Moving toward the Immovable

July 19, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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We use the word “move” not only to describe a physical action involving going from one area to another, but also to describe something that stirs an emotional reaction in us. “That song was beautiful. It really moved me.” Or, “I was moved to tears at the sight of my newborn daughter.” In the Bible, however, the word “moved” is sometimes combined with a negative prefix to describe something which can not be shaken loose, or something that is unassailable or someone that is unchangeable in his convictions or determination. The Kingdom of God is an especially pertinent example.

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

Hebrews 12:28

No kingdom will ever supplant or replace the Kingdom of God. He shall reign and rule forever. Those of us who – in Christ alone – are subjects and heirs of this Kingdom have access to the grace of God, and, therefore, the power to likewise be unmovable in our service to God.

However, we must remember that a King Who rules a Kingdom which can not be moved is a mighty and awe-inspiringly powerful King, so our service to Him must never be cavalier or casual. He is worthy to be loved, yes, but He is also infinitely worthy to be reverenced and feared.

For our God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12:29

Moses moved toward the bush which burned with fire but was NOT consumed. We have the amazing opportunity to move toward the fire which WILL consume all those who would pass it by in indifference or unfaithfulness. Even as we are moved with terror at His blazing majesty, we are invited to move nearer and nearer. This is a King in Whom safety is found not by fleeing away, but by drawing closer and closer in the grace of His Holy Prince, Jesus.

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Hebrews: Drawing Near to God

July 20, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Posted in Hebrews | Leave a comment
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The Book of Hebrews offers five admonitions for living a confident and victorious Christian life:
1. Don’t slip when it comes to faithfully exercising your spiritual disciplines. Don’t stop praying, studying your Bible, attending church.
2. Don’t be suspicious of God’s trustworthiness.
3. Don’t be stunted in your spiritual growth. Eat God’s nourishing Word, rest on His promises, and exercise yourself in walking with Him.
4. Don’t slander God’s Word by acting like it’s not true.
5. Don’t spurn God’s Word by disbelieving or thinking it doesn’t apply to your special circumstances.

There are several themes in the Book of Hebrews: the supremacy of Christ over all His Old Testament types; finding a confident and sure “rest” by “entering in” to the promises of God; Christ’s role as our Great High Priest; and others. But the theme that really stood out to me the first time I studied through Hebrews was the theme of drawing nearer and nearer to God. I believe the two key verses to unlocking the book are:

For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

Hebrews 7:19

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:22

We can draw nigh with confidence into the Holiest to truly consider the glory of God in the person and work of Christ. We can draw near by growing in holiness, by faith, by consistently seeking to be in His presence, by considering, provoking, and assembling with each other, by preparation for worship, and by a willingness to go forth. Draw near to God in Christ and you will enter into your rest!

Here are links to the lessons on Hebrews:

1. Winning the Argument that Christ Is Better (Hebrews 1)
2. Two Thrones (Hebrews 1:8)
3. The Certainty of Christ’s Deity (Hebrews 1:10-13)
4. Don’t Let ’em Give You the Slip (Hebrews 1-2)
5. John Piper’s S.W.I.M. Prayer (Hebrews 2:1)
6. Don’t Let Go of the Rope (Hebrews 2:1)
7. He’s No Angel (Hebrews 2, 4:15)
8. Flesh and Blood (Hebrews 2:14)
9. Close Enough to Whisper in God’s Ear (Hebrews 3-4)
10. Restless Unbelief (Hebrews 3)
11. The Labor of Rest (Hebrews 3-4)
12. Rest / Repentance (Hebrews 3-4)
13. The Invitation to Come Closer (Hebrews 4)
14. A Timely Word (Hebrews 4:12) *
15. Beware the Feeling of Formidability (Hebrews 5)
16. Don’t Stunt Your Growth (Hebrews 5)
17. When the Foundation Ceases to be Cute (Hebrews 6)
18. The Hard Work of Encouragement (Hebrews 6)
19. Partakers Overtake Undertakers (Hebrews 6:4-6)
20. Anchored Upward (Hebrews 6)
21. The Certain Hope (Hebrews 6:18-19)
22. A Unique and Superior Priesthood (Hebrews 7)
23. The Testator as Intercessor (Hebrews 7)
24. The Meaning, Majesty, Ministry, and Maintenance of the Mediator (Hebrews 8)
25. The Old Covenant Sanctuary and the New Covenant Sanctuary (Hebrews 9)
26. The Greatest Sacrifice (Hebrews 10)
27. The Danger of Slandering God (Hebrews 10)
28. Catechism Question 19 (Hebrews 10:12)
29. Faith Illustrated (Hebrews 11)
30. Home Is Where Your Lord Is (Hebrews 11)
31. Abraham and Isaac Receiving Christ in a Figure (Hebrews 11:17-19)
32. How God Prepares Leaders (Hebrews 11:23-29)
33. A Closer Race with Thee (Hebrews 12)
34. Racing Tips (Hebrews 12:1)
35. The Author of the Story that Never Ends (Hebrews 12:2, 7:25, 6:18)
36. This Is Going to Hurt Me More than It’s Going to Hurt You (Hebrews 12)
37. Moving Toward the Immovable (Hebrews 12:28-29)
38. Immutability for Today (Hebrews 13)
39. Why Is Marriage So Honorable? (Hebrews 13:1-8)
40. The Assurance of the Blood (Hebrews 13:20-21)

* most-viewed post in category

The Danger of Slandering God

March 30, 2016 at 10:49 am | Posted in Hebrews | 3 Comments
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Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Hebrews 10:19

Entering into the “holiest” is the ultimate in “drawing near” to God. Under the New Covenant, and its superior Sacrifice, we are allowed to come this close to God. “Drawing nigh” creates the image of pulling up forcefully and quickly and suddenly stopping – of getting as close as possible without becoming that to which we are drawing near. As Christians, we spend time preparing to draw near to God, and, even in our preparations, we are already “near,” but, as the shadows of the Old Covenant are fulfilled in the New, the sprinkling of the blood of animals becomes the sprinkling of our hearts from an evil conscience.

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:22

The washing in the laver becomes the washing of our bodies with obedience to the Word. We are motivated to try to keep ourselves clean (holy) in preparation for entering His presence, and abiding in His presence every minute of every day.

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

Hebrews 10:23

If he said we could do it – if He PROMISED – then we CAN.

The next verses exhort us not to forsake some things: do not forsake considering each other; do not forsake provoking each other; do not forsake assembling with each other. That’s one reason why it’s so important to attend a local church. Three things that help us to abide in God’s presence are His Word, His Spirit, and His Body, the local church. If you forsake any one of these three, you are on a dangerous path, and are placing yourself at the mercy of one of your three enemies:

1. The devil, who we fight with the Word.
2. The flesh, which is fought against in the power of the Holy Ghost.
3. The world, which we fight against with the local church.

This brings us to the fourth admonition in Hebrews:

1. Don’t slip.
2. Don’t be suspicious.
3. Don’t be stunted.
4. Don’t slander.

Slandering God is slandering His Word. It is living as though what He has said will not come to pass. It is living as if disobedience will produce no consequences.

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

Hebrews 10:26

The Old Covenant provided no sacrifices for deliberate and willful sins.

He that despised Moses’s law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

Hebrews 10:28

The punishment was execution.

Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 10:29

Who is more accountable? The lost person who slanders God? Or the saved person, who knows the truth about God, yet slanders Him anyway? Even forgiven sins have consequences.

We are saved through faith, and the victorious Christian must also LIVE by faith.

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Hebrews 10:38-39

The opposite of drawing near is drawing back. “Perdition” in Verse 39 is not eternal punishment or damnation, but it is a serious and severe punishment. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. He’s a living and a loving God. A saved person will never fall out of the hands of God – nothing shall pluck them out (John 10:28-29) – but a believer who slanders God by repeated willful deliberate patterns of sin – by drawing back farther and farther – WILL be dealt with by God.

Think Again

October 12, 2015 at 9:55 am | Posted in Common Expressions | Leave a comment
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Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.

II Corinthians 10:7

In Chapter 10 of II Corinthians the Apostle Paul is writing to the believers in the church at Corinth, and in some ways defending himself. He’s saying, “Look, if these people who speak out against me are bringing my outward appearance into it, that should be a warning right there.” So, he’s refuting the false teachers, but he’s doing it in gentleness and meekness. If the church members at Corinth claimed that they belonged to Christ, then they should not have been against Paul, for he certainly belonged to Christ, too.

The expression, “What I think…” too often really means, “I’m right and you’re wrong, and here’s why.” We must remember that, in order to draw near to God, it is never necessary to push someone else away from Him. There is room near God for the people with whom we are not in total agreement about every single secondary issue.

When I start to say, “Well, I think,” in a negative way, I need to “think again.” If I’m speaking to a brother or sister in Christ, we are in this together.

Close Enough to Whisper in God’s Ear

May 26, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Posted in Hebrews | 5 Comments
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Christ is greater than the prophets. He is greater than the angels. He is greater than any spiritual leader – even Moses, who had a special place in the hearts of Jewish believers.

Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

Hebrews 3:1

“Partakers” means that all Christians are in this together. The Holy Ghost reminded the Hebrew believers that they were partakers of the heavenly calling when He began to talk about Moses, their most beloved spiritual leader, because drawing nigh to God needs to be real. The Holy Ghost doesn’t want us to deceive ourselves by drawing close to a spiritual leader when we can go directly to God. Remember, Jesus isn’t just a faraway principle or an idea or a symbol. Jesus is also a “partaker” with us.

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

Hebrews 3:14

It is not that our salvation is dependent upon us holding on until the end with our own strength. No, the whole chapter is written explicitly to believers. Moses should be studied. For the most part, he’s a good example – a man of faith – greatly used of God.

And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;

Hebrews 3:5

But we are to “consider” Jesus – to study Him more carefully and closely than Moses. If you really want to consider something – to study it carefully – you get close to it. Moses was a prophet and a priest, but:

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

Hebrews 3:6

“Confidence” means surety, hope, knowledge of how things are going to work out. If I tell someone something in “confidence,” it’s because I trust that person not to tell anyone else. I trust them with the information, and therefore, I can be bold.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

We use that verse many times to encourage folks to be bold with God during prayer time, but remember, to speak with boldness, to speak with confidence, I must draw near. Coming boldly, with confidence, does not equal loud or proud. Can you imagine a petitioner shouting at a king from a distance?

Where Are They Now?

March 3, 2010 at 10:21 am | Posted in Biblical Remembering, Zechariah | 4 Comments
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The name Zechariah meant “the Lord remembers.” This is not just referring to the omniscience of God. It also refers to His faithfulness. He never forgets His promises or His people in their times of trouble. Zechariah was a prophet and a priest. Other notable Bible heroes who held both offices include Ezekiel, John the Baptist, and Habakkuk. Zechariah’s prophecies are alluded to at least 41 times in the New Testament. His book emphasizes the need for repentance in drawing near to God – so that God will draw near to us.

Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.

Zechariah 1:3

This idea of drawing near to God, and Him drawing near to us in return is found several times in the Bible.

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

James 4:8, emphasis added

For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

Hebrews 7:19, emphasis added

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:22, emphasis added

Our drawing near to God must contain the element of repentance. Zechariah asks the people two very pointed questions:

Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?

Zechariah 1:5

The answer to the first question – “Where are your fathers?” – was that their fathers were dead or in exile as a result of chastening for their disobedience. The answer to the second question – “What about the prophets?” – was that they had slain the prophets. The words of the prophets were the Words of God. His prophets can be slain, but His Word cannot be slain.

But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.

Zechariah 1:6, emphasis added

“Take hold of” in this verse means to overtake after a chase. God’s Word (especially the Old Covenant commandments) was accepted by the people because they wanted God’s blessings. However, they also agreed to be bound by God’s curses if they disobeyed.

Lord, help us to turn away from our idols, and to turn toward You. Help us to turn our face and our feet and our minds, and most of all our hearts, to You. Lord, turn Your face toward us. Draw near to us, Lord. We dare to make such a request only because of the precious blood of Jesus, for Your presence will destroy the unholy and the vain – the empty – the foolish things which stand in places where only Your glory should stand. Lord, You are holy, so we ask You to draw near to us with great trust in Your mercy. In the precious Name of Christ the Lord we pray. Amen.


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