THE BOOK OF HEBREWS

THE BELIEVER IN THE BOOK OF HEBREWS

  1. So Great Salvation:
    1. Salvation so great -because
      1. Announced by an incomparable preacher (Hebrews 2:3).
      2. Attested by many infallible proofs (Hebrews 2:4).
      3. Accomplished by an infinite price (Hebrews 2:9).
      4. Accompanied by many inestimable privileges (Hebrews 2:11-15).
    2. Do not neglect (Hebrews 2:1-5). Escape is impossible.
    3. Produces correct attitudes:
      1. To equals in the assembly (1 Thessalonians 5:11,13).
        1. Comfort and edify one another, and be at peace with all.
      2. To elders in the assembly (1 Thessalonians 5:12,13).
        1. Know who they are and esteem them highly.
      3. To erring saints in the assembly (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
    4. Four portraits of the man of God:
      1. A man fleeing (Joseph – Illustration). 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22; Genesis 39:12.
      2. A man following (Elisha – Illustration). 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Kings 2:6
      3. A man fighting (Paul – Illustration). 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7.
      4. A man furnished (Timothy – Illustration). 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
    5.  Produces contentment. “Godliness with contentment is great gain”  (1 Timothy 6:6).
      1.   Contentment is:
        1. An evidence of conversion – Be content with your wages (Luke 3:14).
        2. The exclusion of covetousness – Be content (Hebrews 13:5).
        3. An expression of confidence – Having food and raiment therewith to be content (Hebrews 13:5-6).
        4. An exhibition of comradeship – Be content and go with thy servants (2 Kings 6:2-3).
        5. The essence of consecration – I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11-13).
  2. The Believer’s Inheritance:
    1. Heirs of salvation – served by God’s angelic messengers (Hebrews 1:14).
    2. Heirs of promise – with the sure and steadfast hope of an entry into heaven (Hebrew 6:17).
    3. Heirs of righteousness – by faith in the unchanging Word of God (Hebrews 11:7).
    4. Heirs of the world – through the righteousness for faith (Romans 4:13).
    5. Heirs of the Kingdom – by the election of God, as poor yet rich in faith (James 2:5).
    6. Heirs according to the hope of eternal life – by the grace of God that justifies us (Titus 3:7).
    7. Heirs of God and joint – heirs with Jesus Christ -because we are children of God (Romans 8:17).

There are certain attributes in which man cannot be equal with God.  I will mention four of them.

    1. God is infinite and has no beginning.  Man is finite and has a beginning.
    2. God is omniscient (all-knowing); man is not.
    3. God is omnipresent (power to be present in all places at the same time); man is not.
    4. God is omnipotent (all powerful); man is not.

These are all true of Jesus because He was with the Father from eternity (1 John 1:1-2).  “I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38).  Also Jesus spoke these words, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).  The son of God was with the Father before the world was.  “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5).  

 Now let us look at Philippians 2:5-8:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

 

From eternity He was on equality with God.  But He did something when He came down from heaven and was incarnate.  (“And the Word was made flesh” John 1:14.)  “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7).  The words, “no reputation,” come from the Greek words that mean He “emptied Himself,” that is, He laid aside all His divine prerogatives and became obedient even to the death of the cross.  So He could say, “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38).  “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say?  Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour” (John 12:27).  He came into the world to give His life a ransom for all who will believe.

We must have the same mind as the Lord and consider it not robbery to be equal with our Father.  But what does that equality involve?

  1. We cannot be equal with God as He had no beginning – we have a beginning.
  2. We cannot be equal with God as He is omniscient (all – knowing0 – we are not all knowing.
  3. We cannot be equal with God as He is omnipresent (present in all places at the same time) – we are not.
  4. We cannot be equal with God as He is omnipotent (all -powerful) – we are not.

In what way then are we equal with Him?  In what way can it be said, “As he is, so are we” (1 John 4:17)?  How can people see Jesus in you-Christ in you?  What is the actual manifestation that proves He is in you?  The vastness of the subject precludes that it will be impossible to cover it all in this short dissertation.

Equality does not refer to our physical bodies for we have not been resurrected.  One day that will be true, for our bodies will be made like unto His glorious body (Philippians 3:21).

It is equality in:

    1. Love: “As he is, so are we” in love.
      1. “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).
      2. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”  (Matthew 5:48).  You will notice the context of this passage is love.
    2. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
      1. We have a new heart.
        1. “And will give them an heart of flesh: that they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
          -Ezekiel 11:19-20
        2. “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God’ not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.”
          -2 Corinthians 3:3
        3. Because God has given us a new heart we speak and act out of the abundance of our hearts, and we bring forth that which is good (Luke 6:45).  That is why they shall know us by our fruits (Matthew 7:17, 20).  It is the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in the life of the believer.
    1. Righteousness:
      1.  Jesus is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30).
      2. we are the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
      3. “As he is, so are we” in righteousness.
    2.  Blessed are the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3).
      1.  We hold our possessions, whether much or little, as a trust from God to be administered as He directs.  It is being good stewards.
      2. “As he is, so are we” in being poor in spirit.  It means humility of mind.
    3.  Blessed are the merciful (Matthew 5:7).
      1.  Mercy is an ingredient of love.
      2.  “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
      3.  “As he is, so are we “ in mercy.
    4.  Blessed are the meek (Matthew 5:5).
      1.  Jesus said, “ I am meek and lowly in heart…” (Matthew 11:29).
      2.  Meekness is said to be strength under control.  It is using power and authority to serve as He used it.  We exalt Jesus, not ourselves.
      3. “As he is, so are we” in meekness.
    5.  Blessed are the pure in heart (Matthew 5:8).
      1. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin, leaving neither root, stem, nor branch (1 John 1:7,9).
      2. “Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart: (2 Timothy 2:22).
      3.  “As he is, so are we” in purity of heart.
    6.  Blessed are the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).
      1. “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:18).
      2. “As he is, so are we: in making and distributing peace. 
    7. Blessed are they that are persecuted (Matthew 5:10).
      1.  “Ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings” (1 Peter 4:13).  It is privilege to endure hardness for our Captain (2 Timothy 2:3).
      2.  “As he is, so ae we” in suffering for righteousness’ sake.
    8.  “He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit”  (1Corinthians 6:17).
      1. We are one in objectives.
      2. We are one in intent.
      3. We are one in purpose.
      4.  We are one in our outlook on life.
      5. We are on as we look at sinners.  We see them as blind, staggering “in darkness, searching for they know not what, and as being beaten down by the heartless devil.  We see how the devil has maimed, diseased, blinded, crippled, and caused them to be deaf and dumb, etc., yet Jesus came and destroyed all these works of the devil by delivering them” (Matthew 15:30).  
      6. “As he is, so are we” in all the of the above aspects.

It should be obvious by now that we are like Jesus in character.  The things that characterize the Son of God should be manifested in and through us.

It is also equality in:

  1. Power over all the power of the enemy:
    1. “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:19). We are provided with an armor with an invincible shield of faith that quenches all the fiery darts (missiles) of the devil (Ephesians 6”14-18).  Jesus declared in Matthew 28:18, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”  As members of His body we share in the power of the head.
  2. We share in His triumph:
    1. The believer is never the victim of a circumstance but always the victor.  Jesus “always causeth us to triumph”  (2 Corinthians 2:14).
      Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; which persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. (2 Timothy 3:11)
    2.  He is the triumphant Christ (Revelation 1:18).  “As He is, so are we” in triumph.
  3. In the demonstration of the Spirit and power in our preaching and teaching (1 Corinthians 2:4).
    1. “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (John 14:12).
    2. “As he is, so are we” in seeing mankind delivered from the power of the devil, whether the difficulty lies in the spirit, soul, or body of the person.
    3. “As he is, so are we” by the use of His name in destroying the work of the devil.  “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil”  (1John 3:8).  “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).

Now you may think of other aspects in which “as he is, so are we” and you can incorporate them into your study.  The purpose of this paper is to reveal that there are aspects in which we cannot claim equality with the Supreme Being.  Jesus said, “For without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).  That is why God is the big “G” and we the little “g.”  We are totally dependent on Him.  We cannot operate apart from Him.

 

A UNIQUE RELATIONSHIP

 

There is a unique relationship between the believer and the Lord Jesus Christ, “Ye in me, and I in you” (John 14:20).  “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4).  This relationship is so unique that it cannot be pictured by any single illustration or analogy.  Many are used to depict various aspects of it.  Let us consider some of them.

  1. John 10, the shepherd and the sheep.
    1.  This illustrates the care of the Shepherd for the sheep.
    2.   It also illustrates the total dependence of the sheep upon the Shepherd.  The Holy Spirit is to guide us into all truth (John 16:13). With out His guidance we would not be able to find our way.  That is why God is the big “G” and we are the little “g.”
      “Ye are gods.”
    3.  This analogy does not depict all the uniqueness of the union of the Savior and the believer.  Sheep do not make good soldiers.
  2.  Hebrews 2:10 and 2 Timothy 2:3, the army, the Captain, and the soldier(s).
      This analogy depicts discipline. It shows total submission to the Supreme Commander.
    1. We do not go to war on our own (1 Corinthians 9:7).
    2. We are supplied with a complete set of armor that includes a shield of faith that quenches all the fiery darts (missiles) of the devil.  It also includes the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, for stabbing the devil.  In any warfare the enemy is sooner or later shattered.  “And the God of peace shall bruise (shatter completely) Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16:20).  You see, our armor is invincible.
    3. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23).  Our Captain gives us orders and we obey.  We are totally dependent on Him.  That is why God is the big “G” and we are the little “g.”
    4. “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal” (2 Corinthians 10:4).
      1. This illustration shows the interdependence of the Vine and the branch.  The Vine cannot bear fruit without the branch and the branch cannot bear fruit without the Vine.  In this case the divine life of the Vine, Jesus Christ, is constantly and ever flowing in and through the branch.
      2.  Jesus is the Vine and in Him and from Him flows perpetual divine life.  Take the branch out of the Vine and it withers and dies, but the Vine remains and never dies.
      3.  That is why God is the big “G” and we are the little “g”.  “Ye are gods.”
    5. Colossians 1:18, the Head and the body.
      1. This analogy depicts the total submission of each as a member of a living organism.  No part of the body can function without the head.
      2. It also depicts the interdependence of the various parts of the body.
  3.   Romans 11:16-27, grafted in.
    1. This illustration shows that as the root is holy, so are the branches.  We are dependent on Him for our holiness.
      “Be ye holy; for I am holy”  (1 Peter 1:16).  The Root bears the branch.  Cut the branch out of the tree and it withers and dies.  The Root remains, for in Him is eternal, divine life.
    2. From Christ flows an endless stream of life through the branches.  That endless stream of divine life supplies all the needs of every branch.
    3.  That is why God is the big “G” and we the little ”g.”  “Ye are gods.”

DIVINE LIFE

What is the purpose of God toward the believer?  First, it is to bring about a development in the life of the believer so he may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  After he becomes a disciplined soldier he is ready for service.  What kind of service?  “God ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).  All soldiers are actively involved in reaching the lost.  Some are on the front lines and others in the work of training new recruits and equipping them for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-13).  “ And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelist; and some, pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11).  What is the purpose of these ministries?  “For the perfecting (equipping) of the saints”  (Ephesians 4:12) for two reasons:

  1. “For the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12).
    1. It is for the purpose of reaching the lost.  Even those engaged in these ministries are also responsible for the lost souls they come in contact within the course of their lives.
  2. “For the edifying (building up) of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).
    1. This work is to continue “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, into a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13)
      That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. (Philippians 2:15)
      No matter the degree of our spiritual development, God needs us here to shine as lights.
    2. Jesus asked us to “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38). Nowhere in His teachings did Jesus indicate that a person should develop in divine life or spirituality that God would take them through death regardless of age.  It is a violation of the promises of God concerning longevity.  In my study of longevity in the lesson entitled “Life Here – How Long,” I discovered that only two things should cause a person’s life to end early.  One is martyrdom and the other would be the catching away of the saints at the rapture.  (1Thessalonians 4:14-17.)  The only apostles to die early were those who suffered martyrdom. (Acts 7:59-60 and Acts 12:1-2.)

There were two extremes in particular that showed up in the writings of the early proponents of “divine life.”  The one we have just dealt with.  The other extremism was the avoidance of physical death.  Some believed you could develop so far in “divine life” that you would not have to die.  God would just take you up.  There isn’t any record of such ever happening since our New Covenant was established, and there is not indication that it would be so.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed (metamorphosed) into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. -2 Corinthians 3:18

“In His image” is the height of spiritual development.  “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master” (Luke 6:40).

This lesson is not a treatise on spiritual development.  There are lessons that give instructions on identification with the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is written so we may avoid teaching that a person can be so spiritual or so full of divine life that God will take him through death at an early age or that one does not need to die physically.

“But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17).  “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones” (Ephesians 5:30).  Jesus is in me and I am in Him.  I am a member of His body, which is a living organism, pulsating with His life.  Into and through me is flowing the life-stream of Jesus.  The Spirit is given to me without measure even as with Him, “For God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him” (John 3:34).  Of us Jesus had this to say, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  But this spake he of the Spirit...” (John 7:38-39).  Rivers of living water are flowing from us – that flow is immeasurable.  It is without measure.  God does not expect us to do the work Jesus laid out for us with less equipment than Jesus Himself had.  In Him we have the authority and power to duplicate His ministry.

When Jesus was on this earth He ministered through His physical body.  Now that He has ascended to the right hand of the Father He needs another body to minister through.  That body is you and I collectively and individually.  “We are labourers together with God” (1Corinthians 3:9).  We are kings and priests unto God (Revelation 1:6).

“As he is, so are we in this world” (1John 4:17).  Let us be sure that we live and act as He did at all times.  It is not hard with Him dwelling in us and we in Him.  It ought to be easier for us to live a Christian life with God in us than it was to live a sinful life with the devil in control of our lives.  “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1John 4:4).

“As he is, so are we in this world.”  He is my victory – I will operate at all times from the standpoint of victory.  He is my wisdom – I will operate at all times from the standpoint of His wisdom.  He is my righteousness – I will operate at all times from the standpoint of righteousness.  In Him I died unto sin – I will operate at all times from the standpoint that I am dead to sin and unto Him.  In Him I have dominion over the devil and evil – I will at all times operate from the standpoint of dominion.  We sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6) – I will act from the standpoint  at all times.  He gives me power over the enemy – I will operate from the standpoint of power at all times.

“As he is, so are we.”

“For ye are dead , and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).  Unto what are we dead?  “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). Crucifixion is not an end in itself but a means to an end, and that end is death.  By the cross the world is dead unto me and by the cross I am dead to the world.  The word “world” here, refers to the kingdom of darkness.

Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?  Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world (the kingdom of darkness) is the enemy of God. - James 4:4

“As he is, so are we.”

“For the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).  “Your joy no man taketh from you” (John 16:22).  God “will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). I operate from the standpoint of the joy of the Lord.  “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).

“As he is, so are we.”

“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father” (Revelation 1:6).  We are royalty.  (See 1 Peter 2:9.) In Jesus, I operate from the standpoint I am a reigning sovereign over my entire person, Keeping all of my person in subjection to the great Sovereign of the universe whom I love with all my heart.

The triumph of the Gospel is enough to make any man the wildest kind of an enthusiastic optimist.

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Interview with Roberts Liardon about John G. Lake