Friday, June 15, 2012

Hebrews 12

12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 
·         This is a call to repentance, and a call to faith.
·         Remember faith is what we can do, faith is what God requires of us.

13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 
·         This is a warning and a consolation. God cares about the weak and lowly, the downtrodden. He wants to see them healed and strengthened
·         Ever walked down a bumpy or badly managed path? It can hurt.

14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 
·         It is for holiness that we were created. We must become progressively holy, in sanctification, or we are not born again.
·         Strive for peace with everyone was  command Paul gave in Thessalonica. It’s the goal we have for ourselves – if God’s house is at war it’s not God’s house

15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no  “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 
·         We are to help our brothers to obtain salvation. We are to make sure that bitterness which is a small plant, doesn’t become a big one.
·         By defiled they may become unfit for the Kingdom of heaven.

16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 
·         Immorality is closely tied to the notion of unholiness because it’s the perfect encapsulation of someone who is living for their passions and controlled by them
·         Esau had the birthright, and then chose to give it up. He stands for all non-believers who have a new life in Christ and choose to throw it away

17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
·         Esau bitterly regretted not getting the benefits of the birthright, although he cared nothing for the birthright itself.
·         Just so non-believers are not searching for God, they are searching for the benefits God can give them, the last thing they want is to actually find God.
·         Incidentally this is the biggest beef I have with John Piper, he is urging people to search for that.
·         When my sister was babysitting she said “Conor let’s make a deal, you get ready for bed and I’ll let you play with your toys.” He countered: “let’s make a deal, I play with my toys and you go away.” That’s God and sinful man.

18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 
·         This is our motivation, we do not have to be afraid when God is punishing us because we are not in the old covenant system where punishment was a just reward for evil deeds. We may come without fear to God.
·         “what may be touched” refers to the mountain of Sinai which was a physical location; this is in opposition to the spiritual, which is greater. If the physical was glorious and wonderful, then how much more so the spiritual of the new covenant? Paul makes this same argument in 2 Cor 3
·         This is taken from Exodus 19:18-20.
·         A blast furnace doesn’t make for much love.

19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 
·         As soon as the people saw it they became overwhelmed in fear Exodus 20:18. Moses you go!
·         This was to inspire fear in them so they would keep the commandments, but it was not enough, the will of the people was still for idolatry.
·         The message was ‘Do not!’ in Heb ‘Lo’. This was for their own safety because there was no grace here.

20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 
·         They could obey it, but they could not abide by the notion of a super Holy God who demanded such strenuous perfection and would mete our death.
·         Why would anyone return to that?

21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 
·         Moses who was their mediator didn’t want to have anything to do with it. Now if the great Moses could not bear it, then who else can?
·         Although this is not recorded in the OT, it’s reasonable enough to suppose that Moses brought this opinion of the people to God, himself sharing it.

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 
·         In contrast to the wilderness and terror of Mt. Sinai we have Mt. Zion, the city of happiness.
·         The angels are gathered to praise God continually there. This is interesting because the notion of them welcoming us starts with Jesus. Previously the angels were our enemies, along with the demons.
·         The word ‘innumerable’ is often translated 10,000. So next time you see a number like that what should you be thinking?
·         This is alluded to in Isaiah 2:1-4

23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 
·         We have before us the church of people who are called by God, enrolled in heaven, born again. Or as it says, firstborn which is a statement regarding our pre-eminence.
·         We have ascended into the presence of God, the judge, who has decided not to judge
·         And to the righteous ones of old who have already been made perfect. Mt Sinai offers no perfection, Mt Zion does.

24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
·         So then, having come to the presence of our mediator, Jesus let us come with boldness to Him.
·         Abel offered a sacrifice in faith to God, and it pleased Him. Jesus offered better than a lamb in faith, and that was found much more pleasing to God
·         Abel’s blood cried out for justice, Jesus’ blood is a covering asking for grace. The first covenant demanded fairness, the second demands nothing and brings mercy.

25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 
·         By now you should be familiar with this formulaic expression that the writer of Hebrews has laid down. If Christ is greater than Moses and all the punishments of Moses were terrible, how much worse is the punishment for disobeying Christ?
·         This chapter acts as a summary of the things said before it’s closed out. It’s effectively the last chapter
·         If the temporal brought physical death then the spiritual brings an eternal death

26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”
·         A much more frightening idea. If the first time was just to shake the Earth and it caused everyone to tremble, then this time where He shakes the very heavens will be much more horrible. 2 Peter 3:10

27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 
·         The winnowing fork is in His hand. He has come to shake out the chaff from the wheat.
·         If He says “Yet once more” then obviously He has done it in the past, and will do it in the future. This isn’t some hypothetical thing that He may or may not do.

28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
·         The writer comes to the point of this: let us not fear discipline, but instead be grateful, for this kingdom shall never end.
·         Let us come to Him with respect.
·         We have already received the kingdom, it is already ours

 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
·         Now if God is a consuming fire, then He is going to consume everything that He despises
·         There are a very few passages that say “God is.” God is love, God is a consuming fire
·         This is actually a reminder from Deut 4:24
·         God is a purifying fire to sin, to our nature, wiping it away

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