WHY Are So Many Believers “Dull of Hearing?” Hebrews 5:11-14

Posted in Sermon, New Testament, Hebrews by oceansidechurch on July 20th, 2014

This passage in Hebrews 5:11-14 is not only transitional to the 3rd major warning in Hebrews, but it is also foundational for a correct understanding of one of the most difficult passages in the Book.  These verses are clearly addressed to believers who have become "dull of hearing" which leads to the loss of blessings associated with their salvation in Hebrews 6:1-8.  These verses -- which can be summarized by the expression 'use it or lose it' -- can also be outlined as follows.

Transition:  "Concerning him..." (i.e. Melchizedek) -- connects this segment to the previous passage in Hebrews 5:5-10 (v.11a)

I.  Two reasons why the concept of Melchizedek's relationship to Jesus our great high priest is "hard to explain" (v.11)

     A.  Because there's just so "much" content to be communicated and understood (v.11b)

     B.  But the primary reason is because these Hebrew Christians have simply become "dull of hearing" and cannot understand (v.11c)

Transition:  The big question to be explored in the segment to follow in verses 12-14 is -- WHY?

II. The far-reaching ramifications of becoming "dull of hearing"  (vv.12-14)

      A.  These Jewish believers should be teachers by now, but instead they've even forgotten the fundamentals of the faith (v.12a)

            (In other words...'Use it or lose it!')

      B.  An illustration everyone can identify with:  these believers are like immature babies who need milk, not solid food (12b-14a)

             1.  They have "come to need milk" -- i.e. their spiritual growth has been stunted, or even regressed (v.12b)

             2.  As a result they are not "accustomed to the word of righteousness" -- They are not used to hearing teaching about how saved people who have been declared righteous by faith should live a righteous lifestyle -- and they remain babes in Christ (v.13)

             3.  In contrast, solid food -- i.e. teaching beyond the basic principles of the Gospel -- is for maturing believers (v.14a)

III. Finally the question of what makes the difference between mature and immature believers is explored (v.14b)

     A.  'Practice makes perfect' - or at least moves one in the direction of completeness in their faith (v.14b)

     B.  "Practice" is what trains the senses to "discern" (i.e. know) the difference between  "good and evil" -- the "word of righteousness

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Christ’s Priestly Qualifications Hebrews 5:1-10

Posted in Sermon, New Testament, Hebrews by oceansidechurch on July 13th, 2014

Beginning with Chapter 5 of Hebrews we move from the first segment of the book focusing on the superiority of Christ's Person, into the second major section focusing on the superiority of Christ's priesthood, according to the following outline:

II. The superiority of the Priesthood of Christ (5:1-10:39)

     A.  Christ is superior in His Qualifications (5:1-10)

     B.  Christ offers superior blessings (5:11-6:20)

          Parenthetical warning #3:  Don't diminish your spiritual growth   (5:11-6:8)

     C.  Christ is superior in His priestly order (7:1-8-15)

     D.  Christ is superior in His priestly ministry (9:1-10:18)

     E.  Christ offers a superior reward (10:19-39)

          Parenthetical warning #4:  Don't be deficient in your obedience (10:19-38)

 

The structure of this portion of the book of Hebrews is carefully and clearly laid out according to the following sermon outline:

Introduction--Three general qualifications, or aspects, of the priestly ministry of men (5:1-3)

     1.  The necessity of being called and appointed by God (v.1)

     2.  The essential characteristic of empathy for people based on shared human weaknesses and experiences  (v.2)

     3.  The primary priestly responsibility of offering gifts as well as sacrifices for the sins of others as well as for his own sin  (v.3)

 

Transition:  Hebrews 5:4-10 amplifies and explains how Christ's priestly ministry is the same or similar to the priesthood of men, but also how it is different from that of human beings in significant ways (these essential differences will be highlighted throughout this section).

 

I.  Amplification of the selection and appointment of Jesus Christ to the priesthood by the Father  (5:4-6)

     A.  Christ was called and appointed ("begotten") as our great high priest by God just as Aaron was (vv.4-5)

     B.  But Christ's priesthood is also very different because it is "forever" according to the order of Melchizedek  (v.6)

 

II. Amplification of the empathy aspect of priestly ministry -- Explains how Jesus identifies with our human condition  (3:7-8)

     A.  Reveals and explains the significance of Jesus' anguish as He faced death in the Garden of Gethsemane  (v.7)

     B.  Reveals how Jesus learned obedience in submitting to the Father's will in the Garden (v.8)

 

III. Amplification of the importance of the "perfect" sacrifice Jesus offered up on the cross  (5:9-10)

     A.  He became our perfect sacrifice on earth... (v.9a)

     B.  In order that He might become our great high priest forever in heaven and the source of "eternal salvation"  (vv.9b-10)

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The Christ of Communion Hebrews 4:14-16

Posted in Sermon, New Testament, Hebrews by oceansidechurch on July 6th, 2014

These last three verses in chapter 4 of Hebrews (4:14-16) are not only the end of the chapter, but also the end of the first major section of the book dealing with the superiority of Christ's Person.  This passage is also transitional to the next major section in Hebrews 5-10 highlighting the superiority of Christ's priesthood.  Basically these verses explain the practical significance of the Person of Christ as it relates to His high priestly function on behalf of those who believe in Him.  The message can be summed up this way:  In order to be able to "draw near with confidence" to find the help we need (v.16), we must first "hold fast our confession" (v.14).  Verses 14-15 explain why it makes good sense to hold fast to our confession of personal faith in Jesus Christ regardless of our circumstances in life.  The passage can be outlined as follows:

OUTLINE

Transition:  "therefore" - better than Moses and Joshua as source of true rest

I.   The principle (2 reasons): We have a great high priest -- So we should "hold fast"  (4:14)

            A.  He's great because of where He is - 3rd heaven  (v.14b)

            B.  He's great because of Who He is - Jesus = savior (human) and Son (diety or God)  (v.14c)

            C.  The obvious conclusion:  "hold fast"  (v.14d)

 

II.  The explanation:  Why it makes good sense to "hold fast" (vv.15-16)

 

            A. Our great high priest can "sympathize"  (v.15)

 

            B. Our great high priest (in 3rd heaven) is constant source of mercy and grace (v.16)

 

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WARNING #2: Don’t Harden Your Heart! Hebrews 3:12-4:13

Posted in Sermon, New Testament, Hebrews by oceansidechurch on June 29th, 2014

This sermon is part 2 of the message in Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 which explains the significance of the assertion in the first 6 verses of chapter 3 that Christ is better than Moses.  Hebrews 3:12-4:13 also contains the 2nd of the significant warning passages in the book, drawing on the significance of the extended quote of Psalm 95:7-11 in Hebrews 3:7-11.

III. WARNING:  Don't harden your hearts and fail to enter His rest as a result  (3:12-4:13)

      A.  The principle - Don't allow the deceitfulness of sin to harden your heart  (3:12-15)

      B.  The example - The wilderness wanderings of Israel  (3:16-19)

                * BTW--Jesus is also better than His namesake Joshua!

      C.  The application -  The importance of finding two 'kinds' of rest   (4:1-13)

                1.  The fundamental importance of a healthy respect for God based on what we already know about God (as in the example of "they" - the Israelites, cf. esp. 3:18-19)  (4:1-2)

                      * "Let us fear" (v.1) "we who have believed" (vv.2-3) vs. "did not profit them" (v.2)

                2. The foundational necessity of saving faith = "resting" from (dead) works  (4:3-4)

                      * Justification by faith means that we no longer have to work to earn salvation.

                3. The application-al experience of living faith = "obedience"  (4:5-7)

                      * Seamless transition picking up thread "profit" (v.2) - Some of US have not yet entered this 2nd kind of rest just like those in the example of the Israelites who did not enter this rest because of disobedience  (v.6)

                      * cf. one of most quoted OT verses in the NT Hab. 2:4 in Rom 1:17 "from faith to faith" (i.e. from saving faith to living faith) because "the righteous man shall [also] live by faith" - One is absolute and certain...the other is relative and proportional to obedience

                4. The important clarification-The Promised Land is not a picture of heaven...It's a picture of the obedient / victorious Christian life  (4:8-13)

                      a.  KEY:  If Joshua had given them this kind of rest (talking predominately to believers) in the past (the Jews have been in (and out of) the land since ~1398 B.C.) He would not be talking about another kind of rest "TODAY!"  (v.8)

                      b.  The foundational "Sabbath rest" for the people of God  (4:8-10)

                      c.  The second application-al  "TODAY!" kind of living rest requires diligence in order to avoid disobedience so that we might not "fall" (from our salvation?  and if we aren't saved in the first place, what are we falling away from???)

                      d.  The conclusion - important role of the Word of God in he process of learning to "rest" in God  (4:11-13)

 

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Jesus Is Better than Moses Hebrews 3:1-11

Posted in Sermon, New Testament by oceansidechurch on June 22nd, 2014

This sermon is part 1 of a 2-part message from Hebrews 3-4 concerning the superiority of Jesus Christ to Moses and the practical implications of this truth.  This portion of the text in Hebrews 3: 1-11 lays the foundation for the second and stronger warning passage in Hebrews 3:12-4:13.  The entire passage can be outlined as follows:

 

BOOK OUTLINE

I.   The superiority of the Person of Christ (1:1-4:16)

     A.  Christ is superior to the prophets (1:1-3)

     B.  Christ is superior to the angels (1:4-2:18)

         Parenthetical warning #1:  Don't drift away from Christ (2:1-4)

     C.  Christ is superior to Moses (3:1-6)

     D.  Christ is the supreme object of faith (3:7-4:16)

         Parenthetical warning #2:  Don't be deterred from entering Christ's rest (3:1-4:13)

SERMON OUTLINE – Hebrews 3-4

Part 1

I.   Introduction & Background - Jesus is even better than Moses  (3:1-6)

      A.  Introduction - The addressees and an exhortation  (v.1)

      B.  The basis for Jesus' superiority over Moses  (vv.2-6a)

            1.  Both Moses and Jesus were faithful to God, BUT..."  (v.2)

            2.  Just as the builder has more glory/ honor than the building  (v.3-4)

            3.  Moses was faithful as a 'servant,' while Jesus was faithful as a Son  (vv.5-6a) 

      C.  Pelude to the warning - 'rest' is conditional "IF" we...  (v.6b)

II.  Foundation for the warning to follow in 3:12-4:13 - The concept of 'rest'  (3:7-11; cf. Ps 95:7-11)

      * "hardness of heart" defined in v.12 as "an evil unbelieving heart" as a result of "the deceitfulness of sin" (v.13) - but note that the warning refers to "brethren."

       A.  The inspiration of the OT by the Holy Spirit is affirmed  (v.7a)

       B.  The foundation of the warning to follow is taken from Psalm 95:7-11 considering the wilderness wanderings of Israel  (vv.7b-11) 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Part 2

III. WARNING:  Don't harden your hearts and fail to enter His rest as a result  (3:12-4:13)

      A.  The principle -   (3:12-15)

      B.  The example - The wilderness wanderings of Israel  (3:16-19)

      C.  The application -   (4:1-13)

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Why Can’t Fallen Angels Be Saved Hebrews 2:14-18

Posted in Sermon, New Testament by oceansidechurch on June 15th, 2014

In these final verses of the 2nd chapter of Hebrews we have God’s last word on why Jesus is better than the angels, in spite of the fact that due to the physical limitations imposed by the incarnation Jesus was temporarily in a state “lower than the angels” (Hebrews 2:9).  This portion of Hebrews in verses 14-18 details the reasons and results of the miracle of the incarnation, and in the process explains why Jesus is still superior to the angles despite the limitations imposed by Jesus’ humanity because of what God was able to accomplish though it.  The passage can be broken down as follows:

 

I.   The primary reason for the incarnation – It was necessary in order for Jesus to identify with mankind (2:14a)

 

II.  The primary results of the incarnation – Two things the incarnation enabled Jesus to do for mankind (2:14b-15)

      A.       Jesus’ perfect life and sacrificial death on the cross broke the devil’s power to entice mankind to sin resulting in death  (2:14b)

      B.      Jesus’ substitutionary death broke the power of the fear of death which enslaves mankind  (2:15) 

Transition (v.16)  Why can’t fallen angels be saved?  (cf. James 2:19)  Jesus did not become an angelic being to save angels, He became a human being in order that God might render help to His people through Him  (2:16)

 

III. A Secondary reason for the incarnation – It was necessary in order for Jesus to fulfill His two-fold ministry as our High Priest  (2:17a)

 

IV. The secondary results of the Incarnation  (2:17b-18)

      A.      Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross served to propitiate, or appease, the anger  of God toward us because of our sin, thus making it possible for us to God to forgive us  (2:17:b)

      B.      Jesus’ perfect life in the face of all the temptations/testings  common to mankind that He endured enables Him to come to the aid of believers today who are being similarly tested/tried  (2:18)

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What Is Man? Hebrews 2:5-13

Posted in Sermon, New Testament by oceansidechurch on June 1st, 2014

This passage deals with the crucial question of why the creator of the entire universe would even care about something so seemingly insignificant as mankind, much less send His only Son to die for man's sin.  In the process the author of the Book of Hebrews explains the reason for the "already but not yet" aspect of the subjection of all things to Messiah.  This passage provides the explanation for the delay.

The passage can be outlined as follows --

I.  The principle of the subjection of creation to Messiah in light of His temporary low estate described in LXX Psalm 8 as "lower than the angels" (2:5-8)

II. The explanation of the reason why this subjugation is not yet complete as it relates to the true purpose for Christ's first advent  (2:9-13)

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WARNING: The Danger of Drifting Hebrews 2:1-4

Posted in Sermon, New Testament by oceansidechurch on May 25th, 2014

This is the first of five difficult warning passages in the Book of Hebrews.  This passage concerning the danger of inattentiveness causing us to drift away from God's truth resulting in  neglect of our salvation that God has procured for us at such great cost.  The passage can be outlined as follows--

I.  WARNING:  The danger of drifting is that we can end up neglecting our salvation sue to inattentiveness (v.1)

II. Explanation:  There is no escaping the consequences of our spiritual insensitivity and neglect  (vv.2-4)

     A.  A comparison of the "just penalties" under the Law of Moses "spoken through angels  (v.2)

     B.  The consequences of spiritual inattentiveness and neglect of "so great a salvation"  (v.3a)

          1.  We cannot escape God justice under God's grace any more than God's people under the Law in the OT could  (v.3a)

          2.  The reason is because God's truth in the gospel of our salvation which was spoken through the Lord (Jesus) has been clearly and miraculously confirmed to us...and we ARE accountable for paying close attention to that truth in our lives!  (vv.3b-4)

 

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Jesus Is Better Than the Angels Hebrews 1:4-14

Posted in Sermon, New Testament by oceansidechurch on May 18th, 2014

The second major point concerning the superiority of the person of Jesus Christ is that He is superior to the angels (Heb. 1:4b-2:18).  The passage can be outlined as follows--

I.  The statement of Christ's superiority over the angels  (1:3b-4)

II. The explanation of Christ's superiority over the angles  (1:5-13)

III. The purpose of the incarnation contrasted with the purpose of angels  (1:14)

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Jesus Is Better…So Don’t Quit! Hebrews 1:1-4

Posted in Sermon, New Testament by oceansidechurch on May 11th, 2014

Introduction to the Book of Hebrews and its message concerning the superiority of God's revelation of Himself in Christ, and the impact of that truth on our daily lives -- especially as it relates to the role of a Christian mother on this Mother's Day.

Overview of Hebrews

Title:  “To the Hebrews” in the oldest manuscripts (around A.D. 200)

Author:  Anonymous -- Origen (c. A.D.184-254) said, "Who wrote the epistle in truth God alone knows."

Possible human authors:  (1) Paul (c. A.D. 5-67), (2) a co-worker of Paul, e.g. Apollos, Luke, Barnabus (Jensen p.407), (3) an unknown Christian with an in-depth knowledge of the Old Testament (e.g. Clement of Rome, etc.). Strongest evidence against Pauline authorship is the lack of any appeal to apostolic authority so characteristic of Paul's letters (cf. 2:3; Ryrie, p.1836).

Date:  A.D. 65-70   It appears that the Temple--which was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70--is still standing, although Hebrews does hint at a looming destruction (12:27).

Audience:  May have been a single congregation of predominately Hebrew Christians, possibly in Rome (13:4); there is some indication they may also have been 2nd generation Christians (2:1-4; 3:1; 5:11-12; 6:9-10). The audience is a key issue – especially for the interpretation of the 5 difficult warning passages in the book.  Main options—

(1)     True believers who are in danger of losing their salvation (the Arminian perspective)

(2)     A group within the fellowship who were “professing” but not “possessing” salvation (Calvinistic view of perseverance)

(3)     Hypothetical—they would deserve to lose their salvation if they could, but they can’t (Hebrews 10:29)

(4)     True believers who are in danger of losing the blessings associated with an obedient Christian life (Hebrews 6:9)

Focus:  The superiority of Christ and the Christian faith – "Consider Jesus, Our Great High Priest" (cf. Hebrews 3:1)

Purpose:  To encourage wavering Hebrew Christians not to abandon their faith and return to Judaism due to the severe difficulties they were experiencing (Judaism was an "accepted" religion, while Christianity was not), by demonstrating the superiority of Jesus, our great High Priest of the New Covenant ().

Key Word:  “better” (e.g. Heb. 1:4) – Strong’s #2909, comparative form of #2570 “strong(er)” used 18 times in NT, 12 times in Hebrews.

Key Verse:  Hebrews 4:14 “Therefore, since we have a great high priest…let us hold fast our confession.”

 

Outline of the Book of Hebrews  (Based on the outline in The Ryrie Study Bible)

"Hebrews is a unique commentary on the Old Testament.  It interprets its history, explaining the fulfillment of its prophecy and revealing the ultimate purpose of all its institutions of worship...'Consider Jesus' is its urgent appeal to believers who were turning their backs to Jesus." [Jensen, p.406, italics added for emphasis]

I.   The superiority of the Person of Christ (1:1-4:16)

     A.  Christ is superior to the prophets (1:1-3)

     B.  Christ is superior to the angels (1:4-2:18)

         Parenthetical warning #1:  Don’t drift away from Christ (2:1-4)

     C.  Christ is superior to Moses (3:1-6)

     D.  Christ is the supreme object of faith (3:7-4:16)

         Parenthetical warning #2:  Don’t be deterred from entering Christ’s rest (3:1-4:13)

II. The superiority of the Priesthood of Christ (5:1-10:39)

     A.  Christ is superior in His Qualifications (5:1-10)

     B.  Christ offers superior blessings (5:11-6:20)

          Parenthetical warning #3:  Don’t diminish your spiritual growth   (5:11-6:8)

     C.  Christ is superior in His priestly order (7:1-8-15)

     D.  Christ is superior in His priestly ministry (9:1-10:18)

     E.  Christ offers a superior reward (10:19-39)

          Parenthetical warning #4:  Don’t be deficient in your obedience (10:19-38)

III. The superiority of the Provision of Christ (11:1-13:19)

     A.  The provision of faith in Christ (11:1-40)

     B.  The provision of hope in Christ (12:1-29)

          Parenthetical warning #5:  Don’t disregard His warnings!  (12:14-29)

     C.  The provision of love in Christ (13:1-19)

Concluding Benediction:  To Him be the glory forever and ever. AMEN (13:20-25)

 

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