Over the course of 2018–19 I taught through the book of Hebrews at our church on Tuesday Nights. You can find the audio and notes below.
My approach: With an interest in Christ’s priesthood as the fulfillment of the whole Bible, and with a conviction that Hebrews models for us how to interpret the Old Testament, I attempted to show how Jesus is the Son of God and Our Glorious High Priest. At the same time, as the title of my previous series on the priesthood suggests, I believe the book also shows how new covenant believers become a family of priests in the kingdom Christ is bringing.
For those who read the whole book of Hebrews, you will notice that what is said of Christ (sonship, priesthood, and kingship) in Hebrews 1 is applied to all those in Christ in Hebrews 12–13. In short, Hebrews teaches us how God makes his people a family of royal priests. Often this emphasis on union in Christ with respect to the priesthood is not appreciated, but I believe a faithful reading of the book demonstrates how Christ is the great hight priest and how all those in him become new covenant Levites, so to speak.
One last note, I also attempted to show throughout much of the book how the literary structure is seen in chiastic structures. I am sure I haven’t been right in every case and that I’ve missed plenty, but in the notes you can at least see my attempt at putting the book together. If you have time, and especially if you disagree with a literary structure, let me know. I’d love to see how you put the book together.
All in all, few books in the Bible—maybe no book in the Bible—is more resplendent in its glory of Christ and his royal priesthood. Our class delighted in this truth throughout the year and found much personal encouragement in Hebrews. May you do the same. And may these notes help you in that journey.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds
Our Glorious High Priest: 24 Audio Lessons on Hebrews
Yesterday, I preached on “The Wisdom of the Cross” from 1 Corinthians 1:18–25. While most of the message concentrated on the doctrinal message of the cross and its radical contrast to way the world approaches life (i.e., man’s wisdom), I closed the sermon with a handful of quick applications, listed below.
For the church, the cross must be our shared story that shapes our communion.
In our evangelism, the cross must be our singular and uncompromising message. (1 Corinthians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 2:14–17)
In our endurance, the cross must be our model and the source of strength. (Hebrews 12:3)
For individuals, the cross must be the wisdom that shapes every area of our lives.
In your hour of decision, let the self-sacrifice of Christ crucify your false desires; let the promise of resurrection embolden you to take God-honoring risks. (Luke 9:23–27)
In your hour of temptation, remember you are already dead to sin; sin no longer has dominion over you. (Romans 6)
In your hour of faith, praise Christ for purchasing your belief and obedience. (Ezekiel 36:26–27; Ephesians 2:8–9)
In your hour of failure, look again to the cross for your pardon and acceptance. (1 John 1:9–2:2)
In your hour of prayer, come boldly before God because of Christ’s blood. (Hebrews 4:14–16)
As we go into the week, may we give praise to God for Christ’s work on the cross. And may we continue to center our lives on Christ and his cross. As Paul teaches he is not an additive to our already full lives; he is the wisdom of God to bring our lives in conformity to God’s will.
May Jesus receive all praise and glory, as we live with ever-deepening dependence on the wisdom and power of the cross.
As it so often happens in preaching, to make one point from the text of Scripture, requires glossing over another. This is especially true when working with large chunks of Scripture.
Yesterday, I did that as I preached the Flood narrative (Gen 5:28–9:17). In that section, Moses records that God was ‘sorry’ that he had created man (6:6), which raises a whole host of questions related to God and his relationship to the world: Can God suffer? What does it mean that he is sorry? Does God change his mind? Does God know the future? Etc.
As I mentioned those things in the message, my mind was thinking: “I am not spending enough time explaining this.” But since the goal was not verse-by-verse exposition but the exposition of the whole narrative, I pressed on.
Still important questions remain about what Moses meant in Genesis 6:6. Whole revisionist theologies have been created on the basis of those questions. Open Theism, a view that denies God’s absolute knowledge of the future along with his foreordination of contingent events, arises from the emotional problem with evil and passages like Genesis 6:6 which on the surface insinuates that God changes his mind or grieves over mistakes in history.
In yesterdays sermon, I did not get a chance to answer some of those questions, but here are a few places where I or others have addressed the subject of God’s impassibility and his relations with the world.
This message kicked off a series on the holiness of God in the Old Testament. Admittedly, the message focuses more on God’s justice and mercy than his holiness per se. Nevertheless, as the first major display of God’s action in redemptive history (post-fall), it displays a vital reality: In his holiness, God is dreadfully severe towards sin and awesomely gracious towards his covenant people (cf. Rom 11:22).
Are you a writer? Do you want to write? Does your schooling, work place, or ministry call you to express yourself in words for the sake of others?
If so, John Piper’s counsel on how to write with others in mind is worth ten minutes of your time. Pastor John challenges writers to love the ones for whom they are writing–even if they don’t know who they are.
This is a good admonishment. When we write we should not write for the sake our name, but for the sake of Christ’s. And when we write we should always consider it an extension of loving our neighbor as ourselves. Since writing is often accomplished in a secluded office or in the interior of our mind (in a busy coffee shop), the reminder to think beyond the white screen is essential. Listen to the brief interview.
May we learn to not only to love writing, but to love others with our writing.
If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? (Prov 24:10-12)
Basing his message on Proverbs 24:10-12, Denny’s sermon is a clarion call for men and women to get involved in the greatest civil rights issue of our generation. In it, Denny challenges all those who love the gospel of Jesus Christ to (1) Forsake Cowardice, (2) Rescue the Perishing, and (3) Reject Excuses.
Then in a time of Q & A (starting at 59:45), Denny tackled the issues concerning Hobby Lobby, Obamacare, and other matters pertaining to religious liberty.
The sermon and the Q & A lasts about 90 minutes, and is worth your time! Pass it on to others, and stand up to “rescue those who are being taken away to death!”