Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Letter to the Hebrews

The following 4-part sermon is a great study on the Book of Hebrews by Pastor Zac Poonen.

Although there are notes below each link to provide an overview of what is discussed, please do not take those notes as a substitute for listening to the message.

Hearing the message for yourself is sure to amplify your own personal study of this book.

Click Here for Hebrews - Part 1
  • Hebrews Chapter 1 established the deity of Christ. 
  • There is a difference between doing righteousness and loving righteousness.  We must love righteousness and hate sin if we want to be anointed with the oil of gladness (Hebrews 1:9).
  • Jesus created the Heavens and the earth (Hebrews 1:10).
  • Jesus is higher than the angels for God has never said to any angel what He has said to His Son (Hebrews 1:13). This is why the angels are to worship Jesus (Hebrews 1:6) for He has been eternally God, even before the incarnation.  Created beings can never receive worship for such is idolatry.
  • Hebrews Chapter 2 establishes His humanity.  The humanity of Christ - the fact that Jesus is a man as well as God - means that we can follow Him as our example in being an overcomer.
  • The danger for many is not that we will outright reject the Gospel, but that we will drift away from it through neglect (Hebrews 2:1-3).  This text is not written to the unbeliever.  The author says, "How shall WE escape if we neglect so great salvation."  It is a warning to the believer.
  • Jesus Himself was given grace to undergo the death of the cross and that same grace could only come to us through Jesus (Hebrews 2:9).
  • Grace is not the unmerited favor of God.  It is God's help and God's power.
  • Like Jesus, we become perfect or mature through sufferings (Hebrews 2:10).
  • We are the siblings of Jesus.  Whatever God did for Jesus, He will do for us for He is no respecter of persons.
  • No child of God can die until Jesus opens the door for you to die because the power of death has been taken from Satan (Hebrews 2:14-15).
  • Jesus was made like us so that He could be the author of our salvation (Hebrews 2:16-17).
  • Believers can still have a heart of unbelief regarding the truths of the Gospel and the power of salvation given over sin.  This unbelief will cause us to depart from the Lord (Hebrews 3:12).  This is why we need to encourage each other to "consider Jesus" (Hebrews 3:1), our example.
  • We are made partakers with Christ only IF we endure until the end (Hebrews 3:14).  We must abide in the faith. 
  • God doing miracles for you is not the evidence that He is pleased with you.  He did many miracles for Israel in the wilderness, but was angry with them the whole time (Hebrews 3:17).  God is pleased when we enter into the land of Canaan and put those giants under our feet!
  •  "Therefore let us fear..." (Hebrews 4:1).  This applies to us.  The illustration of Israel wandering for forty years in the Wilderness of Sin is given to us believers as an example (Hebrews 4:11). Do not believe the satanic lie which tells you that a believer can never later reject salvation; Scripture continually says otherwise.  Eternal security is conditional according to the word of God.
  • You will only enter into the rest of God when you cease from your own works and struggles.  First, the rest of forgiveness of sin.  Then the rest of victory over sin.
  • Law is man trying to do something for God.  Grace is God doing something for man.

    Click Here for Hebrews - Part 2
    • The word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  The old covenant could only deal with the outside or outward performance.  But in the new covenant, the word penetrates to the very heart of man.
    • The word of God is meant to be a sharp sword.  We should not try to blunt the sword by holding back some of God's truths in order to lessen the impact.  
    • The word of God also divides between soul and spirit.  Even today, many professional Christians cannot distinguish between what is soulish and what is spiritual.  There are many "good works" being done and "good words" being spoken in the name of Jesus, but they are soulish.  We must seek to know God's ways, and this can only be done as His Spirit makes this division or merismos in our souls.  We will be deceived if we cannot distinguish between soul power and spiritual power.
    • There is only one person with whom we "have to do" (Hebrews 4:13-14).  There is only one person in the universe with whom we have to give an account of our life to, and that is Jesus.
    • There are at least 3 Heavens: one is what we see with the stars, moon, and sun; above that is the second heavenlies where Satan and his evil spirits dwell; the third heavenlies is where God dwells. 
    • Jesus being a high priest who can sympathize with our situations doesn't mean that He just encourages us through it.  But, He is there with us, wants to help us through it, and carry our burdens.
    • Financial difficulties are relative.  The greatest problem a person who is seeking after godliness faces is not finances, but being holy.
    • Jesus was tempted just like we are, but never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).  We too can be tempted, but not sin.
    • Mercy deals with our past sins.  Grace is given to help us overcome sin in the future.  Mercy was available in the old covenant, but grace came only by Jesus Christ.  The time of need where grace is required is before we fall; and it keeps us from falling (Hebrews 4:16).  To ask for help after a fall is to seek mercy.  To ask for help before we fall is to call upon grace. 
    • How did Jesus pray throughout His life?  "...with strong crying and tears."  (Hebrews 5:7) Did He pray like that because He was the Son of God?  No, He prayed like that because He hated sin.  Do we pray like that?  Often man is too indifferent to sin to pray like that.
    • The baptism in fire brings a zeal and longing in the heart for purity.
    • Jesus was never afraid to die physically.  He came to die such a death.  He did not want the break in fellowship with God that comes from spiritual death.  This was the essence of His prayer at Gethsemane.  But He had to accept that break in fellowship with the Father in order to take on the sin of the world. 
    • We can only move on to the meat from the milk of the word through obedience to God by pressing on to perfection.

      Click Here for Hebrews - Part 3
      • The burden of the author is to move Christians beyond milk, beyond being babies into maturity as we press on to perfection.  
      • He then addresses the danger of not doing so by issuing a warning to those who have been born again.
      • The person discussed has been enlightened which means that in the darkness of his heart, the light of God has come. He has tasted the Heavenly gift which is the gift God gave of His Son; he has tasted Jesus.  He has received the Holy Spirit.  He has responded to God's word.  He has experienced the supernatural power of God in His life. (Hebrews 6:4)
      • Then Scripture tells us that such a person as described above falls away (Hebrews 6:6).  This is not talking about falling and getting up, but falling away completely.  If God says it is possible to fall away, then it is possible, irregardless of what your theology might say.
      • We are told that such persons crucify the Son of God afresh.  How do we do that?  Through a willful continuation in sin.  Jesus was crucified because of sin.
      • You can cross a line where you have done such despite to the grace of God, that you cannot be renewed again (Hebrews 6:6).
      • Too many Christians want to drink forth blessings from God, but have no concern to bear Godly fruit and as a result wind up producing that which is cursed (Hebrews 6:7-9). The end for such is to be burned (Hebrews 6:8).
      • Yet, the author has faith that his readers will not take sin lightly, but will continue in the same diligence with which we started until the end so as to inherit eternal life (Hebrews 6:10-12).
      • In the Old Testament, if God blessed a man, then he had children.  In the New Testament, the same is true spiritually; you will have spiritual children. People will be brought to the Lord through your life (Hebrews 6:14).
      • The hope for a Christian is two-fold:  That Jesus is coming again and that - at that time - we will be like Him.  This hope is an anchor for our souls (Hebrews 6:19-20).
      • Jesus is called the Forerunner (after the order of Melchisedec) because He entered the holy of holies ahead of us thereby making the way for us to enter in.
      • The priesthood of Melchisedec is far superior than the priesthood of Levi.  For one, Levi - while in the loins of Abraham - paid tithes to Melchisedec (Hebrews 7:1-11).  Second, the priesthood of Levi was based on certain earthly qualifications, but Melchisedec - as a type of Christ - is based on a Heavenly life with no earthly heritage and no beginning or ending of life (Hebrews 7:3).  Thirdly, the priesthood of Levi makes priests of men who are weak and must repeatedly offer sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 7:28), while Jesus Christ is holy and able to save to the utmost with one sacrifice for all sin.
      • You can learn alot about Christian financial principles and Christian work by comparing the two priesthoods of Levi and Melchisedec.  Melchisedec was a King, and received gifts, but it was not according to law.  Melchisedec was not dependent upon Abraham's gift.  He took a gift from Abraham in order to bless Abraham.  Levi would teach people that they have to pay their tithes or be cursed.  When preachers tell you that you have to pay a tithe, they are appealing to the priesthood of Levi.  Many Christians are still bound by an old covenant type of thinking in believing they have to wear special clothes, believing that a building is the house of God, etc.  Don't condescend to a Levitical priesthood attitude if you wish to receive from the Lord for perfection does not come from this. 
      • It is a tragic thing when people call themselves new covenant priests, but then go back to the old priesthood.  The glory of God will not come on this.  We must serve God according to the pattern that God has given in the new covenant.  This pattern is a person: Jesus Christ (Hebrews 8:1-2).
      • The old testament law was faulty (Hebrews 8:7-8).  God had a purpose in this; He did not make a mistake.  God kept man under it to teach Him a lesson; namely, that no matter how hard you try, you will never come up to my standard or manifest my nature.
      • The initial experience of many new Christians is to live like old covenant people.  We hear a message about victory and we "try".  The new covenant is not depending on human experience or ability.
      • The old covenant says, "Thou shalt..." as man struggles to keep God's law.  In the new covenant, God says, "I will..." as He works within us to perform His will.

      Click Here for Hebrews - Part 4
      • In the Old Testament there was a constant remembrance of sin (Hebrews 7:27).  But in the new covenant, there is no remembrance of sin (Hebrews 8:12).  God does not hold your past life against you...no matter how wicked it may have been.
      • The privilege under the new covenant is that we don't need any man or woman in order to know God.  We can each personally know God as a Father and friend through Jesus Christ.
      • The model for what is required for us in the new covenant is seen in Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Mary could not have conceived Jesus no matter how hard she tried.  What she did have to do was submit to the work of the Holy Spirit, who alone could bring forth this new life in her.  Similarly, we cannot produce the life of Christ within.  It is God's responsibility to create righteousness in us, but we must submit to His work.
      • Every person in the new covenant can be made perfect in our conscience through the Holy Spirit's power (Hebrews 9:9-14).  The Holy Spirit's power which presented Jesus without blemish to God is the same power by which we can do the same.  The law cannot make people perfect (Hebrews 10:1).  The mark of those under the old covenant is that they are afraid of the word perfection.
      • God does not want your sacrifices, offerings, or tithes.  He wants your body (Hebrews 10:5).  The new covenant equivalent to the old testament 'tithe' is your body, your life.
      • The central passage to the entire book of Hebrews is likely seen in verses 19-25; it is exhorting us to enter and walk by the new & living way into the most holy place.  This is the way of the cross.  Death to my own will and offering my body to do God's will.
      • If you decide not to follow the way, but backslide by continuing willfully in sin, then we will be judged with the same judgment set for the enemies of God (Hebrews 10:26-27).
      • If you live by faith, then you will make progress.  If you draw back or drift away, then God will have no pleasure in you and you will be destined for perdition (Hebrews 10:38-39).
      • We can only walk this way by faith (Hebrews 11).  Some people think faith in God is just about calling down fire from Heaven, break the walls of Jericho, part the Red Sea, and shut the mouths of lions.  That is an example of faith.  But it is also faith to be able to stand in our confession of faith while being tortured, afflicted, and killed.  Faith is not just the power to walk in the supernatural or experience miracles, but the ability to endure until the end...even through hardship.
      • Our faith is not looking unto Old Testament persons, but looking unto Jesus.  And when we look to Jesus, we will run this race (Hebrews 12:1-2).  We have to run.  Don't get discouraged if you fall down, just get back up and run. 
      • Don't be like Esau and lose your eternal inheritance for some small earthly gain (Hebrew 12:16).  
      • If somebody harms you, the old covenant Christian will cry out for judgment.  If you are a new covenant Christian, you will cry out for mercy (Hebrews 12:24).
      • The final Chapter of Hebrews gives us a summary of exhortations which we will experience as we walk in this new and living way.


        1. I say, "WoW". If he preached it better than you outlined it, it is amazing. I will save and listen to it later. Excellent presentation of your notes.

        2. This was an awesome message. Thank you so much for sharing. I needed to hear this message.

        3. Hi Mia,

          What a good food for my soul you shared through this post. Just heard the sermon 1st part and I am amazed by the simplicity and the depth of the teaching.
          Now I have to live it!

          Thanks again for your obedience to God. May he keep using you for His glory through this blog.

          Hope you and your family are fine.

        4. Hi Laetitia,

          That is something I actually love about Pastor Poonen's sermons. They are typically very simple, very straightforward, and very biblical. This is really needed in the churchworld today.

          Thanks for your warm regards. As you say Sis, let's LIVE this word as Christ lives through us. :-)

          God Bless!


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