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Hebrews

Hebrews 13:20-25

Thursday, March 28, 2019
“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. But I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. Take notice that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comes soon, I will see you. Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you. Grace be with you all.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Hebrews writer wraps up his “brief” (verse 22) letter with a beautiful prayer for God to assist his brethren with their faithfulness, to complete (equip) them on earth, and to save them for eternity. “Peace” is not merely the absence of conflict, but is actually also the result of it. God does not promise to shield us from all struggles and skirmishes, but the battle belongs to the Lord and He does promise us the ultimate victory and eternal rest. “The God of peace” fights our battles for us and will soon “crush Satan under” our “feet” (Romans 16:20) if we remain true and faithful to Him.
 
If God “brought up from the dead” Jesus, “the great Shepherd,” He will bring us into His holy presence as well when He sends Christ back to retrieve the sheep of His flock. It was “through the blood” of Jesus (through His death) that the Father brought the Son back to life, and it is through His Precious, shed blood that He has given us new life and purchased our eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12). God has gone to great lengths to secure our salvation and He will help us to keep the faith by “working in us” (verse 21), but we must do everything that is within our power to be “pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ” our Lord (verse 22).
 
The moral of the Hebrews letter is stay faithful to the Lord no matter what! There will be times when Satan tempts us to give up but don’t you dare do it! We shall not escape God’s wrath if we “neglect so great a salvation” as this (Hebrews 2:3). Be sure to “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16), and He will help you with your weaknesses and temptations. Take “refuge” and “strong encouragement” in the hope we have as “an anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:18-19), and remember that God is a “rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6)!
 
Introduction to the book of James tomorrow Lord willing.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 13:15-19

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Christians are to “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God” (verse 15). Unlike the priests under God’s previous covenant who were restricted by the time and place and number of the sacrifices they offered, we can and should present our spiritual offerings before the Lord continually. “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). From a heart filled with gratitude we should submit our praises to the Lord in song and prayer, both publicly and privately, and ever be proclaiming His grace and glory to the people we know and meet.
 
Proper and pleasing praise to God is not only the kind that is “offered up” from our “lips” to Him, but also the type that is sacrificed by our hands to our needy brethren. Our acts of kindness must be consistent with our words of worship. We dishonor God when we heap praises and thanksgiving upon Him, but then neglect to honor Him with merciful displays of benevolence toward our needy brethren in Christ. “Doing good and sharing” are sacrifices that “God is pleased” with (verse 16).
 
In a local fold, both the sheep and the shepherds have responsibilities toward one another. God requires the members to “obey” their leaders and “submit to them” (verse 17). We must we willing to follow the lead of our shepherds as they guide us by wisdom and protect us by experience because they “keep watch over our souls.” Dangers and pitfalls and ravenous wolves abound which threaten our spiritual welfare so it “would be unprofitable” for us, to say the least, to ignore their righteous guidance.
 
It is the elders’ responsibility to “shepherd the flock of God among” them, “exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to” their “charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:2-3). As the Hebrews writer needed the prayers of his brethren (verse 18), so the Lord’s elders need the prayers of the Lord’s people. They have the toughest and most important job in the universe!
 
Please read Hebrews 13:20-25.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 13:8-14

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited. We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
If we are not firmly anchored in the word of truth, we can “be carried away by varied and strange teachings” (verse 9). The philosophies and fads of this world are ever-changing, but Jesus Christ and His perfect doctrine is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (verse 8). Cling to the Truth and you will not be “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14), even if you are the only one to not get swept away.
 
This is the final time the Hebrews writer emphasizes the superiority of our covenant in Christ over the Law of Moses. Many of these Jewish Christians were socially ostracized by their family and friends (including the eating of common meals) because of their stand for Christ and their break from the conditions of Judaism with its various animal sacrifices. But instead of being left out in the cold, the author flips the script and stresses that it is actually Christians that occupy the real place of privilege as “priests” (1 Peter 2:9) before the true “altar” of God, and the unbelievers are the ones who “have no right to eat” there or commune with the God of heaven (verse 10).
 
Fellow believers, if it comes down to a choice between the fellowship of family and friends or faithfully following Jesus, eternal life in Christ is the only wise choice. Even if we are banished from society because of our fidelity to our Lord, we “are seeking the city which is to come,” the “lasting” one that God promises to His faithful citizens (verse 14). As Jesus suffered a shameful death “outside the gate” of Jerusalem (verse 12), these Hebrew brethren were encouraged to follow “Him outside the camp” of their unbelieving Jewish companions and share in “His reproach” (verse 13). To suffer with Jesus is a badge of honor that has an eternal reward attached to it.
 
Please read Hebrews 13:15-19 for tomorrow.
 
Have a super day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 13:5-7

Monday, March 25, 2019
“Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’ Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Being “content with what you have” is, in essence, being content with God. If all we have in this whole, wide world is a healthy relationship with the Great I Am, then we have everything that we could ever possibly need. I really love what the Lord said to Aaron in Numbers 18:20: “You shall have no inheritance in their land nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel.” When we have the Lord, we have all the blessings, peace and riches of heaven with us at all times.
 
God has promised if we seek Him first that He will provide everything that we truly need in life (Matthew 6:33; Hebrews 11:6). If we are filled with greed and “the love of money,” we place the focus of our future welfare upon our own abilities. When we are “content with what” we have, we place our trust in God and His ability and willingness to provide for us. With the Lord as our “Helper,” we will never be in want (Psalm 23:1), and we should never “be afraid” (verse 7).
 
We should always remember the faithful spiritual leaders “who spoke the word of God” to us (verse 7), and have now gone on to their eternal reward. We should honor their memory, but more importantly, we should “imitate their faith.” If we follow the godly examples of the men and women of faith who have gone on to join that “great cloud of witnesses” who are now cheering us on to the finish line (12:1), we will prove to be good examples to follow for those who come after us.
 
I am including verse 8 in today and tomorrow’s reading because it is a bridge between verse 7 and verse 9. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Our former spiritual leaders and teachers were rock-solidly consistent in their faith because they knew that Jesus and His word never changes. We can depend on our perfect Lord and His perfect revelation to always be reliable and true, therefore we must try our best to be reliable and true as well. We must not be “carried away by varied and strange teachings” (verse 9), but rather be steadfast and true to the Truth.
 
Please read Hebrews 13:8-14 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 13:1-4

Sunday, March 24, 2019
“Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The author wraps up his letter with some exhortations that would have helped the struggling brethren stay faithful to Christ in their daily walk. He begins his list of “do’s and don’ts” by encouraging these Hebrew Christians (and us) to “let love of the brethren continue” toward one another (verse 1). Brotherly love is at the heart of every item on this list so it is not a coincidence that he begins with this appeal to the kind consideration of the needs and wellbeing of their (our) brothers and sisters in Christ.
 
“Hospitality” literally means “the love of strangers” or “friendship to strangers” (verse 2). It was very important and valued in this old, eastern culture to welcome travelers into a person’s house and provide them shelter, comfort and nourishment. It would be even more appropriate for Christians to accommodate their travelling brethren in Christ and show them the love of the Lord, and especially in this climate that was so hostile to believers, even if the visitor was a total stranger. Truth be known, there should be no strangers in the Lord’s church because we are all of the same “Spirit and blood” family.
 
Many brethren were wrongfully imprisoned for their forthright fidelity to Jesus Christ. People who suffer for the cause of Christ should be “remembered” (verse 3) in various and beneficial ways. Most importantly, we can and should pray for Christians who have fallen upon hard times because the fervent prayers of God’s beloved accomplishes much good (James 5:16). We should also set our prayers into motion with visits, calls, cards and assistance by using any resources that we have at our fingertips to help a needy brother or sister. If we just pray for them to “be warmed and to be filled, and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” (James 2:16-17)
 
“Marriage is to be held in honor among all” (verse 4). Unfortunately in our current culture, the sanctity of the marriage vows has been reduced to the status of a “pinky-swear” made on a playground. Matrimony has become more like kids “playing house,” and when the children get tired of the game, they just quit. But Christians must remain loyal to the spouse of their covenant if they desire to please their Lord. If we choose to be unfaithful to our marriage vows then we cannot be faithful to the God who created the honorable union of marriage, and to cheat on our spouse is to cheat on Him. If we play the infidel or cast our spouse aside like yesterday’s news paper, God will “judge,” or literally, “condemn” us; and the Lord’s condemnation of “fornicators and adulterers” applies to “all” people whether they are Christians or not.
 
Please read Hebrews 13:5-7 for tomorrow.
 
Please come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.
 
We assemble at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
9:30 AM Bible classes for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
 
Have a blessed Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 12:25-29

Saturday, March 23, 2019
“See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.’ This expression, ‘Yet once more, denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
God “is speaking” to us “from heaven” through His Son Jesus (Hebrews 1:2), and His living, sharp, powerful word (Hebrews 4:12). The word “Gospel” means “glad tidings” or “good news,” but it is also loaded with warnings for those who refuse to hear it and obey it, and for those who turn away “from Him who warns from heaven” (verse 25). If God’s chosen people of His previous, earthly kingdom suffered the penalty for disobedience, we are foolish to think that will escape the notice and the wrath of God if we reject His superior, spiritual, eternal kingdom.
 
Friend, when God “shakes the earth” one final time, all that will remain is the “kingdom which cannot be shaken” (verse 28). Jesus is God’s best and final offer to draw mankind close to Him, and the church of Christ is the only safe place for a person to be when the Lord returns to destroy the physical universe and judge all the people He created. When the Lord returns for the final time, it will be to deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24). If you do not “receive” the kingdom which cannot be shaken, you will be destroyed along with everything that can.
 
The proper response to God’s gracious offer of salvation through His Son and His church kingdom is to “show gratitude” for His unparalleled gift (verse 28). How aggravated and offended does it make you feel when you give someone a very generous gift from the kindness of your heart, and then they just show no appreciation for it whatsoever? Friend, God is offering you the most generous gift that is worth more than the whole world and all that is contained within it. He is extending the gift of eternal life, in heaven, with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. This should fill your heart “with reverence and awe” and motivate you to dedicate your life to Him in “acceptable service” (verse 28). If you refuse, all you have to look forward to is the “consuming fire” of His wrath and indignation for having such an ungrateful heart.
 
Please read Hebrews 13:1-4 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 12:18-24

Friday, March 22, 2019
“For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. For they could not bear the command, ‘If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.’ And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, ‘I am full of fear and trembling.’ But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Hebrews writer brings his contrasts of the old, inferior law and covenant and God’s new and better way made available through Jesus to a grand and climactic conclusion at the end of chapter 12. Verses 18-21 condense the events recorded in Exodus 19 where God gave the old law at Mount Sinai into one, frightening and forbidding vignette by way of contrast to the beautiful and welcoming access that we have to the Father through the sacrifice of His Beloved Son in verses 22-24.
 
All of the sights and sounds associated with the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai relayed the message that the people must be careful to keep their distance! God’s appearance was accompanied by “thunder and lightning flashes” (Exodus 19:16) and the “gloom” of a dark cloud (verse 18). God called His assembly together with the blast of the ram’s horn, and the nearer the Lord approached, “the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder” (Exodus 18:19). The Lord descended upon the mountain “in fire” and “the whole mountain quaked violently” (Exodus 18:18). Everything about this momentous event was, in a word — “TERRIFYING!”.
 
But, through Jesus, God’s people have been granted a gracious entrance into the great spiritual city of “Zion,” “the heavenly Jerusalem” (verse 22). This is the city that Abraham was “looking for” and “which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (11:10). Through Jesus we have come to the gathering of “myriads” (10,000’s) of angels, the very ones who rejoice in heaven when sinners obey the Gospel (Luke 15:10), and who also surround God’s throne at the ready to welcome us into His presence.
 
Through Jesus we have come “to the general assembly of the church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven” (verse 23). Even though we live on earth, our citizenship is actually in heaven (Philippians 3:20) where we will dwell for eternity if we live our lives in obedient faith until death. In earthly families there is only one “firstborn” child, but the word is used in the plural in today’s passage. All of God’s spiritual children hold this special status of privilege and all eagerly await an equal, eternal inheritance.
 
And friend, if you live and die as a faithful Christian, you are not only promised a glorious inheritance in the heavenly city, you will actually come into the presence of “God” Himself! To literally dwell in intimate fellowship with the Lord who created us in His image is the ultimate satisfaction to the greatest longing of our immortal spirits. But, while this is meant to convey an image of great security and comfort, the author also emphasizes that God is “the Judge of all” (verse 23) and He is not one to be trifled with. We must have a healthy fear and respect for our Judge if we want to dwell with Him in familial companionship as our Father in heaven forever.
 
Please read Hebrews 12:25-29 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day.
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 12:12-17

Thursday, March 21, 2019
“Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Sometimes we need to “reach back for something extra” as the old sports cliché goes. Every so often we feel spiritually “weak” and “feeble” (verse 12)—drained from the stresses of our perpetual endurance race. It is at times like these that we need to strengthen our resolve to push ourselves forward (with God’s help of course) along the course of truth and righteousness. During our weakest moments, we run a great risk of deviating from the “straight” and narrow “path” that leads to heaven above (verse 13). Giving up may seem like the easy thing to do, but seeking the path of least resistance will only take us from bad to worse. When we return to the world we go from weak to “lame,” but if we turn to the Lord we will “be healed”.
 
God expects us to “pursue peace with all men” (verse 14) even when they are determined to ridicule and mistreat us. It is only natural for us to feel resentment and become bitter because of rough treatment, disappointments and unmet expectations, but this will only cause us to fall “short of the grace of God” (verse 15). The Lord has redeemed us for our purification and “sanctification,” and we will not “see the Lord” if we become embittered instead. A bitter root only produces bitter fruit. When we grow distrustful and angry because of the difficulties associated with following God, our own bitterness can cause “many” to “be defiled”. Christian beware! Pessimism is a highly contagious spiritual disease!
 
Esau is a prime of example of what becomes of a worldly (“immoral”) person who is only concerned with his physical comfort and the satisfaction of his natural desires. He was so short-sighted that he willingly traded the long-term future benefits of his “own birthright for a single meal” (verse 16) that provided minimal, temporary gratification. This single episode was emblematic of his approach to life, and the fallout of this one, rash decision affected the course of his life for many years to come. Later, when he lost his father’s blessing as well as his birthright, he was filled with rage and bitterness toward his brother Jacob, but he had no one to blame but himself. When he begged for a blessing of his own, it was just too late to do anything about it.
 
Friends, be careful of rash, foolish decisions that can set you on a course of physical and spiritual destruction. Learn from the example of Esau that it is just not worth it. But, unlike Esau, please do not learn this lesson when it is too late.
 
Please read Hebrews 12:18-24 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 12:4-11

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
“You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.’ It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Things are seldom as bad as they seem. We often tend to think that our problems are of the severest magnitude until we consider things from their proper perspective. We may struggle with serious persecution, temptation, loss or pain, but we “have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood” as Jesus did (verse 4). Bloodshed may be required of us some day in the future in our striving against sin, but our struggles pale in comparison to the ordeals that Jesus went through in order to secure our salvation. Once again, look to the suffering and faithfulness of Jesus to keep the proper perspective on your life and your problems (verse 3).
 
We are in a perpetual state of training. God is conditioning us by our trials in order to further develop our spiritual endurance and stamina to deal with the next affliction that life throws our way. If “it is for discipline you endure” then “God deals with you as with sons” (verse 7). As much as it hurts us to see our children struggle in life, good parents do not remove all difficulties and obstacles from the path of their youngsters. A healthy dose of “tough love” is frequently tougher on the parents than the kiddos, and they prove their resiliency time and time again as they not only recover from setbacks but often flourish because of them. View life’s difficulties as the discipline (teaching, training) of a loving Father.
 
God is the Father of our spirits (verse 9). Our parents passed on our genetic makeup to us through the combination of their chromosomes, but God has created our “inner person” in His eternal, spiritual image. “The dust” that our flesh was formed from “will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). If we allow our trials to shape us closer to the form of “His holiness” (verse 10), He will produce the “peaceful fruit of righteousness” within us that will burgeon and blossom throughout our time on earth and into timeless eternity.
 
Please read Hebrews 12:12-17 for tomorrow.
 
Stay strong! It won’t be very long!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 12:1-3

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Faith is an endurance race that does not pay off in the end unless we finish what we start. What a shame and pity it is to see a faithful brother or sister in Christ run the race with endurance for years and even decades only to abandon the course late in life and so very near to the finish line. The race, the course, the finish line, the prize is ever “set before us” so we must keep looking forward to the good things that lie ahead and not the worldly foolishness that we have left in the dust. We must cast aside “every encumbrance and the sin” that weighs us down and trips us up as we pace the path to perfection (verse 1).
 
All the heroes of faith mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11 are set as “a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us” and encouraging us to finish the race. They are figuratively “cheering from the grandstand” as we run the course, but their stellar examples are also figures of accountability holding us responsible to keep following in their footsteps. The greatest and perfect example is, of course, Jesus—“the author and perfecter of faith” (verse 2). He ran the race perfectly from start to finish, and unlike the heroes of chapter 11, He has actually “sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
 
Please, if you ever just feel like giving up and cashing out, look to Jesus through the eyes of faith. “Consider Him who has endured” more “hostility,” grief, pain and fatigue than you could ever possibly encounter (verse 3). Consider Him whose grit and determination to endure the cross and finish the race had everything to do with His undying love for you. As a matter of fact, don’t just consider Him during the periods of pain and strife. Keep your eyes fixed on Him always—through the good times and bad. Eyes straight ahead. Locked on Jesus. Keep looking, reaching, pushing forward!
 
Please read Hebrews 12:4-11 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 11:39-40

Monday, March 18, 2019
“And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
We, like these forefathers and heroes, gain God’s approval by our faith. If they could remain faithful to God through all the trials, adversities and persecutions that they were exposed to, then we can live lives of obedient faith to the very end as well. What’s more is they knew that God had something better in store for His people, both through the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the coming Messiah and in eternity. “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance” they “confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth” (verse13).
 
God had better promises in the works and his faithful “welcomed them from a distance,” even though they did not have a complete (perfect) understanding of these things as we do after the fact (1 Peter 1:2). They would have loved to have lived in the position of privilege which we occupy in the kingdom of heaven here in these last days, but they knew that this earth was not their home and that God had a glorious eternity awaiting them just the same. It is often debated whether God’s children under His former covenants had an understanding of eternal life after death. It is obvious from the book of Hebrews that His loyal servants most certainly did, and that they will share the splendor of heaven with us when we are perfected with all His saints in glory on that great day.
 
Please read Hebrews 12:1-3 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 11:35-38

Sunday, March 17, 2019
“Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
God resurrected the sons of the widow of Zarephath through Elijah (1 Kings 17), and the Shunammite woman through Elisha (2 Kings 4). As remarkable as these resurrections to temporary life were, and the exemplary faith that accompanied them, all of God’s faithful children will “obtain a better resurrection” still (verse 35). The Hebrews writer cites some unnamed martyrs who “were tortured, not accepting their release” because they refused to renounce their obedient faith in the one, true God of Creation. We have no biblical record of situations such as this, but uninspired tradition says that the prophet Amos was tortured and killed for his faith.
 
“Many students of Hebrews have suggested that the author has in mind a story from the intertestamental period that is recorded in 2 Maccabees 6 and 7. As the story goes, the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes, who controlled Palestine at the time, decided to enforce Hellenization upon the Jews, outlawed Torah observances, and rededicated the Jerusalem temple to the Greek god Zeus. Local officials tried to force a man named Eleazar, a scribe, to eat pig meat. When he steadfastly refused, he was put on the ‘rack’ and beaten to death. Seven brothers and their mother were subjected to the same pressure. They were ‘arrested and were being compelled by the king, under torture with whips and cords to partake of unlawful swine’s flesh’ (2 Macc 7:1 RSV). When the brothers indicated that they would rather die than eat unclean food, they were tortured to death one at a time, and then their mother. The last words of all eight of the characters are recorded, and the fourth brother said ‘One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him (7:14 RSV).” ("A Commentary on Hebrews" by David McClister, page 433, Florida College Press 2010)
 
Many of God’s faithful beloved “experienced mockings and scorgings…chains and imprisonment” (verse 36); “were stoned…tempted…put to death with the sword…destitute, afflicted, ill-treated” (verse 37); all in the name of faithfulness to the God who raises the dead to glorious, eternal life. Jewish tradition tells us that it was actually the prophet Isaiah who was “sawn in two” by the evil king Manasseh of Judah. Friends, if these men and women were willing to DIE for their faith in God, surely it is not too much to ask of us to LIVE for Him a life of faith, love, trust and obedience.
 
Please read Hebrews 11:39-40 for tomorrow.
 
We would love for you to come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.
 
We assemble at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
9:30 AM Bible classes for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
 
Have a great Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 11:30-34

Saturday, March 16, 2019
“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace. And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
What was the defining aspect of the faith that brought the walls of Jericho down? It was obedience. There was no logical connection between marching around a walled city for seven days and then having the walls fall down flat. Typically it took several months or even years of careful, methodic planning and execution of military strategy in order to defeat an ancient city fortified with sturdy walls. But Israel accomplished it in seven days because they did exactly what God told them to do. It was the power of God appropriated by the obedient faith of His people that conquered the city of Jericho. When we believe and do what God says, no matter how peculiar it may sound, amazing things can happen.
 
Faith saved “Rahab the harlot” alone out of all the inhabitants of Jericho because she believed that “the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11); and she acted on this conviction when she “welcomed the spies in peace” (verse 31). By faith kingdoms have been conquered, the mouths of lions have been shut (verse 33), armies have been put to flight, and death by fire and sword has been escaped (verse 34). But, as we will see in tomorrow’s reading, faith did not always provide rescue from physical torture and death. Some of faith’s greatest champions did not escape the edge of the sword, but it is precisely because of this that they “obtained promises” that are much more precious than life itself. Only faith can give us the strength to endure the unthinkable for the name of God.
 
Please read Hebrews 11:35-38 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 11:23-29

Friday, March 15, 2019
“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Hebrews writer had previously insisted that the word of Christ is greater than the Law of Moses (chapter 1), and that Jesus is to be greatly exalted over the old, Hebrew Law giver (chapter 3). But, lest someone think the author was disparaging arguably the greatest leader in Jewish history, he now shows us that the story of Moses was one of faithfulness from the very beginning. When Moses was just a baby, his godly parents risked their own lives by disobeying a direct edict from the most powerful lawgiver in Egypt in order to save their “beautiful” child (verse 23).
 
When Moses had “grown up” (verse 24) he came to the firm realization that the “passing pleasures of sin” were not a satisfactory substitute for a spiritual relationship with God (verse 25). Just think of all the wealth, privilege and power that Moses willingly chose to forfeit to be true to His Lord, and all the “ill-treatment” he was forced to endure to be loyal to his people. But Moses’ faith was forward-looking. He was “looking to the reward” (verse 26) of genuine, heavenly riches and not the kind that rusted and cankered in the king’s coffers in Egypt. He could “see” “Him who was unseen” (verse 27).
 
It takes real, spiritual maturity to choose to divorce yourself from the sinful culture in which you live, and it requires true, spiritual vision to see that sin’s pleasures are fleeting, physically harmful and eternally destructive. To be faithful like Moses, we must understand that we cannot serve wealth and God, self and God, sin and God simultaneously. We must make a choice every day of our lives. Choose wisely friends. Choose to be faithful to Jesus even if you must suffer “reproach” for doing so (verse 26). “If anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name” (1 Peter 4:16). If we endure with Him we will reign with Him (2 Timothy 2:12).
 
Please read Hebrews 11:30-34 for tomorrow.
 
Hope you all have a wonderful day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 11:17-22

Thursday, March 14, 2019
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your descendants shall be called.’ He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
When our faith is being tested upon this earth, it may seem like God’s commands contradict or interfere with His promises, but they never do. Like father Abraham, we need to believe and know that no situation is too difficult for God to handle (Genesis 18:14), even though we may be powerless to work things out for ourselves. When the Lord commanded Abraham to offer up Isaac on the altar of sacrifice, Abraham did not falter or fail the test of his faith, even though all of God’s promised posterity rested upon Isaac’s prosperity.
 
When God tested him, Genesis 22:3 tells us that “Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey…and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.” What empowered Abraham to obey this unthinkable command? By faith he was fully convinced that God was willing and able to keep all of His promises, even if it required raising Isaac from the dead in order to do so (verse 19).
 
Biblical faith is always forward-looking in nature. Complete trust and confidence in and commitment to God will empower us to look past the problematic present and into the fantastic future. This was true with Abraham, and also with Isaac (verse 20), Jacob (verse 21) and Joseph (verse 22). All of these men looked forward to the future fulfillment of God’s promises, even as they were stooped at death’s doorstep.
 
Isaac expressed faith in the future fulfillment of God’s promises as he blessed his sons, Jacob and Esau as an old man near death. The same is true with Jacob as he blessed Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh. And Joseph expressed complete faith in God and trust in the future exodus of Israel from Egypt and his participation in it by giving orders to bury his bones in the Promised Land. Faithful friends, God will cause all things to work together for your good if you will only love and trust and obey Him (Romans 8:28), no matter how tough things may seem.
 
Please read Hebrews 11:23-29 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 11:13-16

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.”

---End of Scripture verses---

It has been appointed for all men (people) once to die, and then comes the Judgment (Hebrews 9:27). This is a very stark and startling reality, but not for the relatively few who have “died in faith” (verse 13). People who live in faith cling to God’s promises of a glorious eternity no matter how far off in the “distance” that may seem. When they come to the end of life’s way God transforms His precious promises into a marvelous reality. Taken in this context, we can understand the perplexing statement of Psalm 116:15: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.”

We are all “strangers and exiles on the earth” (verse 13) even though most people do not live their lives in a way that expresses this truth. Those who admit with their words and confess through obedience to God that they are just wayfaring strangers “make it clear that they are seeking” a much better “country of their own” (verse 14). Take great comfort and cheer in knowing that your dearly-departed, faithful loved ones have gone on ahead to dwell in the “city” that God has “prepared for them” (verse 16). They wouldn’t come back to this world of pain and suffering for all the money in the world, but they are eagerly waiting for you to come join them in the beautiful city of God.

Faith is the victory, friend, that overcomes the world. Loving, trusting, obedient faith in the God who makes the most magnificent promises, and who cannot possibly lie (Titus 1:2). See God’s promises through the eyes of faith and you will understand that they are as good as done. Put your hand to the plow and never give a consideration to looking back over your shoulder at what you left behind. Nothing in the false and fading glory of this world is worth giving up the eternal splendor of heaven for.

Please read Hebrews 11:17-22 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

Hebrews 11:8-12

Tuesday, March 12, 2019
“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
When Abraham was called by God he obeyed (verse 8). He didn’t make any excuses or protests and he didn’t ask any questions. He just got up and went into a distant and foreign land as the Lord had directed him to do (Genesis12:4). People of faith understand that, as long as the Lord is with them, it doesn’t matter where they live or what may happen to them. As long as they live faithfully to God, He will take perfect care of them. As the old hymn tells us, anywhere with Jesus we can safely go.
 
Even though the Lord had promised the land of Canaan to Abraham and to his descendants, he lived his entire earthly life as a nomad “dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob” (verse 9). A tent is a temporary structure and is the perfect symbol for the transitory nature of our home and life on this terrestrial plane. Life is short and eternity is forever and it is best to fix our hopes completely upon God and His precious promises. People of faith understand that this world is not their home and they are just a passin’ through.
 
Father Abraham was “looking for the city which has foundations” (verse 10). He had no problem frequently pulling up stakes and moving his temporary shelter to a new locale because he had his sights set on a permanent dwelling in the heavenly realm. No matter where we may choose or be forced to live on earth, by faith we understand that our true citizenship and permanent address in heaven (Philippians 3:20). Our eternal inheritance and treasures are stored up somewhere beyond the blue as we march on to Zion the beautiful city of God.
 
God is faithful to all His promises (verse 11). He promises to reward us greatly if we follow Him faithfully. He promises to destroy us eternally if we are faithless and disobedient (Hebrews 10:27). God still calls His children to follow Him today as He did father Abraham. He calls us out of the world and into His kingdom through the Gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:14). He calls (commands) us to believe in His Son Jesus (John 3:16), and to confess our faith in Him (Matthew 10:32-33). He commands us to repent of our sins and be baptized to have them forgiven (Acts 2:38). If we live faithfully until death He promises us eternal life (Revelation 2:10).
 
Please read Hebrews 11:13-16 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 11:1-7

Monday, March 11, 2019
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Faith is assurance. Faith is conviction. Even though we cannot see the end result of what we hope for, by faith we know that God will do what He has promised, therefore we must do what He has commanded. Faith is not blind; in fact it is forward “looking”. We can firmly believe in God and His promises because He has made His existence, power, goodness and faithfulness “visible” by the things He has made and the good that He has done.
 
By faith we “understand” that God spoke the “worlds” into existence (verse 3). People of faith are keenly aware that there is much more within the vast realm of existence than meets the human eye. Biblical faith produces a clear and calm comprehension within our minds that an eternal, all-powerful Spirit is the best answer for the creation and existence of the physical universe. Some of the ancient patriarchs (“the men of old”) are set forth as models of faith which we are to emulate today if we want to gain God’s approval.
 
The author does not give us a comprehensive definition of what faith is but he does give us brief glimpses into what people of faith do (not just what they believe). People of faith, like Abel, offer the very best sacrifices they have to give to God (verse 4) and take His authorized forms of worship very seriously. People of faith, like Enoch, love the Lord with all their heart, mind and strength, therefore they put their very heart and soul into “pleasing God” (verse 5). People of faith, Like Noah, have “reverence” for the Lord and do His will no matter how difficult the task may seem (verse 7).
 
When people of faith serve God according to the dictates of inspired revelation they “condemn the world” and receive His reward. They condemn the world by their actions and not with harsh words of contempt and derision (verse 7), and they please their “Rewarder” (verse 6) by diligently seeking and giving priority to His kingdom and righteousness above all earthly endeavors. We can be faithful like righteous Abel, godly Enoch and steadfast Noah if we choose to be. Turning away from the Lord who owned them was not a consideration to these loyal servants. God’s people of faith do not quit.
 
Please read Hebrews 11:8-12 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 10:32-39

Sunday, March 10, 2019
“But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY. BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Hebrews writer appealed to the past experiences of his struggling brethren to remind them that they could remain faithful to the Lord during times of trial and tribulation. Sometime after they were converted (“enlightened”) they “endured a great conflict of sufferings” (verse 32). They had been mocked and ridiculed and some of them had even been imprisoned and had their personal property confiscated because of their faith in Jesus Christ (verse 33).
 
The author wrote that they had “accepted” this persecution “joyfully” because of their strong trust in the Lord’s faithfulness and His “great reward” for their faithfulness (verse 35). Unfortunately they were growing weaker in their faith and not stronger with the passing of time. But, since they had withstood Satan’s ambushes in the past, that proved that they could do so again.
 
Discipleship in Christ Jesus is a lifelong “endurance” race (verse 36). We must keep stretching forward to the finish line to receive the “reward” that the Lord has “promised” those who persevere to very end. If we “shrink back” from the Lord and cower away out of fear and frustration that will only spell our eternal doom and “destruction” (verse 39). If we abandon our faith to escape suffering the relief will only be temporary and the pain will be everlasting.
 
We can learn from the prior good example left by these Hebrew brethren that “we have a better possession and a lasting one” when we suffer loss for the sake of Christ (verse 34). Let’s make sure that we are storing our treasures in the proper place with the best Keeper. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
 
Today’s verses are the perfect lead-in to the examples of those heroes who endured affliction for the highest and permanent riches of heaven in Faith’s Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11).
 
Please read Hebrews 11:1-7 for tomorrow.
 
We would love for you to come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.
 
We assemble at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
9:30 AM Bible classes for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
 
Have a great Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 10:26-31

Saturday, March 09, 2019

“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

---End of Scripture verses---

The Hebrew writer has belabored the point that everything involved in God’s previous covenant with Israel was just a copy, a pattern, a shadow, a flimsy precursor to the excellency and supremacy of His new covenant offered through His Beloved Son and inaugurated through His shed blood. If this is true with all the wonderful blessings that are available through the genuine, spiritual realities in Christ, the author emphasizes to us in today’s verses that it is equally true with punishment for rejecting the Son of His love.

The writer uses one of his typical “lesser to the greater” arguments to show us that, if punishment for violating the Law of Moses was severe (verse 28), then punishment for disobeying “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2) will be harsher still (verse 29). To be clear, faithful Christians who commit sins of ignorance or who sin in moments of weakness are not under consideration in this passage. The violators targeted here are those who “go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth” (verse 26). Those who blatantly and deliberately turn their backs on their Savior and His gracious sacrifice face the certainty of a “terrifying” eternity administered by the “vengeance” of “the hands of the living God” (verses 30-31).

The writer uses three vivid illustrations in verse 29 to describe what God’s covenant people do when they abandon their faith in Jesus and spurn God’s perfect and final sacrifice for the sins that defile them. (1) They “trample under foot the Son of God." To come to know and love Jesus and then cast Him aside is to treat Him as a piece of garbage that they would just throw on the ground and then walk over. (2) They “regard as unclean the blood of the covenant by which” they were “sanctified”. They treat the most precious blood that Jesus shed with contempt, dishonor and shame. (3) They “insult the Spirit of grace.” To reject God’s best and final offer of salvation is to offend and infuriate the Father who loved, the Son who saved, and the Spirit who revealed God’s loving plan of salvation. (Could this be the "unpardonable" sin of "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit"?)

 

Friend, there is no middle ground with God. You either stand with Him or against Him. You accept His offer of salvation and faithfully obey, or you refuse and suffer the eternal consequences. And the consequences are “terrifying”—a word the Holy Spirit uses twice (verses 27 and 30) to emphasize the horrific nature of the punishment. “The fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries” (verse 27). God is love. But God is also a “consuming fire” (Hebrews 2:29). All praise be to Him, however, because He gives us the choice to obey and live!!! God wants to be close to us, that’s why He sent His Son to die for us (verse 22). “Draw near!”

Please read Hebrews 10:32-39 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 10:19-25

Friday, March 08, 2019
“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
All of the confidence that a Christian possesses is supplied by “the blood of Jesus” (verse 19). That is to say, by what He accomplished for us by his self-sacrifice through the atoning work of His shed blood. We can confidently (boldly) enter “the holy place” and approach the very presence of God and have intimate fellowship with Him because our “great Priest” (verse 21) and Forerunner has opened (“inaugurated”) the way for us into heaven itself. This is the “new and living way”—not through a lifeless curtain with dead animal blood, but through the reviving sacrifice and eternal life of Jesus.
 
Under the old covenant “the veil” of the tabernacle (and afterward the temple) was a physical reminder of the barrier that existed between God and His people. Only the high priest could enter through that veil, and then only one time per year, in order to approach God in the most holy place. But Jesus grants all of God’s children access into the presence of the Father in heaven through the veil of “His flesh” (verse 20). Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” and “no one comes to the Father but through” Him and the sacrifice of His body on the cross (John 14:6).
 
The only way we can “draw near” to God is to do so with a “sincere heart in the full assurance of faith” (verse 22). “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (11:6). And this dynamic faith must issue forth from an honest, sincere and pure heart. We must allow our whole person to be cleansed and purified by the blood of Christ so that we can be clean “inside and out” so to speak (heart, conscience and body), in order to have true communion with our God (verse 22).
 
This confidence we have to enter into the holy place through our faith and Christ’s blood prompts us to do three things: (1) Draw near (verse 22). (2) Hold fast (verse 23). (3) Stimulate one another (verse 24). At all times, but especially during times of stress and difficulty, we should draw near to the throne of grace from which we draw strength and help in our time of need. We should cling to our faith and our hope in our Lord and His promises ever so tightly and withstand the urge to let go of our lifeline. And we should “not forsake our own assembling together” (verse 25) where we find encouragement and stimulation for “love and good deeds” (verse 24).
 
Every day of our lives draws us closer to Judgment Day. As we “see the day drawing near,” we must give strong consideration to three vital truths: (1) We need the Lord and His strength. (2) We need strong conviction in our faith. (3) We need the stimulation and encouragement of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Do not be so foolish as to abandon the Lord, your faith, and God’s people during times of trials and testing. These are the times you need them all the more urgently.
 
Please read Hebrews 10:26-31 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 10:11-18

Thursday, March 07, 2019
“Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, ‘THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,’ He then says, ‘AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.’ Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Hebrew writer continues to argue from Hebrew Scripture for the superiority of Jesus our High Priest and perfect sacrifice and His new covenant over the old sacrificial system and covenant. Notice in verses 11 & 12 the contrast between how the old priests needed to “stand daily” and offer sacrifices, while Christ “sat down” after making “one sacrifice for sins for all time.” Jesus accomplished in His single self-sacrifice what the Levitical priests could not accomplish in their numerous, multiple, repetitive animal offerings. The fact that Jesus “sat down at the right hand of God” after His death emphasizes that He fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies about the atoning sacrifice of the Messiah, and He finalized God’s plan of salvation. Even though His sacrificial work is finished, He “ever lives to make intercession” for us at the Father’s right hand (7:25).
 
By Jesus’ “one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (verse 14). We must be careful not to read too much into this statement, but to consider it within the overarching point the author is making. The emphasis is still on what Jesus was able to accomplish for us with just “one offering”. This verse does not teach that Jesus has made us perfectly sinless and perpetually sanctified. Christians are prone to stray from God’s will and we are in peril of falling from God’s grace if we refuse to repent and persevere faithfully to the end (Hebrews 3:12-14). We are “perfected” in the sacrifice and system of faith in Christ because all necessary requirements for forgiveness have been fulfilled and nothing has been left wanting as with the old sacrificial system. Jesus has provided genuine atonement, complete cleansing and personal access to the Father.
 
The author highlights two amazing benefits offered through Christ’s new covenant in verses 16-17. The fact that God writes His laws upon our hearts signifies the intimate, internal relationship that Christ provides for us with the Father. And, unlike the old sacrificial system that could not cleanse the conscience (verse 2), but actually served as a “reminder of sins year by year” (verse 3), through the shedding of Christ’s blood God “will remember no more” our “sins” and “lawless deeds”. Through the death of Jesus the debt for our sins has been paid in full. “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15)!
 
Please read Hebrews 10:19-25 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 9:23-28

Tuesday, March 05, 2019
“Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Everything about God’s present and final covenant with mankind is “better” than the old one He had with Israel. The true tabernacle of heaven (Hebrews 9:11) in which our permanent High Priest (Hebrews 7:24) serves is better than the old “copies” that once existed on the earth. “The heavenly things” are the spiritual realities delivered in Christ that offer a “better hope” (Hebrews 7:19) and “better promises” (Hebrews 8:6) because they were enacted by a better sacrifice (Hebrews 9:23) that has truly “cleansed” us of our impurities and sanctified us for service in the Lord’s house.
 
“The consummation of the ages” spoken of in verse 26 is equivalent to these “last days” (Hebrews 1:2) in which we are living now. It is a reference to “today” (Hebrews 4:7), the final dispensation of time on earth that was consummated with the sacrifice of Christ’s blood and God’s final and best offer of a covenant relationship with Him. Christ “will appear a second time for salvation” for “those who eagerly await Him” (verse 28), and oh what a glorious time of celebration and rejoicing that will be!
 
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (2 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
 
But for those who have not been washed in the blood of the Lamb and do not belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, this will not be a time of comfort, celebration and rejoicing. “It will be a time of terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:27). “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (verse 27). This is an obligation that we all must keep and it is an impossibility for any one of us to cancel this appointment.
 
If you can honestly say that you are not ready to stand before the Lord in judgment, today is the day to make your life right with Him. You are not guaranteed another breath, another heartbeat, another minute of life on earth.
 
Please read Hebrews 10:1-10 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 9:15-22

Monday, March 04, 2019
“For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.’ And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
It is good to contemplate and appreciate the significance of the freedoms that we have been afforded in this great country of ours. Men and women have fought against tyrannical world leaders and have bled and died on fields of battle to help make and keep us the land of the free and the home of the brave. But the greatest freedom offered to mankind comes from the greatest power and is inspired by the greatest love. God offered up the blood and life of His Only Begotten Son to purchase our “redemption” from the cruel oppression of sin.
 
While our country’s forefathers envisioned and fought for an admirable freedom that could be passed on to the generations that succeeded them, it is a liberty that is only physical and temporary in nature. But our Father on high has promised and provided us an “eternal inheritance” in heaven through the sacrifice and love of Jesus if we will only learn and love and believe the truth and become His obedient disciple (John 8:31-34). “Without the shedding of blood” there can be no freedom. And without the shedding of the blood of Christ “there is no forgiveness” of sins (verse 22). Thank you Lord for the freedom that provides abiding peace and eternal reward.
 
The Hebrew writer draws our attention to the similarity that exists between God’s final covenant with mankind and the typical human “last will and testament” in today’s passage. Both go into effect after the death of the “testator” (verse 16-17). When my wife and I die, we plan and hope to leave an inheritance to bless our daughter with because we love her so much. But the greatest inheritance that we can pass on to her is the eternal one that God has promised to His faithful children through the blood of the Son of His love. God let freedom ring on the day that love placed and held Jesus on that old rugged cross. The day that you obey the Gospel and are baptized to have your sins forgiven (Acts 2:38) is your own, personal independence day.
 
Please read Hebrews 9:23-28 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- L

Hebrews 9:11-14

Sunday, March 03, 2019
“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The blood of Christ was the only thing that could make atonement for our sins. “The blood of goats and bulls” was sprinkled once a year by the high priest upon the altar of atonement and on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant in the most holy place (Leviticus 16). But this application of animal blood and sacrificing of animal carcasses was required year after year and was an insufficient payment for the price of human sin. The application of “the ashes of a heifer” mixed with water only provided a ritual purification “of the flesh” for those who had become defiled for various reasons (Numbers 19:1-10).
 
If these inferior, inadequate sacrifices possessed the capacity to “sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,” “how much more will the blood of Christ” provide for your spiritual sanctification and “cleanse your conscience” from the burden that the guilt of your sins placed upon it (verse 14)? Jesus entered “the greater and more perfect tabernacle” of heaven “through” (not with) “His own blood” (verse 13) in order to provide “eternal redemption” for the sins of humanity (verse 12). One suitable, satisfactory, sustainable sacrifice of power and perfection to atone for your sins and cleanse your conscience from the “dead works” of sin so you can personally approach and “serve the living God” (verse 14).
 
Please read Hebrews 9:15-22 for tomorrow.
 
We would love for you to come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.
 
We assemble at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
9:30 AM Bible classes for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
 
Have a great Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 9:1-10

Saturday, March 02, 2019
“Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place. Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail. Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship, but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The most holy and revered items of the inner sanctuary, and therefore the entirety of the religious system of Judaism, were the ark of the covenant and its cherished contents: a golden jar of manna, Arron’s rod which budded, and the tablets of stone on which were written the Ten Commandments (verses 1-6). When this epistle was written, the ark and its precious contents had gone missing for 700 years. The Babylonians had confiscated “all the articles of the house of God, great and small” (2 Chronicles 26:18), and the last we read about the ark in the Old Testament is in 2 Chronicles 35:3 (around 620 BC).
 
The fate of these holy articles of worship are emblematic (a symbol – verse 9) of the entire system of the Jewish religion. They were all only temporary in nature by design, and therefore destined to be removed and replaced (Jeremiah 3:16). As a matter of fact, the tabernacle was itself, by its very nature a temporary structure, and the yearly ceremonies and services performed by the High Priest once a year on the Day of Atonement offered a very limited access to God by His people (verse 8). As long as that physical structure of the “outer tabernacle” was in place, access to the Holy Father in the true “holy place” of heaven itself was really not available to the average person. But Jesus changed all that and corrected that problem at “the time of reformation” (verse 10).
 
Quoting David McClister on the significance of verse 9 and “perfecting the conscience”: “One of the chief problems with the sacrificial system of the old covenant was that it failed to sooth the guilty conscience (see 10:1f). Even when the offerer complied with God’s requirements that promised forgiveness…the worshiper was still left with a sense of inadequacy because what was offered for sin did not match the guilt of that sin. How could the blood of a dumb animal forgive the sin of a rational human being? Technically, it could not (see Heb 10:1)…This lingering sense of incompleteness (imperfection) is what is meant when the author says the old system was not able to perfect the conscience.” (Commentary on Hebrews, page 308, Florida College Press, 2010).
 
What the blood of bulls and goats and lambs could not do, our perfect Lord and Savior more than adequately accomplished for us when He offered up Himself as the perfect, spotless, sinless, human, divine sacrifice. When we draw near to the blood of Christ we draw near to God on the throne of heaven. All praise be to our loving Savior!
 
Please read Hebrews 9:11-14 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 8:7-13

Friday, March 01, 2019
“For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says, ‘Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the Land of Egypt; for they did not continue in My covenant, and I did not care for them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the House of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, “know the Lord,” for all will know Me, from the least to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.’ When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Hebrews author had just explained that Jesus is the fulfilment of Psalm 110, thus changing the old priesthood and the old law, making them obsolete (Hebrews 7:11-12). In today’s verses he picks up on the idea he introduced in Hebrews 7:22—namely that a change in God’s covenant coincides with a change in His law. The writer quotes from the Old Testament once again to allow the Holy Scripture to make his argument and his point for him. That’s really what all good teachers of the truth must do—get out of the way of the Bible and let God speak for himself through it. In verses 7-12 the writer quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34 to do just that.
 
Jeremiah prophesied about a time when God would enact a “new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (verse 8). The problem with the old covenant was twofold. It did not adequately provide for the forgiveness of sins (verse 12), and most of the people involved possessed the wrong kind of heart (verse 10). God lovingly led Israel by the hand out of the land of Egypt as a Father leads his children away from harm and into a place of safety. But, most of that rebellious clan did not love Him back. They did not “continue” in God’s covenant relationship. God did his part, but they refused to do their part.
 
The only way for people to be a part of the new Israel (verse 10) and enter into the new covenant relationship with God is to possess a heart that is willing and able to internalize His word and truly come to “know” Him in a loving, obedient way (verse 11). God spoke through Jeremiah saying, “I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart” (Jeremiah 24:7).
 
The old Israel was comprised mostly of individuals that were God’s people in name only. Most knew about God but never came to know Him on an intimate level. God will no longer call a people and then beg them to come to know Him (verse 11). In Christ Jesus (the new and better way) that true, intimate knowledge precedes entrance into His covenant and kingdom, and, in fact, is the distinguishing mark of a member of the new House of Israel.
 
In the new covenant, God provided the permanent solution to the problem of sin, as indicated by the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:34. Jesus is the answer to our greatest problem—the sin that separates us from fellowship with God (Isaiah 59:1-2). The right sacrifice has been made and the Good News of Him appeals to the right (good) heart. When Jeremiah foretold of the coming of a “new covenant” God was announcing the eventual termination of the first one (verse 13). In Christ Jesus He has rendered His previous law and covenant with physical Israel “obsolete”.
 
Please read Hebrews 9:1-10 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 8:1-6

Thursday, February 28, 2019
“Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, ‘See,’ He says, ‘that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.’ But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The “main point” of the author’s discourse in chapter seven about Jesus fulfilling the prophecy of Psalm 104 concerning the priesthood of Melchizedek is that our Lord ministers as High Priest in the “true tabernacle” of heaven itself. The earthly tabernacle was a mere “shadow” and a crude “copy” (verse 5) fashioned by the hands of man, but Jesus was exalted to the true Holy of Holies when He ascended back to the Father and took His “seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.”
 
Please notice here friends that God’s previous covenant with its earthly tabernacle and temple, and all of its various and numerous animal sacrifices, ceremonies and ordinances was a mere “copy and shadow of the heavenly things.” The Law that Moses received and the covenant that God enacted with the children of Israel on Mount Sinai was only a “pattern” or a “type” of the “better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises” (verses 5-6).
 
For Jesus to return to this earth and restore the kingdom and throne and temple in Jerusalem and reestablish any portion of that former copy and shadow of a system would be to return to the rudimentary, fleshly and inferior pattern of the heavenly realities. The earth is God’s footstool and not His throne (Isaiah 66:1). When Jesus comes back it will be to fulfill His promise to take His royal subjects home to the place He prepared for them in heaven (John 14:1-3), and not to revert back to a mere copy and shadow of the true, heavenly substance.
 
It appears to me that all the millions of believers who are waiting for Christ to return to this earth and set up His “millennial” reign from the throne in Jerusalem have completely missed the point and purpose of the God’s letter to the Hebrews. All of these former things were temporary in nature, by design. And they were mere pointers and indicators for the much more excellent way and better covenant that we have with God in Christ. God’s old testament and covenant pointed the way to Christ and the new. God’s new covenant and testament point the way to the even better promises and excellencies of heaven itself.
 
Please read Hebrews 8:7-13 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 7:26-28

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
“For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
In verse 26 the Hebrew writer lists five characteristics of the perfection of Jesus’ priesthood and sacrifice that make it far superior to any other priesthood and sacrificial system.
 
1) Jesus is “holy”. The Old Testament priests were holy and sanctified to God’s special service. But the word “holy” that describes Jesus in verse 26 is not the typical Greek word “hagios” that denotes sanctification. It is the less frequently used “hasios” and implies a greater quality of holiness. Jesus was perfectly sinless in his holiness.
 
2) Jesus is “innocent”. The King James Version uses the word “harmless” and it literally means “void of evil”. The characteristic of innocence qualifies Jesus to be the perfect and spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
 
3) Jesus is “undefiled”. This quality of Jesus allows Him to be both our High priest and the perfect sacrifice simultaneously. The priests under the Old Testament could not perform their priestly duties if they were “unclean”. But, while their cleansing was ceremonial in nature, Jesus was completely free from the guilt of sin, which also made Him our perfect sacrifice.
 
4) Jesus is “separated from sinners”. Jesus was often condemned by the religious leaders of His era for consorting with sinners and even eating with them—a thing that they would avoid doing at all cost. But, unlike those hypocritical leaders and priests, Jesus was “separated from sinners” in that they were sin-laden and He was completely sin-free.
 
5) Jesus has been “exalted above the heavens”. The old priests held a special office which kept them “separated” from the common people, but Jesus holds a position above and over all others. Jesus has no peer and has been highly exalted, ascended to the right hand of the throne of God in heaven where He reigns as King and mediates as High Priest in a fashion unlike any other.
 
Please read Hebrews 8:1-6 for tomorrow.
 
Blessings!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 7:18-25

Tuesday, February 26, 2019
“For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. And inasmuch as it was not without an oath (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, ‘The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, “You are a priest forever”’); so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Law of Moses was perfect for what God designed it to do. But, because of the very nature of its sacrificial system, it “made nothing perfect” (verse 19). The blood of animals sacrificed on the altar of atonement by fallible, mortal priests could not atone for and take away human sins. This required the perfect sacrifice of our perfect Savior who defeated death and “continues forever” holding “His priesthood permanently” in heaven (verse 24). Part of God’s intent for the Law of Moses was to bring God’s people to an awareness of their need for a Savior who was, at the same time, both the perfect Sacrifice and the perfect Priest.
 
When Christ died, arose and ascended to reign as our High Priest and King, there was “a setting aside of the former commandment” (18). This is just another way of saying that the Law of Moses has been done away with (Hebrews 10:9). It wasn’t a bad law for God’s former covenant people, it was just never intended to be God’s final law with mankind. In Christ Jesus we have a “better covenant” (verse 22) that has brought in a “better hope” and that allows us to “draw near to God” (verse 19). All of those fleshly lineages, futile sacrifices and physical rituals where only shadows and precursors of the rich, eternal, spiritual blessings that we receive in our covenant with God through Jesus.
 
Jesus “always lives to make intercession for” us (verse 25). Jesus became our perfect sacrifice so that he could save us “forever” or “completely,” in contrast to what those inadequate and imperfect sacrifices could never do under God’s former covenant with Israel. But His work on our behalf is far from being completed. He sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven intervening on our behalf in a continual, uninterrupted fashion because of His eternal life. “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
 
Please read Hebrews 7:26-28 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 7:11-17

Monday, February 25, 2019
“Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also. For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. For it is attested of Him, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Hebrew writer really hones in on Psalm 110 in order to prove to his readers that Jesus, His priesthood and His new covenant are superior to anything that has ever existed previously between God and man. Psalm 110 is a clear prophetic declaration that the Messiah would reign as King (Psalm 110:2) and mediate as High Priest (Psalm 110:4) simultaneously. The same Psalm says expressly that His priesthood would be according to the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4) and not that of Aaron and Levi from which no king could arise. So, from their own cherished Scriptures the Hebrews were taught that God’s priesthood and law (verse 12) would be superseded and replaced by something much better, and that was realized in His Son Jesus when He ascended to the right hand of the throne on high.
 
It had to be particularly offensive for a Jewish convert to hear that the Law of Moses was “weak” and “useless” (comparatively speaking) and that it “made nothing perfect” (verse 18). But the Hebrew writer goes to great pains to teach his brethren that the Law itself was only temporary and preparatory in nature by design, and pointed the way to Jesus who would serve as our perpetual High Priest by “the power of an indestructible life” (verse 16). Jesus did not meet the “physical requirement” to serve as priest under the Law of Moses, but the efficacy of the Levitical priesthood was imperfect because all those priests died (along with other reasons). But Jesus serves as “priest forever” because of His eternal life and absolute power over life and death.
 
“Moses spoke nothing concerning priests” descending from the tribe of Judah (verse 14). This statement speaks volumes about the power (authority) of the silence of Holy Scripture. Since God specified that priests under that covenant must be selected from the men of the tribe of Levi, all He had to say was nothing in order to prohibit men from the other eleven tribes from aspiring to the office of priest. God’s silence is the absence of His authority and approval for a belief or practice, and it actually constitutes a prohibition.
 
To justify worshiping God in a way that He has not commanded or implied by saying that “the Bible doesn’t say we can’t” is to circumvent God’s authority and even defy His will. When God specifies a command such as “singing” in worship (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), and speaks nothing about playing manmade instruments of music, the only type of music that He authorizes is vocal. When God says nothing He prohibits anything else. And remember, you can’t go to the Old Testament to justify this or any other practice because that law has been changed (verse 12). We learn valuable lessons from the Old Testament (Romans 15:4), but we are bound by the authority of the New Testament (Hebrews 8:13).
 
Please read Hebrews 7:18-25 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 7:1-10

Sunday, February 24, 2019
“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually. Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils. And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest’s office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their brethren, although these are descended from Abraham. But the one whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed the one who had the promises. But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. In this case mortal men receive tithes, but in that case one receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives on. And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The author now returns to the subject of Melchizedek and his likeness to Jesus. The name Melchizedek literally means “king of righteousness” (verse 2), and he ruled over the Canaanite city-state of Salem. “Salem” is a variant of the Hebrew word for “peace” (shalom), and likely denoted the place that was later named Jerusalem. Even though there is a comparison between Melchizedek’s kingship and that of our righteous Prince of Peace, the Hebrews writer’s main point of focus is on the similarity of their priesthood.
 
The biblical historical account of Melchizedek is found in Genesis 14:18-20. Not much is revealed about this enigmatic figure who has been the focal point of much speculation and controversy, but enough is mentioned for the writer of Hebrews to make his argument—that the priesthood of Jesus is far superior to that of the Levitical priesthood. This argumentation leads up to the point that there has been a change in the priesthood of the Law of Moses, and subsequently and necessarily, a change in the law itself (verses 11-17).
 
Since Melchizedek blessed father Abraham, and the patriarch “apportioned” to the king/priest “a tenth part of all the spoils” taken from his defeat of the kings of East, it is “without any dispute” that he held a position of greater status than that of Abraham (verse 7). And since Levi was a descendant of Abraham, he “paid tithes” to Melchizedek as well, “so to speak” (verse 9). Also, the perpetuation of the Levitical priesthood was completely dependent upon an inherited succession according to a strict family lineage. But, like Jesus, Melchizedek neither received his priesthood from a predecessor nor did he pass it on to a successor.
 
This passage does not teach that Melchizedek was an eternal being like our Lord who was without beginning or end. Verse 6 clearly shows us that he had a “genealogy” but it was just not recorded for us, and, again like Jesus, it was not “traced from” the descendants of Levi. We must keep in mind that the comparison made is between the priesthood of Jesus and Melchizedek and not the essence of their being.
 
As David McClister points out in his Florida College Press commentary: “Messianic figures in the Bible (of which Melchizedek is one) by their nature are not equal to the things to which they point as figures.” He also wrote, “If Melchizedek was an eternal being, then he was already the perfect high priest.” And of course we know he was not. But he did prefigure our Perfect High priests in some, but not all regards.
 
Please read Hebrews 7:11-17 for tomorrow.
 
We would love for you to come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.
 
We assemble at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
9:30 AM Bible classes for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
 
Have a great Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 6:13-20

Saturday, February 23, 2019
“For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.’ And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll. Those who live outside of Christ often falter and flounder when the seas of life get rough. And when the end of life’s voyage is very near, there is only the bleak outlook of an uncertain eternity. But God’s children who have been washed in the blood of Jesus have the one, most important thing that to cling to during the rough storms of life and end-time of departure: HOPE!
 
This hope that we have in Christ Jesus is a solid anchor that holds us steady during life’s storms. This solid anchor is both “sure and steadfast” and is fastened “within the veil” of heaven itself. God’s children can take “strong encouragement” in knowing that our faithful loved ones who have embarked upon their final journey have landed safely in the city of gold, our harbor bright. And we can know for certain (hope in Christ is an confident expectation) that when WE reach the end of the way, we will follow our Forerunner into heaven’s safe veil as well, and be reunited with our dearly departed loved ones in Christ.
 
God has promised His children a home in heaven (John 14:1-4; 1 Peter 1:3-4), and He has confirmed it with an oath. By these “two unchangeable things” declared from our God who cannot lie, we need never fear the chill waters of death. Death holds no sway over God’s beloved and elect. Jesus said in John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Hear and hold the words of Jesus: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
 
Please read Hebrews 7:1-10 for tomorrow.
 
Praying you all have a blessed day.
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 6:9-12

Friday, February 22, 2019
“But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Hebrews writer had given some stern warnings about the perils of “falling away from the living God” (3:12; 6:6), but obviously his Hebrew brethren had not reached the point of being unreachable by a godly appeal for faithfulness. They needed to nurse on the milk of the word (5:13) and reestablish the foundational first principles (verse 12) so that they could relearn the elementary teaching about Christ and “press on to maturity” (verse 1).
 
Once again we see the preeminence of love as the “greatest” (1 Corinthians 13:13) aspect of the “things that accompany salvation” (verse 9). The fact that they expressed true, dynamic love for their brethren by “having ministered and in still ministering to the saints” carried a lot of weight with their just and merciful God (verse 10). “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
 
Love was their saving grace, but they still had a lot of work left to do, and so do we. They needed to “show the same diligence” in other aspects of their service to God as they did in their love and service toward His saints. We must be very careful to not possess and express a “one-dimensional” faith. God’s grace is “manifold” (multifaceted, multidimensional), and our stewardship of His blessings should prove to be the same (1 Peter 4:10). Let’s not be “sluggish” and lazy in our faith, but be zealous in the good times, and show “patience” through the hard times, so that we may “inherit the promises” of God (verse 12).
 
Please read Hebrews 6:13-20 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 6:1-8

Thursday, February 21, 2019
“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. 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 blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.” (NKJV)
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
When the author stresses the importance of “leaving” the discussion of elementary principles, and moving “on to perfection,” he is not suggesting that the “first principles” of Christ should never be revisited and refortified in our minds. He is merely telling us that those “bedrock” aspects of Christianity have already been laid as the “foundation” of our new life in Christ Jesus, and we should be continually building upon that. The alphabet is still an important part of our vocabulary even after we have learned and mastered the use of it.
 
“Repentance” from the “dead works” of sin and “faith in God” are perfect compliments and basic prerequisites for anyone to be born into the infancy of a life in Christ. Repentance is turning away from our former life of sinfulness, and faith involves turning toward a life of love for, trust in and obedience to God. Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins and, there and then, we are “plunged” into our new life in the Lord. Perhaps “baptisms” is used in the plural because it was vital to teach these early, Hebrew Christians the differences between the various, Jewish, ceremonial washings, the baptism of John, and the “one” baptism that remains binding in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:5).
 
No matter how much we agonize over the loss of a once-faithful Christian who turns His back on the Lord and returns back to the world, “it is impossible” for us “to renew them again to repentance” (verses 4-6). When a person has been “enlightened” by the word, and has personally “partaken” of and “tasted the heavenly gift” of salvation, and then they “fall away,” they reject the Lord who purchased them, and in essence “crucify” Him to themselves all over again. They are like a plot of ground that “drinks in” the good rains from heaven above, but only to produce useless and harmful “thorns and briers” instead “useful” herbs and fruits (verses 7-8).
 
Notice that these useless plots of earth are “rejected” but are only “near to being cursed” and in the “end” will be “burned” up. With reference to the fallen child of God who has rejected the Lord and cast all His good gifts aside, this still leaves out hope that he can still turn and be saved before it is too late. But, like the Prodigal Son in the famous parable of our Lord, he must “come to his senses” and return to his Father and beg His forgiveness (Luke 15:17-19).
 
When a “once enlightened” Christian has willfully and disdainfully rejected God’s salvation and good graces, there is nothing that we can tell them that they do not already know. We can’t renew them to repentance, but sometimes they can fall to such deplorable depths that their circumstances can. That is the “benefit” and hope of delivering “such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:5).
 
Please read Hebrews 6:9-12 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 5:11-14

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
“Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Hebrew writer has “much to say” (verse 11) additionally about Jesus as our “High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek” (verse 10), and he will pick that discussion back up in chapter seven. For now he issues a stern rebuke to the Hebrew Christians for not growing to spiritual maturity. Because Jesus our High Priest has been “made perfect” (verse 9), we should strive for spiritual “perfection” as well, and not “shrink back” during times of persecution and tribulation (Hebrews 10:39).
 
If we want to grow past spiritual infancy we must become “accustomed to the word of righteousness” (verse 13). In Hebrews 4:14-16 the author emphasized the importance of coming to the throne of grace in prayer in order to “receive mercy and find grace in time of need.” But prayer is only one, necessary, powerful weapon in our spiritual armor. We must “train” ourselves (verse 14) in the effective use of the sharp, living, powerful word of God (Hebrews 4:12) if we hope to persevere under the strain of Satan’s onslaughts, and actually wield our spiritual sword in the offensive.
 
The word of God is our spiritual food that provides nourishment, health and growth to that eternal part of us that has been created in the Lord’s image. These Hebrew Christians were failing the testing of their faith, in large part, because they were suffering from spiritual starvation. We need the “milk” of the word to grow from spiritual infancy to adolescence, and then “solid food” in order to grow to adulthood and maintain spiritual strength and health. We draw immeasurable strength from God’s word when we feast upon its bountiful provender.
 
There comes a time in the life of every healthy Christian that he/she should acquire the knowledge and skill to teach someone else “the elementary principles of the oracles of God” (verse 13). If we know the ABC’s of the faith, and have learned what we need to do to obey the Gospel and be saved, we should be able to impart that information on to others. Babies are cute, loveable and sweet. Let’s get out there and help God give life to some babes in Christ by implanting the seed of the word, and let’s nourish them spiritually on the milk of the word.
 
Please read Hebrews 6:1-8 for tomorrow.
 
May God bless you richly in His grace, mercy, love and comfort.
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 5:7-10

Tuesday, February 19, 2019
“In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
As the High Priest of the New Covenant, Jesus “offered up” His own lifeblood in order to be our “source of eternal salvation” (verse 9). “In the days of His flesh” He also “offered up both prayers and supplications” (verse 7). The prayers of the “pious” (those with reverent devotion to God) are sweet smelling sacrifices to the Lord. Jesus is the preeminent example of God hearing the prayers of the righteous sufferer.
 
Please take comfort in knowing that as we pour out our hearts to the Lord “with loud crying and tears,” He hears us, He cares for us and He will help us through our dark hours. Notice that Jesus prayed this way “to the One who was able to save Him from death.” But what did Jesus pray that fateful, fretful night, alone in the garden? He prayed that the Father’s will be done. The Father heard His Son, but the Father’s will was done. Just as the Son would have it to be.
 
Jesus was “made perfect” by suffering and dying for our sins (verse 9). He was obedient to His heavenly Father in life and death, and became our perfect Savior and perfect High priest. All who obey Him have the hope and blessed assurance of knowing that we will be saved eternally and will reside with Him in heaven for ever and ever and ever. Take comfort brethren. Our God knows our pain and suffering and He rewards His faithfully obedient servants.
 
Please read Hebrews 5:11-14 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 5:1-6

Monday, February 18, 2019
“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was. So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You’; just as He says also in another passage, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The author continues his portrayal of Jesus as our sympathetic High Priest in order to convince his converted Jewish readers that they should “draw near” to Him to “receive mercy and grace to help in time of need (4:14-16). His argument today is that Jesus is a legitimate high priest in every way, hand-selected by God and perfectly qualified for the position.
 
Jesus was “taken from among men” as the Levitical priests were since Jesus was also a man who was tempted in all points as they were (Hebrews 4:15). He was superior to them, however, in that He was “without sin” while they needed to “offer sacrifices” for their own sins as well as for the sins of those they were interceding for (verse 3).
 
Jesus also offered “gifts and sacrifices for sins” (verse 1), but His were more excellent and effectual in nature. While the old high priests sprinkled the blood of animals upon the altar of atonement and the mercy seat which resided in the holy of holies in the temple, Jesus carried the precious gift and sacrifice of His own atoning blood into the true most holy place in heaven itself, and made “eternal redemption” for sins there (Hebrews 9:12-14).
 
Jesus was “called by God” (verse 4) to the office of high priest as His “Son” (verse 5), and “according to the order of Melchizedek” (verse 6). Jesus is legitimate in His high priestly position as were those under the Law of Moses, but He was not of their order, being much more excellent in nature since His priesthood did not end at His death but actually began there, and is perpetual in nature (Psalm 110:4).
 
Psalm 110 is a prophetic view of the Messiah who would reign as both King and High Priest over God’s chosen people. This was unheard of in the Mosaic system as the Law strictly separated the two positions. Whenever a king of Israel imposed himself upon the duties of a high priest he was harshly disciplined by God (1 Samuel 13:8-14).
 
We should all marvel at our Lord Jesus and what we have in Him as our Savior, Priest and King. He loves us because He created us. He sympathizes with our weaknesses because He became one of us. He offered Himself as a perfect, atoning sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. He sits at the right hand of the throne of God interceding for us and helping us with our weaknesses and temptations. He’s coming back for His faithful to safely deliver them home to the place that He has prepared for us in heaven.
 
Please read Hebrews 5:7-10 for tomorrow.
 
Try to sympathize with the weaknesses of the people who share in our own human frailties!
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 4:14-16

Sunday, February 17, 2019
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
From stern words of warning in most of the previous verses to soothing words of comfort today. Continuing with the dominant theme in this letter, our covenant with Christ is superior to any previous covenant because our high priest is greater. We have a “great high priest” in heaven, “Jesus the Son of God”. In God’s prior covenant with Israel, the high priests rendered temporary service in a holy place that was an inferior copy and shadow of the true holy of holies in heaven. The author will go into greater detail about the changing of the priesthood in chapter 7, but he notes here that Jesus serves as high priest at the right hand of God, sitting as His Son on the throne in heaven.
 
Because of this truth, those of us struggling on earth, for any reason, should “hold fast our confession” (commitment to Christ) with all the strength we can muster. In verse 13 we were warned to stay faithful because God can see right into our hearts and knows our thoughts and intentions and He will judge us. But verse 14 comforts us with the fact that God is not just scrutinizing us but also sympathizing with us. We have a high priest who is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses” in Jesus the Son of God, because He was also Jesus “the Son of Man”. As the “Son of Man” Jesus was forced to “suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed” (Mark 8:31). He also was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (verse 15).
 
Jesus knows what you are going through because He is God, but more so because He was human. It is not a sin to be tempted and tested, but it is a sin to give in to sin’s temptations. Jesus never gave in like we do, but He can still help because it is much more difficult to endure temptations than to surrender to them. He knows what it is like to be you, and He is strong enough to help you because He had the perfect power to resist that you do not possess. Friends, fear of the Lord’s judgment is a perfectly legitimate incentive to become and remain faithful to Him. But the fact that He loves us and wants to help us by showering His mercy and grace on us “in time of need” (verse 16) is a much more appealing plea and reason to be faithful until death.
 
As our King on the throne, Jesus has every right to order us to do His will. And He does just that. But as our sympathetic High Priest, He stands ready, willing and able to help us in the doing of it. So, rather than abandon Him during our times of trials, tribulations and persecutions, those are exactly the times we should “draw near” to Him with “confidence”. Just as closely as we possibly can. “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:8-10)
 
Please read Hebrews 5:1-6 for tomorrow.
 
We would love for you to come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.
 
We assemble at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
9:30 AM Bible classes for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
 
Have a great Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 4:12-13

Saturday, February 16, 2019
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The writer sets his focus upon “the word of God” to illustrate the power of “the Good News” that has been “preached to us” (verse 2), and the consequences of either accepting or rejecting God’s desires and demands, and His invitation to enter into His rest. The word of God “is living” because it emanates from “the living God” (Hebrews 3:12). The Bible is not a “dead letter” or a merely historical document containing facts and narratives. “For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). The word of God is alive and “enduring” and is always relevant and essential to humanity, no matter what needs they may have or era they may live in.
 
The word of God is “active” (effective, powerful). The inspired books of the Bible contain nothing less than “the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). The revelation that expresses God’s will always succeeds in the matters for which He designed it, and it always accomplishes the goals for which He sends it (Isaiah 55:11). God sent His word into the world imbued with the power to save souls for eternity (Romans 1:16), but also as His instrument of judgment and punishment. It is a lethal weapon that is “sharper than any two-edged sword.” The person who believes and obeys God’s word will be saved by it, but the one who defies and disobeys it will be condemned by it.
 
The word of God has the piercing and penetrating powers to expose even the deepest “thoughts and intentions” of our hearts. It is not enough to “appear” to be doing what is right on the outside in order to maintain a facade of faithfulness. God looks right into the human heart and knows our every notion and secret motive, for “there is no creature hiding from His sight.” “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). God sees us exactly for who we are at our innermost being. “All things are open and laid bare to” His “eyes”. We will all be required to stand before God in Judgment and give an account to Him for the way that we either received or rejected His word. This is what is meant by the term “of Him with whom we have to do.”
 
Please read Hebrews 4:14-16 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 4:1-11

Friday, February 15, 2019
“Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, ‘As I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest,’ although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works; and again in this passage, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, ‘Today,’ saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Okay, so this is one of those passages that can really make your head swim if you read it over and over trying to make sense of it. I will remind you the Apostle Peter wrote that “some things” are “hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:16), but they are not impossible to understand. Let’s see if we can follow the general flow of the logic, and I see no way to do this in few words. It is important to point out that much of the logic here is chronological in nature: from Creation, to the Exodus, to Joshua’s conquest of the Promised Land, to King David the great psalmist, to Jesus.
 
A “promise remains of entering His (God’s) rest” (verse 1). “God rested on the seventh day from all His works (of creation)” (verse 4), and since that time He has extended the invitation to those whom He created in His image to join Him in peaceful rest and fellowship. The children of the exodus from Egypt did not enter into their Promised Land rest because of their faithlessness (Hebrews 3:16-19). But even this earthly Land of Promise was not the fullest fulfillment of the blessed rest that God had planned for those who truly love Him.
 
A case in point is that Joshua finally did lead Israel into the Promised Land and they conquered the inhabitants of Canaan, and it is said that: “The Lord gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hand. Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass” (Joshua 21:44-45). And yet the Hebrew writer said that Joshua had not given God’s people the truest form of rest that He ultimately had in store for them (verse 8).
 
David wrote hundreds of years after Joshua in Psalm 95:11, “Therefore I swore in My anger, truly they shall not enter into My rest” (verse 5); implying that “it remains for some to enter” into this blessed rest. The rest that David wrote of and looked forward to is the same rest that the Hebrew writer has been focusing upon: the “Sabbath rest” (verse 9) supplied only by Jesus the Loving Shepherd (Psalm 95:7). The peace and joy and fellowship that has been made available “today” (in this final dispensation through God’s covenant in His Son), is obtained only if we “hear His voice” and “do not harden” our “hearts” to God's will for us (Psalm 95:7; Hebrews 4:7).
 
How can we not be reminded of the heartwarming invitation of Jesus, the great and only provider of true peace and rest?: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
 
But of course, there is the warning to remain faithful in verse 11, which is really what the letter to the Hebrews is all about. The author sums up and concludes his whole line of argumentation this way: “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” The fullest measure and fulfillment of the rest that only Jesus provides for us will only be achieved in our eternal Sabbath in heaven, if we love Him and are faithful to Him until death (verse 10).
 
Please read Hebrews 4:12-13 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 3:12-19

Thursday, February 14, 2019
“Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, while it is said, Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.’ For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
If there is a passage in the Bible that teaches more clearly that it is possible for a Christian to lose his salvation, I don’t know what it would be. Remember that this inspired letter was written to some unspecified Hebrew Christians who were tempted to abandon their faith in Christ because of the persecution they were experiencing. These brethren needed to “encourage one another day after day” (verse 13) to remain faithful to Christ no matter what.
 
Verse 12 tells us plainly that we can fall away from the living God. One thing that can cause that is an “evil, unbelieving heart”. I think most of us have seen this happen in our own lives. Most of us know someone who was a true, converted believer in Christ, and then just simply lost their faith. I think even a salvation by “belief only” proponent would have to admit that if someone stops believing they are lost. It is universally known that a person has to believe in Jesus to be saved (John 3:16), and the Hebrew writer tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (11:6).
 
When we “sign up” to follow Christ, we will become “partakers” in His suffering and persecutions. “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). But we will only be “partakers” of His glory in eternity, “IF” we “hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end” (verse 14). Even in the face of that persecution. The word “if” is a term of “conditionality”. Certain conditions must be met if we want to be assured of our eternal salvation. The “biggie” is that we must remain faithful to Christ until death.
 
The author used God’s unfaithful children of the exodus out of Egypt as the prime example of His “chosen” people falling short of His promises. They were not permitted to enter into the Promised Land because they continually “sinned” (verse 17), because they were “disobedient” (verse 18) and “because of unbelief” (verse 19). The whole point of this exposé on their fall from grace is to warn us that the same thing will happen to us if we prove ourselves to be faithless and disobedient like they were.
 
Please read Hebrews 4:1-11 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 3:7-11

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
“Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, ‘TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS, WHERE YOUR FATHERS TRIED Me BY TESTING Me, AND SAW MY WORKS FOR FORTY YEARS. THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION, AND SAID, “THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS”; AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.”’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
We must make certain to not allow history to repeat itself in our lives. God warned His covenant people in Psalm 95:7-11 to not make the same mistakes that His rebellious children of the Exodus made when they hardened their hearts against His will and were forbidden admittance into the Land of Promise. As God warned Israel through the great psalmist, David, so He warns those of us living in these “last days” to heed the words of His Son Jesus (Hebrews 1:2), and not put Him to the test by rebellion and defiance from hearts that have gone astray.
 
It is of great significance to understand that when we read our Bibles we are actually “hearing the voice” of the Holy Spirit (verse 7). In Hebrews 4:7 the writer says the revelation of Psalm 95 was given “through David”. But in Hebrews 3:7 he ascribed the origin of the words of the Psalm to the Holy Spirit. We are reminded of what is written in 2 Peter 1:20-21: “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
 
The reason that God’s people “go astray in their hearts,” and “drift away” (Hebrews 2:1) from His will is because they either have not known or have forgotten His “ways” (verse 10). God is a kind, loving, patient and benevolent Provider who only wants what is absolutely best for the children that He brings into the world. But He cannot tolerate persistent rebellion against His good will and good blessings, and His patience will and does run out.
 
“Behold the kindness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22): God “will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.” (Romans 2:6-8) Friends, God’s wrath is just as real as His love. Let us not temp the Lord by our sinful ways and provoke His righteous anger. When we do that we have no one to blame but ourselves.
 
Please read Hebrews 3:12-19 for tomorrow.
 
Blessings!!!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 3:1-6

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
We should look to Jesus as the paragon of faithfulness (verse 2) in our times of distress. We must “consider” (give careful attention to) Him when we are tempted to abandon our faith and throw our eternal future away. Christians partake, not in an ordinary, secular profession, but in a “heavenly calling” through Jesus. God calls us FROM heaven and TO heaven by His Son through His word.
 
Jesus is the “Apostle” of our confession (commitment) in that He was “sent” from heaven by the Father to rescue us from the slavery of sin (Hebrews 2:15), and He is the “High Priest” of our confession in that He offered himself as the atoning sacrifice for the sins that separate us from God (Hebrews 2:17) and His eternal rest (verse 11). Jesus was sent by God as an Apostle and He presents us to the Father as a High Priest.
 
Jesus is greater than the angels of heaven, through whom the Law of Moses was delivered (Hebrews 2:2), and even greater than Moses himself (verse 3). It was a challenge for a faithful Jew to elevate any man above the station of “the great law-giver,” who was the “apostle” and “mediator” of God’s law and covenant with Israel that was ratified on Mount Sinai. Both Moses and Jesus were faithful in the administration of their duties over God’s “house” (family). But Jesus is “worthy of more glory than Moses” because the Son of God is “builder” (Creator) of the house and not merely a created (yet faithful) servant like Moses (verses 5-6).
 
Because of Jesus’ absolute obedient faithfulness in His execution of the Father’s plan of salvation for us, faithful Christians are a privileged part of the household of God (verse 6). As brethren of Jesus and faithful children of the Great I Am, we have every right and reason to “hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.” Stay faithful. Like Jesus. To the very end. No matter what. It will be more than worth it!
 
Please read Hebrews 3:7-11 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 2:14-18

Monday, February 11, 2019
“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The devil is real and the devil is powerful (verse 14). When we fall for his deception and give in to our lusts and choose to sin, we fall under the power of Satan. Our adversary uses the power of sin to secure our spiritual “death” and subject us to the bonds of “slavery” (verse 15). Sin kills us (separates us from God), and enslaves us (holds us captive and powerless to escape).
 
That is why Jesus came into the world. In one of the greatest and most powerful ironies of all time, Jesus defeated death by His own death (verse 14). What looked like a surefire victory for Satan over Jesus and His efforts to save mankind, turned out to be a crushing defeat for that slanderer (3:15). As Jesus pitifully hung on that old rugged cross, and afterward was laid in that dark, cold tomb, it looked like our King had been vanquished and humanity’s greatest hope had been snuffed out.
 
If Jesus had stayed dead and His body had remained in the tomb, Satan would have won. But Jesus arose victoriously from the grave and destroyed death and Satan and all the fear that goes along with being a slave to sin. If you belong to Jesus you need never fear death. If you are a faithful Christian, life only gets better after your spirit separates from your body.
 
Jesus, our “faithful high priest” appeased (made “propitiation” for) God’s wrath that our sins rightly incurred, when He offered himself as the perfect, substitutionary sacrifice. Then He arose from the grave and ascended into heaven and blazed the trail for us to follow. Until we get there, Jesus sits at the right hand of the throne of power and helps us in our times of need and temptation (verse 18). Jesus is not a mere heavenly spectator sitting idly by as we struggle with sin here on earth. He is ready, willing and able to help when we ask, seek and knock.
 
Please read Hebrews 3:1-6 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 2:5-13

Sunday, February 10, 2019
“For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. But one has testified somewhere, saying, ‘WHAT IS MAN, THAT YOU REMEMBER HIM? OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT HIM? YOU HAVE MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS; YOU HAVE CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAVE APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS; YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.’ For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, ‘I WILL PROCLAIM YOUR NAME TO MY BRETHREN, IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION I WILL SING YOUR PRAISE.’ And again, ‘I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM.’ And again, ‘BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME.’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The author returns to his argumentation that Jesus is greater than the angels, and therefore the Gospel is greater than God’s prior testimony that was given through the mediation of angels. “The world to come” is not the afterlife, but the dispensation of “which we are speaking” (verse 5). The author is still writing about the Messianic age of Jesus, which is the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies, and that is the great and final dispensation of time before God destroys the world and judges all of its inhabitants.
 
Even though Jesus was greater than the angels being the Creator of the angels, He made Himself “for a little while lower than the angels” (verses 9), when He visited the earth that He created in the form of a human being, and “suffered” and tasted “death for everyone” (verse 9). The author quoted Psalm 8:4-6 where David expressed His amazement at the fact that the Almighty Creator of the Universe would even think or be concerned about such a minute and seemingly insignificant thing as a man.
 
Well, not only did God “remember” us, He loved us enough to become one of us. Jesus, the Word incarnate, is not ashamed to call” us “brethren” (verse 11). Think about that for a few moments. If the great psalmist was perplexed about the contemplation that God would even have the slightest consideration for us, how about the fact that “the Word became flesh,” and dwelled among us, that He lived for us, died for us and tasted death for each and every one of us!!! If you are ever feeling low and lonely and unloved, please open your Bible to Hebrews chapter 2 and just feel the intensity with which God loves you friend.
 
God the Word became “The Son of Man” to become the “author” of our salvation (verse 10). The word “author” means “captain” or “leader” or “pioneer”. It is one who goes into a new area before others and leads the way that they may follow safely after. Jesus is the “author” and “originator” of our salvation who ascended to heaven as our “forerunner” (6:20) to prepare a place that we might follow after Him (John 14:2-3). Jesus suffered for all those who have been subjected to suffering, so that He might bring as “many sons to glory” as put their trust in Him (verse 13).
 
Please read Hebrews 2:14-18 for tomorrow.
 
We would love for you to come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.
 
We assemble at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
 
9:30 AM Bible classes for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
 
Have a great Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 2:1-4

Saturday, February 09, 2019
“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
If the readers practiced zealous adherence to the old law delivered through angels, they ought to pay even “closer attention” (verse 1) to the word which was spoken by the Lord Jesus (1:2), and delivered to them through His apostles and prophets (verse 4). These Hebrew Christians were experiencing some troubling times because of their faith, but it was time to cling to their faith and Christ’s word and kingdom as tightly as possible, and not fall away from it. The eternal consequences were entirely too great for them to turn loose of their spiritual moorings and “drift away” from their Rock of salvation.
 
Friends, the Creator and Judge of the world speaks to us through the Gospel (1:2). We must listen closely to it and cling to it like our lives depend upon it. We must obey the truth and not let go of it for any reason because one day we will all be judged by it. We must “pay much closer attention” and keep our ship on its proper course so that we do not just aimlessly drift about in the sea of ignorance, doubt and sin. If we neglect spending time in the word and applying its teaching to our lives we will float away from the Lord and toward the jagged rocks of error and worldliness, to our own peril. There are many things in this world that can cut us loose from our strong anchor of hope (6:19). Laziness. Distraction. Dissatisfaction. Worldly ambition. Busy-ness.
 
The author uses a classic “lesser to the greater argument” in verse 2-3. If the Law of Moses was “unalterable” and “just,” and those under it were accountable to its every command and every infringement was punishable by God, how much more so the “great salvation” revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament? Once a person was convicted of sin under the old law, there was no way of release or “escape” because the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins (10:4), and there was no true forgiveness until God provided a Savior.
 
But, when the Father sent His own Son into the world to die for our sins and provide for our soul’s salvation, that was truly the provision of “great salvation”. This salvation is “great” because of the greatness of the One who gave His own life as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. This salvation is “great” because of the horrid nature of sin and its eternal damnation that He rescued us from. Friend, there is no way to escape the everlasting condemnation of sin unless you latch onto the Savior and His holy message with all your might and not let go and “drift away” to your own disaster.
 
We see in verse 4 what the true purpose of “signs” and “wonders” and “miracles” was. God empowered the Apostles and other disciples in the first century with miraculous capabilities through His Holy Spirit in order to “confirm” (verse 3) the word of truth that they spoke by inspiration. When they taught the Gospel, the accompaniment of miracles validated their words as God-ordained truth. Just read Acts chapter 14 as a prime example of this truth in action. “Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands” (Acts 14:3).
 
Now that we have the final, perfect, completed, compiled New Testament, miracles have served their purpose and have ceased to be necessary (1 Corinthians 13:8-13). The Gospel of Jesus Christ is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16), and it is all we need to make us spiritually complete (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4).
 
Please read Hebrews 2:5-13 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 1:8-14

Friday, February 08, 2019
“But of the Son He says, ‘YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM. ‘YOU HAVE LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATED LAWLESSNESS; THEREFORE GOD, YOUR GOD, HAS ANOINTED YOU WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE YOUR COMPANIONS.’ And, ‘YOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS; THEY WILL PERISH, BUT YOU REMAIN; AND THEY ALL WILL BECOME OLD LIKE A GARMENT, AND LIKE A MANTLE YOU WILL ROLL THEM UP; LIKE A GARMENT THEY WILL ALSO BE CHANGED. BUT YOU ARE THE SAME, AND YOUR YEARS WILL NOT COME TO AN END.’ But to which of the angels has He ever said, ‘SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET’? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The Hebrews author pours fourth streams of Old Testament quotes in the first two chapters, mostly taken from the Psalms, for two critical purposes. Firstly, the most effective way to convince Jewish converts that Jesus is the Christ and worthy of their loyalty, even if suffering is required, is to do so through the Scriptures that they cherish and consider the final word in all matters.
 
Secondly, the writer demonstrates through these Old Testament passages the truthfulness of the assertions that he made about Jesus in the first three verses—That “He is the heir of all things;” that He shares God’s glory and essence; that He made the world and holds it together; and that He is now sitting “at the right hand of the majesty on high.” Today’s verses expand upon those bold statements about Jesus in verses 1-3 and use the Holy Scriptures to validate them.
 
Unlike all transitory earthly kingdoms and their fallible, impure rulers, the kingdom of Christ is eternal (forever and ever), and He reigns over it with a “righteous scepter” (verse 8). When the Father “anointed” Jesus as Sovereign over His kingdom, He did so with “the oil of gladness” (verse 9). Jesus was given a measure of joy that far exceeded that of any earthly king because he “loved righteousness and hated lawlessness.” Jesus lived a perfectly sinless, purely righteous life on earth which qualified Him to sit “down at the right hand of the majesty on high” (verse 3).
 
Although some religious groups make a fuss about Jesus being called “begotten” (verse 5), the “firstborn” (verse 6), and God’s “heir” (verse) to prove that Jesus was a created being, the Hebrew writer has an entirely different focus. The author refers to Jesus as “God” twice and “LORD” once, and ascribes to Him all the attributes of deity (verse 1-4). The terms “firstborn” and “heir” refer to Jesus’ preeminence and exalted status above all created people and things, and He was “begotten” when He powerfully arose from death (Acts 13:33), and ultimately ascended to the right hand of the Father. The things that the writer said about Jesus in verses 11-12 are also ascribed to Yahweh God in Psalm 102:24-27 and Isaiah 51:6.
 
The Hebrews writer stresses the superiority of the eternal Jesus over the angels that He created to set the stage for the argumentation that he makes throughout this letter that the New Covenant (Testament) is superior in every way to the Old Covenant (Testament). The New Testament prophets and writers say that the old law was “ordained by angels” (Acts 7:53, Galatians 3:19, Hebrews 2:2). Our “better covenant which was enacted on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6); our “new and living way” (Hebrews 10:19) was not administered by mere “ministering spirits” (verse 14), but by the Only Begotten Son of God who is the Creator of the Universe and King of kings and Lord of lords.
 
Please read Hebrews 2:1-4 for tomorrow.
 
Have a wonderful day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Hebrews 1:1-7

Thursday, February 07, 2019
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, ‘YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU’? And again, ‘I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME’? And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, ‘AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM.’ And of the angels He says, ‘WHO MAKES HIS ANGELS WINDS, AND HIS MINISTERS A FLAME OF FIRE.’”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
The author gets right down to the business at hand. He doesn’t extend greetings. He doesn’t introduce himself. The most important message for him to convey to his readers (us) is that “God…spoke” (verse 1). Friends this is such a profound concept and statement that we dare not breeze by it. God spoke, and still speaks, to the people that He created. He wants to communicate His will to us. He wants us to know why He created us, how much He loves us, what He requires of us so that we can have a relationship with Him on earth and in heaven’s eternity.
 
God “spoke long ago” to our spiritual forefathers through His chosen prophets in many separate instances (portions), and by many different methods (ways). He communicated His will directly and verbally to them or through dreams, visions, signs, Urim and Thummim (1 Samuel 28:6). His past methods of revelation were continual and varied and scattered about over time and location. But, “in these last days” God “has spoken to us” His final, complete, compiled, perfect revelation “in His Son” Christ Jesus (verse 2). That these are the “last days” confirms the concept of the final and complete revelation and covenant in Jesus.
 
The author explains more fully HOW God speaks to us through Jesus in chapter 2. “It was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard” (2:3). Those authorized ambassadors (apostles) who walked with Jesus and heard Him speak were subsequently inspired to speak His words for Him (John 16:13). These “spokesman” then recorded God’s vital message of “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3) in the inspired documents that comprise the New Testament. It behooves us to closely “pay attention” to the “prophetic word made more sure” (2 Peter 1:19).
 
Now to the glory and supremacy and excellency of Jesus. He is greater than the sum total of all the prophets who ever spoke before Him in that He is the Only Begotten Son of God. Beyond this, as “heir of all things” Jesus holds the place of preeminence in everything in heaven and earth, He Himself being the Creator who “made the world.” To express that the Lord is “the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” is to say that Jesus possess all the “splendor” and “essence” and attributes of deity that God the Father intrinsically owns. If any of the readers of this letter were (are) tempted to look for a better offer from God and a greater being than Jesus and a more perfect plan of salvation, they were (are) looking in vain. Jesus is the Messiah that was promised “to the fathers in the prophets” and He is over and above all, the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega. After “He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (verse 3), and reigns as eternal King over His church kingdom.
 
Much more could be said about these verses but I don’t want to write a book.
 
Question and thought for tomorrow: Why does the author emphasize the superiority of Jesus over the angels?
 
Please read Hebrews 1:8-14 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Introduction to the book of Hebrews

Wednesday, February 06, 2019
We simply do not know who wrote the letter to the Hebrew (Jewish) Christians or the location of its recipients, and there is no way to tell with any certainty on this side of eternity. It has been speculated that the Apostle Paul, the Apostle Peter, Luke, Silas, Barnabas or any one a host of others is the possible penman of this epistle. God only knows and neither the Inspirer nor the author deemed it necessary to inform us about it, so it must not be important for our salvation or spiritual welfare. Hebrews 13:24 suggests it may have been written from or to a location in Italy, but this too is inconclusive. That this letter was written immediately to Jewish Christians in a specific location and not to all Hebrew disciples at large seems evident from the author’s desire to visit with them soon after writing the epistle (13:23).
 
This letter was written in large part to encourage Jewish Christians, who were enduring persecution because of their faith, to remain loyal in the face of hostilities. Even though they had not “suffered to the point of shedding blood” (12:4), they had suffered significantly in their past (10:32), and were currently enduring tribulation at the hands of aggressive non-believers at the time of the writing (2:18; 4:16; 10:36, etc.). Some had endured verbal and physical abuse and even had their property confiscated, while others had been thrown into prison for their profession of faith to Christ (10:32-34; 13:3). Frequently the author encouraged these harried Christians to remain faithful to their Master to the very end regardless of the earthly consequences, and to warn them of the dire eternal consequences of abandoning their faith, and incurring the wrath of the Almighty God of heaven (2:1-3; 3:15-18; 6:7-8; 10:26-31; 12:25-29).
 
He encouraged them to not “fall away from the living God” (3:12-14; 4:14); to mature and “have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (5:11-14); to “hold fast the confession” of their faith (4:12); to endure and not “shrink back” (10:32-39); to “lay aside every encumbrance and sin” that entangles, and “run with endurance the race” set before them, looking to Jesus as the perfect example of eternal reward for faithful endurance (12:1-3). The main focus of the author is to demonstrate the vast superiority of Christ and His New Covenant as compared to Moses and the rudiments and shadows of that inferior law and covenant (1:1-14; 8:1-13); and to convince his readers of the foolishness of abandoning their heavenly calling and returning to a disobedient and fruitless way of life.
 
I know that this brief introduction in no way comes close to doing justice to this magnificent epistle, but we will dig deeper into its meaning as we delve into our daily readings. But let’s end by making application to our own lives based on what we’ve learned from this intro today. While it is true that few if any of us are Jews tempted to revert back to a defunct covenant and system of law, Hebrews teaches us that nothing in this world is worth abandoning our faith in Christ for. No amount of ridicule, slander or persecution. No amount of fame, fortune or power. No amount of pride, prejudice or pleasure. Nothing that this world can offer us or throw at us is worth falling from or faith for and forfeiting our eternal sabbath rest in heaven (4:11).
 
Please read Hebrews 1:1-7 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor