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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: The Letter to the Hebrews

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Frameworks: Hebrews: INTRODCUTION

 

Why Read Hebrews

 

Hebrews is uniquely Jewish (hence the name). It is clearly to Christians, but specifically to Jewish Christians. It is filled with teaching about how Jesus is so much greater than anyone or anything known in the Old Testament era, and it has many exhortations and warnings against going back to the old ways. Remember most of the earliest Christians were Jewish.  Why should Gentile Christians read it? Because it is packed with insights and understanding, that reveal Jesus so gloriously, that we must surely be moved by the wonder of it.

 

In the first century, while there were still many tensions in belief, especially among the Jewish Christians, constantly having to fend off pressures on them from the Jewish culture, the writer to the Hebrews goes to length to show Jesus, the Son of God, is greater that the angels (ch.1), Moses (ch.3), and Aaron and the Levitical priesthood (ch.5), introducing a new covenant that is greater than the old (v.8). He concludes by bringing challenges to faith and endurance in later chapters.

 

Overview of Hebrews

 

Hebrews 1: The Wonder & Superiority of Jesus

•  Jesus superior to angels

Hebrews 2: A Wonderful Gospel to be held onto

•  Jesus, the bringer of salvation

Hebrews 3: Gospel greater than Law

•  Jesus superior to Moses

Hebrews 4: Sabbath Rest

•  the goal to be worked for, overcoming unbelief

Hebrews 5: Jesus our High Priest

•  the role of high priest that Jesus fulfils

Hebrews 6: Exhortations, Warnings & Assurances

•  exhortation not to fall away, warning of what could happen, assurances by God's promises

Hebrews 7: Melchizedek and Jesus

•  how Jesus fulfils the Psa 110 prophecies

Hebrew 8: Jesus, High Priest of a New Covenant

•  how Jesus ushers in a new covenant replacing the ineffectual old covenant

Hebrews 9: Earthly Worship & the use of Blood

•  how old worship used blood and how Jesus' death replaced that

Hebrews 10: Encouragements & Warnings to Persevere

•  Jesus' sacrifice and it acting as a means of encouraging us to persevere

Hebrews 11: The Gallery of Faith

•  the testimonies of the saints of old to encourage us to persevere today

Hebrews 12: Exhortation, Discipline, Warnings, today's reality – not Law but Holy Community

•  further call to persevere, teaching about discipline, living holy lives

Hebrews 13: Concluding Exhortations

•  a miscellaneous bunch of further directions for living out the faith.

 

Exhortations found in Hebrews

 

The book (letter) has large amounts of pure teaching doctrine (6 chapters) but there are also many warnings and exhortations (7 chapters). The truth is that even chapters with warnings and exhortations are interspersed with teaching. The following are examples of those exhortations which tend to increase the further through the letter he goes. An additional study would be to go through picking out specific warnings but we will leave the reader to do that!

 

Hebrews 2:

v.1 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

Hebrews 3:

v.1 fix your thoughts on Jesus

v.12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.

v.13. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

Hebrews 4:

v.1 since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.

v.11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

v.14 let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

v.16 Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 6:

v.6 let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ

v.11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.

v.12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Hebrews 10:

v.22,23,24,32,35,36

Hebrews 12:

v.2,3,7,12,14,15,16,25,29,

Hebrews 13:

v.1-5,7,9,13,15-19,22

 

As we comment elsewhere, although the book has a distinctly Jewish flavour, all of these exhortations could apply to any of us in the church today.

 

(CONTINUE to CHAPTER 1)