Reflections For Life
I HAVE DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS
RUN THE RACE | The Hebrews Series
Hebrews 5:1 1- 6:20
Pastor Lou Gallo
May 17, 2020
Jesus is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 5:11 says, “About this we have much to say…”
What does the author mean when he says, “this?”
It is connect back to the Melchizedekian priesthood mentioned in 5:9-10.
Hebrews 5:9-10, “And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.”
Melchizedek is only mentioned in a couple of places in the whole Bible. Genesis 14:18-20, Psalm 110:4 which is quoted a couple of times in Hebrews and of course he is discussed in Hebrews.
We see him in Hebrews 5:6 & 10, 6:20, and chapter 7!
Hebrews 5:6 – “As he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek” quoting Psalm 110:4.
Psalm 110:4 – “The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
Who is Melchizedek
As the author explains who Melchizedek is and he comes to this conclusion;
Melchizedek is a greater priest than Aaron, and Jesus is greater than Melchizedek. Therefore, Jesus is a greater priest than Aaron – by far!
Melchizedek, is in a completely different category. He is someone who stands outside Israel. And yet he collected a tenth from Abraham. Not only that; he blessed Abraham. The author emphasizes the significance of Melchizedek blessing Abraham, we read in 7:6 that he “blessed the one who had the promises.”
The next priest to come after Melchizedek was Jesus!
It means that they are presently benefiting from a better priesthood so don’t go back to an inferior priesthood, the Levitical one.
In Hebrews 5:11 the author holds out to his audience a picture of those who are immature.
They need milk – they have to be fed.
They are unskilled in righteousness – they don’t live what they know.
He then holds out a picture of those who are mature.
They eat solid food – they are fed and they can feed themselves.
They have discernment that has been sharpened through practicing to distinguish good from evil. The mature live what they know.
This warning is to grow up and to continue to grow up. The mature is the one who not only understands and knows about the ways of righteousness but lives it.
He says they should be teachers – not in the sense of getting up on a Sunday and teaching but those who can instruct younger believers in righteousness. Teachers are not those who know truth only, but those who know truth, and live it.
Those who know truth yet do not live out that truth are immature and are in danger!
Hebrews 6:1 – 3, Let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity. He then explains the elementary doctrines.
What follows in 6:4 through 6:8, is one of the strongest warnings in the whole New Testament. It’s a continuation of the warning started in 5:11…
Hebrews 6:4-8, “For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.”
The fundamental issue facing the readers isn’t intellectual, they obviously knew the scriptures, it’s moral and they are at risk. The problem is not that the audience has never been taught what it means to live righteously, it’s that they are at risk of not put the teachings into practice. In short, if you don’t grow and mature you may be in danger of rejecting Christ.
5:14 says, “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
Those who are mature are able to discern what is good and what is evil. Those who are mature will run the race without turning off the path!
What about this sever warning that follows in 6:4-8?
Hebrews 6:4-8, “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.”
The plain reading seems like you can lose your salvation. It helps to understand how the warnings in Hebrews work. They are meant to be signs. Like warning signs on road. The warnings serve as signs that alert us to danger of not maturing and turning off the path. Those who ‘fall away’ never truly had faith. They were like the seed that falls on the shallow soil and springs up, but once the heat of the day (or persecution or temptation) comes it scorch’s the delicate little plant and it withers up and dies.That faith did not last, it did not endure. It wasn’t a faith that endured and bore fruit. The author is clearly describing Christians. Genuine, born again, Spirit-filled Christians.
The warnings function like the promises. They encourage faithfulness and perseverance.
The warnings serve to preserve the saints. To encourage them to persevere. To not give up.
The warnings function to exhort and encourage believers to run the race!
The warnings are encouragements just as the assurances are.
The harsh warning in verses 4-8 is contrasted by the encouragement found in verses 9-12.
Hebrews 6:9-12, “Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
You can imagine how shocked the readers are by this stern warning.
A good preacher would pause at that point for effect… And then bring the healing words of encouragement. “9, Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things …”
10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.
Also, the author says, “We feel sure of better of things…”
“If the Holy Spirit is genuinely at work in our lives, he will be producing the kind of character traits that Paul calls “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5: 22). Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
“I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”
About 150 years ago, there was a great revival in Wales. Many missionaries went to north-east India to spread the Gospel. In the region there were hundreds of tribes who were primitive and aggressive head-hunters. Naturally, they were not welcomed. One missionary succeeded in converting a man, his wife, and two children. This man’s faith proved contagious and many villagers began to come to faith in Christ.
The village chief was angry and called all the villagers. He called on the family who had first believed to renounce their faith in public or face execution. Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man instantly composed a song: “I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back.”
At the man’s refusal, the chief ordered the man’s two children to be killed. The chief asked, “Will you deny your faith? You lost both your children. You will lose your wife too.”
But the man sang these words in reply: “Though no one joins me, still I will follow. Though no one joins me, still I will follow. Though no one joins me, still I will follow. No turning back, no turning back.”
The chief was angry and ordered his wife to be killed. Now he asked for the last time, “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live. ”In the face of death the man sang the final memorable lines: “The cross before me, the world behind me. The cross before me, the world behind me. The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back, no turning back.” He was shot dead like the rest of his family. The chief was moved by the faith of the man. In a spontaneous confession of faith, he declared, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!” When the crowd heard this from their chief, the whole village believed in Christ.
Questions for Reflection:
Do you have assurance that you are truly born again?
Do you or have you ever had doubts that you were truly born again?
Do you know people in the church that continually display destructive behavior? Is there something God would have you do for the sake of His church?
Have there been things God has promised to you but have not come to pass?
Do you face the temptation to doubt in God’s promise?
Are there ways you can encourage others who are still waiting?
We pray that this exercise will strengthen your relationship with the Lord as you draw near with confidence.