Sunday, May 28, 2017

Paul's Epistles – Hebrews Part 1: Introduction

Paul's Epistles – Hebrews - Part 1: 
Pastor Bruce A. Shields

The “official” writer of this epistle is unknown. However, I obviously believe it is Paul since I have included it in the “Paul’s Epistles” Sermon Series.

Eusebius of Caesarea, who is known as the “Father of Church History”, tells us that Pant├Žnus of Alexandria in the Second Century assigned the authorship of Hebrews to Paul.

Tertullian of Carthage in North Africa in the Third Century declared Barnabas as the writer.

Martin Luther thought that Apollus had written it.

Dr. Campbell Morgan, a British evangelist and leading Bible Scholar in the 40’s, thinks it bears traces of Paul’s thinking and Luke’s writing.

Dr. Schofield believes that we have a preserved epistle of some of Paul’s synagogue addresses.

Hebrews must have been written about 64 A.D. because the Temple is referred to as still standing.

In 64 A.D. the Jews in Judea began a rebellion against Rome which in turn the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D.

I believe there is enough evidence from early scholars to agree this was more than likely Paul’s work.

“Introduction to Hebrews”

Hebrews 1:1-4
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
The Cure for Lacking Boldness or Courage in your Christian Faith and Backsliding is a Right beginning for the Glory and Work of Christ”

a. The Object of the Epistle
                                                                 i. Under bitter persecution the Jewish Christians were beginning to think they had lost everything
1. (Alters, priests, etc.)

                                                              ii. They begun to undervalue Christian Privileges

                                                           iii. They were getting self-absorbed with their sufferings

                                                            iv. They were generally in a backsliding condition

                                                               v. Paul sent this letter to correct these errors

b. The Author of the Epistle
                                                                 i. One of the reasons I believe Paul to be the author of this epistle is because of the writer’s skill in dealing with these pessimistic and depressed Christians.

1. First Paul fills their minds with the glory of the Person and grandeur of the works of the Lord Jesus.

a. He shows that instead of losing all, they had gained all
b. And Christianity was superior to Judaism

2. He then shows them that they had not suffered as much as others.

                                                              ii. The Roman Epistle proves the necessity of the Christian Faith, the object of Hebrews was to prove the superiority of the Christian Faith.

                                                           iii. Paul does this, NOT by slighting the old, but by showing the new as the fulfillment of the old.

                                                            iv. They had “good things” in the old system, but they now have everything “better”.
1. Hebrews has been called the fifth gospel, the other four speak of Jesus’ work on earth, and Hebrews speaks of that and also His work in Heaven.

c. The Study of the Epistle
                                                                 i. The Book of Hebrews really is a topical study

                                                              ii. Topics of Christ such as “Perfection”, “Heavenly”, “Eternal”, “Better”, etc.

a. The Epistle in Two Major Divisions
                                                                 i. The Argument – The glory of the Person and work of Christ

                                                              ii. The Application – The life we should live because of His life and work

b. The Argument
                                                                 i. The Lord Jesus is Greater than the Prophets
1. The prophets were great, but the Son is greater

2. While God spoke “by” the Prophets, He speaks “in” His Son.

3. Jesus is God’s last word

                                                              ii. The Lord Jesus is Greater than Angels
1. Angels were great beings, but the Lord Jesus is greater

2. He is Son of God

3. Begotten of God

4. God never said to them what He says to the Lord Jesus

                                                           iii. The Lord Jesus is Greater than Moses
1. Moses was a faithful servant, but Jesus is a loyal Son over His own house

                                                            iv. The Lord Jesus is Greater than Joshua
1. Joshua was a great leader, yet he failed

2. Jesus is greater because He alone can give and lead to real rest

3. Jesus, the Word of God, who is alive, and powerful, and all-wise, and all-knowing One

                                                               v. The Lord Jesus is Greater than Aaron
1. Aaron and his successors were great, however Jesus is greater
2. He is sinless, while they were sinful
3. He was Priest after a higher order than Aaron
4. He is our Forerunner
5. Abraham acknowledged Melchisidec greater
a. The order of Melchisidec is an everlasting one
6. Aaron served the shadows, Jesus the realities (Hebrews 8:1-5)
7. He is the medium of a better covenant
8. He ministers in a better sanctuary
9. And ministers as offering a better sacrifice

c. The Application
                                                                 i. The life we should be living because of His life and work

                                                              ii. Like a wise writer, Paul did not leave the application until the very end.
1. Seminary students, remember I told you the application was to be the third proof of every point.

                                                           iii. Paul repeatedly drove home the lesson.
                                                            iv. However, he gives the proper full application beginning in the second part of Hebrews, Chapter 10:19, until the end of the Epistle.

                                                               v. Paul, using the phrase “let us” repeatedly for the following applications;
1. Draw near
2. Hold fast
3. Consider one another
4. Persevere
5. Lay aside every weight and sin
6. Run with patience
7. Endure
8. Allow brotherly love to continue
9. Let your conversation be without yearning for others possessions
10. Go forth
11. Offer the sacrifice of praise

a. In the Days Past
                                                                 i. In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,

b. In These Present Days
                                                                 i. but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

c. In the Days Future
                                                                 i. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 

CONCLUSION – So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

The epistle of Hebrews will guide and lead us to an understanding that the Lord, His life and His Work has opened the door to the New Covenant, which is the completion of the Old, and better than any other.

For those who struggle with boldness or courage with your Christian faith as the Hebrews, or for those who have backslidden, this epistle is the CURE!

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

Want to hear the audio to this sermon?    CLICK HERE!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Mother’s Day 2017 Mary, Mother of Jesus

Mother’s Day 2017
Mary, Mother of Jesus
Pastor Bruce A. Shields

Today we are going to talk about Mary, the mother of Jesus. 

Looking at her story, we will see a picture that has been painted for us in the scripture of a perfect mother.

Thinking about motherhood, I remember before I had children I had many theories on how to raise children. Now I have many children and no more theories.

“Mary, Mother of Jesus”

Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Today’s Message;
Mary, Mother of Jesus

a.   Mother’s are an interesting breed
                                                                 i.  Not only do they seem to be superhuman at times, but they all seem to speak the same language.

                                                              ii. I remember being at my friend’s house when I was about 14, and his mother was yelling at him about something, and she was saying some of the same things my mother would say. 

Yet, they had never met?

Things like;

“Don’t be smart with me.”

“Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

“Where’s my change?”

“That’s the last time I’m going to tell you.”

b.  They don’t just speak the same language, but they share many of the same qualities; tenderness, compassion, mother’s intuition, sympathy.

                                                                 i.  Sympathy from a mother is different than from a father.
Few things in this world are more powerful than the tears and prayers of a mother.

                                                              ii.  Here’s a fact.
1.  Out of the 69 kings of France only 3 were really loved by their subjects and these 3 were the only ones raised by their mothers, instead of the rest who were raised by guardians.

                                                           iii.  Napoleon once said, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

c.  If you were looking for the perfect mother to leave your one and only child with, who would she be?
                                                                 i.  Would she be wealthy?

Would she live in a nice place?

Would she be famous, well educated?  Mature?  Experienced?

What would be her characteristics?

a. I learned the value of a child having a mother 20 years ago
                                                                 i. As a single parent raising Trenton, I did the best I could as a father

                                                              ii. However, there are things a father can never accomplish, things that God created women specifically for

                                                           iii. The role of mother was created by God to be filled by a woman.

b. I feel I did OK, but a man can never replace a woman when it comes to being a mother
                                                                 i.  Men lack some of the essentials that God has created in women to fill that role.
1. Little boy makes a ramp to jump over a thorn bush with his bike. Immediately crashes in said thorn bush…Mother runs to aid her child whose only injury is to his pride, dad laughs and says, “Did you learn anything?”

                                                              ii. That does work both ways.  A woman could never fill the role of Father.

                                                           iii. My father left when I was 11, and my mother was not equipped to handle me and my brother, although she tried.

c.  If anyone tries to tell you that a woman can take the place of a man, they are wrong.
                                                                 i.  If anyone tries to tell you that a man can take the place of a woman, they are just as wrong.

                                                              ii. God has created us different. The scriptures tell us so.

                                                           iii. This society has done a wonderful job over the past 60+ years or so of telling men they can be women, and women they can be men.

                                                            iv. Tearing down the very fabric of what God has created us to be.

III.     Speaking from experience, no father can take the place of mother.
a.  We need to stop listening to what society says is right or wrong, and start listening to what God has told us in scripture about what our roles are.

                                                                 i. He should know, He created us to fill those roles.

                                                              ii. God was looking for a woman to raise His Son.

                                                           iii. He chose a town with a bad reputation, Nazareth.

                                                            iv. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  In this case, yes.

                                                               v. He went to a humble cottage and tapped a girl on the shoulder, and chose her to be the mother of Jesus.

b.  Two times in our text Gabriel told Mary that she was highly favored by God.
                                                                 i.  What was it about Mary that caught God’s attention?

                                                              ii. Were not told the answer to this question directly, but, through necessary inference, the answer is there in the scriptures, hidden in the very few and very brief accounts of Mary recorded by the inspired writers.

                                                           iii. I believe that God chose Mary for two reasons.

                                                            iv. First, because of what Mary already had, and second, because of who God knew Mary would become, she had a solid foundation.

                                                               v. What did Mary have?

c. Mary had the right perspective.
                                                                 i.  Can you imagine an angel appearing and giving you this message?
1. It had to be troubling. After all, she was engaged at the time to Joseph, and engagements in that day were more serious than many believe they are today.

2. An engaged woman was considered married already. A child born during an engagement would have been considered illegitimate.

3. Mary faced rejection by Joseph, the possibility of raising her child alone in a culture hostile to women, in addition jeopardizing her reputation and her life if she was accused of unfaithfulness to Joseph.

4. Not to mention Mary probably felt insecure, unworthy and insufficient for the great task of being the mother of God the Son, the savior of the world.

                                                              ii. I’m sure we have felt the same way when God has asked any of us to do something for Him. Others in the scriptures did.

                                                           iii. Remember Moses when he was given a message and task by God Himself at the burning bush?

1. “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

                                                            iv. That would be like God asking one of us to go to Kim Jong-un while he is still in power in North Korea and telling him to stop all his nonsense and leave everyone alone.

                                                               v. Moses said, “What if they don’t believe or listen to me?”

1. “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.”

                                                            vi. How many times have we felt unsure of God’s calling?

                                                         vii. How many times have we asked Him to pick someone else?

                                                      viii. Mary could have said, “Lord, I’m just a girl.  I’m not ready to be a mother.  I’m not wealthy, I’m not educated, I’m not worthy of this.  Maybe it would be better if you got someone else?”
                                                            ix. But that’s not what she said.  She had the right perspective!

1. Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be as you have said…”

                                                               x. In Luke 2, Mary’s song is recorded, and in it she tells how she rejoices and is blessed by what God was going to do in her life.

1. Mary saw motherhood as an honor and a gift.

2. Mother’s today like Mary, need to have the proper perspective.

                                                            xi. They too are servants of God, in all things and especially in raising God’s children.

                                                         xii. Each life is knit in the womb by the hand of the Almighty.

                                                      xiii. Mother’s all share in this responsibility to raise the children given to them by God.

                                                        xiv. Psalm 127:3 (Amplified)
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”

                                                           xv. God looked upon Mary with favor because she had the right perspective.

d.  He also looked upon her with favor because she had a solid foundation.
                                                                 i.  And in God’s eyes there is only one solid foundation…Him, His Word. Jesus spoke on this in;

                                                              ii. Luke 6:46-49
"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."

                                                           iii. There is no other foundation but the rock, the Word of God.

                                                            iv. So how do we know that Mary had this foundation?

1. In Luke 2, in Mary’s song it is quite evident that Mary knew the scriptures as there are at least 30 phrases or words that echo truths from the Old Testament.

                                                               v. Mary knew “the Word” and she went beyond that and was one who enthusiastically and unashamedly praised her God.

                                                            vi. Mary’s solid foundation is an example to mother’s today.

1. A mother who praises her God and knows His Word is going to make a difference in her child’s life.

2. A mother like that will be planting seeds that will one day bear fruit.

                                                         vii.  Psalm 78:3-7
“What we have heard and known,
       what our fathers have told us.

  4 We will not hide them from their children;
       we will tell the next generation
       the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
       his power, and the wonders he has done.

  5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
       and established the law in Israel,
       which he commanded our forefathers
       to teach their children,

  6 so the next generation would know them,
       even the children yet to be born,
       and they in turn would tell their children.

 7 Then they would put their trust in God
       and would not forget his deeds
       but would keep his commands. “

                                                      viii.  2 Timothy 1:5
“I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”

CONCLUSION – Do you see how important a mother’s foundation in God’s word is?

Mother’s, how is your foundation? Do you understand who God is?

Do you have His word hidden in your heart and mind so that it supports and guides you in your life and your motherhood?

Do you know His word well enough to pass it on to your children?

Do you set a good example of one who loves to worship and praise God?

Is your home life built on a solid foundation?

Remember Psalm 127:1 “unless the Lord builds the house, its builder’s labor in vain…”

We could continue with a mother’s unrelenting protection, unwavering love and devotion, and more. Mother’s may you have Mary’s kind of love and devotion for your child.

Today during the altar call, if you have a need or prayer request and want prayer, come forward and I will pray with you.

If you would like to accept the Lord Jesus as your savior or rededicate your life to Him, come forward.

If you are a mother who wants prayer for Strength, guidance, endurance, understanding, compassion, all the attributes that were becoming of Mary and should fill every mother, come forward.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

Want to hear the audio to this sermon?    CLICK HERE!
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