Practical Admonitions

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen to the podcast: Hebrews 13, April 10, 2005

I can't believe it but on April 3, 2005, I forgot to bring my recorder for the last lesson of this Hebrews series on chapter 13. Arrgh! That really put me in a state of mild depression. I was having some health problems and my energy levels were already low so I just could not bring myself to do the lesson over for my dog at home (I've done that before when I forgot to bring the recorder; my dog is very attentive :-). Also, it did not seem appropriate to ask my Sunday school class to hear the lesson again. Anyway, it turns out that I did not have enough time to finish the chapter anyway. I had skipped the benediction at the end of the book. So, this is a reprise using the writer's benediction as an outline for the last lesson of this series. Actually I am pretty pleased with the way things turned out, because I think God perhaps knew we needed examine this benediction. 

Anyway, here's the bottom line:

  • Put Christ First,
  • Value Him more than anything.
  • Be much occupied with reminding each other of that.

Root of bitterness = trouble

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen to the mp3 podcast: Hebrews 12:11-27, March 20, 2005

Don’t mistake God’s Loving discipline in pain and suffering for cruel punishment. Otherwise you may become bitter. Suffering has meaning, purpose. It is for discipline that you endure; it hurts temporarily. Esau is an example of a bitter person and what a sad story that was. But even Jesus suffered and benefited from it:

Hebrews 5:8 (NKJV)

Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.

This chapter ends with a discusion about a massive earthquake that is to come. We find out that everything we see here on this earth is just props that are not good things to hold onto in a shaking. But there is something that cannot be shaken and it will remain. It should be obvious as to what that is.

Running a race is not fun, finishing is

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen to the podcast: Hebrews 12:1-11, March 13, 2005

Are you coasting through life? You need to be running. The point of this book of Hebrews is to endure, persevere, run, fight, don't drift, don't neglect. I used to run for exercise (wish I still could!). But I did not do it because it felt good while I was running. I did it because it felt so good when I finished. This chapter tells us to lay aside the weights which hold us back. Too many times we ask "Is it a sin to do this or that?" That's not the right question. Ask "Does it help me to run the race." Listen to find out why there is pain and suffering in this world and where it comes from and why.

The Life of Faith is Wonderful...Hmmn

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen to the mp3 audio: Hebrews 11:20-40, February 27, 2005

You are reading through this list of heroes of the faith in Chapter 11 of Hebrews and you are amazed at the exploits of these people. By faith, they escaped the edge of the sword, raised the dead to life, fought back armies against impossible odds. Boy, let me in on that! But right in the middle of verse 35 the excitment turns on a period--by faith others were tortured, were slain with the sword, stoned, sawn in two. So what's the deal? Evidently faith is not the factor that determines whether you will suffer or not. Listen to find out what Who the determining factor is!

Stranger in a Strange Land

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen to the audio: Hebrews 11:7-19, February 20, 2005

Did you know Noah was a preacher? Yep, says so in the Bible. Problem is, by our standards today, he wasn't too successful. Don't be too hard on him though, he is all of our great, great, great, great ... granddaddy. Anyway, his family did get saved. Noah must have been considered quite the nutcase, building an ark there hundreds of miles from any navigable water.

Faith will change your value system. If you are worried whether everything will work out when you take that next big step of faith and obey God, don't worry, it won't work out. You are not going to be satisfied with this world. It's not your home. You were made for another city, one whose builder and maker is God. Once you get your internal value system right by faith and trust in God's promises, your outward actions may seem a bit crazy to the outside world. Noah and Abraham did some pretty astounding things but they are models for the life of faith. Abraham believed God when he did not know where he was supposed to go or how God was going to keep His promise or when he would receive his promise or even why God would ask him to do such a thing as sacrifice his son.

We need some good heros and there are not so many good ones around today. Listen to find out whether Noah and Abraham might be some good hero candidates for you.

Reasonable Faith

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen to the Podcast: Hebrews 11:4-6, February 13, 2005

Ours is not a blind faith. Rather the Bible makes sound and logical arguments for the faith. The Bible is a book of truth, the truest book there ever was but it is not just a book of historical facts, stories, commands and truth assertions. It is a book of reason. I heard John Piper make this point and the excitement of such an idea makes me hunger to understand every sentence, even every word in the Bible. There is great reason behind why verse 6 says that it is impossible to please God without faith. The most marvelous truth is why God, by the logic of His complete and utter self-sufficiency, must be a rewarder--overflowing with Grace.

Listen to hear also about Abel and Enoch and about his kid Methuselah too.

Substance and Evidence

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen to the mp3 file: Hebrews 11:1-3, February 6, 2005

Hebrews chapter 11 is the faith chapter. We are going to work our way through this one carefully over several weeks. Faith is fundamental to the Christian life and you need to know what it is, how it works, and how you live by it. The first three verses of this chapter are monumental in importance, we find out what faith is, but with some very curious words. Faith is substance and evidence. How something as nebulus as faith have substance? And what about evidence, I thought faith was a result of evidence not the evidence itself. What we will find out is that faith is more real than everything else you can touch and feel around you. I hope I've got your attention on this one. This is going to be very interesting. Listen to it.

(Sorry about taking so long to post these.)

Let Us Draw Near

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen to the Audio: Hebrews 10, January 23, 2005

There is a major shift in this chapter dividing the book of Hebrews between doctrine and application. The shift begins with five “Let Us” commands, the first being "Let us draw near to God." This is perhaps the main theme of the book of Hebrews, the idea that we have access to God. It is a blood bought priviledge. We are told that we should draw near with a sincere heart, full assurance, and a guilty conscience cleansed by the word of God. A guilty conscience is debilitating. It will separate friends, steal you happiness, and keep you from God. Psychiatrists know that a guilt complex is the main cause of mental illness. They try to cover the guilt by convincing their patients that they are not to blame. Such a tactic does not work—because we are to blame. The only way to remove guilt is to be forgiven. That is what allows us to draw near to God. It must be a just forgiveness however. If a judge were to forgive all guilty persons who come before him, he would not be just. There is a price and for us, the price was paid by Jesus once and final sacrifice of his body.

There is much more in this chapter. Listen to the podcast to hear more. 

Bloody Religion

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen to the Audio: Hebrews 9, January 9, 2005

The typical Christian worship service is very non threatening. A popular term among evangelical Christianity today is "Seeker oriented" worship services. You sure could not apply that term to how the Israelites worshiped. They sacrificed animals, lots of them. They say the blood would run like a river a times. We would be repulsed today at such a bloody religion. Yet, this was not their idea. They practiced their religion according to an exact set of specifications given to Moses. This was God's idea, and He was very serious about it. So how does this relate to us today? Hebrews chapter nine contains some marvelous truths about what Christ did for us in shedding His blood. Listen to learn more about how this chapter of Hebrews reconciles what the Israelites did for worship and how we worship.

What is Jesus doing right now?

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen to the PodCast: Hebrews 7, December 12, 2004

Hebrews 7:25 says that Jesus ever lives to intercede for us. What picture does this bring to mind for you? Is it that of a lawyer pacing the courtroom, arguing your case before the judge? That can't be right because the Bible says that Jesus is "seated" in heaven. This is a picture of completion, the work is finished. No lawyer sits while pleading his case. I don't think Jesus is interceding with words before the Father. I think Jesus himself is the intercession. It is his wounds and scars that serve as a witness of the work he has finished on the cross. When we get to heaven, there will always be that reminder of what he has paid for, our sin debt. Listen to the podcast to find out how Jesus role as our High Priest fulfills everything the Jewish priesthood foreshadowed.

Once Saved, Always Saved?

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen to the PodCast: Hebrews 6, December 5, 2004

Whether a person can be lost again after becoming a Christian is a question good men have argued about for centuries. Frankly, a strong case can be made quite competently from scripture itself to support either side of the arguement. But Hebrews 6:4-6 give both the Calvinists and Arminians some discomfort. Is that what the author intended? Perhaps, because many from both camps can take the grace of God a bit too casually. Regardless of anyone's view of this classic question of Christianity, it is a healthy admonition to not fall away from the faith. However, there are some other views that seem to make better sense of this chapter. Listen to find out what those views are.

Who is this guy?

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen: Hebrews 5, November 28, 2004

There is a mysterious character who shows up in Genesis 14 called Melchizedek, King of Salem, who blesses Abram, serves bread and wine, and is called a priest of the Most High God. His name means king of righteousness and his title means King of Peace. The priesthood was not established until hundreds of years later by Moses. In this chapter of Hebrews, Jesus is called our Great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Later in this same chapter we find out that Jesus had to learn obedience. Interesting topics... listen to find out more.

Fear Unbelief

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen: Hebrews 4, November 21, 2004

The theme of Chapter 4 is entering God's Rest. What is the difference between God's rest after six days of creative work, the Israelites entering their Caanan rest after 40 years of wandering, and the rest that Jesus promised when he said “Come to me you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” This chapter tells us to fear not entering God's rest. We find out that the reason the wandering Israelites did not enter God's rest was because of unbelief. That is what we are to fear--unbelief.

Listen to the podcast to find out why a heathy fear of not trusting God's promises is actually a recipe for being fearless.

The Big If

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen:  Hebrews 3, November 14, 2004

There is a mine field we need to navigate through in Chapter 3 of Hebrews. It won't be the last one in this book either. Hebrews 3:14 says “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.” Does this mean we need to hold on to our salvation to the end before we can be saved, or worse that we can lose our salvation if we don't hold fast?

Listen to find out the answer to this provative issue. And at the same time gain a greater appreciation for our only hope, Jesus Christ. You'll find out about the importance of small groups too.

A Great Salvation

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen: Hebrews 2, November 7, 2004

Hebrews Chapter One was a celebration of Jesus Christ. There were no commands in the first chapter, just truth. Chapter two starts out with the first command of this book of Hebrews, “To give earnest heed to what we have heard lest we drift away.” Have you ever drifted away from church or from studying the Bible? A true Christian won't drift for long. The writer goes on to ask the rhetorical question “How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation.” The obvious answer is that there is no escape for such.

This chapter is a meditation on the greatness of our salvation. Mostly we think of being saved as wonderful because we don't deserve it. Salvation is indeed great for that reason but it is great too because of our great destiny. There is a surprise about our destiny in this chapter. Listen and find out what it is.

Angels worship Jesus

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen: Hebrews 1:5-14, October 24, 2004

Evidently, the Hebrew Christians of the first century had some issues with angel worship. The writer of the book of Hebrews goes to great length to prove that Jesus is better than the angels. There is a lot we can learn from studying this passage about how to use scripture to defend a doctrinal point. Bottom line, Jesus is better because He is God and the angels worship Him.

God has spoken by his Son

Posted by: David Carroll

Listen: Hebrews 1:1-4, October 17, 2004

God has spoken by his Son in these last days. God has only given us two periods of revelation: the first by the prophets and the second by His Son, Jesus Christ. There will not be a third period of revelation. Jesus Christ is the final and complete message from God.