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Wednesday, March 31 2021
Contributor: Alex Kokobili
The previous lesson reminded us about the efficacy of God’s Word with a description of the validity of its power. In Hebrew 4:12-13, we learned that God’s word is not dormant or idle but it is LIVING and ACTIVE. This means the Word of God is not a semantical lexicon or linguistic expression but the Word of Life. The Word of God has been in action from the beginning of the creation of the heavens and earth, and this Word has the power to create, destroy and make alive. Christ our High Priest is the Word of God and it is through Him that all things exist (John 1:1-5). The Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword is very on point because it has not lost the might or potency to fix anything whatsoever that exists on earth. (2 Corinthians 3:4-6) “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life). The sharper a sword is, the easier is it to pierce through a substance, but the word of God is sharper than the sharpest of metals. This tells us as long as we have Christ in us there is nothing that can hinder God’s ultimate plans for our lives because the word of God can locate all things and bring them under control.
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passedthrough the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”
The is an understanding of the revelation of Christ the great High Priest. From the start of this fourth chapter, we discovered the need to enter into God’s rest; which is the holiest of holies in His tabernacle. The High Priest usually has to lead God's people into His presence, but some failed to make it to his rest due to human imperfections or disobedience. We must never lose focus of Christ the great High Priest or else we will not finish the journey of faith (Hebrews 12:1-2). It is one thing to SEE that the High Priest became human like us and He is now making intercession for us at the right hand of the Father, BUT another thing is to also thrive to be in His presence. Many will see Him but will not behold Him. Christ passed through the heavens because He died and rose again and ascended through the clouds back to heaven, and now He is making intercession for us as the Great High Priest at the right hand of God (Romans 8: 34 “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ who died, yea rather, who is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us). (Hebrews 7:24-25 “But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them”).
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with ourweaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin."
Sympathy is a major characteristic of a priest, and you will now imagine that the Chief High Priest will be super compassionate than any human priest. The priest usually bears the reproach of the people and then makes an offering on their behalf before taking their request to God’s presence (Joel 2:17), and Hebrews 5:1-4) after making a similar sacrifice for his own sins. Leviticus 16:23-24 explained how the priest made a sacrifice himself and the people for atonement and the Old Testament has other similar examples signifying the duties of the priest. (“23, Then Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of meeting, shall take off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the Holy Place, and shall leave them there. 24, And he shall wash his body with water in a holy place, put on his garments, come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people”).
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we mayobtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Let us come means you and I must break that barrier and move over to Him. If you don’t come to Him and ask for help to live according to His will, then you can consider yourself on a self mission without any eternal hope.
Draw unto God now that He is near and let God take full charge as the High Priest over the affairs of your life (James 4: 8 “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded”).
Wednesday, March 24 2021
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
TEXT: “For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. “And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account.” Heb. 4:12–13 (AMP) Emphasis mine
In these two verses, we will consider five things the writer asserted about the Word of God.
1. God’s Word Is Living
Finally, as the Author of life, His living Word imparts life in three ways.
a) God’s Word Imparts New Life to Dead Sinners.
b) God’s Word Imparts Life onto the Dead.
c) God’s Word Imparts Renewed Life to His Saints.
2. God’s Word Is Active
The same Word that at creation set the elements of the universe to their appointed tasks and still governs the universe toward God’s desired intentions (Heb. 1:2–3), has the ability to effect change in people. It is not static and passive but dynamic, interactive, and transforming as it interfaces with the people of God.
3. God’s Word Is Full of Power.
4. God’s Word Is Sharp and Penetrating.
5. God’s Word Judges the Thoughts and Intentions of the Heart.
Having said that, the Word of God also judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Jesus in John 12:48 says: “Those who reject me by not accepting what I say have a judge appointed for them. The words that I have spoken will judge them on the last day.” (GW) Emphasis mine
The Word of God is not only potent when spoken by Him, but also in our mouths. In Isaiah 59:21, God says He has put His Words in our mouths. Jesus asks us to “speak to the mountain” (Mark 11:23), Peter healed a lame man by speaking the Word (Acts 3: 6), Job 22:28 says when we decree a thing, it will be established.
Having realized the awesomeness of God’s Word, it is very important that we do not become hearers alone (James 1:22). Let’s put God’s Word to practice in our lives. Here is what Jesus said in Matt. 7:24-27 (MSG)
“24-25 “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. 26-27 “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”
How do we work the word of God into our lives?
So we work God’s Word into our lives by (i) speaking, confessing and professing it (looking into the Word); (ii) reading and meditating on it day and night (continuing in it), and (iii) doing everything that is written in it (being a doer of the work).
Parts of this study was culled from:
Wednesday, March 17 2021
Contributor: Esther Ikpe
In last week’s study titled “Consequences of Unbelief”, we learnt that unbelief was the reason why the Church in the Wilderness was excluded from the Promised Land. Today we will be considering the first 11 verses of Hebrews chapter 4 in this study titled Promised Rest for God’s People. A rest many of them missed out on.
VERSES 1-2: REST & FAITH
What Is Rest?
What Is Faith?
VERSES 3-6: HINDRANCES TO ENTERING INTO GOD'S REST & WHAT IT MEANS TO CEASE FROM YOUR WORKS
• Lack of faith in God's word, rejection and unbelief in His word.
VERSES 7-11: WHY WE MUST ENTER INTO GOD’S REST
• It gives rest that is profound and that involves all our faculty. It is a rest based on HIS WORD Isaiah 26:3&4. Psalm 37:23
An Illustration of Rest
“I shall not speak of that long persecution, which had made so much noise, for series of ten years imprisonments, in all sorts of prisons, and of a banishment almost as long, and not yet ended through crosses, calumnies, imaginable sorts of sufferings. While I was prisoner at Vincennes and Monsieur De La Reine examined me. I passed my time in great peace, content to pass the rest of my life there, if such were the will of God. I sang songs of joy, which the maid who served me learned by heart, as fast as I made them. We together sang thy praises, O my God. The stones of my prison looked in my eyes like rubies. I esteemed them more than all the gaudy brilliancies of a vain world. My heart was full of that joy which Thou givest to them who love Thee in the midst of there greatest crosses.” This kind of peace or rest does not emanate on bases of material opulence, or fame, or political ingenuity, or intellectual acumen, or other things that exalt humans. This kind of peace and rest can only come from a supernatural and divine God, who only can give this kind of rest through obedience to His word and love for Him through faith.”
Parts of this study was culled from: https://joycemeyer.org/everydayanswers/ea-teachings/living-in-gods-rest
Wednesday, March 10 2021
Contributor: Martins Olubiyi
INTRODUCTION: Last week, we were warned against unbelief as we studied the Church in the Wilderness. They experienced the miraculous manifestation of God’s power, yet when the going was getting tough, they lost their focus. Today, we shall examine the consequences of their unbelief and disobedience to God’s instructions.
For, - enforcing the warning in Heb. 3:12.
Have become partakers of Christ/ We are made partakers of Christ, - means we are spiritually united to the Saviour. In other words, we become one with Him. John 15: 1-7; John 17:21, 23; Eph. 5: 30; 1Cor 12: 27. We partake of His Spirit and his apportionment. It is a union of feeling and affection, a union of principle, dependence and love.
If only we hold firm- hold fast, tenaciously
Do not harden your hearts / Harden not your hearts; by refusing to hearken to Christ.
In the provocation; when the Israelites provoked God. Numbers 14:2-11. It is evidently clear in this passage that the children of Israel could not persevere in believing in God’s gracious acts.
When they had heard - Had heard God speaking to them, and giving them his commands.
Did provoke - Provoked Him to anger; It indicates that their conduct was such that incurred the anger or indignation.
Was it not all - The word ‘all’ here is not to be taken in the strict sense, it is often used to denote the great body; a large proportion; or vast multitudes, as it was used in Matthew 3:5, ‘Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan.’ Similarly, in John 3:26, ‘The same baptize, and all people came to him.’ Although many in the wilderness that heard the voice of God, provoked Him, yet not all (Number14:30 & 31). God always Has, and ever will reserve a remnant of faithful and undefiled souls unto Himself to bear witness by their faith and obedience, to maintain and keep up His own kingdom in the world.
But with whom was he grieved forty years? – The church in the Wilderness. They consist of leaders, fathers and others from above 20 years in age. Heb. 3: 8-10.
Was it not with them that had sinned – Those that had sinned in various ways - by rebellion, murmuring, unbelief. As God was angry with them for their sins, we have the same reason to conclude that he will be angry with us if we sin; and we should, therefore, be on our guard against that unbelief which would lead us to depart from Him; Heb. 3:12.
Whose carcasses fell … Numbers 14:29. That is, they all died, and their carcases were left in the desert. The whole generation were cut down along the way to Canaan. All of those who had seen the wonders that God had done in the land of Ham; who had been rescued in so remarkable a manner from oppression, were cut down, and died in the deserts through which they were passing; Numbers 26:64-65. Such an example of the effects of unbelief and disobedience against God. There example was well suited to admonish Christians in the time of the apostle, and for us now, so that we don’t end up in the wilderness.
The book of Hebrew presents obedience and belief as key concept in our relationship with God. It affirms that even Christ was made perfect by it. (Hebrews 5:8,9). In vs 18, disobedience is the basis of God denying Israel the right to enter their promised land. The word ‘disobedience’ and ‘unbelief’ were used interchangeably by different versions. However, congregational murmuring at Kardeshbarnea (Numbers 14:11); unbelieve to sanctify the Lord at water of Meribah (Numbers 20: 12) prevented them to enter Canaan. It was not the sware of oath by God that prevented them, not want of strength to enable them, not deficiency of divine counsel to instruct them. All these they had in abundance. But they chose to sin, and would not believe. Unbelieve produced disobedience, and disobedience produced hardness of heart and blindness of mind. All these brought the judgements of God and eventually His wrath. Deut. 1: 26-32,.9: 23; Psalm 106: 24, 25; Ezekiel 20: 15-18
God in His sovereignty never acts by any kind of whim or caprice; whenever He pours out His judgments, there are the most positive reasons to vindicate His conduct. 1 Sam 2: 3. Those whose carcasses fell in the wilderness were they who had sinned. And those who did not enter into his rest were those who believed not. Ezekiel 20: 15 -18. God is represented here as swearing that they should not enter in, in order to show the determinate nature of His purpose, the reason on which it was founded, and the height of the provocation that occasioned it. Rom 8: 5.
Consequences of unbelief- The church in the wilderness in perspective.
The Party grieved: God; The Parties grieving: The people of Israel; The time: forty-year period; The occasion of this grief: Sin in general, Unbelief in particular, Hardness of heart, & finally apostasy; The punishment of their sin: Their carcases fell in the wilderness.
Lesson 1: That sin is proper object of God’s displeasure, the only thing He is displeased with for Himself, and with the sinner for sin’s sake.
Lesson 2: That Public sins, or the sin of societies, are great, very great provocations unto God: It was not their personal and private sins that God was thus provoked, but for their confederacy in sinning.
Lesson 3: From their exemplary punishment, their carcases fell in the wilderness; that God sometimes makes men who have been wickedly exemplary in sin, to be righteously exemplary in punishment.
Lesson 4: That unbelief is the immediate root and cause of all provoking sins. Did men believe the happiness of Heaven, they would not neglect it; did they believe the torments of Hell, they would avoid them.
Lesson 5; That the oath of God is engaged against all unbelief, and no unbeliever shall enter into the rest of God. Heb. 3:19.
CONCLUSION:We should have seen from the testimony of the Church in the Wilderness that unbelief was the reason why they were excluded from the Promised Land. Let us who profess Christ be careful against indulgence of unbelief in our hearts. The beginning of murmuring commences when we lose confidence in God, and doubt His promises. Let us live a life of faith. Let us persevere to the end. Let us live in anticipation of our eternal rest with the Lord.
Wednesday, March 03 2021
Contributor: Okwudili Prince-Isaac
SUB-THEMES (Verses 7-9)
1. COUNSEL: What he counsels them to do— be prompt and give present attention to the call of Christ. "Hear his voice, assent to, approve of, and consider, what God in Christ speaks unto you; apply it to yourselves with appropriate affections and single-mindedness. We ought to set about it in the present (i.e. this very day), for to-morrow it may be too late.’’
2. CAUTION: We are cautioned against—hardening our hearts, turning the deaf ear to the calls and counsels of Christ: "When he tells you of the evil of sin, the excellency of holiness, the necessity of receiving him by faith as your Saviour, do not shut your ear and heart against such a voice as this.’’ Take note that in this case, the hardening of our hearts give impetus to all our other sins.
3. REFERENCED EXAMPLES: Reference is made to that remarkable encounter at Massah Meribah, (Ex. 17:2-7) —that of the Israelites fathers in the wilderness. This incidence is commonly referred to as the Provocation and Day of Temptation. Take note:
Pertinent observations on the experience of the Israelite believers;
4. GOD’S RIGHTEOUS JUDGEMENT (Verses 10-11)
All sin, especially sin committed by God’s professing privileged people, does not only anger and affront God, but it grieves him.
5. BE ON YOUR GUARD/WATCH OUT (Verses 12-13)
We are given serious caution on verse. 12, verse. 13, etc.