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060409   Focus On Jesus   Introduction To Hebrews   Dale Wells
 

060409 Focus On Jesus Introduction To Hebrews Dale Wells

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A sermon introducing the book of Hebrews delivered at Palm Desert Church of Christ by Dale Wells on April 9, 2006.

A sermon introducing the book of Hebrews delivered at Palm Desert Church of Christ by Dale Wells on April 9, 2006.

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    060409   Focus On Jesus   Introduction To Hebrews   Dale Wells 060409 Focus On Jesus Introduction To Hebrews Dale Wells Presentation Transcript

    • Focus on Jesus Introduction to Hebrews April 9, 2006 Dale Wells
    • Hebrews 13:15 NIV
      • Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name.
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    • Announcements
    • Hebrews 1:1-2 NIV
      • In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, (2) but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
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    • Opening Prayer
    • Scripture reading
    • Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
      • Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (2) Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (3) Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
    • Two of the Best Commentaries on Hebrews
    • Neil Lightfoot begins his latest book on Hebrews this way:
      • There is something about Hebrews that is appealing and beautiful. Its majestic language and style, its bold declarations, its sweeping arguments, its heartfelt pleas, all are without parallel in the New Testament.
      • From a literary standpoint alone, it deserves the description "a little masterpiece."
      • Its opening sentence well illustrates its magnificence: "In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son."
    • It begins as an essay
      • Hebrews 1:1-2 NIV In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, (2) but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
    • It progresses as a sermon
      • Hebrews 2:1-3 NIV We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. (2) For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, (3) how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.
    • It ends as a letter
      • Hebrews 13:23-25 NIV I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you. (24) Greet all your leaders and all God's people. Those from Italy send you their greetings. (25) Grace be with you all.
    • The author does not identify himself
      • Some suggest Paul (Clement of Alexandria)
      • This seems unlikely in view of
        • Hebrews 2:3 NIV … This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him .
        • Galatians 1:11-12 NIV ... the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. (12) I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it ; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
    • Other names have been proposed over the years:
      • Tertullian suggested Barnabas
      • Luther suggested Apollos
      • Harnack suggested Priscilla
      • Origen reached the ultimate conclusion, "But who wrote the letter, to be sure, only God knows."
    • The readers were Jewish Christians whom the author knew personally
      • Hebrews 10:34 NIV You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
      • Hebrews 13:19 NIV I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon.
    • There are implications that it was written prior to 70 A.D.
      • No mention of the Jerusalem temple destruction & priests still offering sacrifices
        • Hebrews 8:4 NIV If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law.
        • Hebrews 10:11 NIV Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
      • Written prior to 96 A.D. - Clement of Rome
    • It was written to prevent readers from abandoning their faith
      • Hebrews 2:1-3 NIV We must pay more careful attention ... to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. (2) For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, (3) how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.
    • To encourage Jewish Christians not to go back to the Old Law
      • Hebrews 8:1-2 NIV The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, (2) and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.
      • Hebrews 8:6 NIV But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.
    • A key concept throughout the book is “better” or “superior”
      • Hebrews 1:4 NIV So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
      • Hebrews 7:19 NIV … a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
      • Hebrews 7:22 NIV … Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
    • A key concept throughout the book is “better” or “superior”
      • Hebrews 8:6 NIV But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.
      • Hebrews 9:23 NIV It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
    • Christ the Center
      • Hebrews begins at the center, not at the circumference; God has spoken his final message through one who is his Son.
      • Hebrews 1:1-2 NIV In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, (2) but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
    • The author does not focus attention on his readers
      • He does not begin with their problems.
      • He knows that what they need is Christ
        • If they can comprehend him and what he has done for them, then they can deal with their problems, whatever they are.
        • Hebrews 3:1 NIV Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.
          • This was their supreme need.
          • It is our need today.
          • The message of Christ is always relevant.
    • The Focus of Hebrews is on Jesus
      • Hebrews 2:9 NIV But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
      • Hebrews 3:1 NIV Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.
      • Hebrews 12:2 NIV Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
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    • Prayer of Praise
    • Hebrews develops two great themes
      • Who Christ is; what Christ does.
      • Hebrews can be outlined:
        • Chapters 1-6: the word of God—who Christ is.
        • Chapters 7-10: the work of God—what Christ does.
        • Chapters 11-13: the word of God—concluding exhortations.
    • Who is this Jesus? He is the Son of God!
      • Greater than the prophets
        • Hebrews 1:1-2 NIV In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, (2) but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
    • Greater than the angels
      • Hebrews 1:3-8 NIV The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (4) So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. (5) For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father " ? … (7) In speaking of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire." (8) But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.
    • Greater than Moses
      • Hebrews 3:1-6 NIV Therefore, holy brothers, … fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. (2) He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God's house. (3) Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. … (5) Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house, testifying to what would be said in the future. (6) But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
    • Greater than Joshua
      • Hebrews 4:1-10 NIV Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. (2) For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. (3) Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'" … (8) For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. (9) There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; (10) for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.
    • Greater than Aaron
      • Hebrews 5:1-10 NIV Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. (2) He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. (3) This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. (4) No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. (5) So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father." (6) And he says in another place, "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” …
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    • What has this Jesus done? He has saved us by his own blood!
      • In chapters 7-10 we see him as High Priest.
      • Hebrews 7:25-27 NIV
        • (25) Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. … (27) Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
    • Hebrews 9:11-14 NIV
      • When Christ came as high priest … he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made … (12) He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. (13) The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. (14) How much more, then, will the blood of Christ … cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
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    • Communion & Contribution
    • Key Exhortations in Hebrews
      • Hebrews 13:22 NIV Brothers, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written you only a short letter.
      • Of the 305 verses in Hebrews, 172 – more than half – are exhortations.
      • Hebrews is the longest sustained exhortation for Christians to hold on to their faith and faithfulness.
    • Exhortation Against Drifting
      • Hebrews 2:1-4 NIV We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. (2) For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, (3) how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. (4) God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
    • Exhortation Against Disbelieving
      • Hebrews 3:12-15 NIV See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. (13) But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. (14) We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. (15) As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion."
    • Exhortation Against Disobedience
      • Hebrews 4:11-13 NIV Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. (12) For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (13) Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
    • Exhortation Against Dullness
      • Hebrews 5:11-6:3 NIV We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. (12) In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! (13) Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. (14) But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. ...
    • Exhortation Against Dullness
      • (6:1) Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, (2) instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. (3) And God permitting, we will do so. ...
    • Exhortation Against Despising God’s Word
      • Hebrews 10:26-31 NIV If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, (27) but only a fearful expectation of judgment … (28) Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy … (29) How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? ... (31) It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
    • Exhortation to Draw Near To God
      • Hebrews 10:19-22 NIV Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, (20) by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, (21) and since we have a great priest over the house of God, (22) let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
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    • Closing Prayer