Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Hebrews 13:8-12
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Hebrews 13:8
Verse 8: While on earth, Jesus’ ministry had been marked by the power of the Holy Spirit and He taught His disciples to minister in that same power. Now, over 30 years later the author wants his readers to realize that the passing of time had in no way diminished the availability of that power. Following His resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven and was seated at the right hand of the Father (Heb 1:13). There, He makes constant intercession for those who put their faith in Him (Heb 7:25) which means every believer in every generation has the right to expect the full blessings of the New Covenant (Heb 8:10-12) which includes the active Pentecostal power of the Holy Spirit (Ac 1:4, 5). To make this point he says, “Jesus Christ, yesterday and today the same, and unto the ages” (literal). In other words, all that we see in the Book of Acts and so many of his readers had seen firsthand, is still available to us today. Jesus hasn’t changed and never will, so the covenant He’s given us won’t change either until we all finally arrive in the new heavens and earth (1Co 13:8-12). Until then we can and should seek to “imitate” the faith of the first generation of apostolic leaders.

Monday: Hebrews 13:9
Verse 9: Not only should believers model their lives on the conduct of early apostles, they must also be careful not to depart from their teachings. In particular no one should accept a teaching that undermines the doctrine of salvation by grace alone. The struggle for these early Jewish believers was to distinguish between those parts of the Law of Moses, which they should continue to observe after becoming Christians, and those parts from which they should cease. The process requires much wisdom and discernment because the moral laws are eternally binding but the ritual laws are not. And if a believer chose to continue to practice one or more of the rituals they must do so with a very different attitude toward them.

Tuesday: Hebrews 13:9
Verse 9 (continued): So the author warns his readers, “Don’t be carried aside to various (different colored) and strange (foreign) teachings for it’s good for the heart to be established (made firm) by grace, not by foods by which the ones walking were not profited” (literal). False teachers quoting Old Testament passages could be very persuasive and if a person didn’t determine to hold fast to the apostles’ teachings they could be carried away from the “righteousness which is according to faith” (Heb 11:7) and return to pursuing a righteousness based on observing the ritualistic law.

Wednesday: Hebrews 13:9
Verse 9 (continued): At the time Hebrews was written there was a controversy in the churches over kosher food laws (Heb 9:8-10; Ac 15:19, 20, 28, 29; Ro 14:13-23; 1Co 8:7-13; Col 2:16, 20-23; 1Ti 4:1-5). Some teachers were insisting that certain food laws still had to be observed even after a person became a Christian. However, it is possible that the author is not referring to this controversy but rather to the participation by Jewish believers in the sin-offerings presented at the Temple since the explanation he gives in the next verses (10-13) is based on that sacrifice (Lev 4:1-21; 6:30; 16:3, 27). In either case, his basic point is that believers must choose between faith in Christ or the Law of Moses. A person cannot pursue both. The heart will either rest in grace or works. And if any doubt remains as to which to choose, the author reminds us that those who practiced those sacrifices never received what they were looking for: a clean conscience (Heb 10:2) and the ability to draw near to God (Heb 10:11-20).

Thursday: Hebrews 13:10
Verse 10: Normally the Aaronic priest who presented a sin-offering was allowed to eat a portion of the meat (Lev 6:26), but not on special occasions when the animal’s blood was carried inside the tabernacle (Lev 6:30). In those sacrifices the fat and certain organs were burned on the altar (Lev 4:8-12) but the rest of the carcass was burried outside the camp (Lev 4:12, 21; 16:27). This was especially holy and belonged to God alone. There was to be no common disposal of the remains. We see this principle of burning with fire applied to the remains of the Passover lamb (Ex 12:10) and certain other offerings (Lev 7:15-18) as well.

Friday: Hebrews 13:11
Verse 11: Once a year on the Day of Atonement, the high priest brought the blood of the sin-offering into the Holy of Holies where he sprinkled out seven times with his finger onto the mercy seat and on the ground in front of the ark of the covenant (Lev 16:14, 15). On most occasions when sin-offerings were presented, the priests simply put the blood on the horns of the altar of burnt offering (Lev 4:25, 30), when the sin-offering was considered more important the blood was taken into the tabernacle and sprinkled seven times before the veil and smeared on the horns of the altar of incense (Lev 4:6, 7, 17, 18). The point we need to note in all of this is that when the blood was taken inside the tabernacle, especially on the Day of Atonement, the priests could not eat the animal’s flesh. The Law required that it’s body be burned outside the camp, or after the temple was built in Jerusalem, outside the city gates (Lev 4: 11, 12, 21; 16:27).

Saturday: Hebrews 13:12
Verse 12: Though the author doesn’t say he’s thinking primarily about the Day of Atonement, that is the sin-offering which best fits his purpose because on that day the sacrificial blood was taken all the way into the Holy of Holies where it was presented before God Himself. And on that day the animal’s body was also taken outside the city gates and burned. He wants us to see that these events were prophetic. They revealed important truths about Jesus’ death, He too suffered “outside the gate” of Jerusalem, and His blood was presented to the Father as our sin-offering. And just as Israel’s priests were forbidden to eat from the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement, those who put their trust in (“serve” v 10) the rituals of the tabernacle have no right to partake (“eat” v 10) of the benefits of Christ’s atonement in heaven. In order to receive His sin-offering people must trust in Him by faith. To do this they must stop putting their faith in the temple rituals. The two approaches to God are so different that no one can pursue both at the same time. A profound choice must be made: which path do I believe will lead to eternal fellowship with God?

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