Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
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Monday, December 19, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Dec 20, Heb 1-6

Today's readings are Heb 1-6. Tomorrow's are Heb 7-10.

We don't know the author of Hebrews. Speculation runs the gamut of New Testament authors and even extends to Barnabas or Priscilla. It is most likely written to a Jewish audience, perhaps living in Rome, sometime shortly before 70 AD.

The theme of the book is the supremacy of Christ in and above all things, a sobering message to a group of Jews that may well have been struggling with setting aside some of the ways and traditions of the Old Covenant and walking in the New Covenant.

In Heb 1-5, we hear of the superiority of Christ over all the Old Testament prophets, the angels, Moses, Aaron and Joshua. Given the exceptionally high regard the Jews had for each, this was quite a challenge for a Jewish man or woman. But, the author lays his case out succinctly, expertly using Old Testament Scripture to support his position. Christ is supreme above all priests, prophets and kings. This makes Him higher than all the pillars of the faith revered by the Jews. It also combines those offices into one, holy deliverer. 

Heb 5-6 warn of the possibility of some of the folks falling away from sound teaching and the church. Heb 6:1-8 speaks of those who may appear to have been saved, may even have been blessed by some of the benefits of the church, but were not truly saved. While 6:1-8 is frequently used to support the claim that one can lose his salvation, notice that "salvation" doesn't show up in the passage until vs 9, where the writer contrasts those who are truly saved with those in the first eight verses who appeared to be saved but fell away bearing no fruit. Spiritual fruit is always the evidence of salvation. The people described in vs 1-8 had none.

Hebrews bears some warnings for the church to observe. It should keep it's priorities in line, always keeping the emphasis on Christ and the gospel. There are those in the church that some may assume are saved when they are not. How can we tell? The church is to look for fruit in the lives of its members. Are they maturing? Are they seeking holiness? Do they have a desire to be closer to God? While we are told to be careful avoid judging others, we must also be wary of who we follow and what influences we allow to impact the church. The guidelines in Hebrews are not meant to make the church exclusionary or self-righteous, but to caution against allowing ungodly people to assume leadership and control. This who are focused on Christ and His supremacy in all things understand the calling of the church.  

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