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Summary: Hebrews: A look at the book. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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Reading: Hebrews chapter 1 verses 1-3.

Ill:

• A little boy asked his mum a question;

• “Mum, where did I get my intelligence from?”

• She replied;

• “I guess you got it from your father because I still have mine!”

Many Christians avoid the book of Hebrews

• Because they view it as being too difficult to understand.

• And there are some verses that many of us as preachers wishes were not there.

• But the general message of the book is clear ;

• And there is no reason why you and I should not (1). understand it & (2). profit from it.

• Hebrews is a great book;

• And as we study it, it should enrich our appreciation of Jesus Christ.

Notice: Five things to note regarding the book of Hebrews.

(1). It is a book of evaluation

• The Church that received this letter was primarily made up of converted Jewish people;

• There is not a single reference to Gentiles in the book.

• Nor any mention of problems between Jews and Gentiles;

• Which we find in so many other New Testament letters.

• Jewish Christians were living in ‘no-man’s land’;

• They were rejected by their fellow Jews for not practicing the old religion.

• They were rejected by Gentiles;

Ill:

• In fact under Nero they became ‘scapegoat’,

• Nero blamed them for all sorts of things especially when in A.D. 64;

• A great fire broke out in Rome which destroyed a large part of the city.

Note:

• It is into this hard and complex situation that the writer of this book;

• Pens his advice.

• Question: Who was the writer?

• Answer: No-one knows.

Ill:

• Tertullian one of the earliest Church fathers;

• Thought that Barnabus wrote it.

• Clement of Alexandria used to think that;

• Paul wrote it in Hebrew and that Luke translated it into Greek.

• St Augustine, Martin Luther & John Calvin were all convinced;

• That the apostle Paul did not write it.

• Luther believed that Apollos (Acts chapter 18 verse 24) wrote it.

• Some scholars have even suggested Aquila & Priscilla wrote it between them (Acts 18:26)

• Origen one of the earliest Church fathers, got it right when he said;

• “Who wrote the letter to the Hebrews only God knows for certain”.

• We might not know who penned it, but we do know who inspired it;

• God the Holy Spirit – Many human writers – only ever one author!

The original readers did know who the writer was:

• e.g. Hebrews chapter 13 verses 18-19:

• The writer asks the Church to pray for them & he hoped to visit them again in the future.

“Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honourably in all things. And I urge you all the more to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner”.

Note:

• Into this difficult situation, the writer this book ask his readers to evaluate their faith;

• He asks them to reflect on what Jesus Christ had to offer them?

The Reason:

• Because these Christians were going through difficult times;

• And they were being tempted to give up in their faith.

• To quit, to take the easy option of going with popular opinion.

The writer of this letter will address three types of people:

(a).

• According to chapter 10 verses 32-34:

• Some of these Christians had been physically assaulted.

• Their homes had been raided and plundered.

• Some had been imprisoned for their faith.

• Others had been ridiculed in public because of their trust in Jesus Christ.

• Many of these Christians had accepted all the adversity;

• Despite the persecution they stood firm.

(b).

• Others in the fellowship were ‘keeping their heads down’;

• They presented a low public profile and were also willing to compromise,

• They lived with a ‘all things to all men’ attitude;

• They wanted to remain true to Jesus,

• But at the same time they did not want to experience persecution and trouble.

• So they compromised their beliefs in order to be accepted and therefore not victimized.

(c).

• Still others had given up on Christ and gone back to their old ways;

• That is back to the Jewish religion.

• They went back to the safe and familiar;

• And by going back they were welcomed back into the Jewish community;

• And they escaped the maltreatment & discrimination that Christians were experiencing.

Notice:

• That the writer asked these believers to evaluate their faith;

• To compare what they have in Christ and what they had before they followed Jesus.

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