrews 11 explains that would not be faith.  Faith includes an element of trust.  Faith includes an element of choice.  We know that when Christ returns He will be recognized by everyone still living.  Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Rom 14).  Even the demons that there is one God (James 2:19).  But that does not mean these groups of people are living by faith – in fact we know from the scriptures that they are not.

But for the faithful, God has planned something better:  To take those who have been made holy (sanctified, set apart for a special purpose in the service of the Lord), and to make them perfect.

I don’t feel perfect.  I don’t live a perfect life.  But I recognize that God is transforming me.  Not just to make me a little bit better than what I am today, but for the ultimate goal of giving me a new life and a new body so that I can live with Him in his holy presence in the eternal city that He has build, forever.

 

10 Hebrews Homiletics Chapter 10

AIM: Christians are called to persevere in Christ, whose sacrifice has brought forgiveness

I. Christ’s one sacrifice makes those being made holy, perfect

1a. Law was only a shadow
1b-2. If law could make perfect =>would have stopped
3. Law sacrifices were an annual reminder
4. Impossible for animal blood to take away sin
5-7 Christ in Ps 40: Animal sacrifices insufficient, Christ took a body to do God’s will
8. Although ordained by law, God not pleased by animal sacrifices
9. Jesus, ‘Here I am to do your will’ = Replace 1st covenant with 2nd
10. “And by that”, We are made holy through Jesus’ sacrifice
11. Priest stand daily offering insufficient sacrifices
12. Jesus offered one sufficient sacrifice for all time and sat down
13. Jesus: waiting for enemies to be his footstool
14. By 1 sacrifice He made those being made holy, perfect
15-17. H/S and Father testify to this, too: the New Covenant
18. Where there is forgiveness => no more sacrifice

Truths:

  1. OT sacrifices could not bring perfection
  2. Animal blood could not pay the price of sin
  3. Heavenly Jesus took the body of an earthly man to sacrifice
  4. Jesus sat down, but is waiting for final triumph
  5. We are made holy through Jesus’ sacrifice
  6. Those made holy are seen as perfect souls in heaven through Jesus
  7. Where there is forgiveness, there is no more sacrifice

Applications:

  1. How am I trying to negotiate with God by offering to make sacrifices?  What am I giving up to earn favor as opposed to abstaining from to show love, honor and respect?
  2. Am I living as “one made holy”?  Am I still carrying around the guilt of my forgiven sins?
  3. Do I long for Jesus to come again and right the wrongs of this world, making His enemies a footstool, or would my heart have longing for those wrongs in which I partake?
  4. How does knowing the fact that Jesus as part of the Eternal Trinity chose to step down from heaven and take on the body of a man for the purpose of sacrificing that body change my view of Jesus?  How does it change the message of good news I tell others?

 

II. Call to Christians to bond together with God – warning to those who choose sin instead

19-22. Since have confidence to enter with God => Draw near to God
23. Hold unswerving to faith
24-25. Meet with & help others: encouraging, love + good deeds
26-27. If choose path of sin after offered salvation => fearful expectation of judgment + damnation
28. With 2-3 witnesses violators of Mosaic law were killed
29. How much worse for those who trample Jesus
30-31. Dreadful thing (for tramplers) to fall into hands of the living God

Truths:

  1. If confident to be with God, then draw near to Him
  2. Faith is a straight path to God
  3. Call to help others, meet together, encourage, love and do good deeds with and for each other
  4. Woe to those who choose to reject Jesus: trampling God’s only Son

Applications:

  1. I’m confident in my faith – why am I still standing on the sidelines or standing at a distance from God instead of running into His arms?
  2. Do I have my hands on the wheel of my faith journey, living an intentional daily walk, or is my faith swerving all over the road because I’ve let go of the wheel?
  3. There are only 2 choices, accept the new law and live under it or reject it.  There are eternal consequences.  How fervently am I praying for those I love who have not made the right choice or are living like there is a 3rd choice?
  4. If someone trampled my child, as a parent what would be my response?  Why would God’s response be any less?

III. Call to Christians to persevere and receive God’s promise

32-35. You have endured as Christians – do not throw away confidence
36. Persevere and receive the promise of God
37-38. Jesus is coming again without delay to judge
39. We belong to the faithful, not those who shrink back in fear

Truths:

  1. Perseverance leads to receiving promise of God
  2. Called to stand side-by-side with the persecuted, regardless of immediate cost, eternal reward is better
  3. Jesus is coming again to judge
  4. Faithful are not shirkers, Faithful are saved

Applications:

  1. What persecution do I face?  Who am I standing with who is facing persecution?
  2. Do I ask God to strengthen me through difficulty or am I happy just being parked where I am rather than face challenges ahead?
  3. Am I living with confidence or living with fear?  With God what is there possible to fear?

 

Additional comments:

I’m struck by the depth of these verses as we dive into them word by word.  There is so much here to encourage and challenge those of us who have accepted the new covenant of Jesus’ sacrifice.

We are called to bond together with each other and with God, but how often do I take the perspective of I’ll go my way and you go your way – to each his own?  And the whole persecution thing – it is so tempting to be thankful for not facing persecution instead of seeing the righteousness in persecution and choosing to stand with others.

But mostly, I was struck by this visual image of God, the Trinity in heaven, and the Son of that Trinity choosing in love to step down and take on the body of a lowly man in this sin filled world, for the purpose of making a sacrifice of that body and all that goes with it.

In that I see the image of a soldier, who for the love of his children made the sacrifice of going off to distance lands to fight against evil oppressors and then coming home.  I picture that soldier with his arms open wide to his children… and then I think about the response of those children.  Do they run to him in love and thanks or do they wave and stay at a distance or do they see him, but choose to turn and walk away?  That is the choice that we have been given to make – how will we react to the open arms of Jesus?

 

09 Hebrews Homiletics Chapter 9

AIM: Jesus’ blood sacrifice consummated the new covenant of forgiveness

I. 1st covenant carried specific but symbolic regulations, structures and appointments for the High Priest

1. 1st covenant: regs for worship and sanctuary
2-5a. Tabernacle: structure, appointments, specifications
5b-7. Priests enter continually, High Priests enters annually with blood
8. Holy Spirit makes clear: No holy place entry by common man while temple stands
9-10a. Gifts & sacrifices were symbolic – could not perfect
10b. External regulations until new order came

Truths:

  1. Regulations and structure of the tabernacle were part of the 1st covenant
  2. Only High Priest could enter inner sanctum annually with blood
  3. Gifts and sacrifices of the temple were symbolic

 

Application:

  1. How well do I understand the structure and holy intent of God’s regulations?  Do I see it as legalistic or do I see it as symbolism that helps bring me closer to God?
  2. Do I try to enter the inner sanctum without repenting and being cleansed by the blood of the lamb?
  3. Have I praised God for creating a “new order”?

 

II. Jesus, the High Priest of Good Things to Come, entered the Heavenly temple by His own blood

11a. But Now: Christ is High Priest of Good Things to Come
11b-12. Jesus Christ entered Heavenly Holy of Holies once for all by His own blood: secured eternal redemption
13. Blood of animals provided ritual purity
14. Blood of Christ, through Holy Spirit, purifies our conscience to worship God

Truths:

  1. Christ is the High Priest of Good Things to Come
  2. Blood required for High Priest to enter Holy of Holies, Jesus by His own blood
  3. Blood of Jesus, through H/S, purifies our conscience to worship

 

Applications:

  1. Are my thoughts mired in the problems all around or is my focus on “the Good Things to Come”?
  2. When I think of heaven’s doors open, do I see the price of the blood offering that was given for them to be opened?
  3. Have I prayed for not only a clean heart and renewed spirit, but also a purified conscience so that I can truly worship God?

 

III. Jesus, the mediator of the New Covenant, shed His blood, died, appears to God in Heaven & will return bringing salvation

15. Jesus is mediator of the new covenant – paid price for unfaithfulness (violation of old covenant)
16-17. To execute a will – death certificate is required
18-20. 1st covenant: inaugurated by Moses with blood
21-22a. All temple spaces & utensils purified with blood
22b. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness
23. Earthly tabernacle purified with animal blood + Heavenly required more
24. Christ did not enter earthly temple but heavenly + appears to God for us
25-26a. Jesus does not repeat sacrifices like earthly priests
26b. One appearance for consummation of the ages: defeated sin
27. We die once => face judgment
28. Jesus offering once (bearing sins of many), appearing again to bring salvation.

Truths:

  1. New covenant (like a will) is an inheritance
  2. Death & blood required to execute a will
  3. Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness
  4. Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient / complete
  5. Jesus died once, bearing the sins of many and He will appear again to bring salvation

 

Applications:

  1. Am I living as and adopted child of God?  Have I accepted the inheritance that Jesus died to provide for me?
  2. Do I take responsibility for my sins and the death and blood that they require for forgiveness?  What is my view of blood: negative or the essence of life being sacrificed for my sin?
  3. Do I try to earn salvation or do I fully accept that Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient and complete?

 

Summary:

Jesus fulfilled the symbolism of the 1st covenant by entering the temple of heaven through His own blood to mediate the new covenant of salvation.

 

Additional Comments:

The life is in the blood.  We can think of blood as gory, dark, something negative, but it is life.

God gave life to man.  He made man in His image and it was very good.  He gave one restriction, one thing that drew a distinction between creator and created: Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  But man chose sin and disobedience.  Man chose to put faith in our own discernment instead of in the word of God.

When we chose that path, we were obligated to give the 1st and foremost gift that we received from God back to God.  In other words, we had to give back the gift of life.

But God chose a substitution instead of what was really due.  It wasn’t sufficient.  Giving the life of an animal was symbolic only and could not truly recreate perfection.  That would require the life of a man who did not sin (so that the shedding of blood would not be simply the requirement of restitution for his own sin).  In other words, something no man could ever possibly do – Until Jesus.

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  But with the blood of the lamb or God, Jesus Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, the conscience of believers is purified to enter into true and direct worship of our Creator.  Jesus provided His perfect sacrifice once, bearing the sins of many.  Jesus will also come again to bring salvation – the Good News of the New Covenant of Good Things to Come.

 

If I ever start a church, I’m calling it “The Church of Good Things to Come!” Amen.

06 Hebrews Homiletics: Chapter 6

AIM: God’s Promises to faithful followers to certain

I. Those fully offered salvation who reject it are in danger of being cursed and will be burned

1-2. Elementary foundation: repent from sin, faith in God, cleansing rites, healing, resurrection, eternal judgment.
3. Moving on
4-6a. If “fully get” gift of salvation and reject it => impossible to be brought back to repentance
6b. Rejecting gift of salvation = crucifying Jesus all over again
7. Land that produces fruit is a blessing
8. Land that produces thorns is in danger + will be burned

Truths:

  1. Elementary Foundations: repent, faith, cleanse, heal, resurrect, judgement
  2. Rejecting salvation is crucifying Christ again
  3. Rejecting the Holy Spirit has eternal consequences

Applications:

  1. How am I giving thanks for the rain and crop God enables in my life?
  2. Do I have a firm foundational understand that I can easily explain to others?
  3. Do I heed the warnings against falling away?

II. Faithful followers have assurance

9. Fear not – sure of “better things”
10. God is just and knows your work + love
11. Be diligent = assurance of hope
12. Don’t be lazy – model faithful followers

Truths:

  1. God is just
  2. God knows our love and our work
  3. Be diligent, not lazy

Application:

  1. Am I diligent and not lazy to the very end?
  2. Who do I imitate?
  3. Am I living a life that other faithful followers should imitate?

III.God’s word is true and reliable

13. God swore to Abraham
14. “blessing + children” for Abraham
15. Abraham received as promised
16. oath = sworn statement
17. God’s oath: Purpose is unchanging
18. God doesn’t lie + His name is greatest = Hope held
19-20. Hope = anchor to inner sanctum/Jesus, High Priest Order of Melchizedek

Truths:

  1. Hope is anchored in the inner sanctum w/Jesus
  2. God is unchanging
  3. God doesn’t lie
  4. God’s name is greatest
  5. God’s oath is absolutely reliable

Application:

  1. Do I live my life as one with assurance in God’s promise or do I worry and beg?
  2. I will give thanks today to Jesus for being the anchor of my hope.

Summary: Woe to those who reject salvation, but “better things” to faithful followers because God’s promise is reliable

Additional comments:

I was particularly struck by verse 12 and the idea of imitating those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.  There are a number of books that talk about the concept of disciplining or mentoring.  Many of these refer to Paul and his relationship with Timothy. But verse 12 made me look at that relationship in the opposite way: Timothy’s relationship with Paul.

Do I look to imitate other followers or do I think I am above being taught?  Do I subject myself to the teaching of other Christians or am I a “know it all.”?

Part of being diligent and not lazy is in continuing to have the desire to grow and learn.  The elementary foundations of the faith are critical, but do we stop there or continue to seek additional growth and light?  Am I basking in the light and drinking in the rain to produce fruit, and, as importantly, do I subject myself to be weeded by the example of other believers?

05 Hebrews Homiletics: Hebrews 5

AIM:  Obedient followers seek continued revelation of Jesus’ righteousness and that He is the God appointed source of salvation.

I. God designated Jesus to be the perfect priest and the source of salvation to the obedient

1. Role of Priest: appointed to represent, offer gifts and sacrifices
2. Empathizes w/ ignorant & weak going astray
3. Sacrifices for both people and himself
4. Like Aaron, honor of being priest is from God
5-6. God appointed Jesus as High Priest: OT references (order of Mel)
7. Mortal Jesus prayed and was heard
8. Christ obedient through suffering
9. Perfect Jesus = Source of Salvation to obedient
10. Designated by God to be High Priest Order of Melchizedek

Truths:

  1. Priests are appointed
  2. Priests empathize
  3. Priest offer gifts & sacrifices to God for us
  4. Jesus prayed and was heard
  5. God designated Jesus as Priest
  6. Jesus was obedient in suffering
  7. To the obedient, Jesus is the source of salvation

Applications:

  1. Have I thanked Jesus, today, for the work he has done and continues to do (intercession) for me?
  2. Do I picture Jesus as the High Priest in heaven and as a King when I think of Him?  Do I have that picture in mind when I pray?
  3. Am I growing in obedience?  What is my obstacle to being more obedient today than I was yesterday?
  4. When I face suffering or difficulty do I ask God to make it go away or ask Him to show me how He is using it to shape me more into His image?

II. Learning about Jesus’ righteousness is a continuing revelation and maturing

11. Hard to teach you – stopped listening
12.Your learning is not progressing – still on infant formula
13. “infants” not able to understand righteousness
14. Solid food for those who have learned to correctly distinguish good/evil

Truths:

  1. We have an obligation to keep learning about Jesus
  2. Understanding righteousness comes from maturing in faith
  3. To know God = to learn and adopt his definition of Good/evil

Application:

  1. How do I define good and evil?  Is it based on what I think, what society says or what the bible says?  Do I read the bible to reinforce my thinking or to transform my thinking?
  2. Am I seeking more revelation or have I settled in my understanding of Jesus?  Am I asking God to help me grow and mature, or am I happy as an infant or toddler?
  3. When are the times in my day that I have stopped listening?

Summary:

Seek Jesus, the perfect, appointed priest and source of salvation to the obedient.

 

Additional comments:

I was convicted by the fact that I am the biggest barrier to continuing to grow and mature as a faithful follower of Christ.  There are numerous times that I have stopped listening or taken a break.  During those time I continue to listen to and learn other things, things that do not yield eternal benefits, when my time would be better spent continuing to listen to the Word of God.

These verses also made me think about the mental image I carry of Jesus.  My image is of Jesus as a teacher and coach.  That isn’t wrong, but would I pray differently if I was thinking about Jesus as the high priest who offered sacrifices and gifts on my behalf or as Jesus as the priest who is also a King.  I’m remiss in thinking of the fact that I and those around me need to be saved and that there is only one source of salvation.  What kind of person am I to grab ahold of the life raft, but not reach out to others who are just as in need as I have been?

04 Hebrews Homiletics: Hebrews 4

Aim: You are invited “Today” to join the people of God and have eternal, Holy rest

I. The invitation is open again today to enter eternal Sabbath rest w/ God

1. Rest promise still stand, don’t fall short
2. We and the exodused both have heard the good news – they lacked faith & obedience
3-5. God rests from creation work, believers joint that rest, disobedient don’t
6a. There are some still to enter rest
6b-8. The exodused  didn’t enter w/ Joshua. New invitation from God through David – Enter Today.
9. Offer remains: Sabbath rest for people of God
10. Enter God’s rest = rest from work
11. Make every effort to enter rest, not perish like the exodused.

Truths:

  1. Some will enter Sabbath rest
  2. Some will not because of unbelief and disobedience

Applications:

  1. Who do I know who has not heard the good news like I have?  Today is the day to tell them!
  2. How have I heard God’s voice today?  How have I witnessed his “good news” today?
  3. Do I want rest? (BTW: The answer is yes!)  If so, what is my strategy for receiving that rest?  Do I try to earn it?  Do I blindly hope it will just appear?  Or, am I putting my  efforts into obedience and belief – not to earn rest, but out of love and respect for the one who created rest and paid the price for entrance for me?

II. We all must give an account to the Word of God: Alive, active, sees & knows all, is the Judge.

12-13. Must give account to Word of God: Alive, active, penetrated body/soul/spirit, judges through/attitudes, sees all.

Truths:

  1. All will be judged by the Word of God
  2. Nothing is hidden from the Word of God
  3. The Word of God is Alive
  4. The Word of God is Active

Applications:

  1. Am I preparing for my “eternity” review?  Am I prepared to give an account to the Word of God?
  2. Do I treat the Word of God as “then and there” or as “here and now”?
  3. Do I read and pray the Word of God as something Alive and Active?
  4. How has the Word of God penetrated my body/spirit/soul – is it evident to others?

III. Approach the Throne with confidence and receive blessings because of your empathetic Great High Priest (GHP), Jesus

14. Hold firm to faith – Jesus = GHP in Heaven
15. Jesus can empathize – Tempted but no sin
16. Approach with confidence => receive mercy, find grace = help in time of need

Truths:

  1. Jesus is our GHP
  2. Jesus was tempted but did not sin
  3. Hold firm to faith
  4. Approach Throne with confidence

Applications:

  1. Do I approach the Throne of God with confidence?  Am I confident in my prayers?  Am I confident in being welcomed?
  2. I will take time today to recognize the many ways I have received God’s mercy, God’s grace and God’s help in times of need through Jesus – And I will say thank you!!!
  3. In times of need – my own and others – is my first action to approach the throne of God with confidence to receive His mercy and grace?

Summary Statement:

All will be judged by the Word of God – Believers can have confidence in an eternal Sabbath rest with Jesus.

Additional Comments:

Is it too late to become a Christian?  I think some people may think that way.  They didn’t grow up in the church or they did and had a bad experience or fell away.  Faith didn’t take for them.  Or maybe they’ve done things they don’t want to confess, they don’t believe there is anyway they could forgive themselves, much less receive forgiveness from “God”.  Some look at the wrath God poured out on the disobedient and unfaithful and decide they don’t want any part of “that kind of God” who directed the killing of entire groups of people, including their men, women, children and livestock. Some see the evil in the world, the Hitlers and Sadams and the terrorists and child abusers and murders and they haven’t seen enough of God’s wrath in action.

All of that looks to the past. For example, this chapter specifically addresses one such event from the past – the exodus.  Jeremiah 31 helps shed further light on this from God’s perspective.  God made a covenant with these people.  He would bring them out of bondage.  They would be His people and He would be their God.  Jer 31:32 tells us that God viewed this covenant as a marriage.  “I was a husband to them”.  But they rejected God and broke the covenant.  What would you see as being the right response to an adulterous spouse who rejects their vows and promises and rejects their spouse?  God did the only just thing – he became angry and denied them participation in His holy rest.

But that anger and rejection of those people of that day does not mean the door is closed.  The writer of Hebrews explains the words of the Psalm that the invitation is open Today. It is not that the past is not important, but we are not tied to the past – Today is Today.

Through Christ, God created a new covenant.  This is also prophesied in Jer 31, “I will forgive their sin and their iniquity I will remember no more.”  Christ’s suffering and death was payment of all for all.  It is sufficient to cover every sin ever committed or that will ever be committed.

The accounting we must give on judgement day starts with the selection of 1 of 2 boxes on the one question entrance exam.  Do you choose to be judged based on your works or base on the work of Jesus?  The invitation to chose is offered today.  As long as today is today you can choose.  But, don’t be fooled – every day is not today, and on that final day, the choice will not be offered on that day.

Choose this day whom you will serve.  As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

The key questions are (1) do you want rest or not and (2) are you prepared to give an account to the Word of God?