Sunday, August 14, 2011
Hebrews is a lawyer's book. The author explains the proofs that undeniably point to Jesus and Who He is as God who came to earth and took on flesh.
The first section describes Christ in His deity. That He is above all things spiritual... even the angels. At different points in church history, angels have been thought to be supreme spiritual beings. Many times there have been people who pray to the angels. Or seek the angels for help... rather than Christ. Even during the early church's history, there were those philosophies that put Christ either equal with the angels, or gave the angels precedence over Him. So Christ... even though He became a Man... was still God... and still holds more power than the angels.
The next section shows the superiority of Christ over man. Even though Christ Himself WAS a man... He was still God. Therefore, we are not equal with Christ... and no man who does great things... is equal with Christ... not even Moses. Jews still held Moses in great reverence. The Judiazers wanted to follow the teachings, law, and covenant of Moses... while still trying to follow Christ under the new covenant... which can't be done. So Christ, should come before Moses.
Hebrews (a chapter or so later.) also points out that God is higher than the priests. No man comes before God... so neither do the heads of religion. They too, have to answer to God.
The guy covering for our pastor last Sunday was talking about two gnostic beliefs that were in teaching during the early church. Both tried to take away a part of Who Christ was.
One said that Christ was man... but not God... and the other said that Christ was God... not man... and when He was on the earth He wasn't a man... but rather... a ghost.
Neither belief wanted to accept the fullness of Christ. They didn't want to accept the fact that God could be man and God at the same time... and be 100% both simultaneously. So the first two sections refute both those beliefs.
The third section of Hebrews talks about the kind of faith we should have in Christ. The author rebukes the Hebrews for still being babes in Christ. “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God's word.”
Being a Christian does not mean getting to float along until we get to heaven. We still have things we have to do... and part of this walk, is growing and learning so that we can help others grow and learn as well.
The fourth section declares that Christ has made a new covenant with His people. The old covenant... was just a shadow of the covenant to come. There is one sacrifice for all time... for all sins. No more need for yearly sacrifices. Christ has overcome death, hell, and the grave. There is none greater
Now all of this takes faith to believe in it. So the author gives examples of faith down through Israel's history. He gives many examples and finally says “How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of [others who kept the faith]... All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.”
Because we are God's children, He treats us with good discipline. His discipline proves that He loves us. “My child, don't make light of the Lord's discipline, and don't give up when He corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child.”
In conclusion, Hebrews ends with a reminder of God's faithfulness. “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you. So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”