Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 110/260: Read Hebrews 10

Based on everything the Hebrews writer revealed, because of the boldness that Christ’s blood provides, by the new and living way, because He is our High Priest, he says, “Let us draw near.” Don’t shrink back, don’t turn to the left or the right, don’t look for salvation anywhere else. “Let us draw near.”

The boldness we have to approach God’s throne is not based on our goodness, or our ability to walk perfectly, though we should strive to please Him in everything we do. Rather, our boldness comes “by the blood of Jesus.” It is His blood that was “shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). It is His blood that “wash(es) away your sins” (Acts 22:16). It is His blood by which “the church of God…He purchased” (Acts 20:28).

Without His blood, we are without forgiveness. Paul wrote that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). If we were forced to compare our actual righteousness to what God has revealed, and we did not have access to the blood of Jesus to cover our shortcomings, any boldness or confidence we might have would be replaced by absolute terror.

Yet, we have the opportunity to approach Him because of the blood of Jesus. “Let us draw near with a true heart.” What a blessing His mercy truly is.

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

Hebrews 8:13. In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Pray

Pray with boldness and confidence a prayer of thanksgiving for Jesus’ sacrifice, and pray for forgiveness.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 109/260: Read Hebrews 9

Why were the Christian recipients of the Hebrews epistle so intent on going back to the old covenant which had been made obsolete by Christ? Why do so many still today try to run back to a time before the cross to find their doctrine?

We are living under the new covenant, established by Christ at His death (Matthew 26:28). At the time of His death, and not before, that new covenant went into effect. “For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.”

While we can learn principles from the incidents recorded from the lives of Abraham, Moses, David, John the Baptist, and even the thief on the cross, they all died before the new covenant went into effect. We cannot turn to them as examples of specific acts that God expects of us today. Their mindsets serve as an example, but their actions belonged under a different law, a different covenant.

“So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.” He is a “better sacrifice.” We live under a new, better covenant than did Abraham, Moses, David, John, and the thief. Let us turn to His new covenant to learn what He commands of us today.

Hear (Romans 10:17). Believe (John 3:16). Repent (Acts 3:19). Confess (Romans 10:9-10). Be immersed (Acts 2:38). Be faithful (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Hebrews 8:13. In that He says, “A new ___________,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing ___________ is ready to vanish away.

Pray

Pray for wisdom in discerning between the old and new covenants and the present expectations of God.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 108/260: Read Hebrews 8

We do not live under the laws of the Old Testament today. This includes the Ten Commandments as they were given to Moses and the Israelites. That Old Law is now obsolete; it has vanished away. However, that does not leave us without obligation.

Nine of the Ten Commandments were repeated in the new covenant established by Christ, and we obey them because He issued them. The Old Law accomplished its intended function: “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Galatians 3:24-25).

We now serve God under a different law, “the perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25). Make no mistake, it is still a law and we are obligated to follow His commands! But those who love the Lord are happy to obey Him (John 14:15).

Jesus, as our High Priest, “has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.”

We do not look forward to physical blessings such as a land of Canaan. “But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country” (Hebrews 11:16). Jesus promised His apostles, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Hebrews 8:13. In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first ___________. Now what is becoming ___________ and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Pray

Pray for faith in troubled times, looking forward to that heavenly reward.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 107/260: Read Hebrews 7

“Change for the sake of change.” That is a phrase that causes us to shrink back. Generally speaking, there are reasons for change. The problem comes when the consequences are not considered. Change is not inherently a bad thing, as long as you thoroughly research and think about your new direction.

God wants you to change. He wants you to be better than you were yesterday, and He wants you to be better tomorrow than you are today. Isn’t that change?

What happens to you when you become a Christian? Paul says you are “renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23-24). You change!

Under the Old Law, that change was not possible. You were either born a Jew or a Gentile, and while there was a process of proselytization, the Jews didn’t really encourage it much. So God made a change. (Side note: He always intended for this change to take place; it wasn’t an alternate plan that He developed on the spur of the moment).

He changed the Old Law, which was full of “weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect.” His change was not just for the sake of change, but to bring forth something better: “a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”

Aren’t you glad He made that change?

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

Hebrews 8:13. In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Pray

Pray a prayer of thanks for God’s wisdom in making change that matters.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 106/260: Read Hebrews 6

In this reading, verses 4 through 6 can be troubling when taken out of context. The writer says that those who have been “enlightened” and “Have tasted the heavenly gift” are in danger “if they fall away.” Certainly, we understand the danger of sin and leaving the fellowship of God.

The difficulty comes with the idea that it is “impossible…to renew them again to repentance.” Does this mean that when a Christian sins, he no longer has any hope in the blood of Christ to cleanse him?

We must always keep the context of a passage in mind. This letter is written to a group of Christians who were considering leaving Christ and returning to the Old Law. If they were to do that, and in so doing “fall away,” then they had no future hope. There was no other Messiah coming, no other Christ to expect. They had made it “impossible,” not God.

The fact is that when a Christian stumbles into sin, he still has hope in the saving blood of Christ. John writes, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).

Don’t lose hope. Don’t leave Christ. Confess, repent, trust, and obey.

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

Hebrews 8:13. In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Pray

Pray for forgiveness, knowing that God is faithful to forgive.

Blessings and Woes (Luke 6:20-26)

Blessings and Woes Luke 6:20-26

Luke 6:20-26

I. The poor and the rich

    A. “Poor in spirit” = contrition and humility (Luke 6:20; Matthew 5:3)
    B. “Rich” trust in wealth and self (Luke 6:24; Matthew 6:19-21; Mark 10:23-25; 1 Timothy 6:9-10; Luke 18:9-14; Revelation 3:17-18)

II. The hungry and the full

    A. “Hunger…for righteousness” (Luke 6:21a; Matthew 5:6)
    B. “The full,” in thinking he knows it all, shows how little he knows

III. The weeping and laughing

    A. Godly sorrow produces repentance (Luke 6:21b; 2 Cor. 7:8-11)
    B. Don’t “laugh it off” (Luke 6:25b; James 4:9; Philippians 4:4; Romans 12:12; 1 Corinthians 13:6; James 1:2)

IV. The persecuted and the praised

    A. Threats from the religious (Luke 6:22-23; Acts 4:18-21; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 3:13-17)
    B. The approval of men (Luke 6:26; 2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Our God, He Is Alive

728b Our God He Is Alive

I. General revelation

    A. “There is, beyond the azure blue, a God concealed from human sight” (Genesis 1:1; Romans 1:20)
    B. “He tinted skies with heav’nly hue and framed the worlds with His great might” (Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 11:3)

II. Specific revelation

    A. “There was, a long, long time ago, a God whose voice the prophets heard” (2 Peter 1:16-21)
    B. “He is the God that we should know” (John 17:3; 2 Peter 3:9; John 14:6)
    C. “Who speaks from His inspired word” (Romans 10:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17)

III. The creation of man

    A. “Secure is life from mortal mind; God holds the germ within His hand” (Genesis 2:7; 1:26-28)
    B. “Though men may search they cannot find, for God alone does understand” (Job 38:4-7; Deuteronomy 29:29)

IV. The sacrifice of the Son

    A. “Our God, whose Son upon a tree, a life was willing there to give” (Ephesians 2:14-16)
    B. “That He from sin might set man free, and evermore with Him could live” (Romans 6:16-18; Ephesians 3:10-11; Matthew 25:34)

[Lesson developed from hymn by A. W. Dicus]

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 105/260: Read Hebrews 5

The sympathy or compassion of the high priest based on his own weakness is similar to how we should treat our brothers and sisters in the church today. Paul wrote, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

Not a single one of us is above temptation, nor are we above succumbing to temptation. We must always be on guard. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Christianity is not a cakewalk.

Since all Christians are a part of “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9), let us serve one another, lovingly helping each other get to heaven, realizing that we are all tempted and we do all succumb at times. We must be gracious and forgiving toward our brethren!

Thank God we have the example of Christ, who serves as our compassionate High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-15). He was tempted, and He resisted those temptations. He gives us the example of how to resist in Matthew 4, and shows us throughout the gospel accounts how we can help each other.

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

Hebrews 2:1. Therefore we must give the most earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.

Pray

Pray for forgiveness from the Father, and for grace toward your fellow man.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 104/260: Read Hebrews 4

The Israelites heard the promise of rest, but their hearing was “not…mixed with faith.” They heard, but they didn’t believe, and since they didn’t believe, they were disobedient.

Belief must precede obedience, and obedience must follow belief. One cannot say, “I believe,” and not act upon that faith according to God’s will. That is not Biblical faith.

The ultimate rest promised to God was not in the land of Canaan, but eternity. This is not simply a relief from the worries and weariness of life, but a rest from the work of doing God’s will in this life.

Otis Gatewood wrote many years ago, “Did you ever try to rest when you were not tired? It is an impossibility. Heaven is described as a place of rest, and we will not enjoy it unless we are tired when we get there. Many are not going to be tired because they never ‘work’ for the Lord.”

The apostle Paul recognized that while he had breath in him, he needed to continue working, continue pressing on, continue reaching forward. “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfect; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).

Keep working so you can enjoy the eternal rest promised.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Hebrews 2:1. Therefore we must give the most ________ heed to the things we have ________, lest we drift away.

Pray

Pray for opportunities to work in God’s kingdom.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 103/260: Read Hebrews 3

We are reminded at the outset of the third chapter of Hebrews that this epistle is written to “holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.” This is not a letter intended to persuade non-believers to become Christians, but rather the writer wants his recipients to remember who they are, and whose they are.

The Christians here struggled with the temptation of leaving the gospel and returning to the Old Law. The entire letter is written to spotlight Christ’s superiority over the Old Law, while not denigrating the service that Moses performed.

Moses deserves a great deal of respect for the work he accomplished among the people of God. He was faithful in the execution of the duties God assigned to him. Yet, God had bigger plans for His children, and Jesus is “worthy of more glory than Moses.” Why?

First, because Jesus is the Creator, but Moses is simply created. Second, because Jesus is God, but Moses is simply a man. Third, because Jesus is the Son of God, but Moses is simply a servant of God.

The Old Law served a very specific purpose, but now we live under a better law, given by a better lawgiver, with better promises. We should not seek to return to something lesser that is no longer in effect. Embrace that which is better.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Hebrews 2:1. Therefore we must give the most earnest ________ to the things we have heard, lest we ________ away.

Pray

Pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the better covenant that Jesus established when He died on the cross.

But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. (Acts 8:12)