ralph lauren outlet polo outlet

Learn Live Lead

The Authenticity of Disciple Making

Month: October 2015 (page 1 of 3)

Bridges Study online workbook


Francis Dixon: Hebrews

by Francis W. Dixon

(Key verses: Hebrews 1:1-3 and 8:14)

In this series we are to consider twelve highlights in the epistle to the Hebrews. This book is massive; we don’t know who the author was, and in a way this doesn’t matter – look up 2 Timothy 3:16. We do know that it was written to Hebrew Christians, that is, to Jews who had moved on from Judaism to Christ, had been born again, but who because of persecution and trial were tempted to go back to their former Jewish religion. What is the theme of the letter? It is the Person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ; this includes His pre-incarnate glory, His incarnation, His life, His teaching and ministry, His death, resurrection and ascension, His present ministry at God’s right hand, and His second coming. It is also the theme of our first study, centred in chapter 1. Verse 1 shows us the splendour and magnificence of the language which is used and tells us that all down the ages God has spoken to men and women through the prophets. All this revelation of God by the spoken Word was authentic, but it was only preparatory. When Jesus came God spoke fully and finally in Him. But who is Jesus Christ? There is no more important question than this and in this first chapter of Hebrews there are two inspired portraits of the Lord Jesus. If we view them separately and then place them together we get a beautiful composite picture of our Lord’s Person and work.

1. PORTRAIT NUMBER ONE (Hebrews 1:2-3)
Who is the Lord Jesus Christ? He is the eternal Son of God, brought out in verse 2 – “by his Son”. Jesus is the eternal Son of God who became man for our redemption, and the fact that He is the Son of God is asserted in these two verses by seven characteristics which can only be said of deity:-

(1) He is the “heir of all things” (verse 2). This means that the world was created by Him and for Him. The whole history of this world has been mediated through God’s Son. How great He is!
(2) He is the creator of the universe (verse 2). It was by Him that the worlds were made (John 1:3); compare Colossians 1:16. This simple statement from Scripture is very satisfying in these days when unregenerate men place a question mark over the biblical account of the creation.
(3) He is the radiance of God’s glory (verse 3). This is a beautiful expression. It means a shining forth, just as the sunshine in which we revel is the radiance of the sun itself. The Lord Jesus was and is the shining forth of the magnificence and majesty of the eternal God. Bow and worship Him!
(4) He is the exact representation of His being (verse 3). He is the visible expression of all that God is – look up and compare John 1:18. Jesus is the exact replica of God (John 14:9).
(5) He is the One who upholds the universe (verse 3). Jesus holds it together and controls it (Colossians 1:17). Science has an answer to the mystery of the universe and has discovered many great laws, but behind these is the Lord Himself.
(6) He has provided purification for our sins (verse 3). Notice that it is in the past tense: there is no future purgatory because the work is finished.
(7) He is seated in the place of authority and power (verse 3). The words “right hand” mean the place of power and authority (Matthew 28:19). He is also sitting down because His work is done; no priest of the old dispensation could ever do this because his work was never finished (Hebrews 10:11-12,14).

2. PORTRAIT NUMBER TWO (Hebrews 1:8-14)
Notice again that in verse 8 our Lord is spoken of as “the Son”. But who is He?

(1) He is the King in His kingdom (verse 8). He is the Son and He has an eternal throne; His administration is always just, and He has a kingdom.
(2) He is the altogether sinless One (verse 9). Look up 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26; 9:13-14. He is the sinless Son of God.
(3) He is the designer of the universe (verse 10). This is a repetition of what we saw in our first portrait, but with more details. The language is very precise.
(4) He is the eternal creator (verse 11). The Lord Jesus will never “perish”. Everything else will wear out and pass away; He remains the same!
(5) He is the unchanging One (verse 12). The present system will change and there will be a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:11-13); compare the great words recorded in Hebrews 13:8.
(6) He is the final conqueror (verse 13). Ultimately He will overcome all His enemies. He is waiting for this time to come when He will manifest His power and put down all who oppose Him (Hebrews 10:13). Never doubt this, and make quite sure that you are on His side now.
(7) He is the Lord of angels (verse 14). The angels are God’s messengers, who have been described as ‘God’s errand boys’! They are sent out by Him to minister to and for those who are the heirs of salvation. This means the angels are commissioned by the Lord Jesus to look after all who belong to Him and trust Him as their Saviour and Lord.

These two portraits show our Lord Jesus in the glory of His unique Person and in the all-sufficiency of His finished work. They present Him as the Son of God – our glorious, sovereign, reigning and soon-coming Lord!


Francis Dixon: Hebrews

by Francis W. Dixon

(Key verse: Hebrews 2:1)

The key words in this epistle, written to Christians, are ‘better’ or ‘superior’: Hebrews 1:4; 6:9; 7:19; 7:22; 8:6; 9.23; 10:34; 11:16; 11:35; 11:40; 12:24. It is very much better to be a Christian than not to be one, for God has so many better things in store for His people. But Christians are constantly in danger of losing not their salvation but the reward that God promises to those who follow on to know Him. Christians can be careless and neglectful and fail to progress into all that God has planned, purposed and provided for His children here; hence the exhortation in Hebrews 6:1 about spiritual maturity. It is not possible for a truly born again child of God to fall away and be lost. Such a person is eternally secure for seven reasons:-

(1) Because of divine election (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:4; 2:10; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Peter 1:2). (2) Because of the completeness of Christ’s redemptive work (Hebrews 1:3; 7:25; 10:10-14). (3) Because salvation is of grace (Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2:12-13; Titus 3:5). (4) Because of the eternal nature of salvation (John 3:16; 2 Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 9:12). (5) Because of the clear promises of Scripture (John 5:24; 6:37; 10:28-29; Philippians 1:6). (6) Because of the believer’s union with Christ (John 1:12-13; 15:5; Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 1:13). (7) Because of the work of the Holy Spirit which is eternal (Ephesians 1:13-14 and 4:30).

It’s not possible for a saved man to fall away and be lost but very possible for him to fail to realise God’s purpose in saving him. In connection with this the writer to the Hebrews gives seven warnings to Christians – that if they are careless and disobedient and do not go on to mature, two things will happen:-

(1) They will incur God’s discipline here and now (Hebrews 12:6-11); compare John 15:2 with 1 Corinthians 11:28-32.
(2) They will lose their reward later on (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

So what are the warnings, the dangers, which we face as Christians?

1. The danger of drifting like a ship without a rudder (Hebrews 2:1-3).
The picture is of a ship that has drifted past its moorings, and this is our danger. Verse 3 tells us how we drift: it is by sheer neglect of prayer, Bible study, soul-winning and so on; and one reason for this is that we become preoccupied with secondary and unimportant things in the light of eternity.

2. The danger of having an evil heart of unbelief (Hebrews 3:12-19; 4:1-2).
The danger of unbelief is the danger of not believing God, of not trusting Him, of failing to take Him at His word (Hebrews 11:6)! What is unbelief?

(1) It is like turning our back upon God (3:12).
(2) It is a dangerous sin, and sin is so deceitful (3:13).
(3) It leads to hardness of heart (3:15).
(4) It grieves God (3:17-18).
(5) It deprives us of blessing (3:19).

Now look at Hebrews 4:1-2. How easy to listen to the Word without the mixing of faith, and how often the Lord has to say to us – look up Luke 8:25!

3. The danger of being content with spiritual immaturity.
Hebrews 5:11-14; 6:1 show us that:
(1) Christians can be “slow to learn” (5:11).
(2) We should be teachers, but we are not taught (5:12).
(3) We are babies (5:12-13).
(4) We lack discernment (5:14).
(5) We should go on to maturity (6:1; Ephesians 4:13-14).

4 The danger of serious backsliding and the failure to repent.
We see this in Hebrews 6:4-10. The writer is addressing Christians, for they have been “enlightened”, “have tasted the heavenly gift”, “have shared in the Holy Spirit” (all in verse 4); they “have tasted the goodness of the word of God” and “the powers of the coming age” (both in verse 5) – but these are Christians who have been backsliding. Notice verse 6 does not refer to salvation but “repentance”. When a believer falls into sin and does not repent he is in danger of becoming one of God’s castaways (1 Corinthians 9:24-27); that is, he is not in danger of losing his salvation but he is disqualified for service and comes under God’s judgment – he is set aside. Perhaps he will become sick in body, or perhaps he will die, and he will suffer loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:28-32).

5. The danger of committing deliberate and wilful sin (Hebrews 10:26-29). This is not sin of ignorance but wilful sin, and Christians are capable of this! Is there forgiveness for wilful sin? Yes there is (1 John 1:9). But if we refuse to give up our sin and to repent, what then? What will God do? He will judge us, not with eternal judgment but with discipline in this life and loss of reward in the next. The danger that faces Christians is not that of losing their salvation but the danger of losing God’s best.

6. The danger of being careless and undisciplined (Hebrews 12:12-17).
We can get spiritually slack and discouraged (verse 12); how we need to be determined to go straight ahead in our Christian life (verse 13); to be peaceable and holy (verse 14); not to become resentful and bitter (verse 15); and verses 16-17 tell us that if we go on like this, failing and falling in a careless and undisciplined way, chastening now and loss at the Judgment Seat will follow.

7. The danger of refusing to hear the Word of God (Hebrews 12:18-26).
God has spoken in two ways – first to Moses; this was the voice from Sinai (verses 18-21); but second, He speaks to us now, and our danger is shown in the first part of verse 25. Are you at any point refusing to hear His voice and to do His will?

These are some of the dangers we are warned about and which we, as Christians, face. To heed them will make for progress, sanctification, maturity and usefulness; to ignore them will make for failure and fruitlessness, and this will bring the Lord’s chastening now, and when Jesus comes – shame and loss – look up 1 John 2:28.


Francis Dixon: Hebrews

by Francis W. Dixon

(Key verses: Hebrews 3:1 and 12:3)

The word ‘consider’ occurs in the second of these verses. To “consider Him” means to set our whole mind upon Him and to be fully occupied with Him. What a holy and inspiring exercise! Consider Him….

(1) In the splendour of His pre-incarnate glory (Isaiah 6:1-3).
(2) In the wonder of His incarnation (John 1:1,14).
(3) In the mystery of those years before His public ministry (Luke 1:80).
(4) In the perfection of His manhood (1 Timothy 2:5).
(5) In the majesty of His works and teaching (John 7:46).
(6) In the greatness of His all-sufficient work (Hebrews 10:12).
(7) In the power of His return and reign (Luke 1:32-33).

This is truly inspiring, and the writer to the Hebrews says that as we fix our thoughts on the Lord Jesus and become fully occupied with Him all our thinking will be brought into proper adjustment. This is important because our thoughts govern us and often our thinking is wrong! So here is the remedy for all our wrong mental attitudes. What are some of these things in the light of our key verses?

Do you ever get discouraged and if so, what is the remedy? It is to fix our thoughts on Jesus. Discouragement usually comes as the result of wrong thinking. When the Hebrew Christians were suffering dire persecution the writer of this letter sought to bring relief to their depressed and troubled minds by urging them to fix their thoughts on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2-3). Perhaps you have been discouraged because of some misunderstanding or because of persecution (Hebrews 12:3-4); perhaps it is because of loneliness or isolation; or perhaps a friend has let you down. Occupy your thoughts with Jesus.

Do you ever feel sorry for yourself so that you’re gripped by self-pity? The remedy is the same – “consider Him”. If we are filled with self-pity we are very little good for anything; we feel that no-one has suffered what we have suffered and we lose all sense of grit and grip and grasp on life; we also lose our grace! How easy it would have been for the Lord Jesus to be sorry for Himself – for He was truly man and He was tempted in every way, just as we are tempted (Hebrews 4:15)! But He didn’t succumb to self-pity, and the way for us to get rid of this wretched feeling is to look away to Him who was stoned, cast out, misunderstood and in the end crucified. Look at Hebrews 12:4 and look to Him.

Do you suffer from this? Pride is the result of wrong thinking, and to know whether we suffer from it we need to ask these questions:

(1) Am I upset when my friends do not pat me on the back?
(2) Do I feel hurt if I am not thanked for some work that I have undertaken?
(3) Do I turn against people if they criticise me?
(4) Do I say or think that I am better than others?
(5) Do I criticise others because I am jealous or envious – or proud?
(6) Do I think that I am always right and that others are always wrong?
(7) Am I very critical, and do I therefore put myself on a pedestal?

These are penetrating questions, but what is the remedy? Read Matthew 11:28-29; 20:26-28; John 13:1-6. In other words, look up Philippians 2:5-8. Do you suffer from pride? Fix your thoughts on Jesus and you will be humbled.

Have you an unhealthy lack of confidence in yourself and in your own power and ability? Some Christians are always miserable and defeated, in bondage to the wrong kind of timidity, nervousness and fear. In one sense it’s true that we are nothing, that we have nothing, that we can do nothing and that we are insufficient and inadequate; but it is also true that through faith in Christ we are God’s children, members of the Royal Household – kings and priests (Revelation 1:5-6). Fix your thoughts on Jesus and become occupied with Him.

Is lack of faith your besetting sin? How often Jesus has to say, ‘Where is your faith?’ (Luke 8:25); or ‘Why did you doubt?’ (Matthew 14:31). The Lord Jesus was surrounded by unbelief yet He was filled with great confidence in His Father. When He was sitting with the doctors He had faith in His mission (Luke 2:49); at the grave of Lazarus He had faith that God would hear and answer His prayer (John 11:40-42); in Gethsemane He had faith in God’s purpose for Him (Luke 22:39-44).

Christian, “consider him … so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” It must be said that we don’t banish discouragement, self-pity, pride, inferiority feelings and unbelief simply by changing our mental attitudes; but when we look away to Jesus the Holy Spirit does something within us; He produces the change, the transformation – look up 2 Corinthians 3:18 to see what He does!


Francis Dixon: Hebrews

by Francis W. Dixon

(Key verse: Hebrews 4:12)

Of all the inspired titles which the Holy Spirit uses concerning the Bible, perhaps the most precious is “the Word of God” – compare Ephesians 6:17; 1 Peter 1:23; Hebrews 4:12. We must ask the question, Does our key verse refer to the Bible (the written Word) or to the Lord Jesus Himself (the Incarnate Word)? – look up John 1:1. Some Bible students emphatically state that the reference here is to Christ the incarnate Word; verse 13 would seem to support this view. On the other hand, others with equal conviction feel that the reference here is to the written Word. In fact, both views are right. The two ‘Words’ are inseparable. The only revelation we have of the incarnate Word is in the written Word and the incarnate Word always leads us to an appreciation of the whole of the written Word. In this verse we notice five important things about the Bible.

Where does this ‘Word’, our Bible (written by about forty different writers over approximately 1600 years) come from? Certainly it came from the hands of the various writers but they were only the human instruments, for God is the author of the book; it is the Word of God. In some ways it is similar to any other book, being printed on paper in many languages and being divided into chapters; but from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 it is the Word of God, by which we mean that the whole was recorded by divine authority and under divine supervision. It doesn’t mean that God spoke all the words contained in it, but that He overruled in all the words recorded, whether spoken by Himself, by men, by angels or by demons. The Word of God is of supernatural origin and is therefore unique – look up 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21.

It is spoken of as being living or full of life. How did it become a living book? A comparison of Genesis 1:26 and 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us. As God breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living soul, so He has breathed into this book so that it has become a living book. It is “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). In what way is the Word of God ‘living’?

(1) It is living in itself. Look up John 6:63 and compare Proverbs 6:22.
(2) It is life-giving, that is, it imparts life. Compare James 1:18 and 1 Peter 1:23. Seeds don’t appear to contain life, any more than Bibles do! The fact is that seeds do contain life – and so does the Word of God; and wherever the Word of God (which is incorruptible seed) is sown it brings a harvest (Psalm 126:6).
(3) It is out-living, that is, it outlives all other books and this is one of the greatest wonders of the Word of God. Men have burned it and the Devil has tried to exterminate it, but it is still the most widely-read book! See what 1 Peter 1:23-25 says about the durability of God’s Word. Read Matthew 24:35 too.

“Living and active”, that is, it is effective. It does things – look up Ecclesiastes 8:4. How does the power of God’s Word operate?

(1) It cuts like a double-edged sword – both edges are sharp. How many experiences some of us have had of the sharpness of the Word to convict of sin – look up Acts 2:37!
(2) It penetrates the inward parts. Look up Psalm 51:6. God must have reality and sincerity, and the instrument He uses to penetrate the inward parts of our nature is the Word of God. Look up Acts 7:54; Revelation 19:15.
(3) It discriminates between soul and Spirit. Man is a tri-partite being as we see in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 – but who can divide between spirit, soul and body? The Christian has two natures (Galatians 5:17) – but who can discern between these? We cannot accurately discriminate between the desires of the flesh and those of the Spirit, but if we allow the Holy Spirit to apply God’s Word to our lives, only then will this correct diagnosis and precise discrimination be made.

The Word of God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”. This is very significant because it teaches us that we are not to criticise the Word of God but must let it criticise us. A critic is someone who passes judgment upon a subject or person, and God’s Word passes judgment upon man; because that Word is divine in its origin, and therefore infallible, the judgment that the Word passes upon us is final. We are surrounded by two kinds of critics – those whose criticism is destructive and those whose criticism is constructive. God’s Word always gives constructive criticism. We may not always like it but if we will take it, it will always be for our good. For example, look up Jeremiah 17:9 and Mark 7:21. Do we believe that, accept that?– yet it is true, and we can only profit by admitting it and believing it.

Notice the first word in our key verse – “For the word of God…” This links us with the previous verses and indicates the two-fold demand that this Word makes upon us:- (1) Faith, or trust – as indicated in verse 2.
(2) Obedience – as indicated by verse 11.

The way to be happy, holy, useful and to glorify God is to read the Word of God, believe it (trust it) and obey it!


Francis Dixon: Hebrews

by Francis W. Dixon

(Key verses: Hebrews 4:14-16)

In these verses we have a summary of the whole Letter: how infinitely superior Christianity is to every other religion. These verses contain two exhortations, the one leading to the other – “Let us hold firmly” (verse 14) and “Let us then approach … with confidence” (verse 16).

The word ‘profess’ should be translated ‘confess’, for we may profess what is not true. The confession is of what we know and believe about the Person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ, as follows:

(1) “We have a great high priest” (verse 14). Notice the word ‘since’, referring back to Hebrews 2:17; 3:1. We have a great high priest now; He is ours. First, we have a “priest” – one who stands between ourselves and God, representing God to man and man to God. We cannot go directly to God because He is holy and we are sinful, and God cannot come directly to us for the same reasons. Our Priest stands between – and Jesus is our Priest! But second, our Priest is “great”, a word referring to the dignity of His Person and the perfection of His character (Luke 1:32). And third, He is a “high” priest – compare Hebrews 7:26 and Isaiah 6:1. How glorious He is!
(2) This great high priest is Jesus – the central word in verse 14, referring to His perfect sinless human nature (Matthew 1:21). The reference is to His manhood, His humanity (1 Timothy 2:5). Because He is man He is fully able to represent us before God and to understand our needs and sympathise with us – meditate on verse 15 and compare Hebrews 2:18.
(3) This Jesus is “the Son of God” (verse 14). He is man, but He is God first; He is the God-man, and because He is God He can perfectly represent God and express the mind of God to us.
(4) Our great high priest has fully, finally and once-and-for-all dealt with our sin. This characteristic of our great high priest is not mentioned here, but it is of course the first important work of any priest to deal with the sins of the people – see how Jesus is qualified to deal with our sin, indeed, has dealt with it – look up Hebrews 1:3; 2:9; 2:17; 5:1-3; 7:24-27; 9:11-14; 10:11-12.
(5) Jesus, our great high priest, the Son of God, “has gone through the heavens” (verse 14). It means that He has finished His work and has gone up to the throne of God where He now sits in dignity and honour as our living, loving representative – look up Hebrews 1:3 again.

“Now”, says the writer, “because the Lord Jesus, our great high priest, is there in heaven (verses 14-15), let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence” (verse 16). Because He is there, having accomplished our salvation by going down into death, and having been raised again and having ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on high, let us draw near…

Verse 16 is wonderful. It indicates our response to all that Jesus has done and made possible for us. See the force of the word ‘therefore’. It means, because of verses 14-15, “therefore” – verse 16! The important word for us to underline in that verse, however, is the word “approach”, or “come” as we have it in the King James Version, and there are several questions which we can ask here in connection with the word ‘come’:-

(1) “Let us approach” (“come”) – WHO? We are invited to come, all believers, unworthy as we are. The way into the holiest place is open for all – Hebrews 10:22 – so you may come!
(2) “Let us come” – HOW? Are we to come with uncertainty as to whether we’ll be accepted? No, we’re to come “with confidence”. A paraphrase of this verse reads, “Let us fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near.” How is this possible? Because the Lord Jesus is our great high priest. This doesn’t mean that we can come carelessly or flippantly, but it does mean that we can come with absolute assurance that for Jesus’ sake God will accept us and help us.
(3) “Let us come” – WHERE? The answer is “to the throne of grace.” Yes, we come to a throne, for Jesus is not only prophet and priest, but He is King. We do not come to a throne of judgment because for the believer judgment is past (John 5:24); compare Romans 8:1. In fact we come to the mercy seat (1 John 2:2), to the place where He is gracious, and this is why we can come boldly.
(4) “Let us come” – WHEN? The answer is “in our time of need” (verse 16). Whenever we feel the need of pardon and purity, of assurance, comfort or strength, then we may come at once directly to the throne of grace and receive from the Lord Himself all that we need.
(5) “Let us come” – WHY? The answer is “so that we may receive mercy”. When we come to the throne of grace we obtain two wonderful benefits:-

(1) MERCY. We are always in need of this, for the reference here is to our constant need of pardon and cleansing, and thank God, this is always available! (1 John 1:9; 2:1).
(2) GRACE TO HELP. According to 2 Corinthians 9:8 and 12:9, the grace is always available and sufficient, but we must come in order to find and receive.

Dr Alexander Maclaren says that this reference to receiving mercy and finding grace to help suggests a significant metaphor. The one expresses the heart of God (receiving mercy) and the other expresses the hand of God (finding grace to help). Because we have such a great and glorious high priest, let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, that we may find out more and more of His loving heart and the help of His powerful and mighty hand!


Francis Dixon: Hebrews

by Francis W. Dixon

(Key verse: Hebrews 7:25)

The Lord Jesus Christ is a wonderful Saviour for, as the Amplified New Testament renders our key verse: “He is able to save to the uttermost – completely, perfectly, finally and for all time and eternity – those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them.” The Lord Jesus is the world’s greatest teacher, He is the world’s best guide, He is our perfect example, He is the greatest hero, He is an infallible leader – but our first great need is not for these things, but for a saviour, and it is in order to be our Saviour that Jesus came to earth to die for us (Matthew 1:21; Luke 19:10; 1 Timothy 1:15; Hebrews 9:26). His death was necessary so that He might be our Saviour; but having died He rose again and is now exalted, and at this moment He is alive in heaven, able to “save completely those who come to God through him”. He is not only willing to save but is able to; Jesus is both able and willing to save completely, adequately, eternally, all those who come to God through Him.

The word ‘save’ implies deliverance from danger; look up Matthew 14:29-30 for an illustration of this. The Lord Jesus is able to save us from every evil, from sin, self, death, hell and the Devil, and to bring us back into a right relationship and full fellowship with God. The word ‘save’ or ‘salvation’ doesn’t only mean deliverance from danger but includes the whole idea of bringing us back into a positive and right relationship with the Lord Himself. In this study let’s be very practical and bring this great truth to bear upon our personal experience.

(1) The Lord Jesus saves from the guilt and penalty of sin. By nature we are under condemnation because of our sin (John 3:18; 3:36; Romans 6:23). But by His atoning death on the Cross and because He is our risen and exalted Lord, He has provided and offers to us a full and free salvation from the guilt and the penalty of sin – look up Romans 8:1.
(2) The Lord Jesus saves from the filth and the impurity of sin. These are strong words, but sin is horrible (Isaiah 1:5-6); compare David’s prayer in Psalm 51:1-10. We cannot cleanse ourselves from the impurity of sin, but He can and He is able and willing to do it (Zechariah 13:1). Compare 1 John 1:7.
(3) The Lord Jesus saves from the power and the mastery of sin. See what John 8:34 says and compare this with John 8:36. The ability of the Lord Jesus is such that He can break the fetters of sin and completely free the sinner who has previously been in the grip of sin – look up Luke 13:11-12 for an illustration.
(4) The Lord Jesus saves us from the bondage of self; notice in these three ways:
(1) He can save us from an unhealthy lack of confidence in self. In one sense we should have no confidence in ourselves, but in another sense we should have confidence in the fact that as Christians we are redeemed and precious to the Lord, so we are special – Isaiah 43:1; Malachi 3:17.
(2) He can save us from an unhealthy over-confidence in self. It is quite wrong to think that we have the ability or the strength to serve God, having an over-confidence in the flesh – 2 Corinthians 3:5-6; Philippians 4:13.
(3) He can save us from the unhealthy sins of the flesh and the old nature – notice the awful list in Galatians 5:19-21.
(5) The Lord Jesus saves from fear, worry and anxiety: the fear of man, failure, success, fear of the future and death (Psalm 34:4; 37:1-11; Isaiah 26:3).
(6) The Lord Jesus saves from every evil thing. He doesn’t save from trouble but delivers in trouble (Psalm 50:15); He doesn’t save from disappointment but makes His grace sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9); He doesn’t save from accident (sometimes He permits this), but promises that nothing will happen to us that is contrary to His will (Romans 8:28; 2 Timothy 4:18).
(7) The Lord Jesus saves from hell to heaven. Those whom He saves will one day go to be with Him (John 14:2-3); they will have new bodies (Philippians 3:20-21); and they will be with Him for ever and ever (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

He saves from sin to salvation (Matthew 1:21); from death to life (John 5:24); from alienation to fellowship with God (Ephesians 2:12-13); from tears to joy (1 Peter 1:8); from wrath to a conscious enjoyment of God’s love.

“…those who come to God through him” – because of John 14:6 and Acts 4:12. What does this mean? Here are five simple steps that anyone who needs to be saved should take:-

(1) I need to be saved.
(2) I believe the Lord Jesus is able to save me.
(3) I believe He is willing to save me.
(4) I here and now ask Him to save me.
(5) I believe I am saved and that Jesus saves me now.

The Lord Jesus is fully able and willing to save completely all those who come to God by Him – those who come initially to trust Him for salvation; and all who go on coming to God by Him as they trust Him day by day. He is a wonderful Saviour – He saves fully, freely and for ever!


Francis Dixon: Hebrews

by Francis W. Dixon

(Key verses: Hebrews 9:26, 24 and 28)

These verses in Hebrews present us with a ready-made outline and should be read in this order! Let’s consider these three verses together, then separately.

(1) Notice the magnificent sweep of these verses. Verse 26 speaks of the first appearing (the past), verse 24 of the second appearing (the present), and verse 28 of the third appearing (the future).
(2) Each verse refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice “he” and “himself” in verse 26; it is “Christ” in verse 24 who is spoken of, and in verse 28 we read of “Christ”, “he” and “him” – all referring to the Saviour.
(3) Each verse refers to us as believers.
(4) These verses tell us what Christ has done, is doing and will yet do to deliver us from sin and its consequences. By His death we’re delivered from the penalty of sin, justified; because He is alive He delivers us from the power of sin, and we’re being sanctified; when He comes again He will deliver us from the presence of sin and we’ll be glorified.
(5) These verses present the Lord Jesus in His three-fold office and work. Verse 26 presents Him as Prophet, as our Sin-bearer – look up John 1:29; verse 24 presents Him as Priest, as our Saviour – look up Hebrews 7:25; verse 28 presents Him as King, as our Sovereign – look up 1 Timothy 1:17.
(6) These verses speak of three mountains. Verse 26 speaks of Mount Calvary (Luke 23:33); verse 24 speaks of Mount Zion (Hebrews 12:22); verse 28 speaks of the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:9-12).
(7) To sum up: the Lord Jesus died for me, He lives for me and He is coming again for me!

Meditate prayerfully and carefully on these points and then consider the appearings of Christ separately.

1. THE FIRST APPEARING: “But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).
Compare the word “appeared” with 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 1:20; it speaks of the Lord’s pre-existence, because Bethlehem was not His beginning; He was always one with His Father in eternity past. Notice that in this statement in verse 26 we see three things:-

(1) The fact of His first appearing is clearly and emphatically stated. It was a prophetically anticipated fact, for there are many prophecies in the Old Testament scriptures which pointed forward to our Lord’s first coming. These were all literally fulfilled when He first came. The fact of His coming is also a historically verified fact, that He did actually come (Galatians 4:4).
(2) The purpose of His first appearing is emphatically stated. Why did Jesus appear at the end of the age? It was “to do away with sin”. This is the great purpose of His coming, to die as a sin-offering to redeem us. All the Old Testament sacrifices pointed to Him and He fulfilled every one of them (John 1:29; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24).
(3) Our response to the fact and purpose of His first coming is clearly indicated. Whose sin did He “do away with”? It was mine! See Galatians 2:20. He died to redeem me (1 Peter 1:17-20); to remove the penalty of my sin (John 5:24); I must therefore trust Him, believe and rejoice in all that He has done for me, also to have the assurance that my sins have been dealt with (Isaiah 53:5-6). Are you trusting Him as your Sin-bearer?

2. THE SECOND APPEARING: “Christ … entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence” (Hebrews 9:24)
“… only a copy of the true one…” refers to the earthly sanctuary into which the priest entered on the people’s behalf. This has been done away with. Now Christ, by offering Himself, has dealt with our sin and entered heaven itself.

(1) The fact of His appearing in heaven now is clearly stated. That is where He is – “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). He has lived on the earth, has died and atoned for our sins; He has been raised and He ascended into heaven.
(2) The purpose of His appearing in heaven now is clearly stated – “now to appear for us” (verse 24). Why is He there? He is our representative, our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14); our Advocate (1 John 2:1). Now He appears in God’s presence as our risen, exalted and living Saviour.
(3) Our response to the fact and purpose of His appearing in heaven is clearly indicated. He is now there “for us” – praying for us (Hebrews 7:25) and sustaining us by His grace (2 Corinthians 12:9). We must trust Him and rely upon Him for these gracious ministries. Are you trusting Him as your Saviour?

3. THE THIRD APPEARING: “he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28).
The words “not to bear sin” mean that when He comes the second time it will be apart from sin altogether, for sin has been dealt with once-and-for-all by the offering He made of Himself. The words “to bring salvation” mean that when Christ comes again He will save His people from the presence of sin. Notice:-

(1) The fact of His appearing the second time is clearly stated. We see the importance of the words in verse 28 – “he will appear a second time”. Over and over again this great truth is stated in Scripture. Jesus declared his second coming, so did the apostles, and the Book of Revelation is full of this truth.
(2) The purpose of His appearing the second time is clearly stated. He is coming to take His own people away from the presence of sin and His coming will mean our glorification.
(3) Our response to the fact and purpose of His appearing the second time is clearly indicated. There are those who are “waiting for him”, so we must be ready (Matthew 24:44); we must watch for Him (Matthew 25:13); we are to expect Him (Luke 21:28); we are to wait for Him (1 Thessalonians 1:10)!


Francis Dixon: Hebrews

by Francis W. Dixon

(Key verses: Hebrews 10: 11-14)

These verses contain the central message of the Letter to the Hebrews – the glory of the Person of Christ and the sufficiency of the work of Christ. The writer makes a contrast in Hebrews 10:11-12 between the priests of the old dispensation and the Lord Jesus, our great High Priest. We learn in verse 11 three things about the Old Testament priests:-

(1) There were many of them. The words “every priest” indicate this. Of course there were thousands who served in the priesthood over hundreds of years.
(2) Their work was never done (verse 11). Notice the words “day after day”, “stands”, “again and again”, “the same sacrifices”. There was no opportunity for the ministering priest to sit down because there was no seat where he could sit.
(3) Their sacrifices could never take away sin (verse 11). The sacrifices which were offered only anticipated the coming of the Lord Jesus and the sacrifice that He was to offer in dying upon the Cross (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7).

After giving this vivid picture of the Old Testament priests in verse 11, the writer (in verses 12-14) points in contrast to our perfect High Priest. The verses tell us five things about the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus is introduced and described in verse 12 (KJV) as “this Man” and He is described like this in contrast with all other men, the priests of the Old Testament. It is important to notice:-

(1) These words emphasise our Lord’s true humanity. He was, and is, a man – “the man Christ Jesus “(1 Timothy 2:5); at His incarnation He partook of flesh and blood (Hebrews 2:14); and He was born of a woman (Galatians 4:4). As a man he knew tiredness and hunger and was subject to the limitations of His perfect humanity; but He had to be a man in order to qualify as our great High Priest – look up Philippians 2:6-8.
(2) He is the unique Man. This Man is different for He is “holy, blameless, pure” (Hebrews 7:26). How great He is! – turn again to Hebrews 1:1-3. He is the One we worship and honour, our Saviour and Lord, our only Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5); our only God and Saviour – look up Isaiah 45:22.

Verse 12 tells us that “this priest …offered one sacrifice”, and this sacrifice was an offering – the offering of His sinless life which He gave out of love for sinners. It was the offering of Himself on the Cross (verse 10). He was our sin-bearer and substitute. Notice two things about this offering, this present:-
(1) It was made voluntarily. It was made of His own free will (Matthew 26:53; John 10:18).
(2) It needed to be made only once (verse 10). This shows how false the teaching is of Transubstantiation. The Lord Jesus made this offering once for all, and the offering was accepted by God.

Why did our Lord offer Himself upon the Cross? Read verse 12 again. Why did the Old Testament priests offer sacrifices? They offered for the sins of the people. Why did Jesus offer Himself to be the heavenly Lamb of sacrifice? It was for our sins and that is why He came into the world (John 12:27; Galatians 4:4-5; Revelation 13:8). But two things must be noticed in particular:-

(1) He died as our substitute. He died for sin but He had no sin of His own. The sin for which He died was yours and mine. We deserved to die but He took our place – look up and compare Isaiah 53:5-6; 1 Peter 2:24.
(2) He satisfactorily achieved the purpose of His death. Notice the words in verse 12 – “when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins…” – there will never again be a need for any other sacrifice. He finished the work when He died upon the Cross (John 19:30); compare John 17:4 and Hebrews 10:14. Our salvation is complete through faith in the crucified and risen Saviour.

In verse 12 the writer is careful to tell us that when Jesus had offered Himself as a sacrifice “he sat down at the right hand of God”. The Old Testament priests did not sit down because their work was never done, but after Jesus had offered Himself as a sacrifice for sins, He sat down because the work was complete. Redemption’s work was finished. What assurance this gives us that the sin question has once-and-for-all been settled! – look again at verse 14 and compare this with Hebrews 1:3. This leads us to ask the question: What is Jesus doing now? He is sitting down “at the right hand of God”, but what is He doing?

Verse 13 tells us that He is waiting for the moment to come when He will step down from His throne and will return to rapture His saints into the air, according to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and then, according to 2 Thessalonians 1:10, will return in glory and power to be admired in all those who believe on Him and belong to Him. When He comes all His enemies will be beneath His feet and we, through His grace and by faith in Him, will be one with Him in His glorious victory, for this is not only His prospect but ours too – look up Revelation 3:21 and Isaiah 35:10!


Francis Dixon: Hebrews

by Francis W. Dixon

(Key verses: Hebrews 12: 5-12)

The teaching in this study only concerns members of God’s family, those who have been born again (John 3:3) and have become children of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26). Much teaching in Scripture is for the true child of God only; it has no reference to the unbeliever. The subject of the Father’s discipline or “chastening” (KJV), is something which we need not fear. God’s discipline is His child-training and it is loving discipline. Christians can be afraid of this subject because they don’t understand it, but really this is a glorious truth because “the Lord disciplines those he loves”. In Psalm 94:12 we read, “Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord.” As disciples of the Lord Jesus we must accept discipline, which includes instruction, correction and that form of punishment, lovingly administered, which will prevent us from doing the wrong things and which will train us to be righteous. Discipline is not always in the form of punishment, nor does it follow that because God is disciplining us we must have displeased Him. In a good school all the pupils are disciplined, whatever their behaviour. In God’s school all His pupils are subjected to His loving discipline and this matter is dealt with in Hebrews 12:5-12.

1. Discipline is experienced by all the true children of God
We need to underline “everyone” in verse 6, for if we’re Christians then God is exercising this ministry in us; this is something we must expect. Look at four words in verse 8: “and everyone undergoes discipline”, that is, all Christians. We must expect this for two reasons:-

(1) Because God is our Father and it is an evidence of His love (verse 7). If He is not administering love’s discipline then He is not our Father at all.
(2) Because we are His sons, and discipline is a mark of sonship (verse 8). If we’re not experiencing love’s discipline then we are not His children at all.

2. We are not to despise our Heavenly Father’s discipline
We are not to regard it lightly and be insensitive to its purpose; this is what verse 5 tells us. But we often despise it and as a result we find ourselves entertaining wrong thoughts about God and begin to question His love and His wisdom. Beware of treating the discipline of the Lord lightly and of failing to learn the lesson He is trying to teach us by permitting it.

3. We are not to lose heart when our heavenly Father disciplines us
Verse 5 simply means “Don’t collapse!” – as in verse 12! In the closing months of his life Hudson Taylor, the well-known missionary to China, was so weak and feeble in his body that he said to a friend, ‘I’m so weak that I cannot work, I cannot read my Bible, I cannot pray – I can only lie still in God’s arms like a little child and trust Him.’ As a matter of fact that is all God asks of us at the best of times and, incidentally, the remedy for losing heart is mentioned in Hebrews 12:3.

4. Our Father’s discipline is always profitable
Sometimes an earthly father chastens his son arbitrarily and in a fit of passion, but our heavenly Father never does this. It is always for our profit, as verse 10 assures us. We often think that discipline in the form of illness, sorrow, bereavement or some other trial spells loss, but God tells us that it is always intended for our gain, “that we may share in his holiness” (verse 10). His desire is to make us holy, more like the Lord Jesus (Romans 8:29).

5. We are not expected to enjoy discipline
Verse 11 reads, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time”; it is not intended to be otherwise. Notice here in verse 5 the word ‘rebukes’ and in verse 6 ‘punishes’, which convey to us the different aspects of God’s discipline. Do we like it when the Lord rebukes or punishes us? We do not, and the Lord does not expect us to! – but He exercises these ministries in love and for our good.

6. There is always a “later on” to discipline
We can read this in verse 11. Discipline (or chastening) is fruit-producing. Have you ever noticed the kind of branch that the Lord purges and why He purges it? – look up John 15:2. What is the fruit that discipline produces? We find the answer to this question in Hebrews 12:11. The fruit of chastening is righteousness and peace. Righteousness means being right with God and being right in our daily living, and therefore in the deepest sense it means being at peace with God and having the peace of God filling our hearts. In other words, God desires us to live in conformity to His will, and only when we are brought there can we know real peace. It is very comforting to hear the Lord saying to us – John 13:7. Never consider the “now” apart from the “later on”.

7. We must be exercised by all our loving Father’s dealings with us
The last eight words of verse 11 assure us of this; this is the condition of blessing, the secret of present and of future reward.

There are four words in Hebrews 12:9 that reveal to us what our attitude should be when the Lord’s hand is resting upon us in discipline. Notice them carefully. They are the words “submit to the Father”; not to a tyrant, but to our loving heavenly Father, who because He loves us so much wants the very best for us. So in concluding this study, please look up and consider Matthew 11:26 and pray the psalmist’s prayer, recorded in Psalm 86:11-13.


Older posts

© 2017 Learn Live Lead

Theme by tag heuerUp ↑