Friday, November 20, 2020

94. Hebrews 1-7

Hebrews 1-7 (Thru the Bible #51) J. Vernon McGee. 1978/1996. 152 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: The Epistle to the Hebrews is of such importance that I rank it beside the Epistle to the Romans (which is excelled by no other book).

I am reading the Bible in 2020 using the daily M'Cheyne (Robert Murray M'Cheyne) plan. I thought it would add a layer of substance to in addition to the four chapters a day, to also read commentaries for those chapters. For that I am using Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. But the plan goes through the New Testament (and Psalms, I believe) twice. So now that I've finished Henry's commentary for the New Testament, I am tackling the New Testament commentary section of J. Vernon McGee's series.

This is not my first time reading J. Vernon McGee. I've read probably twenty or so of his commentaries. Most recently Psalm 42-89. 

When I started reading Hebrews, I didn't realize that it would be split into two commentaries instead of one! So I didn't make a note of individual chapters. So there's a small chance that the quotes will go beyond chapter 7 of Hebrews--though I *think* I might be familiar enough with chapter 7 to recognize the transition.

I really am LOVING McGee. This has been the best idea--to correspond my Bible reading with commentary reading.

  • To read it is to breathe the atmosphere of heaven itself. To study it is to partake of strong spiritual meat. To abide in its teachings is to be led from immaturity to maturity in the knowledge of Christian truth and of Christ Himself. It is to “go on unto perfection.”
  • Although I cannot be dogmatic about the authorship of Hebrews, I can say very dogmatically that we are dealing with the Word of God—that which the Spirit of God has given to us.
  • My friend, if the created universe is not saying something to you about a Creator, there is something radically wrong with your thinking.
  • We say that the Lord Jesus Christ is the revelation of God because He is God. He is not just the printed material; He is the steel engraving of God because He is the exact copy, the image of God.
  • The Lord Jesus Christ provided the cleansing for our sins. This, by the way, is the only purgatory mentioned in the Bible. He went through it for you and me; there is no purgatory for anyone who trusts Christ because He purged our sins. He has paid the penalty for them. The one who comes to Christ receives a full redemption and complete forgiveness of sins.
  • Prayer is not to persuade God to do something that He didn’t intend to do; prayer is to get you and me in line with the program of God.
  • And Christ is at the right hand of the Father, ever living to make intercession for us. We can obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
  • I don’t think we have guardian angels. Some people say, “Oh, but we need to have a guardian angel.” Let me ask you a question: “Are you a child of God?” If you are, you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, who is the third Person of the Godhead. What could a guardian angel do for you that He couldn’t do for you?
  • My friend, we have to do with a living Savior! Let’s just push the angels aside because we don’t have to go to God through angels.
  • The Psalms have more to say about Christ than they have to say about any other person. It is a H-I-M book—it was the hymn book of the temple, but it is all about Him; it is praise to Him. You have a more complete picture of Christ in the Psalms than you have in the Gospels.
  • Oh, that we might be conscious of the fact that there is a living Christ at God’s right hand at this very moment! He is more real than I am, because when you read these words, there is no telling where I will be.
  • I have a representative in heaven; I have someone there who represents me. I don’t know about you, but I get the feeling that in my state capital and in my national capital those who are elected to represent me are not representing me at all. They are all out for themselves and their own little pet programs, and it doesn’t make much difference to them what happens to the public. The only time they are interested in me is when I vote, and then I become the darling of the politicians. Then you and I are the intelligent public who cannot go wrong, provided we vote for them!
  • There are many ways that seem right to men. In California you can hear about as many ways as you want to hear. If you are looking for a religion, you will find one in California. If you don’t find one that you like, you can start one, and I will guarantee that you will find some followers who will go along with you. There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end are the ways of death. How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation? What do you do to be lost? Nothing. You can be lost by neglect.
  • If you could convince me that God has decided to remain aloof from man, and all He did for this lost world was to pitch the Bible down here, and as He sits in heaven, He looks down on man and says, “It’s too bad you are in such a mess; here is a Book, and I hope you can work your way out,” then I am prepared to turn my back upon Him. But that is not what God did. He came down to earth and took upon Himself our humanity. Because He suffered and died upon the cross, I am prepared to trust in Him. I am prepared to love Him because of what He has done for me and all lost mankind. 
  • Anyone today who attempts to eliminate the Lord Jesus from the prophets, therefore, is contradicting the interpretation that the Holy Spirit has given in the New Testament.
  • The Lord Jesus came to earth and took on a human body. He is able to sympathize with you and me. I don’t care who you are or where you are, He knows you and He understands you—not just because He is God, but because He became a man. He knows exactly what you and I are going through today.
  • Christ made a mercy seat for you and me to come to. And, my friend, what we need is mercy. God has a great deal of it available to us because Jesus made a mercy seat, and you can go there and get all you need. I don’t know about you, but I need a whole lot of it, and after I have used up a great deal of it, there is still plenty of it for you today.
  • Someone sent me John Wycliffe’s Golden Rule of Interpretation. John Wycliffe lived from 1324 to 1380, and although that was a long time ago, I think his Golden Rule is still gold; it is not tarnished at all. Listen to his Golden Rule: It shall greatly help thee to understand Scripture if thou mark not only what is spoken or written, but of whom and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, and to what intent, under what circumstances, considering what goeth before and what followeth.
  • The Sermon on the Mount, apart from the redemption we have in Christ, has made more hypocrites in the church than anything else. Folk today teach the ethic and say we are to keep the commandments of the Sermon on the Mount! My friend, only through the redemption in Christ can we even approach that standard.
  • How many Christians today, how many church members really study the Word of God? The Book of Hebrews is going to tell us that the Word of God is quick and powerful.
  • There are certain things that you and I would do well to fear—“Let us therefore fear.” I wish there were more concern among believers today about ignorance of the Word of God. There are very few believers who are afraid of their ignorance of the Scriptures.
  • You and I live in a mean, wicked world. This world is not a friend of grace; it is not the friend of believers. Many of us have not discovered that yet.
  • “The word of God.” There are some expositors who consider the “word” here not to be the written Word, but the living Word who is the Lord Jesus Christ. However, in Scripture the written Word is called the living Word. I believe the reference here is primarily to the written Word of God. As the written Word reveals Christ—it is a frame that reveals the living Christ—the reference here could be to both the written and living Word. Quick is “living.” The Word of God is living. “Powerful”—the Greek word is energes, meaning “energizing.” The Word of God is living, and it energizes. “Sharper than any two-edged sword.” I had a professor in seminary who said to a group of us young preachers: “Remember when you preach the Word of God that it is quick and sharp, but it is a two-edged sword. It will cut toward the congregation, but the other side is going to cut toward you. Therefore, don’t preach anything that you are not preaching to yourself.” I have found many times in my ministry that I am preaching to myself. The sermon might not have been for anybody else, but it was for me.
  • The greatest discipline a preacher can have is to go through the Bible book by book with his congregation. That is a discipline which even if it does not help the congregation, it will surely help the preacher.
  • The Word of God was written over a period of fifteen hundred years, by about forty-five different authors, some of whom had never heard of the others. Yet they are all in agreement. They all present the same great story. They all present a glorious salvation. May I say to you, no man is in a position to sit in judgment on such a remarkable book.
  • Nor can any man sit in judgment on the Bible, my friend. You really don’t know enough to sit in judgment on this Book. This Book surely sits in judgment on us. It is sin that keeps men from Christ today. It is not intellectual problems of the head, but it is problems in the heart which keep men from God.
  • The Word of God gets down and deals with the nitty-gritty of our hearts. It gets down and meets us right where the rubber meets the road, right down where you and I live and move and have our being.
  • “Eternal salvation”—the only kind of salvation He offers is eternal. If you can lose it tomorrow, then, my friend, it is not eternal. It is some other kind of salvation. But He offers only eternal salvation.
  • It is not a question of your ability to hold on to Him; it is His ability to hold on to you. He says here with the infinite wisdom and full authority of the Godhead that He can hold us and that they who trust Him shall never perish. The question is: Is your hope fixed in God who is all-powerful, or in a god who may suffer defeat?
  • It is a serious thing to have accepted Christ as Savior and then to live in sin, to nullify what you do by being a spiritual baby, never growing up, doing nothing in the world but building a big pile of wood, hay, and stubble. Oh, how careful we should be about our Christian lives. And we cannot live the Christian life in our own strength. We need to recognize that Christ is the vine. If we have any life, it has come from Him, and if there is any fruit in our lives, it comes from Him.
  • “He ever liveth.” It says, first of all, that Christ is not dead, but He is living. Right at this very moment He is alive. We emphasize the death and resurrection of Christ, but we ought to go beyond that. We have to do with a living Christ. We know Him no longer after the flesh. We know Him today as our Great High Priest at God’s right hand. He died down here to save us, but He lives up there to keep us saved. “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.” He is able to keep on saying you. “To the uttermost” means all the way through. He is able to save us completely and perfectly.
  • He is also “separate from sinners.” He is like us, yet unlike us. He could mix and mingle with sinners, and they didn’t feel uncomfortable in His presence, but He was not one of them. His enemies accused Him of associating with publicans and sinners. He sure did, yet He wasn’t one of them. He was separate from sinners.
  • Let’s sit at Jesus’ feet. Let Him be a reality in our lives. When you left the house this morning, did you take Him with you? Were you conscious of His presence? He is in heaven serving you, friend! Christ is your intercessor.
  • Isn’t Jesus real to you today? Quit being a little baby that has to be burped all the time. Grow up! Come into the presence of the living Savior.
  • Oh, may God take the veil from our eyes, and may He make Jesus Christ—in all of His power, and in all of His salvation, and in all of His love, and in all of His care for you—a true reality!
  • If the death of Christ over nineteen hundred years ago was not adequate, then nothing is adequate. God is not going to do something else to redeem us.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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