Category: Hebrews

Deceived by the serpent!

Scripture reading for September 30th: 2nd Corinthians 11

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 11:1-4 “I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the One we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the One you received or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.”

Paul, as a pastor, was concerned for the spiritual welfare of the church in Corinth. He was aware of the spiritual warfare going on with the forces of darkness who were using false apostles and false teachers to undermine the true Gospel and pervert the people from a sincere devotion to Christ Jesus. He shared his concern likening the deception to that that the ‘serpent’ (Satan) used to deceive Eve in the Garden of Eden. The serpent cast doubt on God’s authority and twisted God’s Word. The serpent implied God was holding out giving them knowledge that would enable them to be God. He offered ‘forbidden fruit’ to eat and Eve ate it up. Paul’s concern was that these believers would swallow the lies of false apostles, preaching ‘another Jesus’, not Jesus Christ the Son of God, crucified and risen as Lord. They had another spirit, not the Holy Spirit and preached another gospel, not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Deception must be exposed by truth and pastors must watch over the flock of God.

2nd Corinthians 11:13-15 “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for pastors who are watchful over Your flock. Protect me and Your Church from the cunning and deception of these last days and use me to warn and protect the flock by teaching truth and modeling a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. Give Your people a discerning appetite to avoid swallowing deception and receiving a different Jesus, an unholy spirit, and a false gospel.

Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

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Ever-increasing glory!

Scripture reading for September 20th: 2nd Corinthians 3

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 3:9-15 “For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.”

Paul was explaining the difference between the Old Covenant of Law mediated by Moses when he met with God face to face on the mountain and the New Covenant of righteousness by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The Old Covenant came with glory–a blazing fire kindled by God’s holy presence and a holy glow on Moses’ face when he came from his meeting with God. The glow would gradually fade away so Moses put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the glory fade away. Paul stated that this same veil is still over the Israelites that rejected Christ and the veil is only removed by faith in Christ. When one turns to the Lord, the Holy Spirit brings liberty from the law of sin and death and the fading glory and gives us access to God’s holy presence. We can behold His face and be permanently transformed with glory that is ever-increasing! Halleluiah! Let me in on this!

2nd Corinthians 3:16-18 “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord Who is Spirit.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for the New Covenant provided for us through the blood sacrifice of Your Son on our behalf. Thank You for removing the veil from our minds and hearts and allowing us to behold Your transforming glory. Do whatever You desire to transform me into Your image by the Holy Spirit, from glory to glory!

Hebrews 10:12-14 “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until His enemies should be made a footstool for His feet. For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

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Seeking the City to Come!

Scripture reading for August 24th: Hebrews 13

Key Scriptures: Hebrews 13:12-16 “So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through His own blood. Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp and bear the reproach He endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His Name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

In closing this letter, the writer of Hebrews uses Jesus as an example for the Jewish believers. Jesus, the Jew, was condemned to die a criminal’s death, outside the gates of Jerusalem, the city of God. The ‘King of the Jews’ suffered death by crucifixion in order to sanctify all people, Jew and Gentile, by bearing their reproach and sins. Jesus Christ arose from the grave and ascended back to heaven, preparing a place in the City of God, the New Jerusalem. He is coming again and will in finality bring the New Jerusalem down from heaven as a dwelling place for His Bride, the Church. In faith, the Church lives a life of worship and service to God. They are looking for the City to come and the return of the Bridegroom for the Bride!

Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give and account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, I recognize that I truly have no city or true home in this world that is hostile to You. I am looking for the City that is to come and the return of Jesus Christ as King of Kings. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and help me to be watchful over my brothers and sisters and to set a godly example of worship and sacrifice. I want to please my Lord and Father!

Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now may the God of Peace Who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

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Roots of bitterness block blessings

Scripture reading for August 23rd: Hebrews 12

Key Scriptures: Hebrews 12:12-17 “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 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 are defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 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.”

God promises to bless His people as they seek Him and obey His Word. Our enemy, the devil, is always seeking to block the blessings. When we join Christ’s Body, the Church, we are to help our brothers and sisters by encouraging them and helping them overcome their weaknesses. The writer of Hebrews likened these weaknesses as “drooping hands” and “weak knees”. These ‘weaknesses’ and ‘lameness’ of walk are often linked with spiritual strongholds in people’s hearts. Resentment, unforgiveness, and fleshly appetites all are like thorns which grow wild in the garden of our hearts and focus us on earthly desires instead of spiritual blessings. They limit the ‘good works’ we might do with our hands and cause ‘drooping hands.’ They ‘lameness’ in our feet so that our walk with the Lord and our brothers and sisters is affected. Weak knees also limit our ability to pray effectively. Esau is a good example of the bad attitudes we should avoid that could cost our inheritance.

Hebrews 12:25 “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.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for warning us from heaven through Your Son, Jesus Christ. I received grace from faith in Jesus and healing from my ‘weak knees’ and ‘drooping hands’. Help me and others in Your family to watch and encourage our brothers and sisters to live holy lives and weed out roots of bitterness that hinder our spiritual growth and fruit.

Hebrews 12:10-11 “For they (our parents) disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He (God) disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

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The City Prepared by God!

Scripture reading for August 20th: Hebrews 11

Key Scriptures: Hebrews 11:13-16 “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.”

The writer of Hebrews appealed to the Jewish believers in Jesus concerning the patriarchs from Adam to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He told how all these had lived here on earth as strangers and exiles, wandering around following God and looking for the City of God. They received the promises of God for a homeland and inheritance, but lived and died only seeing them with eyes of faith. Abel brought God a better sacrifice to find His favor. Enoch walked with God and God simply took him up to Heaven. Noah got on an ark, allowing God to take him and his family to a new land. Abraham left his homeland to go to a land God would show him. All these died in faith looking forward to a better heavenly land. God was pleased with their faith and has the fulfilment of all His promises awaiting those who persevere!

Hebrews 11:35 “Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for Your great and precious promises and the record of those who have lived by faith before us. I am humbled to be included in these promises by faith in Jesus Christ. Help me to live fully by faith and tell others of the great gift of eternal life and the heavenly city prepared for those You loved and sent Jesus to die for.

Hebrews 11:39-40 “And all these, though commended through their faith, did not received what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”

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Encouragement and warning!

Scripture reading for August 19th: Hebrews 10

Key Scriptures: Hebrews 10:21-27 “. . .And since we have a great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He Who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving a knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and the fury of fire that will consume the enemies of God.”

Pastors, like parents, instruct those under their oversight in doing the right thing. Encouraging words that include us as well in the clear instructions: “Let us . . .”. Paul pointed them to their great High Priest, Jesus Christ Who had gone before them and now, seated at God’s right hand, was interceding for them. This was a time to ‘hold fast’ and ‘stir up’ others of like faith and to ‘meet together’ regularly. Jesus could return at any time! Today was the right time to get right and be about God’s business. However, the warning was also given. Willful sinning under the Old Covenant did not have a sacrifice that would cover it. The person willfully sinning must pay the penalty. The New Covenant in Jesus also warned that willfully continuing in sin when we know Christ Jesus and His sacrifice to free us from sin’s power and penalty can only result in judgment and being counted as an enemy of God. May this never happen to any believer!

Hebrews 10:29 “How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of Grace?”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for Jesus Christ, my great High Priest! Through Him, I draw near to you and find cleansing from sin’s power and penalty. Give me grace today to hold fast to this truth and encourage my brothers and sisters to remain faithful and steadfast, meeting together for worship, prayer, Scripture and encouragement.

Hebrews 10:39 “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”

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Once for All!

Scripture reading for August 18th: Hebrews 9

Key Scriptures: Hebrews 9:24-27 “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then He would have had to suffer repeated since the foundation of the world. But as it is, He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.”

The Hebrews Jewish believers were familiar with the Old Testament sacrifices which had been offered by priests for hundreds of years. They had to be offered over and over because they were imperfect and just a type of the final sacrifice. They were offered in an earthly tabernacle and then the temple at Jerusalem. This was also a type or model of the true temple in Heaven where God Himself was enthroned. The writer of Hebrews states that the resurrected Jesus Christ entered heaven itself with His own blood once for all to offer the last and perfect Sacrifice for the sins of the world. This sacrifice would be efficacious for all time, available for access by faith in Jesus Christ, the enthroned High Priest Who ever lives to make intercession for us. Jesus Christ is coming again! He will not deal with sin but will fulfill His promise of eternal life and a transformed body to all who are eagerly waiting by faith for Him!

Hebrews 9:14 “. . .how much more will the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Jesus Christ as the final Sacrifice for the sins of all the world. You left no one out and included all who would repent and believe! I am a citizen of heaven and await my Savior Jesus Christ and my full salvation of a glorious body like His glorious body. Fill me with the Holy Spirit today to empower me to be ready and share Christ’s great love and Good News!

Philippians 3:20-21 “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.”

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Who wants something obsolete?

Scripture reading for August 17th: Hebrews 8

Key Scriptures: Hebrews 8:10-13 “”For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,” for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more. In speaking of a new covenant, He makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.””

No one wants something for daily use that is obsolete. I purchased an Apple ll c computer as my first personal computer. It was quite the in thing in the late 70’s! In fact, today’s technology systems would not support it and it would be unusable. God was telling the Hebrew Christians that the old covenant of the Law and its sacrifices for sin was obsolete. Something new and better had come in Jesus Christ. Now the Law of God would be written on the tablets of human hearts and not on tablets of stone. God would not be distant and fearful to know, but all will be able to freely come before Him and know Him no matter who they are. God would not just cover their sins with the blood of an animal sacrifice, but would cleanse believers of all sins and remember them no more! It’s a better covenant with better promises, the old is obsolete!

Hebrews 8:6 “But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant He mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, Thank You for Your great mercy to me and all who believe. Your mercy and forgiveness has enabled us to know You and receive this new covenant and by faith claim the better promises of cleansing and new creation and eternal life in Christ Jesus. Today, let me proclaim the excellencies of the New Covenant in Jesus Christ our Lord. Yes! Amen!

2nd Corinthians 1:18-20 “As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and no. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, Whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in Him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. . .”

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Holy, innocent, unstained, separated, exalted!

Scripture reading for August 16th: Hebrews 7

Key Scriptures: Hebrews 7:22-28 “This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but He holds His priesthood permanently, because He continues forever. Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for His own sins and then for the people, since He did this once for all when He offered up Himself.

God appointed Jesus as our high priest forever. He made an oath and swore by Himself, because there was no one greater. The Father raised His Son from the dead because of His perfect obedience and holy, separated and innocent life. Jesus offered His own body and blood as the final sacrifice for our sins. He had no need Himself as He never sinned. Jesus now lives forever and is able as our permanent high priest to make intercession for us. He is able to save us completely and keep us for God and eternal life. Jesus is seated at God’s right Hand, a place of eternal honor as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, having all power and all authority and ability to save completely all who come to Him in faith in all ages. He is worthy of all honor, glory and praise forever and ever! Amen!

Hebrews 7:21 “. . .but this One was made a priest with an oath by the One Who said to Him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever.'”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, I thank You that Your oath and Word stand true forever concerning Your Son, Jesus Christ. He is my high priest and the guarantor of the New Covenant through His resurrection from the dead. Lord, fill me with Your Spirit of holiness, innocence, separation to God and perfect obedience to the Father’s will and Word.

Hebrews 7:28 “For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priest, but the word of oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son Who has been made perfect forever.

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Hold tight, don’t fall away!

Scripture reading for August 13th: Hebrews 6

Key Scriptures: Hebrews 6:4-9 “For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding Him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. Though we speak in this way yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things–things that belong to salvation.”

The writer of Hebrews was concerned about believers that were being enticed by family and religious ties to go back to Judaism and forsake the life of faith they had experienced. He plainly laid out the end result of leaving the faith (apostasy). Although they had once repented, they would be unable to return again. Their action would hold the Savior up to contempt in the eyes of other unbelievers and hinder God’s work of salvation in their lives. Like land that was cultivated to produce a crop but only produced thorns and thistles, they would be destined to eternal destruction. Paul was warning the believers to hold fast to Christ Jesus and the grace that comes from faith. He encouraged them that they had better things ahead as they held fast. They could be eternally secure in Christ alone!

John 10:27-29 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You that I am eternally secure in Christ Jesus and Your Almighty Hands. Help me daily to hear Your voice and follow You in the power of Your Holy Spirit. I desire to be blessed by You and bear fruit for Your glory and kingdom. Give me discernment to warn those who are in danger of falling away in these last days.

1st Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirts and teachings of demons, . .”

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