Synopsis and Homework Week 14

Being “thin-skinned” can be lethal. Our culture doesn’t take kindly to criticism in many cases. Sometimes even healthy criticism is labeled hate speech. To have your boss criticize your work and automatically assume “my boss hates me” can result in leaving a position for which you are well suited and severing a valuable relationship. Your boss recognized your value when hiring you and simply wants to see you get it right and be successful. Everyone who has our best interest in mind will always be found in the painful process of correcting our faults.

Thus far in our study of Hebrews, the author has warned us that we are “drifters”, “dull of hearing”, and “in danger of being burned up like a field of thorns and thistles”. The author either hates us or like a loving father gives us what we need to be successful. I suggest the latter. As we continue our study next week, we pick up with chapter 6 verse 9 and the knowledge that we are “beloved”. It becomes obvious that he does not believe that we will fall away and be lost. He is hopeful. He believes that we will hear the warnings and instead of filing a “hate speech” lawsuit, we will respond by saying thank you for keeping us alert to how fragile we can be in this culture of self-pity and self-indulgence.

We can say thank you to a loving author who reminds us to fight the fight of faith. We say thank you to one who reminds us to reject the promises of sin and hold fast to the promises of Christ.

HOMEWORK:

Read 2 Peter 1:3-15

 

How does Peter describe the Christian life of fighting for faith in verses 3 through 7?

 

 

 

What is the result in your life if the fruit of faithfulness in present and increasing?

(verse 8-10)

 

 

 

How sure is Peter that you will not fall away? (verse 11)

 

 

 

What does Peter see as a duty as he teaches and lives with fellow believers? (verses 12-15)

Teaching Outline Week 14

The Joy in Responsibility

(An In-Depth Study of Hebrews)

Commentary

False Assurance

Hebrews 6:1-8 

Outline 

The book of Hebrews often leaves one trembling. However, its warnings are trumpeted from the very heart of God. There is no deeper definition of cruelty than to abandon someone to false assurance. Warning of the dangers associated with falling away leaves the true believer trembling toward real, lasting, unshakable joy.

How the author of Hebrews sees our position in Christ: (verses 1-3)

If God permits, we will… (Sovereignty of God in salvation)

Leave the elementary teachings of Christ

Press on to maturity

Don’t lay foundations again

Old Testament foundations:

Repentance from dead works and of faith toward God (vs 1d)

Instruction about washings and the laying on of hands (vs 2)

Resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment (vs 2)

The picture of apostasy: (verses 4-6)

It is impossible…

Case study of a person who:

Experienced High Spiritual Blessings

Enlightened

Tasted that the Lord is good

Shared in the Holy Spirit

Word of God influenced for good

Experienced miracles with power

Fall away

Final assessment…it’s all a lie

Come up empty, worse off for the experience

To repent…

Example of Esau (Chapter 12:16-17)

Crucify the Son of God again (to their own harm)

Holding Jesus up to contempt

Parable to picture what has been said: (verses 7-8)

The ground (perhaps two fields setting side by side) “people”

The rain often falls on all the ground “Holy Spirit”

Produces a useful crop (Harvest) – Blessed

Produces a worthless crop (Burned) – Cursed

LIFE APPLICATION

Life with Christ is an enduring, growing, joyful relationship that…

Remembers the history with a grateful heart of thanksgiving,

and

Looks forward to today and forever with great anticipation.

Synopsis and Homework Week 13

Like Solomon, your prayer life should include requests for wisdom. Life is filled with decisions. It seems as if we journey on life’s roadway from one crossroad to the next. In our text this week, (Hebrews 5:11-14) a serious problem is adjusted to clear focus. Although many people seem to “hang out” with God they don’t have even a basic understanding of who he is. In short, this text paints the image of a people who don’t recognize Jesus even after bumping into him and stepping on his foot. They dress themselves in “I Love Jesus” t-shirts but wouldn’t know him if he walked up and shook their hand.

I can purchase a birthday present for my wife with a high degree of confidence that she’ll enjoy my gift. I have never known her to return an article of clothing that I bought because it wasn’t her taste. Only on rare occasion does she exchange my gift for a different size. It’s not because I’m a genius. It’s because I’ve lived with her for over 30 years. I know from daily, detailed experience her taste in clothing. I know her size. I know how she likes clothes to fill and fit. When standing at the crossroads of gift purchases I get it right almost every time. I love her. She’s very important to me. I want to please her.

That’s really what it means to “drink the pure spiritual milk” of the Word of God and mature into a person that makes decisions with the mind of Christ. Our spiritual senses have been trained over time. Time spent in the Word. Crossroads aren’t bewildering when you have the mind of Christ. Crystal Balls and Tarot Cards are for the ignorant.

HOMEWORK:

Read Numbers 14:20-38

The author of Hebrews draws many examples from the record of Israel in the wilderness from the book of Numbers. Answer the following questions:

The people heard the spy’s bad report after scouting out the Promise Land. They stood at a crossroads; go forward into the Promise Land or turn back. What did God say about these people that should enable them to make the right decision? (verse 22)

 

How did God describe the people of Israel? (verse 23b)

 

How did God describe Caleb? (verse 24)

 

Why do you think Joshua and Caleb had such a different view of God and His promises from the rest of the people?

 

What is Hebrews 5:14 requesting you do?

Teaching Outline Week 13

The Joy in Responsibility

(An In-Depth Study of Hebrews)

Commentary

Got Milk?

Hebrews 5:11-14 

Outline 

The warning that the author of Hebrews has been repeating at times through the first five chapters is brought into sharp focus:

 

Issue:              Ignorant of even the basic principles of God  (verse 12)

Previous warnings:

2:1 Pay closer attention to the Word

3:1 Consider Jesus

3:8 Don’t harden your hearts

3:12 Take care, lest you have an evil heart of unbelief

4:1 Fear not entering the rest of God

4:11 Strive to enter the rest of God

4:14 Hold fast to your confession

 

Cause:                        Dull of hearing (verse 11)

Dull = Slow, sluggish (6:11-12)

Opposite of Dull is earnest, diligent

Hearing = believing (4:2)

Opposite of hearing is a rejection of the heart

Result:            Adults still living like babies (verse 13)

Milk is good (there’s nothing wrong with the milk)

Not growing by drinking milk is bad (a 20 year old baby has a disease)

Fix:                 Become mature with milk (verse 14)

Start drinking milk!

Be totally satisfied with the milk.

Receive the mind of Christ!

 

Life Application:

Discern between good and evil (Live a discerning lifestyle)

Valentine’s Day is For Getting Drunk (by Jon Bloom)

The evolution of Valentine’s Day has followed a course similar to the evolution of Santa Claus. It began with legends surrounding an obscure saint (actually, there’s more than one St. Valentine) from early Christian history that oddly morphed over the centuries into something else entirely. Then it exploded into a pop culture and commercial phenomenon in Victorian England (thank the Brits for greeting cards, flowers, and “confectioneries”), with the United States quickly jumping on the bandwagon.

No one knows for sure how a February 14th feast day commemorating a martyr(s) came to be a celebration of Eros love. It’s possible that when 5th Century Pope Gelasius l abolished the ancient Roman pagan fertility festival, Lupercalia (celebrated on February 15th), it ended up just meshing with St. Valentine’s Day. All we know is that “Volantynys day” abruptly shows up in a romantic poem by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th Century and it’s been with us ever since.

So what should Christians make of today’s Valentine’s Day?

As much as purely possible! Valentine was a saint and Eros is not Cupid’s domain. It’s God’s! Christians should be the most unashamed, exuberant celebrators of romantic love there are, and the strongest guardians of God’s design and boundaries, because God made it for us to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17)! And God, the greatest romantic in existence, has designed it to give us a taste of the greatest romance that will ever exist, of which all Christians will experience.

Be Drunk with Love!

On the Desiring God blog we tackle, with blood-earnestness, the issues of sexual sin, the scourge of pornography, the anguish of same-sex struggles, and the complexities and difficulties of marriage, dating, and singleness. We all know the crucial need to guard ourselves, our children and each other against our indwelling, sexually broken depravity and a culture that shoves illicit sexuality in our faces every day.

But just for a moment, let’s not dwell on the dangers and disappointments of Eros. Let’s simply savor the purely intoxicating joy that God intends for betrothed and married lovers!

Yes, intoxicating. That’s Bible-talk for romantic love:

Friends, drink, and be drunk with love! (Song of Solomon 5:1)

Be drunk with love! I would say that’s a sweet imperative. The Bible doesn’t want us to drink in moderation when it comes to loving our lover. We are to drink deeply and become inebriated.

Like the Best Wine

So in that sense Valentine’s Day is a good day to get drunk. And a good place for some wine tasting is in the Song of Solomon. One read and it isn’t surprising that this wild drinking romp through the vineyard of betrothed (pre-consummated) and marital romantic love makes it one of the most controversial books of the Bible! Here are some of its wine samples:

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
For your love is better than wine. (Song 1:2)

How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much better is your love than wine. (Song 4:10)

He brought me to his banqueting house (literally “house of wine”),
and his banner over me is love. (Song 2:4)

I came to my garden, my sister, my bride. . .
I drank my wine with my milk. (Song 5:1)

Your navel is a rounded bowl
that never lacks mixed wine. (Song 7:2)

Your mouth like the best wine.
It goes down smoothly for my beloved,
gliding over lips and teeth. (Song 7:9)

The taste of God’s Eros is like the best wine — even better! (There was more to Jesus’s first miracle than we first thought (John 2:1–11)!) And it’s meant to be drunk freely.

Awaken Love

Married lovers, have you lost your taste for this wine? If so, go to the Song together. Walk back through the vineyards. Have foxes gotten in and spoiled them (Song 2:15)? It may be that for you this Valentine’s Day is a moment when you resolve together to “awaken love” (Song 3:5). Flowers, cards, and confectionaries won’t do that. Love awakens when you revel in each other.

Husbands, read sections 4:1–5 and 7:1–4. Hear the Song’s groom salivate over his bride’s eyes, hair, teeth, lips, cheeks, neck, breasts, feet, thighs, navel, belly, and nose. Let your lover hear your delight in her body!

Wives, read 5:10–16 and listen to the bride savor her groom’s locks, eyes, cheeks, lips, arms, body, legs, and mouth. Let your lover hear you luxuriate out loud in what you admire.

Hear again God’s invitation to you:

Friends, drink, and be drunk with love! (Song 5:1)

God wants married lovers to experience deeply, and future married lovers to anticipate, the full-orbed sensual and spiritual pleasure of erotically loving another embodied soul. And he designed this intoxication to occur within the safe chamber of marriage because forbidden intoxication can kill (Proverbs 5:15–19, 20–23).

I Am My Beloved’s and My Beloved Is Mine

But of course there is much more to the Song of Solomon than a celebration of marital Eros. In it is woven the mystery of the Great Romance:

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:31–32)

Because of this, the Song can be savored by every Christian. The deepest drink, the most wonderful inebriation Eros can provide any husband and wife in this age is only a copy and shadow of what’s to come. No Christian will miss out on the real thing.

At the marriage supper of the Lamb, when we drink the real wine with our Groom and enjoy an intimacy with him that we had only previously known in metaphors, then we will really know what was meant by “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Revelation 19:6–8; Matthew 26:29; Song 6:3).

And then we will all know what true and wholly pure intoxication is.

Publishing Note: Jon Bloom (@Bloom_Jon) is the author of Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith and serves as the President of Desiring God. www.desiringGod.org Copyright 2014 John Piper. Used by permission.