Archive for the ‘Hebrews’ Category

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Blood As A Reminder

October 11, 2010

During the consecration of Aaron as High Priest and his sons as priest there is a very significant moment toward the end of the ceremony. It is found in Exodus 29.

After Aaron and his sons are washed, Moses anoints Aaron by pouring precious oil on his head. The sacrifice is killed. Moses attention now returns to and includes the sons of Aaron as he takes blood from the sacrifice and puts some on each of their right ear lobes, the thumb of each of their right hands and right great toe. It is easy to read right over that and miss how significant a moment this really is. In this part of the ceremony their whole person and their careers as priest are brought under the power of the blood. They had a blood stained ear that they might hear the divine instruction from the God of heaven and interpret it to the people. They also had a blood stained hand as a reminder of the significance and importance of their service in the sanctuary. And a blood stained foot that they might walk blameless before the Lord as they made atonement for the sins of the people.

Aaron was but a dim shadow of the Great High Priest Jesus, as He is called in the letter to the Hebrews. The writer of Hebrews exalts Jesus not only as the High Priest but the sacrifice as well.  In the Book of Revelation when John ask about the great multitude of those dressed in white robes he was told that these are they that, “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”, Rev. 7:14. That blood as foreshadowed in the blood of animals has now been poured out for us and is a constant reminder of who and whose we are. His blood covers not only all our sin but our lives lived out in response to that sacrifice too. So today our whole person, our careers, everything we do and touch is to be in response to and covered by the blood of the once for all sacrifice.

Paul put it this way, “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” Rom. 12:1b-2a. Jesus came not just to die for us, but to teach us how to die to our selves. Jesus would live out in front of his disciples His instruction to take up our own cross. This cross is not some burden to bear, but an instrument of death…for our death to self.

So our lives too are marked and covered by the atoning sacrifice as we go about our lives as a holy priesthood. “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”, I Peter 2:9.

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Random Thoughts For A Monday

October 1, 2007

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I once again find myself apologizing for the long absence, at least absence from writing. Most of my study time of late has been directed toward the Hebrews class I am teaching. I continue to grow in my appreciation for this wonderful letter, addressed simply to the Hebrews and not signed by the writer.

I had the privilege of preaching for the Morning and evening worship at the Gallatin Church of Christ, in Gallatin, Tennessee yesterday. I have known of this church most of my life, but this was the first time I had visited. It was a genuine pleasure. Noel Quinn, their new minister, just started with them in April of this year. Through a mutual friend, Noel ask me to fill in for him.

I saw the following new headline at Fox News and thought for sure it was a type’o and that this actually happened in Tennessee. “Sons Stab Each Other During Chicago Mom’s Birthday Party” . Sure sounded like another red neck joke to me. I was listening to a lesson by Mark Driscoll recently. As he described how secular people see Jesus he remarked that their picture of Him is much like the pale, sickly effeminate paintings that appear in many old Bibles and art. He then said, “It is hard to worship a guy you think you could beat up”.

I have been reading a book entitled, “Wild at Heart” by John EldredgeI would highly recommend. The sub title of the book is “Discovering The Secret of a Man’s Soul”. It has been a tremendous help to my son.Hope you have a wonderful week.

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Who Wrote It?

September 10, 2007

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I am really enjoying studying for our class on Hebrews. I probably said that before, but I really am! One of the age old questions that always has to come up in preparing for this study is, “Who wrote the Letter to the Hebrews?” I still don’t know, but I do have a different slant. Here is what I think.First I think it was someone who so loved the Lord and the people he was writing to that he did not want his name and life to take away from the message. I believe that the group that received this letter knew who it was from, as there are clues through out that the writer was well aware of there situation in life and that they were not only not growing, but were in danger of falling away from the Lord all together.

Second, it may well be that this group was apart of a larger group, and this message was just for these Christians where they were in their struggle. Some believe that the Hebrews could have been the group of priests that were converted, that are referred to in the Book of Acts. (Acts 6:7) This group may be a little early for the time of writing the letter, but I am sure there were other priests like them whose hearts had been touch by the Gospel.

Whoever the writer was he was eloquent in word, bold in confidence and faith, and unquestionably devoted to Jesus Christ. I know, I know it does sound like Paul, and it may well have been, but the truth is we just don’t know. And you know what? I kind of like it that way, because regardless of who He used, it was God’s spirit that inspired this powerful message.

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We Are Off To A Great Start

September 7, 2007

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Well our Study of Hebrews is off to a great start. We had between 20 and 25 in attendance and that is a great number when you consider that there is a large auditorium class being taught by the Senior Minister and a long time Pray and Praise assembly going on in Bixler chapel and a few other classes as well.

I am doing something a little different in that I have established a study site on-line with links to study help sites through out the web. In addition I plan to use this site to share information that we may refer to in class, but just not have time to cover during class. This will also allow for class feed back other than class time. Take a look “Be Confident…a study of Hebrews”.

I received an offer some time back to collaborate on the Hebrews study from Steve Miller at Vade Mecum. Steve is Pastor for the Center Grove Baptist Church in South Carolina. Steve is a great guy and I am really enjoying sharing notes, ideas etc with him. He is going to be preaching through Hebrews as opposed to a classroom setting. He has been tossing around an idea from his small group to call the series, “He Brews” as in coffee brewing. Here is how Steve describes the idea, “Hebrews is about waking up the sleepy church, establishing them in the “grounds” of faith. Isn’t that a hoot!?” Yep that is a hoot…and it just might work.If you would like to join us in a collaborative effort, or if you have suggestions concerning material that has been meaningful to you when you have studied this book in the past, please pass it along.

I am finding a lot of similarities between those who received this letter and the church of today. Churches today are a mile wide and an inch deep when it comes to Bible knowledge. The result is a dreadful lack of maturity and inability to distinguish between truth and error. It is not just our tribe. Look at those who have bought into the “Health and Wealth” Gospel and are being fleeced of everything they have…including their faith when God doesn’t provide that Mercedes and half a million dollar home. Those to whom this letter was written were being pulled back into Judaism, folks today back into materialism, greed and outlandish imagines of the God of heaven as a heavenly ATM machine.

Well time to run, I have started preaching…Help me Jesus!

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Ryan Ferguson Recites Hebrews Chapters 9 & 10

August 30, 2007

Thanks to Steve at Vade Mecum for the link to this power video. What an awesome Savior we have. This is why I love the Book of Hebrews.

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Be Confident…A Study Of The Book of Hebrews

August 23, 2007

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This coming quarter on Wednesday evening I will be teaching the Book of Hebrews along with Jim Pounders, retired minister and father of our Shana Curtis, one of our youth ministers, and Mark Gage, just a great all around guy. They ask me to take the lead due to heavy schedules, so I will be kicking things off a week from this Wednesday. I have wanted to study this book again for some time and now I have a reason to do so. It is a great book to build spiritual confidence and faith when everything around you seems to be falling apart. Here is a little promo blip we are using to advertise the class.

 These were dark and perilous times for Christians. When the Book of Hebrews was written, the ages were colliding and society seemed to be shaking. The persecution that had begun at the death of Stephen has continued for over 35 years. The Book of Hebrews is addressed to a second generation of Jewish Christians who had experienced loss and persecution as their ancestors before them. The Roman Empire permitted conquered nations to practice their original religions, but no new ones were allowed. Early Christianity had been able to slip under Rome’s radar and flourish under the umbrella of Judaism. However, all that was about to change. Christians were now being faced with a coming persecution by both Jews and the Romans. Nero will make it his obsession to wipe out these catacomb dwellers once and for all. So on the horizon looms another more devastating persecution, and this time they are questioning if it is worth the price.  

Judaizers had long tried to entice these Jewish Christians to return to the old sacrificial system of their fathers, and they had refused, but now with more persecution on the horizon the old and familiar ways of the past didn’t seem so bad after all. The splendor of the temple worship and their discouragement due to persecution became the basis for many of them to consider returning to Judaism.

Could it be that God is shaking up their world so they will learn to live by faith and not by sight? Could it be that He has a plan for their lives that will be built on the eternal and not the unstable shakable world in which they live? Could there also be a lesson in Hebrews for the 21st Century as well?

I hope you will join us for this exciting study, in the studio on Wednesday evening.