TEACHING NOTES (PDF)
My wife and I have had five children, all boys. Before each one was born, we had lengthy discussions about their name. For every child, I made an argument to name him MAGNUS. It’s unique. It’s Latin for magnificent. His nickname could be Gnus (pronounced, Guh-nus) and everything would be awesome.
Needless to say, I never got my way.
Continue reading “His Name is Jesus”
Here is a simple Bible study on Hebrews 5:11-6:12: BibleStudy (PDF). It just contains the text and a few questions for reflection. Three lists to better understand this passage:
- foundation of repentance (from acts that lead to death)
- faith in God
- cleansing rights
- laying on of hands
- eternal judgment
“Beyond elementary teachings”
- teaching about righteousness
- distinguish between good from evil
- the rejection of the fallen
A profile of the original audience
- no longer trying to understand
- ought to be teachers
- not fallen (or worthless)… author is convinced of “better things” about them
- shown good work and love to God
“Impossible” in the book of Hebrews
- 6:18–impossible for God to be false
- 10:4–impossible for blood of bulls/goats to remove sins
- 11:6–impossible for people to please God without faith
I. Criticism concerning spiritual maturity (5:11-14)
II. Elementary Teachings (6:1-3)
III. Warning about the fallen (6:4-8)
IV. Affirmation and Encouragement to be diligent (6:9-13)
“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 4:16)
And scripture also says:
“Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.” (Luke 7:6)
Great faith walks the line between confidence and presumption.
Confidence is grounded in Jesus, in his sacrificial love that has graciously granted us access to God’s presence. Presumption is grounded in our actions and good deeds. It believes that God owes us something. However, assuming that God owes us anything is too much presumption.
Confidence enters God’s presence seeking mercy and grace. Presumption calls God to us in order that he might give us what we want.
God’s blessings are a gift, evidence of God’s infinite mercy and grace that he freely offers us through his Son Jesus.
God’s love is so great, so complete, so perfect, that we can’t gain any more…or lose it. God is love, and he acts independently from our actions.
We are not good enough on our own, but this reality does not undermine our confidence. Quite the opposite! Our imperfection can move us to rely more on his perfection.
We are called to be obedience, but our faithfulness should not lead to entitlement. God is not a holy vending machine controlled by prayers, personal devotions, and other good works.
Our disappointments with God can reveal our presumptions. When we become aware of them we are presented with an opportunity. At this crossroad we can uproot these selfish weeds or we can feed them and watch them grow into the unhealthy fruit of presumption.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”Hebrews 12:2 (NIV84)
I love the imagery in this scripture: Jesus as the author of our faith.
In ancient times, scribes were important. Their job was to listen to the author and record their words. The letter belonged to the author, but it was the scribe who did the work. Not everyone could write, so the scribe fulfilled an important role. Even though Paul could write, he still used a scribe!
We have a similar role in our modern world: In every courtroom, court reporters listen to everything that is said and record it.
Ultimately, it’s the job of the scribe (ancient or modern) to magnify the message of the author. It’s recorded so other people can read and hear it even though the author isn’t present.
When it comes to our life, we ought to be more like scribes rather than authors. Our calling is to follow God’s design for our lives. We are to listen for his voice and transmit his Word to the world through our attitudes and actions.
This picture undermines our selfish nature. It’s humbling to be a scribe. We want to be in control. We want to be the one who is in charge, making all the decisions and choosing that’s best for us.
Essentially, this imagery is one of obedience. We are allowing Jesus to be the author of our lives?
I recently met with a hurting youth worker. While the situation was a little unusual, the result was common: conflict. After reflecting on our conversation, I articulated the following lessons in my journal so I don’t forget them the next I need to restore a relationship. Continue reading “another tale of a hurting youth worker”