Leadership Empowerment School of Ministry
Empowering Those who Empower Others with a Knowledge of God and His Ways
We do not know for sure who wrote this book, because it does not say in the book itself. Some believe it was written by Paul, others say Barnabas, Apollos, Luke, or others.
Probably written sometime before 66-68, because there is no mention of the Jewish war against Rome that happened during that time. Also, it seems that the temple was still standing when the letter was written, and the temple was destroyed in AD 70.
C. Audience – to whom was the letter written?
1. Hebrew Christians
2. The Gospel was being threatened by Judaizers
Judaizers were people who insisted that people must keep the law in order to be saved
3. The recipients of this letter were undergoing severe trials and persecution. Because of this, there was a constant danger of backsliding. There was a temptation to go back to their old beliefs because it would free them from the persecution they were experiencing as Christians.
2. Hebrews and 'Religion'
In this context, we will speak about religion as the form that our Christianity takes in worship, in service, in doctrine, etc. In this sense, religion is not a bad thing. In fact, much of religion has been ordained by God Himself.
B. Religion and Pentecostals
Is there 'Pentecostal religion'? Yes, there is. This simply refers to the way we as Pentecostals do worship, ministry, etc. It includes the types of songs we sing; the way we raise our hands, clap, and dance; the way we greet one another; the format of our worship services; our methods of evangelism; the way we pray;... Remember, all of this is not bad, but it is simply the way Pentecostals live out their faith and worship.
C. Religion becomes bad when
1. We begin to put our trust in it rather than in Christ
2. We allow it to divide us from other followers of Christ who have other 'religious' backgrounds
3. We lose the simplicity of devotion to the person of Christ (see 2 Cor 11:3)
The letter to the Hebrews helps us to get rid of the 'add ons' to our walk with the Lord. It teaches us to remove the things that clutter our faith and distract us from the person of Jesus. Christianity is all about Jesus -- what He has done for us and what He is doing for us today. The 'religious' part of our serving God is necessary, but we are warned not to let it get in the way. Hebrews reminds us that our religion does not save us, but we are saved by the work of Christ. The only helpful response for us to make is to have faith -- to simply trust our Lord.
A. To exhort believers to stand firm in the midst of persecution
B. To show that nothing is lost by trusting in Jesus rather than the law, but much is gained.
A. Do not fall away from Christ
1. fix your thoughts on Jesus – 3:1
2. Do not presume upon God's grace, as the Israelites did in the wilderness – 3:7-15
Do not assume that just because you have the name 'saved' that you are right with God. Instead, trust Him and His ways. Trust always leads to obedience, and lack of trust leads to a hard heart and disobedience.
3. Those who endure until the end will be saved
B. The New Covenant
The writer shows us that the New Covenant is better than the Old. Because this covenant is so wonderful, we would be foolish to go back to our old ways, once we've experienced the goodness of what God is doing in the New.
C. Living a life of faith
1. Heb 11 shows how great men of God of the past lived by faith. Notice that the rewards of their faith were not earthly, but spiritual.
2. Heb 12:1-12 reveals that God uses difficult times to discipline us in order to help us. Of course in order for this discipline to truly help us we need to learn to respond to it by trusting God (faith).
3. Again in this context the writer warns us to not fall away from the Lord, but to stand firm – Heb 12:15, 25-29
Read through the book of Hebrews as you work your way through this course. Read the notes for each chapter after reading the chapter in the Bible. Do the written assignments as you proceed, and expect the Lord to speak to you through His Word. Take the time you need in order to hear from Him.
The Glory and Supremacy of Christ
1. Better Revelation Through the Son of God
A. God used to speak at different times and in different ways through His prophets
B. Now He has revealed Himself through His Son
All that had been said before was right and true, but it was incomplete. Only in Christ does the message of the prophets make sense, and only in Him is the message completed.
2. Christ is Better than Angels
A. He has a better Name (v 4)
B. That better Name is "Son" (v 5)
C. He is the 'firstborn' (v 6)
This does not mean that Christ was created, or that there was ever a moment when He did not exist. It refers to His status as the eldest Son -- that He is the heir.
D. He is worshipped by the angels (v 6)
E. The angels are servants (v 7)
They are superior to man, but are subject to Christ
F. He is God (v 8-12)
1. He loves righteousness
2. He took part in creation
3. He will remain forever
G. His enemies will be made His footstool
1. Do not Neglect Salvation (2:1-4)
A. Because of the greatness of the revelation received in God's Son, we must be sure to pay attention and follow it (2:1-4).
B. "Lest we drift away"
1. Means to slip gradually away, or to simply go with the flow.
It is the picture of a boat simply drifting down a slow moving river, wherever it goes
2. Falling away from Christ is usually not sudden, but a slow and gradual fading away.
3. In order to not drift like this, we need to be very careful.
4. If a Christian is not moving forward, he is drifting backwards.
C. This salvation was announced by the Lord Himself
So if we neglect it, how can we escape judgment? We cannot.
D. After this, the message was passed along by His followers, demonstrated with signs and wonders.
2. Overview of Salvation. (2:5-18)
A. Christ became man, but is still superior (5-9)
1. Jesus, as a man, became lower than angels for a time (v 6-7)
2. Man has been set over all creation, and everything is subject to him (v 7-8)
3. Jesus, as a man, received the crown of glory (v 7, 9).
4. Humility became the road to true superiority for Christ.
5. In Christ's suffering for us we can see the love of God.
B. Bringing many to salvation (10-18)
1. Jesus was made perfect through suffering
a. The way to the crown was through the cross -- the same is true for us.
b. Jesus perfectly experienced the sufferings of his people, and therefore became the perfect Savior of them.
c. His suffering allows us to be free from
1) the guilt of sin
2) the penalty of sin
3) the power of sin
2. Jesus includes us in His family
a. He calls us His brothers (v 11-12).
b. He shares in our humanity (v 14).
c. He is a merciful high priest because He is like us (17).
d. He can help us overcome temptation because He has suffered with temptation Himself (18)
1) Jesus was sinless through a constant struggle against sin and temptation.
2) In identifying with Christ, He gives us the power to triumph over sin as He did.
e. Jesus became like us so that He could make us to be like Him.
3. His death delivered us from the devil's power.
*Fear of death has been defeated -- see 1 Jn 4:17-18
Do Not Fall Away
1. Consider Jesus (1-6)
The writer calls upon us to take a good look at Jesus. He is the center of all we believe. He is the center of our faith; the center of our entire lives as believers.
A. Jesus is the 'Apostle and High Priest of our confession'
1. Apostle -- Jesus is sent from the Father, and speaks for Him. He is the divine missionary to earth to bring us to salvation.
2. High Priest -- Jesus represents man before God.
B. Jesus is greater than Moses
C. We are God's house (the place of His abiding presence) if we hold fast
1. Hold onto courage -- to stand firm in the face of fear and in the midst of opposition
2. The hope of which we boast -- the hope that Christ will complete that which concerns us; that He will bring us to final salvation. Final salvation refers to when we are in eternity with Jesus – it is what Paul calls glorification (Rom 8:30)
a. Be diligent to the end, being convinced that what you hope for will be fulfilled -- Heb 6:11
b. Hope in which we draw near to God and are perfected -- Heb 7:18-19
c. Hold fast because the one who promised is faithful -- Heb 10:23
d. Need to have faith in what is hoped for -- Heb 11:1
e. Hope for an inheritance in
heaven -- 1 Pet 1:3-5
2. Example of the Wilderness (7-19)
Note: Verses 7b-11 are a quote from Ps 95:7b-11
A. Do not harden your hearts (7-11)
1. We have to be on guard so that our hearts do not become hard
2. The natural thing is to become hard, therefore it takes diligence and encouragement to avoid this
3. During the 'days of trial in the wilderness,' we must call out to God in thankfulness, loyalty, and faithfulness -- rather than responding as the Israelites did 'in the rebellion.'
4. When our hearts are hard, we become deaf to the things of God
5. Following God is first a matter of the heart -- v 10
B. Grace and presumption
1. It seems the Israelites presumed upon God's grace; that because He had chosen them and delivered them from Egypt, He would always be merciful to them, no matter what
2. There is danger for someone in salvation to stop diligently softening his heart towards God
C. Faith and obedience (12-19)
1. Unbelief leads to disobedience, which lead to apostasy (complete falling away from Christ)
2. We must exhort one another daily to faithfulness
3. Sin is deceitful
4. Those who rebelled were not allowed to enter into God's rest.
The root cause of their rebellion, and the reason they could not enter the rest, was unbelief
The Sabbath Rest
1. The Promise of Rest (1-10)
A. What is this rest?
1. Brokenness -- we must realize that we have nothing apart from God's grace. No striving on our part can make us right or save us (v 10)
2. Our destination -- this rest also signifies our final salvation, when all our struggles and trials will come to an end
B. Again we are exhorted to be serious about maintaining our salvation; enduring until the end (1-2)
1. The way we can be assured that we will not come short is faith
2. Our examples in the wilderness did come short of the rest due to lack of faith
C. Those who first received the promise of rest fell short, but that promise is still alive (3-10)
The promise is good on any 'today,' in which people hear His voice
2. Striving to enter Rest (11-13)
A. Another warning against falling (11)
B. God's Word -- living and powerful
1. Because of the power and sharpness of God's Word, we cannot hide our failure
2. If we disobey, we will not enter the rest.
3. God's Word will make everything clear -- including our own thoughts and intentions!
"all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." -- Hebrews 4:13
3. Introduction of the High Priestly Ministry of Jesus (14-16)
A. Hold fast because we have such a great High Priest
The high priest represents man to God. He stands in the gap, intercedes for them, and offers sacrifices for their sin.
B. We can stand, because Jesus understands what we are going through. He went through all the same things (and more), and yet did not sin.
C. We should therefore approach the throne of grace with confidence.
1. We come because He understands, and because He was able to withstand all temptation.
2. Coming to Jesus and relying on His grace is shown as the way to overcome temptation.
Jesus the High Priest
1. Christ Appointed as Priest Forever (1-10)
A. Requirements for being the High Priest
1. Every high priest is chosen from among men, and should be able to sympathize with the weaknesses of the people for whom he ministers.
In the Levitical priesthood the priest was constantly reminded of his own sin, because he had to first offer up sacrifices for himself, before offering on behalf of the people. Jesus can identify with our weaknesses, but He Himself needed no sacrifice for sins.
2. High priests are chosen by God; no one can take such an honor for himself
B. Christ fulfills the requirements
1. He is chosen by God (5-6)
a. v 5 is a quote from Ps 2:7
b. He is called a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek
1). This is a quote from Ps 110:4
2). Jesus fulfilled the duties that our sin demanded in a better way than the Levitical priesthood
2. He is human (7-10)
a. offered up prayers with cries and tears
He prayed to the One who was able to deliver Him from death, and He was heard. He was delivered from death -- but not from dying. God resurrected Him.
b. Learned obedience through the things he suffered
1) All sons must learn obedience this way -- obedience is not natural
2) Even we, as children of God, must learn the same way.
c. Having been perfected, Jesus became author of salvation for all who obey Him
2. Lack of Maturity (11-14)
A. The writer would like to go into more teaching concerning Melchizedek, but cannot because of the immaturity of the readers.
We must act on the light we have received before we can get more light. We should not expect 'new' revelations until we grasp and obey the old.
B. Milk and meat
1. Milk refers to the more elementary principles of faith. These need to be always taught, but at the same time they should be preparing people to receive the 'meat.'
The problem seems to be that the people had not allowed these teachings to become real to them through experience. They had not made them a part of their lives.
2. Meat is for the mature. It refers to more advanced instruction in God's Word.
C. Discerning good and evil
1. When we become sensitive to God's ways, whatever is not pleasing to Him becomes clear.
2. If we are apathetic (not caring, not diligent) towards the things of God and our spiritual lives, we will be deceived by sin. We will not even recognize the unrighteousness in ourselves.
3. This discernment is strengthened by reason of use.
Consequences of Immaturity
1. Possibility of Final Apostasy (1-8)
Apostasy means to fall away from the faith – to totally backslide.
A. Foundational Truths (1-3)
1. Repentance from dead works
a. Dead works -- works not done in faith
b. Dead works can be good things, but done without faith (Rom 14:23). This is legalism.
c. Dead works can also be evil acts that are done
2. Faith toward God
a. Moving toward God
b. When we turn from (repent) dead works, we are to turn to God. Faith in Him replaces dead works
3. Teaching about baptisms
a. Submersion into Jesus
b. Submersion into the Holy Spirit
4. Laying on of hands
a. Imparting spiritual gifts (1 Tim 4:14)
b. Recognizing spiritual leadership (Acts 8:17)
5. Resurrection of the dead
*. Death is not the end!
6. Eternal judgment
a. Fear of God
b. Know that we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10)
B. Apostasy (4-8)
1. Description of the saved (4)
a. Been enlightened
b. Tasted of the heavenly gift
c. Shared in the Holy Spirit
d. Tasted the good Word of God
e. Tasted the powers of the age to come
2. "It is impossible... to renew them again to repentance."
a. Through a gradual hardening of the heart, these people's attitude has made it impossible for them to decide to turn back to Christ
b. However, is it impossible for God? (see Matt 19:24-26)
c. The Christian's turning from God makes a public spectacle of Christ (v 6)
d. The point is that we need to take care that we do not fall back
A person cannot turn back to sin, believing that he will repent again and return to Christ after some time. He cannot presume that God will grant Him such repentance. His turning from such a wonderful salvation reveals that his heart is becoming very hard, and he will not be able to change it again at will.
2. Endure to the End (9-20)
A. The writer is confident his readers will not turn back
There is need to endure until the end.
B. The patient endurance of Abraham
1. After Abraham received the promise, he had to endure patiently to see it fulfilled (v 15)
2. We have the promise of eternal life, but we need to endure with patience in order to see it fulfilled.
C. The promise is sure
1. By "two immutable things" -- things which cannot be shaken
a. the promise -- God said He will do it
b. the oath -- He swore by Himself, because there is nothing greater
2. "It is impossible for God to lie"
3. Jesus has already gone ahead of us behind the veil
Choose two of the following scriptures, and study them using the 3 steps of Bible Study. Write down the main point and one application for each one:
Heb 3:7-15; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 4:14-16; Heb 6:1-12
The New Priesthood
1. Melchizedek: King of Righteousness and Peace (1-10)
A. Melchizedek met Abraham as he returned from defeating the five kings -- see Gen 14:1-20
B. Who was Melchizedek?
1. Melchizedek means 'King of Righteousness'
2. King of Salem (Jerusalem) -- 'King of Peace'
3. Priest of God Most High
C. Melchizedek points to Christ Himself
1. No genealogy -- without father or mother
a. This does not necessarily mean that he had a miraculous birth as did Jesus, or that He was God Himself appearing. It simply shows that the Scriptures mention nothing about His parents. The writer of Hebrews reveals the symbolism in this by comparing it to Jesus, the Son of God.
b. This shows that his priesthood was not based on his birth. He was a priest himself, chosen by God to a priesthood apart from that brought about through the law.
c. His priesthood is a priesthood without end -- not passed down to his heir
2. Melchizedek is superior to Abraham
a. Abraham gave him a tithe of the spoils of battle
b. He blessed Abraham, and the one who blesses is greater than the one blessed (v 7)
3. Melchizedek shows that there is another greater priesthood apart from the Levites
a. The Old Testament priesthood is represented by Levi, the father of the tribe of priests
b. Levi was 'in the loins of Abraham' his father when he paid the tithe to Melchizedek.
2. A New and Better Priesthood (11-28)
A. If the old priesthood and law could make people perfect, why would there be need of a new one?
There is a new one, as shown by Psalm 110:4: "The Lord has sworn and will not relent, 'You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.'"
B. If there is a change in the priesthood, there must also be a change in the law (v 12)
C. Jesus did not become priest according to the law
1. Not based on birth (no priests ever came from the tribe of Judah)
2. But by the power of an endless life (v 16)
D. The former priesthood and law must be set aside
1. Because of this, the Old Covenant is not our covenant as believers
2. It is still God's Word, and still speaks to us -- but it points us to the New
E. Jesus Christ, the better priest
1. Jesus became priest by an oath
2. Jesus' priesthood is permanent. He never dies, and so there never needs to be another priest
Because of this, He is able to completely save all who come to Him, because 'He always lives to make intercession for them.' (v 25)
3. We have a High Priest who is: holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and higher than the heavens (v 26)
4. He does not need to keep offering sacrifices -- the sacrifice of Himself one time was enough
5. He does not bring a sacrifice, Jesus Himself was the sacrifice
The New Covenant
1. Types and Shadows (1-6)
A. We do have a High Priest in heaven
He is seated, which shows that the work is accomplished.
B. The earthly priesthood is a shadow of Christ's heavenly priesthood
C. The tabernacle was a type and shadow of the heavenly tabernacle (v 5) -- see Ex 25:40
This means that there is meaning behind the design and function of the tabernacle which God directed Moses to build in the wilderness. We do not approach God according to its rituals, but it does have meaning for us all the same.
2. The New Covenant (7-13)
A. God found fault with the Old Covenant
The fault was not with the law -- that was good -- but the fault was with the people (v 8).
B. Jeremiah prophesied about a New Covenant (Jer 31:31-34)
1. God now deals with the inward and not with mere externals
2. We have access to God ourselves in a personal way -- we can know Him
3. We have the wonderful assurance of the forgiveness of sins
4. God desires to draw near to His people
5. God Himself will teach us
C. Just as Jesus has been shown to be better than angels, better than Moses, and a better priest, so this new covenant is a better covenant, with better promises (v 6)
The Better Ministry of Jesus
1. The Tabernacle (1-5)
A. We must approach God on His terms
The earthly tabernacle bears witness to how we are to approach God even now
B. Symbolism of the earthly tabernacle
1. The outer gate -- symbolic of salvation
a. There is only one way to God, and that is Jesus Himself
b. You have either passed through the gate or you have not; cannot be in the middle
2. The brazen altar
The way has been made for us to approach God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ
3. The laver
a. We must be washed and purified in order to enter
b. Jesus cleanses us by the 'washing of water by the Word.' (Eph 5:26)
c. Repentance leads to cleansing (1 Jn 1:9)
4. Golden candlesticks
Jesus is the light of the world; the true source of revelation and holiness
5. Table of shewbread
Jesus is the bread of life. We must feed on Him and be satisfied by Him.
6. The altar of incense
a. This is symbolic of prayer
b. The author of Hebrews includes this inside the Holy of Holies, but in Exodus it is shown to be in the Holy place. This could be because it was situated near the veil, and the author considered it to be as part of the Holy of Holies.
7. The veil
This symbolizes the flesh that must be dealt with in order to come near to God. We can enter because this veil was torn just as Jesus' own flesh was torn.
8. The Most Holy Place
This is the place of sincere worship, the very presence of God
9. The ark of the covenant
a. The central feature in Hebrew worship
b. Contained a jar of manna, Aaron's rod that budded (Nu 17:8), and the tablets of the covenant
c. The cherubim overshadowed the mercy seat. These executed God's judgments. The closer a person comes to God's presence, the more sure judgment is.
2. The Day of Atonement (6-10)
A. The day the high priest entered the Holy of Holies with a sacrifice for sin
B. The priest could not enter without blood
C. These sacrifices could not make a person's conscience perfect
1. They were only external
2. The conscience is internal and spiritual, and a better sacrifice is needed to perfect it
3. Sacrifices could not free people from the power of sin
3. The Heavenly Tabernacle and Jesus' Sacrifice (11-28)
A. The heavenly tabernacle is the anti-type of the earthly
B. The heavenly is perfect
C. Christ entered with His own blood, once for all
D. Now there is no barrier between the Holy and the Holy of Holies
1. Christ did not temporarily cover sin; He washed us clean and provided forgiveness and freedom from sin's penalty and power
2. A high price was paid for this victory and forgiveness we have
E. Because of His sacrifice, Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant
F. Covenant and Testament
1. This is the same Hebrew word
2. In a covenant, both sides enter into it voluntarily
God has willingly done His part; now we must do ours
3. A testament is fulfilled upon the death of the testator
Both covenants were initiated through blood
G. The heavenly things must be purified with a better sacrifice than the earthly
The items in the earthly tabernacle were purified with blood, and set apart as holy
H. Christ's was a sacrifice that needed to be given only once
Jesus has settled the entire problem of sin. He is enough! He has separated us from our sin by the shedding of His own blood.
I. Just as Christ died once, so must we all die and face judgment.
J. Christ will come again a second time to bring final salvation to those who wait for Him
1. The Better Sacrifice (1-18)
A. The law itself is only the shadow of the 'good things to come.'
B. The sacrifices ordained by the law could not make people perfect
1. They had to be offered continually
2. They provided a reminder of sins
3. The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin
C. Christ's sacrifice is better
1. It was based on human submission of the will
2. v 5-7 are a quote from Ps 40:6-8
3. He only had to offer Himself one time
4. His sacrifice was enough to remove sin from us
5. By His one offering, 'He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.' (v 14)
a. Sanctification means to become cleansed; fit for use; holy -- it has to do with being washed from sin
b. Sanctification is given to us at once, and it is also a gradual process that we pass through.
Theologians say it is positional and also progressive.
1). Positional means that we are declared to be sanctified by God. Because of the blood of Jesus, He sees us as cleansed and pure -- sanctified.
2) On the other hand, progressive means that our lives are in fact still dirtied by sin. As time goes on, we become more cleansed and more like Christ -- more sanctified.
c. We are complete -- sanctified -- because of the work (the one offering) of Christ. He has sat down, showing that what He has done is enough
d. At the same time, we are being conformed to the image of Christ. We are not yet what we are meant to be. This work is also accomplished through Christ and His sacrifice.
D. Because of the better sacrifice of Christ, we have the wonderful promise of forgiveness!
Our sins will be remembered no more. This is the hope of the Gospel message. The reason why Jesus is the only way to come to God is because it is only by His sacrifice that our sins can be forgiven and forgotten.
2. Hold Fast! (19-39)
A. Draw near to God
1. We can come with confidence into the very presence of God by the blood of Jesus
a. This was never possible before because of the veil.
b. The veil is the obstacle -- representing our flesh
c. Jesus made a 'new and living way' through the veil, by the tearing of His own flesh
2. We come because of our great High Priest (v 21)
3. We have to draw near "with a true heart.' (v 22)
Once again, we see that the issue of the heart is of highest importance. It must be true. It must not be hiding anything. It must have no false motives. It must be sincere.
4. We draw near 'in full assurance of faith.' (v 22)
We trust that we truly can come into His presence because of what Christ has done.
5. Our hearts need to be 'sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.' (v 22)
a. Once again, our hearts, or inward man, must be pure. This purity only comes through the blood of Jesus. This includes our thoughts, motives, passions, etc.
b. In addition to this, our body, or outward man, must also be cleansed. Our actions and words must reveal the purity of our lives.
B. Remain true to God, and hold fast, because He is faithful! (v 23)
C. We need each other in order to stay firm in the Lord
1. Think about others, and in so doing we will walk in love. This will help us and the ones we love to hold fast.
We are encouraged to "provoke" or incite, to agitate or stir up each other toward commitment. As a Christian community we are to excel in love and good deeds. How can we say that we love one another when we don't even take the time to get to know each other?
2. Continue to meet together in fellowship -- no matter what.
Surface relationships simply will not do. We need to encourage one another - to be called alongside each other. Sadly people in church are often very lonely. We need to learn how to truly reach out in love. The end result will be that more will stay faithful to the Lord.
D. "If any draws back, My soul has no pleasure in Him."
1. No more sacrifice for sins (v 26)
a. If we go on sinning willfully...
b. If you reject Christ and His sacrifice, you are lost. There is no other.
c. Such a person will surely face the fearful judgment of God
2. One who rejects Christ after having been saved has
a. 'trampled the Son of God underfoot.'
b. 'counted the blood of the covenant... a common thing.'
c. 'insulted the spirit of grace.'
E. "We are not of those who draw back..."
1. Their past record shows that they people who will be faithful and stand firm
a. They have endured much persecution, and they have stood with those who were being persecuted.
b. They 'joyfully accepted the plundering of [their] goods.'
Material things were taken from them, but they did not seem to mind. They knew they had better things in heaven that could not be taken away.
2. The just shall live by faith
a. v 37-38 are a quote from Habakkuk 2:3-4
b. This is a reminder that if we hold fast, God will come and deliver us
c. In the mean-time, we are to live by faith -- keep trusting in God, no matter what the circumstances are.
1. What is faith? (1-3)
A. Being sure of what we hope for
B. It is the evidence -- the proof -- of things not yet seen
C. The word 'faith' means: a conviction; a joyful trust
1. This chapter deals with the risk of faith. It does not always result in success (at least from the perspective of this world). Some men and women of faith lost everything, even their very lives, but their faith never wavered.
2. Faith is a strong commitment to a loving God
3. Faith is trusting God, based on His character
4. Faith is surrender to God
2. Faith at the Dawn of History (4-7)
A. Abel -- offered a better sacrifice than Cain by faith
1. Faith causes us to walk in a way which pleases God
2. Faith leads us into continual fellowship with God
3. In order to please God, we must have faith in Him
1. Built the ark even though it seemed a foolish waste
2. Motivated by a godly fear
3. Became righteous by his faith
3. Faith of the Patriarchs (8-22)
1. In obedience he went out, not knowing where he was going
2. By faith he lived as a foreigner in the land of promise
We also are called to live as 'pilgrims.' Faith causes us to be different from others. It causes us to not put so much value in this world, but rather to look forward to a better one.
3. By faith God gave Abraham the promised son, Isaac
4. Abraham's faith was tested
a. He was called upon to give back to God the very thing he had received through faith.
b. Our faith will also be tested. In order to pass this test, we must fully trust the Lord, and not withhold anything from Him -- including the very things He has given us through faith.
B. Isaac blessed Jacob in regard to their future
C. Jacob blessed Joseph's sons
D. Joseph prophesied about the Israelites leaving Egypt
4. Faith of Moses and the Exodus and Conquest (23-31)
A. Moses' parents showed their faith by hiding Moses
Their faith freed them from the fear of man -- even the Pharoah of Egypt
B. By faith Moses rejected the easy life, and the pleasures of this world
1. Gave up the privilege of being the son of Pharaoh's daughter
2. Faith led him to choose affliction rather than enjoy the 'passing pleasures of sin.'
3. How was this by faith? Because he trusted that in God there was something better
Our enemy always tries to convince us to trade the eternal for the temporary.
4. He considered 'the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.'
C. Miracles were granted
1. The plagues on Egypt (especially the last one, when Moses kept the 'Passover.')
2. Passed through the Red Sea
3. Walls of Jericho fell down
4. Rahab the prostitute was saved
5. Summary of Faith in the National Life of Israel (32-40)
Faith was evident in such people as Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets.
A. Victories of faith
1. Conquered kingdoms
2. Administered justice
3. Gained what was promised
4. Shut the mouths of lions
5. Quenched the fury of the flames
6. Escaped the edge of the sword
7. Weakness was turned to strength
8. Became powerful and defeated armies
9. Women received back their dead to life again
B. Apparent defeats in faith -- though clearly not in God's eyes
1. Some were torture -- these refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection
2. Were mocked and whipped
3. Endured chains and prison
4. Were stoned
5. They were sawed in two
6. Put to death by the sword
7. Went about in skins; persecuted and mistreated
8. World was not worthy of them!
9. Were in severe poverty
10. Wandered in deserts and mountains; in caves and holes in the ground
C. All were commended for their faith, yet none of them received what was promised.
1. Looking unto Jesus (1-4)
A. The cloud of witnesses
Now we move from the description of faith to the application of faith. Under persecution the faith and zeal of these Hebrew Christians was beginning to decrease. Since we are surrounded by those in the stands, the cloud of witnesses, we must persevere.
B. Run with endurance
1. Get rid of the sin that hinders us, and move forward with God
2. We must run with endurance.
We are involved in a long-distance run. It takes endurance. We must live a disciplined life, seeking God and avoiding sin.
C. Looking unto Jesus
1. It is keeping focused on Jesus that will enable us to endure until the end
2. He is our example -- consider how He also endured
Jesus was able to endure the cross because of the 'joy set before Him.' We are called upon to do the same. We have a great hope of joy, and it can strengthen us to endure any trial.
3. Our struggle has not been as hard as Jesus' -- we haven't even shed blood yet.
So we should not be discouraged. Jesus went through more than we do, and He is present to help us in our difficulty. Sin is a serious matter of life and death.
2. The Discipline of our Heavenly Father (5-11)
A. Trials that we go through can be seen as the loving discipline of our heavenly Father
B. This is a sign that He loves us
C. This discipline is not abuse -- it is given in order to help us to grow
3. Be Strengthened (12-17)
A. Where we have begun to waiver, we must become strong.
B. God will heal us (strengthen us; make us useful) if we stay steadfast
C. Root of bitterness
The only cure for such a thing is to live a life of immediate forgiveness. Otherwise bitterness will lead to much trouble.
D. Do not be sexually immoral, or godless like Esau
Your attitude in the way you deal with spiritual things will determine your effectiveness in ministry. Esau's problem was that he treated lightly what God saw as a very serious matter. When he (Esau) wanted to inherit the blessing he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears. If we treat spiritual matters lightly, we could be in the process of giving up the greatest blessing that God has in store for us.
4. Do not Refuse Him Who Speaks from Heaven (18-29)
A. The two mountains
1. Mt Sinai -- see Ex 19:9-20 and Deut 9:19
a. Represents the Old Covenant and the law
b. This is the earthly mountain
c. It inspires fear
2. Mt Zion
a. The New Covenant
b. The city of the living God; the heavenly Jerusalem
c. It inspires hope
B. Do not refuse Him who speaks
1. If those who refused God's message from Mt Sinai were judged, how much more will we be judged if we refuse the words of Christ Himself from the heavenly mountain?
2. Once more He will shake the earth and the heavens (Haggai 2:6)
3. We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken -- but everything else will be.
1. Living Right (1-6)
A. Love each other
B. Show hospitality
C. Remember prisoners, as though chained with them
D. Respect marriage, and stay sexually pure
E. Be content with what you have; not greedy (1 Tim 6:6-10; Phil 4:11)
2. Right Behavior in the Church (7-17)
A. Remember those who rule over you
Follow their example of faith.
B. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
C. Do not be carried away with strange teachings
D. Bear the reproach of Jesus
Jesus suffered outside of the city, in the place of shame and rejection. In Israel, the unclean had to stay there. The remains of sacrificed animals were buried there. Let us willingly take on reproach (insults, persecution, shame) with Jesus, outside of the camp.
E. Continually offer the sacrifice of praise
F. Do good and share
G. Obey rulers -- those who watch out for your souls
H. Request for prayer, and farewell
Choose two of the following scriptures, and study them using the 3 steps of Bible Study. Write down the main point and one application for each one:
Heb 10:19-31; Heb 11:8-19; Heb 12:1-3; Heb 13:1-10
Revise the material in this course together. Ask one another the following questions (and more if you want to come up with your own). Try to answer as many as possible without looking in your notes.
1. Describe the people to whom the book of Hebrews was written originally.
2. What do we mean by Pentecostal Religion? Is it bad? How can it become bad?
3. What does it mean to presume on God's grace?
4. Give a summary of the overall teaching of the book of Hebrews. What are the main themes / purposes?
5. Chapter 1 describes how Christ is better than _____.
6. In what ways is Jesus a better high priest than the Levitical priests?
7. From your understanding of Heb 6:1-12, is it possible for someone to backslide and then be saved again? What is the meaning and purpose of this passage?
8. How is Jesus a priest like Melchizedek?
9. What were the various articles in the tabernacle, and what to they signify to us in the new covenant?
10. Summarize the teaching on faith found in Hebrews 11.
11. How does God discipline us?
Ask questions that you wrote down during the month as you studied the material, or any other question you may have.