Donna Gaines teaches Week 3 of "Fresh Brewed Faith: A Study in Hebrews" from Bellevue Women.
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Week 3 - Jesus, Our High Priest
I. We have a great High Priest. (4:14-16)
A. Who has passed through the heavens
The blue curtain in the temple – signifies the heavens that house the throne room of God.
B. Who was tempted in all things, yet without sin
He understands. It takes much more strength to withstand than to give in. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses – He is fully God and fully man.
C. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence.
Confidence – boldly, with frankness, freedom of speech
Throne – seat and symbol of regal authority
Grace – unmerited favor, forgiving mercy
Mercy – compassion, pity, forbearance
II. We have a better High Priest. (5:1-10)
Appointed by God – not elected by man
Aaron had to offer sacrifices for himself first before offering sacrifices for the people.
“At His crucifixion, the curtain of the Temple was torn in two, exposing the Holy of Holies to anyone who would come to God through the Son. In one perfect act of sacrifice, Jesus Christ accomplished what thousands upon thousands of sacrifices by a multitude of priests never accomplished. Jesus opened the way to God permanently, so that any man at any time by faith in Christ might enter into God’s presence.” (John MacArthur)
III. Maturity (5:11-14)
Solid food is for the mature – if you have a baby, you are so excited about being able to give them rice cereal because it helps them sleep. “Solid food helps us enter fully into the rest of our salvation” (Jen Wilkin).
Because of practice can discern good and evil.
Discern – separate, divide, to recognize some person or thing as formerly known
Good – synonyms: altruistic, virtue, unselfish
Evil – that which is morally injurious
IV. Falling Away (6:1-8)
We are to move beyond the elementary things of the faith:
Repentance from dead works – turn towards life
Faith toward God (monotheism) – Jesus Christ
Instructions about washings – We are washed by the blood of Christ.
Laying on of hands (Leviticus 16:21, scapegoat) – Christ has taken our sin.
Resurrection of the dead – Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
Eternal judgment – In Christ we are justified, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)
We are responsible for moving on in spiritual maturity. We must move on from the things that were shadowing Christ to Christ, Himself.
F. F. Bruce said, “Continuance is the test of reality.” (The New International Commentary on the New Testament, Hebrews, p. 118)
The parable of the sower – the seed that fell on the rocky ground – “The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.” (Matthew 13:20-21)
Look at the example of the Hebrew spies who returned from Canaan with the abundance of the land but failed to enter because of unbelief. They knew the promises that had been passed down from Abraham. They had seen the land and partaken of its produce. But they chose to “fall away” because of fear and unbelief. Fear is the result of unbelief.
Matthew 7: 15-23 “ ‘Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ ”
Persecution could cause these Jewish Christians to move back to Judaism to prevent difficulty. They were not to fear the rejection of men, but the rejection of God.
V. His Promises, Our Hope – (6:9-20)
Better things –
It cost us nothing to become a Christian, but it cost us everything to live like one. (John McArthur)
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul – sure and steadfast” (v. 19)