top of page
Search

Building an Unstoppable Faith

Updated: Apr 16

A second blog on the book of Hebrews





On the night of July 18th, AD 64, a great fire engulfed Circus Maximus, a famous section of Rome known for entertainment and business. At that time, Rome itself was built mainly of wood and bricks and had no protection from fire. The fire spread quickly throughout the city, consuming large portions within days.


The emperor at that time was a twenty-seven-year-old descendent of a wealthy and powerful line of emperors, known as Nero Claudius Caeser Augustus Germanicus, or Nero for short. He quickly gained a reputation as the most sadistic emperor in Roman history.


Tradition says that on the night of the great fire, Nero, dressed in a costume, played his violin and sang a song about the burning of the mythical city of Troy. Because of this bizarre behavior, rumors spread that Nero had something to do with the fire and perhaps even ignited it to make room for his new palace, the Golden House. To deflect attention from these rumors, Nero blamed a group of people who had nothing to do with the fires.


One historian said the group was described as “a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition." ( William Bennett Tried by Fire 2)


The gospel was spreading throughout Rome during this time. The apostles and first disciples gathered new converts in homes and synagogues for prayer and devotion. They were known as "people of the way," or "Christians." But, as you can imagine, it was a difficult time for Jewish Christians. They were scorned as traitors by the unbelieving Jews. Their faith in the Messiah and membership in the church was becoming a dangerous proposition.


When Nero blamed the Christians for the fire, his accusations initiated a wave of persecution that would lead to the arrest, imprisonment, and torture of many Christians.


As the persecution increased, some were tempted to take the path of least resistance. Some were turning back to the old covenant practices of their fathers. Family members urged them to return to the familiar teachings of Moses and the Levitical system of sacrifices.

  • It would have been tempting to let go of so-called eternal rewards and embrace immediate relief.


But during this time, the letter of Hebrews letters began to circulate, challenging the Jewish Christians to fan the flames of their affection for their Messiah, Jesus Christ.


The Epistle of Hebrews was written around A.D. 65, just one year after the great fires, and probably to a church in Rome.

  • The author is anonymous but a well-known and influential minister to the original audience.

  • Why was this book written? It was written to encourage Jewish believers facing persecution to continue their faith in Jesus and discourage them from returning to old covenant practices.


Here's the BIG IDEA – the author of Hebrews presents a straightforward theme:





This book is essential to us for many reasons. One reason is that today our faith in Jesus Christ is being viewed as a suspicious superstition by more people in our society.

  • There is a war on truth and the claims of Christ.


So, just as the first recipients of this letter needed its truths, we need them today.


Chuck Swindoll says, “The truths deposited about Christ by the Holy Spirit in the thirteen chapters of this letter can enable a believer in any age and area to persevere in faith, hope, and love amid trials, temptations, and time.”


In my last blog, I highlighted two overarching themes in Hebrew that can help us understand the individual passages of this magnificent book.


Today, I want to highlight two more significant themes.


Third: Hebrews is a book of Examination.

We must remember that this letter was written while the Temple in Jerusalem was still standing and the sacrifices were being offered. It was a way of religious life for the Jews, pointing back to their ancestors.

  • But in just a few short years, the temple and the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed entirely.

  • Within four years, the entire Jewish nation would be scattered, and Christians would be driven to the four winds of the known world. In other words, as Warren Wiersbe puts it, God was shaking the order of things.


"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." Hebrews 12:25–27

God was about to shake everything that could be shaken. The religious traditions of that day, which were inferior to Christ, would be shaken off in the clash of nations, and the kingdom of God would remain. God wants our hearts to be “established in Christ alone.”


In fact, the word established is used in one form or another eight times in Hebrews.

  • It means “to be solidly grounded, to stand firm on your feet.”

  • It carries the idea of strength, stability, confirmation, and permanence.


Our faith will be examined as we journey through this letter. There are many false teachers and false converts in the church today. May God gives us the grace to be firmly established in our walk with Christ.


“The Epistle of Hebrews is a book of examination: it helps you discover where your faith really is.” – Warren Wiersbe

Fourth: Hebrews is a book of Expectation.

"For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking." – Hebrews 2:5

As the letter of Hebrews began circulating among the churches, it quickly became apparent that it was prescribing a new perspective on life. Although it looks back to the Old Testament, the author invites his audience to consider the past but look forward to the future.

  • To keep their eyes on the coming victory in the world to come.

  • He writes, in Hebrews 2:5 – "For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking."

  • In Hebrews 1:2 He says "Christ is the heir of all things."

  • In Hebrews 9:15 He says that "...the saints will share the promise of eternal inheritance."


What is the writer suggesting? The encouragement is that believers should hold the things of the world lightly and focus on their eternal rewards, their eternal inheritance, and their future home.


“When God is shaking everything around us. He wants us to turn loose of the things of this world and stop depending upon them.” – Warren Wiersbe
  • This doesn’t mean we become so heavenly-minded that we are no earthly good.

  • But it does mean we hold the things of this world loosely and live confidently for the eternal values of the world to come.


The epistle of Hebrews will ask of us, what are your expectations? Do you prefer worldly promises over eternal promises? Will you choose the temporary pleasures of the flesh over the eternal consolations of Christ?


Martyred, missionary Jim Elliott said it best –

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.”

The Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:12 –

“If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. IF we deny Him, He will deny us.”

Until next time, stay strong in the Lord!



 


About Pastor Bob Moya

Pastor Bob Moya has served as the lead pastor with his wife Candace at City Chapel in Arlington, Texas for over 22+ years. He is currently wrapping up his dissertation at Regent University and will graduate in the spring of 2024 with a doctorate degree in Spiritual Renewal and Leadership. When not serving at the church, you'll find Bob enjoying a good read at Barnes & Noble, sipping a nitro cold brew or black coffee at Starbucks, or spending time with his family.




0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Komentáře


bottom of page