Hebrews – Part 8: What Is Faith?

Prologue

“What Is Faith?” is part 8 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the previous parts by clicking one of the links below.

Introduction

NOTE: The following information consists of excerpts paraphrased from Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Hebrews 11”.

In the close of the previous chapter the writer of Hebrews had incidentally made mention of faith:

Hebrews 10:38-39 (NASB)
38 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

The object of the whole argument in this epistle was to keep those to whom it was addressed from apostatizing, from the Christian religion, and especially from relapsing again into Judaism.

They were in the midst of trials, and were evidently suffering some form of persecution, the tendency of which was to expose them to the danger of relapsing.

The indispensable means of securing them from apostasy was faith; and with a view to show its efficacy in this respect, the writer goes into an extended account of its nature and effects, occupying this entire chapter.

As the persons whom he addressed had been Hebrews, and as the Old Testament contained an account of numerous instances of persons in substantially the same circumstances in which they were, the reference is made, to the illustrious examples of the efficacy of faith in the Jewish history.

The object is to show that faith, or confidence in the Divine promises, has been in all ages the means of perseverance in the true religion, and consequently of salvation.

In this chapter, therefore, the writer of Hebrews first describes or defines the nature of faith,

Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)
1  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

and then illustrates its efficacy and power, throughout the remainder of the chapter, by reference to numerous instances.

In these illustrations he refers to the steady belief which we have that God made the worlds, the examples of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab in particular, and numerous other examples without mentioning their names.

The object is to show that there is power in faith to keep – steady and firm – mind and heart in the midst of trials, and that, having these examples before them, those whom he addressed should continue to adhere steadfastly to the profession of the true religion.

Scripture

Hebrews 11:1,3,6 (NASB)
1  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. …
3  By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. …
6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, Scripture tells us that we are saved by grace through faith. Please open up Your Word to us and teach us what faith is. May our faith be strengthened as a result. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Probing Question

How does faith have the power to keep Christians from apostatizing, despite their trials?

Transitional Sentence

Faith has the power to keep Christians from apostatizing, despite their trials, because…

Main Points

1. Faith lays claim to the unseen realities of God and His purpose.

Abel

Hebrews 11:4 (NASB)
4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

  • Abel’s name
    • Means, “breath, vapor, meadow”
    • Is associated with the shortness of life
  • The second son of Adam and Eve may have been a twin because Genesis 4:2 literally reads, “And she continued to bear his brother Abel”
  • Some have thought that it was the better sacrifice because it was the sacrifice of an animal, however, the emphasis on “faith” in Hebrews and the idea of a “proper offering” in the Septuagint translation of Genesis 4:7 suggest that Abel’s offering was made with a correct attitude and in the proper manner
  • Because of jealousy, Cain killed Abel
  • Hebrews 12:24 compares Abel’s blood with Christ’s blood
    • Abel’s blood calls for vengeance
    • Christ’s blood carries with it the idea of forgiveness
  • Nevertheless, Abel is outstanding because he was
    • The first person to worship God correctly
    • The first person to demonstrate faith accurately
    • The first person to please God fully
    • The first shepherd and influenced the early Hebrews to place a priority on the pastoral life
    • The first man to be murdered
    • The first human to die

Enoch

Hebrews 11:5-6 (NASB)
5  By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

  • Enoch’s name
    • Means, “dedicated.”
    • Is associated with a large body of ancient extra-biblical literature
  • The son of Jared, taken up to God without dying
  • He became the father of Methuselah
  • Enoch lived in such close fellowship with God that he was translated into the presence of God without dying
  • According to Jude, he prophesied

Jude 1:14-15 (NASB)
14 It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

Noah

Hebrews 11:7 (NASB)
7 By faith Noah, being warned by Godabout things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

  • Noah’s name is a personal name of uncertain meaning, related to “rest”
  • Noah was
    • The son of Lamech, a descendant of Adam in the line of Seth
    • The father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth who were born when he was 500 years old
    • A good and righteous man, and a survivor of the flood
  • God warned Noah that He was going to wipe mankind from the face of the earth
  • Because Noah walked with God and stood blameless among the people of that time, God gave him specific instructions for building the ark by which Noah and his family would survive the coming flood
    • Noah followed the building instructions down to every detail
    • A week before the flood, Noah led his family and all of the animals into the ark just as God directed
    • After seven days, the rain began and lasted for 40 days
    • As he sought to know whether it was safe to leave the ark
      • He sent out first a raven and then a dove
      • When the dove returned with an olive leaf, Noah knew the water had receded
    • Once out of the ark, Noah built an altar and sacrificed clean animals as burnt offerings on the altar
    • The Lord promised never again to destroy living creatures as He had done in the flood and established a covenant with Noah and his sons and sealed that covenant with a rainbow
  • Noah lived another 350 years after the flood
  • Noah died at the age of 950 years

2. Faith presses on even when some of God’s promises remain unfulfilled

Abraham and Sarah

Hebrews 11:8-19 (NASB)
8  By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE. 13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15  And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. 17  By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, “IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED.” 19 He considered that God is able to raise peopleeven from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.

Isaac

Hebrews 11:20 (NASB)
20  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come.

Jacob

Hebrews 11:21 (NASB)
21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

Joseph

Hebrews 11:22 (NASB)
22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.

3. Faith risks everything for God and His purpose

Moses’ Parents

Hebrews 11:23 (NASB)
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

Moses

Hebrews 11:24-28 (NASB)
24  By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them.

Children of Israel, escaping from Egypt

Hebrews 11:29 (NASB)
29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passingthrough dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.

Joshua and his army

Hebrews 11:30 (NASB)
30  By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.

Rahab, the harlot

Hebrews 11:31 (NASB)
31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

4. Faith endures even when earthly deliverance does not come

Hebrews 11:32-40 (NASB)
32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34  quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36  and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37  They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. 39  And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

Conclusion

How does faith have the power to keep Christians from apostatizing, despite their trials?

  • Faith lays claim to the unseen realities of God and His purpose
  • Faith presses on even when some of God’s promises remain unfulfilled
  • Faith risks everything for God and His purpose
  • Faith endures even when earthly deliverance does not come

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the priviledge of studying Your Word so we can learn more about You and what You expect from us. You tell us we are to have the faith of a child. Help us with our faith we pray. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

Epilogue

“What Is Faith?” is part 8 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the following parts by clicking one of the links below.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expectations for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form






Hebrews – Part 7: Confidently Endure Persecution

Prologue

“Confidently Endure Persecution” is part 7 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the previous parts by clicking one of the links below.

Scripture

Hebrews 10:32-39 (NASB)
32 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33 partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. 35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. 37 FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY. 38 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, in this sinful world, persecution is inevitable for Christians. Lord, please teach us how to confidently endure persecution and then grant us the strength and perserverence to follow through. We thank You for Your promise to never leave nor forsake us. We also thank You for the eternal hope we have in Christ Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Probing Question

Why should Christians endure persecution?

Transitional Sentence

Christians should endure persecution because…

Main Points

1. We Will Suffer Persecution

Hebrews 10:32-33 (NASB)
32 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33 partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated.

States of persecution:

  • We are currently in a trial.
  • We are coming out of a trial.
  • We are about to enter a trial.

1 Thessalonians 2:14-15 (NASB)
14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, 15 who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men,

John 15:20a (NASB)
20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…

2. We Know Our Relationship with Christ

Hebrews 10:34 (NASB)
34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one.

  • Joint Heirs with Christ

Romans 8:15-18 (NASB)
15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

  • A Heavenly Home

Matthew 6:19-20 (NASB)
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;

2 Corinthians 5:1 (NASB)
1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Colossians 3:2-4 (NASB)
2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

1 Peter 1:3-4 (NASB)
3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

3. We Have Liberal Access to God and His Favor

Hebrews 10:35 (NASB)
35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.

  • Boldly Approach God’s Throne

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NASB)
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15  For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

  • God Will Reward

Matthew 5:11-12 (NASB)
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

1 Corinthians 15:57-58 (NASB)
57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not invain in the Lord.

Galatians 6:8-10 (NASB)
8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

 4. We Must Patiently Await Christ’s Return

Hebrews 10:36-37 (NASB)
36  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. 37 FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.

  • We Must Be Patient

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NASB)
1  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Romans 5:1-5 (NASB)
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 15:4-6 (NASB)
4  For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5  Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

James 1:2-4 (NASB)
2  Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 5:7-11 (NASB)
7  Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8  You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9  Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. 10 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11  We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and ismerciful.

Conclusion

Christians should endure persecution because:

  • We will suffer persecution
  • We know our relationship with Christ
  • We have liberal access to God and His favor
  • We must patiently await Christ’s return

Hebrews 10:38-39 (NASB)
38 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, Christians around the world suffer from various levels and forms of persecution. We know that since they first persecuted You, our persecutions are sure to come. Even so, we know we can confidently endure persecution because of our relationship with You. We know we can come boldly to Your throne, that You have not limited our access to You. We thank You that You promise us grace sufficient for each day. Help us Lord to bring honor and glory to Your name during our persecution. May Your name be praised forever, for it is in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, that we pray. Amen.

Epilogue

“Confidently Endure Persecution” is part 7 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the following parts by clicking one of the links below.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expectations for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form






Hebrews – Part 6: Enter the New Sanctuary

Prologue

“Enter the New Sanctuary” is part 6 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the previous parts by clicking one of the links below.

Scripture

Hebrews 10:19-31 (NASB)
19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. 26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29  How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, may Your name be glorified throughout all creation. You encourage us to gather in Your name. Be with us now. Let us feel Your presence as we study Your Word. We humbly pray in the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Probing Question

Why should Christians assemble together in faith, hope, and support of one another in Christ Jesus?

Transitional Sentence

Christians should assemble together in faith, hope, and support of one another in Christ Jesus because…

Main Points

1. We Must Draw Near In Faith

Hebrews 10:19-22 (NASB)
19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled cleanfrom an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

We have boldness to approach the throne of God because of

  • The blood of Jesus Christ
  • The broken body of Jesus Christ
  • Our great High Priest: Jesus Christ

We are not to have a spirit of fear (FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real).

Romans 8:15-18 (NASB)
15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

2 Timothy 1:7-10 (NASB)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 9  who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

 2. We Must Hold Fast In Hope

Hebrews 10:23 (NASB)
23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

Our Profession of Faith upon Which Our Hope is Built

  • Fellowship with God through Christ
  • Resurrection of the body
  • Everlasting life

Profess without wavering…

James 1:5-8 (NASB)
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

We can be sure/steadfast and not waver because He is faithful that promised.

Hebrews 6:16-19 (NASB)
16 For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. 17  In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,

3. We Must Stir Up One Another In Love

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NASB)
24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

 Let us diligently and attentively

  • Consider each other’s
    • Trials
    • Difficulties
    • Weaknesses
  • Feel for each other
  • Excite each other to an increase of love to God and man;

and, as the proof of it, to be fruitful in good works.

Hebrews 13:3 (NASB)
3 Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.

Romans 12:15 (NASB)
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Romans 15:1-3 (NASB)
1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2 Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.”

Hebrews 6:10-11 (NASB)
10  For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11  And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 (NASB)
12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; 13  so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

4. We Must Not Despise What Has Been Done for Us

Hebrews 10:26-31 (NASB)
26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29  How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

We must not despise/reject what Christ has done for us

  • Christ was the last and perfect sacrifice for sin, there is (will be) no other
  • All who reject His sacrifice have only the judgment to look forward to

Conclusion

Christians should assemble together in faith, hope, and support of one another in Christ Jesus because…

  • We must draw near in faith
  • We must hold fast in hope
  • We must stir up one another in love
  • We must not despise what has been done for us

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, give us the strength to gather together in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ for it is in His name that we pray, amen.

Epilogue

“Enter the New Sanctuary” is part 6 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the following parts by clicking one of the links below.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expectations for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form






Hebrews – Part 5: Jesus: His Superior Ministry

Prologue

“Jesus: His Superior Ministry” is part 5 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the previous parts by clicking one of the links below.

Scripture

Hebrews 8:1-6 (NASB)
1 Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest , who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens , 2 a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle , which the Lord pitched , not man . 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices ; so it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer . 4 Now if He were on earth , He would not be a priest at all , since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law ; 5 who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things , just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle ; for, “SEE ,” He says , “THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN .” 6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, Creator of all that exists, open our eyes so that we may see the greatness of Jesus and His superiority over all things. We pray in His most holy name. Amen.

Probing Question

How is Christ’s new covenant ministry superior to that of the old covenant?

Transitional Sentence

Christ’s new covenant ministry is superior to that of the old covenant, because of…

Main Points

1. A Better Covenant

Inadequacy of the Old Covenant

Hebrews 8:7-9 (NASB)
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless , there would have been no occasion sought for a second . 8 For finding fault with them, He says , “BEHOLD , DAYS ARE COMING , SAYS THE LORD , WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH ; 9 NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD.

Adequacy of the New Covenant

Hebrews 8:10-13 (NASB)
10 “FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS , SAYS THE LORD : I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS , AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS . AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD , AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE . 11 “AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN , AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER , SAYING , ‘KNOW THE LORD ,’ FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM. 12 “FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES , AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE .” 13 When He said , “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

2. A Better Sanctuary

Imperfection of the Earthly Sanctuary

Hebrews 9:1-10 (NASB)
1 Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary . 2 For there was a tabernacle prepared , the outer one , in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread ; this is called the holy place . 3 Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies , 4 having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold , in which was a golden jar holding the manna , and Aaron’s rod which budded , and the tables of the covenant ; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat ; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail . 6 Now when these things have been so prepared , the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship , 7 but into the second , only the high priest enters once a year , not without taking blood , which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance . 8 The Holy Spirit is signifying this , that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing , 9 which is a symbol for the present time . Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience , 10 since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.

Perfection of the Heavenly Sanctuary

Hebrews 9:11-12 (NASB)
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come , He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle , not made with hands , that is to say, not of this creation ; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Illustration

St. Cyril, an early church father, says in a few words the following, what others have employed whole volumes on by refining, spiritualizing, and allegorizing:

“Although Christ be but one, yet he is understood by us under a variety of forms. He is the Tabernacle, on account of the human body in which he dwelt. He is the Table, because he is our Bread of life. He is the Ark which has the law of God enclosed within, because he is the Word of the Father. He is the Candlestick, because he is our spiritual light. He is the Altar of incense, because he is the sweet-smelling odour of sanctification. He is the Altar of burnt-offering, because he is the victim, by death on the cross, for the sins of the whole world.”

3. A Better Sacrifice

Necessity of Shed Blood

Hebrews 9:13-22 (NASB)
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh , 14 how much more will the blood of Christ , who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God , cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God ? 15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant , so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant , those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance . 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead , for it is never in force while the one who made it lives . 18 Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood . 19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law , he took the blood of the calves and the goats , with water and scarlet wool and hyssop , and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people , 20 saying , “THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood . 22 And according to the Law , one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Purification of the Heavenly Sanctuary

Hebrews 9:23-28 (NASB)
23 Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these , but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these . 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands , a mere copy of the true one , but into heaven itself , now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often , as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own . 26 Otherwise , He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world ; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself . 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment , 28 so Christ also , having been offered once to bear the sins of many , will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

Permanence of the Sacrifice

  • Inadequacy of the Levitical Sacrifices

Hebrews 10:1-9 (NASB)
1 For the Law , since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things , can never , by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year , make perfect those who draw near . 2 Otherwise , would they not have ceased to be offered , because the worshipers , having once been cleansed , would no longer have had consciousness of sins ? 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year . 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins . 5 Therefore , when He comes into the world , He says , “SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED , BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME; 6 IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE TAKEN NO PLEASURE . 7 “THEN I SAID , ‘BEHOLD , I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL , O GOD .’ ” 8 After saying above , “SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED , NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them” (which are offered according to the Law ), 9 then He said, “BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second.

  • Adequacy of Christ’s Sacrifice

Hebrews 10:10-18 (NASB)
10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all . 11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices , which can never take away sins ; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time , SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD , 13 waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET . 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified . 15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying , 16 “THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS , SAYS THE LORD : I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART , AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,” He then says, 17 “AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE .” 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things , there is no longer any offering for sin.

Conclusion

Christ’s new covenant ministry is superior to that of the old covenant, because of:

  • A better covenant
    • Inadequacy of the old covenant
    • Adequacy of the new covenant
  • A better sanctuary
    • Imperfection of the earthly sanctuary
    • Perfection of the heavenly sanctuary
  • A better sacrifice
    • Necessity of shed blood
    • Purification of the heavenly sanctuary
    • Permanence of the sacrifice
      • Inadequacy of the Levitical sacrifices
      • Adequacy of Christ’s sacrifice

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank You that You provided through Jesus, a far superior, perfect ministry, so that through His sufficiency, we could have life eternal. May we never lose sight of this fact. Thank You for loving us so much. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Epilogue

“Jesus: His Superior Ministry” is part 5 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the following parts by clicking one of the links below.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expectations for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form






Hebrews – Part 4: Jesus: The Great High Priest

Prologue

“Jesus: The Great High Priest” is part 4 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the previous parts by clicking one of the links below.

Introduction

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NASB)
14 Therefore , since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens , Jesus the Son of God , let us hold fast our confession . 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses , but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin . 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

NOTE: The following information is quoted from Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Hebrews 4”.

  • Great High Priest
    • The object is to show that Christians have a great High Priest as really as the Jews had; to show wherein he surpassed the Levitical priesthood; to show how all that was said of the Aaronic priesthood, and all the types pertaining to that priesthood, were fulfilled in the Lord Jesus; and to state and illustrate the nature of the consolations which Christians might derive from the fact that they had such an High Priest.
    • The idea here is, not merely that the Lord Jesus was a Priest, but that he was at the head of all; in the Christian economy he sustained a rank that corresponded with that of the great high priest in the Jewish.
  • Passed Into the Heavens
    • The Jewish high priest went once a year into the most holy place in the temple, to offer the blood of the atonement. Paul says that the Christian High Priest has gone into heaven. He has gone there also to make intercession, and to sprinkle the blood of the atonement on the mercy-seat.
  • Jesus, the Son of God
    • Not a descendant of Aaron, but one greater—the Son of God.
  • Let Us Hold Fast Our Profession
    • This is the drift and scope of the epistle—to show that Christians should hold fast their profession, and not apostatize. The object of the apostle now is to show why the fact, that we have such a High Priest, is a reason why we should hold fast our professed attachment to him. These reasons-which are drawn out in the succeeding chapters-are such as the following:
      • We may look to him for assistance-since he can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities,
      • The impossibility of being renewed again if we should fall away from him, since there is but one such High Priest, and since the sacrifice for sin can never be repeated,
      • The fact that all the ancient types were fulfilled in him, and that everything which there was in the Jewish dispensation, to keep men from apostasy, exists much more powerfully in the Christian scheme.
      • The fact that they who rejected the laws of Moses died without mercy, and much more any one who should reject the Son of God must expect more certain and fearful severity,
      • By considerations such as these, the apostle aims to show them the danger of apostasy, and to urge them to a faithful adherence to their Christian profession.
  • For We Have Not an High Priest Which Cannot Be Touched
    • Our High Priest is not cold and unfeeling. That is, we have one who is abundantly qualified to sympathize with us in our afflictions, and to whom, therefore, we may look for aid and support in trials.
  • But Was In All Points Tempted Like As We Are
    • Tried as we are. He was subjected to all the kinds of trial to which we can be, and he is, therefore, able to sympathize with us, and to aid us. He was tempted-in the literal sense; he was persecuted; he was poor; he was despised; he suffered bodily pain; he endured the sorrows of a lingering and most cruel death.
  • Yet Without Sin
    • The importance of this fact, that the great High Priest of the Christian profession was “without sin,” the apostle illustrates at length in chapters 7 through 9. He here merely alludes to it, and says that one who was “without sin” was able to assist those who were sinners, and who put their trust in him.
  • Let Us Therefore Come Boldly Unto the Throne of Grace
    • A throne is the seat of a sovereign; a throne of grace is designed to represent a sovereign seated to dispense mercy and pardon. The illustration or comparison here may have been derived from the temple service. In that service God is represented as seated in the most holy place on the mercy-seat. The high priest approaches that seat or throne of the Divine Majesty with the blood of the atonement, to make intercession for the people, and to plead for pardon. That scene was emblematic of heaven. God is seated on a throne of mercy. The great High Priest of the Christian calling, having shed his own blood to make expiation, is represented as approaching God, and pleading for the pardon of men. To a God willing to show mercy he comes with the merits of a sacrifice sufficient for all, and pleads for their salvation. We may, therefore, come with boldness, and look for pardon. We come not depending on our own merits, but we come where a sufficient sacrifice has been offered for human guilt, and where we are assured that God is merciful. We may, therefore, come without hesitancy, or trembling, and ask for all the mercy that we need.
  • That We May Obtain Mercy
    • This is what we want first. We need pardon-as the first thing when we come to God. We are guilty and self-condemned—and our first cry should be for mercymercy. A man who comes to God, not feeling his need of mercy, must fail of obtaining the Divine favour; and he will be best prepared to obtain that favour who has the deepest sense of his need of forgiveness.
  • And Find Grace
    • Favour-strength, help, counsel, direction, support, for the various duties and trials of life. This is what we next need-we all need-we always need. Even when pardoned, we need grace to keep us from sin, to aid us in duty, to preserve us in the day of temptation. And feeling our need of this, we may come and ask of God all that we want for this purpose. Such is the assurance given us; and to this bold approach to the throne of grace all are freely invited. In view of it, let us:
      • Rejoice That There Is a Throne of Grace
        • What a World would this be if God sat on a throne of justice only, and if no mercy were ever to be shown to men! Who is there who would not be overwhelmed with despair?
        • In all times of our trial and temptation we may be assured that he is seated on that throne, and, wherever we are, we may approach him with acceptance.
      • Make Use of the Privilege of Coming Before Such a Throne
        • We are sinful, and need mercy; we are feeble, and need grace to help us. There is not a day of Our lives in which we do not need pardon; not an hour in which we do not need grace.
      • Observe the Propriety and Necessity of Prayer!
        • Every man is a sinner, and should pray for pardon; every man is weak, feeble, dependent, and should pray for grace. Not till a man can prove that he has never done any sin should he maintain that he has no need of pardon; not till he can show that he is able alone to meet the storms and temptations of life should he feel that he has no need to ask for grace. Yet who can feel this? And how strange it is that all men do not pray!
      • Ask For Forgiveness
        • All that needs to be done is to plead the merits of our great High Priest, and God is ready to pardon. Who would not be glad to be able to pay a debt in a manner so easy? Yet how few there are who are willing to pay the debt to justice thus!
      • Obtain All the Grace That We Need
        • We have only to ask for it-and it is done. How easy then to meet temptation, if we would! How strange that any should rely on their own strength, when they may lean on the arm of God!
      • If Men Are Not Pardoned, and Fall Into Sin and Ruin, They Alone Are to Blame
        • There Is A THRONE OF GRACE. It is always accessible.
        • There is A GOD. He is always ready to pardon.
        • There Is A REDEEMER. He is the great High Priest of men.
          • He is always interceding.
          • His merits may always be pleaded as the ground of our salvation.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Son, Jesus Christ and His sacrificial work on the cross. We rejoice that He now sits at Your side interceeding for us on our behalf. we rejoice that because of this, we are encouraged to come boldly to Your throne. Be with us now and enlighten us as we study Your Word. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Probing Question

Why should Christians be assured and take responsibility to boldly proclaim Jesus as the great High Priest redeeming them to God?

Transitional Sentence

Christians should be reassured and take responsibility to boldly proclaim Jesus as the great High Priest redeeming them to God because…

Main Points

1. Christ Is Superior to Aaron

The Priesthood of Aaron

Hebrews 5:1-4 (NASB)
1 For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God , in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins ; 2 he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided , since he himself also is beset with weakness ; 3 and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins , as for the people , so also for himself . 4 And no one takes the honor to himself , but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.

The Priesthood of Christ

Hebrews 5:5-10 (NASB)
5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest , but He who said to Him, “YOU ARE MY SON , TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”; 6 just as He says also in another passage, “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK .” 7 In the days of His flesh , He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death , and He was heard because of His piety . 8 Although He was a Son , He learned obedience from the things which He suffered . 9 And having been made perfect , He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation , 10 being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

  • Melchizedek vs. Abraham

Hebrews 7:1-10 (NASB)
1 For this Melchizedek , king of Salem , priest of the Most High God , who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all , by the translation of his name, king of righteousness , and then also king of Salem , which is king of peace . 3 Without father , without mother , without genealogy , having neither beginning of days nor end of life , but made like the Son of God , he remains a priest perpetually . 4 Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham , the patriarch , gave a tenth of the choicest spoils . 5 And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest’s office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people , that is, from their brethren , although these are descended from Abraham . 6 But the one whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed the one who had the promises . 7 But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater . 8 In this case mortal men receive tithes , but in that case one receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives on. 9 And, so to speak , through Abraham even Levi , who received tithes , paid tithes , 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

  • Milchizedek’s Order vs. the Levitical Priesthood

Hebrews 7:11-28 (NASB)
11 Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law ), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek , and not be designated according to the order of Aaron ? 12 For when the priesthood is changed , of necessity there takes place a change of law also . 13 For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe , from which no one has officiated at the altar . 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah , a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests . 15 And this is clearer still , if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek , 16 who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement , but according to the power of an indestructible life . 17 For it is attested of Him, “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK .” 18 For, on the one hand , there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the Law made nothing perfect ), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope , through which we draw near to God . 20 And inasmuch as it was not without an oath 21 (for they indeed became priests without an oath , but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, “THE LORD HAS SWORN AND WILL NOT CHANGE HIS MIND , ‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ‘ “); 22 so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant . 23 The former priests , on the one hand , existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing , 24 but Jesus, on the other hand , because He continues forever , holds His priesthood permanently . 25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest , holy , innocent , undefiled , separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens ; 27 who does not need daily , like those high priests , to offer up sacrifices , first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people , because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself . 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak , but the word of the oath , which came after the Law , appoints a Son, made perfect forever.

2. Danger of Degeneration (i.e., Backsliding)

Immaturity

  • Rebuke for Immaturity

Hebrews 5:11-14 (NASB)
11 Concerning him we have much to say , and it is hard to explain , since you have become dull of hearing . 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers , you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God , and you have come to need milk and not solid food . 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness , for he is an infant . 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

  • Encouragement toward Maturity

Hebrews 6:1-3 (NASB)
1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ , let us press on to maturity , not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God , 2 of instruction about washings and laying on of hands , and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment . 3 And this we will do, if God permits.

Apostasy

  • Warning Against Apostasy

Hebrews 6:4-8 (NASB)
4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit , 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come , 6 and then have fallen away , it is impossible to renew them again to repentance , since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame . 7 For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled , receives a blessing from God ; 8 but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.

  • Remember God’s Promises

Hebrews 6:9-20 (NASB)
9 But, beloved , we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation , though we are speaking in this way . 10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name , in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints . 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end , 12 so that you will not be sluggish , but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises . 13 For when God made the promise to Abraham , since He could swear by no one greater , He swore by Himself , 14 saying , “I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.” 15 And so , having patiently waited , he obtained the promise . 16 For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute . 17 In the same way God , desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose , interposed with an oath , 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie , we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul , a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil , 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Conclusion

Christians should be reassured and take responsibility to boldly proclaim Jesus as the great High Priest redeeming them to God because:

  • Christ is superior to Aaron
  • Danger of degeneration (i.e., backsliding)
    • Immaturity
    • Apostasy

We must always remember God’s promises ultimately fulfilled through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, and great High Priest.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, help us to recognize Christ’s superiority over all. Because we are encouraged to come boldly to the throne, help us to remember that fact and give us the courage to seek You. Keep us close to You. Protect us from apostasy. We pray this in the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Epilogue

“Jesus: The Great High Priest” is part 4 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the following parts by clicking one of the links below.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expectations for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form






Hebrews – Part 3: Jesus: The Danger of Unbelief

Prologue

“Jesus: The Danger of Unbelief” is part 3 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the previous parts by clicking one of the links below.

Formats

This sermon is available in text, video, and audio formats.

Illustration

One great and fatal offense under the Old Testament was apostasy from the worship of Jehovah. This was punishable by death. It admitted of no repentance. The author strives to impress upon his readers that their danger was the same, their crime if they forsook Christ would be greater, and their punishment far more severe. It was greater, as much as Christ was greater than Moses, and His blood more sacred than that of bulls and goats. We need this caution and exhortation. – Source Unknown

Scripture

Hebrews 3 (NASB)
1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; 2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. 3 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. 5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; 6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. 7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, And saw My works for forty years. 10 “Therefore I was angry with this generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they did not know My ways’; 11 As I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ” 12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, 15 while it is said, “Today if you hear his voice, Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.” 16 For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 Sowe see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:1-13 (NASB)
1 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “and God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this passage, “They shall not enter My rest.” 6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “Today if you hear his voice, Do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, through the corruption of sin in the world, we are creatures of unbelief. Help us to be ever mindful of Your love, mercy, and grace. Let us not forget the gift of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank You for Your longsuffering. Help us in times of unbelief. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Probing Question

How does belief in Christ determine receipt of God’s promised rest or the severest punishment of His wrath?

Transitional Sentence

Our belief in Christ determines our receipt of God’s promised rest or the severest punishment of His wrath because…

Main Points

1. Christ is Superior to Moses

Both were faithful

Hebrews 3:1-2 (NASB)
1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; 2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.

Builder vs. Building

Hebrews 3:3-4 (NASB)
3 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.

Servant vs. Son

Hebrews 3:5-6a (NASB)
5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; 6 but Christ was faithfulas a Son over His house—whose house we are…

2. Danger of Unbelief

Hebrews 3:6b (NASB)  6 …whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

Israel’s Unbelief in the Wilderness

Hebrews 3:7-11 (NASB)
7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, And saw My works for forty years. 10 “Therefore I was angry with this generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they did not know My ways’; 11 As I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ “

Warning Against Unbelief

Hebrews 3:12-19 (NASB)
12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, 15 while it is said, “Today if you hear his voice, Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.” 16 For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 Sowe see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:1-2 (NASB)
1 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.

Warning Against Not Entering God’s Rest

  • Necessity of Faith

Hebrews 4:3-11 (NASB)
3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “and God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this passage, “They shall not enter My rest.” 6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “Today if you hear his voice, Do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through followingthe same example of disobedience.

The “rest” is not referring to Canaan or present salvation but future promise of God. For if they had already possessed the rest, then they would not need to be urged to enter the rest. Rather, it is an exhortation not to be complacent. We have not arrived yet; it is something that they (and we) should “strive earnestly to enter”.

If “entering the rest” is a reminder for us not to be complacent, then “today” is an urgent reminder for us to accept God’s promise, His invitation. His promise is still available; but, it won’t last forever. If we keep on delaying the opportunity to accept God’s promise, one day we will live to regret it.

  • The Penetration of God’s Word

In addition to being warned against unbelief, complacency, and procrastination, we are warned against self-deception. We often think sins committed in private are not sins or don’t matter. Here, we’re reminded that nothing can escape from the scrutiny of God.

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NASB)
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

 Conclusion

How does belief in Christ determine receipt of God’s promised rest or the severest punishment of His wrath? Because:

  • Christ is superior to Moses
    • Both were faithful
    • Builder vs. Building
    • Servant vs. Son
  • Danger of Unbelief
    • Israel’s unbelief in the wilderness
    • Warning against unbelief
    • Warning against not entering God’s rest
      • Necessity of faith
      • The Penetration of God’s Word

Practical lessons to be learned:

  • Focus Our Thoughts on Jesus
    • Appreciate the esteemed position of Jesus in God’s household
    • If we associate with Him:
      • We are also accepted into the household of God
      • We enjoy the privileges Jesus gained for us through His sacrifice
  • Understand and Accept the Urgency to Repent
    • Do not to miss the opportunity to accept God’s invitation
      • God’s promise is still available, but it won’t last forever
      • If we keep on delaying the opportunity to accept God’s promise, one day we will live to regret it
    • Today Won’t Last Forever
  • Encourage Each Other Daily
    • This is why we come to
      • Worship together
      • Pray together
      • Study the Bible together
    • Even though we may belong to the minority group in today’s society, we should not and need not feel alone as we have the support and encouragement from each other
  • Take heart to Enter God’s Rest
    • Even when facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles
    • Let us hear the voices of Joshua and Caleb in our midst

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, may those who do not know You come to an everlasting knowledge of Your gift of salvation. May those who do know You grow in faith and obedience every day. Give us the courage, strength, and perseverence necessary to combat unbelief in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Use the video player below to watch a video of this sermon as it was delivered to Double Springs Baptist Church in Maben, Mississippi at their 11:00am Morning Service on Sunday, June 24, 2012. I pray it speaks to your heart.

Sermon – Jesus – The Danger of Unbelief (Video) – Double Springs Baptist Church – June 24, 2012 11:00am

Sermon – Jesus – The Danger of Unbelief (Video) – Double Springs Baptist Church – June 24, 2012 11:00am

Size: 93.37MB

Use the audio player below if you are experiencing bandwidth problems with the video or would just prefer to listen to the audio only.

Sermon – Jesus – The Danger of Unbelief (Audio) – Double Springs Baptist Church – June 24, 2012 11:00am

Sermon – Jesus – The Danger of Unbelief (Audio) – Double Springs Baptist Church – June 24, 2012 11:00am

Size: 57.23MB

Epilogue

“Jesus: The Danger of Unbelief” is part 3 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the following parts by clicking one of the links below.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expectations for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form






Hebrews – Part 2: Jesus: Our Need for His Humanity

Prologue

“Jesus: Our Need for His Humanity” is part 2 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the previous parts by clicking one of the links below.

Scripture

Hebrews 2:5-18 (NASB)
5 For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. 6 But one has testified somewhere, saying, “What is man, that You remember him? Or the son of man, that You are concerned about him? 7 “You have made him for a little while lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And have appointed him over the works of Your hands; 8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. 9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying, “I will proclaim Your name to my brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.” 13 And again, “I will put my trust in Him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children whom God has given me.” 14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. 17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son. Jesus is God in every respect, yet He also temporarily lowered Himself below the angels, that He would experience life as we do, yet without sin. Because of this, we have a Lord and Savior who not only sympathizes with our plight but, can empathize as well. Thank You Lord for Your sacrifice so that we could hae eternal life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Probing Question

Why did Jesus have to become human to become our merciful and faithful High Priest, making reconciliation for our sins?

Transitional Sentence

Jesus had to become human to become our merciful and faithful High Priest, making reconciliation for our sins because…

Main Points

1. He Had to Recapture Our Lost Destiny

Hebrews 2:5-9 (NASB)
5 For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. 6 But one has testified somewhere, saying, “What is man, that You remember him? Or the son of man, that You are concerned about him? 7 “You have made him for a little while lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And have appointed him over the works of Your hands; 8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. 9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely,Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

Man was created to have dominion over all things

Genesis 1:27-28 (NASB)
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Because of sin, instead of dominion, man fell and suffers defeat

Genesis 3:17-19 (NASB)
17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. 18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; 19 By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”

Into this defeat enters Jesus, restoring man to his original destiny

Philippians 2:8-9 (NASB)
8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

1 John 2:1-2 (NASB)
1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those ofthe whole world.

2. He Had to Experience Our Trials

Hebrews 2:10-13 (NASB)
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying, “I will proclaim Your name to my brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.” 13 And again, “I will put my trust in Him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children whom God has given me.”

Matthew 20:27-28 (NASB)
27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

3. He Had to Release us from Our Bondage

Hebrews 2:14-16 (NASB)
14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.

The sting of death, which is sin, has been removed

The judgment beyond death need no longer be feared

Jesus’ resurrection guarantees our own

The devil cannot touch us

4. He Had to Restore Us from Defeat

Hebrews 2:17-18 (NASB)
17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

For God

For Man

Conclusion

Jesus had to become human to become our merciful and faithful High Priest, making reconciliation for our sins because

  • He had to recapture our lost destiny
  • He had to experience our trials
  • He had to release us from our bondage
  • He had to restore us from defeat

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love, mercy, and grace. We are grateful for Your humanity so that You could relate to us and we You. We are grateful for Your deity so that You could overcome death and be a propitiation for our sins. We are forever in Your debt. We love You Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Epilogue

“Jesus: Our Need for His Humanity” is part 2 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the following parts by clicking one of the links below.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expectations for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form






Hebrews – Part 1: Jesus: God’s Ultimate Revelation

Scripture

Hebrews 1 (NASB)
1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. 5 For to which of the angels did He ever say, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again, “I will be a Father to Him And He shall be a Son to Me”? 6 And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” 7 And of the angels He says, “Who makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.” 8 But of the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. 9 “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness above Your companions.” 10 And, “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands; 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they all will become old like a garment, 12 And like a mantle You will roll them up; Like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.” 13 But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies A footstool For Your feet”? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

Hebrews 2:1-4 (NASB)
1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, 3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4 God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Through Him You created the world. Through Him You reconciled mankind to Yourself. Through Him You will one day reclaim the world and all that is in it. Praise the Lord, Jesus Christ, for it is in His name that we pray. Amen.

Probing Question

How is Jesus God’s ultimate revelation, the living embodiment of His Word, superior to all other messengers?

Transitional Sentence

Jesus is God’s ultimate revelation, the living embodiment of His Word, superior to all other messengers because…

Main Points

1. Jesus Is Superior to the Prophets

Hebrews 1:1-3 (NASB)
1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Old Testament – Opening of the Revelation

Hebrews 1:1 (NASB)
1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,

  •  In Many Ways
    • Dreams
    • Visions
    • Audible Voice
    • Writing Under His Own Hand (Ten Commandments)
  • Prophets
    • Moses
    • Elijah
    • Isaiah
    • Ezekiel

New Testament – Closing of the Revelation

Hebrews 1:2a (NASB)
2 in these last days…

  • Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Beginning of Last/End Times
  • Second Coming/Return of Jesus Christ – End of Last/End Times

Speaking as God Himself

Hebrews 1:2-3a (NASB)
2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power…

2. Jesus Is Superior to the Angels

Hebrews 1:4-14 (NASB)
4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. 5 For to which of the angels did He ever say, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again, “I will be a Father to Him And He shall be a Son to Me”? 6 And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” 7 And of the angels He says, “Who makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.” 8 But of the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. 9 “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness above Your companions.” 10 And, “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands; 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they all will become old like a garment, 12 And like a mantle You will roll them up; Like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.” 13 But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies A footstool For Your feet”? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

Angels Are Messengers

  • Word Study
    Greek Word: aggeloj
    Transliteration: aggelos
    Phonetic Pronunciation: ang’-el-os
    Vine’s Words: Angels, Messengers
    Definition: A messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an Angel, a messenger from God.
  • They Are All Ministering Spirits to Us, the Heirs of Salvation (14)

Not All Messengers are Angels: Jesus Is a Messenger, NOT an Angel

Jesus IS the Message

John 1:1-4 (NASB)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

John 14:6 (NASB)
6 Jesus said* to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

3. Jesus IS the Provider of Salvation

Hebrews 2:1-4 (NASB)
1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, 3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4 God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.

Jesus: God’s Ultimate Revelation and Provider of Salvation Confirmed by

  • God
  • The Holy Ghost
  • His Disciples

Luke 3:21-22 (NASB)
21 Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

Ignore At Own Peril

Hebrews 2:1-3a (NASB)
1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, 3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

Conclusion

Jesus is God’s ultimate revelation, the living embodiment of His Word, superior to all other messengers because:

  • Jesus is superior to the prophets
  • Jesus is superior to the angels
  • Jesus IS the provider of salvation

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, we praise You for Your Son Jesus. He is the living embodiment of Your Word. You and He are One. Far superior to the prophets and to the angels, Jesus is the message and the method of salvation. He is Lord and Savior and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. Thank You for His precious gift of salvation, which can be found in no other. It is in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen.

Epilogue

“Jesus: God’s Ultimate Revelation” is part 1 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the following parts by clicking one of the links below.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expectations for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form






The Resurrection: Impact on Jesus’ Disciples

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, almighty God, we thank You for the gift of salvation made possible by Jesus’ willing and obedient sacrifice upon the cross in payment of our sins. We praise You for the power of the resurrection demonstrated by Jesus overcoming death’s grip on Him. We glorify You for the promise of eternal life in Your holy presence through faith in Jesus. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.

Scripture

Chronologically (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-8)

Mark 16:1-3 (NASB)
1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, they came* to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”

Matthew 28:2-4 (NASB)
2 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. 3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.

Mark 16:4-5 (NASB)
4 Looking up, they saw* that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. 5 Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.

Matthew 28:5 (NASB)
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.

Luke 24:6-7 (NASB)
6 “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

Matthew 28:7-8 (NASB)
7 “Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” 8 And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.

Luke 24:8-11 (NASB)
8 And they remembered His words, 9 and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. 11 But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.

John 20:3-8 (NASB)
3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5 and stooping and looking in, he saw* the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6 And so Simon Peter also came*, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw* the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.

Probing Question

How did/should Jesus’ death and resurrection profoundly impact His disciples?

Transitional Sentence

Jesus’ death and resurrection profoundly impacted His disciples in that…

Main Points

1. They arrived early

Jesus was crucified and died upon the cross on Friday. Because the Sabbath would begin at sundown and dead bodies were not to be left out in the open on the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus hastily removed and anointed the body and placed it in Joseph’s unused tomb.

Mark 15:42-45 (NASB)
42 When evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead. 45 And ascertaining this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.

John 19:39-41 (NASB)
39 Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.

Matthew 27:60 (NASB) 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.

Luke 23:54-56 (NASB)
54 It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. 55 Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

As a result, Mary Magdalene and others wanted to properly anoint Jesus’ body as soon as possible, which would be sunrise Sunday, the day after the Sabbath.

Mark 16:1-3 (NASB)
1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, they came* to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”

Matthew 28:2-4 (NASB)
2 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. 3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.

Mark 16:4 (NASB)
4 Looking up, they saw* that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large.

2. They entered expecting

Forgetting Jesus’ prophecies regarding His resurrection because they were still stricken with grief over His recent death and focused on giving Him a proper burial, they arrive at the tomb, expecting to find Jesus’ body.

Mark 16:5 (NASB) 
5 Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.

Matthew 28:5 (NASB)
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.

Luke 24:6-7 (NASB)
6 “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

Matthew 28:7 (NASB)
7 “Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

3. They departed excited

Being reminded of Jesus’ prophecy regarding His death and resurrection, and seeing the tomb empty, except for the angel, they are filled with joy and excitement as they run to bare witness to the other disciples as instructed.

Matthew 28:8 (NASB) 
8 And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.

Luke 24:8-9 (NASB)
8 And they remembered His words, 9 and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.

4. Others sought evidence

Even so, not everyone was quick to believe the women’s story.

Luke 24:10-11 (NASB) 
10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. 11 But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.

John 20:3-8 (NASB)
3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5 and stooping and looking in, he saw* the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6 And so Simon Peter also came*, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw* the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.

Even after Peter and John believed, it took many appearances by Jesus before the rest of the disciples began believing.

John 20:19-20 (NASB)
19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said* to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

In Thomas’ case, he still needed physical evidence.

John 20:24-29 (NASB)
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came*, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then He said* to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said* to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yetbelieved.”

Conclusion

Jesus’ death and resurrection profoundly impacted His disciples in that

  • They arrived early
  • They entered expecting
  • They departed excited
  • Others sought evidence

Jesus’ death and resurrection should profoundly impact His disciples today in that

  • Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believe
    • Admit your sinful ways, desire to turn from them, and be delivered from the judgment they bring
      • Romans 3:10 (NASB)
        10 as it is written, “There is none righteous , not even one;
      • Romans 3:23 (NASB)
        23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
      • Acts 3:19 (NASB)
        19 “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
    • Acknowledge what Christ did for sinners on the cross, which was confirmed by His resurrection from the dead
      • Romans 5:8 (NASB)
        8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
      • John 11:25-26a (NASB)
        25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die…
    • Receive Him as the only means of eternal life
      • Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)
        8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
      • John 1:12 (NASB)
        12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, evento those who believe in His name,
      • John 6:40 (NASB)
        40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
    • Appropriate His rightful claim as Lord of your life
      • Romans 10:9-10 (NASB)
        9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
      • Philippians 2:10-11 (NASB)
        10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    • Pray the sinner’s prayer
      • Holy God, be merciful to me: a sinner.
        Please forgive me.  I want Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.
        I believe He lived a sinless life,
        died upon the cross in payment of my sins,
        and conquered death so that I could have eternal life.
        Help me to live for You from this day forward.
        In Jesus’ name, Amen.
  • Disciples should keep His …
    • Commandments
      • John 14:15 (NASB)
        15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
      • Matthew 22:36-40 (NASB)
        36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart , and with all your soul , and with all your mind .’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself .’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
    • Ordinances
      • Believer’s Baptism
        • Romans 6:3-5 (NASB)
          3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likenessof His resurrection,
        • Matthew 28:19 (NASB)
          19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
      • The Lord’s Supper
        • 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NASB)
          23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
    • Great Commission
      • Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB)
        19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, Jesus died through crucifixion, was buried, and resurrected on the third day so that anyone who believes upon His name and confesses Him as Lord and Savior will receive the gift of eternal life. Dear Lord, we pray that if there is anyone who does not know You as Lord and Savior the Holy Spirit would convict their hearts until they come to that saving knowledge and express it through faith in You. Dear Lord, we pray that those who already know You as their personal Lord and Savior would be convicted by the Holy Spirit to seek a more intimate relationship with You. May Your name be glorified in all for it is in Your name that we pray. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expectations for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form






Rejoice! What Once Was Lost Now Is Found!

Proposition

God is compassionate and forgiving and rejoices with His angels when people repent of their sins and return to Him.

Probing Question

If God and His heavenly hosts rejoice when people repent and return to Him, should not we repent of our sins, return to Him, and encourage others to do the same?

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, as we study today’s Scripture, may the Holy Spirit illuminate its meaning and encourage us to repent of our sins and return to You, the Author and Finisher of our faith. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Main Points

1. The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Luke 15:1-7 (NASB)
1 Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. 2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So He told them this parable, saying, 4 “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 “When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 “I tell you that in the same way, there will be morejoy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

  • It may seem foolish for the shepherd to leave 99 sheep to go search for just one. But the shepherd knew that the 99 would be safe in the sheepfold, whereas the lost sheep was in danger.
  • Because each sheep was of high value, the shepherd knew that it was worthwhile to search diligently for the lost one.
  • God’s love for each individual is so great that He seeks each one out and rejoices when he or she is “found.”
  • Jesus associated with sinners because He wanted to bring the lost sheep – people considered beyond hope – the gospel of God’s kingdom.
  • Before you were a believer, God sought you; and His love is still seeking those who are yet lost.
    • We may be able to understand a God who would forgive sinners who come to Him for mercy.
    • But a God who tenderly searches for sinners and then joyfully forgives them must possess an extraordinary love!
    • This is the kind of love that prompted Jesus to come to earth to search for lost people and save them.
    • This is the kind of extraordinary love that God has for you.
    • If you feel far from God, don’t despair.
    • He is searching for you.

2. The Parable of the Lost Coin

Luke 15:8-10 (NASB)
8 “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 “When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’ 10 “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

  • Palestinian women received ten silver coins as a wedding gift.
  • Besides their monetary value, these coins held sentimental value like that of a wedding ring, and to lose one would be extremely distressing.
  • Just as a woman would rejoice at finding her lost coin or ring, so the angels would rejoice over a repentant sinner.
  • Each individual is precious to God.
  • He grieves over every loss and rejoices whenever one of His children is found and brought into the kingdom.
  • Perhaps we would have more joy in our churches if we shared Jesus’ love and concern for the lost.

3. The Parable of the Lost Son

Luke 15:11-32 (NASB)
11 And He said, “A man had two sons. 12 “The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. 13 “And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. 14 “Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. 15 “So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 “And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. 17 “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 18 ‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”‘ 20 “So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate. 25 “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 “And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. 27 “And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 “But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. 29 “But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ 31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 ‘But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and waslost and has been found.’ “

  • According to Moses’ law, pigs were unclean animals.
    • This meant that pigs could not be eaten or used for sacrifices.
    • To protect themselves from defilement, Jews would not even touch pigs.
    • For a Jew to stoop to feeding pigs was a great humiliation.
    • For this young man to eat food that the pigs had touched was to be degraded beyond belief.
  • The younger son had truly sunk to the depths.
    • Like many who are rebellious and immature, he wanted to be free to live as he pleased.
    • He had to hit bottom before he came to his senses.
    • It often takes great sorrow and tragedy to cause people to look to the only One Who can help them.
  • Are you trying to live life your own way, selfishly pushing aside any responsibility or commitment that gets in your way?
  • Stop and look before you hit bottom.
  • You will save yourself and your family much grief.
  • In the two preceding stories, the seeker actively looked for the coin and the sheep, which could not return by themselves.
  • In this story, the father watched and waited.
    • He was dealing with a human being with a will of his own, but he was ready to greet his son if he returned.
    • In the same way, God’s love is constant and patient and welcoming.
      • He will search for us and give us opportunities to respond, but He will not force us to come to Him.
      • Like the father in this story, God waits patiently for us to come to our senses.
  • The sheep was lost because it may have foolishly wandered away.
  • The coin was lost through no fault of its own.
  • The son left out of selfishness.
  • God’s great love reaches out and finds sinners no matter why or how they become lost.
  • It was hard for the older brother to accept his younger brother when he returned, and it is just as difficult to accept “younger brothers” today.
    • People who repent after leading notoriously sinful lives are often held in suspicion.
    • Churches are sometimes unwilling to admit them to membership.
    • Instead, we should rejoice like the angels in heaven when an unbeliever repents and turns to God.
    • Like the father, accept repentant sinners wholeheartedly and give them the support and encouragement that they need to grow in Christ.
  • In the story of the lost son, the father’s response is contrasted with the older brother’s.
    • The father forgave because he was filled with love.
    • The son refused to forgive because he was bitter about the injustice of it all.
    • His resentment rendered him just as lost to the father’s love as his younger brother had been.
    • Don’t let anything keep you from forgiving others.
      • If you are refusing to forgive people, you are missing a wonderful opportunity to experience joy and share it with others.
      • Make your joy grow: forgive somebody who has hurt you.
  • In Jesus’ story, the older brother represented the Pharisees, who were angry and resentful that sinners were being welcomed into God’s kingdom.
    • After all, the Pharisees must have thought, we have sacrificed and done so much for God.
    • How easy it is to resent God’s gracious forgiveness of others whom we consider to be far worse sinners than ourselves.
    • But when our self-righteousness gets in the way of rejoicing when others come to Jesus, we are no better than the Pharisees.

Conclusion

God is compassionate and forgiving and rejoices with His angels when people repent of their sins and return to Him; therefore, we should repent or our sins and return to Him.

Isaiah 55 (NASB)
1 “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. 2 “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. 3 “Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David. 4 “Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples, A leader and commander for the peoples. 5 “Behold, you will call a nation you do not know, And a nation which knows you not will run to you, Because of the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you.” 6 Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. 8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. 12 “For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 “Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, And it will be a memorial to the Lord, For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.”

Likewise, we should encourage others to repent of their sins and return to Him.

Hebrews 10:19-25 (NASB)
19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another;and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much that You rejoice when we return to You. Please convict us through the Holy Spirit to repent of our sins, turn our hearts and minds back towards You, and encourage others to do the same. We love You Lord and it is in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expectations for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form