Posts Tagged ‘HolySpirit’


Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. John 20:1

Mary-at-empty-tomb

Mary was astonished to see the stone rolled away. She had come expecting to find the corpse of Jesus, and now she was disappointed. Who had taken him away? What cruel prank was this? She told the disciples, and Peter and John were bold enough to risk capture by going to the tomb. They looked closer, but returned home, although John recorded that what he saw made him believe something else had occurred.

Mary was still bewildered, and stood outside the tomb sobbing and wailing uncontrollably. Where had they taken his body? She saw someone standing there, and peering closely, concluded it was just a laborer, probably the gardener. Had her faculties of sight altered? Was her sight obscured by all her tears?

No, Jesus had changed, for He had been resurrected! The means of knowing Jesus had changed as well! Only through Him speaking to her did Mary know Him, and so we find the truth of divine revelation. We can search for God all we want, but we will never, never find Him if we are seeking to know Him in the flesh. When Mary rushed to hug Jesus, He said, “do not touch me.” He had truly changed, and there was to be a new way of knowing Him, a way which transcends the senses, a way which transforms our lives.

The inner clarity of recognition that came to Mary when she heard Him call her name, she could not explain in human terms. She just knew, and that was enough. And so it is with our knowing Jesus the Christ. You can watch all the movies and read all the stories about Jesus, but that is all He will be to you, a fanciful story or amazing leader. Your life will be the same. You can never truly know Jesus with your physical senses. But when Jesus speaks to your heart, and you willingly respond to Him as Lord, your life will be changed! There will be no mistake about it! The resurrection will be no magical story, for it will be the reality of your life! This is what Paul said when he proclaimed, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.”

mary weeping outside tombMary wept. Seeking a corpse, she mistook Jesus for a common person. Many of us mistake Jesus as someone common, not the life-changing Son of God that He actually is. We all have things that we cry over, struggle with or feel stressed about. We may reach a deadlock, a dead-end, and feel as if there is no possible way out. Only when we reach the end of our fleshly strength will we be ready to listen to His voice. When you realize that you need God, need to know His resurrection power, be quiet, for you are likely to hear Him calling you. You can search for Him with all your might, but He can never be found in the strength of your flesh. He has changed! He has risen. He is known only in the Spirit now, and your flesh wars with the Spirit.

Christ “after the flesh” was crucified. Knowing Him in that way results in a corpse vainly searching for another corpse. Mary searched in her flesh and knew not the Resurrected Christ. When her tears were drained, and she was at the end of herself, she was ready to hear His voice. Are you still relying on your own strength and abilities? Are you seeking to know Jesus after the flesh? Give it up, lay aside who you think He is, humble yourself before Him, and ask to hear His voice. Only when you give up on the flesh is the Spirit ready to take over. And the Spirit delights in making Jesus Christ known to your heart!

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Faith - Hebrews 11_6When it comes to our relationship with God, our mind is a battlefield. God wants us to communicate with Him, but often what we think about and dwell on is a roadblock to an intimate and growing relationship with God. We condemn ourselves and go about trying to please God through wrong methods or wrong motivations. We can’t imagine how we could possibly please a holy God. The more we try the more we realize our failures. We find ourselves with Paul in Romans 7, longing for the freedom of Romans 8, but not understanding how to get there. The effects of “stinkin’ thinkin'” is being researched by Dr. Peggy Zoccola, Asst Professor at Ohio University.

The research team recruited 34 healthy young women to participate in the project. Each woman was asked to give a speech about her candidacy for a job to two interviewers in white laboratory coats, who listened with stone-faced expressions, Zoccola said. 



Half of the group was asked to contemplate their performance in the public speaking task, while the other half was asked to think about neutral images and activities, such as sailing ships or grocery store trips. 



The researchers drew blood samples that showed that the levels of C-reactive protein were significantly higher in the subjects who were asked to dwell on the speech, Zoccola reported.

Dr Peggy Zoccola 
For these participants, the levels of the inflammatory marker continued to rise for at least one hour after the speech. During the same time period, the marker returned to starting levels in the subjects who had been asked to focus on other thoughts.



The C-reactive protein is primarily produced by the liver as part of the immune system’s initial inflammatory response. It rises in response to traumas, injuries or infections in the body, Zoccola explained. 



“More and more, chronic inflammation is being associated with various disorders and conditions,” Zoccola said. “The immune system plays an important role in various cardiovascular disorders such as heart disease, as well as cancer, dementia and autoimmune diseases.”

C-reative protein is widely used as a clinical marker to determine if a patient has an infection, but also if he or she may be at risk for disease later in life.



The study concludes that dwelling on negative events can increase levels of inflammation in the body. I also contend (unscientifically of course) that dwelling on your sin and failures and inadequacies causes inflammation of your faith eyes, hindering your ability to walk by faith! Faith is absolutely critical to being a God-Pleaser! Our focus must be on His power, and not our failures. If our focus is wrong, we will develop crippling faith, faith that is weak and ineffective.

What we think, speak and act impacts our faith:

Jesus knew that our lives are impacted by what we think about. He even extended it to include what we say and what we do. The following verses can be backed up by many more:

  • But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Matthew 15:18-20
  • For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. Proverbs 23:7
  • “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue” Prov 18:21
  • As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same. Job 4:8
  • Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8

Our Heart & Mind can serve as roadblocks to being what God wants us to be: God-Pleasers.

Walk-Minding-the-Holy-Spirit-goodI was told in Bible College that Martin Luther ripped the book of James from his Bible. Actually, he did not, but he did preface it in his Bible as a “Book of Straw.” He found some of its teaching as being contrary to his understanding of Salvation by grace alone. For example, James wrote in chapter 2:

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. James 2:17-24

I have struggled with this concept of faith, grace and works as well. After all, we read from David’s flagship Psalm the following:

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways. You have commanded us To keep Your precepts diligently. Psalm 119:1-4

Implied in my relationship with God is an expectation from Him that I obey Him, and keep His commands. However, my life has been one complicated by selfishness, sinfulness and failures. If anyone deserves Hell, it is me.

If I struggle with this, then I imagine that you may struggle with it as well. I believe as we continue to look at Hebrews 11:6, that the Holy Spirit will affirm some truths for our soul that will reassure us, or perhaps spur us.

Faith vs. Works

You cannot really separate faith from works. We must not see them as two separate things, but rather joint expressions of relationship with God. This is the Hebrews 11:1 definition of Faith. This is the Hebrews 11:6 definition of the one who pleases God.

  • Faith is substantiating and demonstrating.Faith is the substantiating Hebrews 11_1
  • Faith is believing and showing that belief in your diligence and priorities.
  • Faith is listening to God and building an Ark.
  • Faith is the language of God.
  • Without faith you cannot please God, and you cannot communicate with God.

Faith & Focus

If you do not have faith in God, you have faith in something else. Faith and Focus go hand in hand. What would people say you focus on?

Moses proved what the focus of his life was when he fled Egypt. His focus (faith) empowered his fleshly eyes to see the invisible God as if He was visible! “By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27

Moses saw Him who is invisible Hebrews 11_27

Vs 27 illustrates the power of Faith… The key is furnished by v. 27, as seeing him who is invisible. Faith apprehends as a real fact what is not revealed to the senses. It rests on that fact, acts upon it, and is upheld by it in the face of all that seems to contradict it. Faith is a real seeing[1].

Noah proved by his actions what his focus was on:

  • Noah had faith, and showed it by obeying God and building an Ark.

On the other hand, the people of Noah’s day showed what their focus (faith) was on: themselves. They wanted to keep on having fun as if there was no tomorrow, and ignored the warnings of Noah, and could not see the signs of God’s existence and power! This reveals a truth that many refuse to admit:

We all have Faith in something…

You life is lived in faith. Many live by faith only in what they see, what they can do. Faith in themselves, or in their possessions. I know, True Faith applies only to making UNSEEN things real. But unfortunately, most people are too pragmatic or self-sufficient to have True Faith. They are content with their lives, and really don’t need a power beyond themselves. To self-sufficient people, faith has no application. Only those who realize there is a real Creator God will even begin to sense their need for faith.

Are You ready to Discover the Power of Faith? Are you ready to make a HEBREWS 11:6 Commitment?

Hebrews 11:6 is a powerful verse. It is a verse that once committed to, means your life will forever be intertwined with God. You are staking everything on Him! Faith that will give you a personal and family connection with the Creator of the Universe! When you have it, your life will bear evidence of it!

To develop and understand this Faith, you need to wrap your life around Jesus Christ! Have you come to Jesus as the Son of God, your Minister, your Mediator, your Intercessor, your Savior and Lord? You have not made a decision to center your life upon and around Him! If so, it is pointless to explore the power of Hebrews 11 Faith. Your faith is in yourself, and this will not make sense to you.

For we walk by faith, not by sight: 2 Corinthians 5:7

FAITH SUBSTANTIATES the UNSEEN AS REALITY!

Who are kept (guarded) by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:5

Faith allows you to be fully vested in GodFaith Allows You to Be Fully Vested

Being fully vested in God means He is fully vested in you as well. The key to this relationship is Faith.

  • Faith is the only communication that God accepts.
  • Faith is the only way you are accepted in God.
  • This is the lesson of Hebrews 11:6

Examples of faith that fully ‘vests’ us in God

Romans 4:18-22: Abraham was fully convinced!

Faith-and-Obedience-IntertwinedIn hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead ( since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:18-22

Romans 5:1-5: All those who endure Suffering!

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

1 Cor 2:5: All those who don’t trust in their own wisdom!

that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:5

HEBREWS 11:6

Faith Translates us to be a God-PleaserAnd without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6

1.  How important is Faith?

  • Without it, you cannot please God, you cannot draw near to God, you cannot receive anything from God

2.  Can you communicate with God without Faith?

  • True Faith is the only Means of Pleasing God
  • Without faith you are ‘adynatos’ – without power.
  • You have no ability whatsoever to do anything to please God.

You say “I believe” but belief alone is not faith. Remember how God defined faith-it makes real things that are invisible. It substantiates the reality and power of God. Anyone can say they believe in God. But does your belief accomplish what faith does, it brings you into His presence. Your faith carries you and all your problems to the very throne of God, where He works His mercy, justice and righteousness in your life. No one comes to God without being effected and affected by His holiness. Does mere “belief in God” work His holiness effect upon your life? No, because belief by itself is hands-off, academic and simply “good-to-know.” That is six-degrees of seperation stuff. Only FAITH brings you to the throne, puts you in the inside and allows the Holiness Effect to transform you!

3.  True Faith in God transforms from part-time to “Fully Vested”

  • If you are fully vested, you are in God’s “crew.” You are his ‘hommies’, friends, gang, posse, people who have God’s back
  • You are not a groupie or a fan, someone there just for the fun.
  • Faith demonstrates the reality of your being in God and depending upon Him NO MATTER WHAT!
  • Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:8
  • You Must believe God IS!

The idea is not merely that God exists as a rewarder, but that He will prove Himself to be a rewarder of that person who diligently seeks Him. As Vincent puts it: “He who approaches God has, through faith, the assurance that his seeking God will result in good to himself.”

This is not an academic belief, but one that grows from being fully vested in Him! This is reflected in your heart, your mind and your actions. Do you believe in an unseen Deity that watches you and who is eternal and powerful. Do you have faith to believe that He is powerful enough to work in your life?

Faith Translates You (in)to the Majesty

Faith is the language that reaches God’s ears. He listens to those who pray and think and act in faith in Him! Faith tranlates our prayers into God’s heavenly language! Faith translates us to a place of power before the throne! Do not offer prayers without faith in God! They are gobbledygook to him!

  • faithHow does your Heart reflect your belief that God is?
  • Negative thoughts, hatred of others, wicked plotting, desire for revenge, bitterness over events.
  • How does your Mind reflect your belief that God is?
  • Do you rely on yourself?
  • Always thinking about yourself
  • Always excusing the way you live being contrary to what God’s Word says?
  • Neglect the meditation on God’s Word?
  • How do your hands reflect your belief that God is?
  • Are they selfish?
  • Do they steal?
  • Do they give to others?
  • Do they react in anger, fear
  • You Must believe God is the Rewarder who is worth seeking with all you have.

The words “diligently seek” are literally “seek Him out,” the prefixed preposition being local in its force in this translation. But those who seek Him out are diligently seeking Him, and here we have the perfective use of the preposition.

Vincent says in this connection: “God’s beneficient will and attitude toward the seeker are not always apparent at the first approach. In such cases there is occasion for faith, in the face of delay, that diligent seeking will find its reward. One is reminded of Jesus’ lessons on importunity in seeking God (Luke 11:5-10, 18:1-8)”[2]

The Only way to have faith and be fully vested in God is through Jesus Christ

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

  • Jesus is the archēgos – leader, captain, founder of our faith.

Christ is the leader or captain of faith, in that he is the perfecter of faith[3].

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

  • Jesus is the “teleiōtēn” “to carry through completely, to finish, to make perfect or complete.”[4]

If you want to please God, you do so in faith, from faith and by faith. Faith empowers you to be fully vested in this invisible Creator God. Faith demonstrates a heart, mind and life that is fully vested in God and all that He is, regardless of how your life plays out, for your know that He is fully capable of rewarding your faith and commitment.

GodPleaserbannerfbssFaith translates [5] YOU to a God-Pleaser!

  • Faith is the way to please God. (Abel)
  • Faith is the substantiating of His Word and Power (He is)
  • Faith is the Demonstrating of the Value of Pleasing Him (seek)

Heart – Head – Hand

  • Heart=God is a rewarder of all those who seek after Him
  • Head=Good report is obtained not by what you do, but your substantiating in your life the truth and power of God by demonstrating through your life your trust in Him
  • Hands=Put on Jesus each and every day by faith, and serve others in the power of His name.
    • You offer your life in faith. You profess your testimony without reservations before your friends and acquaintances.
    • You continue to use your hands to diligently seek after God, knowing that He will reward the work of your hands, as long as they are working in the Faith of Jesus Christ!

Three frogs deciding to do nothing but sitNow, are you going to be like those frogs and sit there on that lily pad, professing your decision to jump? Or you actually going to leap off and into this mighty God, and demonstrate with your life the power of this unseen God.


[1] Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Hebrews Chapter 11”.

[2] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 198.

[3] Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Hebrews 12:2”.

[4] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 214.

[5] transitive verb to move or carry somebody or something from one place to another, usually with a complete change of condition or scene


Hebrews_10_26-39_ lose_your_salvationThe Holy Spirit, in penning Hebrews 10, seems to present the scenario that believer’s in Christ can make a decision to willfully sin, and the result of that decision will be their shrinking away from God to the destruction of their souls. To understand this passage, it would be helpful to lay aside any denominational/doctrinal presuppositions of being “elect” or “once saved, always saved” or “perseverance of the saints” or even that your salvation is dependant upon your behavior. To understand Hebrews 10:26-39, it will be helpful to look at two other passages that carry the same message, and then look at the foundation of Salvation which Jesus laid in the parable of the soils.

Hebrews 10:26-39 is the “reflective pause” that Christians face when they are about to embark on a journey of faith that grows and powers ahead into the unknown. Such reflection is good for the heart and soul. God wanted His people to reflect upon their position and relationship with Him so much so that He declared a special time of doing so during the Feast of Tabernacles. We all need times of reflection so that we may renew our commitment and continue to step out in faith in following this awesome God! Understanding this pause is essential before leaping into the Faith Chapter!

First, let us consider the bullet points of three ‘difficult’ passages…

What_does_a_willful_sinner_doHeb 10:26 – “If we willfully continue to sin…”

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Hebrews 10:26-27 

If we deliberately continue to sin, the Holy Spirit says:

  • There is no more sacrifice (forgiveness)
  • We will face judgment
  • You are an adversary to be consumed by fire. (cf James 4:4 – You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”)

Does this apply to professed Christians?…They had “received the knowledge of the truth” Received is the word “lambano.” It means to take hold of, to grab. Here is an example of its use with the water of life:

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:17

Conclusion: This passage does indeed describe people who profess to be believer’s and even followers of Jesus Christ. For some reason, they have deliberately decided to turn away from Him and follow their own will, becoming an adversary of God. The implication of this implies they have made such a selfish and willful decision because of their love of the world. The result of their action is the revelation of 1 John-the Love of the Father is not in them, and they have turned toward their true lover-the world. Such love will result in their shrinking away from God and lead to the destruction of their souls.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17

Were these people Christians that merely backslid, or did they really lose their salvation? Or were they merely pretenders who were never truly born again?

Our next passage is…

2_Peter_2_20-22_entangled_in_the_world2 Peter 2:20-22 “For if… they are again entangled in them and overcome…”

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:20-22

These verses indicate the following about these folks:

  • They are now entangled and overcome by defilements of the world
  • Their condition is worse than before
  • They had a deliberate turning away from the holy commandments
  • They are compared to how a dog and a pig reveal their true nature, they return to their vomit or wallow in the mire.

Were they Christians? They had at one time “escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…” Knowledge is “epígnōsis”

“It is more intensive than gnósis, knowledge, because it expresses a more thorough participation in the acquiring of knowledge on the part of the learner. In the NT, it often refers to knowledge which very powerfully influences the form of religious life, a knowledge laying claim to personal involvement”[1].

This is the same word used in Ephesians 1:17, and refers to a deep and intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ that we should all seek. So the passage seems to indicate that they at least made a profession of belief in Christ after receiving knowledge of who He was and what He had done for them. However, like those in Hebrews 10, they could not resist turning back to their true love, the world. They too, were entangled by the world and overcome, to the destruction of their souls.

Hebrews_6_4-8_fall_away_from_GodHebrews 6:4-8 “then (they) have fallen away…”

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. Hebrews 6:4-8

The people in Hebrews 6 are described as:

  • Even though enlightened and sharing in the Holy Spirit, they have fallen away
  • Their falling away is evidenced by the fruit of their life – filled with thorns and thistles.
  • Their end is destruction by fire.

Were they Christians? They experienced all these: Enlightened, tasted, shared the Holy Spirit, tasted the Word and power…Cetainly sounds like they were professing to be Christians with all the characteristics of being a Christian.

Fallen is parapíptō:

“denoting a falling away, an abandonment. Some have suggested that this word indicates an error of weakness, fault or accident and does not represent deliberate, blameworthy or willful sin…However, the usus loquendi of the word yields no such meaning but in this case signifies deliberate acts of sin[2].”

Once again, here are people who made professions of faith in Jesus Christ because of some perceived knowledge of Him and what He had done for them, but in the course of their life made a deliberate and conscious decision to turn away from the Word of Jesus Christ. In this case, the proof of their decision shows up in the fruit of their life.

Before we look at the teaching of Jesus Christ in the Parable of the Soils, we must ask, “Does our Salvation come with responsiblity on our part?” Is our salvation in Christ a one time decision that is good for all of our life without any effort on our part? Or does the “New Birth” result in something which, like the wind, you cannot see, but like the wind, you can tell it is there?

What is the Evidence of our New Heart and being a New Creation?

Evidence_of_new_heart“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

“Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.” Hebrews 3:6

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

The words “hold fast” are the translation of  which means literally “to hold down.” It speaks here of a firm hold which masters that which is held[3]. It implies that you have taken possession of your belief, and you hold it fast because you value it more than anything else. You never let it out of your sight!

Paul reveals the need to “hold fast” to the word which he preached, and says that if you do not, you believed in vain! Your belief was a selfish belief, and once it no longer worked in your favor, you let go and reached for something else! So Paul states we have a responsibility to “hold fast, ” a responsibility that grows from our conviction that this truth about Jesus Christ is more valuable than anything the world could ever offer!

Does this mean we must work to ‘keep’ our Salvation?

Only if you believe commitment is work. Hopefully your work and “holding fast” comes from the conviction that Jesus Christ is worth it, that you owe Him everything, because He sacrificed everything for you. Consider your marriage. Because you value your spouse and your life-long commitment to her, you “hold fast” that commitment and honor it by your fidelity. If you no longer value your spouse or your commitment, you will turn away, let go and be unfaithful. You marriage was “in vain”, which means it was fine as long as it suited your needs. You dishonor the marriage when you want to meet your needs elsewhere.

So, will giving your life to Jesus Christ result in a salvation that is secure, eternal and impossible to take away? Jesus said, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:25-30

Parable of the Four Soils

What else did Jesus say about His sheep, and what insights can we gain about how we can know we are always in the Father’s hand and will never be snatched away? To better understand who is really “my sheep” we must look at the Parable of the Soils (or Sower):

 “Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” Matthew 13:18-23

Four_heart_conditions_that_receive_the_word_of_GodI believe the best way to understand the 4 soils is to see them as our heart. Being ‘born again’ involves receiving a new nature, becoming a new creation, and Hebrews indicates that involves a new heart, one in which God puts His Word, and the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” Hebrews 10:15-16. 

Jesus says that some hearts hear the Word, but their hardness and self-will prevent the Word from changing them. It is stolen away and has no effect. Another heart hears the Word and gets all excited. This is something they need at the time. However, their heart was selfishly motivated, and the proof is revealed in adversity or harsh circumstances. The next heart hears the Word, receives it, allows it to work in their life, but that heart is divided, and gradually or suddenly turns to the world, because what they really love has choked out any effect the Word has upon them. The thorns and thistles grow and appear in the midst of any fruit they may produce.

The lesson that Jesus wants us to see is that there will be many who profess belief in Jesus Christ as Savior. However, many will be mere professors. They never really take possession (as in ‘hold fast’) of the Word of Truth for their lives. THey may look and act like Christians, but the proof of their conversion is revealed in their endurance and fruit!

This is not works based salvation, but simple gardening!

What about God’s patience and understanding with our humanity? Does He not have patience with our growth? Indeed He does, however, there is a limit to His patience, and that runs about 4 years, as evidenced in this passage:

And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’ ” Luke 13:6-9

fig treeThe new birth will result in a salvation that bears fruit, not thorns or barrenness! If you are truly born again, one of Jesus sheep, but are backslidden or turning away, expect God to put some manure in your life! Things may get a little stinky until you humble yourself and re-commit to following His Word! If the manure doesn’t work, you are proven to be a pretender, and you were never given a new heart that is responsive to His Word!

Jesus showed His contempt for pretenders in this exchange near His crucifixion:

On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it. Mark 11:12-14 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God”. Mark 11:20-22

I often wondered at this curing of Jesus on a fig tree that by Mark’s account should not have had fruit. After all, it was early spring and it was 6 to 8 weeks away from bearing fruit. Then I read this from F.F. Bruce:

taqsh on fig treeWhen the fig leaves appear about the end of March, they are accompanied by a crop of small knobs, called taqsh by the Arabs, a sort of fore-runner of the real figs. These taqsh are eaten by peasants and others when hungry. They drop off before the real fig is formed. But if the leaves appear unaccompanied by taqsh, there will be no figs that year. So it was evident to our Lord, when He turned aside to see if there were any of these taqsh on the fig-tree to assuage His hunger for the time being, that the absence of the taqsh meant that there would be no figs when the time of figs came. For all its fair foliage, it was a fruitless and a hopeless tree.” [4]

This was confirmed by Keener:

“At Passover season in late March or early April, fig trees are often in leaf on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives. At this time of year, such fig trees contained only green early figs (Arabs call them taqsh), which ripen around June but often drop off before that time, leaving only green leaves on the tree. A leafy tree lacking such early figs, however, would bear no figs at all that year,” [5]

Jesus was looking at a pretender, all leafy and full of itself, but there was not going to be any fruit! The fig tree was all about itself, and cared little for those around it, and its’ lack of taqsh revealed it would never bear any fruit for the benefit of others.

The message of our difficult passages and especially Hebrews 10:26-39 is simply this: Your actions reveal your true character. If you have been born again through the Holy Spirit, you have a new nature, a new heart that is responsive to the Word of God. You hold it fast. The Word of God will always bear fruit for God, because the Word of God is Jesus Christ! If there is no fruit, if there is no continued “holding fast to the Word,” then your heart is revealed as a pretender, vain in your true desires, in love with the world (or yourself), and an enemy of God!

Evidence_of_apostasy_and_an_unbelieving_heartHebrews 3:12-14 reveals the truth of the importance of our heart and having a genuine repentance and coming to Christ with no reserves, no expectations, no fleshly considerations.

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. Heb 3:12-14

Is it possible to be born again and then develop an unbelieving heart? No. For if we are born again, we have a new heart, and God writes His Word upon it through the Holy Spirit. God then is responsible for our growth, and will use plenty of manure at times. If our heart turns out to be unbelieving or worldly or divided, then it is time to repent as Christ warned the Laodiceans.

“ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ ” Revelation 3:15-22

Adokimos

This is why Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper, so that we would regularly check our heart to see if Christ is Lord. This is why Paul warns us to:

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” 2 Corinthians 13:5

If one fails the test it means he is “adokimos” which means he is a pretender, one whose heart has failed the test of purity toward God! Only through our absolute trust in Jesus Christ and the total application of His blood can we be found “dokimos,” which means “approved!”

Hebrews_10_38-39_we_are_of_faith_and_do_not_shrink_awaySo our encouragement from Hebrews 8-10 is that because of what Christ has done, and because of His continued ministry and mediation and intercession on our behalf, there is NO WAY we can shrink away from Him and suffer destruction. Because of His ministry we have faith and therefore our souls rest safely in Him!

So what is the impact of this passage? What must we take into our hearts, our minds and work with our hands?

1. The “What” is for our Heart
The-What---the-way-into-the-love-of-God
        • This is what we take into our Heart
        • This reveals God’s Steadfast Love
        • This shows us the “Way” of Christ
        • What in this passage demonstrates God’s steadfast love, and grabs at your emotions?
  • God is faithful to Judge us according to His Word – Hebrews 10:27-31
  • He will keep His Word with all those who come to Him through Jesus Christ.
  • He will judge all those who reject His Son!
The-So-What---learn-with-your-head2. The “So What” is for our Head
  • We must take into our thinking – Head
  • We must follow the justice of God’s Word
  • We must believe in the “Truth” of Jesus Christ

What in this passage should we accept, receive and allow to transform our thinking so as to build the design of God into our lives?

    • I must examine my heart and soul to see if I am engaged in willful sin…
  • I must decide to turn away and then commit my whole being to being transformed by the renewing of my mind
  • I must examine myself by asking the following:
    • Am regarding Jesus as my Lord or as something “profane or common or powerless?”
    • Do I value the Blood of Christ as much as God?
    • Am I sensitive to the Leadership of the Holy Spirit?
    • How is my Confidence in the Word of the Lord?
    • How is my Endurance? Am I growing in patience?
    • How is my faith in God’s ability to do as He promised?
3. The “Now What” is for our Hands. What must we do to really learn this?

The-Now-what_learning_by_doing

  • The hands work the Righteousness of God
  • The hands demonstrate that we have the “Life” of Jesus Christ
  • What must I do this week to bring this passage to bear in my Life and grow in righteousness?
    • Daily confess confidence in the Lordship of Jesus!
    • Rejoice in any struggles or sufferings you are going through.
    • Find someone in prison (literal or figurative) this week, and show compassion to them.
    • Give something to someone in need to demonstrate your trust in eternal possessions to come.

 Heb 10:33-34 “you became companions of them that were so used (person suffering wrongly, or in affliction). For you had compassion of me in my bonds (shackles, a person with a disability) and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods…

Heart_head_hand_lessons

Take time this week to so glory in the presence of God that you are able to roll on the floor in laughter (or cry with tears of joy) over some loss that up until today caused you bitterness or great sorrow. Discover His goodness and love once again!


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 624.

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” parapíptō.”

[3] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 181.

[4] F.F. Bruce, Are The New Testament Documents Reliable? (Intervarsity Press; Downers Grove, Ill, fifth revised edition 1992), pp. 73-74.

[5] Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, July 1999), p. 504


Hebrews-study-in-contrasts

Hebrews was written by the Holy Spirit to a people who believed they knew Jesus Christ as Savior. Most everyone who read this letter had heard the voice of Jesus, whether in reality or spiritually. Most everyone had made a decision to follow Jesus. All the readers attended church, and probably gave a tithe, said a prayer, read the Old Testament, and took communion. By man’s measure of salvation, they were there, they could stand up and testify they knew they were going to heaven when they died. Some say it is hard to understand, others say it has some passages that are difficult to interpret. Everyone says there are passages that are hard to explain to young Christians. Hebrews is not normally the book given to new believers to study. However, this book is exactly what new believers need. I believe that the writer had young believer’s in mind as he or she penned it. They need to understand this truth, and learn the importance of living in it.

Who-is-the-Christian

This letter is powerful but difficult to understand. Plain but obscure. Pointed yet vague at times. Before we dig deeper into Chapter 4, I must be very honest and blunt with you, for our author is very blunt as well. Most preachers do not preach honestly about what we are going to begin discussing in Chapter 4. They either ignore it, spiritualize it or gloss it over with a thick coat of marine varnish so it appears shiny. I will not gloss it over, and if this truth makes you uncomfortable, a little squirmy, then great. This is what the Holy Spirit wants. In order to grasp the truth of Chapter 4, we need to understand the underlying purpose of Hebrews. Hebrews presents several Contrasts to bring home the truth:

CONTRASTS

A. Hebrews is a Study in Contrasts (differences)

  • „ contrasts-of-hebrewsJesus vs Angels – 1 & 2
  • „ Jesus vs Moses – 3
  • „ Jesus vs Joshua – 4
  • „ Jesus vs the Old Testament High Priest – 5
  • „ Jesus vs Abraham – 6
  • „ Jesus vs Mechizedek – 7
  • „ Jesus vs the Old Covenant – 8
  • „ Jesus vs the Earthly Temple – 9
  • „ Jesus vs earthly sacrifices – 10

THE KEY CONTRAST IS: DO YOU SHARE OR NOT?

B. Those who share in Christ and those who do not
(they have no life, no rest-now and forever)

  • Christ came to bring many sons to Glory-He had to do what was necessary to restore this world to the Glory of God and to bring many sons to God

Christian-heart-issueHebrews 2:10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

PROOF THAT HEBREWS IS ABOUT WHETHER YOU SHARE IN CHRIST OR NOT

Hebrews 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

  • Christ had to become exactly like us in flesh and blood so that we could share in His Life and victory

Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,

  • Through Christ, we share in a heavenly calling, whereby we can hear the Voice of God

Hebrews 3:14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

  • Contrasts2We share in Jesus Christ

Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,

  • We share in the Holy Spirit, and He brings certain assurances with Him.

Hebrews 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

  • We share His holiness through His discipline

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

  • We share with others

Hebrews 12:1 We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

C. How do you know if you share in Christ?

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THE WORD OF GOD?

The Writer gives us the Key and it is the Word of God.

I want you to look at something that will at first appear obvious, but then I want to bring it a little closer to your heart:

Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 

Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

Right away the author lets us know that all of creation understands the Power of the Word of Christ! You will never realize the power of His Word without faith.

Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

Hebrews 4:6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience,

Lack of Faith and Disobedience are tied together. Evidenced by refusal to hear the Word!

faith_vs_unbelief - CopyThe Jews in the wilderness actually begged Moses to stop speaking the Words of God to them! They stopped their ears and “NO MORE!” Hebrews 12:19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:

  • The truth is that many people hear the Word of Power, but most do not know its power, because they are unwilling to believe and obey

How Do You Know if you share in Christ?
The Word is Alive to You!

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

  • The Word is only powerful to those who are honest in their heart, and willing to submit to the power of the Word

heart contrastHebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

  • Faith and Obedience to the Word of God extends to those who preach the Word for they Evidence the reality of Faith by their Lives

D. The Greatest Contrast has to do with your Heart. (Chapter 3 & 4)

Hebrews 3:12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.

Contrast-of-heart-belief-or-unbeliefYes, the truth is that regardless of your view of Salvation, whether Arminian or Calvinistic, whether you can lose your Salvation or whether you believe in once-saved always saved-the truth is that your heart is the KEY to whether Jesus Christ makes any CONTRAST in your life!

God does not sit up in heaven and say “yes, you are saved because you said a prayer when you were 8.” That is how we tend to judge whether we are saved or not.. That is a man-centered view of Salvation.

God has a different determination of whether you are saved or not. He details it in the Letter to the Hebrews. It has to do with your heart-whether it believes or not! God doesn’t just listen to your confession of belief, He looks into the darkest corner of your heart and sees how that confession of belief interacts with your life.

God wants to see contrast, a contrast with your life in comparison to the lives of those who don’t care. You say you care and you are saved, but God wants to see a contrast.

Belief that actuates the Power of God to affect your life everyday is the aim of Hebrews.

EVIDENCE OF A BELIEVING HEART

evidence-of-believing-heartYou are either dead to God, or you have His life. I don’t care how alive you think you are. If your life has not been affected by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, you are dead to God.

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

You can say a prayer, you can join a church, you can get baptized all in the strength of your flesh and will, but if the Word of God and the Holy Spirit have not touched your life in such a way that you obey in faith, you are dead.

Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

Ephesians 2:1-7 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Here is evidence that you share in the Life of Jesus Christ:

1 John 5:4-5 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

experience-Christs-power-to-restRest in Christ. Does that mean you don’t do anything? No, what it does mean is that you are yoked to Him and He is your primary focus. He gives  rest to your souls no matter what news you are hearing, or what situation you are facing.

  • The Word of God that penetrates your heart on a daily basis. (Manna)
  • Power to overcome the Giants of sin.
  • Courage and Confidence in the face of trials and hardships.

ARE YOU RESTING IN THE REALITY OF A LIFE IN JESUS CHRIST IN HIS VICTORY?

  • The FOCUS of your belief is to actuate the REST we have in Jesus Christ.
  • The FOCUS of the Jews in the Wilderness was to get to the Promised Land, a place of REST

overcome the world - CopyHebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

Hebrews 4:3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’ ” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Hebrews 4:9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,

Hebrews 4:10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

Hebrews 4:11 Let us therefore strive (1 below) to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

    • “to make effort, be prompt or earnest :- do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavor”
    • Not working as if it depends upon you, but effort born from a sense of urgency and need.
    • Knowing that our ways are opposite God’s ways

This is not talking about heaven. This is talking about NOW! God wants us to know and experience the Belief that brings the Life of His Son into our lives. This is eternal life. This is the Promise. This is the Rest!

1-ephesians-2-vs-4-61As Paul said, we SIT with Jesus in the Heavenlies! We REST in Him! That Rest is evidence of our salvation.

Is Salvation confidence in a prayer, or even in a better life you think you are experiencing?

Not according to God’s Word. Salvation results in a change in your life and your desires!

Here is Evidence that you do not share in the Life of Jesus Christ:

1. Being overthrown in the wilderness (the world).

1 Corinthians 10:5-6 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 

Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

Fail to reach – hystereō (see footnote 2) –to be last, behind, posterior in place or time. In the NT, figuratively of dignity, condition, strength and the like, to be behind, inferior, to lack (see footnote 3) – fall short of recognition by God.

    • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    • Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
overcome_the_world - CopyChristians are to Overcome the World by their Faith and Belief in God and His Word!
  • For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith.
    Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5  

2. Having an Unbelieving Heart

Do-you-have-unbelieving-heart

  • Look at what happened in the Wilderness because of unbelieving hearts:

Exodus 17:1-7 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the LORD, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the LORD said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of  Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

  • Testing God by thinking He doesn’t care about your situation.
  • Turning back to the world and what it has – Achan
  • Relying on your own strength to get what you want.
  • Not believing and obeying God.

3. Living in your Flesh

black-heart-89479 - CopyNumbers 13:30-31 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.”

The Jews did not believe they could take the land, so they refused and desired to go back to Egypt, in spite of seeing all that God had done! Then Moses pronounced God’s judgment upon them, that they would never be allowed to enter the Promised Land. So they said, let’s go in and show God that we can do it!

Numbers 14:39-45 When Moses told these words to all the people of Israel, the people mourned greatly. And they rose early in the morning and went up to the heights of the hill country, saying, “Here we are. We will go up to the place that the LORD has promised, for we have sinned.” But Moses said, “Why now are you transgressing the command of the LORD, when that will not succeed? Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you, lest you be struck down before your enemies. For there the Amalekites and the Canaanites are facing you, and you shall fall by the sword. Because you have turned back from following the LORD, the LORD will not be with you.” But they presumed to go up to the heights of the hill country, although neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses departed out of the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and defeated them and pursued them, even to Hormah.

The REST of God is a REST that is supernatural, it can not be attained by fleshly efforts. They were doomed to encounter defeat!

TO GOD, THE PROOF OF YOUR BELIEF IS WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE ENTERED INTO HIS REST.

  • This REST is only possible in Jesus Christ!unbelieving-heart - Copy

(1) Because Christ is Exalted above the Angels, being the Creator God and Managing this Creation with His Life:

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. „

The Danger is that we miss out on LIFE by drifting away from our Savior „ He will roll up all the old and useless stuff in a coat-do you want to be rolled up too?

(2) Because Christ is our mighty Captain, having become a man yet still conquering sin and making atonement for us, 

Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling,consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,

„ If we are to share a heavenly calling, we will focus our lives upon Jesus „ Jesus has shown us that He the truth from God. „ Jesus has shown us that He is our High Priest who can be trusted and find comfort in.

(3) Because Jesus is the Builder and Faithful of God’s House:

Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

„ We must watch our hearts, lest we fail to reach God’s house. „ The promise of rest requires our cooperation, desire and effort.

(4) The Rest which Christ promised is His Rest but it is not a passive rest.

Cure-for-unbelieving-heart-is-plenty-of-lettuceHis Rest is built on a bed of LETTUCE, as the next post will show.

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Romans 4:16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

  • 1 Corinthians 2:5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
  • Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

More on how to obtain this rest in the next post…

1 “to make effort, be prompt or earnest :- do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavour” James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “4704”.

2 James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “5302”.

3 Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “hystereō“.

REST: Usage Notes: signifies “to cause or permit one to cease from any labor or movement” so as to recover strength. It implies previous toil and care.William E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1940), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Eased”.

anapaúō; fut. anapaúsō, from aná , again, and paúō , to cease, give rest. To give rest, quiet, recreate, refresh (Matt. 11:28; 1 Cor. 16:18; Phile. 1:20); in the mid. / pass. form, to be refreshed (2 Cor. 7:13; Phile. 1:7, 20; Sept.: Prov. 29:17; Isa. 14:3; Ezek. 34:15). In the mid., anapaúomai, to rest oneself, to take one’s rest 

(Matt. 26:45; Mark 6:31; 14:41; Luke 12:19; 1 Pet. 4:14; Rev. 6:11; 14:13; Sept.: Deut. 33:20; Esth. 9:16; Job 10:20; Prov. 21:16; Isa. 13:20, 21; 27:10; Mic. 4:4). In relation to 1 Pet. 4:14, compare the Sept. of Isa. 11:2, where anapaúomai is also applied to the Holy Spirit resting upon Christ. Deriv.: anápausis , inner rest; epanapaúō , to cause to rest; sunanapaúomai , to rest with or together.Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 156-157.


The Need for Utterance

Paul asked people to pray that he might have “utterance.” It is a foreign word to most of us in the 21st century, but perhaps we need to re-introduce its use in training men to preach the Word of God. Here are some uses in the New Testament:

Act_2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
1Co_1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
2Co_8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
Eph_6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
Col_4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

In the strictest sense, utterance is “logos” or word. Jesus is the logos. The Word of God is the logos. But when men try to convey the Word of God in preaching, teaching or witnessing, it is “utterance.” Why? Clearly something else is needed if we are to have power when we speak the Word of God. Here is how I visualize the meaning of “utterance” as Paul used it.

Utterance is what the Holy Spirit does in taking the Word and our Love of Christ churning in our “Gut” and bringing it past our heart and through our throat and over the vocal chords until we are communicating the “utterance” of the Holy Spirit to hearts He has prepared.
Utterance is not always intelligent, not always beautiful, not always smooth and eloquent. In fact utterance is often the opposite. But what utterance is – is powerful; powerful enough to transform cold, hard hearts into molten rivers of heated love for Jesus Christ!Don’t ever think the message can be stopped or diminished by your inadequacies or perceived lack of ‘intelligence.’ Nothing can block the power of the Holy Spirit when He is united with a willing heart in love with the Word of God and having UTTERANCE!
We need men and women with UTTERANCE when it comes to preaching and proclaiming the Word of God! Without UTTERANCE the Word is weak and watered down. It is powerless to transform sinful man into righteous saints. 

Preacher, Teacher…PRAY FOR UTTERANCE!