Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 10

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-18

  1. Intro:
    1. When I 1st started dating Kelly I got a senior picture from her.
      1. I could look at the picture of what she wrote on the back...but I couldn’t laugh with it, nor have conversation w/it.
      2. It was an accurate representation of her, but a far cry from her.
      3. After being together for now for 36 yrs...Imagine me going back to the picture??? “I love you oh photograph?”
      4. How absurd for anyone having the the very image to go back to the shadow.
    2. Title: When He came into the world
    3. Outline: His Mastery, His Mission, His Motto, & His Manifesto.
  2. Slide#7 HIS MASTERY (1-4)
    1. Here the writer wraps up this contrast between the earthly lambs/daily sacrifices and The Heavenly Lamb/Jesus.
      1. Earthly lambs - Frequency (again & again) & Failure (never to take sin away).
        1. The sacrifices under the Old Cov brought a reminder of sin, not a remission of sin.
      2. Heavenly Lamb - Frequency (just once for all) & Fulfillment (for by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified).
    2. So, Jesus had Mastery/Superiority over this old system/old cov/shadow/copy.
  3. HIS MISSION (5,6)
    1. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Would you like to be apart this morning of a brief conversation that took place, between Jesus & the Father, when He had elected to come into our world as a man?
    2. (5-7) This quote came from Ps.40:6-8 from the Septuagint (270bc, 70, Alexandria, Egypt).
      1. There was more Greek speakers than Hebrew speakers in the ancient world. This is a big deal as God stamps His ok on “translations” into other languages. (Quran/Arabic)
      2. So here David, had spoken this 1000 years earlier, but Christ in heaven took it & reapplied it so as to describe His own inner thinking & dialogue w/the Father when He came into our world.
    3. In one fell swoop the Psalmist hits the whole sacrificial system using 4 diff Gk words:
      1. Sacrifice (thuSIa/θυσία) – This primarily denotes the act of offering, then that which is offered. Peace offering, where offerer & priest sat down in the presence of God to enjoy a communion-meal based upon sacrifice.
      2. Offering (prosphorA/προσφορά) – used for a non-bloody sacrifice, the meal offering.
      3. Burnt offerings (oloKOWtoma/ὁλοκαύτωμα) – this depicted the total or whole offering, the burnt offering was the whole animal.
      4. Sacrifices (peri/περί) – sin offering. This sacrifice dealt with all the dreadfulness of the human condition. With the principle of sin & the practice of sin.
        1. Jesus fulfilled all 4 types of sacrifices: He is our peace-offering; His very life was a sacrifice (non-bloody); He is our burnt-offering (total/whole); & He became our sin-offering for He knew how dreadful our human condition was.
    4. God takes no delight in the routine performance of the ritual sacrifice.
      1. Undoubtedly, He feels the same way about routine worship services today.
        1. Sacrifice w/o sincerity & ritual w/o reality = being alive w/o true Vitality.
      2. Though God required & authorized animal sacrifices (to instruct His people about sinfulness, i.e. that sin leads to death, which causes a need for atonement), He didn’t delight in innocent animals dying, nor their death-throes. He had no pleasure in that/them. He only finds pleasure in those who offered a sacrifice with a contrite (crushed) & obedient (compliant/willing heart).
        1. So, God had no pleasure in animal sacrifices, yet when it came to His Son’s sacrifice Isaiah says, it pleased the LORD to bruise Him.
    5. But a body you have prepared for me [My ears you have opened Ps.40:6]
      1. Ex.21:1-6 – Slave to master, ears pierced w/an awl.
      2. Opened = “dug” or “opened up”. Context seems to be better as obedience.
        1. Slide#12b Jesus was filled with one thought...God prepared Me this body. I have it for His disposal, for His service, for His glory. The body came from God, it belongs to Him, it has no object of existence but to please Him. The one value my body has is, that I can give it, a sacrifice to God. Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, pg.332
        2. Aren’t we called to the same? Present your bodies a living sacrifice unto God.
      3. ​​​​​​​But how many people, even Christians, have plugged there ears? Or, how many hear w/their ears only, & not w/their hearts?
      4. Is there something you know God wants you to do, but have been unwilling? [Perhaps a kindness to perform? A confession to make? A gift to give? A commitment to fulfill? A task to perform?]
        1. If you know what it is, tell Him this morning, “I have come to do your will, O God!”
    6. A body He has prepared for you - we are fearfully and wonderfully made and each of us has the qualities of body and soul that best correspond with God’s purpose for our lives.
      1. When she was a little girl, Amy Carmichael earnestly prayed that God would turn her brown eyes into blue ones, for she longed for blue eyes. Later in life, she came to understand why brown eyes were important for her. In rescuing girls from Hindu slavery, Amy often had to cover herself with a scarf that revealed only her eyes. Blue eyes would have betrayed her identity in brown-eyed India.
        1. So learn to thank God for the body and personality He has given you, for no one else is exactly like you - and for God’s good reasons.
        2. Embrace this morning...This body you have prepared for me & me only. This personality you have prepared for me & me only. These gifts you have prepared for me & me only. This family you have placed me in was for me. These situations/trials you have placed me in are for me & me only.
    7. So, Jesus owned His Mission to come to earth in a man-body, an earth-suit.
  4. HIS MOTTO (7-10)
    1. ​​​​​​​(7) To do your will – What is the right relationship of a person to God?
      1. It is obviously not something of mere ceremony but is rather the expression of a fully surrendered heart…Obedience takes precedence over sacrifice.
        1. 1 Sam.15:22 Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.
        2. Micah 6:7,8 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
    2. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Christmas is about doing God’s will, honoring by faith & being courageous.
      1. We think of the faith of Mary, the faith of Joseph, & the faith of the wise men.
      2. Mary in hearing from the angel in Lk.1:38 said, Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to Your word.
        1. Probably the most amazing statement of faith ever to have fallen from human lips.
          1. She reveals what her faith stands upon…His trustworthy Word.
        2. She was open & ready for the Lord to Intrude into her life.
          1. Intrude (without invitation or permission). He was Mary’s Blessed Intruder.
        3. Our lesson from Mary: God must reserve for Himself the right to break into my life without question or explanation.
          1. That shattering phone call, that disturbing letter...may indeed be the first stage of God's interruption in my life.
          2. And since God does the initiating, He must be responsible for the consequences.
        4. Mary Faith teaches us to tear down all No Trespassing signs in our lives, & replace them with Welcome signs.
      3. Joseph - story in a poem I wrote a dozen yrs ago:
        1. To be married in a year; To Mary my dear. So young, so pretty; Then off to the city? 3 months showing; Her face glowing? My face sad; For what we could have had. Should I break it w/a hush; Just don’t rush. thought & I thought; Then a dream I caught. Puzzling fears; Angel comes near.Redemption plan revealed; New plan is sealed. I took her to wife; For the rest of my life.A boy in my home; I’ll raise like my own!
        2. His faith went we’re logic failed. Joseph took Mary to be his wife, even though that meant living with a host of unanswered questions. Joseph is an amazing example of faith/obedience. He teaches us that just because we have questions that we can’t answer, questions that God won’t answer...that’s no excuse for not doing the will of God.
          1. Joseph’s reaction in the midst of not understanding everything around him...was to run to God not run from Him.
          2. He grabbed God’s fuzzy at best. And yet he believed, he ran towards God. Because of this faith Mary’s husband endured stares from a judgmental public. He bore the stigma of marrying an unwed mother. He even had to flee his own country, as a refugee.
          3. Joseph’s faith was tough & brave & selfless & sacrificial.
      4. Wise men - their faith took them on a long, difficult, tiring, arduous journey. But they kept on.
        1. Their faith set out to worship Him (Mt.2:2) & succeeded in doing so (2:11).
          1. “What can we give God, that gives Him greater satisfaction than that a thousand times a day all His creatures should thus pause to withdraw and worship Him from the heart.”
        2. Our lesson from the Wise Men: Worship is seeing what God is worth and giving him what He's worth.
          1. Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God; it whets our appetite.
        3. You catch your baby gazing intently at you. You stare back, you smile. The baby smiles back…all is well. The simple pleasure of looking at the one you love. This is what we enjoy each time we worship God and bask in His presence, He smiles…all is well!
      5. The Christmas story is all about faith & courage & obedience to the Father.
        1. Success is never final, failure is never fatal, its courage that counts.
    3. Christmas is a feast day for the stout of heart.
      1. This Christmas, besides, egg nog & presents, trees & wreathes, decorations & lights...we need Christmas style Courage...a courage that rises up in the midst of the brokenness around us.
      2. This Christmas we need Feliz Navidad Faith...a faith that does the will of God...Regardless!
      3. This Christmas we need to be strong & courageous, to proclaim & live out our faith, and to make real sacrifices in obedience to Him.
        1. An all-wise God will one day mend all that’s broken and restore all that’s fallen. But for the moment He allows the wreckage to remain, and expects us to have the courage to obey His Word and answer His call.
    4. On Dec.24,1989 a Romanian church was celebrating Christmas Eve by candlelight. During the service Communist soldiers came to arrest the pastor. As the soldiers approached the church, members started lining up outside. First 10 people deep, then 20, then 30. Church members encircled the building. Soldiers couldn’t break through the human shield. It was a symbolic moment - one of the triggers that brought down the Romanian dictatorship. And it was inspired, by the courage we find in the Christmas story.
    5. So, Jesus lived out His Motto to come and do the Fathers will.
  5. HIS MANIFESTO (11-18) [manifesto = public declaration of your policy & aim]
    1. (12) Not sitting on edge of seat wringing His hands, but relaxed… knowing the end...knowing our end.
    2. (14) Catch the impact of this verse.
      1. We have our standing/position in vs.10 (we have been sanctified/set apart) and our state/condition in vs.14 (we are being sanctified).
      2. The sacrifice is so efficacious(effective) that it guarantees the final perfection of all those who were being made holy.
        1. This involves not only the regeneration of the spirit & the salvation of the soul, but also the resurrection of the body of each true believer.
        2. We may not understand all of this but we can revel in its reality. Ray Stedman
    3. Ever notice that some leaves are able to remain on the tree even through the harsh winds of winter?
      1. Springtime hits & you can watch leaves continued to fall, but it’s not because of the wind but because the sap has begun to flow. It starts to push the deadness out from within...ALL the deadness of the previous year.
      2. When God writes His will on our hearts, new life within purges the deadness from our lives. A renewed hearts pump fresh blood through us. The life of Christ in us, same life that said, “Here I am…I have come to do your will, O God” - Animates us!
        1. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit in your life, that pushes out the deadness, not you in the flesh no matter how hard you try. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. It’s He - He - He [not Ho, Ho, Ho!]
    4. (17) Remember no more – Clara Barton, organizer of the Amer. Red Cross was known not to harbor resentment. She was asked by a friend regarding an incident that had happened earlier to Clara, “Don’t you remember the wrong that was done you?” Clara answered calmly, Slide#21b “No, I distinctly remember forgetting that.”
      1. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Can you visualize your every past sin and failure totally forgotten by God?
      2. How does this affect your feelings about God? About yourselves? About your future? About your past?
    5. So, Jesus declared His Manifesto as His one offering would equal...believers forgiven, sins remembered no more, & saints perfected forever.
    6. Lord, we celebrate...The King is born to us today. The King is born our souls to save.

Verses 19-25

  1. Intro:
    1. Do you know what makes a stew tasty? Hours of simmering, so you get all the juices out of all the ingredients. And when you taste it, you're getting the best of what's in each ingredient.
      1. Sunday morning is (should be) a culmination of a people who've been simmering all week in the presence of God.
      2. When we simmer every day in the presence of God and then come on Sunday morning & mix all of it together, there's an aroma and a smell of the grace & the goodness of God that lifts up to heaven. And God pulls off the lid and goes, "Mmm, that's my people in their corporate gatherings this morning." And that's worship.
    2. Title: Doin Church
    3. Outline: Having Access. Having Advocacy. Let us Draw Near. Let us Hold Fast. Let us Consider. Let us not forsake one another. Let us encourage one another.
  2. HAVING ACCESS (19,20) having boldness
    1. ​​​​​​​Boldness/confidence to enter - By itself human effort is doomed to ultimate failure.
    2. Confidence training seems to be the cry of the day: We have seminars to build our confidence in our business ventures. Sports camps to build confidence in our kids.
      1. David makes it clear, Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. Ps127:1
        1. He doesn’t ask whether you feel confident. He says a believer has it. Not, have I measured up? Not, have I lived up to certain standards? He says a believer has it, period!
          1. Confidence of that conviction will always prevail...Christ in you the hope of glory.
          2. It’s only by the blood of Jesus. (19b)
    3. (20) Veil – once a barrier now a portal (gate/entrance).
    4. Charles Wesley stated it best, Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see, Hail the incarnate Deity - Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.
      1. ​​​​​​​There is only one thing between you saint & God the Father...and that’s the torn flesh (veil) of Jesus.
  3. HAVING ADVOCACY (21) our High Priest
    1. ​​​​​​​Believers not only have a confident spirit, but also a competent advocate.
    2. Our Advocate/Jesus is continually available; completely aware (of our present situations); & constantly involved with us, working all things together for good.
    3. This verse helps us to confidently point our ship into the high seas w/strength & power.
      1. We are not only to exist in a hostile culture but to buck its waves.
    4. Slide#10 In A.D. 404 John Chrysostom (golden mouth), the early church father, was brought in before the Roman emperor. The emperor threatened him with banishment if he remained a Christian. Chrysostom responded, You cannot banish me, for this world is my Father’s house. But I will kill you,’ said the emperor.No, you cannot, for my life is hid with Christ in God,’ said Chrysostom. I will take away your treasures.No, you cannot, for my treasure is in heaven and my heart is there.But I will drive you away from your friends and you will have no one left.No, you cannot, for I have a friend in heaven from whom you cannot separate me. I defy you, for there is nothing you can do to harm me.
    5. Arrogance should never be the Christian’s way, but Confidence must mark our life.
      1. So, not presumptuously, not flippantly, not haphazardly...but Confidently.
  4. LET US DRAW NEAR (22)
    1. ​​​​​​​Since Jesus provided access to the God of heaven, the readers can draw near to him.
      1. Here we find the motive for all subsequent action.
      2. It means more than drawing near by praying, for it is in the present tense...inferring a continual drawing near.
        1. This is like what the wick is to a lamp. It continually draws oil for the light. So we ought to continually draw from God the strength & grace we need to function.
    2. How do we do this?
      1. Draw near w/sincerity (true heart) – w/o religious pretense.
      2. Draw near w/belief (full assurance of faith) – believe in simple faith…God means what He says.
      3. Draw near without guilt (hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience) – We become guilt free, only when our conscience is clear (9:14) & that, only via the sprinkled blood of Jesus. [this happens at salv] [It’s that inner cleansing that is far superior to the outside]
      4. Draw near w/Integrity (bodies washed w/pure water) – baptism is our time to publicly profess our commitment to Christ, which symbolizes our being made clean.
  5. LET US HOLD FAST (23)
    1. ​​​​​​​Hold fast what?…the confession of our hope – i.e. the sharing/confession of our faith & hope w/others, which is the next logical step after believing.
  6. LET US CONSIDER (24,25)
    1. ​​​​​​​Consider what?…One another. Each other. The body of Christ.
      1. Consider - To direct one’s whole mind to an object. To immerse oneself in it. To apprehend it in its whole compass. [TDNT]
        1. Not shake your finger at a brother or sister in the Lord. Not lecture a brother or sister in the Lord. Instead, using encouraging words & being a good example.
    2. John Wesley's Rule of Conduct: Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.
    3. Stir up - Spur on. Urge. Sharpen. To incite, or stimulate. Provoke. Be a positive irritant.
      1. That’s how oysters are made, right? It grows a pearl, from an irritant.
        1. A piece of sand usually. The oyster supplies a nacre & surrounds it. Making something beautiful out of the very object that irritated it. The writer says we need to do the same.
        2. Be that piece of sand in their life...allowing the Holy Spirit to provide the nacre of love, by the accretion of gradual beautiful layers to their lives.
        3. If your struggling in sin, I'm here to help you. - If your defending your sin, I'm here to challenge you. - If your setting up camp in your sin, I'm here to discipline you. LarryOsborne
      2. So be a positive irritant toward corporate worship & encouragement.
  7. LET US NOT FORSAKE ONE ANOTHER (25a) in corporate worship
    1. ​​​​​​​News Flash: Jesus is not giving up on the church, His church, His wife [gates of Hell shall not prevail against it]
    2. The church, an intentional community of disciples living out life together. David Putnam
    3. Corporate worship is not an option for a Christian; it is a necessity.
      1. If church services grow dull or boring they need renewal, not abandonment.
    4. We are not independent, but interdependent or mutually dependent.
    5. We are not to live a life of isolated individualism.
    6. We are seen as both individuals & collective.
      1. As John Donne said, “No man is an island…every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
    7. The Catholic church declared missing Sunday Mass...a mortal sin. The Protestant church never went that far, but don’t assume that we are cavalier about it. [Church an option, obligation, or opportunity?]
      1. One asked, If you don’t go to God’s house, why should He come to yours?
      2. Another asked, If you don’t like being around Christians down here, what makes you think you’re going to like a place full of em?
    8. Slide#16 De-churched Christians? As oxymoronic as jumbo-shrimp, liquid gas, steel wool, or selfish lover. A De-churched Christian should be as fictitious a character as a unicorn, zombie, tooth-ferry, troll, mermaid or martian. Yet, People have a 1000 reasons to stay away from church.
      1. This is not a new problem. In the early church there was a fall-off attendance due to: persecution, ostracism, apostasy & arrogance.
    9. Why do people stay away from church today?
      1. Some out of fear of people asking: What will people say...I’ve been gone awhile? Will they discern what I’ve done?
      2. Some out of fear of catching a church disease called hypocrisy: I guess the thought is...if I get near a hypocrite, it might be catchy, so I better stay away.
      3. Some out of laziness.
      4. Some because, no one at church is like me - they’re not as smart as me, not as wealthy as me, not as spiritual as me. Interesting, people join clubs for this reason, to be in a similar group....God‘s family isn’t set up that way. It was for all men that Christ died.
        1. So there is actually 2 different groups at church: people you’d choose to hang out with & people you wouldn’t. We don’t get to choose family right?
      5. Some out of conceit - This person doesn’t need church. He’s intellectually beyond the standard of preaching there. Or an accomplished musician, where his focus is musical perfection & not Worship.
    10. Kent Hughes said, It is true that person person does not have to go to church to be a Christian. He does not have to go to home to be married either. But in both cases if he does not, he will have a very poor relationship.
    11. Why should a Christian go to church?
      1. Because Jesus’ presence is in the gathered church. In Rev.2:1 one of the 1st things Jesus reveals to John is where He is i.e. walking in the midst of the 7 golden lampstands (churches).
      2. Because God has placed us in community for a reason. (in the neg) A mob tends to descend to a much deeper level of cruelty than individuals. The appreciation and enjoyment of music lovers, either a symphony or rock concert is more intense than that of a single listener at home with his iPod. This is true for worship as well.
      3. Because Great theological truths are best learned corporately with all the saints. Paul, in Eph.3:18 prays that the church in Ephesus may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.
      4. Because love is a communal activity. You might be able to develop your faith & hope while alone (but very questionable)...but not love! Developing love is a communal activity of the church.
      5. Lastly, as was told here, we must be around each other to stir one another up to Agape & good works.
  8. LET US ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER (25b) in encouragement
    1. ​​​​​​​Give someone encouragement today.
      1. The world is full of discouragers; we have a Christian duty to encourage 1 another.
      2. Many times a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept someone on their feet. Blessed is the one who speaks such a word.
        1. ​​​​​​​Eliphaz gave Job a backhanded compliment, Job 4:4 Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, And you have strengthened the feeble knees. [goes on to suggest Job was unable to take his own medicine]
    2. As you see the Day approaching – Imminence is God’s device to keep believers expectant & full of hope. [draw near...because His coming is near!]
    3. Msg - So, friends, we can now - without hesitation - walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body.

      So let’s do it - full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

Verses 26-39

  1. Intro: Title: Falling into the Hands of the Living God
    1. God warns us so that we will not be presumptuous, but He comforts us so that we will not be discouraged.
      1. The hard heart needs the warning; the broken heart needs the comfort. (www)
    2. Outline: God’s Pensive Forewarning. God’s Past Faithfulness. God’s Permanent Faithfulness.
    3. Is it ever right for God to raise His voice, yell, scream, & flail His arms at us? Absolutely!
      1. Just as a parent would, when seeing their toddler dart out into the street, where traffic is coming full speed. Pitch, tone, seriousness, everything changes...when it’s this serious. The small child MUST be warned to stay out of the deadly street.
      2. Hear the warning as the writer in Hebrews continues.
  2. GOD’S PENSIVE FOREWARNING (26-31) [pensive - deep/serious]
    1. (26) This verse is the 2nd most controversial verse in all of Hebrews.
    2. The answer lies in the word willfully – It means, willingly, voluntarily, deliberately, intentionally. (Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, pg.703.)
      1. “It is directed to those who deliberately keep on sinning(NIV; ESV, NLT) after they fully understand the way of escape in Jesus.” Ray Stedman
        1. So 2 things: it’s deliberate & continual.
        2. Obviously then, one can’t stumble into this sin suddenly.
        3. “It is choosing to live for self behind a Christian veneer.” Ray Stedman, pg11.
      2. They had known the way of life…but had not chosen to avail themselves of it.
      3. So, of course they are not going to find another way, nor another sacrifice.
    3. (28) Deut.17:1-6 is spoken of here - If one who has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, was taken to the gate of the city & stoned to death.
      1. No mercy, no appeal, certain death. How much worse under the new cov. (vs.29)
    4. (29) Trampled the Son of God under foot – This is similar what Jesus was getting to when he said, Do not...cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet. (or show disdain/grind him into the dirt). 3 definitions of sin…
      1. ​​​​​​​Sin = trampling Christ underfoot - The awfulness of sin lay not in its breaking of the law but in its trampling of the love of Christ under foot. (Adapted from William Barclay, Hebrews, pg. 125.)
        1. It is not mere rebelliousness against the law; it is the wounding of love.
      2. Sin = the failure to see the sacredness of sacred things - the writer says, look at he shed blood & the broken body of Christ. Look at what your new relationship to God cost? Can you treat it like it doesn’t matter?
        1. Sin is the failure to realize the sacredness of that sacrifice upon the cross.
      3. ​​​​​​​Sin = the insult to the Holy Spirit - The H.S. tell us what is rt & wrong.​​​​​​​ Checks us when we’re on our way to sin. And stirs us when were drifting into lethargy.
        1. To disregard this voice is to...insult the Spirit & grieve the heart of God.
    5. (31) Sometimes we as Christians are accused of using language too harsh, too alarming, too severe. Yet I believe there are no words in our English language by which we could actually exaggerate the awful condition of a soul, which has refused the gospel & awaits judgment.
      1. This of course reminds us of the most famous sermon preached during the Great Awakening, & likely the most famous sermon in all American history, Jonathon Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, delivered in Enfield, Conn. in 1741
      2. He used startling imagery I quote: “all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you, & keep you out of hell, than a spider’s web would have to stop a falling rock.” - “you hang by a slender thread, w/the flames of divine wrath flashing about it & ready every moment to singe it, & burn it asunder.” “the bow of God’s wrath is bent, & the arrow made ready on the string; & justice directs the bow to your heart, & strains at the bow: & it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, & that of an angry God, w/o any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk w/your blood.”
        1. The stakes are just as high today...heaven or hell?
        2. As Kent Hughes said, “Jonathon Edwards gave his people a whiff of the sulphurs of hell that they might deeply inhale the fragrances of grace.”
      3. Oh, so isn’t when it says, Jesus is trampled underfoot by man must be, God in the hands of angry sinners?
    6. ​​​​​​​So this verse is a warning to the unbelievers: Let’s look at the passage that might have been on the writers mind that helped form the words he choose…but instead relates to the believer.
      1. 2 Sam.24:14 And David said to Gad, I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.
      2. This is the golden hope of the believer, to fall repentantly into the hands of God. His hands are our hope.
      3. [poem] The hands of Christ are very frail, For they were broken w/a nail. But only those reach heaven at last, Whom those frail, broken hands hold fast. K.HughesIV.
  3. ​​​​​​​GOD’S PAST FAITHFULNESS (32-34)
    1. ​​​​​​​After the warning comes the comfort.
    2. (32) Recall the former days - It was a challenge for them to remember how they had stood strong 15 years earlier during the persecution under the Roman Emperor Claudius (ad 49).
    3. (32b) A great struggle with sufferings – [struggle = athlesis, our word athletic]
      1. The persecution was like a hard-fought athletic contest.
      2. Here’s a great example of this: Hugh Latimer (the English reformer) on one occasion preached before King Henry the VIII, & offended Henry in his boldness. Latimer was commanded to preach the following weekend & make an apology.

        On the following Sunday, after reading the text, he addressed himself as he began to preach: “Hugh Latimer, dost thou know before whom thou art this day to speak? To the high & mighty monarch, the king’s most excellent majesty, who can take away thy life if thou offendest; therefore, take heed that thou speakest not a word that may displease; but then consider well, Hugh, dost thou not know from whence thou comest; upon whose message thou art sent? Even by the great & mighty God! who is all-present, & who beholdeth all thy ways, & who is able to cast thy soul into hell! Therefore, take care that thou deliverest thy message faithfully.” He then gave Henry the same sermon he had preached the week before…only w/more energy!
    4. (33a) You were made a spectacle - they were made public theatre [spectacle=theatrizo/theater]
    5. (33b,34a) You became companions of those who were so treated - (NIV) You stood side by side with those who were so treated.
      1. ​​​​​​​If you insult them you insult me. It’s locking arms...facing this together.
    6. You had compassion on me in my chains – In the 1st century prisoners had no means of survival apart from the visits of friends who brought food & water & clothing.
      1. Still this way in hospitals, jails & prisons in most all developing countries.
      2. Also, in the days of persecution that would place the visiting friends in grave danger because of associating w/the Christian.
    7. How can we come alongside our brothers & sisters imprisoned or being persecuted today?...​​​​​​​ Intercessory prayer for them: Like highlighted in our Persecuted Church Keynote b4 service.
      1. Following the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, Sudanese Christians have experienced escalating attacks resulting from a government policy to eradicate Christianity from the country. Since 2012, Sudan has expelled foreign Christians and bulldozed many church buildings on the pretext that church property belongs to investors. The most recent attack at the end of November included a wrecking crew (accompanied by police carrying weapons) to bulldoze the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church's, Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church, along with some houses, including one belonging to Nile Theological College.
      2. Police beat worshippers and arrested 38 for refusing to surrender the property, but the Christians resisted the attacks. "Boisterous young men" willing to die for their faith faced off with police, and church members formed a human shield to ward off additional demolition attempts. One of the arrested believers announced: "We have enjoyed worshipping and praising God in prison. The power of God was present among us."
    8. (34b) Joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods - They could actually feel joy over watching their property confiscated, since they took comfort in the fact that their true treasures were in heaven, not on earth.
    1. ​​​​​​​(35) Confidence - Remember vs.19 boldness/confidence (same word here). It’s God confidence.
    2. (36) Endurance does not earn salvation, but rather it is the principle evidence of saving grace
      1. Again quoting Bishop Hugh Latimer, A drop of rain made a hole in a stone, not by violence but by continually falling. So we need patience & perseverance.
    3. (37) Patience - And so we await His 2nd coming.
    4. (38) Continuance - This is quoted from Habakkuk 2:4 as an encouragement to Habakkuk to live by faith. Later he arose from his depression & was able to sing, Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls; Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Hab.3:17,18
      1. WilliamJay This is a faith that is tired of being tossed back & forth idly moored at its dock This is a faith that isn’t afraid to leave the calm harbor. A faith that unfurls its sails & sets out to sea. A faith that isn’t afraid of encountering a healthy breeze. Sail away. Spread your sail toward the storm & trust in Him who rules the raging seas. (Adapted from Morning Exercises, March 10; by Rev. William Jay)
        1. ​​​​​​​“When I cannot feel the faith of assurance, I live by the fact of God’s faithfulness.”Mt Henry
    5. (39) Perseverance - This verse helps us out with vs.26.
      1. The 2 groups addressed throughout the letter are here placed in direct contrast: Some are drawing/shrinking back & are headed for destruction. Others continue to believe & thus experience the saving of their souls.
    6. The just shall live by faith introduces us to our last section of Hebrews.
      1. Faith is the way we begin the life in Christ; Faith is also the way it is maintained; & Faith is what will bring us at last in triumph through the gates of glory.
    7. Endurance, patience, continuance & perseverance are a daily struggle for the Christian.
      1. But often its ease that will ruin us & the struggles that actually toughened us.
      2. Hannibal of Carthage (247-183bc) generally considered one of the greatest military commanders in history was the general who had routed the Roman legions. But winter came and the campaign had to be suspended. Hannibal wintered his troops in Capua (N.of Naples) which he had captured, a city of luxury. And 1 winter in Capua did what the Roman Legions had not succeeded in doing. The luxury so sapped the morale of the Carthaginian troops that when the spring came & the campaign was resumed they were unable to stand before the Romans.
        1. Ease had ruined them when struggle had only toughened them.
    8. This morning, through faith, fall into the hands & arms of the living & loving you don’t fall into the hands of the just & judging God.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Hebrews 10". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.