2009 Hebrews Study—Main Points to Emphasize
Tod Kennedy, June-July, 2009
1. Christ the Son, chapters 1-4
Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 1
- Jesus is the final personal revelation of God and as such he is the only one worthy of our complete faith, confidence, loyalty, and service. He is God. He is maintains the orderly universe. He is better than angels by nature, status, action, and proclamation He is superior to angels. He is the Father’s anointed Messiah. He will soon take the rule over creation. All of this means that he is the only Savior, the only way to God. There is no other to whom we and Hebrew believers can turn. We can and must rely on him. We may not subordinate him to angels, to Moses, to the Levitical priesthood, or to the Levitical sacrifices.
- Jesus, the Son, is the eternal and omnipotent God, the creator, the sustainer of the universe, the savior, and the only Messiah. This answers the charges brought against the Hebrew believers by both pagans and unbelieving Hebrews.
- Ministering spirits are angels and they help believers in their ministry of serving God. We do not put faith in them. We simply know that God uses them in various ways to help and apparently acts as interference for us.
Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 2
- Do not drift away from and neglect what we have heard from the Father through the Son because if disobedience to the law brought penalty, so will disobedience to the New Testament message (Hebrews 2:1-4).
- The sign spiritual gifts were given to demonstrate the truthfulness and authority of the apostles and were limited in time to the first century (Hebrews 2:3-4).
- God has subjected earth creation under the authority and care of mankind and ultimately to Jesus, the Son of man (Hebrews 2:5-8).
- Jesus (used 14 times in 8 chapters) has not had all things subjected to him yet. That will come in the future when death, the devil, and creation come under his authority (Hebrews 2:9-13).
- The subjection of all things to Jesus depended upon him successfully tasting death for everyone and therefore making the devil powerless and removing the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-18).
- Jesus was tempted while suffering during life. He understands suffering and temptation. Because he suffered and never failed to please the Father he is willing and able to aid us when we are tempted (Hebrews 2:17-18).
Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 3
- We are to carefully think about the apostle and high priest of our confession, Jesus Christ and hold to what we say we believe in order to faithfully serve Him in our priestly ministries. He was faithful to His Father; Moses was faithful to God and his ministry; the same ought to be true for us (3:1-6).
- Do not harden our hearts against God by not believing his word. This leads us away from God (3:7-12).
- Encourage each other in the faith daily while we can (3:12-13).
- We become companions with Christ and participate with Christ in our priestly ministry if we hold fast to Him instead of revolting against God by not believing His word (3:14-19).
Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 4
- We need to be alert to believe and apply God’s good news promises so that we will enter and experience the calming rest that He has for us. When we refuse to believe his good news promises we are disobedient, hardened to His word, and may get his discipline.
- God’s word, when read, thought about, memorized, and used in life will get to the heart of our thoughts, desires, and plans. We cannot escape it. It will rescue, comfort, encourage, change, or worry us and discipline us.
- God’s throne refers to His authority and seat of his power. Since he is a gracious, let’s pray to him for mercy and freely given help when we need it. When we pray, pray in according to His word, pray in fellowship with Him, and pray in faith.
2. Christ the High Priest, chapters 5-10
Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 5
- A high priest is the one who offers sacrifices for people. He must be human and he must be called by God to be a high priest. Aaron was called by God to be a high priest of the Levitical kind.
- God the Father appointed Jesus Christ to be priest, not like Aaron, but like Melchizedek. Christ’s priesthood was, in rank and nature, patterned on Melchizedek. This was an entirely different and better priesthood.
- Jesus Christ, in his humanity, learned to obey God the Father by going through suffering. In suffering a person must decide how to live and what to do. Will a person make the right choices or the wrong choices? Jesus always made the right choices. He therefore qualified to offer Himself as the sacrifice for sin, and by that provide eternal salvation to everyone who obeys Him—believes Him.
- Apathetic believers, “dull of hearing” or lazy learners are stuck in spiritual immaturity. They have a hard time learning more advanced biblical doctrines; they need to be taught again the fundamental doctrines; they have a hard time explaining God’s word to others; and they are unskilled at making biblical choices and applications about what is good and what is evil.
Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 6
- Doctrines about Christ-Messiah were and are foundational, especially to Hebrew believers. Those doctrines are basic for spiritual growth and service. But believers must build upon those doctrines and advance in learning more doctrine and applying that doctrine (6:1).
- Believers should press on to maturity, but repudiating or doubting Jesus Christ and His work of reconciliation prevents renewing to repentance (changing wrong thinking about Christ to right thinking about Christ) and therefore prevents pressing on to maturity (6:1-6).
- God blesses those believers who faithfully respond to His provisions and His word, while he disciplines those who, in their spiritual regression, reject His provisions and His word (6:7-8).
- God has better things than discipline for believers who serve Him—things that accompany eternal salvation, rewards—and God will not forget their service for him (6:9-10).
- Continue the diligent faith and service you once exhibited so you will have the full assurance of your hoped for rewards (the things that accompany salvation), and imitate those who inherit the promises by faith and patience like Abraham did (6:11-15).
- God promised and swore an oath to Abraham that He would bless him and that he would have a son; and God would multiply Abraham’s descendents through that son. Abraham patiently waited by faith for God to fulfill His promise and God did (6:13-16). Abraham is an example for us to follow (6:13-16).
- God who cannot lie made an oath to Abraham about the messianic promise with blessings. Later on God also promised with an oath to the heirs of the promise. Those who believe God, including church believers, are encouraged to hold onto that promised hope (6:16-18).
- This promised hope for us is eternal salvation, future blessings and rewards, and participation in Messiah’s kingdom—the better things that accompany salvation. That hope is our anchor and our anchor is in heaven right now guaranteeing that we will receive them. Our future is secure. We ought to grasp and hold that anchor through out life, especially in trials and tests (6:19).
- Jesus, our Melchizedek like high priest, is now in the heavenly holy of holies where He performs high priestly duties for us (6:20).
Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 7
- Jesus’ priesthood is of the Melchizedek kind and is therefore much better than the Aaron-Levitical priesthood.
- Jesus’ priesthood replaced the Levitical priesthood and so the Levitical priesthood can be left behind.
- Jesus our high priest is able to save forever those who come to God through Him because of His person, His once for all sacrifice, and His present ministry.
Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 8
- Jesus is our high priest and is now seated at the right hand of God.
- Jesus, our high priest, serves in the true tabernacle which is in heaven.
- Jesus mediates the new and better covenant, the covenant based upon his final sacrifice for sins.
- The new covenant has replaced the old covenant and it stands because of Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection. Therefore believers should not go back to living under the old covenant (Moses Law).
Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 9
- The first or old covenant with its regulations, furniture, and gifts and sacrifices was simply an inspired symbol to prepare people for Jesus Christ and His once for all sacrifice. The first covenant found its reality in Jesus Christ.
- The sacrifices of the old covenant could never and can never result in permanent forgiveness of sin and eternal life. The substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ did what the old covenant could never do.
- Christ returned to heaven as glorified God-man after successfully putting away sins by his substitutionary sacrifice. From heaven He appears before the Father on behalf of us and for our benefit.
- Christ will come to earth a second time, but this time for great blessing to believers. This is our great expectation.
3. Therefore Live the Faith Life, chapters 11-13
Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 10
- Jesus Christ’s complete sacrifice and His present priest ministry are the only works that can remove sin and prepare one for heaven.
- Right now we can enter the presence of God, and Jesus is right now our high priest supporting us. Let’s put these facts to use each day by confidently going to God in faith, reverence, and prayer by holding tight to what we believe.
- Assembly with believers in church is vital to a healthy Christian life—it is not optional. This is especially important in view of the spiritual war in which each of us finds himself. Local church assembly is the primary place for Bible teaching and preparation for ministry, for encouragement, for building up the body of Christ, for group prayer, for giving to the Lord, and for sending of missionaries.
- We are to draw near to God, hold tight to what we believe, think how we can stimulate other believers to love and good works, assemble together, and encourage each other.
- Faith in Bible doctrine can produce endurance when one is under ridicule and persecution for one’s biblical faith, sympathy with those imprisoned because of their biblical faith, and joyful living even when your property is unjustly taken because of your biblical beliefs.
- Continued spiritual assurance of your biblical hope, even in the face of trials, results in great spiritual rewards, so continue to endure in the biblical faith (steadfastness toward self in hard circumstances).
- Beware, faithlessness in the face of trials can bring destruction by the persecutors and discipline by God while faithfulness to God brings spiritual success.
Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 11
- In our day to day lives faith is personal confidence, assurance, the guarantee to us about that which we anticipate God doing.
- God honors believing believers. Faith brings God’s approval.
- Faith in God’s word forms a biblical worldview in us because we believe what the Bible says about life.
- The believers in Hebrews 11 were successful because they believed God. We will be successful in God’s eyes if and when we believe Him.
- Believers who trust God in spite of all history, circumstances, and people are spiritual nobility. The world is not worthy of them. Are we among those noble believers?
Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 12
- To successfully run the Christian life race, we must shed our distractions, get rid of our area of weakness sin, and faithfully and consistently live God’s plan for us.
- To run the Christian life race we need to focus our attention on Jesus, the leader and hero of the faith.
- God’s discipline is training and preparation for practical life and godliness, and some just punishment for sin when needed.
- Watch how we live the Christian life so that we do not follow the wrong ideas and people because they can trip us up. Pursue peace and holiness, not bitterness and self-centeredness.
- Listen when God speaks—He is the creator and judge.
- God’s kingdom, to which we are coming, is secure. We show are gratitude to Him by our reverent service to God.
Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 13
- Our relationships, fellowship, and service with and for other believers are central to the application of God’s word in our lives. We are a brotherhood of Christ-believers, a fellowship of saints. When Bible teachers, missionaries, or other believers come and need housing, food, fellowship, encouragement, or other help it is our privileged duty to provide this hospitality to them.
- We should look outside of ourselves to the Lord first (occupation with Christ), and then to other believers who suffer, who are in prison, and who are in honest need and we ought to provide honest help for them. Occupation with self is foreign to the Christian life.
- Marriage is honorable. It is a good thing. God instituted marriage with Adam and Eve. Sex in only to be practiced within a marriage. Throughout history marriage has been attacked through sex before marriage, adultery, homosexuality, poor leadership, poor followership, lack of a biblical worldview, and outright rejection of known Bible doctrine.
- God is constantly with us. He is our constant helper. Since this is true we should strive to live in His will and therefore be content with His will. And, Jesus our savior, mediator, high priest, and leader never changes His nature or character or love for us. He is the foundation and leader of the faith. We can always follow Him and depend upon Him.
- God has given spiritual leaders to the church. They are to teach God’s word, to live out God’s word and so model the faith (Christian way of life), and to guard our souls or lives from spiritual enemies, bad doctrine, and bad application. Their authority and leadership must be biblical. They will answer to God. We are to listen to them, obey them, and submit to them as long as their leadership is in accord with Scripture. They are not heavy handed dictators. Compare Acts 14:12, 1 Timothy 5:17, 1 Peter 5:1-4, Ephesians 4:11-13, and Acts 20:28-31.
- Right doctrine, right attitudes, and right service follow from good spiritual leadership. When leaders teach and live God’s word the congregations have an opportunity to learn and live God’s word.
- It is a comfort and encouragement to know that Jesus’ character never changes. He is always sovereign, holy, just, righteous, love, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, immutable, and truthful. He is dependable. He continues to be our savior, high priest, leader, and great shepherd—just what Hebrews emphasizes
- The believer who understands God’s word and therefore God’s grace and blessing will have his life characterized by thankfulness and thanksgiving to God. This is the normal response to God. If this is lacking, our Christian life is stagnant.
- Pray for those who study, teach, write, and lead you in the Christian life. Spiritual leaders lead us in the spiritual war. They are under much pressure from the demon forces, from the world, from other believers, and from their own sinful natures. The spiritual battle can lead to discouragement and failure. Support them by prayer.
- God wants to equip each of us in His spiritual resources to do His will. God gives gifted men for the equipping of the saints so the saints will do the work of the ministry and the body of Christ will be built up. This can only start and then we carried out through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, His headship and leadership of the church, His giving of spiritual gifts, and His now intercessory work on our behalf.
- We should listen closely to the biblical instruction from our spiritual leaders—pastor and teachers, teachers, and evangelists. It is for our encouragement. If they accurately teach the Scripture and that teaching seems difficult or convicting we should bear up under it so we may learn and grow and serve.