Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Hebrews 6:6-17
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Hebrews 6:6
Verse 6: If we take seriously the statements made in verses four and five, verse six comes as quite a shock. Who in their right mind, knowing without a doubt that faith in Jesus has brought them into a deep relationship with God, would then turn and abandon Him to such an extreme degree that they would be willing to again crucify Him and openly dishonor Him? The contrast between the blessings of verses four and five and the apostasy of verse six is so drastic it seems inconceivable that anyone could do it. But the warning being issued here is real, so it must be possible, and if one does, the process of arriving there will have done such damage to their conscience that the person’s capacity to repent is destroyed. Though God’s mercy is infinite, apparently our capacity to repent is not. A line can be crossed where something inside us dies leaving humility and child-like trust completely extinguished (Heb 12:17; 1Jn 5:16; 2Jn 1:7-11; Ro 1:24, 26, 28).

Monday: Hebrews 6:7, 8
Verses 7, 8: Here the author turns to an agricultural analogy to express this same warning. He first speaks of a field that produces a good crop when rain falls on it, and then compares it to a field which produces “thorns and thistles.” The combination of the two terms, “thorns and thistles,” to describe cursed ground is likely drawn from Genesis 3:18 where the same words describe God’s curse on the ground when Adam fell. The comparison being made between these two fields illustrates the ways different people respond after receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Some bear spiritual fruit while others produce evil attitudes and lawless behavior (Mt 7:16-20; Jn 15:6). Verse 8: Please notice that the author has inserted one particular word which is intended to soften the severity of this warning. He says the bad ground is “close to (lit: near) being cursed” because he believes some of his readers may be near to leaving Christ but have not done so yet. In his mind there is still hope that they will repent so he softens his warning to keep that hope evident. Though his words are harsh he means them to be a warning, not a pronouncement of doom.

Tuesday: Hebrews 6:9, 10
Verses 9, 10: Though the author has just warned his readers of the severe danger they face, he does not believe they have gone too far. He hopes some measure of faith in Christ still lingers in their hearts. In part he bases this hope on the fact that they started out so well in their Christian life. The qualities they demonstrated as new believers were strong evidence that they had truly been born again. They had shown their love for Christ by enduring much persecution. They had been arrested and subjected to public trials during which they were brought up on a stage and mocked and shamed for their new faith (Heb 10:32, 33). Thankfully, none had been martyred (Heb 12:4) but some had been imprisoned and many had their homes and property plundered in mob riots or confiscated by governmental authorities. And in the midst of this turmoil they continued to show God’s love by caring for believers who were impoverished or imprisoned (Heb 10:32-34; Mt 25:34-40). Yet during those harsh early years they accepted all this “joyfully,” confident that a better reward was waiting for them in eternity (Heb 10:32-35). So the depth of their initial commitment was not to be questioned. They had indeed taken up their cross and followed Him (Lk 9:23). Yet somehow as the years passed this resolve eroded and was being replaced with bitterness and unbelief (Heb 3:12, 13).

Wednesday: Hebrews 6:10, 11
Verse 10: Surely God would not forget the service and love these believers showed during their early years because they were evidence that true faith existed in their hearts. The author is confident that He would give them every opportunity to repent. Verse 11: Hopefully, being reminded of their early years of faithfulness might also stir his readers to return to the diligence with which they once pursued God, so the author tells them he yearns for each of them to show this same zeal once again (Rev 2:4). He wants them to be full of hope for the rest of their lives and by “hope” he means living with the anticipation of God’s eternal rewards. Such a focus is not meant to deny that God provides many practical blessings here on earth as well, but it emphasizes the truth that the greatest passion inside a person with “hope” is that they will someday enjoy unbroken fellowship with God in heaven (Heb 11:8-10, 13-16).

Thursday: Hebrews 6:12, 13
Verse 12: Hope gives believers the staying power to patiently endure adversity over a lifetime. It prevents them from becoming “sluggish” (lit: dull). Like all the great men and women of Israel’s history they will have the “patience” (lit: long-suffering) needed to inherit God’s promises. Verse 13: To illustrate how faith must be combined with patience to inherit God’s promises the author directs our attention to Abraham, Israel’s spiritual father. He too had to wait for a long time before God fulfilled a promise. But he did wait without letting his faith die or his attitude turn bitter, and in time he received his answer. Yet, there is an additional element present in the story of Abraham that helps explain why he waited patiently for so long (25 years). It’s the fact that God reinforced His promise to him by swearing an oath, “For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself.”

Friday: Hebrews 6:13-16
Verses 13-16: God’s initial promise to Abraham was that He would bless and multiply him until he became the father of a great nation (Ge 12:1-3; 15:4-6; 17:1-8; 22:15-18), but then to Abraham’s surprise He guaranteed that promise by conducting a solemn covenant ceremony (Ge 15:9-11, 17). In the ancient near east such ceremonies were used to invoke a curse which would take effect if they broke their promise. A person would ask God (or their gods) to hold them accountable to their word. If they failed, they invited Him to slaughter them like the animals used in the ceremony. However, since no one is powerful enough to punish God were He to break His word, God in swearing an oath to Abraham “swore by Himself” (v 13) meaning He vowed to destroy Himself if He failed to do these things. So as the years passed without conceiving a child, Abraham and Sarah never gave up hope (Ro 4:17-21) because they were confident God would do what He said. In time their faith was rewarded by the birth of Isaac (Ge 21:1-3).

Saturday: Hebrews 6:17
Verse 17: God gave both a promise and an oath to Abraham and as the centuries passed His promise was fulfilled to a greater degree than Abraham could have ever imagined. But Abraham is not the only one to whom God guaranteed a promise by an oath. He has also given an oath to those who place their faith in Jesus Christ. The oath itself is found in Psalm 110:4. There David wrote concerning the coming Messiah, “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever according the order of Melchizedek’” (Heb 5:5, 6; 7:17, 21). The words, “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind…” constitute the oath which guarantees the promise which follows, “You are a priest forever….” Though a covenant ceremony was not acted out in this case, God’s choice of words place Him under the same accountability as if it had. The absolute certainty this brings concerning the priesthood of Christ should encourage believers to be as diligent as Abraham to “obtain our promise.” We too are “heirs of promise” (Heb 11:9).

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