Summary: Setting expectations for a multiyear expositional series on the book of Hebrews.
God Has Spoken
I. Why Hebrews?
A. The Challenge of Hebrews
1. “It has been said that the book of Hebrews is the least known of all New Testament epistles.”
2. Full of unfamiliar O.T. References
3. Logic complex and difficult to understand without extensive study
4. Yet, it contains one of the most beautiful pictures of Jesus Christ and the provisions of grace God made for each of us in Christ in the entire NewTestament
B. Quotes for Hebrews
1. John Calvin - “Since the epistle inscribed to the Hebrews contains a fulldiscussion respecting the eternal divinity of Christ, his government,
and only priesthood, (which are the main points of celestial wisdom) and as these things are so explained in it, that the whole power and work of Christ are set forth in the most graphic manner, it deservedly ought to obtain in the Church the place and the honour of an invaluable treasure.”
2. Matthew Henry - a. “Indeed, if we compare all the epistles of the New Testament, we shall not find any of them more replenished with divine, heavenly matters than this to the Hebrews.”
3. Adam Clarke - “So many are the beauties, so great the excellency, so instructive the matter, and so exceedingly interesting the whole, that the work may be read a hundred times over without perceiving anything of
sameness, and with new and increased information at each reading.”
C. Why Hebrews?
1. Reason #1 - “No other New Testament epistle so clearly answers the ‘why’of the sacrifice of Christ and the redemption offered through his sacrifice.”
a. Repeatedly the author exhorts us to “consider Jesus,” to “fix our
eyes on Jesus,” to “look to Jesus.”
b. God has in Christ fulfilled every promise he ever made to us and
invites every one of us to find in the death of Jesus Christ on the
cross forgiveness for sins and our personal reason for eternal hope
c. This grace the book of Hebrews thoroughly explains while inviting
us to fall in love with Jesus all over again.
2. Reason # 2 - “The book of Hebrews speaks to crucial needs felt by those under religious and cultural pressure to return to pre-conversion
a. Historical Setting
(1) Apostasy an immediate danger (2:1)
(2) Based on unbelief (3:12)
(3) Suggested by conduct (5:13-14)
(4) Neglect of public worship (10:25)
(5) Weakness in prayer (12:12)
(6) A certain instability in doctrine (13:9)
(7) Refusal to teach others as mature believers ought to do (5:12)
(8) Neglect of the Scriptures (2:1)
b. “Many Christians today, right here in this room, face pressure to
return to their old beliefs and life-styles. Family, friends, or just the
flesh may pull them back toward living as they did before they met
(1) (Which doesn’t mean necessarily being dragged back to the “gutter of sin” as much as returning to a way of thinking and living that minimized the impact of God’s word on values, choices, thoughts, and actions.)
(2) Postmodern Culture and the Christian Church
(a) Postmodernism rejects the very notion of truth as fixed, universal, objective, or absolute
(b) Postmodernism rejects all presentations of Truth as fixed, universal, objective, or absolute, thus denying the capacity of the Christian gospel to affect any real change, and neutralizing the word of God as God’s word for all people at all times
(c) Postmodernism rejects the idea of ascribing meaning to a text or even to the text’s author.
(d) Postmodernism rejects the idea that life is not all about “me.”
(e) Postmodernism rejects singular authority, including that of texts, authors, traditions, narratives, the Bible, God, and all powers on heaven and earth.
(f) Postmodernism rejects moral absolutes.
c. Christians of today face the same danger the book of Hebrews
addresses, we are in danger of apostasy, reverting back to old ways,
of returning to what they once were, of falling into the world’s
mold and falling away from Christ.
d. To confront postmodern culture successfully, as both an
external and an internal influence, and to avoid being swept
away or set aside by this culture, we must know the Truth:
personally in relationship and objectively through the word.
3. Reason # 3 - “With it’s emphasis upon the priestly ministry of Christ, and the privileges of the believer in relation to Christ, and its strong admonitions to develop a virile faith, Hebrews still speaks today.”
4. Reason # 4 - “As for its practical value, Hebrews rests solidly upon the unquestioned premise that Christ meets the needs of all men at all times.”
II. Goals and Objectives
1. Author’s Goals
a. The author strives for two goals,
(1) that his readers understand certain basic ideas in regards to
Christ and Christian faith,
(2) and that they act upon them.