By Tyson Thorne

March 15, 2018
 

Hebrews 07 Large

During our study of Hebrews I confess to having made a mistake. The passage we were next to study, the remainder of chapter four and first half of five, has to do with Jesus being a priest in the order of Melchizedek. My study on this topic I inadvertently placed in the introductory material instead of here, where it belongs. After this series is complete, when I turn to re-writing it into a proper commentary, I will fix this error of placement. Instead of copying the information here for you to read a second time, I've decided to move on to chapter five starting in verse 11.

Though both may be founded in Abraham's ancient faith, Christianity is superior to Judaism in every way. Christianity has a savior who is superior to the Old Testament patriarchs, prophets, angels and priests. Christianity has a high priest who sits at God's right hand always interceding on our behalf — and this is superior to the sacrificial system. These are the elementary truths from the last four chapters. The writer of Hebrews, a Jew himself, wrote these truths by way of introduction to the passage we now come to study. These truths are meant to inspire a question deep inside the listener's heart: Since Jesus is superior in all ways, how can we be so sluggish, so unmotivated, so slow to grow in our relationship with God?

Hebrews 5.11-6.20 is all about spiritual growth. If you haven't already, read it now.

At the time this sermon was written the Jews began to fight against Christianity with strength. They had lobbyists in Rome, testifying that Christianity was not a sect of Judaism, nor was it permitted under the Roman pantheon. This line of reasoning was meant to show that Jesus-followers were part of an illegal religion, the penalty for which was death. In Israel, they banned Jesus-followers from entering the temple and excluded them from the commonwealth of Israel. Due to these pressures, some were leaving the faith and returning to Judaism. This is the occasion of this writing and of these verses we study today.

In verses 11 through 14 the author leads us to examine our spiritual maturity. His hope was to convince us that our spiritual condition needs attention. In fact, he tells his original audience straight up: you have been under good teachers for so long you ought to be teachers yourselves! But you — you are still dabbling in the elementary truths. In the first three verses of chapter six he exhorts them to leave behind the basics (i.e. Judaism, which only elluded to all that has been fulfilled in Jesus). His message was echoed later by David Livingstone, "I'll go anywhere, provided it is forward."

He goes on to list some of the elementary truths, things that were common to Judaism and Christianity alike but which had all been fulfilled by Jesus. As we mentioned earlier, some were returning to Judaism and these elementary practices. They were placing their focus on what they knew instead of on their Savior. In this way they were proving no better than their forefathers who, rather than trusting God to fulfill his promises desired to return to Egypt as slaves.

Hebrews ThePaths

 

Evidently the author believed that all who were going to forsake Christ have already departed, for he encourages his audience saying, "I am confident of better things in your case." He closes his line of reasoning by giving us three signs of spiritual growth:

  • Love that labors (6.9b-10)
  • Faith that endures (6.11-18)
  • Hope that secures (6.19-20)

 

In conclusion, true believers ought to press on toward maturity in Christ. This happens when believers forsake their past way of life and strive to conform to Christ who is greater than anything we have experienced before. The marks of a growing Christian are love, faith and hope, of which love is the greatest.

 

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