Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20110504.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Hebrews: The Superiority Of Christ To Errant Religions
Part V: The Superiority Of Christ's Priesthood To Other Priesthoods, Hebrews 5:1-10:39
H. Applying Christ's Superior Priesthood, Hebrews 10:19-39
3. Encouragement To Stay In God's Will In Line With Our Own Past Victories Of Faith
Lesson: Believers facing temptations to sin need to recall past victories in similar trials that make failing to bear up under the current trials illogical and undermine their own past victories.
- When God calls a believer to stay faithful to Him in some realm of his Christian walk, a faithfulness that is demanding due to strong temptations to the contrary, not only are dire warnings of severe divine discipline for failure to stay faithful effective, but encouragements to that end are also equally effective.
- Hebrews 10:32-39 that follows God's warning of a severe discipline for defecting from Christ provides a timeless encouragement to keep staying faithful to God's will (as follows):
- Encouragement To Stay In God's Will In Line With Our Own Past Victories Of Faith, He. 10:32-39.
- The recipients of the Epistle to the Hebrews were evidently being strongly lured to abandon Christianity and return to some form of dead Judaism, cf. Hebrews 13:9-14; Bible Know. Com., N. T ., p. 779.
- The author had then charged them to stay loyal to Christ or suffer God's severe discipline, Heb. 10:26-31.
- However, beyond being demanding in righteousness, God is very practical, and Hebrews 10:32-39 NIV offers timeless practical encouragment to saying faithful to God's will in line with our own past victories:
- The author of Hebrews encouraged his readers to recall their own past spiritual victories of faithfulness in pressing trials they faced upon embracing their newfound faith in Christ, Hebrews 10:32.
- Those trials included various pressures they had faced for leaving dead Judaism for Christianity:
- The author of Hebrews reminded his readers how they had faced public exposure, insult and persecution in initially leaving Judaism for Christianity, Hebrews 10:33a NIV. (Acts 8:1)
- He reminded them how they had stood in support of those who had faced such trials, Heb. 10:33b.
- The author of Hebrews reminded his readers how they had sympathized with fellow Hebrews who had been imprisoned for Christ (Hebrews 10:34a) and had joyfully received the confiscation of their property by their countrymen in hope of better, lasting possessions in God's Kingdom, Heb. 10:34b.
- Thus, the author showed the need to remain faithful to the stand for which they had suffered so much to leave Judaism for Christ as the basis for not returning to Judaism from Christianity now!
- Thus, he urged his readers not to throw away their confidence that God would bless them if they stayed faithful to Christ, Hebrews 10:35a; such a confident hope would be rewarded, Hebrews 10:35b.
- Consequently, what they needed in the current trial was perseverance (hypomones, Ibid., p. 806), or "steadfast endurance,' denoting an inward feeling, as well as outward conduct, but directed only towards aggression' . . . (h)ence . . . the virtue shewn by martyrs . . ." (Moulton & Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, 1972, p. 659)
- Bearing up under the persecution, being God's will, would lead to His reward, Hebrews 10:36.
- Indeed, in a little while, God would come and not delay providing deliverance and reward, Heb. 10:37.
- The upright thus were to live by faith in God's future promises of blessing for staying true under aggressive persecution from their Hebrew countrymen, for shrinking back from such a life of faith leaves one out of favor with the Lord, Hebrews 10:38.
- Indeed, such faithless shrinking back would bring severe divine discipline (Hebrews 10:39a NIV) as was noted in Hebrews 10:26-31, but the author of Hebrews was confident that his readers were not faithless, but people who were of faith eis peripoiesin psyches, or, people who were of faith "leading to the preservation of the soul" where "soul" is used Hebraistically in this context to mean the "pe rson himself, or his life" versus eternal salvation, Heb. 10:26-28, Ibid., Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 807. [The focus here is not that of possibly losing one's salvation, but of losing his life in God's discipline!]
Application: May we be encouraged to stay faithful to God's will in recalling how we have overcome in trials that make not bearing the current trials illogical and counterproductive to our own past victories!