Abraham came to mourn and weep for his wife – his dead.
Her life and marriage were far from easy and far from perfect.
Yet God remembered her faith…
Faith in God’s promises, even though she died without receiving them, she saw them in the distance.
She was persuaded that God would fulfill all He promised.
She welcomed those promises with great pleasure.
She repeated those promises to herself and God, knowing that her life was temporary on this earth but eternal in God’s city.
Her faith declared plainly that she was intensely seeking the Father’s-Land.
She stretched out for a better, that is, heavenly land.
This is the kind of faith that does not shame God.
God is not ashamed to be called Sarah’s God.
In Jesus, not only is He unashamed of us, He is making ready a city for us to dwell with Him.
(Isa 51:2; Deut 18:4; Lev 23:10; 1 Cor 15:20, 23; Jam 1:18; Rev 14:4; Rom 8:23, 11:16; 2 Cor 1:22, 5:5; Eph 1:14; Heb 2:11, 12:22, 13:14; John 14:2; Rev 21; Isa 41:8; Ps 105:42)
Jesus Christ became a servant for the truth of God, to confirm the promises, that we might glorify God for His mercy (Rom 15:8-9).
God has established multiple covenants with His creation – specifically with man.
In all His promises we see the high value God places on the life of man, for in the image of God He made man. We see His love. We see His mercy. We see His covering.
Ultimately, we see Jesus. For it is His life in His blood that has been given to us so that our sins may be covered.
Confess your sins, the errors of your way. Forsake them. Receive His mercy. Be saved from death. And know that His love covers all sins.
(Rom 15:8-9; Lev 17; Deut 12; Ac ts 15; Num 35:31; Heb 9:15-17; Ezek 1:28; Ex 13:21; Lev 18; Lev 17:11: Ps 32:1; Rom 4:7; Ps 85:2; Prov 10:12; 1 Pet 4:8; Prov 28:13; Jam 5:20)
How would you describe holiness – both what holiness is and what holiness does?
As King David meditated on the Flood he said, “The LORD sat enthroned at the Flood, and the LORD sits as King forever” (Psalm 29:10), after he exhorted all to, “Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2b).
King David understood holiness is what God is. In other words, to define holiness one must define God.
He also understood holiness does what God does. In other words, all of God’s actions are holy.
Proverbs 1:7 states, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.”
As you meditate on the Flood, begin by seeking and knowing the nature and character of God.
Understand how holiness reacts to wickedness.
And, understand how the grace of God overcomes wickedness and delivers from death.
This means as you meditate on the Flood you will also need to meditate on the Cross.
(Psalm 29; Heb 11:7; Ezek 14:12-20; Ex 2:3; John 10:7-10, 14:6; Rev 3:20; Mark 14:15-16)
Jesus told us plainly, “As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
Noah’s days were marked by wickedness – great wickedness. The form, shape, imagination, thought, and intent of man’s heart was only evil all the time. The world was filled with violence.
God had once looked upon His creation and said it was very good. By the days of Noah, God’s view had changed dramatically. This world was completely ruined physically and spiritually. Therefore, God changed His actions and gave man 120 years to repent – to change their minds and actions.
One man out of the multitudes found grace in the eyes of the LORD – Noah. Only seven others listened to God’s warning about the impending judgment.
Those who choose to walk with Jesus, like Enoch and Noah, will be taken and delivered from God’s wrath.
Those who choose to walk away from Jesus, like the multitudes of Noah’s day who ignored truth, will be left to His righteous judgment.
Find God’s grace and love and peace by faith in Jesus.
(Heb 11:7; Mat t 24:36-44; Jude 6; 1 Pet 3:18-22; 2 Pet 2:4-11; Job 1:6. 2:1, 38:7; Num 13:33; John 16:8; Rom 7:18, 8:5; Gal 5:16-26; 1 Sam 15:11, 29)
We are presented with the genealogies of two men.
Cain’s line describes what seems to be city life – great technological advancements and moral decline.
Seth’s line describes death as the result of the reign of sin.
Nevertheless, we see two other men whose faith in God, whose walk with God, pleased God. As a result, Enoch never experienced death and Noah received grace and was saved from God’s judgment.
And, we hear another declaration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ buried in the definitions of the names in the Messianic line of Genesis 5.
(Heb 11:5-6; Ex 3:13-15, 6:3-4; Luke 3:38; Rom 5:18-21; John 1:1-18; Gen 6:9; Jude 14, 15 [1 En 1:9]; Jos 1:7-9)
How do you approach God?
There are only two options available.
The first is the way of Cain. Cain chose to worship God according to pride. He chose to worship God according to his desire. His choice was called evil.
The second is the way of Able. Able chose to worship God according to faith. He chose to worship God according to God’s desire. His choice was called righteous.
The way of Cain, in all its variety, hates the singular way of Able.
The way of Cain is the root of all religious violence.
The way of Able is the root of true worship
Worship God in truth. Choose faith in Jesus Christ.
(Heb 11:4, 12:24; Jude 11; Rom 6:12; 1 John 3:12; Mat t 23:35; Luke 11:51; James 5:4; Ex 13:12; Lev 2; Num 18:17; Ps 51:17; 1 Sam 2:17; Rev 3:20)
Here are the slides of Pamela Martinez's artwork that she describes in the first part of this message. (pdmartinez.com)
The main exhortation of this letter is to live by faith in Jesus.
Faith in Jesus is not an invisible vapor, but a solid foundation.
Faith in Jesus is not a wish, but a hope filled with confident expectation.
Faith in Jesus does not lack evidence, but abounds with convicting proof.
Faith in Jesus is not idle, but active.
By faith in Jesus we live.
By faith in Jesus we perceive that He created the heavens and the earth as described in Genesis.
Jesus did it.
(Ps 33:6, 9; Rom 1:20; Job 38:4-7, Ps 82; Heb 1:3; John 1; 2 Cor 4:4-6; 2 Pet 3:5; 1 Cor 15:38-39; Col 1:15, 3:10; Phil 2:7; Eph 4:24; Heb 4:4, 10)
Jesus is not a shadow. He is the very image of all that is real.
The offering of His blood takes away sins. The offering of His body sets us apart as holy.
Through faith in Him, God does not remember our sins – in Him we abide in eternal remission.
Believe. Have faith.
Hold on. Have hope.
Stir up love and go to work in His will and in His way.
Do not cast Jesus away.
He is coming.
Jesus is better.
(2 Cor 7:1; Ps 40:6-8, 50:13, 51:16; 1 Sam 15:22-23; John 19:30; Ps 110:1; Jer 31:33, 34; 1 Cor 13:13; Matt 12:31-32; Deut 32:35-36; Hab 2:3-4; Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11)
Jesus is better.
As our Great High Priest, Jesus is the Minister of a better sanctuary and the Mediator of a better covenant based on better promises.
He is also a better sacrifice. With His own blood He has made the way into the Holiest of All, into presence of God for us. With His own blood He has provided remission. With His own blood He has put away our sin. With His own blood He has obtained eternal redemption. With His own blood he has cleansed our consciences from dead works to serve the living God. With His own blood He has put into force the better covenant.
We are eagerly waiting for Jesus to return. The first time He appeared was for sin. The second time is for salvation.
(Ex 24-40; Lev 16-17; Rev 21:3)
Jesus is better. Therefore, know Jesus – know the Lord!
If you have already confessed with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believed in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, then you are already saved. You have no need of anyone to tell you, “Know the Lord,” for He has given you a new mind and a new heart. He is your God and you are His child. The Eternal Spirit dwells in you and He is the One who reveals the Lord to you continually. The LORD is merciful, He remembers your sins no more.
If you have not already confessed with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believed in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, then we implore you on Christ’s behalf, know the Lord, be reconciled to God.
Now is the time. Now is the day of salvation.
(Ps 110:1; Matt 26:64; Acts 7:56; Ex 25:40; 1 Tim 2:5; Jer 31:31-34; Gen 12:1-3; Ex 24:3-8; 2 Sam 7:1-16; Luke 22:20; Jer 17:1; Jam 2:8; John 13:31-35)
Jesus is better because Jesus is our Great High Priest.
The implications of this statement are at the heart of this letter to the Hebrews.
As the Eternal Priest, Jesus is the only mediator we may go through to access the Eternal God.
The power of His indestructible life introduces us to the better hope, the better covenant, we have whereby we draw near to God.
His power saves to the uttermost those who come to God through Him.
“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev 20:17)
(Gen 14:18-20; Ps 110:4; 1 Pet 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6; Gal 3:19-25; Rom 8:26, 31-39)
Because Jesus is better we are confident of better things, things that hold onto salvation through faith and patience.
God does not hide Himself from our lives – our deeds, desires, and diligence.
Rather, God gives us His sure promises which are to be continual sources of encouragement.
Attach yourself to hope. Not wishful hope, but the confident expectation that God will do exactly as He has promised.
This hope anchors, attaches, our souls to Him in a manner that withstands every storm of life.
(Heb 1:4, 4:1, 13, 5:11, 9:3, 10:20, 23, 11:1, 39; 12:2; Gen 22:17; Ex 32:13; Isa 45:23; Jer 22:5, 49:13; Num 35; Jos 20; 2 Cor 1:3-7)
Hebrews 5 advances the topic of Jesus Christ as our great High Priest introduced in 2:17-18 and 4:14-16.
Similarities are drawn between Jesus and other priests, like Aaron.
Yet, in many ways, Jesus is unique to other priests, like Melchizedek.
But, before the writer can discuss this topic in depth, he had to address a heart issue in his readers – their dullness of hearing. Lack of obedience to what one has heard has a direct correlation to one’s immaturity in their relationship with Jesus.
This concept leads to one of the most challenging passages of the New Testament, Hebrews 6:4-6, which is reinforced by imagery about rain.
The rain falls on all land. The fruit the land produces is dependent upon the type of seed in the ground and how the ground is cultivated.
May His word produce herbs in your life, not thorns.
(Ex 28-29, 32; Ps 2 , 110, 22, 116; Pr v 28:9; 1 Cor 3:2; Gal 4:1-6; Eph 4:13-16; Heb 6:18, 10:4, 11:6; John 6:39-40; Phil 2:12; 1 John 3:9; Mat t 7:23; Gen 3:17-19)
Jesus is better because Jesus is rest.
Rest is the possession of His promises.
Unbelief does not enter His rest. Hearing His voice and intermingling His Word with faith enters His rest.
Hiding from His Word does not enter His rest. Nakedness and openness before His eyes and His Word enters His rest.
Open your eyes towards Jesus the Son of God, our great High Priest, and our great Physician. Expose every area of your life to Him. He is compassionate with your sickness and need. He is gracious, merciful, and helpful.
Ask Him boldly and confidently with faith to remove that inanimate heart of stone from your chest and to give you a new heart and a new spirit, a living heart of flesh.
This is how we enter and abide in His rest.
(Mat t 11:28-30; Ps 95; Gen 2:2; Deut 3:20; Jos 23:1; John 5:17; Rev 14:13; John 1:1-18; Rom 10:17; Jos 5:13-15; Isa 55:11; Gen 2:25, 3:7; Isa 53; Lev 16; Phi l 2:5-11, 4:6-7; Jas 1:12-18; Ezek 36; Jer 31)
i. God’s Word brings true health, fruitfulness, prosperity and success to what we do (Psalm 1:3).
ii. The Word of God has healing power and the power to deliver from oppression (Psalm 107:20, Matthew 8:8, Matthew 8:16).
iii. God’s Word cleans us. If we take heed according to God’s word, our way will be cleansed (Psalm 119:9, John 15:3, Ephesians 5:26).
iv. The Word of God, hidden in our hearts, keeps us from sin (Psalm 119:11).
v. God’s Word is a counselor. When we delight in God’s word, it becomes a rich source of counsel and guidance for us (Psalm 119:24).
vi. God’s Word is a source of strength (Psalm 119:28).
vii. God’s Word imparts life. It is a continual source of life (Psalm 119:93 and Matthew 4:4).
viii. God’s Word is a source of illumination and guidance. When God’s word comes in, light comes in. It makes the simple wise and understanding (Psalm 119:105 and Psalm 119:130).
ix. God’s Word gives peace to those who love it. They are secure, standing in a safe place (Psalm 119:165).
x. When the Word of God is heard and understood, it bears fruit (Matthew 13:23).
xi. The Word of God has inherent power and authority against demonic powers (Luke 4:36).
xii. Jesus Himself—His eternal person—is described as the Word. When we are into the word of God, we are into Jesus (John 1:1).
xiii. Hearing God’s Word is essential to eternal life. One cannot pass from death into life unless they hear the Word of God (John 5:24, James 1:21, 1 Peter 1:23).
xiv. Abiding—living in—God’s Word is evidence of true discipleship (John 8:31).
xv. God’s Word is the means to sanctification (John 17:17).
xvi. The Holy Spirit can work with great power as the Word of God is preached (Acts 10:44).
xvii. Hearing God’s Word builds faith (Romans 10:17).
xviii. Holding fast to the Word of God gives assurance of salvation (1 Corinthians 15:2).
xix. The faithful handling of the Word of God gives the ministers of the word a clear conscience. They know that they did all they could before God (2 Corinthians 4:2 and Philippians 2:16).
xx. The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. It is equipment for spiritual battle, especially in the idea of an offensive weapon (Ephesians 6:17).
xxi. The Word of God comes with the power of the Holy Spirit, with “much assurance” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
xxii. The Word of God works effectively in those who believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
xxiii. The Word of God sanctifies the very food we eat! (1 Timothy 4:5).
xxiv. The Word of God is not dead; it is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword. The Word of God can probe us like a surgeon’s expert scalpel, cutting away what needs to be cut and keeping what needs to be kept (Hebrews 4:12).
xxv. The Word of God is the Christian’s source of spiritual growth (1 Peter 2:2 and 1 Corinthians 2:1–5).
Guzik, D. (2013). Hebrews (Heb 4:12–13). Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik.
Jesus is better because Jesus is faithful.
There are many others, like Moses, who have been faithful servants in the house of God. But Christ as a faithful Son built God’s house – which are those who hold fast to Jesus. The faithfulness of Jesus outshines all others.
This is where the letter’s second exhortation and warning are introduced.
“Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…”
A heart becomes hard – stubborn and obstinate – through the seduction and delusion of sin. A hard heart rebels. A hard heart is unwilling. A hard heart refuses. A hard heart opposes. A hard heart produces unbelief, not faithfulness. A hard heart does not enter His house. A hard heart does not enter His rest.
Today, right now, choose to hear and obey His voice.
(Num 12:7, 20:12; Eph 2:19ff ; Ps 95; Phil l 1:6; Acts 20:24; Ex 17; Num 13-14; Matt 12:31, 13:58, 17:20; Gen 3:13; Rev 20:3, 7, 10; 2 Cor 11:3; 1 Tim 2:14)