SBC Banner


Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

May 2, 2012

Hebrews 5:11-14, 6:1-20

I.    On last week we began to look at how the writer introduced the audience to the way Jesus has a better priesthood than the priest in the line of Aaron. The writer sought to show that Jesus was a priest in the line of Melchizedek. So far in Hebrews there have been three titles for Jesus mentioned: (1) son, (2) apostle, and (3) high priest. Melchizedek is alluded to because he is the only person in the OT who is called both priest and king, and who adequately fulfills the theological requirements of this argument. Melchizedek is a rather shadowy figure of Gen. 14: l 7-20 and Ps. 110:4 who is used to describe the superiority of Jesus’ priesthood over the Aaronic priesthood. This is discussed further in chapter 7.

II.    Verses 11-14. The book of Hebrews was written to a group of believing Jews still content to worship in a synagogue setting with unbelieving Jews, never fully embracing the consequences of the gospel. The author was having difficulty explaining, not because of the subject matter, but because of the immaturity of the readers. They had become hard of hearing and lazy in spiritual matters. Although these believers had been Christians for a long period they had not matured. Length of time is not directly related to maturity. It seems they were continuing to fellowship with unbelieving Jews on the basis that this kept them from persecution. These believing Jews had experienced some persecution (cf. 12:4), but they tended to pull back (cf. "shrink back," 10:38) into the relative safety of Judaism. The problem with this is that it began to bring their faith into question and hinder the advancement of the gospel. The author asserts that these immature believers need the basics of Christianity taught to them, and some basic Jewish teaching, not uniquely Christian teachings, which they are to move beyond. The "oracles of God” This term is used of OT truths in Acts 7:38 and Romans 3:2. The words “milk...solid food" These are both God given and both are appropriate at certain times. However, milk is inappropriate for the mature (cf.  1 Cor. 3:2; 1 Pet. 2:2). These believers had lived on milk for so long that they were weak spiritually in knowledge and in practice.

III.    Chapter 6:1-3. The author’s solution to the immaturity of these believers is not to cater to the immaturity of his audience, but to forge ahead with the spiritual meat they need for growth. He moves beyond elementary instruction to what should come next in their spiritual curriculum (6:1-3). This elementary teaching was that instruction based on the Old Testament which foreshadowed the coming of the Messiah. But now it is time for the fuller and more complete revelation that God has given through the Son (1:1-4; 2:1-4) Because his readers needed to be taken beyond instruction given them by those who apparently wanted to keep them from growing spiritually, the author of Hebrews is determined to press ahead. And thus he begins verse 1 with “therefore." He does this not “in spite of" his readers’ spiritual immaturity, but precisely because of it. lf the writer keeps on rehashing the same teachings, the believers will never go beyond their immature state. These issues were things that most believing Jews and non-believing Jews had in common.

IV.    Verses 4-6. This is one of the most difficult passages to interpret. There are basically two ways of seeing this text. The first way to view this is that someone who is saved can lose their salvation and be in jeopardy of eternal damnation. The other way, the way I believe, is that a person cannot lose their salvation. I truly believe that the writer is speaking about one group of Jews while speaking to another. His audience is actually two groups of people. He first addresses the fallacy of the first group (the unbelieving Jews) and then encourages the faith of the other (the believing Jews). In verses 4-6, the writer is speaking to the unbelieving Jews who the believing Jews fellowship with in the synagogue. I believe that when the writer uses the pronouns, they, those, and them, he is speaking to the unbelieving Jews who think they are saved by following the Old testament practices of the temple. These Jews had seen the miracles of the Lord while he walked the earth, had heard his preaching, and had witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit. The writer makes it clear that these unbelieving Jews had seen firsthand that Jesus was the Messiah, but they refused to believe and trust in Christ as the only begotten of the father. Notice that the writer purposely avoids words like salvation, sealed, and saved. He does this because these people are not saved, they are just those who had seen and witnessed the power of God. God’s power is seen by all, not just those who believe.

V.    Verses 7-8. The writer uses an analogy of soil to show the difference between the believing Jews and the unbelieving Jews. The unbelieving Jews were pictured as soil that produces thorns and thistles while the believing Jews were seen as soil that brought forth good things. Both groups had been exposed to the love and power of God, but only the group who accepted the message of Christ and faith were saved.

VI.   Verses 9-10. The writer knows that the previous words were strong, because the words basically said that those who don’t believe are in danger of judgment especially since they have witnessed the power of God firsthand. Even though those words concerning the unbelieving Jews were harsh, the words for the believing Jews are much different. The words for the believing community are of hope and encouragement. The writer declares that God is not unjust and God has seen the faithfulness and the acts of kindness that this community showed to those who were being persecuted.

VII.  Verses 11-l2. The same way God will be faithful to remember their faithfulness, the writer encourages the believing community to remain faithful ( just like Abraham) to the end and endure the persecution knowing that God will come to their aid and remember his promises. Our faith becomes our hope, not rituals and traditions. Abraham was faithful to God even when he could not see how God was going to do what he promised. lt is that same faith that we must have since we have seen what Abraham could only dream of seeing (Hebrews 11:8-16).

VIII.  Verses 13-20. The writer goes into a brief discussion concerning the promises of God. The first thing is a review of a promise God made to Abraham. He promised him many descendants even though he was old and without child. God kept that promise in a great way. The writer uses the promise made to Abraham as evidence that God keeps his promises. The writer makes it clear that God doesn’t lie and has kept all of his promises. The two promises that we can hold onto are that the promises made to Abraham is fulfilled in the church as being son of Abraham through faith, and the second promise is that Jesus Christ is a priest forever, serving as an anchor for our souls. This anchor is not anchored to the world, but anchored to God himself.

click here to select another lesson