Sermon Archive

This is our 27th and final lesson from the book of Hebrews. Let's think about what we have learned from Hebrews.

Direct download: 2015-0809_hebrews_nelson.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 10:45am PDT

Direct download: 2015-0802_hebrews_nelson.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 8:30am PDT

Author's final appeal to leave Judaism.

Direct download: 2015-0726_hebrews_nelson.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 8:30am PDT

As the Preacher continues to spell out the practicals of the life of faith he instructs his readers to remember and imitate the faith of their church leaders. "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith" (Hebrews 13:7 ESV).

That they are to remember likely indicates these leaders are dead. These leaders may very well have lead them to faith in Jesus. Previously, these folks had been encouraged to imitate the faith of the Old Testament saints listed in chapter 11. In addition they are to remember and imitate the faith of their church leaders. This morning we are going to do just that. Remember with me these spiritual leaders who have lead us and are now with the Lord awaiting the Rapture.

Direct download: 2015-0719_hebrews_nelson.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 8:30am PDT

In Hebrews 11 the Preacher emphasized that faith pleases God and those who live by faith are accepted by God. In chapter 12 he exhorts us to run the race of faith with endurance keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Now, in chapter 13, the Preacher spells out what the race of faith looks like. These are the things in which we are to endure.

Direct download: 2015-0712_hebrews_nelson.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 10:45am PDT

Especially in times of suffering, the church family is responsible to make sure that no one in the family "fails to obtain the grace of God" (Heb. 12:15; cf. 4:14-16). For the original recipients of Hebrews this was particularly acute on account of the persecution they were suffering. Failure to obtain God's grace would spiral into bitterness; bitterness into spiritual contempt and spiritual contempt into defection back into Judaism (12:15-16).

Esau traded away the covenant and material blessings of his birthright for a bowl of soup. Consumed by hunger, he made a tragic decision. He remained Isaac's son, but received far less than what he might have. Consumed by bitterness, hurting believers are at risk of making a similarly tragic decision.

The church family needs to do all that it can to help strugglers obtain the grace of God lest they spiral past the point of no return as did Esau.

Direct download: 2015-0628_hebrews_nelson.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 10:45am PDT

We were running stride for stride when we hit the sand dune. By the time we came out of the dune my opponent had dropped back 40 yards and in the half mile to the finish line was unable to recover. That day, as a high school freshman cross country runner, I came to value more deeply my coaches and the training they required of us. In a workout earlier that week our coaches had us run sprint repeats across that sand dune. It was an incredibly hard workout; I distinctly remember tasting blood from my throat through the last several sprints. But the results on race day made the pain of that workout worthwhile.

We are running the race of faith (Heb. 12:1-2). Our race includes pain and suffering at many levels and in many ways. That is why we must run with patient endurance. And the key to patient endurance is attitude. The point of my running story is that my attitude changed. My attitude prior was not bad. But on that day my belief in the value of our workouts and my commitment to endure the pain of our workouts increased. Rather than thinking, "Oh no, what are they going to make us do today?" my attitude became "Bring it on, let's do this!"

In Hebrews 12:3-11 the Preacher speaks to the attitude of the Hebrew Christians towards their suffering. Whether they become bitter or better will be determined by their attitude towards the suffering which God was allowing them to suffer. The key word in 12:3-11 is discipline. It refers not to punishment nor church discipline but to child rearing. A better word would be training. The Preacher has in mind the parenting process by which a child is brought to maturity. As any good father (and mother) trains his children so also God trains His children.

In 12:3-11 the Preacher shifts from the metaphor of a race to child rearing. Just as a good Father requires hard things of his son in order to bring him to maturity, so God uses suffering/persecution to bring His children to maturity. Though some of us may not have had a father or a good father, we can relate to the comparison through a good coach or teacher who required hard things of us in order to bring us to maturity.

Direct download: 2015-0621_hebrews_nelson.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 10:45am PDT

For those of us who do not care for running it probably seems fitting that the Greek term for a foot race is agon from which we derive the term agony. We have a number of marathoners in our church family and they know all about the agony of the race. They are a different breed of human being; much to be admired.

In Hebrews 12 the Preacher likens the life of faith to running a race which I'm sure our marathoners would agree is an apt comparison. Both take discipline, both require endurance of pain and fatigue, both have experiences of intense joy and satisfaction and both are run in hope of reaching the finish line.

Some of those to whom the Preacher wrote were tempted to drop out of the race and return to Judaism. The Preacher's purpose was to strengthen and encourage these Hebrew Christians to continue to run the race with endurance because those who endure inherit the promises of God.

Direct download: 2015-0614_nelson_hebrews.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 10:45am PDT

It is a common misconception that people who lived during the Old Testament were saved by keeping the Law of Moses while those who lived after Jesus are saved by grace. This error was perpetuated by the Pharisees in Judaism and later by the Judaizers in the Church. The Apostle Paul combated this error in both Romans and Galatians.

The truth of the matter is that in every dispensation, sinners are reconciled to God by faith. Faith is the basis by which every sinner from Adam & Eve to the last person born in the Millennial Kingdom is justified before God. No sinner has or ever will be declared righteous by God on the basis of keeping the Law or by good works.

Direct download: 150531AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 8:30am PDT

In 10:19-39, the Preacher applies, warns and encourages. To fully understand we need to think about a critical incident in the ministry of our Lord recorded in Matthew 12. Prior to Matthew 12, Jesus and His disciples traveled from town to town preaching the good news of the Kingdom and appealing to the nation of Israel to "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand." On the occasion recorded in Matthew 12:22-45, Jesus cast out a demon. When the people asked if Jesus could be "the Son of David" (v.23), that is, the Messiah, their spiritual leaders responded that Jesus was in league with Satan, not God (12:24). This is the unpardonable sin. This is the moment the nation of Israel rejected Messiah. From that point on, Jesus spoke judgment upon that generation (12:38-45; 21:33-46; 23:1-36). He began speaking in parables to hide the truth as an act of judgment (13:10-17). He and His disciples no longer preached the coming of the Kingdom (16:20). Jesus began preparing His disciples for His crucifixion and resurrection (17:9-13, 22-23; 20:17-19). Jesus revealed the judgment that would befall that generation.

Direct download: 150524AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 10:45am PDT

In 9:1-10:18 the Preacher continues to demonstrate the inadequacies of the Mosaic (Old) Covenant. The ministry of the Old Covenant took place in an earthly tabernacle that limited access to God to one man once a year; the ministry of the New Covenant takes place in the heavenly Tabernacle and opens access to God through the one man, Jesus Christ. Animal sacrifices under the Old Covenant had to be offered repeatedly because they dealt only with the external and could not take away sin; Jesus' sacrifice under the New Covenant was offered once for all because it purifies the conscience and takes away sin. The Old Covenant was a shadow and parable meant to reveal truths about God, the way of salvation and ultimately the Messiah; the New Covenant is the reality.

Direct download: 150517AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 8:45am PDT

In our study of Hebrews 7:11-28 we discovered that in 1000B.C., through King David, God revealed a massive change in His program for Israel: Messiah will be both King and Priest! This revelation had huge implications: a change in the priesthood necessarily requires a change in the law. Psalm 110:4 revealed that when Messiah comes the Law of Moses and the Aaronic Priesthood would end. They would be replaced by the Law of Messiah and the Melchizedekian Priesthood. Far from being an attack on Judaism, these changes were always part of God's plan. Another implication of Psalm 110:4 is that with a change in the law and priesthood, there would also be a change in the covenant. The Law of Moses and the Aaronic Priesthood were associated with the Mosaic Covenant. The Mosaic Covenant was a conditional covenant between God and Israel. The terms of the Mosaic Covenant were straight forward:  obedience to the Law brings blessing, disobedience brings cursing.

Direct download: 150510AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 8:45am PDT

With the coming of Jesus our Messiah a massive change took place in God's program: both the Law of Moses and the Aaronic Priesthood came to an end. They were replaced by the Law of Messiah and the Melchizedekian Priesthood. As Gentiles we struggle to comprehend the magnitude of this change.

For the Jews of the first century A.D. such an idea was incomprehensible. In their view Jesus was a blasphemer, not the Messiah. As far as they were concerned absolutely nothing changed in God's program. To suggest that the Law of Moses and the Aaronic Priesthood had ended and been replaced was, in their view, an attack on Judaism and Jewish identity.

Their hatred and persecution of messianic believers for holding such a belief is not hard to understand. In Hebrews 7:11-28 the Preacher explains the purpose, reasons and result of this change in God's program. He shows that this change in the law and priesthood is not a New Testament invention, but was always part of God's plan as revealed in the Jewish Scriptures by one of the pillars of Judaism, King David himself.

Direct download: 150503AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 10:30am PDT

Direct download: 150426AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 10:30am PDT

The recipients of the book of Hebrews were not in a good place spiritually. They were saved but they were spiritual babies. They had become "dull of hearing" and were dangerously vulnerable to their enemies. The Preacher was concerned lest they fall away, recant their faith in Christ and fail to go on to spiritual maturity (5:11-6:8). Having delivered a stern warning about the consequences of falling away, he softens his tone to encourage his brothers and sisters to go on to spiritual maturity.

Direct download: 150419AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians in 65 A.D. suffering persecution for their faith in Jesus as Messiah.  In this warning section the Preacher confronts their spiritual regression. As a result of drifting away from God’s Word (2:1), they have regressed to a state of spiritual infancy increasingly vulnerable to their Jewish antagonists and the temptation to defect from Christ. The Preacher seeks to shake them out of their spiritual lethargy and to help them press on to spiritual maturity. He warns them that if they continue their drift and defect back into Judaism they will cross a line of no return. In 5:11-14, the Preacher addresses the fact they have become dull of hearing.

Direct download: 150412AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 10:30am PDT

Keeping in mind that the original readers of Hebrews were tempted to leave Christ and return to Judaism helps us understand why the Preacher here begins a long section focused on the High Priesthood of Christ. He is challenging another major pillar of Judaism:  Aaron and the Levitical Priesthood. From 5:1 through 10:18 the Preacher is demonstrating the many ways that the High Priesthood of Jesus is superior to the High Priesthood of the Levitical system. The challenge to his audience was this, "Why would you go back to the inferior Levitical Priesthood and not continue to trust Jesus Christ your great High Priest?" (Read Hebrews 4:14-5:10) In 5:1-4, the Preacher outlines four basic principles related to the office of high priest as stipulated in the Law of Moses.

Direct download: 150315AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Jesus wants you to have the fullest, most amazing experience in His kingdom. He doesn’t want you to simply be in the kingdom, He wants you to own it and rule over it with Him. He wants you to be part of building a world government that actually helps people; that brings peace and prosperity to its citizens. Jesus wants you to share in His kingdom; He wants you to be a partaker, not a spectator.  He wants you to be on the field experiencing the thrill of His victory. But the truth of the matter is that not all of us will share in the kingdom. All believers will be in the Kingdom, but not all believers will share in the kingdom.

Direct download: 150308AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

It is important for us to remember that the original recipients of Hebrews were first century messianic Jews tempted to defect from Christ and return to Judaism. Throughout the book, the Preacher of Hebrews warns his readers not to return to Judaism, but to remain faithful to Christ and so receive their inheritance. In Hebrews 3:1-6 the Preacher demonstrates that Jesus is superior to Moses. For us 21st Gentiles that may not seem like a big deal, but for first century Jews it was.

Direct download: 150222AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

When we studied the book of Revelation, we encountered an incredible scene in the heavenly throne room (Rev. 4).  In the right hand of God the Father is the seven-sealed scroll containing the Title Deed of Mankind's Inheritance waiting to be opened (Rev. 5:1-3). The Apostle John bursts into tears because no one in all the universe is found worthy to open it (Rev. 5:4). No angel, no human, not even the Father nor the Spirit are worthy!

The only person in all the universe worthy to open the scroll is Jesus (Rev. 5:5-14). Hebrews 2:10-18 explains how it is that only Jesus is worthy.  It is because He is the only person in all the universe qualified to accomplish God's purposes and promises for mankind.

Hebrews 2:10-18 explains why that is.

Direct download: 150215AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

When we studied the book of Revelation, we encountered an incredible scene in the heavenly throne room (Rev. 4). In the right hand of God the Father is the seven-sealed scroll containing the Title Deed of Mankind's Inheritance waiting to be opened (Rev. 5:1-3). The Apostle John bursts into tears because no one in all the universe is found worthy to open it (Rev. 5:4). No angel, no human, not even the Father nor the Spirit are worthy! The only person in all the universe worthy to open the scroll is Jesus (Rev. 5:5-14). Hebrews 2:10-18 explains how it is that only Jesus is worthy. It is because He is the only person in all the universe qualified to accomplish God's purposes and promises for mankind.

Direct download: 150208AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

We discover in this passage that our dominion over creation, which was lost in the Fall, will be restored in the Kingdom of our Lord.

Direct download: 150201AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

In Hebrews 2:1-4 the Preacher delivers the first of five warnings: Pay attention - Stop drifting!

Direct download: 150125AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

By Contrasting the Father's treatment of angels and His treatment of the Son, the Preacher supports his claim that the Son has become superior to the angels.

Direct download: 150118AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Similarly, understanding Hebrews 1:5-14 depends on knowing how to look at it.

We'll first read Hebrews 1 then look out some background issues that will help us understand the message of the Preacher. As we read, remember the Preacher is writing to a house church of messianic Jews some of whom are drifting in their commitment to Christ and others tempted to defect and return to Judaism. He is warning them not to drift or defect from the exalted Son through Whom God has spoken. Read Hebrews 1

Direct download: 150111AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

In the last two hundred years Western culture has been shaped by the ideas of such secular intellectuals as Rousseau, Darwin, Marx, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Bertrand Russell, Sartre, Orwell, Chomsky. But why should anybody listen to Rousseau or Darwin or Marx or Russell? What credentials do they have to tell us what's true?

In his book The Intellectuals, historian Paul Johnson examines their lives and makes clear is that these people have no credibility (1). Their personal lives are characterized by self-centeredness, egoism, arrogance, abuse of others, alcoholism, drugs, sexual immorality, misogyny, financial mismanagement, lying, hypocrisy and on and on the list goes. These were miserable, wicked individuals who didn’t live out their own ideas. Yet others, most probably not knowing the personal character of their mentors, listened and acted on their words plunging the West into the darkness of the 20th and 21st centuries. So who can we trust? Who has the credentials and character such that we can unconditionally trust what they say to be true?

 

(1) Johnson, Paul (2009-10-13). Intellectuals (P.S.) Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Direct download: 150104AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Context is critical to the study of God's Word. When beginning a study of a book of the Bible it is essential to discover its historical context. Every good commentary will cover authorship, date, recipients and historical circumstances in its introduction. An excellent online resource for historical context of each New Testament book is Dr. Daniel Wallace's New Testament:  Introductions and Outlines. 

Direct download: 141228AM.mp3
Category:Hebrews -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

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