:) Finally had some time! Next week should be fun... we're heading into some messianic prophecies... :)

Happy studying!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hebrews Chapter 3

Hebrews Chapter 3


- The author calls upon those of us who "belong to God" to think carefully about Who Jesus is.

- The chapter title in my study bible is listed as, "Christ is greater than Moses."

- The church, at this time, was dealing with people who were trying to place more precedence on the teachings and law of Moses, than those of Christ. (Forgetting that Moses was just the vessel through whom God sent His Word.)

- This faith, is centered around Christ. He is the focal point... However, sometimes, that fact is overlooked... or put a little to the side of things.

- Which... on a side note... is what our pastor's been talking about for a couple of months... Keeping Christ in the center, and not in the periphery.

- Moses was a man such as we are. Human. But called to a purpose. He was faithful to the God Who had appointed him. He was entrusted with God's entire house. He was the servant left in charge of everything...

- Which is a parallel to Christ. He too was called to a purpose. He was faithful to God. He was entrusted with the salvation of God's entire house... and He was given charge over everything.

- Okay... so basically they did the same thing... so why is Christ any better than Moses?

- "But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. for every house has a builder, but the One Who built everything is God."

- When we look at a house... we don't assume that the house built itself... There had to be someone working on the structure.

- God is the Master Builder. He's the architect. He's the man in charge. I heard a sermon a few months ago about God building the church...

- The preacher was talking about an architect hiring specialists for different jobs... like electricians, and carpenters, and plumbers. Everybody has a job to do, that is overseen by the architect.

- Consider Moses... as a carpenter... He's building a section, working on one part... but he's not in charge of the whole project, nor is he able to change the final outcome. Yeah Moses may have had other people under his command... but so do some of the other specialists...

- But God... He's the One directing everyone's next step in the project.

- Christ is that Master Builder... so Moses... pales in comparison.

- Sure Moses was a great example of a leader... a great example of faith to follow and look to... but so were Paul, and Billy Graham, and A. B. Simpson, and Charles Wesley. They were all great men of faith. Does it make them God? Definitely not... Can we look to their teachings for insight? Sure. Can we look at their lives and learn lessons? Sure. But in a lot of ways... we can look at people like Ghandi... and learn lessons from his life just as much as we can from Christians. There were decent people in other religions who had good moral teachings too... We can't just assume that every good teaching means that it comes from God. Nor can we follow the man who brings the message, rather than the One Who gives the message.

- "His (Moses') work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God's entire house. and we are God's house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ."

- Moses was a worker. Yes his life shows us many things. But the things that Moses taught and the works he did... all pointed to Christ. They were a foreshadowing, if you will, of those things that were to come.

- John 1:17-18
- Galatians 3:23-4:7
- Romans 10:1-11:36
- Acts 24:14-16
- II Corinthians 3:6-14
- I Peter 2:4-12

vs. 7-11- HARD HEARTS

- vs. 7-11 are quoted from Psalm 95. It's about giving praise to God because He is our protector. He watches over us. He is the great God almighty Who rules over everything. However... even though God was all those things to Israel... they continually kept turning away.

- ".... Today when you hear His voice, don't harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested Me in the wilderness. There your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for forty years. So I was angry with them, and I said, "Their hearts always turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them" So in my anger I took an oath; "They will never enter my place of rest."

- The people of Israel had this nasty habit, of forgetting Who was Boss... Moses was constantly advocating on the people's behalf because of their stubbornness. There were a couple of times that God was ready to destroy the people and start all over except that Moses advocated for them and asked for one more chance for the people.

- Christ does the same thing. Our sins cause us to be condemned to hell. We would die in our sins were it not for Christ... But Christ, our advocate before the Father, steps in to plead our case before God. He says, "Look, I've already paid for this one. No matter their sin... They accepted my sacrifice for their sin... so this one is washed white as snow. This one is mine."

- Christ's sacrifice allows us to enter into God's place of rest. Without that sacrifice... we'd still be wandering in the wilderness. But now, we have a way over the Jordan. We can cross over into the promised land, free of our sins.

- Zechariah 7:11-14
- Psalm 95
- I John 2:1-6
- John 15:26-27

vs. 12-15- HARD HEARTS

- And now we have another warning to be careful and be sure that we are keeping watch on our hearts. "Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still "today," so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ."

- footnote- "Our hearts turn away from the living God when we stubbornly refuse to believe Him. If we persist in our unbelief, God will eventually leave us alone in our sin. But God can give us new hearts, new desires, and new spirits. To prevent having an unbelieving heart, stay in fellowship with other believers, talk daily about your mutual faith, be aware of the deceitfulness of sin (it attracts but also destroys), and encourage each other with love and concern."

- We had a girl speak today who's leaving for the mission field. She shared about Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. She was talking about how we forget that this walk is about complete surrender. We start out thinking, "okay God... I'm going to give you all of me." But then we find little pieces of ourselves that we want to maintain control over. It might be a really little thing... but it's still that thing that we're holding back from God.

- As I thought about all that she was saying this morning, I realized, there's a lot of things I hold back from God sometimes. There's a lot of times that God asks me to let go of things in my life and I... start to let go... maybe even start to feel like I have let it go... but then a couple weeks or so in... I realize... I'm still holding on just as tight as I ever was.

- When we hold back from God... He can't fully work in our lives or in our hearts. We can't hold onto things of the world and expect to lead a heavenly minded life. It doesn't work that way.

- Our hearts are fickle. We long for relationship with God... and yet we still want to have worldly things to fill the "holes" in our hearts.

- The footnote said something about stubbornly refusing to believe God. Do you trust God? Do you believe that He will provide no matter what? Do you believe that He always has your best interest at heart?

- Then why are you clinging to the "stable" things of this world? Why do you hang on to fleeting things, hoping that they'll become eternal?

- When we insist on taking control of things in our lives... it's like telling God that we don't fully trust Him. We don't trust that He has our best interest at heart. We don't trust that He is our provider. We don't trust that He'll always bring us through.

- This isn't always an easy walk. Today in Sunday school, we were talking to the little kids about the seasons. How every season has a purpose and how sometimes we have seasons in life that are like the earth's seasons...

- The one thing that always stays the same... no matter what... is God. Everything around us can change. Everything IN us can change... but God is the one constant.

- We have to keep our fickle hearts in line. And only God can help us do that. Because He's the only thing that remains consistent...

- So ask God to help you keep your heart on the path. Ask Him to help you keep your heart from walking into sinful things.

- The author said to warn each other while it was still "today." Because tomorrow... may never come. So, we should remind each other often, that regardless of our heart's season... We must continue to surrender those things to God which hold us back from living a full life in Him. Just as when you first believed enough to surrender your life to Him... When you first heard a whisper in your soul that called you to Him. "Trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed."

- So "today when you hear His voice, don't harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled." Hold fast to the undeniable Truth.

- Hebrews 12:18-29
- Ephesians 4:20-5:14

vs. 16-19- REFUSED ENTRY

- You know it's easy when we're in a high place with God to think that we're untouchable. That nothing can ever move us from His presence. Nothing can ever tear us away from this relationship...

- But who was it who rebelled? It wasn't the ones who had never heard anything. It was the very ones who had heard the voice of God. They were released from captivity. Moses led them out of Egypt into freedom. And yet they rebelled. They looked at God and said "it's not enough! We want to go back to Egypt! You're not our provider. You're not our savior. We want to go back to the easy life!" And so they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years... still complaining.

- God swore they would never enter His rest... and they didn't... They all died off during the 40 year march around the mountain. Their children went in... but they themselves did not.

- Because of their unbelief... they couldn't enter in. Because they balked at what God wanted them to do... they didn't go into the promised land. Because they were fearful and refused to allow God to lead them into victory regardless of what the circumstances looked like... they didn't enter in...

- You know... the other night... I was reading and working on some things and I was listening to my ipod... and like 7 songs in a row were just praise songs that caught me where I was... And I had like an hour praise fest. Just crying and praising and just... worshiping God... It was AWESOME!

- And so when I laid down to go to bed that night pretty soon after that... the second my head hit the pillow, Satan was in my head throwing all kinds of stuff at me. And most of it faster than I could even comprehend... and I was in the middle of a mental spiritual battle that just drained me of everything.

- I just had this awesome God moment... and you know... my first response should have been to call out to God... but you know... I was so shocked and so taken aback... that I completely forgot that that moment had ever existed... and I tried to fight the battle on my own... and I didn't call out... because I got so caught up in trying to keep my head above water, that I forgot that I was only standing ankle deep and just needed to call out for a hand to hold onto so I could regain my balance and stand up.

- Now technically that's not a story of rebellion... just... struggle and failure... but... the point is the same... If we look at the little picture... we forget that God's in control. If we focus in on our little circumstances... we lose sight of the fact that Christ has won the battle and that "greater is He Who is in me, than he who is in the world." Our God is greater than all other things... no matter how big they might seem.

- Remember Peter trying to walk on the water? He was fine until he started looking around at the waves and realizing what he was doing... While he was focused on Christ, he was walking just like nothing... but when he got distracted and started looking at all the things that could destroy him... his fear was going to allow him to be destroyed.

- We can't be afraid of walking on the water. Christ won't let us drown if we're stepping out where He's invited us to come... If the Israelites had gone up that first time... there's no doubt in my mind that they would have defeated the enemy and been completely victorious... but they started looking at the giants and they saw nothing but how small they were... They forgot how big their God was...

- So... I guess what I'm trying to say... is don't forget that we serve a BIG God. Don't get distracted by all the waves and the giants. Our belief determines whether or not we enter into God's eternal rest. So don't let your heart be overcome by unbelief. As one father prayed in Mark 9 "I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!"

- I Corinthians 10:1-17
- II Peter 2:1-23

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