The Weekend Word

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63 Responses

  1. Bob says:

    The importance of Hebrews 3:7-11 isn’t because of the reference to Psalms 95 at all (that’s just another reference to remember what happened in the desert). It is pointing to the incident that happened to the people as they journeyed from Egypt to the Land.

    In the text (Num 7:1-7) we find they grumbled (or murmured) against Moses and the leadership given to him by God and their question, “Is the Lord amongst us or not?”

    The author is giving a warning to the reader about their confidence and belief in Jesus. We might remember previously in Hebrews the comparison was between Moses and Jesus and in the text the subject is brought up again. Will the readers treat their faith in Jesus in the same manner the people did in the desert. “Is the Lord amongst us or not?”

    What did God swear “in His wrath?”
    “Just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you;”

    What did they speak and what did God hear?

    The grumbled again!

    (Num 14:1-4) “Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword… Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”

    God’s wrath was because of what they said against Moses and ironically if you read further it is the prayer of Moses (he and Aaron fell on their faces in response to the people) that saves the people from the pestilence.

    The point of this text is to trust God, encourage others to do so, and like Moses Jesus is His Man, the one who delivers people into the promise land.

    Don’t grumble against Jesus and don’t appoint another Jesus that will take you back to Egypt!

  2. Bob says:

    See my comment in moderation, I have a few cross references which plopped
    it there.


    What a blessed start of the week.

  3. Jean says:

    “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice,
    •The writer makes no bones – the Holy Spirit speaks today
    •If you hear – what does this mean? Does not everyone hear?
    •What makes the difference between those who hear and those who don’t?”

    The use of “therefore” indicates that the author is now going to elaborate on his previous warning to “God’s house” to “hold fast.” The author includes himself (“we”) in both the house and the warning.

    Similar to St. Paul in the tenth chapter of I Cor, the author uses the Israelite wilderness generation as a kind of prototype of the Church, which is in a metaphorical wilderness on its pilgrimage to the promised land (the ultimate rest). We, Christians, individually, experience this pilgrimage. We live as new creations in Christ Jesus by faith, while our corrupted flesh and the passions of the old Adam cling to us, while withering away under a death sentence, but trying until the very end to deceive us with sin.

    The Holy Spirit speaks through the words of Scripture in the present tense to the Church. “Today, if you hear his voice….” “…as long as it is called ‘today’….” There is urgency here. Now is the time to believe and hold fast to our confession; not after you’re done with college; not after you get married; not after you have children; not once you’re retired. One hour from now is not guaranteed. Therefore, Today!

    Sin is deceitful. It hardens the heart. Have you ever heard someone say that it’s easier to evangelize a person who’s never heard the Gospel before, than to someone who grew up in a church but has abandoned Christianity or religion in general. Many former “Christians” have been hardened.

  4. Jean says:

    “•What makes the difference between those who hear and those who don’t?”

    St. Paul faced a similar dilemma in his letter to the Romans, concerning Israel who had the oracles of God: “But it is not as though the word of God has failed.” St. Paul’s answer is basically, not everyone is elected. St. Paul gives 2 examples:

    Isaac (not Ishmael) was a child of the promise given to Sarah, before he was born, so that Isaac’s election by God was not based on Isaac’s choice or work.

    Similarly, while Rebekah was still pregnant with twins, God gave his promise to Jacob, even though Esau was the older twin, so that Jacob’s election was not based on his choice or work.

    In the NT context, God sends his promise through the preacher, who conveys the Holy Spirit attached to the Gospel into the ears of his listeners. At that point: “he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.”

  5. Em says:

    Romans 9 elaborates on #4 … it is a bit hard on free will and yet … perhaps, it actually explains it – dunno

  6. Bob,
    “The importance of Hebrews 3:7-11 isn’t because of the reference to Psalms 95 at all (that’s just another reference to remember what happened in the desert). ”

    You crack me up with your faux intellect. The writer quotes Psalm 95 word for word and you say that he is in error or worse yet that he and or I did not elaborate enough.
    I did exactly what the writer did … point people in the right direction to see what he is referring too. Me and the writer to the Hebrews know that the people don’t need to be spoon feed.

    The people on this blog can figure out what the writer is referring to.

  7. How about this statement – “…lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.”

    How does a believer end up with an unbelieving heart? Are there really going to be unbelievers in heaven as the OSAS folks must believe?

  8. Jean says:

    “How does a believer end up with an unbelieving heart? ”

    Are these folks who are like the seed that fell on rocky soil or that fell among the thorns?

  9. Jean, Well, those people were saved – the passage says they received with Joy.
    The OSAS folks say once you are saved you are always saved – but the writer here warns not to turn back to your unbelief. In that case they would be unbelievers but still going to heaven.

  10. Robert says:


  11. Jean says:

    MLD, I understand that the folks who teach OSAS can always toggle to the front end to question the person’s conversion as a way of avoiding your conclusion in #9. However, that interpretive paradigm trades one kind of assurance for another.

    Last year I heard an alternative interpretation from a local senior Baptist pastor. In his view the warning passages warn believers that if they fall into manifest sin, the Lord may “call them home” early. Therefore, in the tenth chapter of I Cor, for example, where St. Paul also uses the Exodus wilderness generation as an example to the church to warn them:

    “We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.”

    This pastor teaches his church that a Christian who falls away, engages in manifest sexual immorality, or partakes of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner, may be called home to heaven early as a punishment. Is this a teaching you ever heard during your time in the SBC? In a strange way, this seems like a reward if you believe that heaven is a better place than this temporal existence.

  12. Josh the Baptist says:

    Funny thing, If I engage the OSAS question here, the comments will get to 300 or so, and then MLD will says I started that discussion.

    So I’ll skip it.

    Wiersbe is on the radio this week teaching Hebrews. I absolutely love his teaching.

    Anywho, why do you say that quoting Psalm 95 is a small oddity?

  13. Steve Wright says:

    One of the biggest reasons I changed my view on security is finally recognizing how weak it was for me to continue to compare every single Jew, man woman and child, fleeing a terrible life of slavery….with the sinner today, hearing the word of the gospel, believing in Christ and being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, placed into the Body of Christ. Thinking the Bible in those references was drawing an apples for apples comparison.

    Now, if I was a Lutheran where every single baby born into a Lutheran family was (supposed to be) baptized, and I thought that meant they were now a part of the Body of Christ, then just like every Jew crossed the Red Sea but showed the hardness of their hearts in the wilderness, I could see comparing directly the Red Sea and water baptism as if it was apples to apples.

    So again, so much of the security debate hinges on infant baptism, at least for many denominations and certainly Lutheranism (based on these many discussions with MLD)

    My only further comment was that if you are going to talk “hardening of heart” language in the context of the Exodus….one might tread softly or at least go into heavy detail with the Pharaoh account and the two ways of hardening the heart which the text (and certainly the Hebrews) were well aware of…

  14. charles says:

    did you see this article this morning? something is up in the lds community

  15. Steve Wright says:

    I want to clarify something since I won’t be around much later…

    I am not knocking the Lutherans, though I disagree with infant baptism. However, if one grants infant baptism and believes their are results of that baptism as in accordance to Lutheran doctrine, then one MUST allow for the possibility of later rejection of salvation.

    I have seen how often and vociferously MLD has defended infant baptism…far far more than security. From this outsider infant baptism is the tail that wags the larger doctrinal dog of ecclesiology.

    (Even these Hebrews studies you may recall started off chapter one discussing baptism when some of us scratched our head wondering “where do you see that in the text?” )

  16. Jean says:

    I haven’t thought about how I might draw the picture, but there just might be more than one tail. Might it be Lutheran monergism that wags the larger doctrinal dog? In other words, if you reject decision theology, then baptism becomes a possible conversion marker. And if there is no decision on the part of the believer, then age or awareness of the convert might not matter.

  17. except for the fact that we have established he is talking to believers and he is warning them against – and I will used his words, not mine “lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.”

    How does a non believer or even a seeker fall away from something they were never a part of? If he had said “fall away from this church” I could see your point.

    And Steve, you are quite misleading when you say “(Even these Hebrews studies you may recall started off chapter one discussing baptism when some of us scratched our head wondering “where do you see that in the text?” )”

    The opening comments did not say anything about baptism – not even a hint. I referred to the church there as being made up of baptized believers. But to those who think God’s use of efficacious physical means to be heresy, well, I guess you would stroll down that route.

    Bob said earlier that the writer to the Hebrews was wrong for quoting Psalm 95 instead of telling the story behind it and now you think he misspoke in verse 12.
    Evangelicals have a funny way of looking at scripture – this baptism saves – this is my body … code for “it all means the opposite.

    Let me know when you do agree with the words in the bible – your hemeneutic cannot always be “it doesn’t mean that. 😉

  18. Jean – it’s a who saves who. Steve made a decision – he chose Jesus… lucky Jesus. 🙂

  19. Josh the Baptist says:

    So you’d rather argue Baptism, OSAS, and …now, Communion, rather than talk about these verses?

    I asked, why did you say quoting Psalm 95 was an oddity?

  20. Em says:

    once saved, always saved… it seems to me that the argument going on here is dealing with the method, not the fact… a baptized baby is saved, unless he decides not to be… “he accepted Jesus and now he’s in and so he can sin”… unless he does it too much and then we don’t think he was ever saved

    Eternal – that’s a word that has to be avoided because it means “without an end” and raises the real question, do we possess the gift? or do we just go in and out of the stream of it until the very end of our mortal lives, at which time our position at that moment determines our destiny?

  21. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, be fair – I didn’t bring up any of those things – I just argued that if those topics come up, you guys will state – that isn’t what those words mean.

    Also, I did not say quoting Psalm 95 was an oddity. The oddity is that in Psalm 95 and Hebrews 3, they were the same verse numbers … you don’t find that quirky or odd?

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    em, how is that different than the guy who walks that old sawdust trail – now he is saved and can go out and sin all he wants. or is saved until he decides not to be.

    But I still want someone to address how one can fall away if they weren’t there in the first place.

  23. Josh the Baptist says:

    “The oddity is that in Psalm 95 and Hebrews 3, they were the same verse numbers … you don’t find that quirky or odd?”

    Oh, OK. Totally missed that. Yeah that is kind of neat.

  24. passing throgh says:

    Apparently Mormons are just as mindless as EndTimes Harold Camping types.

    Both are so apocalypse-minded that they’re really doing no earthly good.

  25. Michael says:

    Let me wade in here for a moment.
    Most of you know that I’m a Calvinist with a capital C and you wonder why I asked a Lutheran to lead a bible study.
    That would be because I knew he would do an excellent job and he would challenge all of us to think deeper and more clearly about what we believe and why.
    It’s working.
    I believe in the perseverance of the saints…that God’s elect will persevere to the end.
    However, I can’t pretend these verses that are being highlighted don’t exist.
    All neatly packed systematic theologies have some socks sticking out of the suitcase.
    I may interpret these verses differently than my Lutheran brother, but I have to do so honestly…recognizing that there is a tension in the Scriptures that I must hold, not resolve.

    What I want you to see here is the exhortation to help keep your brothers and sisters from falling away…however you interpret that, it’s not a good thing.

    Persevering to the end requires community and we need the encouragement of the church to keep on keeping on.

    Faithfulness is not just an individual command, but a corporate responsibility.

  26. Em says:

    exactlly, MLD, we keep talking method, i.e., baptism v coming forward … i don’t think you can make that choice for another… i think both follow a personal, conscious repentance…

    FWIW, i do think that one can be aware of their shortcomings or their empty lives – whatever – and decide to try Christianity for a variety of its attractions: Jesus was really nice and never compromised himself, the folks around here seem to be prosperous, if i join up, maybe i’ll find my true love and get married, i like the music, the sexy pastor, or the nice old pastor or the soloist or…. i think those are the grounds that cannot grow roots

    AND i think that some start out on a shallow self interest basis and do move into The Faith, …. so? so, for whatever the plan of God is… His sheep hear His voice and come when He calls and they come to stay, even if He has to go get them out of the brambles occasionally…

    looking at one another, we only have the fruit of a life to go by, most of the time we don’t know for certain who is a child of the King… but it seems the method of the birthing is what separates us doctrinally, doesn’t it?

  27. Josh the Baptist says:

    I also think MLD is doing a great job, though I personally tire of the endless baptism, OSAS, and communion debates. I’ll just refrain from those.

    I do think there is a good point to be made here about the communal nature of perseverance.

  28. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I too believe that believers are secure – in fact I will go so far as to say believers are 100% secure. But what happens when as the writer suggests, you are over taken by evil and you end with an unbelieving heart and you have fallen away from God? Well, I would say you were no longer a believer and have no assurance any longer – perhaps you have wishes.

    My favorite Chuck Smith quote – :stay under the spout where the glory comes out. 🙂

  29. Steve Wright says:

    Brothers is a big deal
    This insistence in almost each week’s message as the proof that everyone hearing is a born again believer has bothered me and so I did some Biblical research.

    We are reading a Hebrew writing to Hebrews. On that we all agree. The title of the letter is clear.

    However, unlike the other New Testament letters there is no open introduction using the words saints or church. “To the saints in…” “To the church in…” – so the fact those other letters are also filled with the use of “brethren” is irrelevant to Hebrews here…which coincidentally of course is the one epistle that is stacked with all these warning verses.

    Now, when Paul was describing unbelieving Israel, his kinsman according to the flesh, he called them brothers. (See Romans)

    When Peter was preaching his first sermon to an entirely Hebrew audience, he addressed them as his brothers. (See Acts)

    And the Old Testament is filled with references that use “whole house of Israel” and brothers interchangeably.

    If this were a court of law, and MLD was introducing the use of brothers as “a big deal” and proof of the salvation of the audience, I would submit in rebuttal the above evidence that one of the more common practices in the Bible is for Jews to call other Jews, brothers. Two witnesses of saved Christians doing so to unbelieving Jews..and multiple examples under the old covenant.

    Not looking to debate I offered no opinion to defend. These are all just observations that of course, all proper Biblical interpretation must proceed from….They all can easily (though with some time) be found by going through a Strongs Concordance.

  30. Em says:

    well ‘spout’ and ‘out’ do rhyme… but i have trouble with the mental picture of trying to position under that spigot and still be functional… think i like the mental picture of a narrow path a little better – at least i’m moving, i’m following, but i’m moving… 🙂

    (BTW – did Chuck see himself as the ‘spout?’)

  31. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, the writer has already used other terms to describe these people. Are you saying that when he is referring to these same people in verse 6 that those people described as Jesus’ house are unbelievers.
    I only bring this up because you balk to protect the OSAS doctrine.

    “12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.”

    Just look at simple sentence structure HERE v- not the way someone else described people in other places. Our default position is evil and having an unbelieving heart. The sentence seems to indicate people who no longer have that as their identity – but when they reject Jesus they will fall back into that status – and this is rolled up into “fall away from God.”

    If I could, would you please explain who can fall away from God?

  32. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    As to my motivation – it is to the purpose of bringing out the glory and superiority of Jesus. Nothing is in 2nd place – nothing is an alternative view or choice of direction.

    He is saying, if you leave the Christ you know, if you leave the Christ who has saved you, if you turn back to a now defunct temple worship and and system of sacrifices – you have not stayed with God in a different venue – you have fallen from God.

  33. Michael says:

    Theologically it is reading too much into the words “sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” to interpret it in the sense of apostasy as do many interpreters, for the context does not define what the author intended.

    Taking the Greek term apostēnai as it is used here and burdening it with the theological baggage of apostasy is premature.

    No doubt, many commentators, aware of what comes in Hebrews 6 and 10, are willing to label the term with the meaning of apostasy and interpret it either in an Arminian sense as the loss of salvation, or in a more Calvinistic sense (e.g., John Owen), as describing one who was never truly converted in the first place.

    It should not be overlooked that the word apostēnai does not occur in either Hebrews 6 or 10.

    One wonders why it would not be used there if the author had apostasy in mind since the warnings in those two chapters are more severe than the warning in chap. 3.

    It is entirely possible that the author did not think about apostasy in the traditional theological sense of the term. Rather, he probably used the word to describe disobedience that incurs God’s judgment in line with what happened in Numbers 14.

    In Num 14:20 the text explicitly says that God had “forgiven” the people in accordance with Moses’ intercessory prayer. Does this mean that the exodus generation had committed final apostasy against God? Apparently not, since God provided for them and protected them for the next 38 years during their desert experience.

    In fact, nowhere in Numbers 14 did Moses explicitly mention the irrevocability of the loss of the wilderness generation.549 What the people lost was the opportunity to enter the Promised Land, not their covenant status as the people of God. Based on what the author said in Heb 3:12–13, one may infer that apostasy is in view. But it must be admitted that this is an inference since it is not stated directly in the text, and it is not at all certain that such is implied in the text. It is better to interpret it broadly as distrust, disobedience, or disloyalty, and not attempt to define the exact scope of the warning.

    Allen, D. L. (2010). Hebrews (pp. 264–265). Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group.

  34. Michael says:

    3:12–13. These verses begin a section of Hebrews which poses a troublesome issue in interpretation: Is the author discussing salvation or sanctification? Stated another way: Are the readers Christians or non-Christians?

    If they were Christians, then they were being warned not to take steps to cause the loss of their rewards. If they were unsaved, they were being warned not to ignore God’s warning so they would not be lost eternally.

    Those who favor viewing the readers as Christians feel that the use of the term brother (3:12) or holy brothers (3:1) indicates that the readers were believers. These interpreters feel that the biblical text contains no hint that the writer felt that his audience contained anyone who was not a true Christian.

    Some of those who favor viewing the readers as non-Christians feel that the term brother(s) refers to those who were racial brothers. These were unbelieving Jews of the same ethnic background as the writer and thus capable of being called brothers. In this view, the writer of Hebrews was warning the readers not to turn away from the gospel and thus become apostate.

    Advocates for both of these positions can find support for their views in the biblical passage. This writer believes that the readers are being seen as non-Christians, but he does not follow all the interpretations of those who advocate this view. I find it hard to understand the term brothers as a statement that the readers were unbelieving Jews. I believe the writer used the term brothers to speak to his readers as professing believers and imply that they must demonstrate the reality of their faith by refusing to turn away from the living God.

    The readers were claiming to be Christians, and the writer wrote to them in that way. However, he could not know their inward condition. They needed to show the reality of their faith by enduring in their commitment and refusing to be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
    Paul used the term brothers to describe the Galatians in much the same way as the writer of Hebrews used it here. Paul addressed the Galatians as professing Christians despite the fact that some of them were holding on to doctrine which did not grasp the principles of grace (Gal. 3:15; 4:12; 5:13). His use of the term did not guarantee that all the readers were true believers. He warned them against turning away from the gospel they had professed.
    Similarly, by using the term brothers the author of Hebrews did not guarantee that any or all of his readers were true believers. Each of them had to show his or her conversion by refusing to deny the faith they had professed.

    The writer issued such strong warnings because he observed that his readers were carelessly considering deserting Christ. If they actually turned from him, they would show that they were never Christians. The writer of Hebrews did not want them to be deceived by their own actions.

    Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, pp. 48–49). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

  35. Jean says:

    “It is entirely possible that the author did not think about apostasy in the traditional theological sense of the term. Rather, he probably used the word to describe disobedience that incurs God’s judgment in line with what happened in Numbers 14”

    What could that judgment be for a disobedient Christian who incurs God’s judgment?

  36. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “The readers were claiming to be Christians, and the writer wrote to them in that way. However, he could not know their inward condition. They needed to show the reality of their faith by enduring in their commitment and refusing to be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

    Would you preach this to you folks?
    “I know you are all claiming to be Christians, but since we cannot know, we will have to wait until you die and see if you made it in.”

  37. Michael says:


    I wouldn’t preach it quite like that. 🙂

    We Reformed types don’t believe in OSAS…we believe in the perseverance of the saints and one way God enables us to persevere to the end is through warnings such as we find in this book and in the exhortations and support of the Body.

    It’s kind of preached that way in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation where the promises are for “overcomers” or “those who persevere”.

  38. Michael says:


    I think it possible that the judgment would result in the discipline of God that we read about later in the book.

  39. Em says:

    all the wisdom here… good wisdom… thinking…
    but i would not want to defend amongst theologians or start a church on what i am thinking… 🙂
    it almost appears that there are saved folk, even during what some of us call the Church Age, who are not a part of the Bride… perhaps the Friends of the Bridegroom will not all be Jewish?

    “… we will have to wait until you die and see if you made it in.” forgive me, but how’re we going to do that? – maybe i’ll have to wait until i die to see if you made it in… but, of course, that won’t happen unless i made it in…
    someone here is playing with my brain – stop it – too many whats and ifs going on – enjoy Christ – enjoy His glory – enjoy having eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to believe…

    just sayin

  40. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    em, my position is 100% secure – be a ‘believer’ and you are secure in the kingdom even today.

    The writer here is telling these folks – “don’t stop being a believer.” – that’s the same as what I tell people I encounter – live in the promises of Jesus..

  41. Em says:

    MLD, i seem to be in a contrary state today, forgive me… but doesn’t scripture say that even the devils believe?

  42. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    no one cares about what the devil or his demons believe – they don’t believe the right thing — (and that is important) note that I said “live in the promises of Jesus.” – no demon does that.

  43. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I will piggy back on something Michael brought up and that I mentioned in v.13 – Christianity is a team sport. So I ask, what do we do with people who say – I don’t believe in going to church – me and my Bible are all that I need.

  44. Jean says:

    Christianity is creedal precisely because we walk by faith, unlike Judaism and Mormonism and others. Therefore, believing what Jesus passed to the apostles, to the fathers, etc., is important.

  45. Steve Wright says:

    I made an observation that rather than be challenged is instead met with a different verse. However, I fully expect that at least several times we will again be told “the use of brothers here is proof they are all Christians”….I am simply saying you can continue to make your argument but that is not just a weak support for it, it actually is no support at all.

    I answer your verse question with reference (as I did a couple weeks ago to silence) to Heb 10:39. So who is the “we” there? The author and the entire audience, correct? (By your logic). So even if I grant the warning as to believers, it is at best pointing out a hypothetical that is not actually going to happen to them.

    Heb 6:9 would be another example….

    Hey, what do you know…both verses after the most familiar warning verses in Hebrews.. 🙂

    I know, I know…we will wait until we get there before MLD will get us out of our suspense.. 😉

  46. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, again you are unfair. So what if some in the group are not believers – I am telling you that he is addressing the believers in the group just as you do each Sunday and Wed that you speak. Even you make a distinction at the end of you talk, you turn in voice at least to talk “to those visiting and to those who do not know Jesus.” But we do not see that here … unless you are going to make the case that the book of Hebrews is a book written to the unsaved.

    You still have danced around and not addressed the verse. You are the one who jumped to other books and other testaments. Follow your own challenge – stay in the verse
    How can someone who is not in Christ fall away from Christ. It is a simple question, nothing hidden up my sleeves.

  47. Steve Wright says:

    By the way MLD, I mention all the time in my messages, including yesterday, that absolutely nobody can know about another’s salvation. That is self-evident

    Not with 100% certainty because that is only possible for the omniscient which means…only God. Sure we can feel good about another’s salvation to the point of fellowship, communion, dating and marriage, hiring and serving in leadership and all the rest…and that is why Jesus gave us instruction to follow that if unrepentance continues we are to treat the person like an unbeliever no matter their profession

    However, I add to that simple reality that (anecdotal testimonies besides) we CAN and SHOULD know about our own salvation..because the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are a child of God.

    I can’t say with 100% certainty that ANYONE on this board is a Christian. Maybe 99% but not 100%. And nobody here can say that about me…I freely admit that.

    Not sure why you would be surprised at that sort of preaching…it sure is better than telling people as long as they are at church and taking communion and have been baptized then they are saved…

  48. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “I know, I know…we will wait until we get there before MLD will get us out of our suspense.. ”

    As the great verse by verse teacher – don’t you wait until you get there? Don’t you let the author build his case, and let him lay it out. I don’t teach that way – I don’t lay out an agenda and rip passages from their context to make MY point.

    Stay calm and we will get there.

  49. Steve Wright says:

    Well…certainly not looking to play gotcha but your #36 seems quite a capitulation after these many weeks…so now at least we are saying that there are those in the audience who are mere professors of Christ but have never had the spiritual birth and been born again, place into the Body of Christ.

    That is NOW your admission? Am I correct?

  50. Steve Wright says:

    Should read #46 above

  51. Steve Wright says:

    As the great verse by verse teacher – don’t you wait until you get there?
    Are you kidding? I often reference a coming verse in the book, especially to avoid people jumping to wrong conclusions. It often is crucial. What does interpret Scripture with Scripture mean to you? Interpret Scripture only with previous Scripture and nothing subsequent?

    Are you saying that the many expositional commentaries that fill both of our libraries do not regularly reference upcoming verses in the book for support as they teach whatever passage they are in?

  52. Steve Wright says:

    I’m off for the night (unless very late). However, as MLD knows, I have taught this entire book. It took me 8 weeks of 30 minute messages to get through chapter three. It took me another 23 weeks more to finish the book.

    How many words would I have to type on a blog to lay out just one 30 minute message?

    I’m not dodging. But I’m not teaching the book here either. Now, if you tell me that it takes you a full message to explain why the two verses I cited to come don’t challenge the premise on which your interpretations here are based, then I accept that and will wait.

    But when you come back and ask me “how do you interpret X” I need to establish a whole bunch of stuff to set the context for any answer….

    So here they are. Pick a troubling verse and listen to the appropriate message and you can find what I say about any verse in this book

  53. So, I had to read over the last 40 min after I drove home. A couple of points.
    1.) I never said that there were no unbelievers in the crowd. But you are not sensitive if I or the writer refer to them as believers. You did that week one. When I referred to this Hebrew church as baptized believers, you went ballistic saying over and over again that I had no way of knowing that they were all baptized and therefore I should drop the term. At the same time, we don’t know that they were all believers but you made no objection to my use of that word. Again, it points to the phobia against efficacious physical means that God would use.

    2.) You argue against a position I do not hold. You argue against people losing salvation – I don’t think a single person in history has lost their salvation. As you know, my position is people walk away from their faith. In fact if you read carefully you would see that this is exactly, and I will say it again, exactly what the writer is arguing for – do not walk away from Jesus – do not fall away from the faith you were given.

    3.) No I do not teach ahead – I let the book teach itself. If the writer wrote in a certain order he did it for a reason. Why you would think that over time the book would not explain itself I don’t know. When the letter was being read to the congregation, or as may have been the case it was a sermon – do you think the reader read right through or do you think he jumped to the good parts he found in his first reading. Also, when you jump ahead you take away the author’s rhythm and replace it with you own.

    4.) Typical – that is not how we play Blog. You can’t tell me I am wrong on the way I taught a verse and when I ask you to clue me in on your interpretation you throw 20 hours of messages at me. As an aside, and I think you know this, I listened to your teaching on Hebrews when I taught my class – but since most here will not take the time, you have deprived them of an answer to – if a person is not in Christ how can he fall away from Christ?
    My brother who is an atheist Jew would look at me funny if I warned him against falling away from Christ.

    A funny note against jumping ahead to make a point – don’t you just hate it when the pastor says “I read the end of the book and we win.” Heck I read to the 3rd chapter of Genesis and saw that we win. I read in the first chapter of the NT and i saw that we won – why would I need to teach ahead?

  54. btw – I spent 32 weeks of 1 hour classes teaching this book – not just one way conversation from a pulpit by back and forth conversation and challenges.

    And perhaps something gets lost in my 750 word limited postings – so we flesh them out in comments.

  55. Steve, I cheated and went and looked in my studies (which I do not edit for these discussion from what I taught) at what I teach for 6:9 and 10:39 as you challenged. I don’t think it means what you think it means 😉

    I am confident in my words and we will see when we get there – but I will reveal a little here. The reason we will differ is you look at the passages from the view of the Christian and I look at it as to what it says about Jesus.

    To keep it now within this study, we can compare your teaching on v.11 – which I just listened to. You deal on people’s sin, the children in the wilderness – – where I moved the discussion to make the christian look at what God has done – I moved them right into what God’s rest is and what it means and how it is for them right now.

  56. Jean says:

    “13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

    “Exhort”? Did he just say exhort one another every day? I better look that word up, because that is quintessential Christianese. Nobody outside of a church talks about exhorting anyone or exhortation. Besides, the whole verse sounds downright intrusive.

    “Exhort” = “Parakaleo” = to admonish; beg; entreat; beseech; console; encourage and strengthen; instruct; teach. There are a few more examples, but I think we get the flavor of this word.

    The author wants this congregation to exhort one another every day so that none of them develop an “evil, unbelieving heart, leading [them] to fall away from the living God.” The author wants to prevent them form “be[ing] hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” He’s not talking just to the pastors here; he’s talking to everyone.

    That makes a lot of sense. Reminds me a little of my old friend J. Wesley and his accountability groups (we’ve sort of broken up, although I still consider J. a friend and a Christian). But wait a minute: “every day” and “one another”? I don’t know if I want to be exhorted by my “brothers” every day. What business is it of there’s what I do with my personal time? I don’t mind a little buckshot exhortation from the pulpit once a week, but I don’t know if I want my Christian brothers keeping tabs on me. Seems kind of intrusive, don’t you think? People can be such gossips anyway.

    But there you have it. Yes, Cain, we are our brothers’ keepers. Here is a strong, if not intimidating, verse challenging church members to give a darn about the spiritual health of their brothers and sisters in Christ. Do we take that exhortation seriously? Do we see this as a our spiritual service to God? Are we personally invested in the soul care of our brothers and sisters in the faith? Do we actually see each other as adopted “brothers” and “sisters”, or is that just more pious Christianese?

    What do you all think about this and experience in your congregations?

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean – Have I exhorted you today? I know you will end up on the wayward path if I neglect my duty. 😉

  58. Jean says:

    MLD, there’s a line.

  59. Em says:

    thinking about #56…. has the recent trend to model church organizations after the success that U.S. corporations demonstrated made the church too much like “real life” in the modern world today?
    i don’t think it is old age that finds my whole life filled with supporting the system: cars that are way too technical for the shade tree mechanic, gone are the days when buying gas meant sitting patiently (one can think while one sits patiently) as your windshield is cleaned and your oil checked (“looks like you’re down a quart – want me to top it off or looks pretty dirty, think you’re due for a change”), you didn’t have to wait until the end of the month to pay – you just handed over the cash and drove away and even car license renewal now requires a trip to the emissions station in many areas, income tax forms that are so queer that every filing feels like a shot in the dark, there’s a pill for everything, but don’t forget to read the side effects list (that requires a magnifying glass – after you find the darn thing), house alarms and security codes, passwords up the yin yang, phone, internet and TV bills that exceed the cost of the month’s groceries… every one of those things were not a part of life less than 60 years ago… and that’s just off the top of my head…
    we need churches that are more like gatherings and less like corporate organizations…

    MLD, counsels concentrate on the glory of God? be a paraclete to your brothers and sisters in Christ? we have so many demands on us now that we don’t have time … even in church

    there’s a problem to solve, no doubt… can/how do we do it?

  60. Jean says:

    “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

    How does sin deceive? How does it harden the heart?

    If you’re around people very much, and you’re anything like me, then you’re often afflicted with sinful thoughts. One minute it’s lust. The next minute it’s anger. Gossip is often tempting if you’re in possession of some juicy info on someone (especially someone you don’t care for). Even jealousy and coveting regarding someone’s position or possessions also comes to mind.

    So far these sinful thoughts harm more or less only me. These sinful thoughts turn me away from my trust in God, from my thankfulness for how He’s chosen to bless me in my life, and from my dependence on Him. That, in and of itself, is troubling, but so far I haven’t harmed anyone else.

    But if these sinful thoughts should work there way to my tongue, then I’m at risk for harming other people and/or alienating them from me or others. Take anger for example. If I verbally assault the waitress in the restaurant who brought me the wrong order, the cold food or spilled some coffee on my shirt while pouring me a refill, think of the possible repercussions for her, for me, and/or for other customers? If I bump into the guy at the next table the following week while sitting at the auto dealer waiting for my oil change, do you think we will be open to talking about Jesus? Who would want to talk about Jesus with a jerk? Could the waitress lose her job as a result of my verbal assault? Might I be asked to leave and not come back by the manager? When if the waitress’ brother happened to be there that day at another table and waited for me outside?

    So, from heart to tongue, the progression of sin worsens. But, then, when if the sinful thought, which turned into sinful speech, culminates in sinful action? When if the lustful thought becomes verbal flattery, which culminates in an invitation for a “date” between two married people (married to other people that is)? If this is in the workplace, I might have committed harassment which could cost me my job and maybe my marriage, creating financial and emotional harm to me and my family. Conversely, when if I successfully seduced the object of my lust to commit her own sins? Then we’d have a second family of victims.

    Therefore, what I’ve experienced is that sinful thoughts in all areas of the Law are virtually to prevent. Sinful talk is difficult to control, but many mature Christians can discipline their tongues. Sinful action, involving other people, are the most harmful; some sinful conduct is easier to control than others. When I say harm, I’m talking about potential ramifications and sometimes permanent consequences.

    So, what I’ve learned is that the earlier we (alone or in community) catch sin, the better off we and others are going to be. And, one of the best ways to catch sin early is through daily personal confession.

  61. Em says:

    #60-wonderful words… truth be told i think we can do that without condemning ourselves, without being too discouraged by our sin natures…
    kind of like sweeping the floor… most of the time it’s just naturally going to need it… sweeping our minds before the job is overwhelming makes sense, too

  62. Jean says:

    “10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’

    Here is the great mystery for us today.
    If God has given you a new soft heart, why would we want to rebel?”

    The Spirit’s work in baptism is to put to death the old Adam or Eve, who to us represents slavery to sin, and to raise up a new creation (i.e., to be born again). Paul wrote that being baptized into Christ is to be baptized into his death and raised with him into new life. It is this new creation that has a soft heart which loves God, has His Law written on the heart and freely obeys.

    But, like the Spirit himself that dwells in the Christian, our new new man/woman (born from above) is hidden with Christ and is only known to us by faith. We live by faith, not by sight. We don’t even know how to pray, but the Spirit intercedes for us. We walk by faith in the faithfulness of Christ who won the victory for us.

    However, until death claims the the clay jars which we currently inhabit, which we inherited from our natural parents Adam and Eve, we have two identities: sinner and saint. In Galatians St. Paul wrote that the Spirit and the flesh oppose one another so that we cannot do what we want. But he also said in another place that Christ will deliver us from our bodies of death.

    Therefore in our inner being we love and obey God, but in our flesh we rebel against God. We are Simul justus et peccator: Simultaneously justified and sinner.

  63. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    A very long time ago, where I was living, the owner came to fix something in my apartment. He was a very tall older man who spoke English but with a Hungarian accent. He also was quite diligent in keeping the repairs up so things did not break down and people tend to stay for a long time.

    I will never forget the lesson I learned from this gentleman. And truly he was. Mr. Nichter had gone outside in my patio area to take a look at the pipes. He came back in and asked me if I thought it would be a good idea to pull the weeds that was about a foot tall. He told me the longer I waited, the harder it would be to keep them from overtaking the other plants that were met to grow to provide enjoyment to me and my household and our respective guest who came to visit.

    Initially, I felt embarrassment as I kept a clean home, but this one area, since no one really went out on the patio, I figured it was no big deal and that I would get to it eventually. After Mr. Nichter left my home, I went out there and started pulling the weeds. He was right. I had let them go too long, so the energy spent in just clearing a small patch took quite awhile, as the stems had thicken and were not so easily uprooted, as they would have been, had I been more mindful when they were just sprouting.

    The lesson I learned was that just like sin, if we do not pay attention to that which is sprouting in our minds, before we know it, it will settle in and develop roots that are much more difficult to remove. If one grabs the weed at the top, much is left yet to uproot, but if we get below it, chances are, it won’t sprout up again. Nevertheless, if we fail to keep our garden clean from that which will find its way in, then when we least expect it, voila—-we find that in our time of laxity, it has found it way in again.

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