Tag Archives: Faith
I have been thing a lot lately about Love… not just any type of Love but biblical, righteous, and true Love. I sat and thought and wrote down what I personally thought this true Love was. Come to find out, after reading 1 Corinthians 13, I was wrong in my way of thinking. So I sat down for two hours and picked apart 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a. I read many versions that helped me along the way such as; KJV, ESV, The Message, and AMP versions, which you can click on and read too! Well the following is what I came up with, the M. Standard Version per-say…
Love is charity, affection that combines good will with brotherly love. Love suffers long with understanding by patiently bearing the offenses and injuries of others, enduring with faith through misfortune and trouble, and by being slow to physical, or verbal, anger and punishment. Love is having a mild and gentle spirit about you that is considerate of the feelings of others and only wishes to be helpful, encouraging, and uplifting. Love does not have bitterness or resentment towards a person because they possess abilities, looks, or success that it may earnestly desire to obtain, nor does Love wish or desire to be zealously sought after in this way. Love does not want, crave, or demand self-display, self-exhalation, or to be placed on a pedestal, nor does Love boast or brag of it’s own life or future in order to gain kinship. Love does not carry itself in an arrogant, lofty, or proud manner and does not condescend upon others. Love does not conduct, act, or speak in an unattractive way causing its appearance, character, or reputation to be tarnished and stained; by being rude, unfair, perverse, unflattering, inappropriate, crude, inept, dis-credible, or ungodly. Love is not self-ambitious, self-gaining, or self-satisfying through devotion to its own interests, benefits, and welfare; but rather seeks to improve and advance the character and abilities of others. Love is not easily provoked, irritated, or antagonized by their environment or by the actions and speech of others, nor does it despise these things; but instead is quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger – always going to the Lord in prayer first. Love does not think or plot wicked, revengeful, or destructive concepts, nor does it count, number, or compute the injuries or troubles enacted upon it. Love does not praise or condone unrighteousness of the heart or of life, nor does it overlook deeds that violate the laws of justice. However, Love delights in and respects the purity of Truth and things appertaining to God and the duties of men; according to the moral and ethical standards set forth to follow which are found in the Word of God. Love bears, conceals, and protects all things through silence concerning the faults and errors of others which, if let out and told, would threaten the life and/or livelihood of that person. Love has full trust, commitment, and confidence in all things that abide in and are of God and His Word. Love hopes for all things, including people, by waiting and believing for salvation in the fullness of joy and confidence. Love endures all things, good and bad, by remaining steadfast in its faith and drawing near to God, not by fleeing or receding when trials and hardships come face-to-face. Love never falls away, falls down, or perishes… Love never fails.
That’s it, and it’s something I will be praying for to come to fruition in my life. I need to show Love like this and I know that I do not show it all the time, but I want to…
Thanks for reading and I hope you were as convicted and blessed as I was when I dove deep into this short passage for understanding and wisdom.
“…therefore thus says the Lord God,
“Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,
a stone, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:
‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’…” – ESV / Commentary
In chapters five to ten the writer makes two important contrasts of his time (1) the high priests of Israel and Jesus Christ the great high priest, and (2) the ritual animal sacrifices of the old covenant and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. For the rest of this study we will look first at what the writer says about the high priests of Israel, then at what he says about Melchizedek, then at the priesthood of Jesus Christ. In the next study we will look at the sacrifices of the old covenant and the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Lets compare and contrast now the High Priests of Israel to Jesus the Great High Priest…
About the high priests of Israel the writer states in chapter 5 verse 1 ‘For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.‘ and in verse 2 ‘He can deal gently… since he himself is beset (subject) with weakness‘, in verse 3 ‘he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people.’, in verse 4 ‘but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.’, in chapter 7 verse 11 ‘Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise‘ – basically they could not mediate ‘perfection‘ established on the basis of the law, in verse 20 ‘For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath‘, in verse 23 ‘The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office’ – basically saying because they died they had to be replaced, many times, in verse 27 ‘to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people‘, in verse 28 ‘For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests‘ – basically they were weak men, in chapter 8 verse 2 ‘a minister in the holy places, in the true tent (tabernacle) that the Lord set up, not man‘ – Jesus served in a tent made by God whereas the High Priests of Israel served in a tent made by man, in verse 5 ‘They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things.‘ – the High Priests of Israel serve a copy and shadow of what is prepared in heaven, in verses 6-12 the High Priests of Israel served under a faulty and inferior covenant, and in verse 13 ‘In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away‘ – meaning they serve under a now serve under an ‘obsolete’ covenant (remember this is a letter to the Hebrews who are being tempted to go back to this traditional and ritualistic way under the old law).
Lets move onto Melchizedek – First read the Old Testament record of the meeting between Abraham and Melchizedek in Genesis 14:18-20. Though the writer contrasts Jesus to the high priests of Israel, he also points out to the Hebrews a similarity between Jesus and Melchizedek. Now lets draw our attention to five facts about Melchizedek; in chapter 7 verses 1-2 ‘king of Salem, priest of the Most High God‘ and ‘by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace‘, in verse 3 ‘He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life… he continues a priest forever‘, in verse 4-10 ‘See how great this man was… It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior… One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham‘ – basically they he is stating that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham, and therefore greater than Levi, the priestly tribe, in verse 13 ‘For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe‘, and in verse 16 ‘who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life‘ – meaning his role as priest was all based on his conformation to regulations about ancestry
Let’s finish with the Greatest High Priest of them all, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in chapter 4 verse 14a ‘Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens‘ – not just the man-made curtain into the man-made sanctuary, 14b ‘Jesus, the Son of God‘, verse 15 ‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.‘, in chapter 5 verses 5-6 ‘was appointed by him who said to him,“You are my Son, today I have begotten you…‘, in verses 7-9 ‘with loud cries and tears… he learned obedience through what he suffered’ – by experiencing the suffering, agony and temptations of man he is qualified as a perfect representative, in verse 9 ‘being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation, to all who obey him”, in verse 10 ‘being designated by God a high priest, after the order of Melchizedek‘, in chapter 6 verse 20 ‘where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.‘, in chapter 7 verse 11 ‘rather than one named after the order of Aaron?‘ – is not named after the order of Aaron, in verse 14 ‘For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests‘ – a tribe where priests did not come, in verse 16 his priesthood is based on the power of an indestructible life, in verse 17 ‘who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life‘ – in the order of Melchizedek, in verse 18 ‘For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness‘ – his priesthood sets the former law aside, in verse 19 ‘(for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God‘, in verses 20-21 ‘but this one was made a priest with an oath‘ – his priesthood was affirmed and established by God, in verse 22 because of this oath ‘This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant‘, in verse 24 ‘but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever‘, in verse 25 ‘he is able to save to those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them‘, in verse 26 ‘indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens’ – not needing to offer sacrifices day after day, in verse 27 ‘since he did this once for all when he offered up himself‘ – he sacrificed himself for our sins once for all when he offered himself up, in verse 28 ‘but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever‘, in chapter 8 verse 1 ‘the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven‘, in verse 2 ‘a minister in the holy places, in the true tent (tabernacle) that the Lord set up, not man‘ – Christ serves in the ‘true tabernacle‘ set up by God, and in verse 6 ‘But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises‘ – he is mediator of a superior covenant, that was and is founded on better promises.
That’s it for Comparing the High Priests, from the Least to the Greatest of them all. Next study we will be comparing old testament sacrifices to the once and for all sacrifice of Christ Jesus.
Thank you and God Bless
In Hebrews 4:14-16 the writer links all that he has said in chapters 3 and 4, and all the way back in chapter 2, where he has identified Jesus Christ as a ‘merciful and faithful high priest‘ who, by his real and perfect humanity, is qualified to ‘make atonement for the sins of the people‘. Here he argues;
(1) ‘we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens‘. This statement anticipates a great truth that he expands on later which is; that Jesus has not gone into the symbolic presence of God – in the tabernacle or temple – as the earthly high priests did, but he has gone into the real spiritual and physical presence of God, not just through the curtain, but through the heavens themselves.
(2) ‘Jesus, the Son of God‘. This great high priest is, as we have seen, a real human being and he is ‘Jesus‘ – the human son of and from a human mother, who walked the earth, cried our tears, and bled our blood. Although He is also more than this for He is the ‘Son of God‘ as the writer has shown in 1:1-14 and 3:1-6.
(3) ‘let us hold fast our confession‘. Therefore, the writer exhorts, that since we have such a high priest; that is fully and perfectly qualified to represent us as ‘man‘ in the presence of God, and is at the same time the exalted divine Son of God who came down to earth specifically be the sacrifice, intercession, and propitiation for our sins, ‘let us hold firmly to the faith we profess‘. The sheer excellence of our great high priest and his qualifications should stir and motivate us to hold fast faith in Him, which is what we profess. Why? Because there is no one who could be more committed to our good, better qualified, more equipped to represent us in the presence of God, and absolutely no one more capable of obtaining eternal salvation for us than Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the Son of God. To scorn and reject Him, the high priest, is to reject or turn aside the provision of God, which would become the final and absolute rejection of God and eternal living with Him.
(4) ‘we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin‘. This expands on the qualifications of our great high priest; he ‘can sympathize with our weaknesses‘. Why? How come he understands our weaknesses so intimately that he sympathizes? Is he not perfect and without sin? How can a perfect sinless person feel what imperfect people feel? Well, because this perfect person was not perfect because of a unrealistic monastic removal from the world and its temptations – this perfect person was not secluded, confined, head in the sand, ascetic who was severed from the honky-dory way of human existence. Rather, this perfect person, this flesh-and-blood Jesus, lived among us (John 1:14) – as John recorded in 1 John 1:1 ‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life… ‘ – this perfect person experienced our rejection, our treachery, and our hatred. He heard our scorn and accusations, He felt our whips, our mocking thorns, and our nails. All of this without sin, he was a sinless man, undeserving of the beatings that were meant for us…. you and me. Imagine YOU taking on all the sin and punishment of that sin for the people on the street you live on? How about you taking on the sin and punishment for your neighborhood? For your city? Your county? The whole country? How about the sin and punishment of the whole World? I wouldn’t do it, no, not me… because our great high perist took on the physical punishment but He also took on the spiritual punishment, His soul went to Hell and back for us, over and over and over and over and over and over, AND OVER again. Not only this, but this high priest, this perfect man, was pushed to the very limit of temptation’s power by the great deceiver, until the tempter gave in. From the beginning and the end of His ministry Jesus’ commitment to his Father’s will was tested by the devil, continually. The pressure to give up their faith, which the readers (Hebrews) of this letter were experiencing and facing, was nothing compared to the pressure the devil put on Jesus to deviate Him from the way of the cross, and the Mission, appointed to Him by His Father in Heaven. He knows the strength and the power of temptation and testing – because he endured them in their most ultimate intensity.
(5) ‘Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need…‘ With such a high priest only one response is appropriate, absolute confidence. Rather than being shaken by the pressure being laid on by the Jews for the Hebrews to give up their faith and go back to the ritualistic traditions of the Old Testament. The writer encourages the readers to put on the confidence of their salvation, rather than to be tormented by the possibility of defection under the persecution conducted by the Romans. These Hebrew believers are encouraged to a bold confidence in their secure relationship with God based on the absolute integrity and supremacy of their great high priest, Jesus, the Son of God, and the absolute effectiveness of Him being the consistent propitiation and intercessor on their behalf. Let us note the significance of the writer’s choice of words:
(a) He describes God’s throne as ‘the throne of grace‘ – for those who believe in Jesus Christ it is no longer a throne of judgement, where a strict tit-for-tat justice will be meted out and sin receive the just and legal punishment it deserves. Because of the sin-bearing, interceding death, of Christ – God’s throne is, for those who have acknowledged Christ, ‘a throne of grace‘. As Paul has pointed out in Romans 5:21 ‘…so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord‘. Grace is the operating principle in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, of which every believer is a member.
(b) Not content with describing God’s throne as ‘the throne of grace‘ which in itself should be enough to instil confidence? The writer goes on to assure us that, rather than receiving judgement and condemnation, we will ‘receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need‘. Mercy refers to God’s acknowledgement of our weakness, our inability, and our need. He is doing whatever is necessary for our good and our survival, despite anything in us that might disqualify us from his favor. Grace refers to the act of God in which he chooses not to pay us out our justly due punishment, according to what we deserve, but to grant us absolute freedom from the deserved penalty, and then BLESSING us continually, and giving us eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ. This is the unexpected and almost incredible confidence that all who trust in Jesus Christ can and should have, with no doubt or question. For it’;s and absolute truth. The ‘hold firmly‘ (found in verse 4:14) and ‘approach … with confidence‘ (found in verse 4:16) are expressions of the faith and rest to which the writer is calling us toward. Such faith and rest, such confidence, are the opposite of the sin and disobedience of unbelief against which we are being warned. The challenge confronts us – do we really trust Jesus Christ? Do we really believe God’s word about Christ? Do we really believe in the totality all that Christ did on the cross? For your own meditation re-read the previous paragraph and ask yourself the questions listed there. Identify whether or not you are experiencing the confidence and the rest that Jesus promised to give to those who come to him. If you do not have that confidence, if your soul does not have peace in the presence of God, then you need to re-learn the message of the gospel – in respect to both who Jesus is and what Jesus did. I suggest you start with the Gospel of John Here. Also Pray that God will open your mind and your heart to understand and embrace the massive, liberating, and convicting truths contained in this letter to the Hebrews, and indeed throughout the entire Scriptures and Gospel messages.
Thank you for joining today’s study and we will be seeing you so, finishing the second part of this section.
So at my church, Harvest Christian Fellowship (Riverside), there is a great study going on called “The Works”. It’s a study through the whole book of James, and is being spoken by a very talented and spirit-filled leader, Josh Thompson. This study has really been helping me, and hitting home with me, week by week so i thought i would give you all access to the same study.
The first study is from James 1:1-8, Titles “No Pain No Gain” which you can click here to follow along in reading. To open up and listen to the podcast click here, after clicking the link go to the box that says Filter By and you filter it by Speaker, in the drop down menu click to choose Josh Thompson, then click on the podcast link titled “No Pain No Gain” posted on 5/20/2012. (should be 4th entry down). I hope yo enjoy the study as I will be posting them every week for you to get them the same day they’re preached!
Thank you much, and God Bless!
Before we dive into chapters 3 and 4 of Hebrews there are two verses and a few key points you must keep in mind as to dismiss any confusion about what is written within the next couple chapters. Here are the ESV and NKJV interpretations for Hebrews chapter 3 so you may follow along with this study.
The two verses to keep in mind are Colossians 2:16-17 “…Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ….” and also Hebrews 10:1 “…For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near…..”
Here are four points to consider when following along with this study; (1) All things in the ritual (old testament) law find their reality and fulfillment in the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ (said here). (2) Even in the Old Testament the Sabbath law had spiritual significance, it was not an erratic and meaningless ritual, or a law for the sake of law. It was given by God to the Israelites as a reminder of an extremely important truth (scripture reference). Teaching us that the Sabbath was presented to the Israelite’s to remind them that it was not in fact they themselves, but the Lord, who made them His people. Literally all day long as they sat and did absolutely nothing, they were forcibly reminded that the Holy God made them, the Isrealite’s, His holy and chosen people. (3) Long before Jesus lived on earth, Sabbath keeping had been turned into a laudable act, by which one searched to earn or gain God’s favor by doing something. Plainly stated; Sabbath keeping evolved to a notion of one having to do something in order to become one of God’s people. The symbolic nature of the Sabbath had been completely reversed. (4) In this study of Hebrews 3:7-4:16 we learn about the connection between believing and obeying the Gospel and having rest with confidence. We are not presented with something that will be ours only when we ‘get to heaven‘. Nor are we presented here with a concept of the Christian life in which there are two levels of Christians; one level is where we struggle and strive with sin and temptation and the second advanced level where there is rest from such struggles. Rather we are being taught of a rest which is the gift of God to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
V.7-11 – In this passage the writer refers to the unbelief of the Israelite’s recorded in Numbers 13 and 14 and uses that unbelief and its consequences to stir his readers to genuine faith. The quote from Psalm 95:7-11 compares with these verses in Hebrews, and in these few verses we can identify the sin of the Israelite’s; (1) They had heard God’s voice v.7, (2) They hardened their hearts against God’s voice v.8, (3) They provoked God beyond the limit of his endurance v.9, (4) Their hearts were always going astray v.10, (5) They did not know God’s ways v.10, (6) God’s anger was against them v.11, and (7) They did not ever enter God’s rest v.11. Had these people ever believed? Probably not, for they had heard God’s message, but they had hardened their hearts against him.
V.12-19 – Further descriptions of their unbelief
It is clear from the Bible that sin, in its essence, is the rejection of God, of seeing God and turning away from him, of hearing his word and refusing to believe it. Here the unbelief of the Israelite’s, and the unbelief against which the writer is warning his readers, is described as; (1) A sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God v.12, (2) Being hardened by sin’s deceitfulness v.13, (3) Not holding firmly till the end the confidence we had at first v.14, (4) Hardening your hearts v.15, (5) Rebellion v.15, (6) Heard and rebelled v.16, (7) Sinned v.17, (8) Disobeyed v.18, and (9) overall Unbelief v.19.
The disobedience which caused the Israelite’s to incur the wrath of God, the sin which prevented their entry into the ‘rest’ – or the promised land – was the sin of their unbelief. It was not the disobedience of theft, adultery, or dishonesty, or any thing similar. It was overall disobedience of the one foundational command to believe in God. It is failure to believe God whcih produces all other sins.