Morning Bible Study
Promotion Sunday – Caleb
We don’t know for sure who wrote the book of Hebrews, but we do have a
pretty good idea of who it was written to.
Hebrews was written to Jewish believers.
The author expects the
readers to be well acquainted with Levitical worship and sacrifice.
He will constantly quote the Old Testament in a way that expects that the
reader understands what he’s talking about.
We also know that these believers were encountering very strong
Times were so bad that some were beginning to wonder if they shouldn’t quit
We will see three elements woven throughout this letter to the Hebrews.
1. Both Testaments
Even though the Old Testament has become “obsolete” (Heb. 8:13), the entire
book of Hebrews is built upon the clear foundation of the Old Testament.
(Hebrews 8:13 NKJV)
that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what
is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
You aren’t going to understand Hebrews, or even the New Testament correctly
unless you learn the Old Testament.
2. Jesus is superior
He’s superior to angels.
He’s superior to Moses and the Torah.
He’s superior to the Levitical priests and their sacrifices.
3. Don’t quit
The ultimate goal of the book is to encourage those who are struggling with
difficult times, and help them to endure.
There’s much to find strength from and not quit.
We’ve just finished a section where the author has given us a most inconvenient
truth – a harsh warning.
He’s said that it is possible for a person who has believed to develop a
hard heart and slip so far away from Christ that they not only don’t believe in
Jesus, but they even hate him.
The author has suggested that this kind of person has lost their salvation.
This issue is not about God somehow not being able to save someone, but
that this someone no longer wants or cares about being saved.
:9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes,
things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.
confident – peitho –
persuade; be persuaded; to trust, have confidence, be confident
This is that word where it’s opposite has been translated “disobedience” (apeitho), and we’ve preferred to
translate it as “unpersuaded”.
The verb here is a perfect passive tense.
They’ve been “confident” in the past of this and continue to be
“confident” into the present.
better – kreitton – more
useful, more serviceable, more advantageous; more excellent
:9 we are confident of better things concerning you
The author has just given them a serious warning of about not falling away,
but he’s very sure that they aren’t close to that happening to them.
And now he’s going to explain why he thinks “better” of them…
:10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love
which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the
saints, and do minister.
unjust – adikos –
descriptive of one who violates or has violated justice
to forget – epilanthanomai –
to forget; neglecting, no longer caring for; forgotten, given over to oblivion,
i.e. uncared for
work – ergon – business,
employment, that which any one is occupied
labor – kopos – a beating;
a beating of the breast with grief, sorrow; labor; trouble; to cause one
trouble, make work for him; intense labor united with trouble and toil
love – agape – brotherly
love, affection, good will, love, benevolence
you have shown – endeiknumi –
to point out; to manifest, display, put forth
ministered … do minister – diakoneo
– to be a servant, attendant, domestic, to serve, wait upon
:10 your work and labor of love
Circle those words in your Bible.
The author’s readers have a reputation of serving the Lord, and doing it in
They have a reputation of serving other believers.
These things show the author that they have a real, sincere faith, and they
don’t need to be afraid of losing their salvation.
Not saved by works, their faith is demonstrated in works.
:11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full
assurance of hope until the end,
:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith
and patience inherit the promises.
:11 that each one of you show the same diligence
we desire – epithumeo – to
have a desire for, long for, to desire; to lust after, covet
The word speaks of a strong desire.
show – endeiknumi – to
point out; to show, demonstrate, prove, whether by arguments or by acts; to
manifest, display, put forth
diligence – spoude – haste, with haste; earnestness,
diligence; earnestness in accomplishing, promoting, or striving after anything;
to give all diligence, interest one’s self most earnestly
This is a form of the same word translated “be diligent” in –
(Hebrews 4:11 NKJV)
us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according
to the same example of disobedience.
This “same diligence” is an important ingredient in what keeps us from
becoming “sluggish”, and getting us to the end of the race, heaven.
What does he mean by the “same diligence”?
He’s talking about the big thing in verse 10, “your work and labor of love”
Want to stay sharp, alert, awake in your faith?
Then take on the challenge of truly loving others.
I don’t mean having mushy, gushy feelings.
I mean love that is unconditional, characterized by doing good things, love
that is wise.
13:4–7 The Message) —4 Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t
want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, 5 Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly
off the handle, Doesn’t keep
score of the sins of others, 6 Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of
truth, 7 Puts up with
anything, Trusts God
always, Always looks
for the best, Never looks
back, But keeps
going to the end.
That kind of love.
That’s not easy. It
takes work. It builds your faith
I want to play a video of Beth Moore telling a story about an old man she
met at an airport. She’s talking about
how God wants to work through us to love others.
Beth ended up leading the airline hostess to the Lord.
Learning to love others when it is hard, when it is embarrassing, when it
doesn’t make sense … this will keep your faith sharp and focused.
:11 to the full assurance of hope until the end
We’ll talk a little more about this later.
full assurance – plerophoria –
full assurance, most certain confidence
hope – elpis – expectation
of evil, fear; expectation of good, hope; joyful and confident expectation of
sluggish – nothros – slow,
sluggish, indolent, dull, languid
This is the same word translated “dull” in –
(Hebrews 5:11 NKJV)
whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull
:12 faith and patience inherit the promises
The author is talking about inheriting the promises of salvation.
How do we do that?
Through faith and patience.
Faith isn’t complicated. It’s about
whether you trust God or not.
faith – pistis –
conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or
belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with
the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it
Patience is all about enduring, making it through difficult times.
patience – makrothumia –
endurance, longsuffering, slowness in avenging wrongs
The interesting thing about this word is that it’s focus isn’t on enduring
difficult times, but being slow to anger with difficult people.
For some of us, the thing that makes us want to quit the most is dealing
with difficult people we want to get mad at.
inherit – kleronomeo – to
receive a lot, receive by lot; esp. to receive a part of an inheritance,
receive as an inheritance, obtain by right of inheritance; to be an heir, to
inherit; to become partaker of, to obtain
promises – epaggelia –
announcement; promise; the act of promising, a promise given or to be given; a
promised good or blessing
We know what the “promises” are all about…
(Hebrews 4:1 NKJV) Therefore,
since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of
you seem to have come short of it.
NKJV) …that those who are called may receive the promise of the
The promise is heaven. It’s
6:13-20 Unchanging Promise
Our author is now going to give us an example of someone who displayed
faith and patience and received God’s promises for him.
:13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no
one greater, He swore by Himself,
:14 saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will
:13 He swore by Himself
Sometimes in making a statement a person will swear by something more
important than they are.
Let’s say I “swear by the mayor of Fullerton that I’m going to increase all
If the mayor doesn’t like what I said, I might get into trouble for making
him a part of my oath.
NKJV) —16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple,
it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to
perform it.’ 17
and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the
There is no one greater than God, so when God makes a promise, He simply
has to “swear” by Himself.
When did God “swear” an oath?
The author assumes you already know.
I didn’t so I had to look it up.
Abraham had long been promised a son by God, and that promise didn’t come
to pass until Abraham was 100 years old.
A dozen or so years later (Gen. 22), God tells Abraham to take that
promised only son Isaac up to Mount Moriah and sacrifice him.
Abraham takes Isaac to Mount Moriah.
Abraham builds an altar, ties up his teenage son…
Abraham puts his son on the altar.
Abraham raises his knife …
And the Angel of the Lord stops Abraham and gives him a
ram to offer as a sacrifice instead.
That’s when it happened.
NKJV) —16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing,
and have not withheld your son, your only son—
Do you see God swearing?
Do you see Him swearing by “Myself”?
And by the way, isn’t this the most amazing picture of
what God the Father would be doing one day with His only begotten Son, also at
God then makes the promise…
17 blessing I
will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars
of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your
descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed
all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My
God had already kept His promise concerning the birth of
Isaac, and now God would also keep His promise concerning the future amazing
descendants of the father of faith, Abraham.
And we even get blessed by it as “all the nations”, all
from God’s “oath”.
made a promise – epaggello –
to announce that one is about to do or furnish something; to promise (of one’s
own accord) to engage voluntarily
swear … swore – omnuo – to
swear; to affirm, promise, threaten, with an oath; in swearing to call a person
or thing as witness, to invoke, swear by
surely – men – verily,
blessing … bless – eulogeo –
to praise, celebrate with praises; to invoke blessings; of God to cause to
prosper, to make happy, to bestow blessings on
present active participle
future active indicative
multiplying … multiply – plethuno
– to increase, to multiply; to be increased, (be multiplied) multiply; to
be increased, to multiply
present active participle
future active indicative
:15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
:15 after he had patiently endured
Remember Abraham is our example of faith and patience…
patiently endured – makrothumeo
– not to lose heart; to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of
others; slow to anger
This is patience with difficult people, same root word as “patience” in vs.
Abraham first received a promise of God in Genesis 12
(Genesis 12:2 NKJV)
will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.
He was childless, and 75 years old at the time.
Abraham would make his way to the land of Canaan, and though I’m sure he
and Sarah tried many times, they never could get pregnant.
Ten years pass. Some people lose
their temper when things take this long.
Sarah comes up with the Hagar plan (Gen. 16).
Abraham is supposed to get Sarah’s servant pregnant, which he seems willing
to do. Ishmael is born.
That caused all sorts of trouble. Most
people would lose their temper.
Abraham is now 99 years old. (Gen. 17)
God reminds Abraham that the promised son is still coming.
God tells Abraham to get circumcised.
More opportunities for tempers to flare (not Abraham).
Abraham has three visitors who again remind him a baby is on the way (Gen.
Finally Isaac is born when Abe is 100 years old.
I can’t wait for my oatmeal to cook in the microwave for one minute. Abraham waited 25 years.
Abraham endured. Patiently.
He did it. We can too.
The promise He obtained wasn’t just in Isaac’s birth, but a bigger promise when
He obeys God on Mount Moriah years later.
he obtained – epitugchano (“upon” + “to hit the mark”)
– to light or hit upon any person or thing; to attain to, obtain
These persecuted Jewish believers need to pay attention to Abraham’s
He was patient, they can be patient.
:16 For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is
for them an end of all dispute.
dispute – antilogia –
gainsaying, contradiction; opposition, rebellion
an end – peras –
extremity, bound, end
Strife comes when somebody doesn’t believe you, so if you swear by someone
who can hold you to your word, it can calm things down.
:16 men indeed swear by the greater
Even we allow men to swear by someone greater than themselves if it helps
us believe what they’re saying.
Even in California court these are the official words…
“You do solemnly state that the testimony you may give in the cause now
pending before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
the truth, so help you God.”
(See Section 2094, Code of Civil Procedure.)
:16 and an oath for confirmation is for them
confirmation – bebaiosis –
confirmation; from bebaioo – to make
firm, establish, confirm, make sure
Circle that word “confirmation”, we’ll see it again (in vs. 19).
:17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise
the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath,
more abundantly – perissoteron
– exceeding some number or measure or rank or need
determining – boulomai –
to will deliberately, have a purpose, be minded; of willing as an affection, to
to show – epideiknumi – to
exhibit, show; to prove, demonstrate, set forth to be known and acknowledged
the immutability – ametathetos
– not transposed, not to be transferred, fixed, unalterable
counsel – boule – counsel,
purpose; a form of boulomai, “willing”.
confirmed – mesiteuo – to
act as a mediator between litigating or covenanting parties; act as a sponsor
or surety; to pledge one’s self, give surety
oath – horkos – that which
has been pledged or promised with an oath
:18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God
to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold
of the hope set before us.
:18 by two immutable things
things – pragma – that
which has been done, a deed, an accomplished fact; that which is or exists, a
immutable – ametathetos –
not transposed, not to be transferred, fixed, unalterable
impossible – adunatos –
without strength, impotent, powerless, weakly, disabled; unable to be done,
There are two unchangeable things that give us comfort.
1. God’s promise (of salvation)
2. God doesn’t lie
:18 we might have strong consolation
strong – ischuros –
consolation – paraklesis –
a calling near, summons, (esp. for help); exhortation, admonition,
encouragement; consolation, comfort, solace; that which affords comfort or
The “consolation” God wants for you has to do with your salvation.
You are the “heirs” of His promise, the promise of His salvation. He wants you to know His will for you hasn’t
:18 who have fled for refuge
have fled for refuge – katapheugo
– to flee away, flee for refuge
When Israel conquered the Promised Land, God commanded them to set up six
“Cities of Refuge” evenly spaced throughout the land. (Num. 35:11-13)
NKJV) —11 then you shall appoint cities to be cities of refuge for you, that
the manslayer who kills any person accidentally may flee there. 12 They shall
be cities of refuge for you from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die
until he stands before the congregation in judgment. 13 And of the
cities which you give, you shall have six cities of refuge.
If you accidentally killed someone, you could flee to one of these cities,
and you’d be protected from that person’s avenging relatives.
You would have to stay there until the death of the high priest.
As believers, we have fled to Jesus for refuge.
And since He will no longer die, guess how long we get to stay?
:18 to lay hold of the hope set before us
set before – prokeimai –
to lie or be placed before (a person or a thing) or in front of; to set before;
to be placed before the eyes, to lie in sight
This is a word we’ll see more of later:
NKJV) —1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of
witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
We have a race set before us that we are to run with
2 looking unto
Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was
set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the
right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus had joy set before Him that helped Him to endure the
We have hope set before us.
to lay hold of – krateo –
to be powerful; to get possession of; to become master of, to obtain
We need to grab hold of the hope that is set before us.
Our hope in God and His promises will take us right into His presence.
:19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and
steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,
:20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having
become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
:19 as an anchor of the soul
anchor – agkura – an
anchor; metaph. any stay or safeguard
soul – psuche – breath;
We think of anchors as being those huge things the cruise ship lets down
when it wants to stop in a harbor.
In ancient days, anchors had other uses as well.
An anchor kept you from being blown off course in a storm.
During Paul’s trip to Rome, his ship encountered a storm. At one point they became afraid they were
going to be blown right onto the rocks.
27:29 NKJV) Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped
four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.
The hope we have in God’s promises for us will keep us on track in a
storm. It will keep us from getting
blown off course.
our hope is …
:19 both sure and steadfast
sure – asphales (“not” +
“fail”) – firm (that which can be relied on); certain, true; suited to confirm
When Paul was arrested in the Temple by the Romans because the Jews were
trying to beat him, the commander wanted to know what was going on.
(Acts 21:34 NKJV) And some
among the multitude cried one thing and some another. So when he
could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to
be taken into the barracks.
The commanded couldn’t figure out which story he could rely on. He couldn’t figure out what the truth was.
(Acts 22:30 NKJV) The next
day, because he wanted to know for certain why he was accused by the
Jews, he released him from his bonds, and commanded the chief priests
and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them.
(Acts 25:26 NKJV) I have
nothing certain to write to my lord concerning him. Therefore I have
brought him out before you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that
after the examination has taken place I may have something to write.
Our hope in God’s promises is something we can count on as being the
I have to confess that every once in a while, my eye gets caught by the
“click bait” on a website.
I see a picture of an F-22, and I’m promised to be shown
the best aircraft ever. I want to see
But fifty clicks later I still haven’t seen a single F-22.
God’s promises aren’t “click bait”. They
are the real thing.
There is a heaven.
God wants you there.
Jesus died to pay your way into heaven.
You need to trust your life into Jesus’ hands.
Our hope is also…
steadfast – bebaios – standing
firm on the feet, stable
This word is often connected to the promises of God.
(Romans 4:16 NKJV) Therefore it
is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise
might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but
also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all
(2 Corinthians 1:7
NKJV) And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know
that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of
(2 Peter 1:10 NKJV)
brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for
if you do these things you will never stumble;
(2 Peter 1:19 NKJV)
so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a
light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star
rises in your hearts;
In Sumo wrestling, the goal is to either force your opponent out of the
ring, or make him touch the ground with something other than his feet. To win, you need to stay on your feet.
I had a hard time finding a Sumo video for family viewing, so there’s this…
I thought about showing you a clip of Sumo wrestling, but
I’m not sure I ought to be showing you a bunch of really large almost naked men
wrestling with each other, so here’s the best I could do:
Our hope in God keeps our feet grounded when the enemy attacks.
Remember that word “confirmation” (vs. 16)? This is a form of that word.
The purpose of “oaths” was to make a person’s declaration of truth to be
God wants your hope to be “stable”.
It’s this hope…
:19 which enters the Presence behind the veil
behind – esoteros – inner
Comparative of eso
(“inside”). This is “more inside”, or
(Acts 16:24 NKJV) Having
received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened
their feet in the stocks.
In our passage it is the inner space which is behind the veil; the shrine,
the Holy of Holies, said of heaven by a figure drawn from earthly temple
veil – katapetasma – a
veil spread out, a curtain
The Greek here reads literally, “which enters into the inner-er veil”. The word “Presence” isn’t in the text. This is talking about entering into the Holy
of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant was, the place where God’s presence
In both the Tabernacle and the Temple, there were two different curtains or
The first veil was at the entrance, separating the outer court from the
The second veil was the “inner-er” (his word for “behind”), separating the
Holy Place from the Holy of Holies.
As you’ve been seeing, God is not like that man behind the curtain.
God keeps His promises.
Our hope takes us into His very presence.
:20 where the forerunner has entered for us
forerunner – prodromos – a
forerunner; esp. one who is sent before to take observations or act as a spy, a
scout, a light armed soldier; one who comes in advance to a place where the
rest are to follow
for – huper – in behalf
of, for the sake of
entered – eiserchomai – to
go out or come in: to enter. This word
is found 15 times in the book of Hebrews, 11 times just in chapters 3-6.
This could be one of the theme words for Hebrews, “Be sure to enter in”.
A forerunner is the guy who scouts the way ahead for you.
Jesus is the one who has made a way into the very presence of God for us.
:20 High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek
order – taxis – an
arranging, arrangement; order; the post, rank, or position which one holds in
civic or other affairs
Once a year the High Priest would enter into the Holy of Holies by himself to
make atonement for the nation and then leave.
Jesus was a better high priest.
After His sacrifice on the cross, He opened up the Holy of Holies in
heaven, making a way for us to follow Him.
When Jesus died on the cross, Matthew records that the veil in the Temple
Jesus made it possible for us to come into God’s very presence.
As for this Melchizedek stuff, we’ll dive into that in the following
:19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul
Over and over again this morning we’ve seen that God wants us to have a
faith that is stable.
He wants our faith and hope to carry us through the storms.
We talked last week about how some believers seem to live right outside the
labor and delivery room.
They are constantly thinking they need to get “born again” each week they
come to church.
They are constantly afraid of losing their salvation, or maybe worse they
think they’ve lost it because of some sin they’ve committed since the previous
There are some passages in the New Testament that are clearly designed to
make you evaluate the condition of your relationship with the Lord.
When you’ve been backslidden, it’s not a bad thing to let those passages
shake you up.
God wants us to move past the days of “shaky” assurance and move on to the
maturity of full assurance.
God doesn’t want you going through life kind of “wondering” if you are
really saved or not.
NKJV) —28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither
shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all;
and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
Will you trust The Shepherd’s promise?
God wants you to be sure of your salvation.
(1 John 5:13 NKJV) These things
I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that
you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to
believe in the name of the Son of God.
Are you ready to trust Jesus to be your Savior?
Settle that once and for all.