Sep 262015
 

Christianity tourism destinationsHebrews 4:6-13

6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience,

  • We know one thing – Jesus is always out there offering the good news
  • Who are those who received but failed to enter?
  • Why did they fail to enter – Disobedience
  • Disobedience here = unbelief – walking away from what they had already received.

again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

  • Why does David say “Today”? Some 400 yrs after the people had already entered the Promised Land.
  • The 1st generation did not go in – but they died off in the wilderness.
  • Except Joshua and Caleb – All those who entered the rest were 2nd

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on.

  • A bit of a strange passage
  • The name Joshua = Jesus
  • Good English translation to distinguish the difference
  • The Greek says Jesus in both places.
  • There is a Jesus who does not lead his people into rest and there is a Jesus who did / will.
  • Because of this we must remember that all theology is Christology.

So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,

  • Here he begins an explanation of God’s rest.
  • Not referring to “after death.

10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

  • God rested but he is still working – Sabbath commands are “cease from your work.”
  • We are no longer in a works relationship with God. Jesus has relieved us of all works.
  • The Hebrews were thinking about leaving Christianity to go back to that works relationship.
  • But Jesus (somewhere) said “I will give you rest.

11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

  • Interesting – why would he now tell us to strive in order to get to a place of rest? NIV “make every effort”

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

  • The Bible is not just the Word of God, but God’s words. – Is that settled?
  • When you read the Bible (especially the OT), do you look for Jesus and the redemption story being told?
  • Is there anything else to look for? If you ever listen to another pastor teach and the message is not about Jesus and his saving work, (not just mentioning Jesus) – then you are not listening to a Christian message.
  • Tune in to Christian radio and give it a test. Oh, they may be teaching from the Bible and they may be doing a biblical message – just not a Christian message.
  • Moses – born into slavery and bondage condemned to death and thrown into the water – only to be raised up out of the water, placed in the home of the king to become a son of the king. (a Jesus story)
  • Look at Jacob – his mother disguised him as the first born – even to putting skins on his arms – so that he would receive the blessing promised to the first born. And Esau, who had every right to the blessing ended up with the curses. (a Jesus story)
  • In a similar “unfair” way, Jesus gave us his blessings and he took our curses.
  • Not to sound too Catholic, but who is our mother who brings us into the presence of God? The Church.
  • Living and Active – There is a power in the Word. Isaiah said “My word will not return void.
  • This does not mean that it will convert everyone – it will either convert or condemn. No one walks away unaffected.
  • Swords – this is more like a dagger – small and up-close – today perhaps we would say “sharper than any 2 edged scalpel.
  • The writer now uses 3 comparisons
  • (1) Soul and Spirit
  • (2) Joints and Marrow
  • (3) Thoughts and Intentions of the heart.
  • How many parts are we? Body & Spirit or Body, Soul & Spirit?
  • Are we just material and immaterial?
  • What is spiritual deadness?
  • Can just anyone pick up the Bible and make sense of it … or does God need to give you a ‘jump start’?
  • How would you describe a sunset to a blind person? They have never seen colors or a horizon. Is spiritual blindness the same?
  • A Blind person still has eyes – but those faculties do not work – they aren’t hooked up right.
  • This is the same with the person who is spiritually blind – he has a spirit, but it is not just impaired, but it is dead – disconnected – unconnected.

13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

  • This now switches from speaking of God’s word – to speaking of God himself.
  • How do you take this verse – Good verse or bad verse?
  • Scary or comforting?

 

  23 Responses to “The Weekend Word”

  1. So when is “Today”?
    Is this an invitation to those who were saved and fell away to re enter again “Today”?

  2. Today is today – whatever today that one hears His voice IMHO 🙂

  3. MLD, Thank you again for a fantastic Bible Study!

    “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

    This verse demonstrates that the preached word of God (i.e., Scripture) not only tells us **about God, but it **does things. In the immediate context, it penetrates our very being to discern whether we have **faith in Christ. This is the work of the Holy Spirit which proceeds from the Father and from the Son (Nicene Creed) by the preached word of God.

    The issue that pre-occupies the readership here is **who is the author speaking to? If he is speaking to the saved, then they apparently have the will to **hear and **respond because they have the Holy Spirit (see chapter six, verse 4). For without the Holy Spirit, a person cannot turn to God; his/her will is in bondage to sin. Therefore, an exhortation to the unsaved would be wholly ineffective by definition.

    On the other hand, if this is also an evangelistic homily to a portion of the Hebrews congregation that is not yet saved, then this homily might very well convey original saving faith (i.e., the Word that **does) to unsaved hearers in the congregation. If this is the case then the questions that follow include:

    (1) Does the Holy Spirit work faith (or the opportunity for faith) into **all or only **some of the hearers? If not all, why only some?

    (2) Can any of the hearers resist the Holy Spirit’s drawing them to Christ? In John chapter six, Jesus said that no one can come to Him unless the Father draws him. However, later in chapter twelve, Jesus also said that when He is lifted up He will draw all people to himself.

    (3) Once the Holy Spirit draws someone to Christ so that he is regenerated and receives the Holy Spirit, can the believer cast out (or quench) the Holy Spirit and become unregenerate?

  4. “(1) Does the Holy Spirit work faith (or the opportunity for faith) into **all or only **some of the hearers? If not all, why only some?”
    the mystery of the good soil…

    “(2) Can any of the hearers resist the Holy Spirit’s drawing them to Christ? In John chapter six, Jesus said that no one can come to Him unless the Father draws him. However, later in chapter twelve, Jesus also said that when He is lifted up He will draw all people to himself.”
    reminds me of the crowds shown on TV this week following Pope Francis… people are drawn, looking for Christ?

    “(3) Once the Holy Spirit draws someone to Christ so that he is regenerated and receives the Holy Spirit, can the believer cast out (or quench) the Holy Spirit and become unregenerate?”
    regenerated probably can’t become un-regenerated … but once again it makes me think of the good soil… the seeds of Faith can germinate, but they can’t develop into a living, fruit bearing plant if the soil is bad, so … when does the **Eternal** life begin?

    our analogies do not explain the whole of the mystery and that is what makes Lutherans and Presbyterians and, maybe even Pentecostals, perhaps? 🙂

  5. Jean, as I said above God’s word will always do what God’s word was meant to do. It will either convert or convict. Another way to look at it is that God’s word always does what it promises.

    My answer to your questions-
    1.) I think by definition faith is dispensed to all who hear the word. Scriptures say that faith comes by hearing God’s word. Two people sitting next to each other in church, both hear the word, both receive a portion of faith. What they do with the faith once dispensed will determine the effect… which leads to
    2.) I think it is obvious that folks hear the message and reject and reject often. I taught today in Matthew 11 and the Woes Jesus pronounced on the cities. These were people who heard not only the words but had the call of God. They heard the words, saw the miracles and rejected Jesus. Now, Jesus could have said “look, the message was never for you anyway, but only to those I called, so I don’t care that you rejected me.” But that is not what he said. To the novice here, woes are not good. 😉
    3.) Obviously from my comments the past couple of weeks you would know that I think someone can walk away and forfeit their salvation (not lose it, not sin their way out of it, be stop feeding their faith and letting it die.)

    It is my suggestion also that when someone walks away from their faith that Jesus then begins the cycle all over again, working on them as unbelievers, not letting them go, continually nipping at their heels. I see that appeal to return suggested in v.6 and it is the reason I made the comment at #1.

    Also, today’s reading in James (the horror of Lutherans reading James) speaks to that very thing; James 5
    “19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

    You cannot get anymore clear than that – that brothers can wander off to the point of his soul being put to death — but that he can return to the faith, he can be born again… again

  6. When I taught Hebrews, vs. 10 was the real revelation for me. It kind of became my lense for interpreting the rest of the book.

  7. P.S. – I am now teaching Genesis ( my favorite book) and have referenced Hebrews at least four or five times in the first three weeks.

  8. Hebrews is the great interpreter of the OT

  9. MLD,

    What is the difference between the two different words used for rest in Hebrews chapter 4?

    Thanks.

  10. MLD,

    Under verse 10 you state, “we are no longer in a works relationship with God. Jesus has relieved us of all works.”

    Can you explain what you mean by this statement for us?

    Thanks.

  11. Jesus has done all the work that at one time was required of us in our relationship with God. Jesus took care of that – we no longer perform works for God.

    Because that is taken care of, we rest – we have entered God’s rest.

  12. MLD,
    I think as long as you are talking about our standing with God, your statement is generally accurate. But, just to clarify, the author to Hebrews is using the term “rest” as a synonym for Kingdom of God or union with Christ. Christians are at rest with God, so that they can be spent on their neighbors – living sacrifices in the manner of Romans 12.

  13. MLD @ 11 said….
    “Jesus has done all the work that at one time was required of us in our relationship with God. Jesus took care of that – we no longer perform works for God.”

    MLD, what work are you speaking of that used to be required of us to be in relationship with God? Scripture references would be helpful.

    Please define “works for God”, as you mentioned in 11.

    Thanks.

  14. MLD @ 11 said….
    “Because that is taken care of, we rest – we have entered God’s rest.”

    MLD, you didn’t really answer my question at #10. I am still curious as to what the difference is between the two words used for rest in Hebrews Chapter 4. Does two different words used for rest imply that there are two different rests being spoken of?

    Thanks.

  15. Jean,
    You are right and I was going to go there but I decided to wait for Goose’s response.

    Most times the response to my comments like that are “so you don’t think we need to be doing good works after you are saved?” and then I would follow up, “we are to do plenty of good works … not for God but for our neighbor.

    “The old saying, God does not need nor want your good works – but you neighbor desperately needs them.”

  16. Goose, why don’t you just come out and make a comment on what you think of the passage instead of cloaking everything in questions.

    Say, “I think you are full of baloney – here is what I think” … it makes for better conversation.

    I will start you off – what do you think entering God’s rest is? Remember how he is comparing to what was offered in Joshua’s time.

  17. not jumping into the middle of the rest conversation in progress – just want to say thanks for the ponder… right now i’m chewing on the instructions given to Moses… all that “work” to maintain the Faith up to the time of the sacrifice of THE LAMB – time to rest now… thinking. thinking … thank you MLD

  18. MLD, you are the teacher. This is your class and your material. I am the student. I am asking you two very basic and simple questions about your material that you presented in your teaching today. Please don’t continue to answer a student’s questions with questions. It makes the student think that you don’t know your material and are intentionally avoiding the questions being posed to you, though I am sure that is not your intent.

    So, I will respectfully ask you the two questions again.

    First, per your statement in #11 above, what ‘work’ are you speaking of that used to be required of us to be in relationship with God? Please define what you meant by “works of God”.

    Secondly, why does the author of Hebrews use two different words for rest in Hebrews Chapter 4 and what are the differences between the two words? Does this imply that there are two types of rest? Please explain.

    Thanks.

  19. “First, per your statement in #11 above, what ‘work’ are you speaking of that used to be required of us to be in relationship with God? Please define what you meant by “works of God””

    “Work” means obedience to the law of Moses.

  20. In Ch. 4, the promised rest and Sabbath rest for Christians both signify salvation in its now and not yet dimensions.

  21. Goose – if I pointed you to only Leviticus would that be too simple?

  22. Goose, what work do you think is still necessary / valid?

  23. interesting how this thread came to a standstill on “rest” 🙂

    it preceded a week in which there was little rest, at least, mental rest… Faith/rest is a gift that i still have to work on… it’s not denial to trust that all things are working out according to God’s plan – “It is finished” has more than one application… we can’t add anything to “improve” what God is working out, but we can apply ourselves to develop a mind that trusts Him

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