Tag Archives: Hebrews

Hold Fast

Note: I am going to try and finish Hebrews before the end of the year so this post will be a little different than previous ones, covering a whole chapter rather than a few verses. Starting January 1, I will be following Alistair Beggs Bible Reding Calendar to read through the Bible in one year.  It has been several years since I read the Bible completely through, and I think this is a must every once in a while, for every Christian.  Hi blog will follow my progress when I have time to post.  Thank you for reading!

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.

WOW!  Can I say that again backward? WOW!  Perfected forever!  That is what Jesus did for us.  No more offering for our sin, no more looking for a deliverer, no more needing a healer.  He has perfected us forever!  We talked in my last post about being sanctified, and now we see this beautiful verse that gives us all the assurance we need to go forth and tell the good news.  We are perfect in God’s sight when we walk in the sanctification He has provided for us.  Why?  Because He paid the price on the cross (Hebrews 10:10) and then sat down on the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12).

When reading Hebrews, we always must keep in mind who this letter was written to and why Paul wrote it.  It is written to the Jewish people, who were still following the Old Testament sacrificial law.  Paul, in a brilliant way, is showing the people how Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the law for the forgiveness of sin, so they no longer need to sacrifice bulls, lambs and goats. Jesus did it once and for all (Hebrews 10:10).  By doing this, he ushered in the New Covenant which was prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31. The Jewish people were very familiar with this passage of scripture, and they knew that this prophesy could only be fulfilled by their Messiah.  Paul has painted a beautiful picture in the first 10 chapters of how this can be.  I don’t know about you., but I would say his argument is quite convincing!

Paul now turns his attention to our walk with Christ.  Now that He has provided this sanctification, and we can walk with the law of God in our hearts, we must walk in full assurance of faith because He has touched our evil conscience and washed us with His word. (Hebrews 10:22).  We will see in the next chapter how important this faith is!  It is vital that we hold fast to professing this faith that He has given us. What does that mean?  It means that we unswervingly declare the Good News to others.  It means that we share our faith with everyone around us.  It may be with a friendly smile or with a brief prayer, or with a congratulations on a good job. We must share our faith.  This is especially true when we are with other believers.

Hebrews 10:25 says we should not stop getting together with fellow believers.  Why is this so important?  So many people stay home for church services on the television or radio, or listen to podcasts and worship music instead of getting together with other believers.  We all have heard that churches are losing people in almost all denominations.  WHY?  I believe it is because preachers have veered away from Professing their faith and have turned to a social gospel that leaves the message of the cross out!  Our sanctification is nothing without the cross?  Staying away from church and assembling with other Christians robs us of the accountable and fellowship we need to hold fast to this faith.  All of us, no matter how strong, need other people.  We need to be encouraged, uplifted, and yes, rebuked and exhorted.  We need each other.

In Romans 12, Paul talks about how the church body functions similar to the human body in that there are many parts but all are one body.  During my battle with cancer, I lost the use of my right shoulder due to some weird neurological thing.  Doctors could not explain it and physical therapy did not help it. They called it Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, which is typically very painful, but I had no pain.  I just could not use my right shoulder. Being right-handed, this made everything more difficult.  I had to learn to use my left hand for eating, bathing, support, writing – everything!  It was a great lesson for me in how important every part of my body is.  We take our shoulder for granted! I also had drop-foot In both of my feet.  If you don’t know what that I, I suggest you look it up.  His made it very difficult to walk without extreme caution.  We need every part of our body to function properly!

He church is no different. The local church needs you there You may bot know what part of the body you ae, but you are vital to the church being strong, and your profession of faith might just help someone else along the way.  Our presence in the service might be a blessing to someone you never met before.  Maybe you can’t carry a tune, but you sing anyway, making a joyful noise to the Lord.  His can encourage someone else to sing even though they can’t carry a tune.  Everyone can make a joyful noise!  I think all of us feel that Jesus is coming soon, and Paul says we should especially get together as the time approaches (10:25).  Oh, how we need each other!

Have you ever sinned willfully?  I must admit that I have.  I am not proud of this fact, but it is true.  I have fallen flat on my face before His cross and asked forgiveness for my willful disobedience, and He has forgiven me over and over.  He is a loving God, and I need to pay closer attention to the decisions that I make.  I do not want to be in a position to fall into God’s hands, and should have that fear always before me.  Sin will not be found in heaven, and neither will the Christian whose sin is not covered by the blood of Jesus.  We must never loose the confidence we have in His salvation (10:35).

We live by faith (10:36), and all that we do is derived out of this faith that he has instilled in us. I think of Ephesians 2:8-9 which says “By grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourself.  It is the gift of God.”  Even the faith that we sue to ask for salvation comes from God., He has given all of us a measure of faith (Romans 12:3).  This faith is what allows us access to the Holy Spirit with boldness (10:19).  This verse is taken so out of proportion. People use this verse to think they can demand things of God.  That is not what Paul is saying at all.  He is telling us that we no longer have to fear asking the Holy Spirit to help and guide us.  In the Old Testament, the priest alone could enter the Holy Place, and only once a year. He entered with great reverence and awe before God, making sure that everything was done just right.  We fumble around and make all kinds of mistakes, yet we can still come boldly before God.  All of this because we live by faith (10:38).

Hold Fast to that faith.  Profess it for all to hear.  Why did healing come your way? Jesus!  Why did trouble get resolved? Jesus!  Why did you get a financial blessing? Jesus!  Whenever someone asks, Jesus is the answer we should give.  He is our source and our strength.  Make sure everyone knows that He is the provider of your life!


We Are Sanctified

Hebrews 10:1-10

10 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;

Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

I am just about done with testing to renew my insurance license.  I have been selling various kinds of insurance for almost 9 years, and every three years I have to go through a mountain of material and take tests to get this renewal completed.  The law used to say that 18 hours of this had to be classroom time, but that was changed last year and I can take the courses all online without a proctor for the exam, and without sitting through classes.  I am glad for that change, because my memory is not as good as it used to be, and there is a lot of material to go through.  Once it I complete, the transcript will be sent to the state insurance office and I can pay to have my license renewed.  Then I have to send the information to the various companies I represent.  I have to do this every three years!  There is no such thing as a permanent license that does not expire.

My drivers’ license is a different story.  I renewed it in 2019 and will not have to renew again until 2027.  Because I am over 70, I will have to go in and have my eyesight tested, but should have no problem getting that renewal done.  If I was a fisherman, I would be eligible for a lifetime fishing license in the State of Iowa.  When you turn 65, you can purchase this for $65 and it is good for 100 years.  But there I an expiration date, although I doubt anyone will reach that date.

Everything on this earth will eventually expire or decay.  Food has dates that it should not be sold after, or used after.  Metal can rust, wood can mold, rubber and plastic can wear out.  There is nothing that is permanent and will not deteriorate with time.  Even the trees eventually fall, the mountains quake and tremble and the oceans and seas evaporate one day with fervent heat.  All of it is temporary.

In the Old Testament, God sent His Word to establish a pattern for all of us through the nation of Israel.  The journeys of this nation, and its’ history, are a picture of how our lives can be up and down, but God is always there to pull us through the hard times.  The system of sacrifices, the feasts, the priesthood and the day of atonement also show a pattern that must be followed in order for us to have peace with God.  This peace, the same peace on earth the angels spoke of to the shepherds that night, can only come into our lives when our sin has been forgiven.  God has not changed the requirement that blood must be spilled for the remission of our sin. 

But the pattern of the Old Testament was only a pattern for that time.  Jesus Christ came, from the line of David, a priest in the line of Melchizedek, to be the blood offering for all sin, for all time.  He was sinless lamb, having been conceived by the Holy Ghost and not through the fallen seed of Adam.  The pattern of the Passover was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  The sacrificial law was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  The day of atonement was carried out for all time when He shed His blood on that cross.  The vail of the temple was rent fro top to bottom and the Holy Ghost was made available for all of us as a comforter and guide.  Never again will Christ have to offer His life.  It was a once in forever thing. Sanctified means set apart. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we have ben set apart for God for all time.  What a glorious thing it is to be able to call on Him for help at any time!  What a wonderful thing to know He has a plan for us, and will speak to us and show us His plan.  What a freedom we gain when we put our trust in Him!  We are forever set apart for God!  Hallelujah!

The Pattern of Things

Hebrews 9:18-24

18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,

20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.

21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.

22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

It was a grand ceremony!  In Exodus chapter 40, we read of Moses assembling that tabernacle exactly as God had commanded him to do.  It was the first day of the first month of the second year they were in the wilderness.  Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the Lord as God had directed.  Moses and the people reared up the tabernacle, connecting all the curtains with the sockets and the boards, as the Lord had commanded.  The Holy of Holies, and inner tent, was reared up first.  In that, he placed the Ark of the Covenant.  He took the tablets of stone, the manna and Aarons’ rod and place them in the ark.  He covered the ark with the mercy seat and put the staves through the ringlets to carry it. It was set in   Then he put the table of shewbread and the altar of incense and the candlesticks in place.  He burnt sweet incense on the altar for God   He then placed alter of burnt offering and offered the burnt offering and the meat offering, as the Lord had commanded.  Moses then placed the laver nearby.  After this the curtains, Moses and the people could not go in because the glory of the Lord filled the house. boards and couplings were assembled to build the court of the people. When the work was finished, a cloud came and covered the tent and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 

In Numbers 7, we read of the dedication of the tabernacle.  Each daym, for twelve days, one tribe would bring an offering to be sacrificed to the Lord.  His offering was the same for each tribe.

Grain offering (Num 7:19)

1 silver dish (130 shekels) – full of fine flour mixed with oil

1 silver bowl (70 shekels) – full of fine flour mixed with oil

Burnt offering (Num 7:20-21)

1 gold pan (10 shekels) full of incense, 1 bull, 1 ram, 1 yearling male lamb

Sin offering: (Num 7:22)

1 male goat

Peace offering (Num 7:23)

2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 male goats, 5 yearling male lambs

All in all, these offerings totaled 12 bulls, 72 rams, 72 male goats and 72 yearling male lambs.  This offering was made on the burnt altar by the Levites.  In the following chapters, the instruction was given for the lamps to be lighted and the consecration of the priests and Aaron.  All came with sacrifices.  Blood had to be spilled for the remission of sins.  All these things were done as the Lord had commanded.  The pattern of everything concerning the tabernacle was exactly ad God had commanded Moses.  After this, the daily sacrifices and all the other required sacrifices were brought on a regular basis to the tabernacle, according to the commandment of the Lord.  From generation to generation, the tabernacle was God’s meeting place with His people.  Up until the time of Solomons temple, when the ark was moved into the Holy of Holies constructed by Solomon.

Solomon temple is one of the grandest structures ever built, and it was all done according to the pattern that God showed Moses.  Once the temple was built, it was dedicated in a ceremony that rivals a royal wedding today.  Twenty-two thousand cattle and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats were offered at this dedication.  The whole nation of Israel attended and smelled the sweet savor of the sacrifice.  I can only imagine the blood that was spilled that day, just to make sure the temple was dedicated properly.  Here could be no sin in God’s temple, and without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.

By now, you might be asking yourself why am I pointing out all this historical stuff.  What does this have to do with me today?  His has EVERYTHING to do with you.  God had set this pattern sacrifice from the very beginning, when He slew an animal to cover the sins of Adam and Eve. It would take a blood sacrifice to cover sin.  Cain found this out soon after, when his offering was not accepted by the Lord.  A blood sacrifice must be made to remit the sin that has been with us since the day we were born, and the priests had to make it.  The people could not just sacrifice an animal at home. They had to bring it to the tabernacle, or temple, and offer it before the Lord. This was the pattern of the Old Testament, or the Mosaic covenant. But Christ – oh how I love those two words.  But Christ came and took His own blood into heaven as an offering for our sins.  Not the blood of animals, but His own blood. Jesus did not take this blood to the altar, but to His Father directly, and he offered it for your sin and for mine.  He Old Testament and the old covenant set the pattern which Jesus fulfilled.   Jesus did not go into the earthly Holy place to offer, but to a heavenly place to offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins.  This is why we love Him so much!  He laid down His life so we no longer need to offer sacrifices of animals to appease God, as many cults still do today.  We can go directly to God through Jesus because he fulfilled the law.  Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord!

The Mediator of the New Testament

Hebrews 9:15-17

15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

I work a few days a week at the local True Value hardware store. And I love this job.  It is allowing me to get connected again with my community, as for the last 30 years I have ben a salesman on the road and have not been around the town much.  Our small town has little business, but the hardware store is doing well, and many people come through every day.  They stand and talk to each other about the days’ happenings, and I get to join in on the conversation when not busy taking care of customers.  Part of my job is giving my time to the customers to just visit.  We even have 50 cent coffee, and two picnic tables for people to enjoy it on. There are three different coffee groups every week day.  It’s so much fun!

Yesterday two guys were talking about a farmer who had recently passed away.  He had made the decision to sell off all his land after he passed, which was only about 80 acres, a very small plot by Iowa standards.  According to one of these guys, he did this to avoid the argument between the two sons of which got the better plot of land had the dad left them each 40 acres.  The story is that the sons fight over everything, and both think the other was favored among them in the father’s eyes.  What a terrible thing to have to think about before you die.

My mom recently passed away at age 97.  She was an amazing lady (I guess all of us would say that about our mothers!).  Her health finally gave way to her age, and she went gracefully.  She always had a keen mind, all the way to the end.  She would bring up things that we had talked about weeks, or even years ago, right up top the final months.  We talked three times a week by phone, as she lived out near my brother in Massachusetts.  She was always positive and always fun to talk to.  I miss those phone calls.  She had always wanted to leave a little something for my brother and I when she passed.  In fact, when she moved back to Massachusetts, she had to live in an assisted living facility.  My brother was heling her with her finances, and told her she had enough to last her 7 years in the assisted living before Mass care would have to kick in.   She said she wouldn’t last that long, and she lasted 5!

In her will she designated my brother to be executor of the estate.  He is a man of high integrity and would handle the financial end of it with grace.  One thing I never had to worry about was if he was being honest about the money she left.  He had enough on his own that he did not need to take any more than was his, as some would do.  I trusted him implicitly, and knew that if he said there was a certain amount of money left, it was the actual amount left.  As a result of this inheritance, I am in the middle of getting a project done to my house that my wife and I have been dreaming about for 5 years.  We took down a wall in the front of our house and are moving the kitchen in with the living area to make one large open-concept living space.  The project is moving rapidly, and we are so excited!

I have shared thee two tales of inheritance to because they are indicative of how an inheritance can be a blessing or a curse.  So many times, families fight and squabble over what is left behind by their loved ones, not even thinking about the fact of how sad that would make the one who died.  My wife’s sister-in-law passed away a few years back, and they are still upset about the way it all happened.  The executor seems to have misrepresented the funds left, and everyone is at odds with each other over it.  This I not unusual when someone passes.  Arguments over who got what, or that someone else was more favored and shouldn’t have received so much are rampant.  It often seems the will should have ben more specific about many things.

God’s will is very specific about so many things.  He has left us with over 8,000 promises of things that He will do for us.  Among these promises are:

            Forgiveness for all our sins

            Victory over our sinful nature

            The Holy Spirit, or Comforter, to come dwell with us and teach us

Resurrection from death

            Eternal Life in Heaven

            Healing for our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies

            Deliverance and protection from our enemies

Guidance and direction for our lives

Provision on a daily basis

Peace, Joy, Hope, Faith, and so much more.

These things and thousands more, are promises for our lives.  They are His will for our lives.  However, someone’s will does not come into force until the one who made the will dies.  I would not have the money left by my mom unless she had passed away.  As long as she lived, her things were hers, and nothing would change that.  She had to die for her will to be enacted.  That’s the way it works.

Jesus Christ came to die so that the will of God could be enforced for all of us.  His death made all the things, and so much more, possible for us to claim today.  The word translated mediator here is the Greek word mesos which is most often translated “In the midst.” It defines someone or something that stands in the middle of two things, like the sheep in the midst of wolves, or the tares in the midst of weeds, or the righteous in the midst of the wicked.  Jesus not only died to enact the will of the Father, but he also stands between us and the Father, making intercession for us (we will talk more about this later).  This is why we have to ask the Father in Jesus name!

God’s eternal plan was to bless us through the death of His Son.  Hi will could not be enacted without that, and sin would not be covered if blood was not spilled.  I am so thankful that Jesus came to this earth to give up all that He was and had to become a baby in a manger, live a human life, and die a horrible death so that I could be the beneficiary of God’s will.  He loved us that much, that he gave His all for all of us.  Hid will is now in force for all time, giving those precious promises to us each and every day.  We must let our loved ones, our friends, and our neighbors know this good news. So many are living in the will of the enemy and have no idea what Jesus has done for them.  We must let them know!

But Christ

Hebrew 9:11-14

11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Back in my late teen and early twenties, I didn’t have a care in the world./Life was just a party. I had a great job that I could do drunk, stoned, tired, whatever condition I was in. I had friends who liked to party around me, and even one who was a dealer and got me free pot. Life was good, or so I thought.

In 1975 I want to my high school 5th reunion, and there ran into me best friend from younger years. He had been in Vietnam and we lost contact. He told me he had gone from Vietnam to Germany for a bit and there had some kind of religious experience with Jesus Christ. He said he had been saved and wanted me to know about it. I wanted nothing to do with that. I was having too much fun. He was heading to Florida from here to the beach, and I wished him safe passage as we committed to keeping in touch. I heard his words of faith, but ignored them.

But Christ had planted a seed, and my friend watered it over the next year. My friend kept watering that seed in letters we exchanged over the next 12 months or so. He would put a scripture address in those letters forcing me to look them up to see what he was referencing. A year later, I decided to visit him in Iowa, and there I met Jesus myself. I got saved sitting on his couch, in his living room. Christ knew my need, and he met it. I thought I was happy, But Christ gave me a new joy I had never known.

Two years went by, and my friend and I stayed in touch. I decided to go visit him again in 1978, not knowing what God had in store. I came to visit my friend and had no intention of meeting anyone else, But Christ knew better. He always does I shared this whole story a few weeks ago, and you can read it HERE. When I thought life was going one direction, God had other plans, better plans. He had plans to keep me blessed for a lifetime, and for 44 years, His plan has been wonderful. I thought life was good But Christ knew how to make it better.

In 2008 I was wallowing in a sea of pride. M wife tried to tell me about it, but I didn’t listen. I was taking advantage of my position at work to do things I knew were a serious violation of company protocol. I was steeped in sexual sin, but kept leading worship, being a deacon and showing everyone I was someone special. My wife even tried to tell me I was full of pride, and I didn’t listen. Instead, I told her I was humble, very humble. But my pride got the best of me, and I got fired from my job. I had to tell my wife and my pastor what had happened, and they were so mad at me. I had betrayed my Pastor’s trust, and he had helped me pay through this sin once before, 5 years earlier. But I hid it from everyone, and he was ready to kick me out of his church. He found out about a place called Pure Life Ministries, and told me I needed to go there if I ever wanted to set foot in his church again. I said I would.

I had been sent there to deal with what I thought were sexual sin problems. But Christ had other plans. Instead, they dealt with my pride, which was enormous, At one point I remember being proud of the pride I had! I came to realize that my wife was right all along, and that I had a serious pride problem. They dealt with it by revealing it to me, and showing a way out. I had been sent there to deal with this blatant pride and arrogance and that’s exactly what God did, He dealt with it!

But God had other plan as well. When I left there, my counselor told me not to do any type of ministry for two years, so I did not. I watched over my grandkids at church while my wife played the piano. I told my wife that it was her decision when I would start top enter back into ministry. hen, through a series of events I will share at some other time, God started to give me songs – lots of them. I heard His voice, and I heard the melody. I wrote them down and recorded them on my phone. I thought God had done all He planned to do after Pure Life, But Christ had better plans that I was just entering into.

In 2016, after two bouts with pneumonia, my doctor did a CT scan, and they found Multiple Myeloma lesions. This type of leukemia was pretty rare and I was sitting there in stage two out of three, facing two stem cell transplants and 2-1/2 years of chemo treatments. his meant over 40 days in a hospital bed and a long recovery/. This was an attack of the enemy that would put me on my back and out of ministry for many months. But Christ had other plans. In that hospital bed I started this Bible Study blog. I also wrote poem after poem after poem, with songs mixed in. Through a little advertising, my poetry Facebook page grew to over 3,000 page likes, and I had hundreds, sometimes thousands, reading these poems sent from God every day. I was laying in a hospital bed, But Christ used that time to teach me to listen even closer. He had a better plan.

The nation of Israel was looking for a Messiah. They longed for Him to come, but when He came they did not recognize Him. They thought He would come to free them from the Roman and had no idea He came to set up an eternal Kingdom. They thought he would win battles with weapons of warfare, and had no idea He would win souls by the power of His words. They thought eh sacrificial system was there way top find peace with God. But Christ had other plans. He sent Jesus, who was a priest after the order of Melchizedek, to offer Himself as a sacrifice for their sin. He became that perfect lamb whose blood was spilled to give the people remission from their sins. And not only for the Jews, but for all mankind. For you and for me.

This world thinks they have it all figured out But Christ knows better. he is our creator. He knows what we need. Our biggest need is for a Savior because we all have sin within us. It is in our souls from our very birth. It is in the seed passed down from generation to generation since the time of Adam. Only one person in all of history has ben born without that seed of sin, and that is Jesus Christ. He was born of a virgin, through the Holy Spirit. There was no sin in Him – ever. Only He can save us from our sinful ways to serve a holy God. Only He can turn us from wretched sinners to righteous saints. Only Jesus!

Do you have But Christ moments in your life? I could share many more, but want to leave room for yours. Please put them in the comments, and invite your friends to do the same by sharing this post.