Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Hebrews Chapter 2: Law and Salvation

We are diving right in to Chapter 2 this morning.  I don't know how far we will get, but here we go!  

The writer begins with what is actually a continuation of Chapter 1.  Chapter 1 ends with this:

Hebrews 1:14  Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

We are the ones who inherit salvation, and then Chapter 2 picks right up:

Hebrews 2:1  Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.

See the 'therefore' at the start of Chapter 2?  It is continuing the thought of chapter 1.  "...give the more earnest heed" means to have regard, pay attention to, be cautious, apply one's self to.  We are to give greater attention to the things we have heard and seen in the Word of God so we are not drawn away. God doesn't leave us or forsake us, but we can be drawn away from Him if our eyes are not forward on Jesus at all times.  Our minds must be set on the things of Him and we must meditate on the word daily.  The writer also tells us in verse 2 that through the law every transgression and disobedience would receive its reward (punishment).  The law could not offer forgiveness, mercy, or grace.  

Romans 8:2-4  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.  (3)  For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,  (4)  that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

The commandments of the law are very similar to our laws today.  When we break a law, there is a punishment that coincides with the broken law.  When, not if, we are caught as a law breaker, we stand trial before a judge and jury and they hand down whatever the punishment will be.  There are degrees of punishment based on the severity of the broken law.  However, today under the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, there is only one punishment for continued sin:  Death (Romans 6:23).

Verse 3 says 

Hebrews 2:3  how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,

We cannot escape punishment if we neglect the salvation offered to us by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Consider what it means to 'neglect' your salvation.  Neglect here means to make light of, neglect, be negligent, or not regard or to not handle something with care.  It is slightly different than what we carry as the meaning of neglect today.  So, how do we neglect our salvation?

James 4:17  Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

Knowing the right thing to do but not doing that thing makes our inaction a sin to us.  We are neglectful with our salvation.  

Hebrews 10:26-27  For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  (27)  but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

When we willfully walk in sin after receiving Christ, after the knowledge given to us of the truth, (remember He is The Way, The Truth, The Life) then we have made His sacrifice of no effect.  It is like we have completely ignored the price our savior paid for us.  We begin to fear punishment because we know we have been disobedient.  This is where the enemy will begin to work in our minds with condemnation and lies about our future.  But, Romans 8:1 says

Romans 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

When we walk in the Spirit and not according to our fleshly desires and wants and lusts, then we do not live under condemnation.  We cannot escape punishment though, if we are neglectful of our salvation.  Thankfully, we have a better way today than what the law could provide.

Galatians 3:18-21  For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.  (19)  What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.  (20)  Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.  (21)  Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.

If our inheritance were from the law of Moses, then it would no longer be a promise of God.  The law was given for the transgressions of the people.  The law is a punishment based system and was given for transgressions only until the Seed (Jesus Christ) came.  The law could not have given the life promised to us through the sacrifice of Jesus. If it could have, then righteousness would have been the result of the law.  So, what we have is Jesus fulfilling the law and moving it from a punishment based system into a heart based system, actually carrying heavier results for sin. 

Matthew 5:21-22  "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.'  (22)  But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire.

Matthew 5:27-28  "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.'  (28)  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

1 John 3:15  Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

Yesterday we talked about being transformed into His image.  We cannot be transformed into His image without ensuring our hearts do not harbor these things within us that would prevent us from partaking of the promise of God.  

Hebrews 2:8  YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET." For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.

Everything is in subjection under His feet.  God put everything under Jesus.  Subjection = obedience, submission.  Everything, not some things or a few things or everything BUT that "thing"...Everything.  Thoughts and emotions are included.  This is why Paul said we are to take every thought captive and place it under the subjection of Jesus Christ.  The enemy does his best to sidetrack us, and is quite often successful.  He attempts to throw thoughts at us about our self esteem, what others think of us, what God thinks of us, no one really loves us, our relationships are in turmoil, God has left.  You name it, the enemy will try and plant it.  The best thing we can do is never allow those thoughts to take root within us. (There is so much more on this particular subject, but I don't want to chase rabbits). Doing so is even a form of neglecting our salvation.  We must be vigilant not to make His sacrifice ineffectual.  Jesus Christ has been glorified and is seated at the right hand of the Father awaiting the day the Father sends Him for His Bride.  

His sacrifice has done what the law could not do...provide all those that believe on His name the promise of mercy, forgiveness, grace, and life everlasting.  Because of Jesus' willing obedience to do what the Father asked of Him, we no longer have a punishment - reward system.  We have a system of forgiveness and grace that transforms and changes us as we serve Him in sincerity and truth as new creations within Him.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hebrews 1: Transformed into His Perfect Image

I want to stay in Hebrews Chapter 1 this morning.  We only discussed the first part of the chapter yesterday, but look at the remainder of Chapter 1.  In v.4 we saw where Jesus was given the greatest name above every name, "a more excellent name." But then, God goes on to say some pretty amazing things.  He tells the angels to worship His firstborn when Jesus was born into the world.  But, then God says to the Son,


These scriptures are taken from Psalm 45:6,7 and Psalm 102:25-27.  The writer here makes a distinction between the Son and the angels.  Jesus has a place of position as the Firstborn of creation and the only begotten Son of God that is above all.  He is righteous and hates lawlessness, as we see through the Gospels in the accounts of His ministry here on earth.  But, He is also annointed with the power of God, with gladness even more than anyone else, including the angels.  Jesus laid the foundation of creation.  Heaven and Earth are products of the word of His hands.  All these will pass away and perish, but He will not.  Through His mercy and grace and the power of His blood He has saved us and placed us within Him so that we will be changed and become like Him.  He does not change, so we must and it begins at the point of salvation.

2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Ezekiel 36:26  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

No longer will we have a hardened heart due to the fall of man and our sinful nature.  We will have a heart of flesh, a soft and open heart to the things of Christ.  Not only are we new creations born of the incorruptible seed placed within us, but we are transformed, meaning we actually become something different than what we are.  Man has done a great job of attempting to transform himself into something different than what he is. Plastic surgery is a big business.  There are so many different body modification procedures people - men and women - choose to perform on their bodes and thousands go through the procedures. I am including tattoos and body piercings (extreme).  The intended outcome is to look better or different than what they do right then because they are dissatisfied with their appearance, but there is a deeper root issue there than just dissatisfaction with outward appearance.  

1 John 3:2  Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

You see, we have to go through spiritual transformation regardless of outward appearances because our outward appearance truly does not matter.  Even beyond that, 

2 Corinthians 3:18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.


The Creator of the heavens and earth does not change.  Not only that, but He already knew our hearts, our names, the mistakes we would (will) make as we walk through this life.  Yet, He accepts us anyway because of His righteousness, we are made righteousness.  

Romans 8:29-30  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  (30)  Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Glory, hallelujah and AMEN!  There is nothing more that you or I can do to become any more acceptable to the very One who gives us life.  We can commit our lives to Him.  We can walk out the transformation through the renewing of our minds on a daily basis.  

Romans 12:1-2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  (2)  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Sometimes we place so much focus on the friendship and love of Jesus as a brother, as a friend and as a Savior, that we can forget or overlook the fact that He is still Soveriegn God that is blameless, sinless, righteous and holy.  So, if He does not change and we are supposed to be conformed into His image, then it is up to us to find out what Paul meant when he said to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

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Monday, March 19, 2018

Hebrews Chapter 1: Why to serve whom you choose

Hebrews 1:1-4  God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,  (2)  has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;  (3)  who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,  (4)  having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Above is the text we are going to begin with today as we start our study in Hebrews.  This is such a great segway from Joshua into serving God and walking according to His word.  When we left Joshua last week, he told the people to choose whom they would serve, but he and his house would serve the Lord.  Hebrews jumps right into why we should serve the Him.  SO, here we go!  

The first few verses of this book are reminders to the people of that time who Jesus Christ is.  They had become discouraged and lost some faith because He had not returned as soon after His death as many of them thought He should have.  The writer of Hebrews, whom many scholars believe to be Paul, begins Chapter 1 by saying in the past, God spoke through prophets to the people.  Now, today, He speaks through His only Son, Jesus, the Christ.  Jesus was appointed as God's heir and through Him God made the worlds (or ages).  Then the write goes on to discuss who Jesus is.  

  1. He is the brightness of God's glory.  John 1:14 says  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  Just as our children are our glory, representative of us, so the appointed heir Jesus is the glory of the Father as the only Son.  He is full of grace and truth.  In fact, Jesus said in John 8:32  "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."  Jesus called Himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6).  In responding to Pontius Pilate, Jesus said in John 18:37  Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."  Jesus said He was born to bear witness to the truth.  He is Truth.  He said everyone who is of the truth, hears His voice.  He is the Good Shepherd and He also said His sheep know His voice.  
  2. He is the expressed image of God's person.  Colossians 1:15  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  John 14:7-9  "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him."  (8)  Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us."  (9)  Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
  3. Upholding all things by the Word of of His power.  Colossians 1:16-17  For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.  (17)  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. There is nothing that is outside of Jesus' power.  There is nothing that is outside what He created.  He created all things, and all things are set together within Him (consist).  
  4. He purged our sins.  He gave His life so we could be reconciled to our Creator.  John 10:17-18  "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  (18)  No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."
  5. He sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Father.  The right hand of God is one of power and authority.  The position of being seated at the right hand of the Father is one of power and authority.  
  6. So much better than the angels.  By His inheritance as an heir, Jesus was received a name that was greater than the angels.  There is no name greater.  Philippians 2:9-11  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,  (10)  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,  (11)  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
So, on the heels of Joshua and now that we have chosen and declared whom we will serve, why do we choose to serve Him?  We serve Him because He worthy of our service.  He gave His only Son over to death, hell, and the grave so they would be conquered on our behalf.  Jesus Christ gave His life, willingly following the will of the Father in obedience to His death for the glory it bring to Him.  He was resurrected and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  We serve Him from a thankful heart for the sacrifice He made for us.  We serve Him for being the ransom paid to bring us out of darkness and into the marvelous light.  We serve Him because He is the God of the Universe and deserves all honor, glory and praise we have to give Him, even unto our physical deaths.  

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