Saturday, October 31, 2009

Unit 9/10 - Chapter 13: Announcements & Benediction

I. Introduction - Like title says, two main themes in Ch. 13

A. Announcements
B. Benediction
C. "the Preacher" has finished his main theme of his sermon - i.e. superiority of new covenant in Christ

II. Announcements - Moves from theoretical to practical. 4 Ways of demonstrating Christ's love

A. Hospitality - show mutual love, "philadelphia", brotherly love

1. Not only to those you know but also to strangers
2. "for by doing that some may have entertained angels without knowing it"
3. Am reminded of our friend John who comes to our potlucks.

B. Ministry with the Wounded

1. Has to do with the prison ministry and care of victims of abuse and torture
2. Many christians were imprisoned in very poor conditions and dependent upon charity of others for survival.
a. "The Christians became so notorious for their help to those in prison that, at the beginning of the fourth century, the Emperor Licinius passed new legislation that no one was to show kindness to sufferers in prison by supplying them with food and that no one was to show mercy to those starving in prison." (Barclay, p. 227)
b. Recall Paul' s plea to come quickly or he might not survive the winter (II Timothy 4:9,20)

C. Sex and Money

1. Keep yourself pure in marriage
2. Be content with what you have and don't be acquisitive - "What is inventive about this is, first, the suggestion that the love of money is not so much the product of greed as it is the fear of abandonment, and two, the intriguing theological claim that when Jesus Christ grasps our one handin love it frees us to open up the clenched other one and let the money go." (Long, p. 144)

D. Worship and Service - apparently some members were getting off track. Appears to be two main features to the problem.

1. Some in the congregation were confusing grace with regulations. Still were thinking adherence to food regulations and laws was path to purity. The preacher suggests this is due to a failure of nerve.
a. Suggests they need to be bold, "leave the old tent with its ineffective sacrifices"
b. Take the "bold approach to the heavenly sancturary made possible in Christ."
2. Congregation has a problem with the public side, the outside dimension of the Christian faith.
a. minister to people
b. "Our sacrifices are praising God, confessing God's name in public, doing works of mercy, and sharing what we have with others, --in other words, right out there in public view we are to worship, evangelize, empathetically serve the needy, and exercise generosity to others." (Long, p. 145)

III. Benediction

A. Closes with summarization of key theological messages and greetings to congregants
B. Key theological messages

1. God is a god of peace
2. Who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ
3. The great sheperd of the sheep
4. By the blood of the eternal covenant
5. Make you complete in everything good, so that you may do his will
6. Working among us that which is pleasing in his sight.


Barclay, William. The New Daily Study Bible - The Letter to the Hebrews. London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002

Harrison, Everett F. Interpretation Bible Studies. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2008

Long, Thomas G. Hebrews, Interpretation - A Bible Commentary for Preaching and Teaching. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1997

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hebrews - Ch. 12 (Unit 9)

I. Introduction

A. Why is the Christian Life So Hard?
B. Limping towards the Finish Line
C. A Field Trip to Zion
D. Zion Revisited

II. Why is the Christian Life So Hard

A. Preacher responds to congregations bewilderment re. hardships of Christian life

1. Remember the Example of Jesus - Jesus suffered but endured on his way to ultimate victory
2. Provides a framework of meaning for their suffering - uses analogy of parents disciplining their children. Why should we think of God's strict rod of correction as a good thing?
a. Sure sign we are God's children - only children who go undisciplined are unloved
b. We can recognize God's pattern from our own family upbringing - as we grow into adulthood we can recognize the wisdom of our parents' discipline
c. End result of God's discipline is worth the pain - grow up to be more like God

B. Important to note Preacher makes no claim that all suffering comes from God as punishment

III. Limping Towards the Finish Line

A. Preacher uses analogy of marathon runner - something I can relate to:)

1. Preacher isn't talking about elite runners at the front of the race
2. Rather, he is talking about the recreational athletes at the back of the pack
a. "God's race is not the Olympics; it is the Special Olympics, and runners who are 'lame', that is encumbered in so many ways are encouraged to get out on the track and to 'make straight paths for your feet'" (Long, p.135)
b. Must run through pain...leads to healing. Staying on sideline just makes the injury worse.
3. Runners at the back of the pack look out for each other. If someone gets hurt, they stop to help. It's not about your time; its about your experience during the race.
a. Preacher says Christians should be like runners at the back of the race...looking out for them.
b. "We are to try to make peace to the best of our ability with everyone in the community and act towards others in the everyday relationships of life in the holy ways of mercy and justice that we have seen in Jesus." (Long, p. 135)

B. Preacher now brings up Esau

1. Calls him 'morally corrupt'.
2. Short term focus - cost him his birthright
3. Preacher is telling them - finish the race. Don't let the temporary pain distract you from your goal.
4. Running buddy's favorite saying, "Pain is temporary, pride is forever."

IV. A Field Trip to Zion

A. Preacher uses popular and successful marketing strategy to sell people on continuing down the path to Mt. Zion (new covenant) - Describes Mt. Zion in detail allowing congregants to picture it in their mind...paradise

B. Also describes Mt. Sinai (old covenant) - fearsome place. Human beings come to Mt. Sinai as perpetually unclean sinners. Thus, holiness of God at Mt. Sinai is terrifying.

C. Preacher reminds them of the good news. They're not at Mt. Sinai, they're at Mt. Zion. What do they find?

1. City of the Living God
2. Citizens of the city are angels and 'firstborn', those who have gone on to their glory before them
3. The Judge and the Acquitted
4. Jesus and the Sprinkled Blood - "On Mt. Zion, by contast, there is the 'sprinkled blood' of Jesus offered 'once for all', blood that purifies the 'conscience from dead works to worship the living God." (Long, p.139)

V. Zion Revisited

A. God of Mt. Sinai and Mt. Zion are one and the same; holy and awe-full, a purifying fire of perfect judgment.

B. Further surprises - there is only one mountain with two paths. Mt. Sinai and Mt. Zion are one and the same, the dwelling of the holy God.

C. "What makes the difference is not the destination, but the path; Mt. Sinai is transformed into Mt. Zion--if we go there with Jesus." (Long, p. 140)


Barclay, William. The New Daily Study Bible – The Letter to the Hebrews. London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002

Harrison, Everett F. Interpretation Bible Studies. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2008

Long, Thomas G. Hebrews, Interpretation – A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1997

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sunday October 18th

REMINDER: We did not complete Unit 8 last week. Thus, tomorrow we will continue in Unit 8 by studying Chapter 11.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hebrews - Ch. 10:19 - 11:40 (Unit 8)

The Practical Consequences of His Superiority

I. Introduction - three major themes in the lesson today.

A. The Worship of the New Covenant (10:19-25)

B. Discussion on Sin and Judgement (10:26-39)

C. Faith (11:1-40)

D. Keep in mind overriding message of entire book of Hebrews - stay the course; do not fall away.

II. The Worship of the New Covenant

A. Having spent 3 1/2 chapters hearing the why new covenant with Jesus as High Priest is better than the old covenant, congregants logically want to know, what do we do in response.

B. "the Preacher's" answer is WORSHIP!

C. Preacher turns from theology to practical exhortation

D. How do we get ready for authentic worship?

1. Go to worship as a community. Travel to place of true worship together as brothers and sisters in Christ
2. Come to worship baptized and forgiven. Because "Our bodies washed with pure water", means we come fully assured of God's acceptance, "with a true heart in full assurance of faith".
3. Come hoping and holding onto the promises of God
4. Come not only to pray and sing, but also praising God with deeds of compassion and mercy. That is prodding others along on the right path.
5. Come, gathering with other Christians, in ordinary sanctuaries. "Whenever Christians cluster together for worship we walk through the doorway of an ordinary building, an 'earthly tent', and find ourselves in the company of heaven singing praises with the heavenly hosts." (Long, p. 107)

E. Sin and Judgement. Beginning in v.26 "the Preacher" changes course once again and begins preaching on result of sin. Difficult passage, several factors must be considered to fully understand.

1. Speaks very harshly. Must be made clear. "the Preacher" isn't talking about everyday sin. Rather, he is speaking specifically about apostacy. Re-read v26,27 - "if we willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth..."
2. "the Preacher" is addressing very practical and urgent pastoral problem. Members of his congregation are disheartened, want to give up, go back to old life.
3. "the Preacher's" real goal isn't to generate fear but to offer encouragement. This will be become more apparent in next section when he talks about faith.

III. The Great Cloud of Witnesses

A. Faith (11:1-3)

1. Begins by defining faith, "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen"
2. Probably most famous line of scripture in book of Hebrews
3. Not the full, complete definition of faith. Rather, "the Preacher" uses this abbreviated version to make his point.
a. "But faith as 'the assurance of things hoped for' is not just inward confidence, it is also an outward actuality." (Long, p. 113)
b. "What the naked eye can see, of course, is a world of suffering and setback, violence and hardship. Given the harsh realities of the world, faith is the ability to see with the inner eye, to see what can not be seen with the natural eye." (Long, p. 114)

B. Faith's Hall of Heroes

1. Not random, chronological listing of OT believers who had faith in God
2. List contains 4 separate groups of believers. First 3 exhibit one of 3 virtues which define faith. Fourth is a listing of people and events exhibiting a mixture of those 3 virtues.
3. Three Virtues
a. Righteous
b. Step Out in Faith
c. Tested by Suffering
4. Righteous (Abel, Enoch, Noah)
a. people who obeyed and thus pleased God
5. Step Out in Faith - i.e., journeyed obediently in faith (Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob)
a. some of whom did not received God's earthly promise before receiving his heavenly promise
6. Tested by Suffering (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses)
a. "To be sure, some forms of human suffering seem, even to the eyes of faith, to be random, chaotic, and meaningless. But faith sometimes has a different view, seeing suffering as a fire that forges steel or as a tilling of hard ground into the soil of compassion." (Long, p. 119)


Barclay, William. The New Daily Study Bible – The Letter to the Hebrews. London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002

Harrison, Everett F. Interpretation Bible Studies. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2008

Long, Thomas G. Hebrews, Interpretation – A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1997

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Unit 7 - Hebrews Ch. 9:1 - 10:18

Must start with an going to the TCU vs SMU football game this afternoon. Thus, my notes will be brief.


I. Overview

A. Chapters 9 and 10 repeat some of the concepts introduced by "the Preacher" in ch. 7 & 8.
B. Also covers new ground in explaining Jesus role in the new covenant.
C. "the Preacher" also provides a brief glimpse back into early worship of the Hebrews in the wilderness and the tent temple.

II. Old Sanctuary (Ch. 9:1-5)

A. "the Preacher describes the old sanctuary. Seems like he is leading his congregation on a tour.

B. The point in all of this is to show the congregation that despite all of the extravagance the old tabernacle pales in comparison to God's real temple. Heavenly temple will be described in Chapter 12.

C. He also wants to "contrast what happened--or failed to happen--in the old tabernacle with what happens through the priestly ministry of Jesus." (Long, p.93)

III. Actions of the Old Priests (Ch. 9:6-10)

A. "the Preacher" first describes the daily activities of the priests in the outer chamber.

B. Then describes High Priests activities in the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement

C. Purpose of this section is to remind the people of the short-comings of the old priesthood and its method of worship.

1. People have no direct access to God. Old covenant is based on keeping the law and having priest atone for the sins of the people by offering sacrifices.
2. People want to feel God's presence. "Like all other human beings, what the members of the Preacher's congregation really want is an encounter with the living God; they want to go into the holiest sanctuary, to have access to God's mercy and forgiveness." (Long, p.95)

IV. The Greater and Perfect New Sanctuary (Ch. 9:11)

V. The Actions of the New High Priest (Ch. 9:12-15)

VI. Purification through Death: Old Covenant (Ch. 9:16-22)

VII. Purification through the death of Christ (Ch. 9:23-28)

VIII. Benefits of the Priestly Ministry (Ch. 10:1-18)


Barclay, William. The New Daily Study Bible – The Letter to the Hebrews. London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002

Harrison, Everett F. Interpretation Bible Studies. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2008

Long, Thomas G. Hebrews, Interpretation – A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1997