We have several studies available in our Archive file. There are studies in Micah, Mark, Galatians, Ephesians Philippians and Titus as well as several more general topics.
Many of these studies are provided by our speakers after the Sunday morning services. Some form part of a sequential study of a particular book, some are stand alone. Not all our speakers can provide this resource so the studies of any particular book are incomplete.
If you would like to access any of these please feel free to go to
by clicking onto this link you can download and use the studies free of charge.
Current studies in Hebrews
THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS - Introduction & Chapter 1
Hebrews = Ivri= ‘those who wander from place to place’.
Purpose of letter is to ensure Christian believers do not wander from Jesus but fully follow Him.
Content = not church order but rather the fundamentals of Christian belief and warnings about apostasy.
Keyword = ‘Better’ i.e. the sacrifice, status, supremacy, worship of Jesus is better than OT repeated rituals.
Jewish Christians (and others) to beware lapsing back into Judaism or not fully pursuing salvation in Christ
Date: probably AD 64-67; certainly before the destruction of the temple in AD 70; place of writing unclear.
Author: uncertain; some say Paul and cite 2 Peter 3:15 in support, and that it maybe was from Italy (Heb.13:23,24); some say not Paul’s style; other possible authors suggested include Barnabas, Apollos, Silas
Chapter 1 – Great Salvation; the Finality of Christianity; Jesus Supreme; Jesus and angels
Chapter 2 – Beware drift; Jesus reigns; Jesus suffered
Chapter 3 – God’s Rest
Chapter 4 – Believers’ Rest
Chapter 5 – Our Great High Priest in the Order of Melchisedek
Chapter 6 – Growing in Christ and Eternal Hope
Chapter 7 – Melchisedek & Aaronic limited priesthood; Christ supercedes as High Priest in heaven
Chapter 8 – New Covenant supercedes the Old
Chapter 9 – Shadow and Reality: old and new covenants
Chapter 10 – Law and exclusion; Holy Spirit and inclusion into the holiest
Chapter 11 – Faith and heroes of faith
Chapter 12 – Walk, worship and warnings
Chapter 13 – To Please God = Love, separation from worldliness, sacrificial living and blessing.
vv.1-3 – Great Salvation (Rom.1:16) – a panoramic and majestic statement of the Supremacy of Christ
vv.4-14 – Angels – their subservience to Jesus as to God the Father; their roles as ministering spirits.
Psalm references in these verses:- v.3 (Psa 110:1); v.5 (Psa.2:7 & 2 Sam.7:14); v.6 (Psa 97:7); v.7 (Psa.104:4); v.8 (Psa.45:6,7); v.10 (Psa.102:25-27); v.13 (Psa. 110:1).
Questions for Discussion on Chapter 1
How might you use this chapter to answer one who says, ‘Why do we need Jesus as well as God?’
How would you explain and appreciate the Supremacy of Our Lord Jesus Christ using this chapter?
What do verses 1-3 say about Jesus as Prophet, Priest and King? And his seat now? (Eph.1:20,21)
What does this chapter teach us about the roles of angels? Do we value them enough?
What does chapter 1 teach us about creation and God’s plan of redemption?
This chapter begins with the word 'therefore' – and this is there for a reason – it is to remind us again of the passage we looked at last week and to set in context the passage that follows that we are going to look at this morning.
Verse 1 speaks of the promise still standing. What promise does this refer to, you ask, and to whom was it made?
This is what the 'therefore' is there for – if you can remember back to Denis' message last week from Chp 3 – it closed with the rebuke to those of Hebrew descent regarding the Exodus from Egypt. The people 'hardened their hearts' over a period, complaining about just about everything, even though Moses spoke to them words directly from God that he was to lead them to a 'Promised Land' a land flowing with milk and honey, where you could suppose there would be 'rest' from the toils they had endured in slavery.
We know from reading in the OT that only a very few who left Egypt actually even saw this place that God had given them, let alone lived there. Why?
Well one commentator says it was because although they 'heard' the message, they didn't really 'take hold of it by faith'. In the words of the NT they all fell short of the goal/prize because of their essential unbelief.
One commentary said:
Think of the joy Israel had in coming out of Egypt and approaching the Promised Land – and then think of all the graves dug in the desert. A wonderful promise was available but unattained. They came short because though they heard God’s word, it was not mixed with faith.
F.F. Bruce said, "The sense is plain enough; the good news had to be assimilated or appropriated by faith if it was to bring any benefit to the hearers."
In my reading about this Chpt. one suggestion was that we must watch out for each other in this journey in the same way that the exiles from Egypt must have cared physically for each other – we must care for our brothers and sisters so that no-one falls or gets left behind.
It may be that we have a strong faith and are able to 'withstand the fiery darts of the evil one' KJV Eph 6:16, but some may not be that strong and it behoves us to watch out for those who may falter. Verse 1 translates a word here in the NIV as 'careful' but the ASV uses an old fashioned word 'haply' and an American commentator expands thus:
Again, the word "haply" injects the idea of inadvertence. Alas, it must be supposed that the far greater part of Christians falling away from faith in Christ do so unintentionally. Few indeed ever decide boldly against the Lord, and move decisively against him; but, on the contrary, they allow inattention to spiritual things, carelessness in attending worship, neglect of daily prayer and study of the Word, and encroachments upon their time due to worldly and pleasure-loving friends to divert their attention first, and later their whole life and conduct from the path of honour and duty. It is hard to imagine a more urgent and persistent warning than the one given here.
So let's move on a bit to what this 'rest' looks and feels like.
If it was just a rest from the toils of slavery, or indeed from a 40-year long march back and forth through the wilderness, (which should only have taken about 11 days!!) then you could draw the conclusion that once Joshua led them across the Jordan and into Canaan then the 'rest' would begin. But, we know from reading the accounts of this period that rest was a long way from being an actuality.
There were battles to be fought, people to conquer, a land to be 'possessed' before any sense of indolent 'rest' could be envisaged.
And why bring God and the term of Sabbath Rest into the equation?
The OT has many examples of 'types' within it and the writer to Hebrews was very aware of the symbology of OT experience and the fulfilment brought about through the life of Christ.
There were things like the snake being held up on a pole to show deliverance, the 10 Commandments to show that God had expectations and a view of how people should live together and conduct themselves, the first of which was expanded and fulfilled by Jesus in his death on a cross and the second by his teaching through passages we call 'the Sermon on the Mount' and through the parables he told.
In the very beginning God created the heavens and the earth and it took him 6 days we are told – whether this is literally 6 x 24hour periods has always been debated (it doesn’t really matter) – but on the 7th day we are told 'God rested from his labours' Gen. 2:2-3. God had completed his work of creation and it was done.
So what has he been doing since? Creation, we are told, is sustained by his will so it does not require of him to 'do' anything – so almost all the commentators agree that he is still enjoying his rest!
And the amazing thing is that he invites us to join him in that state of 'rest'.
What does it mean – rest?
The old Puritan commentator John Owen described five features of this rest for the believer:
means peace with God.
means freedom from a servile, bondage-like spirit in the worship and service of God.
means deliverance from the burden of Mosaic observance.
means the freedom of worship according to the gospel.
means the rest that God Himself enjoys.
Rest, if I have understood from these more learned than I scholars, is in essence rest from seeking to please God through our own efforts and ceasing to justify ourselves through our own works.
We have to accept and believe and hold firmly to the belief that salvation is only through the grace of God himself – we can make no difference to the way that God sees us as sinful, fallen people but by accepting Jesus as Saviour and Lord. When we stop all our efforts to 'please' God and wholly accept his saving grace – we can truly enter his rest.
Spurgeon wrote this: Those who preach this rest must possess it themselves. “Not long ago, one of our ministers was preaching upon salvation, and the work of the Spirit in the heart, when one of the congregation rose and asked him respectfully, ‘Sir, do you know all this by the report of others, or has this taken place in your own experience?’ The preacher was by no means put about by the question, but rather rejoiced in it; for he could honestly reply, ‘I have trusted Christ. I am saved, and I know and feel the peace which results there from.’ If he could not have made that solemn statement, he would have had no influence over the person who had put the question.”
There is, surely for the believer, an understanding that God had ‘purpose’ in creation, including the creation of man. He must have had an end in sight at the beginning, otherwise what could possibly have been the motivation?
When I set out to decorate a room or make something out of parts, I know in my mind and imagination what the end result will look like. It is not easy for others sometimes to ‘see’ what you see in this way. When I/we decided to make changes in the first little house we owned by having the loft converted, the first thing I had to do was literally move the bathroom to a different location to make way for a staircase. I thought about it, planned it out and even drew my wife a picture of how it would look, but it was only when I had finished it that she could ‘see’ the reality of what had been in my mind – her comment – “It looks just like your drawing!”
In the same way the message these references carry is that God's plans and purposes for people predate the formation of the world itself. "He chose us in him before the foundation of the world" (Eph 1:4). Now I don’t want to start a debate on predestination but you can see in this that the ‘promise of rest’ must have been there from before the beginning. That state only lasted for a short time and we see as early as Gen 3:8 when God was walking in the garden in the cool of the day and discovered Adam & Eve hiding because of the realisation of good and evil that their disobedience to God’s commands had woken in them, that their ‘rest’ was shattered and they were thrown out of the garden and made to work just to stay alive.
There is some correlation between, God's Sabbath Rest, the promise of a place of freedom for the Israelites and the perfect rest that this passage speaks about. God did not 'need' to rest after he had finished the work of creation – he would not have been tired in the sense that we get tired – the principle demonstrated is that there is a cessation of working. The Israelites were not going to suddenly find themselves in a place where the grapes peeled themselves, but the labour involved in accessing and obtaining the substance of the promise was completed when they crossed over the Jordan – they then had the task of 'possessing' that promise, so the 'rest' was incomplete. For us we can begin that rest, that we are invited into, right now because we can possess that promise personally as Spurgeon's little account suggested, but we will 'enjoy' it fully when we are in the presence of him who invited us to share in it - maybe when we return to the garden!
Someone I was reading said it was one of those “Now and not yet.” moments, actualised in our present experience, fulfilled in our inheritance.
A greater rest is yet to come when we will be released from all suffering, and when we will inherit the earth. Jesus embodies this greater rest that still awaits the people of God, a people fashioned through obedience and faith. If some of us fail to enter that rest, it is because we fail to answer the call.
We need to have a sense of expectancy – a sense that ‘the best is yet to come’. Cynics and critics of faith have called this “pie in the sky when you die” but one of our preachers years ago suggested that what we should attest to is a little “cake on your plate while you wait”. I have often said that one of my favourite scriptures is 1 John 3:2 “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.” NIVUK
We know something of what God's promises to us mean but we have to rest in the truth of scripture: 1 Cor 2:9 (NIVUK) says this:
However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived are the things God has prepared for those who love him”
What this passage in Heb 4 talks about again is that word ‘today’. The hearers are admonished not to be like the Israelites of old who, because of circumstances, thought that what they had endured in Egypt was better than what was promised to them. 2 Cor 6:2 tells us that “Today is the day of salvation” there can never be a better time than ‘now’ to acknowledge that only the Lord can free us from the bondage and penalty of doing things our way and so make us able to right at that moment and in those circumstances, enter His rest.
The next section of this text talks about the 'word' of God and what it can do. Spurgeon (again) talks about it being two edged, meaning that it has an edge whichever way it is being used – it also has a piercing or penetrating capability like a rapier with a sharp point. Again one commentator describes God's Word thus:
Nothing is ever hidden from God – he knows our inmost thought as well the Psalmists knew and he will not be fooled by those who, like the Israelites, are prepared to follow but have no real conviction of faith
Someone I was reading wrote these words:
Because the soul and spirit both have reference to the “inner man,” they are easily confused. Often an experience intended to build up the spirit only “blesses” the soul. There is nothing wrong with “soulish” excitement and blessing, but there is nothing in it that builds us up spiritually. This is why many Christians go from one exciting experience to another but never really grow spiritually – the ministry they receive is “soulish.” This is why the Word of God is so powerful and precise; it can pierce even to the division of soul and spirit, which isn’t easy to do.
We have seen this in some of the excesses of the 'charismatic' movement. There seems to be a joy in the experience but no deep understanding of how that experience helps anyone to grow spiritually or even give a meaningful witness to non-believers. Paul says in I Cor 14:9 “But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
On the other hand we know of people who know a lot 'about' God but who have little experience of him as an active force within their lives. There needs to be both an active relationship with the Lord through Jesus and the Spirit and a growth inducing knowledge of him through his word.
We then come to the last short section of this chapter which will lead us into Chpt 5 next week. We are introduced to the Great High Priest – the only use of 'great' in this context of priestliness.
Jesus is described to the readers in terms very familiar to Jews. Only the High Priest was allowed through the curtain into the Holy of Holies – Jesus surpasses all of that – he has gone through the heavens! He is the Son of God and because of that we can have assurance of faith. He is not a god who is far off, not interested in humankind – as one person explained it:-
To the ancient Greeks, the primary attribute of God was apatheia, the essential inability to feel anything at all. Jesus isn’t like that. He knows and He feels what we go through. The ancient Greek word translated sympathize literally means “to suffer along with.”
The writer reminds us the readers that though he was tempted in every way like we are he was without sin. The reason for this is because we are 'fallen' people we have fallen short of what God had in mind for us – not so Jesus – he came to do the Father's will – in obedience and humility he experienced the physical temptation that we experience but unlike us his heart was pure and his spirit untainted by self-aggrandisement.
The result is that through him and his sacrificial death and his subsequent resurrection, we can approach the 'throne of grace' boldly to find mercy, grace and help – and to rest in God's love.
HEBREWS 6: GROWING IN CHRIST & CERTAINTY OF ETERNAL HOPE (ABCDE)
Introduction: Hebrews 5:13,14 notes ‘development to maturity depends on moving from milk to a solid food diet’ – “Therefore,…” Heb. 6:1NOT neglecting conversion truths but building upon these to grow and develop into Christian Maturity…
6:1-3Advance into Discipleship Development from Basics of Christian Conversion:-
Repentance from dead works under conviction of sin;
Faith towards God
Baptism as a sign of the Covenant of Grace
Laying on of Hands for healing and blessing/commissioning
Resurrection of and from the dead
General Eternal Judgment
6:4-8Beware Deviation from Christian Faith into apostasy – false teachings & practices
A state of repentance cannot be again guaranteed (cf Amos 8:11)
Don’t treat lightly your taste of the goodness of the Word of God & heaven’s truths
Apostates can’t repent while they [for themselves] ‘nail upon the Cross the Son of God afresh and hold Him up to contempt and shame and public disgrace’ (v.6)
‘Soil blessed with rain produces a crop’(v.7,8) BUT ‘if that same soil persistently produces thorns & thistles, it’s considered worthless, whose end is to be burned’ (Gen.3:17,18)
6:9,10Continue in Faithful Ministry
Pursue things near to salvation to accompany it [expected fruit of righteousness]
God doesn’t overlook Christians’ labour of love in ministering to needs of the saints
6:11,12: Diligently realise and enjoy full Assurance
Accept full assurance of salvation by grace as the gift of God (it is NOT presumption) and maintain your hope until the end (v.11) Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine…
‘Don’t be disinterested spiritual sluggards but imitators through faith of those who lean their entire personality wholly on God in Christ in absolute confidence in His power, wisdom and goodness, and by [who] by practice of patient endurance and waiting are now inheriting the promises’ (v.12 based on Amplified Bible)
6:13-20: Eternal Hope based on God’s Faithfulness
Abraham & God’s oath (Gen.22: 16,17); God within the veil (Lev.16:2); Jesus = a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (v.20 & Psa.110:4) Jesus has entered into the Presence of God for us as a Forerunner:-
We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s Love
Questions for Bible Study & Discussion on this passage
1. How do we develop as disciples beyond yet still embracing the basics of Christianity?
2. How does deviation from faith manifest itself today and with what consequences?
3. What elements of faithful ministry can we audit in SHCF? To what else do we aspire?
4. Assurance: how assured are we; how easily do we confuse presumption with assurance?
5. God’s Faithfulness: how does this passage tell us our hope now and eternally is based?
6. What false hopes do people entertain regarding heaven – ancestry, inheritance, status,
education, money, ritual, religion, wishful thinking….?
JESUS OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST
TEXT: Hebrews Chapter 7
The Bible is God’s Word to us. In it He tells us about Himself and also much about His Son Jesus Christ.
Among the many descriptions of Jesus and the work God has given Him to do, is the one before us today, in which we learn that God has appointed Jesus as our Great High Priest.
Indeed, firstly and foremost, He is our Saviour and Redeemer, and he is also our Shepherd. But most importantly of all, He is our great High Priest.
When we look closely at the work that Jesus does for us as our Great High Priest, we soon realise how vital is His role in this regard.
REMEMBER HE ALONE STANDS BETWEEN US AND GOD.
Without Him we cannot approach God or talk to Him.
Without Him we have no cleansing for our sin.
Without Him we have no hope of eternal life.
So today we shall look at WHO HE IS and secondly WHAT HE DOES.
WHO IS OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST?
HE IS DIVINELY APPOINTED. -Heb 5:4-6
HE IS OUR MAN IN HEAVEN. – Heb 2:9
HE IS HUMAN AS WELL AS DIVINE. -Heb 5:2-8
HE IS SINLESS. -Heb 7:26-28
HE IS EXALTED ABOVE ALL THINGS. - Heb 8:1-2
HE IS OUR ETERNAL HIGH PRIEST. -Heb 7:25
HE IS SYMPATHETIC TO OUR CRY. -Heb 4:15
HE IS OUR GLORIOUS HOPE FOREVER. Heb 6:17-20
WHAT DOES HE DO FOR US?
HE INTERCEEDS FOR US. Heb 7:25 ‘He always lives to intercede for us.’
Rom 8:34 ‘Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus who died, more than that, who was raise to life- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.’
HE INTERCEEDS FOR US WHEN WE SIN -Is 53:12 ‘For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.’
HE INTERCEEDS FOR US WHEN WE STUMBLE AND FALL – Luke 22;32 ‘..Simon I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’
HE INTERCEEDS FOR US WHEN OUR ENEMIES ATTACK US. Luke 23:34 ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.’
HE INTERCEEDS FOR THE CHURCH. Luke 17:20 ‘….I pray also for them who will believe in me through their message….’
HE INTERCEEDS FOR US TO THE END OF OUR DAYS. Heb 7:25 ‘Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to make intercession for them.’
No wonder a hymn-write once wrote this about Jesus our Great High Priest:
‘I love Him for just what He is, the man in the glory at God’s right hand.
As my intercessor in Heaven he stands, I love Him for just what He is.’
As Isaac Watts once wrote about Christ’s role as our Great High Priest too;
Should all the hosts of death and powers of hell unknown
Put their most dreadful forms of rage and malice on
I shall be safe; for Christ displays superior power and guardian grace.