THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 11-22-09
LESSON TITLE: “THE NEW COVENANT…SPEAKS BETTER THINGS: BETTER THINGS CONCERNING YOU”
Isn’t it great to know God and to have the privilege of gathering together and praising His name on this wondrous Lord’s Day? Thanks for joining us on this special day. We are so happy to have you this morning for this time of offering to God. How blessed we are in this country to have the freedom to assemble this day and to give this time to our Creator. It is my hope and prayer that we will each do our part to make this time of worship acceptable in God’s sight and according to His Will!
Now as we begin to focus our thoughts on God, will you bow with me before His throne in prayer?
Let me say “Happy Thanksgiving!” I hope you have great plans this coming week to be with family and friends. For we certainly have a lot to be thankful for in this life. Let’s all learn to be more thankful to God and others for all we have been blessed with. Are you showing your thankfulness to your Creator?
Now it’s time to join in with the congregation in song. The name of our first hymn, “A Wonderful Savior!”
(SONG # 1)
Doesn’t it feel good to have knowledge and to understand things? I don’t know of anything worse than someone asking us a question and not knowing the answer or sometimes not even understanding the question. Knowledge is important.
Especially in relationship to God, it is important to know that which God would have us to. And just think for a moment, “Where do we get understanding?” You guessed it, God Himself. Read with me what God’s great servant Job said in Job 32:7-8. “I said, 'Age should speak, And multitude of years should teach wisdom. But there is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.’” Sometimes our earthly knowledge and experience determine who has the best answer, but Job tells us that Elihu said that the great and best knowledge comes from God and His Word!
I remember what Paul said to Timothy about the Word of God. Read with me from 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Is there really anything else we need to say about the wondrous Word of God? What a blessing we have from our Creator!
Do you know God’s Word? Are you studying it, in order to know it better, and thus to be better equipped in the things of God? Choose today to stand with God and to have the right answers through your knowledge of His Word.
Our study of the morning will again focus on, “The New Covenant… Speaks Better Things.” As far as the specific message of the day, we will consider, “Better Things Concerning You.” So please stay with us and after our next song, I will be leading us in this study from God’s Word. Now let’s join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
We’re so glad you’ve continued with us this day as we go to God’s Word and consider yet again another idea from the book of Hebrews that teaches us about how much better the New Covenant of God is. We so far have seen so many things about the New Covenant of Christ. We have seen that certainly the New Covenant is a better covenant. We’ve seen that it is based on better sacrifices. We see also that Jesus Christ is spoken of as so much better than everything else. We’ve also seen the concepts of better hope and the better promises. All of these so far have really helped us to focus on God’s Will and what He wants. What is it that He offers? What is it that He challenges us with in order that we might do our part?
Well today we want to kind of look at one of the first lessons to help us to understand our part. In fact, a concept of what God has offered is so wondrous and exciting and glorious that we certainly then want to say, “What should we do, or what must we do in order to receive such a better covenant, such a better Savior, such better hope, such better promises and so on.”
Well if you’ll look with me then to our main topic of study today in Hebrews and chapter 6. Look with me at the first part of verse 9 and see what the writer says. “But beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation.” Did you hear that? Did you see the challenge there, the encouragement? He says that not necessarily just the covenant is better and that Christ is better and all these things, but he says that now we are hoping, we are looking for and we are confident of better things concerning you, concerning Christians, concerning those who love God. And so this is the study that we want to consider today to see what within the context he was trying to say to find the challenges that he was trying to give to better equip ourselves to be those servants of God as commanded.
If you’ll notice with me then back earlier back in chapter 6 we really begin to see a discussion about those who were followers of God. And then what was distinctive about these followers having responded to the great many blessings of the better covenant is that something happened to them. And what was it that happened to them? Look with me if you will in verse 6. The Bible says, “If they fall away to renew them again to repentance.” Well to understand what he is talking about there we go back to verse 4 and we’ll actually look at this in a later lesson a bit more deeply. But here he says, “Well it is impossible for those who were once enlightened.” Then he goes on to establish who this individual is as a follower of God. Then after he establishes this follower, this one who has responded and tasted of the things of God, he then says, “If they fall away.” You see he is talking about the problem of sins, that sin that might come upon even the follower of God and draw them away, pull them away or even keep them from being right with God. And so within the context, when he deals with this, certainly we find a sadness we might say, because it even talks about here how that those who fall away from God, in other words if you are going to fall away, you must first be what? In God. You can’t fall away from something that you weren’t in. You can’t fall off a truck that your weren’t riding on. So you first are in God and then you fall away. What do you do? It says that you bring an open shame to Christ. You have done something that is horrible in the sight of God, is blasphemous, that has caused you to reject what you know to be right for yourself or your own sake or the flesh.
Now that being the case, then we look there at verse 9 and we see what he is saying. “But beloved we are confident of (what?) better things concerning You.” You know there are those who were enlightened and those who will and might fall away, those who bring shame to God, but we’re confident of a better hope in you, of better things. We are confident that you are going to remain strong. Where’s the incentive? Well there is a lot of incentive that we have been talking about for several weeks now about why the New Covenant and Christ is so much better, but there’s also an incentive mentioned here within the same text in verses 7 and 8. I want you to notice with me what the incentive is. Well verse 7 says, “For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated receives blessings from God.” On the one hand he says, there are those that God blesses. There are those that are blessed by the rain or by the wonders of God and who are cared for and who will receive the promises as we spoke of last week. But then look at verse 8. “But if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed whose end is to be burned.” You see it is that same discussion that we find in the gospel from Christ, in the other books of the New Testament that shows us there is a choice to be made, that we follow God and we reap the rewards of that following of God and we see that we have great blessings in life and eternal promises of a home in Heaven. On the other hand, we reject God, or even as those who follow God, we fall away from God or are not obedient to God and therefore what happens? We are burned up. We lose that reward. We engage in things that cause us to no longer be in the sight of God righteous. Therefore how can something that is no longer righteous eternally dwell with God who is the very essence of righteousness? How can that which has chosen darkness rather than lightness dwell eternally with light which God is light? How can that which has rejected the love of God again dwell with God who is love when they have not lived so and faithfully as God commands?
So in understanding all of these things then we want to now look to the same context and find out some great motivations and challenges as to why we should be better servants, why as we read in verse 9 that we should be those who can be found confident that we by better things will do what God has said and that we will not find ourselves falling away or slipping from what God really has asked of us.
Look there with me if you will in verse 9 once again. What was it that he said that he was confident in? Notice there what he says? Their salvation. “Yes,” he said, “things that accompany salvation though we speak in this manner.” He says that God has offered you salvation. God has offered you eternal life. We’re confident that you are going to hold on to that gift, that promise, that you’re going to hold on to grace and mercy and God’s love and that you’re not going to fall away or to give up those hopes and promises and blessings from your God.
We also find something else in verse 10. He says, “There as an example for God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name and that you have ministered to the saints and do minister.” You know here we find not only the challenge to know that we will be saved as the faithful, that we certainly are found to be as those who there is confidence placed in that we will not fall away, but now notice our part. What is it that God wants of me? There are three things mentioned in this one verse alone. There in verse 10 he again says that we “work.” Does God require work? Certainly He does. We are the workmanship of God created to do His what? His good work (Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8-10). You see we have an opportunity as children to obey God. It not only mentions work but labor. You know work is a bad enough word to many of us today, and we say, “Man, who wants to go to work?” Then you start talking about “labor” and it really sounds like you are going to sweat and toil. “I’m going out here to labor in the sun and cut the grass.” Well notice the descriptive concept of those who according to the desire of salvation are not going to let God down. They work and labor and the third word is that they “minister” to others. They minister in the name of whom? God! To give glory to whom? God! That people might see whom? God in them! Do you see what our labors are for? Do you see what our works are about? Do you see what people must see and do you see why it is worth it? Because God is going to do what? He is going to bless those (verse 7). God is going to do what? He is going to give salvation (verse 9). He is going to reward those who have been found worthy. Worthy how? Because they have worked, labored, and ministered according to His commandments.
We’re not finished yet because here in this wealth of information he continues to challenge them to understand their responsibility. Diligence is next mentioned in verse 11. “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence (commitment, perseverance that you hang in there) and no matter what comes your way, you give God the best.” Isn’t that what we should want as children? That is certainly what God wants whether we want that or not. Whether we do it or not is another thing. God expects the best and He deserves nothing less than the best for He gave us life in and of itself. He has blessed us in so many ways. Here He now asks us to be diligent.
The same concept is found there in the book of Timothy in 2 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 15 where he challenges there this evangelist that is Paul, that he be diligent or committed to do what? To study. What? The Word of God. A diligence, a commitment, a perseverance to hang in there and to endure to accomplish all that God has asked. Now why again? You see God doesn’t just say to keep doing these things for nothing.
Notice what He also mentions in verse 11. That “you have the same diligence of full assurance of hope until the end.” You know the wonderful thing is that when we talk about this confidence that is mentioned there in verse 9 and we talk about our security in Christ and the ability that we have to know we are saved and will be saved. What does it say now? I have full assurance. I am fully confident. I am fully assured in the hope. The hope of what? That God has done His part and if I do my part, diligence, work, labor, ministry, if I accomplish what God has asked of me, what is the outcome? What is the result? A reward from God, a promised reward, an eternal existence, salvation is mine because I do my part and I satisfy the requirements of my God, my loving God.
There is another challenging thought as well and really a bit of a rebuke in the next verse, verse 12, where it goes on to say, “You sluggard.” What he is actually saying is that after you talk about all these things you need to do, he says that some of you are lazy; lazy like the people we were talking about earlier that if they fall away. Well you see some people choose a lazy lifestyle. DO you remember the Laodoceans in the book of Revelation? Chapter 3 says that they were lukewarm. You see they were probably going through the motions for God but they really weren’t hot for God. They weren’t busy about His service and doing it with the right heart and in the right way all of the time. It wasn’t really a part of them. Here we see those who are challenged not to become sluggish, not to become those who are doing that contrary to God but rather imitate those which he says through faith and patience guess what, that inherit the promise. Do you mean there is a promise? Yes! Do you mean we will inherit it? Yes! If we are not sluggish and if we commit ourselves to God diligently as workers, laborers and ministers for His sake according to His precious Will. That’s exactly what the writer here, whom I believe was Paul, was trying to challenge these Hebrew Christians with, trying to help them to understand that they needed to grow up in Christ.
Have you ever met people who have been in the church all their life and you say, “You have got to be kidding me?” They don’t know anything about God’s Word. Don’t we need to grow up in Jesus Christ sometime? Isn’t that what was being spoken of earlier in the same text? Back up to chapter 5 there if you’ll notice what is said in verse 12. He said, “By the time you ought to be teachers, you have got somebody who is needing to teach you.” Why? “Because you are no longer dealing with anything of a mature nature, but the first principle.” He says, “You’re focused on milk. What do you need? The meat of the Word.” Then he challenges them to understand that “solid food belongs to those who are of full age. Solid food is for those who can do what in verse 14? “Who can discern good and evil, who are interested in knowing the mature matters of God?” But what was their problem? Verse 1 of chapter 6 goes on to say that they were stuck in the fundamental principles. He says to leave the elementary principles of the perfections of laying on the foundation of repentance. Repentance is a simple concept. The doctrines of baptism. The ideas here of the laying on of hands. Those things that you have already done, that you already know about, that are already a part of your religion. Move on and grow up!
I love verse 3 there. Notice what he says. “And this we will do if God permits.”
What is it all about? What is it that God should be able to have in me? He should be able to, as we read in verse 9, have the confidence of better things concerning me knowing that as it is God’s Will and that God does permit and knowing that God desires that I must grow up in Christ and become mature, that I must grow up, that I must not fall away, but rather as an adult in Christ working for my God, laboring, ministering as God has commanded that I might be what? Saved. That I might have the full assurance of the hope, that I might have the reward, that I might have all of these things that we have read about even this morning. But not only that, but that we might beware lest somehow we miss the boat. Somehow we don’t make it for we have not committed ourselves, for we have become sluggish. Why should we not be sluggish? Why should we keep on guard? Why should we keep sharpened as a two-edged sword? Because there we read again verse 12 that we will inherit the great promise of God. You see that is the wonderful hope, that’s the wonderful exciting promise that we have that God will always do what He has promised. You know God does not lie. That’s what Titus tells us, at least in the book of Titus, as told Titus. God doesn’t lie and so as God has told us that these are the things He will do, He will do it. We know He will do it. He has already given His Son to die for us. He has proven Himself.
The question is: What will we do for God? Does God have confidence in you? Will He have confidence in you? Will He know that better things are always going to come out of the life of Ray? I hope you’ll put your name in there and answer the same question. Does God know that better things will always come out of your life for Him? If so, praise be to God. If not, repent because even today you can get your life right and be proper with God and know that when you die that not only will you have that great reward of eternal life but be with God forever. Serve your God and put Him first.
(SONG # 3 – “Home Of The Soul!”)
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today? I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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Oh the love that God has shown us by wanting the best for those who are faithful in His sight. What a wondrous Father we serve, what a caring savior we have. Is Jesus the Lord and master of your life?